Monday, 7 September 2009

Well, I cann't be a photographer in Bristol without taking shots of the Clifton Bridge every now and then. Its such an icon of the city though that finding a differnet viewpoint is nearly impossible. I quite like this shot though, a bit more unusual I hope. Iv'e just added a couple of bridge shots to the website, its all that I have had a chance to photograph in the last couple of weeks as i'm working away again every other week but unfortunately I have yet to visit anywhere photogenic on my travels. Still, it gives me a chance to catch up on other bits and pieces and get some more prints ready for the stall.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Iv'e come over all Black and White!

Well, I have done it. The stall is now completely black and white. Not just the backdrop but the prints as well!
I have invested in some beautifully produced gallery prints, all done on Museo Max paper, which look superb when teamed with black core acid free mounts. Its a step up from the old stall as I am concentrating on only the fine art gallery prints, a bit of a gamble but its worth it.
The prints really are superb, the level of detail and tonal depth is wonderfull and beats anything I have had done before.
Since I am only shooting black and white medium format film these days it made sense to bite the bullet and go for it. It has been a hectic couple of weeks getting everything ready but I can slow down a bit now and concentrate on getting out there and taking some more images at last!

If you are around Bristol then do come and say hello, I would love to hear your comments about the new monochrome look.

Friday, 31 July 2009

New Gallery Prints

I have had the samples from a new print specialist and I have to say I am impressed. The paper I will be using from now on for all my monotone prints is Museo Max; a gallery grade, textured and thicker paper which gives a slightly warm print and is finished with a Hahnemuhle protective spray, making the print water resistant and increasing its archival properties. This is teamed with archival inks and the knowledge of printer of Martin Henson to produce a superb final print.
I hope to get a quantity of these out on my stall soon, both framed and unframed.

Monday, 27 July 2009

More stones and rainy days

I have been away from the computer this week after a trip down to Cornwall for work. Of course I had in mind a visit to several of the standing stone sites near Lands End to add to the new series I am working on, and after a week of glorious weather I hoped to get some good shots. Sods law kicked in again though and on my day off it rained. Constantly.
I still took the chance to visit the Men O' Toll stones though, and with wide angle lens fitted hope to have got some interesting photographs from that wonderfull round standing stone...despite the drizzle that accompanied the trip.
The film is not yet developed so watch this space in the next couple of weeks, as I am home throughout the whole of August and hope to get a lot more shots finished in the time I have free.
The image above is of two standing stones on the Isle of Mull, near Tobermory, taken on a sunny day as the clouds scudded past.
I am also trying out a new chap for printing on some high quality art paper so hope to be able to offer gallery quality archival prints on some of the best cotton rag paper available.
I will post again as soon as I have new shots to add to the gallery. TTFN!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Standing Stones, Scotland and A lot of catching up...

Ah, I do feel guilty. Its been a couple of months since my last update and there has been so much to report but, as ever, I just never seemed to get around to actually sitting here and doing it!
Shortly after the trip to Uffington and the White Horse I travelled to the Isle of Mull, Scotland, for a weeks archaeological work. While there I took the chance to drag my Pentax 6x7 camera around with me, complete with a new wide angle lens. Needless to say that while I was working the weather for the most part was lovely. As soon as I had some time to get out with the rained. Solidly.
Its sods law of course but even the fine misty drizzle (mizzle as I call it) that settled in didn't put an end to the exploration of the Island and with trusty Pentax in tow I ventured out to take photos!
There can be few places in Britain as beautifull as the scottish isles and Mull is especially stunning. I watched a sea otter swimming in Tobermory Bay (of course when I didnt have my camera with me) and sea eagles nesting beside a lake, with the aid of the local wildlife wardens. Even in damp and less than pleasant conditions it was still a joy to wander around the Island. I would definately recommend a visit.
Add to that a couple of days spent on the way back in Cumbria visiting stone circles and haunted inns and you have a perfect time away from home...!

Since Mull I have wandered from Somerset (one ruined castle) to Durham (another castle) and points inbetween...Watch this space and the website for shots from both locations.
Inbetween working away I am desperately trying to get as many films developed and photos finished as possible. I plan a series of standing stone images to go with the 'Long Meg' photograph seen here, taken in both Cumbria and Scotland. Long Meg is fascinating, the carvings are unusuall for a standing stone in England, though I have visited several in Scotland (Kilmarten Glen is full of them). She is the largest stone in a circle, second only in size I believe to Avebury. Quite a surprise after a drive along a tiny narrow lane to suddenly find yourself in the midst of!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Dragons over White Horse Hill

