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Hmmmm I should say here and now, even though I featured a couple of Cherry Blossom pictures last month I have more. Last month was a bonus really with the blossoms showing early. I also have an interview with Martin Black of Sidewinder Apparel, where I ask him about his bags, materials and hopes. Also included is another 4 months in the magnificent 'Year in Film' by Chris Dodkin. Finally(phew) there is 'A Weekend in Photographs' showing the diversity of the Scottish Highlands and what can be achieved in photographs in spending a weekend with me in the Highlands......Davie


There is pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more.

Lord Byron


Decoration for


the Soul


Hmmm, was that a bit dramatic? Possibly but I do get dramatic on occasion. The cherry blossom is revered in certain cultures yet, as with many things we seem to mainly ignore it... why is that? Is it not manly to show a liking for flowers? I don't really care to be honest, I love these little pink things enough to have them tattooed all over my left arm..... purely so I can carry some of them with me at all times.


All photographs and overly dramatic words by Davie Hudson


A Year In Film.... Part ii


Here I am with the second part of the Opus from Chris Dodkin examining 2013 in which Chris bought a film camera every month for a year..... This is really special and so big that I split it into 3 parts... I hope you enjoy it.


May During my research into the Electro GT, I'd come across another smaller Yashica model, the Electro 35 CC. This appeared to have the same excellent metering system as it's larger brother, but came with an attractive wider angle 35mm lens rather than the 45mm lens of the GT. I like the 35mm field of view, it's wide enough to be wide, but not so wide as to distort people when shooting portraits etc.

I searched far and wide, and eventually secured one from Japan - in mint condition

The camera is smaller in the hand than the GT - more like a modern Fuji X100 mo have been in place for a while, and with good reason. Operation was the same as the GT - I added a screw-in metal hood from EBAY to modern battery being all that was needed to crank-up the electronics.

It makes a great street camera, so small and discrete - having said that, this was o talk to me about it. He just seemed surprised that you could still get film!


n.

odel in fact, and the focal length is the same. It seems that certain standards help control flare, but other than that the camera was ready to go, with a

one camera which did get noticed while I was out shooting. I had a guy stop and


Again, the Yashica metering was surprisingly good, exposures were consistently accurate in a wide range of lighting conditions. This was as close to a modern digital camera experience as you could get, minus any auto focus of course - I can see why Yashica sold millions of these little gems around the world. If I was carrying a compact 35mm Range Finder in my bag, this would be the one - it just worked.


June


Legend has it that Japanese bus tour companies required a large format ca quality, so Fuji developed the 690 cameras to provide an easy to use, MF c

The camera has no electronics what so ever - it's all manual, and has no lig landscape, one for portrait orientation. It's super easy to operate, with a huge RF focus patch, and is surprisingly


By June, I was seriously loving shooting rangefinder style cameras, but was tired of the smaller 35mm format - I wanted to 'go large'. Rangefinders don't get much larger than the Fuji GSW690II - the Texas Leica as it has became known.I managed to find a mint model in VA, really well looked after, and it didn't appear to have shot many rolls in it's lifetime. It's hard to tell how big this camera really is when viewed in isolation, so here it is next to a modern Fuji X100. It's not 35mm, it's a 6x9 Medium Format camera - using 120 film hence the super-sized physique. You get just 8 frames on a roll of 120 film - 8 frames!

amera to take souvenir group shots of tourists. 35mm didn't have the camera. That was back in 1978, but this is a later model from 1985.

ght meter.It has a leaf shutter, and two shutter releases, one for easy to hand hold and shoot.


It taught me to back-away from the 'spray and pray' approach so common with digital, and focus more on getting the shot right, first time, in camera. I love this camera - it's a little big to carry around every day, but the results when you do are just wonderful.


Combined with some quality 120 film - especially Fuji Velvia 50, image quality was just outstanding. Just the sheer size of a 6x9 transparency is impressive on a light box - but they also scan really well to produce huge digital files that are full of detail, and those amazing film colors. Having only 8 frames per roll changed the way I shot. I took more time, thought more about the composition, checked exposure settings more carefully.


July


With summer in full swing, and family heading in from the UK to vacation in California, I was on the lookout for a waterproof camera which could be used at the beach, or in the pool. I had always lusted after the Nikonos diving cameras, but even today the used prices are insanely high, so I took an alternative route and looked at the waterproof 35mm point and shoot market. The Canon SureShot A1 fit the bill - cheap as chips, and waterproof down to 5m.

My A1 came from EBAY for $20 - and appeared to be as new - with mini wracking moment when the camera was immersed for the first time!.

It's a fully automatic 35mm camera - fixed 32mm f/3.5 Lens - Auto ISO, focus under water), with a focusing range: 0.45m to infinity on land; 1m be run in full Auto mode, or always ON, or disabled - and the camera run

Point and shoot simplicity, yet it takes great pictures both in and out of t


imal use - the seals were in great looking shape, but it was still a nerve-

Auto Exposure, Auto Focus. It has an active 3-point AiAF system (fixed to 3m (macro: 0.45 to 1m) under water.It has built-in flash, which can ns off of a single 3V lithium battery (CR 123 A/DL 123A).

the water.


