LNDNWLK 2.0

I recently attending a workshop and meet up of like minded individuals in London. The day was hosted by  Johnny Patience and his wife Rebecca. It was not only a great chance to learn but also to meet people I knew of from the internet (Stranger Danger). We all met for a workshop in the morning at Stephen Bartels Gallery  and were treated to not only goodies from Kodak but  Richards Photo Lab

08600018For the next hour Johnny talked us through his theory on film photography and his image methodology. This was very well pitched as the audience was made up of great photographers and there was little point teaching someones granny to suck eggs. I found it really worthwhile and made me take my approach to photography more seriously. This is not a bad thing, it is still enjoyable but you take time out to learn what you have done wrong and right. Also it was great to hear terms you may not have properly understood taken apart and clarified.

08600004-2We then were treated to a private viewing in the gallery. This was particularly interesting as it prompted people to discuss what they liked and didn’t like in a photo. Stephen was particularly charming and was eager to teach us more about the art market.

08600007After some refreshments we were joined by more photographers and descended on London armed with all kinds of cameras. Basically we were a muggers dream with the amount of red dots and MF gear. There was a lot of GAS going on.

08600009I found it tricky to shoot when conversation was flowing. It was a pleasure to speak to people and not be limited by characters. It was also good to observe peoples shooting stances, there was a lot of great poses going on! It was evident that everyone shoots at different rates and different angles. It was surprising to see what some people would consider a worthwhile shot and what others don’t.

08600017I am finding myself drawn into street photography more and more and this was a nice excuse to try my hand and also the safety in numbers factor helped. I was fairly pleased with my results (developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab) considering I only shot 28 shots.

0860001508600014-1I was really pushing myself to get closer. Not an easy task with a 50mm lens.  I could feeling myself gaining in confidence after being surrounded by professionals. It was interesting to chat to everyone and what support network they have in terms of photography. Many only have twitter as an outlet for geeking out about photography so it was not only great for us but presumably our partners.

08600008Thank you to all involved for making it such a great day and I look forward to LNDNWLK 3.0

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S.K.Y.E

After promising in a previous post to update this blog more often, I failed at the first hurdle. I had some great material to post about too!

A life long friend and fellow photographer Jake Dypka and I had decided to take a trip away to get the most out of relatively newly acquired Leica M6’s and a Hassy. We went through many possible locations, a lot of the time being beaten by cost or time. We could really only afford a long weekend.  Although Norway was top on want list, to get far enough away to get lost wouldn’t have left enough time.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHWe decided on the magical Isle of Skye, I had recently watched a documentary about a pro landscape photographer who loved Skye. Jake was sold as soon as I mentioned it as he knew it from its featuring in many films such as Prometheus and the Highlander.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHWe flew to Inveness and drove the 3 hour trip to Portree, the largest “town” on Skye. Neither of us were prepared for that drive. I think it took us nearer 5 hours after the amount of admiration stops we had to take.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHWe circumnavigated Loch Ness and drove through the most stunning natural mountain range I have seen.  I had to keep switching between driving like I was on a rally track (so much fun) and looking out of the window at the sun soaked beauty. I defy anyone to do this drive on a sunny day whilst listening to The War on Drugs’s album and not feel moved.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHWe stayed in a basic but adequate harbour hostel which you could have felt was over priced but they have a very captive audience. Jake and I were there to make the most of our adventure and time in the hostel was going to be at a minimum so we just went cheap.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHEverywhere we went on Skye was 1. like a rally track and 2. mind blowingly beautiful. It gets a bit ridiculous. Our first morning saw us drive north (there are really only two roads on Skye) we really wanted to get out and discover rather than stopping at the hot spots.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHWe couldn’t resist pulling over at this beautiful lake with the Old Mann of Storr behind it. As we were reflecting and snapping a coach pulled up out of nowhere and around 50 asian tourists came out taking pictures of everything on apple products.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHJake clambered up the hill after them not so subtly taking their pictures whilst I stood and chatted to the burly coach driver who was dressed in full scott’s attire.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHWe jumped back in the car and drove on to a look out point where the plan was to ditch the car and go exploring. As we unloaded the car our coach load of oriental friends pulled up so we decided to go up and over rather than along. A plan which allowed us onto a beach I doubt many venture on to but also cut off our options for a long walk. Instead we were left with little choice but to climb back up.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHOnce we scaled back up the cliff (easier on the way down than on the way up!) we jumped back in the car and soon past a little corner shop. It was about breakfast time and as Jake and I had been so excited to get out we had packed everything our cameras would need but forgot about our stomachs. We stocked up on non nutritious snacks and the most delicious machine coffee I’ve ever had.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHAfter a short drive (still the same road) we came across the most amazing mountain ridge and we knew this was where we could finally get our long walk. The best walks are the ones without paths.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHThe weather was beautiful the company was great and I was loving my M6. It’s such a delight to use, it feels hardy so at the various climbs we had to do I had no real concern over it maybe bashing the odd bush/tree/rock.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHOnce on top of the ridgeway the view was just stunning, you could see so many lakes and the coast and well just nature bathed in the finest golden light.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHWe had to sit down and behold what was before us whilst enjoying our delicious snacks!

