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Monday, June 30


About 30 miles up the coast from my home in Carnoustie is a wee fishing village called Johnshaven. I'm never sure if this is a haven named after or belonging to John or is so-called to distinguish it from a haven named after a bearded John further along the coast. You'll need to think about that one but it doesn't get any better if you do.

It's a fair-sized fishing village and one of a handful nestling amongst the bays and cliffs on the east coast leading up to Aberdeen. These pics were taken during a recent day trip when I was still testing and getting used to Adox CHS 100 II.

I took a picture of this moss-covered caravan in the drive of a house about seven
years ago on a previous trip to Johnshaven and was surprised to find it apparently
hadn't moved in all that time. OM2N, 50mm f2 macro Zuiko.

As is more often than not the case these days, I had my Olympus outfit with me - OM2N, 24mm, 28mm, 50mm f2 macro and 70-150mm Zuikos - and spent an enjoying forty minutes wandering around the cottages and harbour.

There's nothing in the village that makes for an outstanding photograph - and, believe me, I been all over it - but there are plenty of pleasant images to be found. It's one of those places that are great for shooting a roll of film quickly if you're just getting used to it.

Angus and the east coast of Scotland are hot beds of Scottish independence where
it's common to find the Saltire flying in gardens or from chimney breasts.

The village actually dates back to medieval times but stone age archaeological remains have been found nearby so it's anyone's guess how long there's been a settlement here. The area around the harbour is from the middle of the 16th century but it's not until the 18th century that the village starts to be mentioned in historical documents.

In 1772, there were 26 boats and at least 130 fishermen operating and a population of around 1000. Local amenities included a school, licensed inn, sailcloth factory and what appeared to be weavers' houses. As the population grew, a church, baker, tailor, grocer, blacksmith and cobbler were attracted to Johnshaven.

Above and below: A couple of shots of the harbour.

The nearby Montrose to Inverbervie railway opened in 1865 giving the village another economic boost.  There was enough money around to improve the harbour with a pier in 1871 and the dock 13 years later.

Johnshaven continued to develop through the 20th century. Although there is still some fishing taking place - mainly lobster - it's largely become a commuter town and a quiet holiday retreat, recently starting a fishing festival to celebrate its heritage.

The pics on this page are just some random shots I snapped while Cath sat in the car at the harbour watching her favourite soap on her iPhone - the wonders of modern technology - as there was a cold wind blowing off the north sea and, being something of a hot-house flower, she didn't fancy getting her bones chilled.

It's probably a bit anti-social of me but I find I don't see as many photographic opportunities if I'm in company. I need peace and quiet to get into the zone and get my "seeing" eyes on. That doesn't mean that I don't like company when out with a camera - far from it - but I just don't expect so much from the day photographically-speaking.

It was around lunchtime when I was in the village and there were no signs of life
around this hotel so I'm not sure if it's still open or not.

Once again, my trusty old OM2N performed faultlessly. It's a lovely thing to use and everyone should have one in my opinion. I've got three, something I think you need to have if relying on a battery dependent system. When the electronics pack up they're basically toast. One of them had a very stiff shutter speed ring (around the lens mount) so I dismantled the ring a week ago, cleaned everything up and now it's working as well as the other two so I reckon I'm set for quite a while. There's also a beautiful all-mechanical OM1N in a darkroom cupboard which I put a roll through from time-to-time to keep it ticking over.

The Zuikos are very nice lenses as well. If you look at the lenses from various camera makers that were introduced in the 1970s and compare them with their lenses from the '90s, you'll often find the latter are all plasticky and cheap-feeling. Zuikos stayed much the same right throughout their relatively long history with a quality feel and legendary optical qualities.

And the Adox film? What can I say? I continue to be impressed with it and pat myself on the back every now and then for my wise decision to make it the mainstay of my 35mm shooting. :)


John Robison said...

Got a kick out of that post.
"Hot house flower" indeed, know that feeling well as the missus and I, although compatable in so many ways, are 20 degrees F apart in comfort levels. I'm a 60 degrees F (16C) comfort level and she is wearing a sweater until 80F (27C). I also find that it is better if I'm out alone when hunting for that shot.

John Carter said...

I've had a few Olympus cameras, but never an SLR. The Olympus company in my opinion made the best quality range of cameras of any Japanese company (P&S to SLR). I know what you mean about new lenses. I let my son use my Spotmatic and he could believe the weighted feel of them.

Omar Özenir said...

According to this link I understand it's pronounced Johns Haven:


Cheers, omar

Stefan Eisele said...

Thanks for your very nicely written article and the beautiful pictures.

I'm definitely experiencing the same situation. Travelling with non-fellow photography-interested people reduces my picture-taking.
What sometimes can compensate for it are more "documentary pictures" - of the people I'm with. Which in the end does not necessarily mean the over-all quality is poorer - I just end up with different types of pictures.

To that extend having some other people around me photographing (as in a course) can be beneficiary for me, especially when I normally woudn't normally take such shots. It really helped me last year when doing a street-photography work-shop, to have ohters around...

steve said...

I really love these photo essays, always interesting to read. You are blessed to have such interesting places with-in car reach. Being an old sailor(well not that old) I particularly love these quaint little harbours. Unfortunately living in Sydney,AU I can't just jump in the car and and get to anything this interesting. I drive two hours and I'm still in Sydney Traffic.

Bruce Robbins said...

I can sympathise with you there, Steve. I lose the urge to photograph when I can't explore new areas/subjects. It must be difficult being somewhat confined to a modern city. Australia seems to have such a variety of landscapes but it's not much good if you can't get out and about easily.

We're not blessed with fine weather and great beaches but we do have a lot of history. A few days ago I drove down a private drive (Cath keeps telling me I can't do that sort of thing) and found a castle dating to the 16th century at the end of it. It's actually a wedding venue that's open to the public but I didn't know it was there and it's only 12 miles away.