It's a barrel of fun to use - simple and easy to get a decent photo from, and cheap as chips compared to the modern digital waterproof cameras on the market. You do have to use print film (not slide film) if you plan any underwater photography - but other than that it's about as point and shoot as you can get.


The camera works just like a normal point and shoot out of water - and is ideally suited for the British summer, or a ride on a splash/soak ride at the theme park, or a kayaking holiday etc etc. No worries about heading to the beach or walking about in torrential rain - this camera just laughs at the elements.


August


Having loved the quality of the MF film from the Fuji 6x9, and the signature look of the Zeiss lenses from the Rollie and Werra, the Hasselblad was a logical next step - well at least it was for me! I have wanted a Hasselblad for decades. I used to look at them in their glass case in the main Cecil Jacobs' store in Leicester, and dream of owning one. The whole Apollo Moon Landing legacy just added to my desire to own and shoot Blad.I had always though of them as being expensive and out of reach, and maybe somewhat challenging to shoot with - but the time was right, and when I looked online, the prices were right as well. I tracked down a mint 500 c/m and 80mm lens on EBAY, and then proceeded to add to this wonderfully modular camera with additional lenses and accessories.The whole modular design design is pure genius, and stems from the military origins of this camera. It's like no other camera I've owned, in that it's really just a light box, on which you attach film magazines, viewfinders, grips, lenses etc, to build the camera you need. The options are endless. I ended up with a 50mm wide angle lens to compliment the standard 80mm lens, and found a 150mm telephoto lens on LA Craigslist which had apparently been used to shoot various West Coast Rappers! (With film I hope). I found reproduction lens hoods on Amazon, so saved a few bucks there - but did spend way more on this camera than I'd ever intended. However, I think it was well worth it!


Engineering and build-quality are just stellar, everything I'd hoped for. The camera takes some figuring out, because the shutter is on the lens, not the camera, and there are a series of interlocks on the film magazine and body, to ensure that the images are correctly registered on fresh film.Add to that the waist level viewfinder, where everything is back to front - and it's a whole new experience to shoot with. Again, there is no metering in camera, so hand held metering is required. Focus is achieved using a ground glass screen with a flip down magnifier for critical focus adjustments. The Zeiss lenses are just stunning - they have that look that comes from Zeiss, and a wonderful transition to out of focus, with smooth bokeh. They are without doubt the best lenses I own - and MF delivers a DOF with standard lenses which just lends itself to beautiful portraits.The Zeiss look, particularly with black and white film, is just so compelling - it's contrast and tonality, and appears to be something of a Zeiss trademark. Color rendition is also superb - again, you have the variety of film types to get the look you want, straight out of camera.I experimented with long exposures at twilight using Velvia 50 ASA slide film, and the color and detail were outstanding. Even hand-held, the camera was very useable - especially with the added gun-grip.I found I could set my exposure using an ambient light reading, and walk around concentrating on comp and focus, and be able to shoot quickly and accurately.The scanned negs look great on screen, and also print up really well - I have a set of hotrod cars on my office wall from the Blad, and they look super crisp at 12"x12". I love this camera - I'm going to own it and keep shooting with it for a very long time. I may even get a super wide 40mm lens at some point - if my GAS gets the better of me.


I can only thank Chris again and again for his work on this.

All words and photographs by Chris Dodkin.


The Bag Man I have a chat to Sidewinder Apparel top man Martin Black about his hopes, influences and of course the magnificent bags he makes.


DH: Where did the inspiration for the style of the bags come from? MB: In terms of inspiration I think it was a case of seeing someone walking around with such a bag which triggered my memory of them being fairly prolific in my youth. His must have been vintage & I’m sure there was a shop on my local high street selling something similar. (I believe there was quite a long discussion in the Modculture ‘urban rambler’ thread) I went out searching in the usual places but could only find drab examples in khaki or olive. What I really wanted was something bright, colourful, a bit more upto date but still relatively vintage looking. I picked up a cheap vintage bag to copy and set about trying to make my own. Just for my personal use. I bought some hickory stripe denim, some untanned leather straps, a handful of tools and then, using my great grandmothers pre WW2 singer I sewed the bag, cut & punched all the straps, hand riveted it with wash & burr rivets, hand sewed all the leather trim & voila!! It was pretty good for a first attempt (IMO) albeit with a very home-made look.


DH: I notice you mention materials, looking at your bags the materials have a very heritage feel about them, is that deliberate? MB: Very much so. All my adult life I’ve been buying & wearing vintage and/or heritage items mainly denim & workwear either from, or inspired by the 50’s & 60’s. With that in mind I’m choosing the fabrics based on my personal tastes so I’m going for heavyweight canvasses, tweeds & wools, denims etc. All stuff that looks great new, but just gets better with age and develops a personality that mirrors it’s owners habits. This goes for the leather I use too. I initially wanted to go with un-tanned leather that darkens beautifully with age but finding a supplier to sell me full hides at an affordable price was not possible. I’ve recently been using a dark tan leather that’s got a great surface & character and should age perfectly.


