Busy as a …

Back in 2013 I did a post about my friend the Beekeeper.You can read that here. I’ve always had a fascination for bees and often sit and watch them work their way over my lavender and other plants in my garden.

I sat there a few days ago with my Nikon Z6 and a 300mm lens, and this little guy shows up and places himself in profile. The shot is handheld, I supported the lens on my knees. It’s heavily cropped too, but as I wrote in the original article I never did buy that Macro lens. Although I hear that Nikon have now produced a 100mm Z-mount lens to a reasonable price. So who knows?

Just for a bit of fun here this the same shot in black and white. I’m still playing around in Capture One

Nikon Z6
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR
PP Capture One


Not Drawn

Another shot from my early morning commute. Every now and again I see a black and white photo that looks like it could have been drawn by some artist. Just simple lines on paper. When I got home and saw this shot on a large display I got the that feeling that it had been drawn by my camera. The magic ends when I tell you that it is the remains of an old dock in the local river taken early one foggy morning. So just imagine I painted it instead.

Leica Q2 Monochrom
Frame add in Silver Efex Pro III

Waterfall in the woods

Waterfall in the woods

Vermeer pinhole camera 2nd try. Living in Norway you are never too far from a river or stream. This one is a short 15 minute drive from my home. I set the Vermeer up on a tripod and took a light reading which was 57 sec and 100ASA .
Not a bad shot considering the weather which was overclouded.

Light measured with Pinhole Assistant App on my iPhone 4s
Film T-max 100 ASA
Developed in Adox Adonal for 6 mins at 20°C
Scanned on a n Epson V700 using a betterscannig.com holder and Silverfast software
Post in Siverefex pro 2 and PS CC


I’m always on the lookout for new things to photograph. I love people shots and black and white landscapes I will just add, that should read black and white landscapes by other people. I’ve never got the hang of it. I have a mate that gets me involved in all sorts from urban exploration (I’m always nervous about old buildings) to Car cemeteries. What I love most is taking people shots whether they are portraits or street like candids. It’s a varied lot my photo album. So to add to all this variation I can now add Bees to my list. That’s right this is going to be a Beelog post (Groan)

Ok the story behind these shots is that we have a family friend, a retired Doctor that keeps bees as a hobby. I had asked him the previous weekend if I could come along and take some shots of him at work with his hives. (I’d lease a 1100mm lens and take shots from a safe distance. Only joking:0). On Monday evening I got a big surprise and absolutely no time to think ,just grab my gear and make a Beeline (Another groan)for our friends house some 5mins by car. He had told me he had to catch a swarm in his garden so it would be great if I could come and take some shots. The word “SWARM” really got me thinking of those killer bee movies of the 70’s. Lets just say I got out of my car with more than a little skepticism.

I found Staale in his back garden looking up at a very tall tree. In the time it had taken for me to drive out to him the swarm had moved to a higher perch. Without a very tall ladder it would be impossible for us to reach. I was quite a sight to see all these bees swarming around us,one of nature’s wonders. The Bees were not at all interested in us at all they just wanted to get together. Staale told me the last swarm he had to deal with was over 8,5 kilos! That’s a lot of Bees.

Not being able to get hold of this swarm (Staale would wait until they moved again). Staale decided to show me his hives in the garden. He put on his gear and gave me a beekeepers hat to wear otherwise I was just normally dressed with long trousers and long armed T-shirt. What amazed me was the calmness of the whole process. Staale opened each hives in turn to show me the bees and their work. I forgot to keep my distance and soon forgot that these bees were not behind glass in a zoo or country fair. my flash didn’t bother the bees. Staale just said to keep out of the flight path to the hive openings so they don’t get angry. Instead of using smoke to quiet down the bees Staale used a fine mist of water from a pump can. Staale had told me that on the previous Friday he had to catch a swarm in the garden which had managed to escape only to have it escape once more from what he thought was a safe hive. Not having the time (We were leaving on a trip to Denmark) he left them and they found their own way back to the hive. So I got to meet “The Mad Queen” as he described her to me. She had however calmed down somewhat from their previous encounter and let us look at the work they had done during the weekend Staale and I were in Denmark.

I came away without a sting and wanting to take more shots. It was quite the experience ,breaking all my comfort zones. This will not be my last trip to Staale and his Bees, so stay tuned.
On closing I would just like to thank Staale for the chance to see him work with something he obviously loves so much.
I can see a Macro lens in my near future :0)


Tree by Davidap2009
Tree, a photo by Davidap2009 on Flickr.

Another from my walk around the river near my home.

Shooting Tulips.

On Saturday my wife and I purchased some tulips to add some colour to our living room. I noticed how the early morning light brought out the subtle textures and the delicacy of the flower. I was up early on Sunday as my wife had an early shift and had gone to work. The Teens were still in bed. And I was looking for things to do. I looked at the Tulips while I munched my cornflakes and got an image in my head of how I’d like to shoot them. The early morning light was soft and reflected from our terrace by the thick layer of snow still lying there .

As I knew how I wanted to shoot the Tulips it was just a case of getting the reality to match the vision. That’s where it usually goes wrong for me. However, ever the optimist I felt that things would be better this time. I knew the film I wanted to use and how I wanted to develop it.

I set my Hasselblad 203FE on a borrowed Benbo tripod  using a Hasselblad quick release plate. I then loaded the film I wanted to use, Rollei 80s. My table top set-up was very simple Just a plain background (Jig-saw Puzzle carrying case) and natural light from the window.

The lens I used was the Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm F2.8 , Using a different extension tube for each series of  shots .  I let the Hasselblad decide the metering and for want of a quick release I raised the mirror and then used the self-timer set at 2 seconds to take the exposure.

It’s easy with the 203 you just pull the pre-release once to raise the mirror and once again to set the self -timer in action.

Here’s a shot of the set-up. Nothing complicated here :0)

DSC_0945 (1)

Ok so I had a blast taking shots with my Hasselblad. When I was finished it was all about the film. There was never any question . Caffenol is  “soup of the day”

I use a slightly different recipe from the one I give on my Caffenol page using less Washing soda and 1 gram Potassium Bromide.(If you live in the UK you can buy it as I did here.)This prevents the film from fogging and helps if you are getting un-even development. Being lazy after all it was Sunday morning I chose to stand develop this film. Once in the tank pour in your prepared soup agitate for the first minute and then leave to stand for 49mins (Just enough time for bacon and eggs and a little light reading). Stop with ordinary plain water. Fix for 5 mins (I used Kodak T-Max) and rinse for 10 mins . I air dry my negatives for about 5 hours it varies with the temperature in our laundry room.

I scanned the negatives with my Epson V700 Scanner using a Betterscanning holder and anti newton glass to flatten the negatives. I use Silverfast SW for the scanning work I then import to Aperture and tweak in Silver Efex Pro 2(Very little tweaking was needed with these negatives. Here’s the result click on each for a larger version.




Here’s the Caffenol Recipe I used

Washing soda (Stabil) 16gr/l

Vitamin C (Santa maria) 10 gr/l

Potassium Bromide 1gr/l

Instant Coffee 40gr/l

Inversions for the 1st minute and then left to stand for 49mins

Start with your liter of water at 19degrees C and then Stir in each ingredient in turn stir until all is dissolved Let it stand (While you load your fil into the tank usually works for me)

That was my Sunday How was yours?