A Room with a View

Returning to a location is always a good thing - you can see how the light behaves at the different times of the day or year and you'll almost always find something different. I return to many places across Edinburgh to try a different angle or technique. A favourite is definitely Stockbridge in Edinburgh where I will return to the market archway or Royal Circus Lane.

What I am showing here is a little easier for me though - it's my living room window. I am lucky enough to live in Edinburgh with stunning views of Arthur's Seat, Salisbury Crags, and Calton Hill. Since getting my DSLR, these views have become a favourite to return to on those quiet moments when something catches my eye.

This is one of the first I took when I was given a lens by my Dad. It was the clouds that grabbed my attention and how they almost match the shape of the trees.

The first silhouette of Calton Hill I took and what I regularly return to. It was taken during a stormy period which broke for a lovely sunset.

I had actually spotted a similar scene to this before but my camera was nowhere to hand. Since then I had been watching for the moon to be in a similar position at sunset. It was worth the wait.

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Sometimes a sunset will amaze you - how can the sky be so different each time the sun sets?That is why I enjoy capturing it, made better by a lovely foreground.

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From time to time I will focus on Salisbury Crags. It wasn't until I downloaded this photo from my camera that I noticed a lone figure standing on the edge of the crags taking in the same sunset.

Believe it or not, but this was taken a few moments after the previous one and shows how quickly a sky can change.

At New Year we get an incredible view of the fireworks that are launched from Edinburgh Castle directly behind Calton Hill. This again is a wonderful framing.

There is no doubt in my mind that I will continue to shoot this view until the day we no longer live here. It's one of my favourite views of Edinburgh and I'm lucky enough to have it from my living room window.

Two Cities Photography Exhibition

Last week I submitted two pieces of work to be shown at the YMCA in Edinburgh as part of an exhibition called Two Cities. It's the first time I have put my work on show outside of the internet and it felt like the perfect exhibition to take part in to get me started.

The idea was a simple one: one piece being a classic view of Edinburgh and one that is more hidden. I looked at my favourite shots of Edinburgh and knew what Classic Edinburgh" shot I was going to use straight away - I took a pinhole of the National Monument back in January and I was very proud of it. The "Hidden Edinburgh" was a different story, I pondered this one for a while constantly aware that I would need to have it printed soon. What angle do you go for? Urban decay? It's been done so much and in better ways that I have. In the end I stayed with what I enjoy shooting most in the City and that is the Georgian New Town and that includes a small lane that runs behind the grand houses of Royal Circus - Royal Circus Lane. I took this photo in February 2011 (the same day I took the photo of "BERNIE the Bingo Machine") and I was very pleased with it.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 9th June 2012 until Sunday 17th June 2012 and I'll be heading along for the first time tomorrow night for a look at what the others have put together, it would be good to see you there.

The Holga 120 WPC

Last year when I asked if there was anything in particularly I wanted for Christmas, one thing I immediately rolled off was a Holga 120WPC. It's a camera I've wanted for a long time, but one I had never actually bought. I'd spent hours looking at various pinhole cameras like Zero Image, and Noon but the price would always put me off for what was, to me, a bit of fun.

Holga 120WPC

Holga 120WPC

If you're unfamiliar with this camera, it is a plastic camera made by Holga and the WPC stands for Wide Pinhole Camera. It takes medium format film and comes with two masks to create a 6x9cm negative or a 6x12cm negative. On top there is a rough guide to the field of view and a spirit level to help you set up the tripod. The field of view is 120° which grabs a lot of the scene into one frame, couple that with a 40mm focal length and you can be very close to a building and yet the negative will look like you were far away. A good example of it's field of view is a shot I took of St. Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile and the photo I tweeted of the that shot being taken.

St Giles Cathedral - In Progress

St Giles Cathedral - In Progress

St Giles Cathedral

St Giles Cathedral

When I first picked up the camera, I loaded it up with Ilford Delta 100 and headed to Calton Hill. This has to be one of my favourite locations in the City for getting to grips with any new camera. It is home to the National Monument, Nelson's Monument, the Old Observatory, and provides a great view across the City - so you've got a diverse range of shots to play with.

It immediately grabbed the attention of passers-by including a digital photographer, out snapping with his Nikon D700, who chatted to me for a while and I ended up persuaded him to dig out his Zero Image pinhole camera from the garage when he got home.

The first photo I took, and still one of my favourites, is one of the National Monument - it was convenient for a big rock for me to sit on, let me get to grasps with the camera and calculate my exposure times.

Ilford film is rather unforgiving with reciprocity failure so anything over 1 second will need compensation. A member on Flickr has kindly put together a conversion sheet from f/16 to f/135 and including reciprocity failure for Ilford films. That was fantastic as I could meter to the shadows in any scene by setting my 35mm camera to f16 and then using the table to convert this to an exposure time on the Holga. It worked every time. Typically they would be 1/8 second at f/16 which converted to 28 seconds.

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This is easily one of my favourite cameras now and results like the National Monument have made me all the more serious about pinhole photography. The Holga is a perfectly priced camera for the job so don't be fooled by the Holga's dreamy brand - there are no plastic lenses so you're only dealing with a plastic box and a pinhole.