I’m a nature and landscape photographer living in Oxfordshire in the South of England; in my day job I’m a professional Classicist – Reader in Greek Literature at the University of Warwick, with primary research interests in archaic and Classical Greek poetry and poetics, but also, and increasingly, negotiations between literary communication, subjectivity, and the multiple temporalities that constitute the subjectivities of a Classicist.
This blog contains notes and images covering my various encounters with the natural world, both at home and abroad, through photography, a hobby that I have become more and more serious and passionate about over the years, especially as, in recent times, it has found its way into my academic writing..
I have generally used Nikon DSLR bodies and a range of lenses, my favourite and most used of which are my 200 f/4 micro and 85 PC-E Tilt-Shift. I currently have D800E and D300.
I have now entered the very different – but ultimately far more fulfilling, in my view – world of film photography, predominantly with a focus on large format. In addition to inheriting a Canon A-1 35mm, I also have a wonderful – if at times rather cumbersome – Mamiya RZ67 Pro II 6×7 medium format film camera, and two large-format field cameras. As a spare I also have a Hasselblad 500C/M, though this may well disappear shortly to make way for other things.
For 5×4 I have a Linhof Technikardan S45 and 6 lenses, using mostly Fujichrome Velvia 50 for colour (with some scenes shot on Ektar 100 and Provia 100F) and Ilford Delta 100 for black & white.
For 10×8 – an adventure that is still in its early stages, beginning in 2019 – I have a Chamonix 810V, now with 4 lenses. All of these I now use on a Gitzo 3540LS systematic tripod with Arca-Swiss Cube GP head on Gitzo levelling base.
For macro work I have used both the wonderful Nikon D3S and D800E, with Novoflex Castel-L focusing rack – and of course the large format cameras and the Mamiya (the Novoflex rack also works perfectly as a combination with the Arca Cube, and also the RZ). I have a Chamonix extension board for macro work with the 8×10.
For active butterflies, I can also handhold this setup (even with D800E), using a Nikon SB600 speedlight diffused with a MicroApollo Softbox, via a Wimberley macro bracket.
Lenses (June 2020):
For Nikon DSLR: Nikon 18-200VR (solely as a travel lens in good light with D300, which doesn’t get many outings at all these days); Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR; Nikon 85 f/2.8 PC-E tilt-shift; Nikon 200 f/4 micro; Nikon 300 f/4 (+ 1.4TC and a set of Kenko extension tubes); the D800E is now mainly used for film scanning (5×4 and below).
for Canon A-1: 50mm f/1.8FD; 35-70FD zoom; 70-210FD zoom;
for Mamiya RZ67: 50 and 110mm Sekor lenses
for Hasselblad 500C/M (bought to replace the stolen, but now recovered, RZ): 40 CF T* Distagon and 80 CF Planar, plus an extension tube (NB you don’t buy a Hasselblad for macro work, I now discover: the RZ is SO much easier in this regard).
for large format 5×4: Nikkor-SW 75mm f/5.6, Schneider-Kreuznach Super-Symmar XL 110mm f/5.6, Schneider-Kreuznach APO-Symmar MC 150mm f/5.6 , Nikkor-W 210mm f/5.6, Nikkor-M 300mm f/9; Fujinon-T 400mm f/8. Camera and 150mm lens stored and carried in Tenba BYOB 10.
for 10×8: Nikkor-SW 150, Rodenstock Apo-Sironar S 240, Nikkor-W 300, and Nikkor-M 450.
I also carry a range of Lee filters: a set of both hard and soft grads, a 1.2ND, a Big Stopper, two 105mm circular polarizers, colour-correction/BW filters and Lee foundation holders plus bellows lens hoods, and a selection of film-holders (8 Toyo for 5×4; 4 Chamonix for 10×8)
For large format I also use a Sekonic L-758DR light meter, a Silvestri 4x loupe, a Paramo dark cloth for 5×4 and a BTZS dark cloth for 8×10; a variety of different colours of Silvestri cable releases (you can’t have enough cable releases, it seems!) for 5×4 and longer Linhof one for the 8×10.
I carry the digital gear and the RZ in appropriately-sized Lowepro and Billingham bags;
The large format gear fits in a series of Tenba cases, along with two smallish backpacks (one of which, the ThinkTank Shapeshifter, doubles as my macro bag); the 8×10 lenses are on Technica boards except for the SW150 on a Sinar board, and kept in Tenba wraps: 16inch size for the SW150, 12inch size for the Rodenstock 240 and NikkorW 300, and 10inch size (just fits!) for the NikkorM 450. 10×8 film holders are usually stored in a regular supermarket cool bag.
I have a large Lowe Alpine backpack that can swallow necessary gear for more strenuous walks/treks, but I usually now use the 10×8 as follows:
Chamonix camera, Sinar-Technika adapter board, Bag bellows in Chamonix case.
The 3 large lenses, tools, extension board, wide-angle hood, loupe, B&W filters, dark cloth, 2 cable releases, and 2 Chamonix film holders all fit in my ThinkTank Shapeshifter backpack (this also doubles as my foreign trip bag); the 2 film holders fit in the laptop space.
Tenba BYOB 9 case: Arca Cube head, NikkorM450, Lee standard bellows, Lee filters pouch.
On site on the Greek island of Samos, photographing Ophrys episcopalis var. samia and Orchis sancta with D3s and 200f/4:
On site in Lathkill Dale shooting Large Format with the Linhof:
Early outing with 8×10 at Wittenham Clumps: