Shooting a derelict house in the middle of nowhere.

How many times do you drive past an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere and wonder who lived there and what were their lives like? Did they have electricity, gas and water plumbed in? What did they do for a living, What was it like living in this place? And so on… I do it all the time, I let my imagination run away with me sometimes.

So, let's set the scene. I’m driving from Inverness to Gairloch, I’m up in the hills miles away from a town and there is a small abandoned cottage. It has an old tin roof, which looks like it would have been painted red but now it’s rusty and full of holes. The rest of the cottage is made from a mix of stone and wood.

At one time this cottage would have been beautiful and in a fabulous location with nothing around it, I loved it. I stopped Dapper Dan my Darkroom Van and grabbed my Pentax 6x7 from its bag and walked over to the cottage. It was drizzling, you know the sort of rain that gets you wet! Anyway, I wasn't bothered because the place just had something about it, a real energy, it was so peaceful too with not a sound.

I took a couple of shots of the outside. I had already loaded Ilford HP5+ film into my Pentax 6x7 so was set for shooting both outside and in. I walked around to find the entrance and went in through the porch door as it was half open. It was quite eerie but beautiful at the same time. The paint on the back of the door was so old and cracked, the light coming through was stunning so I had to take a shot of that. The rest of the building looked a bit unstable and really dangerous with walls and ceilings falling to bits so I just peeked into the rooms and went back outside. Another great day in the Highlands, I’m pleased with my shots and can’t wait to get back and see the results.

My Pentax 6x7 is my go-to camera at the moment I love working with it. It produces really good quality negatives which are beautifully sharp with rich tones. A lot of people have told me they have trouble holding it especially at slow shutter speeds, but so far that hasn’t been a problem for me. I shot the paint on the door of the porch at a 60th of a second at F4.5. I’ve shot it many times at a 60th without any problems in terms of camera shake, but, having said that if I shoot it handheld any slower than that then yes I do get camera shake. I would recommend this camera without any reservations, it’s a beautiful camera… I love it.

I processed the Ilford HP5+ in Id11. I did a 1 to 1 dilution for 12 minutes at 20c. The contrast in the negative is superb, with a great tonal range… A stunning negative.

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