Author Archives: Dave Butcher

About Dave Butcher

Darkroom Dave is my alter-ego. I’m really the photographer and Ilford Master Darkroom Printer Dave Butcher. Since 1988 I have lived in the Derbyshire Peak District village of Tunstead Milton, near Whaley Bridge. background I trained and worked as a chemist, with a PhD from the University of Cambridge. I had been selling my hand-printed photographs at a low level since the mid-1980's but in 2004 I decided to turn my love of black and white photography into a full-time career. Working for Ilford Photo for 21 years, including running the photographic printing department for many years, helped this quite a bit. I still keep close ties with them after they made me one of only six Ilford Master Darkroom Printers in the country. In fact all the materials used in our courses and workshops are from them. A lot of my work has been used on their packaging and marketing material. my business I develop and print my own work using Ilford Multigrade fibre based papers, sell framed and unframed prints from Gallery in the Gardens in Buxton's Pavilion Gardens and from my studio in the UK’s Peak District. I also run darkroom printing workshops and landscape photography courses. I have published 6 books. All of these are available through my website In addition, I have a busy schedule of lectures up and down the country. books Most of my work comes from my many trips around the world and throughout the UK. I have published six books, 5 on landscapes and one of cities. teaching I run landscape photography courses for small groups of up to 3 people and darkroom workshops for 1 or 2 clients. I also run darkroom workshops for both students and staff of universities and colleges. This can include CPD workshops for lecturers and technicians. All courses and workshops are private courses on dates to suit you and with flexibility to rearrange at short notice. I give lectures to clubs in the UK and at events like PhotoLive in London, all illustrated with my hand-printed black and white darkroom prints.

Cumbria Way day 7, Coniston to Lowick Bridge

Coniston to Ulverston seems to be walked mostly in 1 day for the Cumbria Way. However the 17 miles was a little more than we wanted to do so we arranged to stop at the Red Lion in Lowick Bridge. That’s 10 miles from Coniston, so a relatively easy day with no hills to climb.

The first part was along the lake shore through woods. There was some light rain and we did put our waterproofs on but didn’t really need to and soon took them off.

After a few miles we turned away from the lake, crossed the road to Coniston from the south, and walked for miles without seeing anyone.

Mostly we stayed on the official Cumbria Way for a change but left it for the last mile or so to the Red Lion in Lowick Bridge.

Unfortunately, a bridge over a stream had been washed away in 2016 and our path was officially closed; there was no alternative route. We ignored the sign, to avoid a detour of several miles, and found an alternative crossing had already been installed next to the dodgy bridge. The stream was so narrow and shallow we could have walked or jumped across it anyway. What an unnecessary path closure!

Five minutes later (around 2,30pm) we were ringing the doorbell to the pub which officially opens at 5pm each day. Our room here is the cheapest on the route and much larger and in better condition than several of our previous rooms, and the shower worked!

Just under 74 miles and 8 hills/mountains in 7 days so far. We’ll be finishing in Ulverston tomorrow lunchtime.

Black Bull Coniston


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Cumbria Way day 6, Langdale to Coniston

Well it had to happen sometime, for the first time on this trip we put our waterproofs on! It rained for 5 minutes shortly after leaving the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.

We hadn’t been to the New Dungeon Ghyll in 40 years and previously it was just visiting the bar. This time we stayed in the hotel. It was the most expensive night of the whole trip but we thought it would be worth it. Unfortunately, the friendly staff couldn’t compensate for the cold shower and very small room. We won’t be back.

I had followed a lot of the Cumbria Way from here in the past so routed us via Blea Tarn and High Tilberthwaite. The waterproofs came off just after the Tarn and weren’t needed again.

It was an easy walk over the hill to Tilberthwaite and then through woods and over fields to Coniston. We were in the Black Bull by 2.30pm, our hotel for the night. What a difference to the previous night, a nice big room with a modern en-suite where everything worked! The stout was excellent too.

