Posts from the ‘photography’ category

Analogue film photography and darkroom workshops – in-person

I am now offering onsite analogue and darkroom photography workshops and consultancy services to individuals, schools, colleges and organisations. If you want to create a darkroom from scratch or revive and old one, I can help you to get up and running.

Man wearing black apron in photographic darkroom with Deere 504 enlarger in background

If you do not have a darkroom but would like to learn the basics or introduce your students to analogue photography I can set up a small temporary darkroom in your home, classroom or office.

‘We had Nigel come into school for a day to train myself and another colleague in darkroom photography, to enable us to be confident enough in teaching both GCSE and A-level students the same skills after our photography specialist is no longer able to teach. The day was jam packed and we both learnt a lot about various parts of traditional darkroom photography, the developing process, pin hole cameras, photograms and luminograms. Emma Hart, Sandy Secondary School, Bedfordshire

I can help you with;

  • Setting up a darkroom of your own or reviving an old darkroom that has been unused for a while.
  • If you do not have a darkroom or any of the equipment, I can bring a portable darkroom along with all of the equipment and materials to your home or workplace. All I will need is electricity and a sink.
  • Providing an introduction to cameraless photography, pinhole photography, photograms and luminograms.
  • Introduction to black and white film photography, film processing, printing and advanced and experimental printing techniques.
  • If you would like to introduce film (analogue photography) into your GCSE / A level / BTEC programme but do not have the knowledge or facilities, I can help you to address common problems encountered by students with film photography and help you to embed the media into a curriculum.

Prices start at £350 for a day of onsite training. Follow this link for more information about film (analogue) and darkroom workshops and consultancy services.

Photograms and luminograms washing

Photograms and luminograms in wash

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, do let me know.

Darkroom materials and equipment

Preparing a darkroom


Pictures from the picket line

I was recently asked by Unison to cover their picket lines in Bristol. The weather was wet, windy and cold but everyone was in good spirits and there was a lot of public support for the strikers.

It normally takes an hour or two after a shoot to edit and send the pictures. To speed things up, I took a few pictures on my phone which could be published on social media immediately as the story was unfolding.

Some of the images taken on the day can be seen on here the Unison website.

Over the years, I have done a lot of trade union photography and worked for most unions including; UNISON, Unite, GMB, PCS, CWU, ASLEF, RMT.  The range of work I have done for unions includes conferences, issues and campaigns, there are some more examples here.

I am also a member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the University and College Union (UCU).





Agricultural machinery photography

JCB Fastrac for Farmers Guardian

JCB Fastrac for Farmers Guardian

I have quite a large collection of images of agricultural machinery so it seemed like a good idea to group a few of them together on my website. The pictures in this post have all been produced for editorial commissions.

The JCB Fastrac Icon images were for a story comparing the new model with its predecessor, a lot of the differences where in the technology controlling the vehicle so a lot of the images focussed on the cab.

JCB Fastrac Icon

JCB Fastrac Icon

JCB Fastrac new and old versions compared

JCB Fastrac new and old models compared

The Merlo tele handler was a full electric model and the shoot involved demonstrating the machine undertaking the type of jobs it might normally be given on a farm.

Merlo e worker

Merlo e-worker

An empty barn was used to shoot the vehicle which provided a less cluttered background and gave me more control over the lighting. I normally have a car full of lighting equipment for this type of picture.

Merlo e worker

Merlo e-worker

Often there is no time to take posed studio pictures and I just have to shoot the demonstration vehicle at work. The Unimog shoots were taken during a busy harvest. A brief technical problem with the combine gave me a few precious minutes to take a few more controlled images.

Unimog U435

Unimog U435

Unimog U435

Unimog U435

Unimog U435 alongside combine

Unimog U435 alongside combine

Unimog U435 on the road

Unimog U435 on the road

Unimog U435 alongside combine

Unimog U435 alongside combine

The weather was so dry that the vehicles were surrounded with huge dust clouds. This gave me the opportunity to capture a few extra atmospheric images of the huge Case combine harvester.

