Tag Archives: Holga

Newstead Abbey, May 2015

Newstead Panorama

A couple of weeks ago I took the boys to Newstead Abbey which is about 20 minutes from our home, near Ravenshead & Newstead Village. We have been there on many occasions but it was a sunny day with time to kill and also the ‘Big Day Out’, an annual City Council run event that offers free entrance to various museums and other attractions.

Newstead has extensive grounds and play areas for the boys, a huge lake and waterfall features and a very well run main building with museum and café.

Newstead Holga 01

The ex Augustine Priory was also the home of Lord George Gordon Byron, infamous poet, traveller and bad boy.

Whilst I took a lot of pictures on my DSLR and filmed some slo-mo water on my phone, I’m more pleased by the B/W images shot on a Holga using 120 Ilford Pan Plus film. On this occasion I’ve only made one over-layed panorama, the others are single frames that show tree’s in blossom and some wire frame sculptures that sit in the formal walled gardens. Pan plus is a slow film perhaps better suited to a tripod and good light. The images are shakey but full of tone. There is only minmal post processing of these after being scanned.

Newstead Holga 02

The seems to be a proposal to develop Newstead in a similar way to Chatsworth House which uses the grounds and other feature to display a range of contemporary arts pieces. Newstead would be a perfect site this given its history and landscape. Click on the images below to open the gallery view.

On show at the time we visited and in the main Drawing Room was a piece by Nottingham artist Tristram Aver titled ‘And Stand A Ruin Amidst Ruins’. The multiple panel screen references Newstead artefacts from wall papers, period portraits, local flora and hunting trophies. I hope the plans for the Abbey produce more thoughtful site specific pieces of this type. Below is a panoramic shot of the Drawing Room and the piece which is on display until the 5th of July.

Newstead Tris Aver

As well as taking more than a few photographs I also managed to get a number of sound recordings which will end up in whatever new musical piece materialises this year. The piece ‘Sea Song’ that I made last year features the waterfall from the lake and other images around the grounds.

More about the ‘Sea Song’ piece here. and the bigger piece that contains it here.

Thanks to Photo Parlour, Nottingham for film processing, analog love in a digital age.

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The Grey Ladies & Arbor Low – Lo-Fi Pictures

Grey Ladies, Derbyshire

A short pictorial post, following up the previous concerning The Grey Ladies. I developed the two films, a 35mm B/W and an out of date colour 120 film at Photo Parlour in Nottingham. The 120 wasn’t a great success, its very underexposed and anything visible on the images below is forced through Snapseed. The B/W film from the Konstructor Camera is better than the last set and strangely lurches from a little underexposed to a little overexposed.

This set are from Arbor Low

Arbor Low 35mm

Arbor Low 35mm

Arbor Low 35mm

These overlaid 120 shots are from the Grey Ladies.

Arbor Low 120 Film

Arbor Low, looking over to the horizon.

Arbor Low - Horizon

And finally some more paired images.





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More Holga fun & The Great Yare


One of the ‘left overs’ from the Hemsby Havok page is a couple of rolls of Holga 120mm film. I took a roll of Kodak colour film and a roll of Ilford B/W (both out of date) with me. Unlike iPhonography its old school point and shoot with no preview or review. I very mush intended to make use of every exposure and tend part wind the frames so there are double exposures and near panoramas. After getting the film developed (or washed, a phrase I like) I get them scanned as a single strip and then chop and process them on iPad in Snapseed (with a little bit of Photoshop).

These are mainly taken on the dunes or on the beach. I’ve not added any imagery or cleaned them other than a little sharpness & contrast. They have the vagary of memory, fleeting and not entirely accurate. I still find them evocative.

This is the first set from the colour film roll. I had the view set to 16 frames so the individual frames are a little more portrait than the 12 view. Click on any of the images for full screen view.




The second set are from the B/W film. The linear & text artefacts are from the editing process, accidental but included for continuity.





One final addition, also a result of road trip is a musical piece. There are little roads and alleys in the are near where we stayed called ‘The Craft’ and ‘The Loke’ (bar, bolt) which to my mind have a slightly witchy and medieval connotation. For that reason this ‘song’ uses (just like the ‘Hounds of Love’) a little background noise from the brilliant movie ‘Night of the Demon’.

There are 3 or 4 basic levels of slide guitar noise used in this, all recorded one evening after the children had passed into exhausted reverie, using the CBG guitar, iRig and Amplitube. Its turned out unexpectedly very much as I’d intended.

This is ‘The Great Yare’ My advice is to play it loud.

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The Lost Children of Dol Tor

Crop01-Dol Tor

The keen eyed will notice that this is my second reference to Dol Tor. I had been messing with Korg Gadet noises and DMX1 drum tracks around the same time that I took the road trip a couple of weeks ago. It made sense to connect them.

Crop02-Dol Tor

Within the song notion was an intention to use the flowing drone and tidal wave of Korg Gadget noise and a fast, almost drum’n’bass rhythm element. This came through with some degree of satisfaction fairly easily. The trip to Dol Tor bought to mind the connection between that ancient landscape appreciation of environment, natural space, transient sky and a tribal community spirit of absorption in the previous, joined with a not insignificant degree of hedonism and party spirit.