After checking in and relaxing with a pint we walked down to the lake, 8.5 miles wasn’t enough! It was a beautiful evening.

Coniston Water


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Blea TarnIMG_20170428_215550

Cumbria Way day 5, Rosthwaite to Langdale

It was another brilliant day in the Lake District for day 5 of our version of the Cumbria Way. Cold but sunny with spectacular views through the cold air.

We started a bit after 9am from the Royal Oak in Rosthwaite, who looked after us very well.

Our route followed the Coast to Coast path for the first couple of miles to Greenup Edge then we headed off to High Raise. I can’t remember being on High Raise since we had a trip with our good friends from the Frythe, Welwyn 40 years ago. We had a photo of the view from the top on our wall at home for many years. The view hasn’t changed much!

From here it was a short walk across the plateau to Sergeant Man. Quite a lot of ice around on pools of water and on rocks. Also a few patches of fresh snow.

Next was Stickle Tarn for photos with Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark behind. Then it was down the track to New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, our abode for the night.

Stickle Tarn above Langdale


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Cumbria Way day 3, Bassenthwaite to Swinside

Today was a shorter day, just 11.5 miles. Sunny spells all day but it was mostly cold with a fresh breeze.

We started by walking along Bassenthwaite Lake to the very grand Mire House. Then, to avoid the busy road, we walked up through Dodd Woods and down, past a few lumberjacks, to Portinscale. As luck would have it the Farmers Arms was open so a swift pint later we were on our way again.

It didn’t take long to reach our base for the night, the Swinside Inn. We were very well looked after here, and 6 real ales on too.


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Cumbria Way day 4, Swinside to Rosthwaite

The forecast was for snow showers on the tops from midday, so we set off shortly after 9am to try and beat the weather.

I have been up Cat Bells a few times but never in good weather. It didn’t look good today either!

I had made a mental note of the picture I wanted of Cat Bells 3 years ago, the last time I went over the ridge. It had to be from the corner of Maiden Moor so that Cat Bells was in the foreground with Derwent Water, Skiddaw and Blencathra in the background.

The light was changing a lot through the morning so I was hopeful of getting the shot. I took several shots en route to the main viewpoint just in case the weather let me down. It was quite dull with snow showers when I reached my viewpoint but I could see it was changing so I waited.

After about 40 minutes the light had moved onto Cat Bells and was still on the background peaks too, with a few cloud shadows to help the shot.

Job done after just 3 years!

We followed the ridge along with the odd snow flurry before going down quite a steep track to Rosthwaite.


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Before the light


After the light


Cumbria Way Day 2, Caldbeck to Bassenthwaite

It was another good day today. Good weather and spectacular views from the tops on the Cumbria Way in the Lake District.

We had enormous breakfasts at the Oddfellows Arms before heading towards the hills just south. Then it was up High Pike and along to Knott and Little Calva. The descent from here was down a steep heather clad slope to rejoin the Cumbria Way below.

The last bit was across fields to Bassenthwaite village. Fortunately the Sun Inn was open so we called in for a short break before heading down the road to the Castle Inn Hotel for the night. Just 13 miles today.

Skiddaw from the north


Blencathra from Knott


Jan bringing up the rear


View north to Solway FirthIMG_20170423_214458 IMG_20170423_214304

Skiddaw from KnottIMG_20170423_214223

Cumbria Way Day 1, Carlisle to Caldbeck

Over the next week or so Jan and I are walking the Cumbria Way from Carlisle to Ulverston.

We travelled up yesterday by train, spent the night in Carlisle before setting off today at the crack of 9.30am. it was a lovely day, mostly sunny but not too warm. We stopped for a break after 7 miles at the Bridge End Inn near Dalston. It gave my aching back a rest.

Most of the walking was along the river on good tracks. Not much in the way of signs for the Way, we saw just 3 all day. All was fine until we reached Bell Bridge, a few miles from the end. It had been washed away in the floods of 2015 and hasn’t been replaced yet. The central span was completely missing, just the approach piers remain on each side. The alternative was along the road for a mile or so to the next bridge.

We walked down the hill and into Caldbeck village at 4.30pm, a total of 16 miles from the Travelodge in the middle of Carlisle. That’s the longest day done. Fortunately, the Oddfellows Arms pub where we are staying was open so I was able to have a medicinal pint before heading to our room.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another reasonable day but snow showers are forecast for Monday and Tuesday!

Carlisle Tourist Centre

Carlisle Tourist Centre

uk-lakes-cw-IMG_20170422_223831 The hills we hike over tomorrowuk-lakes-cw-IMG_20170422_223540

San Francisco in the Rain

We’re on our way home from Colorado now. One more night in San Francisco then we fly back to Heathrow. It was very wet walking around San Francisco today. Very heavy rain, cold and windy all day, just like being at home in Derbyshire!

Jan and I went for a walk of about 9 miles for a bit of exercise. I didn’t take my Mamiya film camera but I did take some pictures on my phone.

We started with Lombard Street, then down to Fisherman’s Wharf and along the waterfront.

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Skiing Winter Park

We are staying with good friends Rob and Annie in Colorado. Their house is in Boulder but they recently bought an apartment in Winter Park, a ski area. So far we’ve skied a couple of days and go back for more soon. Here’s a few photos.

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Snowshoeing with a Moose on the Loose

Jan and I had a day snowshoeing with good friend Annie. We left Rob listening to Derby on the internet radio, FA Cup replay with Leicester.

We’re in Winter Park town, more of a village really, about 3 miles below the ski area. Rob and Annie have their own apartment here.

The weather wasn’t good with winds forecast on the top ski area of 55 mph. We decided to snowshoe instead.

There’s a good trail for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and walking to the ski area so we followed this, the Foster River Trail. You just have to avoid walking on the skiers prepared grooves.

After the first few hundred yards the trail dropped below the road and entered a forest area. We followed the trail beside the partly frozen river through the woods.

We hadn’t gone far when the machine that had prepared the pristine trail surface that we were on stopped by me. I had stepped away from the trail as it completely fills it.

He opened his window and told me to keep an eye out for an angry Moose. A juvenile had been killed in an accident and the parent was angry and unpredictable. We were walking through it’s main territory at the time. He said if you see it stop, if it comes towards you back off! Presumably back off is a local euphemism for run like hell! All of this not easy on snowshoes.

I thanked him and we carried on rather more vigilant of movement around us than we had been.

It was a beautiful trail. Lots of photos, some on my Mamiya 7 camera with Ilford 400 Delta film, some on the phone so they could be included here. We carried on to the ski area, a total of about 3.5 miles.

Tried to visit the Brewery but it was closed so went to the pub instead.

Not very cold over here, they’re forecasting rain not snow.


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Last Show of 2016 at RHS Wisley starting Wednesday 23rd November

Jan and I will be showing our latest photos at the UK’s most popular Christmas Craft Fair at RHS Garden Wisley, We hope you can come along and visit us there. This year’s ticket will also now admit you to the Garden as well free of charge*. This is the highest quality event that we do and is exclusively for the best designer makers in the country, nothing is bought in!

We will have lots of photos from £5 to £150 from 20 x 20cm to 100 x 50cm. My black and white prints have all been printed in the darkroom using the highest quality Ilford paper and chemicals. My current 3 books will also be available. Jan will also have quite a few of her colour photos too.

Land Light and Snow Light books
Christmas All Wrapped Up!

Christmas Contemporary Craft Fair
Wednesday 23rd to Sunday 27th November 2016
Enjoy visiting our Christmas Contemporary Craft Fair at RHS Garden Wisley for relaxed Christmas shopping from 170 exhibitors and free admission* to the wonderful RHS Garden making this an excellent day out!

