Howard Hill

…and this is my website!

My Photography

My Photography

The Journey

It’s more to do with the journey, not just the arrival. Much as I like the end product of a great portfolio of photos, what I love more than that, is having my camera in my hand and taking photos. I just love being out and about, snap snapetty snapping.

Cameras

As a youngster, I used my parents’ Box Brownie and later their Kodak Brownie Flash 20 film cameras. At about the age of 12 or so I had fallen in love with photography and I bought my very own “proper” camera. It was a second hand Halina 35X (from Bonsers in the Bigg Market, Newcastle) and all the controls were manual. I did get myself a light meter at some stage, but rarely used it, being happy enough using the settings written on the side on my Kodachrome 64 film box. The next step up was to a Zenith E. This was bigger than my Halina and had a screw-in lens. I used Kodachrome 64 slide film.

Then I went really up market and got a second hand Olympus 35RC. What a beautiful camera. It was a big step up from my previous cameras as the optics were excellent and it had both a light meter and rangefinder focussing. I used this camera a lot. By the time I was in my 20s I upgraded yet again. I got myself an Olympus OM-10 and later an Olympus OM-2 and OM-4 and some lenses too. I remember taking these to Africa on a work trip and had a wonderful time when on a weekend safari. I remember taking a borrowed tiny little half-frame Rollie too. Lesley and I went to Kenya on holiday and I used it there too. Finally, I sold my Olympus cameras and bought a Canon EOS10 film camera. What a beautiful camera that was. My favourite lens was a 24mm f2.8. I also had a small Minolta AFZ compact camera. At the time I used Kodachrome 64 and 100 and Fujichrome 50 and 400.

Then digital cameras started to appear and my first one was an Agfa ePhoto 1280. Others followed – in no particular order – Canon PowerShot G2, Canon IXUS 850 IS, Olympus Camedia 3030Z, Sony P100, Minolta DiMAGE, Fuji X10, Panasonic TZ7, Sony RX100 iv, Canon G5X, Canon PowerShot S120, Nikon D70, Nikon D80, Nikon D7000, Nikon D610, various GoPros and my final DSLR, the beautiful Nikon D750.

I waited a short while, while the mirrorless revolution got underway, then I got myself an Olympus OM-D E-M10 mark iii. As a taser of mirrorless. Oh my goodness, what a camera. It felt so good in the hand. I was immediately sold on both mirrorless and the Micro Four Thirds format. I have since bought an E-M1 mark iii and a whole load of Olympus lenses and I am enjoying my photography more than ever. So small and light, perfect in the hand, huge range of tack-sharp lenses, unbelievable stabilisation, all weatherproof blah blah blah.

So I thought to myself, why not go the whole hog with mirrorless? I sold my Nikon D750 DSLR and all my lenses (and I had a lot) and bought the Nikon Z6, a FTZ adaptor and a Nikon Z 24-70 lens. A lovely camera and lens, but by this time I was completely in love with my Olympus cameras. I liked the Nikon a lot, but I made a decision (1) regarding the weight of a 35mm sized system, which was considerable due to heavy lenses (2) having to content with using 2 systems and not getting muddled up. And so I sold my nearly new Nikon Z6 and haven’t looked back.

 

My Bands

It’s Bank Holiday Monday in May 2021 so thought I’d while away a few hours tweaking my websites. This post is about my bands and I will elaborating on them during the next … well, who knows?

 

 

I play for several different bands and dance groups in and around Wantage.

Cornucopia dancers and band (Appalachian Step Clogging)
Hendred Ukulele Group (HUG)
Jigworks (Irish ceilidh band)
Melobo (English ceilidh band)
Pandemonium (Folk music, concerts and ceilidh)
Rose Hips Belly Dancers and band (Folk-Fusion belly dancing)
Troubshort and Turnipseed (Old Time tunes plus original comedy songs)
Wantage Community Church (Christian worship band)
The Vale Islanders dancers and band (17th century Playford English Country Dance in period costume)
Whoosya! (American roots folk – blues, country etc)

So if you need a barn dance band for your wedding, display dance troupe for your festival, background music for your garden party, busking to support a local charity or a concert of musical entertainment to help you raise funds, or something along those lines, then please get in touch.

Besselsleigh Woods

Besselsleigh Woods

I wanted to see some more bluebells before the season was over, so Annie and I headed off for Appleton and walked to Besselsleigh Wood (just off the A420). I had a tough time of it. Carrying my camera, stool, backpack and walkie takies, I managed to drop stuff, make myself really dizzy and start to feel quite sick. In fact that feeling lasted all day. Feeling poorly had an effect my normally cheerful mood and I started thinking about my real illness (the tumour) and began to feel really down. I was reduced to tears at one point, saying to Annie “I’m broken”.

I got a few shots in, but nothing much. I also chatted to a couple of guys I met along the way about bluebells as I can never resist a chat, however I’m feeling. They told me of the horrors of Spanish bluebells and I told them the where in the wood they could find wood anemone.

 

 

Music!

Patrick collected me and off we went to Jean’s back garden in Grove. Cornucopia practice of course! I had a beer (thank you Patrick) and homemade biscuits (thank you Jean) and really enjoyed playing while Patrick and Jim fiddled, and the ladies danced.

 

 

Cornucopia practice

Cornucopia practice

Rumours of Tumours

Rumours of Tumours

Today was a big day. Annie and I went to see consultant neurologist Miss Stana Bojanic to discuss my brain scan results. The good news is that tumour is not malignant, but rather a slow-growing meningioma. She showed us the scans, what different bits showed and the two options for treatment.

Firstly, it can be left alone and scanned every 6 months. The trouble with this is that it will almost certainly grow and that wll cause big trouble. I really don’t want to have to undergo surgery when much older. Risks become far too high. Also, the larger the tumour the more difficult the removal is.

Secondly, I can elect for surgery. This is what I said I’d prefer and Miss Bojanic implied this is likely the best choice for me. She said I could probably be seen in July and went through all the grisly things that could go wrong. Very thorough I’m sure. Her bedside manner did not include encouraging or comforting words. I think that would be good to include as the very thought of having your skull opened up is very scary.

Afterwards we found Badley Woods and had a picnic lunch and a short walk. The woods are nice but suffer from A34 traffic noise. However, we had a lovely time. We always do when walking.

So naturally I spent the following day looking at photos of people’s heads with bits of skull removed, showing their brains. I felt nervous and fed up and needed a hug.

 

Bagley Wood

Bagley Wood