There are two external photography blogs and a website based mini photo blog currently active online, The longest-running is the Richard Flint Photography blog which has a big archive of posts dating back to 2007. The Darker skies blog started in 2009 and has a more personal feel. The final photography blog is the website’s mini blog called The Test Strip that can be found HERE.
The Photography Blog Archive
The Richard Flint Photography blog was started in February 2007 as a website for new images, website and podcast links, reviews and articles, covering a broad range of photographers and photography.
The blog contains news, reviews, website and podcast links, photographer profiles, etc. While the photography blog may cover on a wide variety of photographic topics, its main focus is on the processes of image-making. From Wet Plate Collodion through to the most recent digital multimedia, the blog’s focus is on the image itself and not the equipment used to get it.
Visit the photography blog website at- https://www.richflintphoto.blogspot.co.uk
Subscribe to the Blogs
Subscribing to the Richard Flint Photography blog is easy using RSS! You can also sign up to the photography blog’s E-mail updates that are delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. Just enter your email address into the sign-up forms located in the blog’s sidebar. Unsubscribing from the E-mail update service can be done at any time.
The feeds page contains the RSS links for all the photography blogs HERE.
The Darker Skies Photography Blog
A second photo blog called Darker Skies was launched in August 2009 and is a more personal, informal blog. Darker Skies was originally established to cover those darker, dramatic styles of colour and monochrome photography that I love so much.
However, the site has gradually taken on a role of its own as a photo scrapbook, mobile blogging platform and photography blog. The photography podcast also has its main links page based on this site.
The Darker Skies site can be found at https://darkerskies.wordpress.com
This page displays four of the most recent posts from both of the blogs mentioned above.
The Richard Flint Photography Blog
Launched in February 2007, the Richard Flint Photography blog has a large archive of posts covering classic and contemporary photography, influential photographer profiles, links, reviews and more.
|Wedding photos on Calton Hill|
|Looking down from the Esplanade|
|The Big wheel viewed from Princes Street|
|My Billingham 550 - a veteran of many adventures and nicely worn in after 22 years of use.|
For many years, I've wanted to post a review of my trusty 550, the first Billingham bag i purchased 22 years ago, but for one reason or another i never got around to writing the review. To mark the tenth anniversary of my popular 445 review i thought i would finally write that 550 review... so here it is!
|Worn but functional - the original SP 20 shoulder pad|
So to the bag. As i said earlier the 550 is a huge bag that Billingham describe on their website as "our most luxurious bag - perfect for the photographer or the traveller. Even without the two detachable end pockets, it is still large enough to carry several camera bodies, lenses, flashguns and even some overnight stay essentials". The 550 was the first production bag for Billingham and has influenced the style of the bags that have followed. My bag is the classic khaki canvas with full grain tan leather and brass fixings, now all nicely worn in after many years of use and usually associated with the classic Billingham look, however two other colours are available including black and a rather bold Imperial Blue Canvas. The light colour of the bag does mean that the dirt can show but the 550 is very easy to clean - mud can easily be removed by just waiting for it to dry and then brushing it off. Soap and warm water usually removes dirt from the bag and you just leave the bag in the sun to dry. Simple.
|Internal space is good with plenty of protection. Extra partitions can be purchased if required|
|The top zipper is excellent quality and strong . The top rain flap then covers and is fastened with two leather straps|
The internals of the 550 are very spacious and can accommodate a wide variety of camera systems and lenses. The dimensions can be found on the Billingham 550 product page here. If you like carrying a mix of camera systems then the 550 has plenty of room to carry a medium format camera and a DSLR plus lenses. I regularly carry 6x6 and a DSLR in the same bag. The bag's depth is a serious asset with room for a high hammerhead flash gun like the Metz 75. The depth is also handy for keeping kit away from prying eyes and out of the weather . It also helps with what i call 'working out of the bag' - everything can stay within the bag when working at a location so you don't leave anything behind. With the internal partitions, the layout possibilities are numerous, though it can take a bit of trial and error to find that perfect layout to fit in all your kit. Billingham have a range of additional superflex dividers available to purchase but I've largely managed with the partitions that came with the bag. Whatever you need to store - the bag will fit it in. Right at the bottom of the 550 is the bag's 500 Superflex base plate that protects gear from vibration, knocks and the damp. It can also be removed if necessary to turn the 550 into a great travel bag, ideal for weekend trips away.
|The 550 end pockets - large enough for a SB800 flashgun|
|The side pockets can carry a good size flash or lens but i tend to use it for film, filters etc|
The external canvas skin of the 550 looks very classy, is incredibly waterproof and is about as durable as you can get. I've been in downpours with my 550 ( one rain soaked day at Sandringham in Norfolk was especially memorable) and often wished that i could get into the bag as well! Gear remains dry and well protected from water, sand, dust and mud. I mentioned in my 445 review that ' These bags are designed to take all sorts of punishment - the most common of which will be water. The water proof nature of the 445 is remarkable. I've been in storms and downpours which have thoroughly tested the bag, with no problems encountered at all'. That statement equally applies to the 550. A few years ago, during a visit to Norfolk, I accidentally dropped my 445 ( i was with it too i might add!) into thick harbour mud. The camera gear remained totally safe inside. The mud just washed off the canvas bag with the aid of a sponge and a bit of soap. Temperature control inside the bag is excellent too. During hot sunshine the inside of the Billingham 550 remains noticeably cooler thanks to the khaki coloured canvas (darker coloured 550s might not fare as well!) and the thick partition inserts. If the bag is kept closed then the contents will remain cool.
So what about the downsides? Well the bag's physical size can be a bit of a double edged sword. The 550 is of a size that can be quite difficult to carry in confined spaces such as a busy train carriage - especially if the end pockets are attached!. I decided to switch over to the slightly smaller 445, a few years later, partially due to that size issue. Another problem can be the weight. Fully packed the bag can be quite heavy so carrying it over rough ground or long distances is far from ideal for your back!. I found that out when visiting the Highlands of Scotland in 2012 where the backpack type camera bag is the better option. An interesting suggestion from the Billingham website states 'Many 550 owners use them as a safe store for all their equipment and use one of our smaller bags to carry just the specific gear they need to take the shot, going back to the 550 to swap lenses or bodies. One final thing to mention regards the difficulty in carrying the bag by hand when the rain flap is open. The only way is to use the shoulder strap, as the buckles need to be fastened to use the leather handle on top of the bag. That said, closing up the bag each time provides extra security and develops into a good habit.
|The 550 has plenty or storage with a variety of pockets to store away accessories.|
Like many photographers i have quite a few camera bags, many of which have been bought for a specific task or purpose. I would, however, never get rid of my 445 and 550 as they are the best camera bags i own. If you are looking for a big camera bag then you'd be hard pressed to find a bag with the storage space, superb build quality and protection offered by the 550. I certainly love mine.
My Billingham 445 bag review from May 2008 can be found HERE
The Billingham website can be found at https://billingham.co.uk/
The Billingham 550 product page can be found HERE
Performance by Cecil Beaton
The Darker Skies Photography Blog
A photography scrapbook, mobile photo blog... with occasional musings on photography.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been posting a daily dog walk photo to the stories section on Instagram. I cover around 26 miles a week with Luna and me traversing the many walking routes near my home. I’ve found it to be just as therapeutic for the head as it is for the body.
The three photos here come from a new route we’ve found down near the river Derwent last week. Out in the woods, the Coronavirus pandemic and restrictions seems so far away – until you meet someone coming towards you. It’s a sudden, almost jarring, return to reality. Most people are very friendly, move aside and give plenty of space. Sadly though not everyone seems to want to follow the social distancing advice.
The river marks the border between County Durham and Northumberland and has some really excellent if slightly underdeveloped walking routes. No doubt there will be more walking and chances for Luna to explore in the coming weeks and months.
Follow the walks on Instagram stories daily at https://www.instagram.com/richardflintphoto/
With the COVID-19 restrictions, I’ve been doing some experimentation with photos using a variety of photo apps. A couple of photos of the lighthouse were posted onto Instagram but there were a few leftovers so I’ve decided to show them here.
Some work well and others maybe not so much but I do like the tones created in all the photos. Experimentation is all part of the photography process though I must admit that I don’t do nearly as much experimentation as i should.
Back when i was first starting to take photos it was nothing but experimentation. Exciting times.
A Decade On
Ten years ago today, the Darker Skies photoblog was launched.
A few changes have taken place over the years since that first post went live. Darker Skies was originally just going to feature my black and white landscape work. Gradually I came to the realisation that the blog could do so much more. Little did I know how true that was.
First of Many
Darker Skies was the first blog I set up using WordPress – in this case, wordpress.com. At first, I wasn’t very sure about the content management system. Was WordPress the CMS I was looking for? Did I even need another website? I wasn’t very sure at all that i did!
Ten years and numerous WordPress powered websites later (my own and clients) the answer appears to have been a big yes. Those early steps started a change in my ideas about what a website could do that was desperately needed. A website for a photographer is essential and WordPress is about as good as it gets for creating and running a site. I’ve grown to love WordPress.
Yes, I think so. The Darker Skies site provides some important services for my main website via the Jetpack plugin linkup. Moreover, in the last few years, it’s taken on other roles including helping out with the podcast. It’s an important part of my website family.
I have a Nikon F3 HP that I regard as ‘my’ camera. It’s not a ‘work’ camera like the others I have. The F3 is for my photography. For me. The Darker Skies blog serves a similar function. I should blog more often but maybe quality over quantity is best. Maybe I just need to try harder.
The blog has covered all kinds of topics from travel through to family trauma. Some of the posts have been painful and taken a lot of writing. Others have been a joy. Websites, like life, contain all kinds of moments.
Picking favourite posts isn’t easy so I’m not even going to try. What I would recommend is having a look through the archives list located in the sidebar. I recently looked through and found images I’d completely forgotten about!
Here’s to the next Darker Skies decade!