Monte Carlo or Bust …

… or, how one thing leads to another.

I blame Tish Farrell for this line of thought – it was the story of the allotment bottom test that had me thinking of Donald McGill and smut ūüėČ

I walk into a shop in Hexham and announce to the lady behind the counter – “I am interested in your bust” – pregnant pause – “Ah, yes sir, you mean the one in the window”. Smirking like a schoolboy, “But of course, what else”. ¬†That’s more or less how it happened which goes some way¬†to explain why our house resembles a Scandi Noir crime scene (and that came from an exchange with the wonderfully creative¬†Katherine Anne Griffiths at Photobooth Journal).

To explain Рthere is a torso in the bedroom created by Dennis Kilgallon and the aforementioned bust.  In the second bedroom there is half a head attached to the wall, a cast from a statue at either Belsay or Wallington Hall, I forget which.  In the lounge there is another bust and in my study/playroom, a pair of lips act as a paperweight.

Stay with me Рas regular readers of this blog will be aware, I have spent three years persuading Nikon they needed to exchange my flawed Nikon D600 for the D610 and eventually they came good.  So here I am with the an expensive and very fine full frame DSLR supported by a variety of equally expensive prime lenses and what do I do Рspend £26 on eBay buying a Holga pinhole lens and attach it to the D610.  These are the results:

Through a pinhole ...

Eleanor Rigby ...

Another Holga ...

The inspiration for pinhole photography came from fellow Blipper – Flashcube.

On an entirely different topic, I was back in Newbiggin again yesterday Рmore golf in perfect condtions. Having levelled some criticism at the Couple for being inaccessible in the previous post, I was told there is a land based equivalent, so I went looking.  I was not disappointed and yes, John Updike would be delighted to know, there are Couples:Eb and Flo ...

The Couple ...

PS – in conversation with a local, I learned they are known locally as Eb and Flo. Opinion is still divided; this particular resident would have preferred a miner and fisherman.

At last …

… credit where it is due, Nikon have finally done the decent thing. ¬†Earlier this week I took¬†delivery of a brand new Nikon D610 to replace the three year old, and seriously flawed, D600. ¬†A few days later the invoice arrived – total cost ¬£0. ¬†I am of course delighted and the last few nights I have been re-studying the many-paged manual in earnest. ¬†Not that there is any difference between the two models (at least none that I can remember) but I had grown seriously disaffected with the camera and the brand. ¬†Sitting on the shelf, the subtleties of its dials, buttons and menus are soon forgotten.

It remains to be seen just how much I will use it. ¬†The Fuji X100s is still¬†my weapon¬†of choice not just because it is small, easy to carry about, beautifully retro and produces such wonderful results but because it is so intuitive – yes, it too comes with a many-paged manual but I rarely¬†look at it. ¬†The dials are entirely consistent with a ‘proper’ camera and the menus easy to navigate, which prompts the question, will I be able to resist the rumoured 24MP X100F.

Enough of the hardware Рthe skies above Northumberland have been putting on a show this last week and here they are.  The stills are captured with the Fuji and the videos with the even more diminutive GoPro Hero 4.  The first two are time lapse recordings across the neighbouring fields and the last, a ten minute edited drive in the Elise from Hexham to Warkworth Golf Club (across country via Corbridge for fuel, Fenwick, Whalton and Morpeth):

Hexham sunset ... Hexham by night ... Hexham skyline...

Old England

There is a sameness creeping into my imagery.  Old England has taken on the role of New England these last few weeks, the countryside turning a super-saturated Fuji Velvia riot of golds, browns and reds.  I carry my Fuji X100s with me almost everywhere I go, hence the opportunity to snap, hence the sameness Рhowever clichéd, however familiar, the temptation to press the shutter one more time is irresistible.

Ken Rockwell describes the X100s as the “The World’s 2nd Best Digital Camera”, the best being its successor, the X100T.

I have said it before – the X100s is like a jewel, a retro work of art. ¬†By comparison my Nikon D600 is a house brick – a perfectly capable house brick (apart from the oil spots on the sensor¬†ūüė†¬†) but not something you feel inclined to carry around in a golf bag, for instance – a full set of clubs in a carry bag is quite heavy enough.

This is what Northumberland has looked like these last few weeks through the eyes of a Fujinon 23mm F2 fixed focal length lens:

Beech leaves...

Autumnal waters ...
Autumn ... Talk about ... Autumn leaves ... Along the lanes ... Looking north west ...

And so to the crux of this post – my ongoing communications with Nikon Support:

Many thanks for your prompt reply. Unfortunately I am once again disappointed by Nikon’s response to this ongoing problem. At the heart of the issue is the fact that the Nikon D600 is a fundamentally flawed piece of equipment which should have been the subject of a replacement exercise from the outset. To be told, on the occasion of its third return for repair, that I might or might not be subject to a charge is unacceptable. There is inconvenience, time spent packing/arranging shipment and loss of use which seems to be ignored by Nikon, quite apart from the blemished images the camera produces.

In addition, it should be noted that I was explicitly told that my camera would form part of the D610 replacement programme by your colleague ¬†‚Äď to receive the same camera back, which remains flawed, merely adds insult to injury.

I have been a Nikon customer for many years and have an extensive system supporting the D600. Unless you can guarantee replacement, I intend selling and replacing this system in its entirety ‚Äď there are simply too many excellent, competitive cameras available on the market to remain with a manufacturer who has so little regard for its existing customer base. ¬†I would be grateful if you could escalate as necessary.

I will let the world know how they respond ūüėČ

Mamiyaflex C330

My Dad’s Mamiyaflex has found fame at last on the cover of the Newcastle Journal’s golf supplement.¬† Not quite as iconic as McCullin’s Nikon F but then the bunkers at Bellingham were empty.

This is ‘photographic irony’ – the Bellingham photos which feature in The Journal (cover and inside) were taken with a Nikon DSLR up a 5M Pole – try putting the Mamiyaflex in a similar place and the camera would probably take flight!