I have been working away again recently and on the last job in Oxfordshire we finished early enough to take the motorbike up to Uffington and White Horse hill.
I had taken the Pentax 6x7 with me to get some shots of the house and gardens we had been digging for the past week, but with a spare film to hand I couldn't resist the opportunity to grab some shots up on the hill.
It was very blustery, the clouds scudding across a blue sky, chasing one another towards the horizon. After wandering the hillfort and saying hello to the white horse we were on our way back to the bike to head home when I spotted these two trees, singled out against the horizon. I was about to take the shot when my other half suggested I move down the hill slightly and shoot from there. As I wandered down towards him, the cloud formation above the trees became clear and I had just enough time to shoot a single frame before they had lost form.
Its not everyday you see a dragon in the sky, especially when you consider the small hill below the white horse is called Dragons' Hill after the St. George and the dragon strory.
Ok, so you need a little imagination to see him but to us, up there on a gloriously sunny late afternoon, just before May day, it was the perfect end to a detour.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Riverside ramblings and decay

Well, the backs' better. I can say so with certainty having dragged both my Nikon and Pentax cameras around Seamills yesterday in my big Billingham shoulder bag. That thing weighs a ton when loaded!
I have been working down near the river at Seamills for over a year but that was the first chance I had really had to go for a proper walk around the banks and the railway bridge with the cameras...I had the day off but popped into work to drop some bits off so thought I would make use of the time.
This time it was the Nikon that saw the most use, I had been intending to concentrate mostly on black and white images but the muted colours of the mud banks combined with the rusting iron from old steps and posts made colour the name of the day instead. I am pleased with the images from the Nikon, I concentrated on very small depths of field, throwing a lot out of focus and softening the pictures, giving a dreamy appearance. Apt for the start of a series of shots based on decay and abandonment.
Most of the things I photographed other people don't give a second glance at, but I like that. It shows everything can be something special if looked at closer.

Saturday, 28 March 2009


What does an archaeologist do when she is out of action? Pick up a camera...or normally anyway. At the moment I am well and truly out of action having damaged the muscles in my middle back a week ago. Me being me I still went off to London for a digging job but found myself unable to do anything more than watch a machine and do paperwork, while getting grumpy with frustration!
Having now returned from London I am under orders to take it easy, so no long walks with a heavy camera. Even more annoying was the fact that I was up in Hampton Court Palace and didn't find the time to take a single shot! Grrrrrr....
As an archaeologist you learn not to take your back for granted but this was the silliest injury, not even sure how I did it, it just started getting grumpy one night after work and got steadily more annoying till a trip to the quacks was forcibly suggested by my work mates.
Now I am on ibruprofen for however long and unable to do much apart from walk around the flat being grumpy. I hope to catch up with some film scanning at least next week but for now I mostly catch up on sleep I dont get at night and bumble about the place.
So, heres a tip for anyone who spents a lot of time bent over, as told to me by the back specialist I talked to...reverse bend!!! Yep, every five or ten minutes straighten up and bend backwards a few times. Apparently its the one thing us archaeologists don't do enough of...untill now that is.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

More Pentax shots also came back in this load of film, though I have only had a chance to scan this one so far. I spent a couple of hours today working out the optimum height to hold negatives away from the glass on my scanner, sounds geeky but its amazing the difference just half a mm makes to the sharpness of the scan. Eventually I worked out that the thickness of a dvd case cut up to hold a single negative was perfect so I made my own neg holder and it seemed to work fine!
The bridge is one of Bristols iconic views, a bit of a cliche but I tried to take it from a more unusuall angle. That and the beauty of the 6x7 negatives made for an image I am happy with.
At some point this week I will try to find time to scan some more...theres an interesting shot of a twisted tree I want to work on!
Watch this space!

Realising an idea

At last. I took this photo last year while working around the ruins of a mediaeval abbey church. I used my digital camera to take loads of shots, all focusing on this wall and the old kettle that was left lying around the grounds. I was never happy with the digital shots though as they didn't capture what I 'saw'...the image as I wanted it to be. Then this week I had a load of film developed including one from my little Holga and this gem was on it. I had forgotten I took the Holga with me, I was waiting to use up the film and so hadn't processed it untill now.
Funny isn't it that the sophisticated digital camera, all bells and whistles, just couldn't capture the atmosphere I wanted yet the plastic medium format film camera with no controls managed it perfectly.
I wonder what that says for my photography. I love the old fashioned look of this shot, caught out of time in an image that could have come from any era.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Traveling Hamsters

I am setting off for work today down to Essex. I had meant to post earlier but as always never seemed to have the time to update the blog! Steampunk was good enough to send me a sample of his new glass earplug design (stunning) so am wearing that as I go, a fresh green plant caught in crystal clear glass hanging from my ear. I will be back next Friday so will hopefully update further then. TTFN

Sunday, 8 February 2009

And The winner Is......

