Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Holga Pinhole- Still Lifes

A still life shot with a Holga Pinhole. More here


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The Olympic Village

This is the start of a new series I have been working on. For the past six months I have been cycling a couple of times a week from Broxbourne along the River Lea to my work place in the City, a journey of some 20 miles. The route passes through rural riverside into industrial and then inner city areas of east London, passing near the Olympic stadium and along some of London's canals into Hackney. The Olympic stadium has become a sort of beacon, a landmark, for me when I see it's frame I know my journey is almost finished. I don't feel any real sense of connection with the Olympics - if anything a sense of indifferent neutrality but starting to cycle again after a break of several years has awakened a passion that had lain dormant for quite some time. I take a 35mm camera (either a Vivitar UWS, LCA or Holga 135BC) with me each morning and photograph the landscapes I see when the light permits. This is my Olympic Village - distinct from the official hype and razzmatazz of the real games and without the anticipation of glory or fame. This is my journey not just to work, the act of cycling represents something more than that. There is the physical action of course - training to improve fitness, but these journeys are an opportunity for reflection; a brief period in the day when all the bullshit of life is stripped away - no cares or responsibilities just me, the bike and the views. These photos are from the first batch taken, and were shot with a Vivitar UWS. You can see more here


Friday, 25 November 2011


A fishing village in Galicia. More here


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Modified Coronet Ambassador

Some time ago I became fixated with the idea of making my own lens using a cheap plastic loup or magnifying glass. So I bought a packet of four plastic magnifying glasses for about £2 on ebay and set to work making my own lens. The first task was to work out the focal length of the lens and this can be done by holding the lens against a white piece of paper (or in my case wall) and measuring the distance at which the image projected onto the white surface is in focus. It helps to be in a darkish room with a large window (the light source should be at an infinitish distance). I used this method to calculate that the focal length of the lens was 6 inches (approx.). The next task was to decide which camera I was willing to sacrifice to this complex experiment. I have in my arsenal of cameras an old Kodak 44A and a Coronet Ambassador both of which I had already ruined trying to flip their lenses so I decided to try the Kodak first. The Kodak 44 is a 127 format camera and as I had about 5 rolls of Efke 127 film sitting idly in my study I chose the Kodak as my first attempt. Next I had to design a casing to hold my plastic lens at the correct distance. As a child I was a disciple of Blue Peter and spent many a happy hour watching Valery Singleton make Christmas decorations so the cardboard tube from a loo roll was the natural choice for material. I therefore cut one down to 5.5 inches, cut the roll lengthways so that it would fit around the diameter of the lens, glued it down and spray painted it black and taped it to the Kodak with gaffer tape. So there you have it, before you could say "get down shep!" I had a fully functioning Kodak 44 with a home made telephoto lens. Next to try it out - unfortunately in my enthusiasm to create my lens, I had overlooked one basic design flaw - the lens was 5.5 inches away from the aperture so that when I exposed a frame, the image produced on the negative was small and circular. In fact I only got one recognisable image from the one roll I shot - which was of three geese. OK it won't get into National Geographic, but if you stare long enough, you'll see they are geese.

Not to be deterred, I then fixed my eye upon the Coronet Ambassador - the film in the Coronet is held about 5 inches from the lens, so the lens would only be about an inch in front of the aperture and therefore should fill the frame. I cut the cardboard tube to size and fixed it to the camera body with a light-proof seal of electrical tape. Here are two photos of the final product:
You have to admire the craftsmanship - it just screams quality, but would it work? Well, I'm not called the Wandering Holga for nothing so I took it to Santiago de Compostela for a work out and here are the results:
First the cathedral and next two shots of a fishing village called Noia
Success - and finally a portrait of my father:
So there you go, you can make a lens using the same materials Val Singleton used to make a model space rocket all those years ago and it will work. Next job is to see what colour film looks like with this camera. Don't all clap at once!

Monday, 21 November 2011


The parish church in Coyoacan, the famous suburb in Mexico City. Famous for being the home of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky in exile.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Mark Summer Fete

Now that winter is closing in what better time to remember the glorious days of summer. These three shots were taken (with a Holga) at the Summer Fete in Mark, Somerset. Note the glorious skies and raincoats!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Rhossili Bay

Another accidental pano taken with my Holga

The Gower Peninsula

In Wales! More here.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Capel Manor College

More here

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Multiple exposures with the holga

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Camino de Finisterre

The Camino de Finisterre is a path running from Santiago de Compostela to Cabo de Finisterre on the Galician coast. The camino was the original finale of the Camino de Santiago, the famous medieval pilgrimage to see the bones of St James held in the cathedral at Santiago. After venerating the sacred relics, pilgrims would walk the final leg to Cabo Finisterre, the end of the known world, and wash themselves in the Atlantic in an act symbolising their rebirth. Cabo Finisterre has always a highly symbolic place and was a place of pilgrimage in pre Christian times - Roman legionnaires are reputed to have retired to the nearby city of Dugium in order to be closer to heaven. These days most pilgrims end their walk at Santiago and take a bus to Finisterre but in doing so miss some of the prettiest countryside in Galicia. The Camino stretches for just under 90 kms and passes through woodland, fields and the Atlantic coast through traditional villages and over medieval bridges. It takes three long days to complete, staying in pensiones or albergas along the way and enjoying the local hospitality and excellent food and wine. These photos are a record of my walk along the route last month. They are all shot with a holga and you can see the rest here.

Monday, 7 November 2011


Cabo de Finisterre is the most westerly point in Spain and the final destination of the Camino de Finisterre. These are some images taken with a Holga 120 pinhole of beaches around Finisterre. You can see the remaining images here.