This event brings together thousands of original items that you won’t find amongst the mass-produced products on the high street!

This year also sees the introduction of our NEW Coffee Lounge within the Craft Pavilion. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and discover the breath-taking creativity from some of the UK’s finest designer makers. The event also incorporates a Food Pavilion for a “Taste of Christmas”. Delicious food on offer includes olive oils, handmade chocolate and fudge, fruit infused spirits, Christmas cakes, truckle cheeses and a selection of English preserves and chutneys.

We will also have live music to create a fantastic festive atmosphere!

Visit Craft in Focus Website

Visit Dave Butcher gallery website

Visit Jan Butcher website

Admission: £10
Free admission for RHS Members (card holder)
RHS Member guest: £7
Children under 16 FREE

Craft Fair ticket also includes admission* to the Garden!

*free Garden admission valid on day of ticket purchase only.


9 am – 6 pm Wednesday – Saturday
9 am – 5 pm Sunday

This wonderful event is held in floored and heated marquees.

RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey, GU23 6QB
Signposted on the A3 near M26 J10

By road
RHS Garden Wisley lies between Cobham and Ripley in Surrey, off the main London to Portsmouth road (A3) south of Junction 10 of the M25. Follow the brown tourist flower signs on the A3 and M25 to RHS Garden. Car parking is free.

By rail
Closest stations are West Byfleet (4 miles) or Woking (7 miles). There are no taxis on standby at West Byfleet.

By bus
515 Kingston to Guildford via Surbiton and Wisley (service 515A on Sundays and Bank Holidays). For details call National Traveline on 0871 200 22 33.

Craft In Focus
| 01622 747 325 | |

Crowthorne Art Fair 29th and 30th October 2016

We are exhibiting at the Craft in Focus Art and Craft Fair at Wellington Private School in Crowthorne near Bracknell. Jan is there on her own with lots of pictures and books.

We are in the process of reducing the size of the prints that we take to shows so the prices of the 100 x 50cm and 70 x 50cm prints are reduced considerably. We also have 5 prints, including 3 hand-printed originals, in wide profile frames that we no longer stock and these too are reduced in price. Included in these are several London shots as well as Paris, Berlin, Venice, Rome, New York and a couple of wintry tree-filled landscapes.

We also have several  triptychs of London, Paris and Rome at £95 and a smaller one at £55 of the UK 3 Peaks, if you know anyone who has recently completed this challenge this could make a thoughtful present. Lots of smaller prints from £5 to £20 too. My 3 current books, City Light, Land Light and Snow Light, are also available.

Jan has quite a few of her colour images on display too.

So lots to see on our stand and there are also lots of other exhibitors selling a huge variety of hand made designer products.

The show is very high quality and is run by Craft in Focus, open until 5pm today and from 10am to 4.30pm tomorrow, Sunday 30th October 2016. Here is the web link for more information:



Crowthorne Art Fair 2016

Crowthorne Art Fair 2016

New tutorial on split grade printing with Ilford Multigrade under the lens filters

I have added a new tutorial called Split grade printing printing the Ilford way with Ilford Multigrade under the lens filters. It includes a video that lasts just over 14 minutes and shows how to use the Ilford under lens filter kit with Ilford Multigrade RC paper and a Durst M670 Color enlarger.

Latest Darkroom Arrangement With 6 Working Enlargers

I have rearranged my darkroom so that I now have 6 working enlargers. That means that clients can have a greater choice of the enlargers they would like to use for their darkroom printing course, or can try as many as they like on their 1 or 2 day course. Maybe to try before you buy an enlarger elsewhere? I take 1 or 2 clients at a time on printing courses to make sure that everyone has a lot of attention from me.

