Leeds Artsmix Diary – Fudge & Near Misses

All Fudged Out

It was a beautiful sunny day at Saturday’s Leeds Artsmix Market. Hope’s were high with a position next to the fudge stall guaranteeing a constant stream of traffic, and sure enough fudge of every possible flavour was soon being devoured by the hungry and happy Leodises.

Anthony talks fudge & art

But as the morning wore on, and the crowds at the award winning fudge stall grew, at our photography stall just an inch away, all was silent, not one sale, not even a hint of one.

And then, at about 1pm, the inevitable sugar rush from all that fudge eating  hit, and for 40 minutes there was a sudden splurge of interest, conversation, and selling; from nothing to the promise of an excellent day.

It couldn’t last, a sugar rush never can. As abruptly as the selling started it ended, and rather than spending money at the stall the Leodises instead ate their food and drank their wine in the sun, before  finishing off the day eating even more fudge.

I myself had a mix of clotted cream and orange & white chocolate flavours, and sampled the salted caramel; all excellent, but the clotted cream fudge was just something else.

Near Misses

Every Artsmix market comes with the near miss of a sale, and as each sale is a precious gift capable of turning a so so day into a glorious one, the near miss is an emotional event. yesterday proved no exception.

Salisbury Cathedral

Near miss number one was a New Yorker with a month to kill in Leeds on the hunt for an image of Salisbury Cathedral. His father had been stationed in the city for a time during the Vietnam War, very happy to be away from the front line, and though the New Yorker was too young to remember I guess the fondness of the time and place had rubbed off.

Two years ago we’d stayed just a two minute stroll away from the Cathedral and took the opportunity to take some night time shots. I’ll be sure to print one and bring it to the next market just in case a second New Yorker rocks up.

Near miss number two was a mother and daughter combo. The mum, a keen photographer, was taken with an image of Saltburn Pier but wanted a bigger version. The daughter, spotting an opportunity to buy a secret gift, cut an animated figure behind as she mimed the international signal for  “do you have an email address“.

Saltburn Pier

But, as we all know, it’s tough to outwit a mum, and so after much secret signalling mum took control of both the situation and the business card. They left to that often heard shopping refrain “You’re so hard to buy for, and when I do find something …” . 

Favourite Sale

At each market I have a favourite sale. Last time around is was Open Doorway in Andalusia. This week it was Bow, an abstract shot of MS Lofoten from our journey up the Norwegian coastline.

Bow, MS Lofoten

Though I love the shot I printed it with no real expectation of a sale; classic shots of Staithes and Whitby being the bread and butter that pay the Market rent. So it was a total pleasure to chat to the lady from Birmingham (I think) about the image, and just fantastic when she returned after 10 minutes to buy the picture.

A week in numbers

Saturday’s seven sales meant that I’ve now racked up over fifty sales and a thousand pounds in turnover. Since I’ve spent almost double that on materials, equipment and set up costs, any thought of profit is consigned to the distant future, but, the idea that the general public of Leeds have liked 50 odd of my photographs enough to be prepared to pay, and more importantly live with in their homes, is reward in itself.

Leeds Dock with the RX1Rii

Waking up at 5am to a promising sunrise, I finally got my act together and headed into work to take some images of Leeds Dock and Sky’s Shiny New Technology Campus.

The sunrise didn’t quite materialise but the quality of the early morning light combined with the stillness of the water made the early start worthwhile, whilst the results provided enough material to go completely over the top with Nik Efex Pro.

Click on the images for full size views, and expand to get the full effect of the panorama.









Shooting Notes

All images shot handheld using the Sony RX1rII, (heavily) post-processed in Lightroom and finished using Nik Efex Pro.

Lofoten – Post 1, 4 Days & Counting

After six months of anticipation it’s now just four days and counting before we begin our journey to the Lofoten Islands; bags are packed, final purchases made, last minute preparations underway.


Our journey takes us by air from Manchester to Bergen, where we catch the MS Lofoten to head North, hugging the Norwegian coastline for three days and nights until we reach Bodo. There we say goodbye to the boat and make the short hop by air to Leknes, an hour’s drive from our base at Reine.


Though Lofoten is North of the 66th Parallel the warming effect of the Gulf Stream keeps the deep freeze of the Arctic at bay. Even so  our preparation has been pre-occupied by the question of warmth if temperatures plummet, and how to keep upright on the ice and snow; winter boots, smocks, crampons, thermals, fleeces, hats, gloves, fill our Rolling Thunder holdalls.

norway & sweden & finland & russia for web

Photography wise the trip is pure Foveon with one notable exception. In the bag is a Sigma DP1 & DP3 Merrill, a DP0 Quattro, an SD1 paired with an 18-300mm lens (both kindly loaned by Sigma for the trip) and a shiny new Sony RX1rII. When the sun’s above the horizon I plan point the Merrill’s and Quattro’s at the mountains, lakes and coastline. If we spot a whale offshore I’ll reach for the SD1. The Sony I plan to use as a general purpose travel camera, and, when the sun goes down, to take star trails and the Northern lights (if we’re lucky enough to see them).

If you want to be inspired by Lofoten the very best place to start is Cody Duncan’s website http://www.68north.com, a veritable mine of information alongside a set of beautiful inspiring images.

Now on with the packing!