Case 9230 combine harvester

Case 9230 combine harvester

Case 9230 combine harvester in dust cloud

Case 9230 combine harvester in dust cloud

Fendt 516 tractor

Fendt 516 tractor


Fendt 516 tractor

Fendt 516 tractor

To find out more about the photographic services, I offer, please email me at

Agriculture and rural affairs

Agricultural Photography

Jess Palmer, student at Royal Agricultural University

Portrait of Jess Palmer, Agriculture student RAU

I had the good fortune of growing up on a dairy farm in Pembrokeshire so love the opportunity to put my wellies on and take pictures down on a farm.  I was introduced to farm photography at an early age. As a toddler I appeared in a story about my parent’s farm in the Farmers Guardian.  Over the years, I have photographed most aspects of farming life. Below you will see a range of images I have taken on farms and markets across the UK.

Going through the shooting brief with my subjects - cow photography

Going through the shooting brief with my clients


Cows make great subjects, they are naturally curious and with little encouragement will come right up to you in a field. While this makes close-up shots easy, you cannot put your camera bag down for long or their curious noses will leave a trail of drool over all of your kit.

Brown Swiss Cattle, Rancourt Farm near Swindon

Brown Swiss Cattle and Friesians , Cancourt Farm near Swindon, for National Milk Records

Free range hens

Free range hens


ewe and lamb in field

Ewe and lamb in field

Ewe with two lambs in field

Brown Swiss Cattle, Rancourt Farm near Swindon

Brown Swiss Cattle, Cancourt Farm near Swindon for National Milk Records


Piglet, Newton Farm

British Blue bull in field

British Blue bull in field



Location portraits

Every visit to a farm requires portrait images of the people behind the enterprise. I always try to provide atmospheric images that give a sense of the day to day working environment though the shot might be taken in the farm kitchen or in the middle of a field.


Male farmer sitting in field with 3 sheep dogs and sheep in distance behind

Male farmer leaning on Land Rover with red flag of military firing range in background

Free range hens

Ben Reynaldo and his free range poultry unit

Portrait of tractor driver

Portrait of tractor driver

Portrait of farmer

Portrait of Tim, Kingsclere Estate

Rob Addicott - Manor Farm near Wells for Farmers Guardian

Rob Addicott – Manor Farm near Wells for Farmers Guardian

James the Herdsman

James the Herdsman


Will and Dawn Hawking, owners of Marshfield Farm Ice Cream

Will and Dawn Hawking, owners of Marshfield Farm Ice Cream

Farm Profiles

If I am asked to photograph a farm profile, I normally try to document every aspect of the farm to provide an in depth record of the business and the people behind it.  Agricultural photography

Golden labrador from above

Gwen the farm dog


Market photography is very different to farm photography. The pace is fast and there are normally people and animals everywhere. Moving around the market quickly is difficult so you often need to find a few good spots to work in before the auction starts, and introduce myself to the auctioneers well ahead of the main event.

An auctioneers gavel (hammer) at Frome Lifestock Market

Frome Lifestock Market – auctioneer

Sheep at the market

Sheep at the market


Quite a few of the farms I have worked at have diversified into other product lines or services from ice cream and cheese to clamping pods. While I am on the farm it is normally quite easy to pull out a set of lights and set up a temporary studio in a barn or farmhouse kitchen to get some product shots or portraits of the staff or owners of the farm.

Strawberries growing in poly tunnel

Strawberries growing in poly-tunnel

Community Garden - part of Elims Direct Access Community (DAC) for rough sleepers at Manor Farm near Wells

Community Garden – part of Elims Direct Access Community (DAC) for rough sleepers at Manor Farm near Wells for Farmers Guardian

Agricultural machinery

Images of machinery for advertising, promotion and editorial applications.

Merlo - eworker electric tele handler

Merlo – Eworker electric tele handler

Merlo - Eworker electric tele handler

Merlo – Eworker electric tele handler

Case Axial Flow 250 combine harvesting wheat

Case Axial Flow 250 combine harvester

More information on agricultural photography

If you would like to know more, give me a call or drop me an email

Agricultural clients include; Dairy Farmer, Farmers Guardian, NMR, Cow Management Magazine, Marshfield Farm Ice Cream.