Dave Butcher Darkroom Enlargers in Safelight

Dave Butcher Darkroom Enlargers in Safelight

From the left the enlargers are:

  1. Durst M670 BW for negatives up to 7 x 6cm. Uses Ilford Multigrade above lens filters for split grade printing
  2. DeVere 504 with Ilford MG500H Multigrade Head for negatives up to 5 x 4 inch
  3. Durst M670 Color for negatives up to 7 x 6cm. Uses Ilford Multigrade below lens filters for split grade printing
  4. DeVere 203 Varicon with condenser head for negatives up to 7 x 6cm. Uses Ilford Multigrade above lens filters for split grade printing
  5. DeVere 203 with DeVere Multigrade Head for negatives up to 7 x 6cm. Very easy to use for split grade printing
  6. Durst 138S with Ilford MG500H Multigrade Head for negatives up to 5 x 4 inch
Dave Butcher Enlargers

Dave Butcher Darkroom Enlargers 2016

In addition to these the rest of the darkroom is well equipped for both RC and FB paper processing using dishes in a 6 foot x 3 foot darkroom sink, archival print washers, Ilford 1250 RC dryer, Maco Ecomat FB dryers. For film processing there are lots of Paterson System 4 processing tanks in various sizes as well as a ProCo film drying cabinet.

Ilford Multigrade papers and chemicals are used throughout.

If you want to learn the easy way to make black and white prints using split grade printing, using the way I was taught during the 21 years that I worked for Ilford, come on a 1 or 2 day course with me!

Vancouver New Images

In May and June we had a trip to the Canadian Rockies and Northern California. This also included a few cities, one of which was Vancouver. I have now had time to scan some of the film negatives that I took and loaded them to my gallery web site. Here is a selection of them:

Granville Square Fountain

Vancouver Granville Place Fountain

Harbour Centre Tower

Vancouver Harbour Centre Tower

Seaplane Terminal


Vancouver Seaplane Terminal

Skyline and Rowers


Vancouver Skyline and Rowers

World of Science Centre and BC Place Stadium at Night


Vancouver Worlsd of Science Building at Night

Kitzbuhel Photos

Here are some new images of Kitzbuhel from our trip there in early February this year. There are a few variations on some of these on my gallery website.

Kitzbuhel Horn Ski Tracks

Kitzbuhel Ski Tracks, square

Kitzbuhel Horn Tree

Kitzbuhel Snowy Tree

Kitzbuhel Hahnenkamm ski area

Kitzbuhel Hahnenkamm Trail 22

Westendorf Ski Welt Area in Clouds

Westendorf Fleiding View

Westendorf Ski Welt Area from Kitzbuhel Pengelstein

Gampenkogel from Kitzbuhel Pengelstein

Kitzbuhel Churches

Kitzbuhel Churches in Winter

Kitzbuhel at Night

Kitzbuhel from the Churchyard at Night

Snow Light and Land Light Books Out Now!

I’m now the author of 6 books, not counting my PhD thesis and Degree dissertation (very limited print runs for those)! My 2 newest books were delivered from Loop Printers in Sheffield on Tuesday, well half of them. Their van is too small to fit all 3000 copies on it.

This is the culmination of a project lasting over 10 months. I estimated that it would take 9 months, so it slipped by just one month. It had to fit in around shows, courses and making prints to fill orders, as well as making videos and writing articles for, etc. It needed lots of time scanning negatives, more than I expected as the images on my website, up to October 2008, were scans from prints. These aren’t good enough quality for my books and led to me re-scanning dozens of negatives. In fact I scanned getting on for 400 negatives to select the ones that we used. I can only scan negatives singly and edit one at a time so it was a huge amount of work. My bad back will take a while longer to recover from all those long hours in front of the computer!

Andy, of 10th Planet, has added them to my website Books page so that you can now buy them! We are selling them at £12 each, including UK shipping, instead of the £15 cover price. There is also an introductory bundle special offer of £20 for the 2 books together, again including UK shipping. Outside the UK we have to charge extra for the shipping. I will be adding them to my marketplace shop on Amazon UK over the next few days but they will be full price as Amazon take a hefty commission on every sale. You can also order through booksellers but these will be at full price as well as I don’t use distributors, booksellers buy from us direct.

