Tribesman, near Geda Yesus, Amhara, Ethiopia


The office today, man and cow, near Geda Yesus village about 40km north of Dejen. This is about as Old Testament as it gets apart from the AK47. The people here haven’t seen rain for two years, and adjacent to where this picture was taken is a waterhole which services two kebele (villages) totalling about 1500 people. It’s a trickle – women queue all day for a chance to fill a 20l jerry can with a cup, then carry it back to their village. Life is unbelievably tough, the landscape is harsh, mortality is high. Sustenance is provided by the government but the diet is poor.

Fuji X100

A couple of weeks ago, I had a rush of blood to the head and got my hands on a good, use Fuji X100. There is a lot of eulogising about this camera in far flung reaches of the Internet, and to date I can’t disagree with any of it. It is by far and away the funnest camera I’ve owned. Quirky, sure, but remarkable results. Mostly I like that I can just stick it in my bag and not know that it’s there, unlike the monster dslr I use (less and less). 

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Cold Turkey

I’ve been away from photography for a while due to being busy, really busy on the film side of things which is great. But I miss the pictures and have been revisiting old work, messing about with diptychs. I’m going to plan a few things in 2014.

tech: Lightroom 4 woes

A couple of months ago, I tried the beta release of Lightroom 4 gu10 led bulbs can now be dimmable and liked it although it was a bit slow and lumpy on my set-up. The new adjustmen tools in the Develop module looked promising especially when it came to extracting more detail out of shadow areas. Overall, it looked good if not a bit slow.

When version 4.0 was made available, I downloaded it and put it to work in the production environment. I may have been a little naive in assuming that all the speed issues would have been sorted out in the official release and was surprised that it was still slow and lumpy on my set-up and really not fit for purpose. Switching between modules took a few seconds which is completely unacceptable, as was the lag between trying to adjust a slider in Develop and seeing a result. Tried everything from making new catalogues to reinstalling to building 1:1 previews of everything, but it was still slow and lumpy.

I am not alone.

I got onto Adobe Ireland and requested a refund, and to their credit they processed it within 2 days – a good response from an excellent company. I just hope that the reasons for my refund were registered somewhere in the organisation and that they’re working on it.

I am still using LR3 and find it fantastic but LR4 just isn’t fit for purpose yet. I  intend to upgrade once I’ve read that 4.1 addresses the speed issues.

It’s a shame that a potentially great product hasn’t been optimised for all platforms yet.

I’m using a recent MacBook Pro with plenty of RAM plus an external LCD display. view more

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olc: words for Pyrenees

Descending from Refuge Sarradets, I’m reminded once again why I do this; the magnificent views, the dirt under my feet, the feeling of being amongst friends but at the same time remote. I love being able to drift in and out of conversations; I love that a thread can last for days and even weeks. I love the wilderness, in a strange way it’s the only time I feel spiritual. I love the enthusiasm, I love that we’re doing something that scares us the odd time. I love the air, the elements and the company.

Passing down from La Brèche de Roland and on into France, I contemplate the mountains we’ve just left: Le Casque, Mont Perdu, the slog up through the shale, three steps forward, two steps back. I remember the energy-sapping slope up to the top, I remember thinking of my late brother there, like Mont Perdu he’s not lost, he’s just out of sight.

Pain has a short memory and the discomfort of the refuges and the blisters will soon be forgotten. Except for maybe the noises of the night!

We’ll be back.

photo: Indian summer wind

Went wandering in the hills again, this is becoming a habit, but it was such a beautiful afternoon I just felt I had no choice. My work was done, the meal prepared, the kids accounted for and the dog at my heel in a manner of speaking. It has been one of those beautiful, end of summer days, warm, susurrus wind, moving the grasses in the high bog, waving to the vagaries of the breeze. I am completely alone up here apart from the dog. But he is tooling around, chasing scents real or imaginary, who knows what goes on in that young head. It’s as though we’re having a parallel wander, aware but independent of each other. I get a feeling I’ve had before, maybe twenty five years ago when I wandered up from Glenmacnass, to find the unknown and unseen Ouler, bog cotton swaying, bending. I am immersed in the warm wind, transported to other times. I think it’s the noise of the breeze in the grasses, that peculiar brown noise which sends me off into a world of my invention, shivers down my spine not fear, not cold, not spooky. It’s something I search out a lot, escapist.

photo: fun with D700

Hugo by Hugh Chaloner (hugh_c)) on

I took the plunge a couple of weeks ago and got myself a full frame camera – a Nikon D700 which is about to be superseded by something to be announced in a few days – for this reason I got it at a knock down price, and end-of-line demo price. I’m happy. The pictures it takes are terrific, but I still have to get comfortable with my focal lengths, having shot so much over the last couple of years with a crop frame sensor. It’s a fairly major step up form the D300, itself a great camera, not so much in terms of its operation, but more the “feel” of the pictures. Not something I can easily put into words, but the pictures are maybe a little creamier with all that extra sensor. Mind you it weighs a ton, and I’d think twice before lugging it up the side of a mountain, especially if it’s at altitude.

Pictured above is one of my kids enjoying himself at Brittas, He’s dudetastic.