About

Welcome to my Virtually Grey Gallery. I hope you enjoy your visit. I would be very pleased to hear from you if you have any comments or questions - please use the 'contact' link above.

I’ve worked for more than 37 years producing pictures (almost) exclusively in Black & White. The landscape is where I look for my pictures, but to say I'm a landscape photographer is rather misleading. Whilst out walking I find many things to photograph. Most of my work is of components or elements of the landscape (micro-landscapes) rather the panoramas and vistas that landscape usually brings to mind. Trees, streams, fungi, clouds, rocks, reflections, patterns, water, grasses; in fact anything more or less "natural" that will stay still for long enough runs the risk of me pointing my camera at it. Ultimately my criterion for taking a photograph is that the final image must at least have the prospect of being "striking" and "frame-able" in monochrome once the raw image has passed through my digital darkroom. There are many exceptions to my “natural” subjects with the occasional building or other evidence of human presence here and there! I am not a landscape purist. In particular I’ve come to enjoy photographing inside cathedrals, abbeys and churches. The natural lighting inside is particularly challenging but exceptionally rewarding.

Since 1994 I’ve been using a mahogany Zone VI 5x4 field camera until 2008 when I treated myself to a new much lighter weight Chamonix 5x4. I use a selection of 4 Nikkor large format lenses – 90mm SW f8 – 135mm W f8 – f210mm W f5.6 – 300mm M f9. I used Kodak's 100TMax in Readyload single sheet film holders processed conventionally, usually in XTOL until Kodak stopped the production of Readyloads. I now use 400TMax sheets in conventional film holders.

Until about 2001 I printed all of my work in my own wet darkroom. I’ve now converted completely to the digital production of my prints. I scan my 5x4 negatives in 16-bit greyscale at 2400 d.p.i. (almost 200MB files). Photoshop is now my "darkroom". It has helped me to achieve that which I always found less than satisfactory in the wet darkroom, namely the carefully controlled enhancement of a print without obvious evidence of the darkroom processes. Prints up to paper size 17 inches by any length I produce myself. Whenever I want larger prints I turn to a professional photo laboratory where they are produced to my precise specifications using identical materials to those which I use. Inkjet printing technology has progressed at such an unprecedented rate over the last few years such that now a carefully produced inkjet print is at least indistinguishable in terms of sharpness and smoothness of tone to the naked eye from a conventional silver print, and many would say “better than”. I now use Epson’s K3 Ultrachrome pigment inks in an Epson 4800 printed with Epson’s own printer driver plus ICC profiles created with QTR software from Roy Harrington (see my “Links”). Printed onto carefully matched paper the results are stunning with the full deep rich black shadow areas through all shades of grey to clear paper-base white highlights; or toned to any hue required. The best ink and paper manufactures recognise the importance of longevity and it is now claimed that carefully selected paper and ink combinations have a life of well in excess of 100 years.

I'm not immune to the world of digital capture. Since about 2012, it has almost fully taken over as my preferred means of taking photographs. The power of capturing an image in colour then having the freedom to manipulate the RAW file in Lightroom and/or PhotoShop is quite liberating. For the last few years I’ve been tempted into producing colour images but now, more often than not, I settle on a monochrome version of the final image. There are still some aspects of image capture that are easier using the movements of a large format film camera, but the scales have now tipped decisively to digital capture. Somethings that haven’t changed significantly for several years now are my printing methods.