MPP Lightsaber Darth Vader


MPP Lightsaber Darth Vader

MPP Lightsaber sold.

MPP Lightsaber ?    –  We  thought it was an MPP flashgun !

Having owned a 3 cell  MPP flashgun for a long time; we sold it recently
It ‘s a very rare collectors item from the 1950s.

It was purchased due to its colossal flash output from expendable giant flash bulbs.
These flash bulbs are about the same size as the old fashioned UK  150W  light bulbs.

Sadly interest in it wasn’t solely due to its rarity as a photographic icon.

Surprisingly interest in it was because one was used to make Darth Vaders lightsaber in the Star Wars movies.
This genuine vintage MPP lightsaber was made from chromed brass.

MPP Microflash handle  -see next photo of the complete flashgun
MPP Lightsaber as used by Darth Vader in Star Wars (Copyright)

For Star Wars the flashbulb reflector (shown below) was ditched

 (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)

Star Wars creator George Lucas was shown the complete MPP flashgun as an initial concept for the lightsaber.   He is reported to have immediately realised the potential of using the flash handle on its own.

The old flashgun handle from the 1950s thus became the modern Star Wars Lightsaber.

The long handle was used to house 3 battery cells which ignited fine wires contained in the expendable flash bulb.
The flashbulbs  sometimes exploded when they were ignited, so later ones had a plastic coating to contain the glass.
Exploding flashbulbs could cause serious injuries, which is one of the reasons they are seldom used today.

Wiser photographers used a thick leather glove to insert the bulbs into the flashgun.   This was for a very good reason – the bulb could ignite upon insertion and weld itself to your hand.
Photographers of the era often had holes burnt in their pockets after picking up hot expended flash bulbs.

MPP ( or M.P.P. ) stands for Micro Precision Products.  London based MPP were manufacturers of 5×4″ large format film cameras.  Some of the MPP cameras were based upon Graflex parts imported from America.
This flashgun was designed to attach to field cameras like the MPP Micropress.
Hence it was sometimes called an MPP microflash – but it wasn’t small.  The handle alone (with the included flash reflector removed) is approx 30cm (11 1/2 inches) long.

Bill Bagshaw Photography Courses                  Pre University Photography Course                   Royal Deeside

Bill Bagshaw has been a Staff Photographer for multi national companies, won photographic awards, lectured extensively to full time professional photography students, and had his work published worldwide.

Business end of the MPP Lightsaber.   Length is approx 30cm (11 1/2 inches) (without the flash reflector).

Make Darth Vader lightsaber out off MPP 3 cell flashgun (Copyright Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams/copyright)

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Ballater Caravan Park Reopens


Ballater Caravan Park Reopens

Ballater Caravan Park Reopens for the 2016 holiday season
Ballater Caravan Park is back in business.  Major improvements include a refurbished toilet block, a new campers pergola, and a brand new play park for the kids.

The Park now has 40 brand new pitches for touring caravans, or camper vans.
There is also of course room for campers tents.

All the 40 new pitches have been rewired and re-turfed to make bigger and better pitches than before.

Ballater Caravan Site puts out the welcome mat for caravanners
Ballater Caravan Park Reopens after flood damage with 40 brand new pitches for touring caravans and camper vans. Ballater Caravan Site also accepts tens. (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)

Photos copyright Bill Bagshaw Photography Courses, Royal Deeside


H M Sheridan Butchers reopens in Ballater


H M Sheridan Butchers reopens in Ballater

H M Sheridan butchers fly the flag for Ballater, having reopened after flood damage.
Sheridans was fully open in time for Easter 2016.

Ballater High Street comes back to life, led by Sheridans reopening.

H.M. Sheridan butchers by royal appointment, Ballater, Royal Deeside, Scotland. Copyright dsider whats on Royal Deeside guide, photography courses Ballater. Photography by Bill Bagshaw. (Bill Bagshaw & Martin Williams/Bill Bagshaw,

Sheridans is a butcher by appointment to Her Majesty The Queen.

The old H M  Sheridan car on display at nearby Balmoral Castle.

Vintage car originally owned by Ballater butcher on display at Balmoral Castle. A royal carriage can be seen in the background. dsider whats on Royal Deeside, photography courses Ballater, Photography by Bill Bagshaw (Bill Bagshaw & Martin Williams/Bill Bagshaw,


See Ballater Village page


Cairnwell Chair Lift Glenshee


Cairnwell Chair Lift Glenshee

Cairnwell Chair Lift re-opens at Glenshee as a triple.
The old single seater chairlift at Glenshee has been replaced with a French made triple chair.
The old chairlift was closed whilst the chairs were auctioned off, with proceeds going to charity.

The new triple chair is now fully operational, giving additional uplift to red and black runs.
A specialist Austrian helicopter pilot aided the pylon installation during the summer.
The new chair was made by Poma, and will help to minimise queues at busy times.

Three Skiers unloading from the top of CairnwellUnloading from new 3 man chairlift at the top of Cairnwell Glenshee (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)
Snowboarders getting onto the new 3 man chair

New Cairnwell Chairlift at Glenshee (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)

Unloading point at top of  3 man chair

Turning left off the chair sends you down the famous Tiger black run (experts only).
Turning right off the chair gives you the choice of several red runs.
The Tiger is a steep black run which is usually strewn with moguls.

Top of the Cairnwell 3 man chair where skiers and snowboarders unload (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)

Photos copyright Bill Bagshaw photography courses

The Cairnwell Munro tops out at 933m and is the limit of the ski area
The triple chair does not access beginner slopes.

The Glenshees ski area boundary stops at the summit of The Cairnwell Munro, at a height of 933m. (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)

Chairlift signage

New Cairnwell Chair lift sign at Glenshee ski and snowboard centre (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)

A walker descends from a trip up the three man chair

A walker descends from a round trip up Cairnwell chairlift at Glenshee. (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)Photos copyright Bill Bagshaw photography courses

Ballater Floods


Ballater Floods wreak havoc on 30th December 2015.

Unprecedented  Ballater floods caused householders to be evacuated.
Many residents lost everything they had, and were forced into temporary accommodation.

Flood donations were  made at Hope Floats Deeside Flood Response Network, which has now been taken over by The Round Table.
Washed up car Ballater floods, with wheely bins trapped underneath by flooding (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)Caravans were tossed around by the floods and washed downstream, smashing into houses, and the Ballater Bridge.

Ballater floods smash caravans into houses. A caravan came to rest upon other ones which had already smashed into houses during the flooding. (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)

Roads were badly damaged, and  emergency services called in.

Cambus O May suspension bridge was submerged and badly damaged by flood debris, leaving a large bend at mid span with many planks missing.

Cambus O May Suspension Bridge flood damage. Flood debris has badly damaged Cambus O May suspension bridge, which is bent in the middle. (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)

Remains of the green caravan that hit Ballater bridge

Remains of green caravan which hit Ballater bridge. The caravan was wrapped around the bridge after hitting it during the floodING. (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)

The Caravan site sustained massive damage.

Pile of smashed caravans washed up by Ballater flooding (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)

Reflection on a dark day

Reflection on a dark day. Ballater flooding 2015. Washed up caravan reflected in flood water (Bill Bagshaw/M. Williams)