DH: What's the dream future? MB: To be honest, i'm happy with this being a small concern at the moment. That gives me the flexibility of producing small batches and changing fabrics whenever I want. I work full time so this has to slot around it. If however this could replace my salary and pay the mortgage, bills etc, i'd jump at the chance of broadening my range and upping the scale of things which would ultimately give me the opportunity of taking things to a wider audience. I'd definitely keep my sourcing & production in the UK. This is very important to me. The workshop I use is more than capable of producing bigger volumes so that shouldn't be an issue.

It's obvious looking at the bags and listening to Martin's passion that these bags show attention to detail only gathered by those who have spent a lifetime researching their love of style.

Thanks to Martin Black for answering my questions..... See and purchase the bags at http:// www.sidewinderapparel.co.uk/


A weekend in


photographs by Davie Hudson


It's the diversity of Scotland that continually amazes me. Over the 2 days I was living in Glencoe in the beautiful cabin pictured earlier I photographed Scotland as I see it from moutain to shining sea.( The cabin is owned by the Glencoe Independant Hostel and was truly amazing!!) I left my home on the East Coast of Scotland early on Saturday morning with no discernible plan except to head north. As I was driving a idea was formulating to head towards Fort William then onto Arisaig and the famous Silversands and really that's as close to a plan as i'll ever come. The journey is of course more important than the getting there and I'm not being deep and meaningful, in Scotlsnd it's the truth. The feeling of the Highlands seeps into your pores and acts as a relaxant as you are driving. The further north I went the better the weather was getting and I was getting very hopeful for the coming weekend and that's when the 'plan' changed and at Spean Bridge Commando Memorial I took a sharp left and headed towards Loch Arkaig and the Cia-Aig Falls which sits at the end of 'The Dark Mile' as it's known, for obvious reasons. I never took many photos as i've been here before and the falls weren't particularly in spate but for starting the weekend I can't think of anywhere better especially as on the way back to Fort William I got the spectacular shot of mountains and sky on the previous pages...... So, back to the original plan of heading to Arisaig.


Arisaig is a lovely little place really , made 'famous' by the movie Local hero which has scenes filmed on the SilverSands and to be honest it doesn't look like Scotland. The water is so clear and blue/green it takes on a tropical look on a sunny day and from the beach you can see The Small Isles.


It's a remarkably peaceful place and I've often came here purely to cook breakfast on the beach and just listen to the waves, if you can think of a better way to start the day you must let me know.


From Arisaig I took the gentle road back through Fort William and onto Glencoe to my home for the weekend ( as shown on the title page) and to my meeting with Greg Murray, owner of the Holiday Scotland website (www.holidayscotland.org) the idea being a trip along the Glen Etive Road.


I was never going to turn down giving someone the guided tour of my favourite place on earth now was I? I hope my photographs show why I have a need to return to this place as often as I can. I actually find myself looking at photos and videos I have taken and have a homesick feeling... for a place I have never lived in!


As we were driving out of Glen Etive we noticed the colour appearing behind Etive Mor that could only mean one thing... we were going to get a sunset. I should be ashamed of the speed I drove at to get to Loch Linnhe, I'm not, but I should be! I'll admit that I'm all about the shot and I got the shot.... as you can see! Saturday ended so well that I couldn't wait till Sunday and The Isle of Skye!


After Saturday I was very happy with what I already had and with that in mind I decided to act on a tip from Greg and drive towards the Glenelg Ferry and the Ratagan Pass. I found the pass to be another of the magnificent single lane roads that Scotland is marbled with, and these are the roads I love. As you see above when at the height of the pass the view is AWE INSPIRING!


The journey from the mainland to Skye using the ferry is literally 5 mins.... but .... I would recommend it as it needs to be used to keep it open. Little industries like this need our support to keep them thriving and keep the area special.


An ultra-wide view of the iconic Old Man of Storr


Cairns over Glengarry ... I don't know if they are memorials or purely indicators that people were here, either way they are important and always left at peace.


On arriving back in the Glencoe area I decided not to go back to the cabin and just carry on to Glen Etive, this time with a different aim ...... Strapping on the long lens and go photo hunting for deer!! I caught this fella hanging out by my favourite waterfall.


This is the fuel that keeps me going back..... the Highland Sunset, One of the wonders of the natural world. Sunday.....Done!


What do you do when you're leaving a party? You seek out your host, thank them from the bottom of your heart for inviting you and promise to come back soon. That to me is what this picture is. Did this article turn into a massive advert for Scotland and the Highlands?, I hope so .... This is what I do, this is what I am, this is what I hope to be Davie Hudson



April musings