Overview of Nova Darkroom Tent and adaptations


I often have to deliver on-site darkroom training to individuals and organisations who do not have an existing darkroom or space which can be converted temporarily into one. Over the last few years, my solution has been to take my own small portable darkroom along with all of the normal printing equipment. When I was researching darkroom tents a few years ago, I remember struggling to find much information or reviews to help me make my decision. My clients would also tell me that they had struggled to learn more about portable darkrooms. To fill the gap, I thought I should put together a page that records my experience with portable darkrooms, specifically the Nova Darkroom Tent and the modifications I have made to it.

As far as I am aware, the two most popular purpose built darkroom tents are the Ilford Pop-up darkroom and the Nova Darkroom Tent .  Some people have had success converting tents designed for other applications. One of the cheapest alternative darkrooms are grow tents,  these have highly reflective interiors and designed mainly for ‘specialist’ forms of horticulture. Some photographers have converted ice fishing tents, these are designed to be erected and packed away frequently so may be more robust than the grow tent solution.

Around 15 years ago, I was loaned a Nova tent which I believe had been used previously by the military as it had a few ‘non-standard’ modifications. When it came to buying one myself, I bought the Nova as it was the product I was familiar with. I have no experience with the Ilford version so I will mainly be looking at the Nova though some of my adaptations may also be possible with the Ilford model.

Nova Darkroom Tent set up in domestic setting

Nova Darkroom Tent, set up and ready for use

The Nova tent comes in a large bag with a draw string at the top but no carrying handles or shoulder straps. The fabric used to make the darkroom is quite thick and the frame is mainly made from strong metal tubes, there is also a large electric fan so the whole package is quite heavy and without handles isn’t easy to carry. I probably wouldn’t want to take the Nova up a mountain or off-grid, as the fan needs mains electricity. During my research into darkroom tents, I found a video by someone that has used the Ilford version on location for wet collodion photography. Pictures of the bag supplied with the Ilford model show that it comes with carrying handles.

Inflating the tent

The first step is to attach the fan and plug it in, if the door is zipped shut and all the ports are closed it should soon start to inflate. The fan is very quiet and quite slow so helping to unfold the tent and supporting the weight of the material helps to speed up the process. After about 10 minutes, I start to attach the frame to the inner. The tent should be fully inflated and supported by the frame after around 15 minutes. The fan can then be switched off and then only used when you need ventilation inside. The tent has a long ‘flue’ to vent fumes, one end emerges from a hole in the centre of the ceiling, the other end has a zip to close the flue for inflation and can be directed through a nearby window if required.

Nova tent - air inlet and vent

Left, air inlet with fan. Right, air outlet from centre of ceiling.

Setting up a Nova Darkroom Tent – time lapse video


The exterior dimensions of the tent are 117 cm wide, 117 cm deep and 200 cm high. The interior is approximately 104 cm x 104 cm and around 200 cm high as the fan lifts the ceiling when it is switched on. In addition to the air inlet, there are two light tight sleeves to allow cables into the tent, one at the bottom of the tent and one half way up. There is also a ‘window’ which can be opened from inside to allow external light to illuminate the interior, this can be really useful in the early stages of fitting out the tent before any lighting is connected up. There is a floor to ceiling zip (with velcro backing) running up the middle of the tent for access which is completely light-tight, I have found that the zip seems to get stuck quite easily so I avoid using it if I can (more about this at the bottom).

Cable entry points and window.


As you would expect, the inside of the darkroom is little more than an empty black box. Originally, the tent had a large white fabric pocket on each side which might hold a box of paper or other large flatfish lightweight items. I was worried that the white material might reflect stray light from the neg carrier onto the baseboard and so I have removed these pockets. Apart from the pockets, there were no obvious places to support items such as safelights, timers etc.

I assume that most people will be using these darkrooms to house an enlarger so a table would be one of the first additions. Nova offers their own table that fits the darkroom. I picked up a really solid 4 foot wide camping table for around £20 which fits perfectly in the tent.

Sadly, there is no way I could squeeze my De Vere enlarger into the tent so, as my main reason for using the darkroom is to take it out on the road I normally use a much smaller LPL C7700 enlarger in the tent. I really wouldn’t want to use anything larger than this as the top of this enlarger’s column still touches the ceiling of the tent.

Arranging the workspace

The first time I used the darkroom I realised that there wasn’t really enough space to have the enlarger and three 10″ x 8″ trays in a row. I needed to find a way to save some space and separate the wet and dry areas in the darkroom.