Land Light and Snow Light books
Both are the same dimensions as my previous 4 books, 24.5 x 27cm with 80 pages. Of course all images are in glorious black and white! There is the usual technical data on every image at the back of both books for those interested in the nuts of bolts of my photography.

Both books include images taken in the UK, Europe, USA and New Zealand.

Land Light has 119 images and an article on all my secrets on the equipment that I use, how I compose and take my photos, process the films, print in the darkroom, scan negatives and edit in Photoshop. There are quite a few coastal shots, waterfalls and a few castles liberally spread amongst the photographs. ISBN 978-0-9555627-4-7

Snow Light has 121 images and short articles on Winter Photography, Aerial Photography and one on my obsession to take a very specific photo in Colorado in Winter over a 9 year period. Lots of snowy images including lots taken while skiing, ski mountaineering, snowshoeing or while hiking through snowy landscapes in the winter. ISBN 978-0-9555627-3-0


Photographing the Kelpies Sculptures

We ran a 2 day private landscape photography course in Northumberland at the weekend, a drive of about 4.5 hours from home in the Peak District. Falkirk was about another hour or so further north so we decided, having driven this far, to drive the extra distance to take photos of the Kelpies sculptures, by Andy Scott, near Falkirk. They have been on my shooting list since being asked for prints of them several times at a show we did in Glasgow at the end of last year. They were only installed in April last year and they are still building the visitor centre to go with them. The 2 horse heads are the worlds largest equine sculptures at 30m high and they are surrounded by water. Walking around them you feel quite small!

The sculptures are made of small metal plates with gaps between each plate. Some areas have large solid metal plates, for example, the mane of each horse head and the plates at the base, which include doors to access the inside of both sculptures (they run tours inside the sculptures).

We arrived about 6.30pm on 22nd March as the light was fading, the sun had just gone down. It was cold! The metal of the sculptures was catching just a few bits of light and the clouds were different shades of grey so I had lots to work with, not great for Jan’s colour shots but good for my black and white ones.

I continued taking shots as it went dark over the following hour. There were some small lights turned on around the footpaths just before we arrived, after sunset as the light faded. Then the floodlights came on at 6.40pm. It was too light to notice them to start with but their effect increased as it went darker. I took lots of photos with the white floodlights. Exposure times were mostly 30 seconds to 1 minute at f5.6.

My Sekonic spot meter gave me the exposure times up to 15 seconds at f5.6. After this I guessed at the exposure to use. (Note, having returned home and processed the films all of my exposures were good.)

We had to wait over an hour for the final piece of lighting to come on at about 7.40pm, this was an hour after the white floodlights came on. Inside each sculpture red lights were turned on as well as red floodlights for the base of both sculptures. These made them look spectacular! Exposure times for my Ilford FP4 were now up to 2 minutes at f5.6 so I just did 4 exposures of 3 different compositions to finish. It will be interesting to see which lighting set works best in black and white, the white floodlights or the red internal lights. My final shot was of both sculptures with some wind-blurred reflections in the pool of water in front of them. In total I ran off 3 rolls of 120 FP4 film, that’s 30 exposures.

It was interesting to see 4 photographers already there when we arrived. 1 quickly disappeared leaving 3. They stayed for about 30 minutes to take the white floodlights then they all left. Jan and I were the only ones left by the time the red lights were turned on and mostly had the place to ourselves for the final 30 minutes, we left at about 8.15pm.

The place is surrounded by a raised motorway on one side and electricity pylons and cables on the other. There’s also a canal system that actually goes between the 2 sculptures with lock gates. Taking shots without cables and pylons was difficult and will need judicious cropping of my final images, which I took into account before pressing the button. The shot from directly in front of the 2 heads with a pool of water in front, that 2 of the photographers staked out, really only works after it goes properly dark as this hides the cables. They left before the red light phase which would have given them the most spectacular colour shots, but they had been there before so hopefully had taken it previously.