I’ve tried to blur the disparity of the two main sound elements in the track using some additional rhythmic elements and three pieces of guitar noise made with Ebow, one of which is reversed and echoed. It’s very much like drawing with two media – say charcoal & watercolour – and then using your thumb to soften the edges. In relation to some of the previous sound projects I’ve made it’s fairly sparse in tracks.

Crop03-Dol Tor
The final element which is only subtly present is a piece of ‘field recording’.
Recently Cousin Silas questioned the use of field recording or more accurately the definition of this. In many cases it might be a texture, a sonic layer with direct and illustrative reference, waves, thunder, rain, chattering voices. I would say there is a difference between a sound effect whether self sourced or researched, and a piece of content used for its particular connection to the piece. In this piece some where in the first and third minute there is a slight fluttering sound. Whilst it runs through the whole track it’s only barely noticeable but, it being the sound of the wind in leaves at the time the video was made – in that time and place – I hope it ties the audio to the theme, a voodoo hair in the hand of the shaman.

The video elements are made on iPhone using the iSupa8 app in HD. I’ve used all but two pieces of film and worked them chronologically. It’s come out as a kind of archeological scrapping of the site or a forensic investigation of events – a Will Graham mind palace of association – looking for clues and getting into the consciousness of the previous inhabitants.


The most recent users of the site most likely had a similar respect for the environment and expressed a connection to the architect ancestors. They have left small tokens and signs of their activity including crystals, Ojibwe, ribbons and the evidence of fire.

The pictures that accompany this are multi-exposed analog 120 film shots from a Holga camera. Using the constraint of the film I tried to form four specific sequences, joined by over exposure. I enjoy the high level of chance in this process and have yet to be disappointed by the out come.



Given a greater freedom of time to construct these pieces I might be more focused on the amount of content and material I create and more selective in the elements that I use. Every element is a roll of the dice and thus far I have been lucky with the numbers facing up.

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Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey.jpg

Another Sunday road trip and a day out with the boys, this time to Calke Abbey about an hour away from us in Ticknell, Derbyshire. The National Trust describes Calke as an un-stately Stately Home. In brief the house is not an Abbey but was built on the site of Priory, destroyed by Henry the 8th. Owned by the Harpur-Crewe family over numerous generations it was occupied in reducing degrees until eventually in 1984 when it passed into the hands of the National Trust as a way of paying Death Duty. Rarely modernised many of the rooms had been abandoned to entropy whilst filled with the often bizarre and excessive collections (rocks, birds, rabbits, plates) of the owners.


It sits in the middle of a vast country estate that includes a walled garden, extensive stables, a grotto, kitchen gardens, a brew house, service tunnels, its own church and a nature reserve. It’s one of those places you could visit a dozen times and still find something new. It was the day of decent sunshine this weekend and I would love to go back later in the spring / summer when the landscape is a little more colourful.


Rather than refurbishing the house the National Trust have illustrated it as a project of managed decline. They have undertaken many repairs but have avoided any real restoration other than a few rooms and particularly precious artefacts. It’s a photographic goldmine and I took the best part of 100 shots during the 4hrs we spent there, a large number with Hipstamatic as well as roll of 120 Fuji Colour film on a Holga.

This is the Hipstamatic photo stream.



















This is a Snapseed edit of a Canon pic of the main facade. We debated column styles. Is this Corinthian?


ADDENDUM (Now with added Holga)

I received the 120 film back today and had them scanned. Other than splitting the roll into four sections these are pretty much as they come. I shot the whole roll partially over layering the images and using intentional motion blur. I really like the random juxtaposition of elements, some in focus, others hidden, as an abstract atmospheric narrative. I could extract any number of sections but quite like the ‘lens to final’ nature of the unedited versions.





Click on the images to see them full screen

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Holga Camera Adventure

Holga Print 01

I bought a second hand Holga back in 2013. I took a few shots in Dartmouth but only finished the film last week at Cresswell Crags. Like my previous analog adventure I was very much trying to mess with the system. I read a good quote earlier this week ( and I paraphrase) “Photography is unique as an art form in that it’s principle elements are light & time”. The only omission here is chance. Even the most technically skilled photographer relies on the vagaries of the moment and hedges his bets by taking multiple images.

Holga 02

My practice for what it is, relies very much on the later and even more so in this set. The 120 film used in the Holga allows for up to 16 shots and my intention was very much to create images that incorporated multiple fleeting impressions. With this as the prime directive and no preview possibilities, chance rules. So, as I’m sure Luke Rhinehart would agree, you choose your weapon, roll the dice and live with the consequence. The only hope is that the vague transforming vision that exists utterly without substance in the mind can translate into the capture of nothingness on film.

Holga 03

As it turns out, other that a little post processing Snapseed editing for sharpness, contrast & grain, these are the images and I’m really quite happy with them. I think they are mysterious and ephemeral exercises in the light/ time/chance juggling. In at least one image two different locations are pulled together almost seamlessly. Like failing memory their resonance ceases to rely on truth or accuracy but on deeper responses. They have the appearance of ‘evidence of ghosts’ pictures or the forensic inquisitions of sci-fi investigations.

Holga 04

A quick thank you to Photo Nottingham who developed the film and Pete who scanned them for me. If you click on the images they will open up to full size.

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