Unfortunately, I didn't have a hat to hand to help capture some photos of this morning's partial solar eclipse. So I just had to improvise and use a camera with a telephoto lens. I attached two polariser filters, set at right angles, to make sure everything went really dark.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse through sycamore.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse ruining my excellent jackdaw photo.

You can see larger versions of the above photos here.

Vote for me!

OK, Gruts Gang, its time to make yourselves useful [too late: didn't win].

The Hebden Bridge Times and Todmorden News are running a ridiculously complicated photography competition. I have entered, and my photo has made the semi-finals. There are 13 photos in the semi-finals (I told you it was ridiculously complicated). To make the final six (no, really), my photo needs your votes.

Now, here comes the really complicated part. You can vote in several ways, and you are allowed to vote in more ways than one. So, what I need you to do is to go here, then do AS MANY OF THE FOLLOWING as possible (depending on which of the following you have access to):

  • click the Facebook Like button alongside the article
  • click the Twitter button to share the article
  • click the G+ button alongside the article to share on Google+
  • click the LinkedIn button alongside the article
  • leave a COMMENT (or several comments!) against the article
  • (most importantly) ask all your friends to do the same

…then, if you're feeling really bored, you can try to do the same on this page.

The voting closes as midday on 1st December, 2014.

I have been assured—and you will no doubt be relieved to hear—that there will be no swimming costume round.

Oh, just in case you're wondering what my photo looks like, here it is:

Mitchell Brothers Mill

Mitchell Brothers Mill and some buttercups this summer.


Le Tour de France passed through Hebden Bridge this afternoon. Boy, were they ever lost!

Peloton, Le Tour de France, approaching Hebden Bridge

The peloton of Le Tour de France approaching Hebden Bridge this afternoon.

Jen and I headed off across the moor to cut them off at the pass, but they still managed to get through.

The best joke of the afternoon came from Jen. As the lead, breakaway group of seven cyclists passed, she turned to me and said, “Is that it?! What a huge disappointment! I was expecting a lot more riders than that.”

Well, it made me laugh.

More photos here.

Kodak slides

BBC: Kodak files for bankruptcy protection
Eastman Kodak, the company that invented the hand-held camera, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

A classic Kodachrome slideSad day. How are the mighty fallen, and all that. I know Kodak is a major multinational company, but I have a very soft spot for it. Never forget that it was Kodak who brought photography to the masses: You press the button, we do the rest—the company's motto said it all.

I have an awful lot of treasured memories saved for posterity, thanks to Kodak. I'm sure you do to. Their Kodachrome slide film, which was discontinued in 2009, was promoted as much for its archival quality as for its image quality. It wasn't hype: when I look through my old slides, decades after I took them, the Kodachrome shots, which form the vast majority, are as good as the day I got them back through the post (yes, kids, we used to have to send our photos away to be ‘developed’); many of my slides taken on rival brands' film are now faded, or have distorted colours. Kodak knew what they were doing, when it came to film.

But, apart from registering a few important patents, Kodak totally blew it when it came to digital: they didn't see the rampaging elephant approaching over the hill until it was too late. I hate it when business people use Darwinian analogies, but, in this case, it seems unavoidable: Kodak failed to adapt to a changing ecosystem, and died.

For nostalgia's sake, I hope the Kodak brand somehow lives on—albeit in greatly diminished form.


Dear Richard

Please excuse us for contacting you out of the blue. Zim Grady is a massively unknown three piece middle-aged hobby-ist band from Oxford, England.

We hope you're ok with us using one of your images (this one) on some art to accompany an EP that we've made available for free download at

Moonshine EP artworkThe lead track on the EP, Moonshine and Harness, has a line in the second verse about clutching a bottle of Angry Chimp Moonshine. If you go to the link above, you'll see that we've used your picture of a bronze chimp head from the Natural History Museum as the basis for a fictional moonshine brand logo. Should you have a listen we hope you'll like the track (obviously!), and appreciate the re-use of your pic.

We've credited you under the CC license you chose for the image and linked to your Flickr homepage at the page on our website above. Please let us know if you'd like us to amend the credit in any way.

All the best,
John (the bassist from Zim Grady)