Kelpies in Black and White, taken on my phone from the same position as used for the proper photos taken with my Mamiya 7 film camera.

The Kelpies at Dusk

Jan took photos too and I have included 3 here to show the different lighting that we had. I’m also in the foreground of all of them for a bit of scale! Jan took all of her shots handheld and used 3200 ISO for the night shots and 1600 and 3200 ISO for the white floodlights phase. ISO 800 was enough for the dusk shots. This gave exposure times of 1/30 to 1/10 sec. With the built in vibration reduction system of the Nikon D90 the shots are sharp and will make good A3 prints!

Kelpies after Sunset

Kelpies After Sunset

Kelpies at Dusk

Kelpies at Dusk

Kelpies at Night

Red Kelpies at Night

Northumberland Photo Course

We have just returned home from running a 2 day private photography course in Northumberland. The weather was jolly kind to us, we had quite a bit of sunshine and no rain. The waves were spectacular too, with high tide in early afternoon.

We were based in Berwick upon Tweed in Northumberland just 2 miles south of the Scottish border. The course was a Christmas present for Jo from Morpeth, just north of Newcastle. Jo wanted to get back into using film cameras and brought along her Canon EOS 300 with a couple of zoom lenses. We covered everything from choosing the film, loading film into the camera, taking exposure readings with the camera meter, composition and use of tripods. We used a mixture of Ilford HP5 for hand-held shots and Ilford FP4 film for shots taken from a tripod.

We started on Berwick Beach with the basics then moved on to Eyemouth, just over the border in Scotland, as there is lots to photograph around there, harbour with boats, beach, rocky shoreline and lots of waves at high tide! It was cloudy in the morning but the sun came out while we were in the Contented Sole pub at lunchtime, as it often does! Fortunately, it stayed out for the afternoon.

In Berwick that night Jan and I found a great little place for a beer or two and jolly friendly, The Curfew micropub. No food but 4 hand pumps for real ale, lots of bottled beers too. It was on the bottom street near the estuary, opposite the Indian restaurant. I like dark beers and they had 2 Porters on so that was me sorted!

On the Sunday we met in Beadnell and headed back north to Bamburgh for the castle, beach and sand dunes. The sea was a little way out still but we took some castle shots, including reflections on the wet sand, rocks and patterns. Then we drove around to take the castle from the sand dunes on the south side.

We continued south but it was too early to take Beadnell Harbour as it needs the tide to be high so we went for an early lunch at the Craster Arms in Beadnell. Crab sandwiches were on the menu so Jan and Jo were happy! Next it was down to Beadnell Harbour for the high tide shot. Unfortunately, there is lots of scaffolding around buildings at the harbour and earth moving equipment, a dumper truck, van and car so it wasn’t ideal. Jo can always come back when it’s all cleared away being so local. Then we finished by heading south to the beach just north of Dunstanburgh Castle. The rocks on the beach here are round and are shiny black when wet. They make a great foreground with the castle ruins behind. The tide was high and we were in danger of being washed away at times! Fortunately, both Jo and I had high boots so remained dry shod. Waves were crashing over one of the large rocks in front of us and onto the beach so we had lots to go at, including the castle shot of course.

Jo then had a short drive to get home to Morpeth while we headed north to finish our trip by taking some photos of the Kelpies horse head sculptures near Falkirk. That’s the subject of another blog post!

Jan took all of these almost action photos on her Nikon D90 to give you an idea of the places we visited.