Firstly I would like to say a big thankyou to those who entered the competition, you were a small group but select!
I can honestly say that I loved every single entry, you all had a different view on the carousel and the fairground and a different way of putting that across.
From Silvermoss's and Covetables' free form poetry which was fantastic to Steampunks' darker side (a view I have to admit I rather share) there was not one entry that fell short of doing justice to this most favorite of rides.
That said there has to be a winner, and it was a difficult choice. I swayed between entries as the week went on and it was a real struggle to single one out but in the end I have to announce the winner of the signed 8"x8" print is...(drum roll)...
Majomis' entry took me back to my days of heady crushes and her lyrical style evoked such wonderfull images of growing up around funfairs and their exotic hold on us all that I had to choose her stories.
However, as everyone told such good tales, or recalled other memories for us to share (Posted with Love by Kat...great outcome to a story), or visualised such poetic images I want to send everyone who entered a 4"x4" mini print as a thankyou. Please email me your addresses and I will send them off to you as soon as I can.
For now, have a great weekend and my best wishes to you all.
Tracey x

Thursday, 5 February 2009

A snowy Bristol day

At last, it snowed in Bristol. And it was enough to grab a day off work and head up onto the downs with the cameras. When I left the house first thing nothing was running; no buses, my normal train route was cancelled, and there was much less traffic on the roads than normal. It was almost peacefull for a city!
I headed up to the Clifton Downs with the largest camera bag I own...staggering under the weight of two very large and heavy cameras, with the tiny Holga hiding in the side pocket. Its hard to say who outnumbered who up there, students, children or people with cameras!
It seems there is a trend for giant snowballs...scattered across the downs they sat like easter island statues, still and somehow menacing, as if they would suddenly roll over and flatten you. No heads, arms or other such snowman accessories, just great balls of snow (isn't there a song in that somewhere?).
However, I found there is a limit to photographing trees in the snow and escaping the fast moving objects such as sledges, dogs and small children became harder as the morning drew on so I abandoned the Downs and headed to Clifton. Finally I caught one of the rare buses that did start running back home for a cup of tea and a rest as after four hours my back was complaining about the weight of the camera bag!
I used up two rolls of film in the Pentax 6x7 though, while changing film in the cold via a frozen park bench was interesting! I'll wait to see what comes of them but for now I have just finished this shot of animal tracks taken on the Downs with the Nikon D1x.
Work again tomorrow but while the snow was there...a RandomHamster played!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Carousel Horses...100 views celebration prize!

To celebrate the one hundreth viewing of the image 'Carousel Horses' on my website I am giving away an 8"x8" signed print, backed onto acid free mountboard.
To win a print simply leave a comment on this blog entry that sums up Carousel rides to you, or of what the image of the painted galloping horses brings to your mind.
You can be as poetic or straightforward as you like, just tell me your feelings on this favorite fairground ride by February 8th (next Sunday) and I will pick my favorite entry.
Good luck, I look forward to reading your ideas.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

SteamPunk glass, I'm a fan!

I have recently discovered the work of SteamPunk Glass. Glenn hand makes every tiny piece of iridescent art himself, with patience and I would imagine great care since he is handling glass at incredibly high temperatures!
I love this piece, so perfect for the coming spring and so delicate. I normally like fairly organic chunky jewellery but the sheer beauty of Glenns' work has left me speechless and how much more organic can you get than the capturing of a ghost of a flower within glass.
I await with interest his new experiments with borosilicate glass...tougher and perfectly clear but with the addition of delicate coloured fronds within.
Visit his website if you want to know more, or you can find him, like me, on Folksy.

Waiting for snow

Its another Sunday, the only time I seem to get to update the blog, though I must try to do it more often.
Its been an odd week. Work on site has begun in another area, we are now putting sample slots through some of the Roman buildings forming part of the port town. Photography wise it has been a slow one, with no real opportunities to get out and take any shots. Thats why today I ended up doing another slightly gothic set. That was a headache, the darkness of the rook skin with the light from the candle making things interesting exposure wise!
I was also seriously considering taking on a small shop in the indoor market at St. Nicks all week. That caused some real muzzy headed confusion in the do I, don't I, stakes. In the end I decided I needed more time to build up my portfolio as well as more capital behind me. Though I will definately think about doing it in the future.
For now I am waiting and hoping that the snow forcast for across the country will eventually get as far as Bristol. I haven't had a chance to go out with the cameras in snow for ages so will be a very happy if frozen photographer if we do get any of the white stuff. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

