Hexham Abbey | PT.II | 35Chronicle

35mm, black & white, Indoor, photography, structures

A Little More Light-Play | Pushing the Ricoh GR

IV | Ricoh GR 1/10th [H/H] – f3.5 – ISO:3200 – 35mm Internal Crop

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This little camera never, ever fails to astound me. After all I wrote about it [here] there was still one aspect of it that I never properly tried out. As a rule, I have seldom, if ever – shot at equivalent film-speeds of faster than ISO: 1600; not on any camera and certainly not seriously (save for occasionally with the incredible Nikon offering, the Df, which is  a whole different beast altogether). However, when the light drops and one finds oneself tripodless (say, through poor preparation, perhaps) the only way to get the shot, sometimes, is to bump up the ISO and, without anywhere suitable to rest my GR during the making of these frames, handheld was the only way to go. 1600 wasn’t cutting it as, even with reasonably steady hands and good stance, most of the frames were just coming out a little too soft due to that smidgen of camera movement.  Therefore, 3200 was the only way to get them. Without realising it, I was on a test mission after which I would find myself thoroughly delighted. My initial thoughts were simply that it’d be better to get the shots than not. 

V | Ricoh GR 1/10th [H/H] – f2.8 – ISO:3200 – 35mm Internal Crop

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I’ve always enjoyed the grain that appears in the GR’s images, especially at around 800-1600; it’s light, almost organic in appearance and lends a feel to a composition that instead of destroying it or breaking it up, actually appears to add more warmth and cohesion instead. To me, it harks back to when I used to enjoy shooting Ilford HP5 on an old ME Super, all those years ago – and to be honest, on most occasions, grain is such an integral part of the frame that I rarely even see it; and that’s exactly what happened here when I started editing these shots. I couldn’t even see it. You’d be forgiven for thinking that these have all undergone a major repertoire during processing but in truth, I really don’t enjoy spending too long in LR and so, these are very lightly processed and NR hasn’t even been touched. Exposures are a breeze and accurate with the GR and after having shot with it for so many years, I’m fortunate to be able to feel like it’s really an extension of my hand and, it has seldom let me down. Whilst for some types of composition, clean, pristine is more desirable – it’s not always what I’m looking for and I am moving quickly away from the ‘keeping it sharp and clean’ school of thought. Insosaying, if the light is good, I’ll be happy come what may. I think that no longer being pointlessly critical is going to open up a whole new wave of ideas that I am already very keen to exploit. It doesn’t just do it in black and white, either; colour frames come up pretty nice too!


As always, thank you so much for reading my pages and I do hope you’ll enjoy these few captures of Hexham’s gorgeous abbey. [PT.I can be viewed here].


VI | Ricoh GR 1/45th [H/H] – f2.8 – ISO:3200 – 35mm Internal Crop

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6 thoughts on “Hexham Abbey | PT.II | 35Chronicle

  1. Wonderful second part. Praise the GR 😉
    It is my approach too, to use higher ISO under these lighting conditions and the GR has never let me down. It is not that welcome, using a tripod in those locations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reinhold, great to hear from you again and thank you for your kind comments. Yes, you are right, it can be awkward to set up with a tripod and not very inconspicuous. I’m not religious but even I can feel the respect such places deserve. I was very happy to have come away with these shots. Best, Rob.


    1. Hi Kevin. Thank you! Yes we did indeed. Spoke to Ed, one of the custodians, who told us they’d actually had a mass in the crypt the week before, which must have sounded stunning from inside the abbey itself. Sadly though, for me, no shots worth grabbing down there. Fabulous amount of history though! Great to hear from you, K. Best, Rob


    1. Hi Brian! Yes, your subjects would suffer somewhat, which only amplifies how much goes into your shots. With pitted walls and plenty of shadows though, I’ve realised these are just fine subjects for higher ISO as, much of the grain seems to disappear. But then again, even at normal viewing distances, it’d be hard to see it. I remember my shots from Edinburgh in December, some 3200 street frames came up just lovely.. because the light was great. That’s all it takes. Oh, and proper exposures too of course. Let’s not forget camera craft! 😁 🤪 Have a fabulous weekend too, B! Great to hear from you again! Best, Rob 🙏 📷

      Liked by 1 person

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