Eyemouth Harbour in the sunshine

Eyemouth Harbour, Jo and Dave Butcher

Eyemouth Harbour a few hours before the previous picture

Eyemouth Harbour, Jo and Dave Butcher #2

Pointing out what to watch to anticipate wave photos, Eyemouth

Wave Watching at Eyemouth

Getting in position for big wave photos against the light, Eyemouth

Eyemouth Waves behind Dave and Jo

Checking camera settings, Berwick Upon Tweed

Checking Camera Settings on Berwick Beach

Ignoring the sea around our legs in order to get the shot

Dunstanburgh Castle Beach

Jo wondering if she will get wet feet, her boots kept her feet dry!

Dunstanburgh Castle Beach Waves

Printing Snow Light and Land Light New Books

Today, Wednesday 18th March 2015, we went over to Loop Printers in Sheffield to supervise the start of the print run for my 2 new landscape photography books. This time we are having 2 books printed at the same time as I have so many images not yet published in any of my books.

Snow Light is snowscapes from around the world and includes 121 images as well as 3 articles. Land Light is landscapes around the world that are not snowy and includes 119 images and 1 article giving away all of my secrets!

Jan took some video segments on her Nikon D90 which I edited in iMovie, to be included on YouTube and in this blog post. The movie runs for a bit under 1.5 minutes but is over 100Mb in size before YouTube converts it. Our broadband is too slow to cope so I have to send it to Andy, our graphic designer and web man, to convert and upload; one of the limitations of living in a National Park! The video covers the process from loading the paper for the covers, running the press, checking for quality and changing the printing plates.

The printing should be finished in a day. Covers need to be glossed and sealed and then it all has to be sent to the binders to be finished off.

We are waiting to hear when the finished books will be delivered but expect to have all 3000 copies of the books before Easter. Both are the same format as my previous books with 80 pages in each, mostly images.

Here are some still photos and the edited video of Jan’s

The stack of paper for printing the covers loaded into the printing machine


Covers for both books being printed together. This is the stack building up at the end of the press.


Dave checking the first prints for quality, mainly density and contrast as well as dust


The completed stack of printed covers being removed from the press, still to be printed on the reverse, glazed and sealed


Trevor changing printing plates, taking out the one used for the covers and replacing with the bluey coloured new one (leaning against the machine) for the Snow Light intro pages


The Loop Printers logos on the wall of the building. This makes 4 books that they have printed for us.

So far they have done a very good job!


New Video on Making a Print Using Split Grade Printing

I have added a video to the existing Tutorial and changed the name slightly to Split Grade Printing the Ilford Way. It’s the simplest basic technique to make black and white darkroom prints. If you can master it your prints will need far less manipulation (dodging and burning) to reach the final print.

If you just want to view the video here it is:

Hope you find it useful.

If you would like to see all 3 videos that cover the printing process from Test Strip to Split Grade Print use this link to view them in sequence:

New Videos on Making Test Strips and Making a First Print

My new videos on Making a Test Strip and Making Your First Print are now in the Tutorials here on Darkroom Dave and on YouTube.

I have added them in to the existing Tutorial called Making Your First Black and White Print.

If you just want to view the videos here they are:

Making a Test Strip

Making Your First Print

Christmas Contemporary Art and Craft Fair at RHS Wisley

We are doing a show at RHS Wisley with Craft in Focus. It’s the highest quality show that we do and there are about 150 designer-maker exhibitors from all over the country.

It’s on right now until this Sunday (30th November). Entry is free to RHS members and there’s lots of car parking at the venue.

Jan is doing this one on her own and it’s usually a busy show but that’s how she prefers to do it. I just get in the way otherwise!

There’s lots of new pictures, including Vienna as well as a few new ones of London, lots of bargains, especially smaller prints from £5.

You can also buy all 4 books for £20. My Lake District book Lake Light is going fast, we now have less than 40 copies from the 1500 print run. Once they are sold there will be no more, it’s not being reprinted as I have too many new images still to publish, hence the 2 new landscape books that I’m currently working on.

Here are some photos of our stand at RHS Wisley that Jan took today, a bit more space than last year so things aren’t as cramped, it will be easier for you to browse the prints and books.