What’s in The Bag

  • Sigma SD1
  • Sigma DP1 Merrill
  • Sigma DP3 Merrill
  • Sigma DP0 Quattro
  • Sigma 18-300mm
  • Sigma Close Up Lens
  • Sony RX1rII
  • B&W & Hayes ND filters
  • Induro CLT103 Tripod
  • Many spare batteries & memory cards
  • Red torch for night-time use
  • Silcon gel bags for removing moisture
  • Freezer bags for bringing cameras from cold to warm temperatures


Lochen na h-achlaise

Lochan-na-h-achlaise, Scotland

Rifling through past images to print for our last Leeds Artsmix market before Christmas I came across two photos of Lochan na h-Achliase, taken over five years ago with my trusty Nikon D700. I must have shot them to stitch together into a panoramic, but it’s taken me until now get around to it. Still, better late than never!

I loved one of images in its own right, and it was the subject of my 2nd ever wordpress post in 2013 (https://richardjwallsblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/lochan-na-h-achlaise/), but the two images combined together create something more powerful then each individual shot, and capture the true beauty and tranquility of the scene.

Shooting Notes 

Nikon D700, 1/80th second at f18, ISO 400


Profitis Ilias, Santorini

Two nights before we’d walked to the top of Profitis Ilias to watch the Sunset. In this panoramic, taken from Ancient Thera, it dominates the Island, the monastery balancing on the summit.

Profitis Ilias, Santorini | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Profitis Ilias, Santorini | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com

On the Path, Sunset looming, and still a way to go!

On the Path to Profitis Ilias, Santorini | Sigma Merrill DP3 | www.richardjwalls.com
On the Path to Profitis Ilias, Santorini | Sigma Merrill DP3 | http://www.richardjwalls.com

The sunset, worth the hike?

Santorini Sunset from Profiti Ilia
Santorini Sunset from Profiti Ilia | Sigma Merrill DP3 | http://www.richardjwalls.com

All pictures post processed using Lightroom.


Sigma Merrill DP3 – What A Steal!

Back in November I had my hands on a Sigma Merrill DP1 for 5 brief days before thieves broke into my hotel room in Slovenia and carried it, along with a brand new Fuji XE2, away across the border.

Fast forward to March 4th and I was sat drinking tea at the Photography show at the Birmingham NEC, a Merrill DP3 nestled in the bag at my feet, and at £299 surely a steal itself!

Despite the cameras short comings – of which there are many – that price for a Foveon sensor?!  The Quattro may be on its way, but who knows when or for how much … and optimised for noise,  and speed and battery performance, whether the IQ will match, at least at 100 iso and for B&W.

This camera, and its siblings the Merrill DP1 and DP2, may have by-past the majority, but history will record them as classics of their time, and to own a classic for £299, well, how can anyone resist.

Check out the test shots below, taken quickly, with a little post processing, and converted to B&W, and I challenge you to disagree!

Sigma DP3 Robot
Sigma Merrill DP3 – Crates
Sigma Merrill DP3 – Canal Lock
Sigma Merrill DP3 – Canal Lock
Sigma Merrill DP3 – Canal Lock
Sigma Merrill DP3 – Warehouse
Sigma Merrill DP3 – Canal Lock
Sigma Merrill DP3 – Canal Lock
Sigma Merrill DP3 – Clock

Yorkshire Dales Waterfalls

Catrigg Force and Hardraw Force

Catrigg Force, Sony RX1

Rain! It had rained all weekend. It had rained all year. Land full to bursting; rivers invading the surrounding fields …

… and it was raining again as we walked, forcing us to dance past puddles that blocked our way to the falls.

Rounding the bend we were met first by the roar, then the mist, then Catrigg Force itself in full spate, an awe inspiring sight.

The next day, twenty miles to the North, and still raining, we left the warmth of the Green Dragon Inn, heading up the path to Hardraw Foss. The thunder and force of the scene was truly magical!

The images below were taken with the Sony RX1. The camera’s not weather sealed so a combination of rain and spray is not its natural environment!

… But the falls drew me in, wiping rain from lens after each shot; retreating to dry the camera every few minutes; retreating to dry myself after I was done.

Back at the Green Dragon, coats and dog slowly steaming by the fire, drink in hand; it was still raining outside but who cares!

Richard Walls Landscape & Cityscape Photography @www.richardjwalls.com

Catrigg Force. Sony RX1
Catrigg Force, Sony RX1
Catrigg Force, Sony RX1
Catrigg Force, Sony RX1
Hardraw Foss, Sony RX1
Hardraw Force, Sony RX1
Hardraw Foss, Sony RX1
Hardraw Force, Sony RX1
Hardraw Force, Sony RX1
Hardraw Force, Sony RX1
Hardraw Force, Sony RX1
Hardraw Force, Sony RX1
Green Dragon Inn, Hardraw Force, Sony RX1
Green Dragon Inn, Hardraw Force, Sony RX1
The Green Dragon, Hardraw Force, Sony RX1
The Green Dragon Inn, Hardraw Force, Sony RX1

Sony RX1 Picture Effects – Ljubljana

ImageOk, so it’s not for purists, but sat on a flight home from Slovenia, minus laptop, books or newspapers, I started playing with the RX1 picture effects.

On the small screen it was difficult to see the results, but back at home I have to say they look pretty cool, and in some instances are more in tune with the original idea of the image than the RAW file, having simplified them down to their essential elements.

I’m sure other post processing software will do an equally good job, but this did help to pass an hour on the flight. Hope you enjoy!ImageImageImageImageImage – LImage_DSC3224 _DSC3226 _DSC3227