A Pentax 6x7 tale

Its been a week since my last post and a busy one too, both for archaeology in trying to finish off part of a site and for photographic stuff.
I was still working on the website but have just about finished at last, and I have had the first films back from the Pentax 6x7 medium format camera I got over the festive break (thanks to my wonderfull other half!).
I love medium format film. Its got a depth and gentleness to it that digital lacks and while I do get a lot of enjoyment from using the Nikon D1x, film still holds a fascination for me.
The Pentax is a beast of a camera, an overgrown SLR that you cann't fail to admire. Its' heavy and the shutter sound is the loudest Iv'e ever come across but that sound is so satisfying, signaling the end of what you hope will be a good photograph. Plus taking a 6x7 negative means lots of detail and an image that the best digital SLRs would only just match.
Its true to say I have become addicted to this beautifull new brick of a camera. Though at only ten shots per film it could get to be an expensive addiction!
The Boat photograph was taken on the river Avon by Seamills station, in the late afternoon on a very frosty day earlier this month. The Fuji Provia 100 film has given a wonderfully colour saturated image that sums up the beauty of this part of the river. The vignetting was a bit of a surprise but the aperture was opened right up and in older lenses this is not uncommon. To be honest I really like the effect and will probably go on to use it deliberately.
Watch this space for more lyrical waxings on the Pentax!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Polar bear

After last nights weather it was a real treat to see the sun again this morning. I had planned on an outing with the Pentax 6x7 but the sunlight streaming through the windows illuminated a block of crystal on a table and made me think of a studio set-up instead.
I had got the polar bear a couple of months earlier but I couldn't make my mind up how to shoot it. I wanted to put it in a not too un-natural setting, something that felt icy and remote. So, when the crystal lit up this morning and resembled a block of glacial ice, I suddenly thought of the bear.
Given the weather reports are suggesting snow in the next couple of days it may be an apt image!

Saturday, 17 January 2009

A bit of a windy day for a market stall!

Its early evening, the wind is howling around the eaves and the rain is lashing against the attic windows. The street lights outside appear as warm flickering glows, though the rattling of the old sash window frames does spoil the illusion.
It was not the best day for a market stall. No, let me rephrase that, the morning was fine but the afternoon should definately have come with a nerves warning! There is nothing more guaranteed to stretch the mental stability of a photographer on a stall than having to constantly leap into action to stop frames from tumbling over and cards from making a desperate bid for freedom down the next street. I gave up in the end and took down the larger frames, then finally admitted defeat and packed up completely. Just in time, as when I reached home the skies opened and the watering can of the clouds tipped up!
It wasn't a brilliant day but not a wasted one as I chatted to several interesting people, including a young photographer just about to have her first exhibition. If you like cross processed film photography I recommend you check out the work of Sarah Macfarlane at
I like her querky view on life.
Now though its time for tea, a hot soup to warm the cockles of my soul and perhaps a good film to wind down with. Something spooky. But with NO storms involved!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Madame Talbots victorian gothic

I found a gem in last months edition of Fortean Times; The work of a Madame Talbot. On visiting her website you are introduced to a world of odd dolls, hand illustrated and inked posters (no computers here) and the strange monkeys' paw set in red velvet amongst many others. She has a love of everything that is victorian gothic and her work is wonderfully bizarre. For admirers of the macabre victorian oddity you can do no better than visit this ladies on-line parlour.

Monday, 12 January 2009

RandomHamster photographs featured on Autonomous Artist blogsite

I was lucky enough to have the good folks at Autonomous Artisans choose to publish an interview with me for their featured artist spot this week, in my guise as RandomHamster photography. Actually its the thing that finally moved me off the couch to set up my own blog again.
The site champions handmade goods, craftspersons and artists and is well worth following. I certainly feel very chuffed at being on there! Visit the Autonomous Artisans page

I must get on with doing some more shots though, I really want to add to the victorian gothic collection I have been working on. My favorite style of photography is the darker more atmospheric images, predominatly medium format film based but I use the digital as well. I like a sense of the macabre and want to delve more deeply into this with my photography. Watch this space...mwraahahahaha....(spooky laugh).

First post on a rainy day

What a day. Muddy does not describe it! I'm not going to do much of an introduction kind of thing for my first blog post, except to say I am an archaeologist by trade but photographer for the love of it. I work on site most of the week, run a market stall selling my photographs two days a week and hibernate on sundays. Somewhere in there I also try to find time to take the pictures...!
Today was a perfect illustration of why archaeologists are mad. Heavy rain most of the day, a clay site and time running out...recipe for a mud bath. Luckily we could work an area that wasn't strong in archaeology so no risk of ruining it by huge muddy boots tramping all over the place. Still, theres a limit to what you can do when the weather turns against you.
Time for a cuppa...hang that coat up to dry and feet up.