Nova darkroom tent showing set up with and without tray rack

Left image shows 3 trays in a row. Right, three trays on home-made rack

I can remember Jessops once sold a rack to hold three 10″ x 8″ trays above each other which was great for smaller darkrooms. Sadly these are no longer available so I had to improvise. I found what I think must have been a shoe rack in a charity shop for £5 which was the exact width of a 10″ x 8″ Patterson tray, all I had to do was cut off a couple of the lower shelves. This solution saved loads of extra desk space and provides some separation between the wet and dry areas. Eventually I will make or find another rack to support 16″ x12″ trays.

To provide a bit more storage space I picked up a cheap, wire shelf that hangs below the underside of the table which will easily accommodate boxes of 10″ x 8″ paper, scissors, lenses, filters, negative, sleeves etc.

Under table wire shelf in Nova darkroom tent

Under table wire shelf


I didn’t want table mounted safelights so I sewed some loops into the top corners of the tent made from old bits of webbing. I then attached loops of strong cord to the back of a couple of small safelights and used carabiners to link the lights to the ceiling of the tent, waterproof switches were then added to each of the cables where I could reach them. A white light has also been secured to a corner in the same way.

Darkroom timer

While I could easily use my phone as a timer I always like having a proper clockwork timer in my darkroom. With limited table space, I thought I would try to attach a small timer to the ‘wall’ of the tent. I had an old Smiths timer which had lost its base. I used pop rivets to attach some webbing to each side of the timer and fix velcro to the ends, hooks on one side loops, on the other. I then sewed a couple of lengths of velcro onto the wall. It was self adhesive but, the timer is quite heavy and the last thing I want is a timer to fall into a developing tray so I also secured the velcro to the wall with some more of my very amateurish stitching. I can also use this timer in my permanent darkroom by joining the ends of the webbing together to make a strap which can be hung from a magnetic hook on my drying cabinet.

Smiths darkroom timer in Nova tent

Modifications to an old Smiths timer showing it fixed in tent and in permanent darkroom.

Drying prints in the tent

After fixing, prints are left temporarily in a half full orange (so I can see it) bucket under the table, they are then taken to a nearby sink for washing. If required, I can dry the prints in the darkroom. Crocodile clips can easily clip to the large seams between the ‘walls’ and the ‘ceilings of the tent. The fan doesn’t have an air filter so I would be reluctant to dry film in the tent unless it is kept closed for several hours with the fan off and nobody goes into it.

Prints drying in a Nova tent

Prints drying on line attached to tent using crocodile clips.

Tent floor

The tent floor is made from the same material as the walls and ceiling and I would be a bit worried about damaging the fabric with the feet of the table or stools. I also found that if I dropped something on the black fabric floor it was very hard to find it again unless I switched the lights on. I found some large, colourful, interlocking foam rubber floor tiles which I think are for children’s play areas and cut them to the size of the space. The floor is comfortable under foot and should reduce stress on the floor.

Foam rubber floor in tent

Entry zip

I have found that the main entry zip sometimes needs a bit of persuasion to open or close and the velcro behind it has started to separate from the material. I am a little worried that this might be a future point of failure so to minimise use, I hang a large 2 meter length of black velvet from the metal frame above the door which covers the entrance and blocks out almost all stray light. I now only use the zip if I am working with film or there is a lot of ambient light

Final thoughts

The tent is very well made and should last me a long time. It is also very easy to modify (and I am sure the same is true for the Ilford model). My modifications have made it a much more comfortable place to work for extended periods. A well laid out, small darkroom can be a very pleasant place to work in, with everything in reach from a comfortable seated position. The ventilation offered as standard with the Nova tent is also a very welcome feature.

I am sure there are still things that I will do to the tent to make it better still. A replacement bag that is much stronger and has some carrying handles is top of the list. A rack to hold 16″ x 12″ trays would also allow me to make larger prints in the tent.

I am planning to use the tent in artists residencies which are often based in art galleries or other large, open spaces. I believe that the metal frame is strong enough to support an outer ‘skin’ which could be made from flexible melamine boards clipped to the tubular frame or fabric hung from the horizontal bars at the top. These temporary panels could provide information about a project to visitors, provide a white board or projection screen for workshops or training and a small gallery wall to display work. Watch this space……….





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