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHAfter an long walk we drove back to portree listening to this whilst the sun was setting and a Golden Eagle flew by the side of our car for a couple of fleeting moments. Yes I know this sounds all a bit “broke back” as my wife called it but it really did cap off a wonderful day.Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHDay two had a bit more of a jaded start (the previous nights whiskies didn’t help) we decided to head north again and go to the touch the Old Man of Storr. (Not helping this Brokeback image I know)

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHI have a thing about wanting to physically be on or touch something to truely say I have been there or experienced it. The day started off a bit more cloudy but I was more than happy that we had yesterdays sun and was prepared for the eventuality of the scottish showers.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHThe storr as wikipedia says is

The Storr (Scottish Gaelic: An Stòr)[1] is a rocky hill on the Trotternishpeninsula of the Isle of Skye. The hill presents a steep rocky eastern face overlooking the Sound of Raasay, contrasting with gentler grassy slopes to the west.

 

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHThe walk up to the old man was through a devastated forest (not a tree stood any more) it was a conservation project to bring back native species of tree. It made for a really eerie view.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHLook up and you see the Old Mann being wrapped in floating menacing clouds, look down and you see miles of broken trees, lakes and eventually the coast.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHWe chose an awful path to reach the Old Mann, we realised when we climbed up a particularly steep slippery set of rocks to see an old American couple walking above us who had taken the clearly defined path to our west. Undeterred we carried on and eventually got to sit below the strange rock formation.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHIn the afternoon we decided to head South and climb a mountain which overlooks portree harbour and the Black Cullin volcano range. Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHI was knackered already and to be fair if it wasn’t for Jake I think I may have given up before we reached the top. The view was worth it though.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHThere really was something great about shooting film over this weekend, it meant we weren’t forever scrolling through our pics, editing at night.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHWe weren’t reading the postcard before we sent it. We were exploring.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHIf you have the opportunity, go to Skye. Yes it’s great to take photos but it’s part of the British Isle’s heritage. Some of the plantlife is from the ice age.You don’t have to be a geologist to be blown away by the rocks or an artist to want to capture the views. Just go and experience.

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You will most of my pictures have Jake in them, I don’t see myself as a landscape photographer and the 50mm summicron I had didn’t lend itself to making me one. As much as I like a lot of landscape shots for my own style I prefer people being in them.

 

 

Boxing

A couple of my friends were due to have their first fight in a fundraising boxing match and I have recently purchased a Hasselblad 500cm so thought I would try my hand at shooting the fight. ImageTrouble with shooting a boxing match are its dark and fast. Not great combos to try and shoot but I thought I’d give it a go.

I wanted to shoot black and white as I wanted to make it look old school and having not been to the venue before it could be more flattering.

ImageI didn’t make it to the shop in time to buy some Delta 3200 but after tweeting a couple of people (thanks guys) I was confident that Delta 400 could be pushed. This would produce lots of grain but would at least allow me to shoot.

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Shooting medium format was both a joy and a pain. Looking at the fight through the viewfinder was just beautiful, trying to track two fast moving fighters and focus was ridiculously hard.

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It seemed any time I had a nicely framed shot, the leg of the referee would step into view!

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Fairly happy with the shots I got, was a good challenging experience and I’m confident I could do better next time. I was suprised how nice the judges were when I asked to crouch by them so I could get close to the ring. The official photographer for the night was a really nice guy (who got some great shots) and was loving my Hasselblad!

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All in all a good night, both my friends won and the shots were at least exposed correctly.

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Devon

I’ve recently come back from a lovely weeks holiday down to Devon. We stayed at a great park in between Brixham and Paignton.

CNV00014I was taken on holiday to Brixham when I was a child so it was fitting I take my daughter on her first holiday to Brixham. In the Middle Ages, Brixham was the largest fishing port in the south-west of England. Known as the ‘Mother of Deep-Sea Fisheries’, its boats helped to establish the fishing industries of Hull, Grimsby and Lowestoft. In the 1890s, there were about 300 trawling vessels in Brixham, most individually owned. The trawlers can still be seen coming in and out of the harbour, followed by flocks of seagulls. . The modern boats are diesel-driven, but several of the old sailing trawlers have been preserved. To visit a harbour steeped in fishing heritage and not eat any fish is sacrilege but neither of us eat fish.

CNV00019 CNV00021Paignton the next nearest town is more on the side of tacky seaside resort, it seems like you step back into the 80’s with the fashion and decor. Its claim to fame was to have Europe’s oldest man made cinema. Paignton also has Kents Caverns which is one of the most important stone age sites in Europe. The caves have been excavated for many years and they have found a 41,000 year old jawbone, the oldest human fossil found in Britain.

CNV00003 CNV00005I would thoroughly recommend a visit to anywhere in Devon, especially Brixham and Paignton. It is a beautiful stretch of the coast, steeped in history, great food and part of British culture. I think its depressing to think many children are brought up exploring other peoples countries more than their own.

The weather was very kind to us which is great because I had only packed some portra 400. Without really being comfortable with my meterless M4 yet, I decided to take my reliable OM1.

CNV00016 CNV00033The irritating part of deciding to take my OM1 is that it seems it now has a light leak which you can see from the pictures. I have been reliably informed it is a fix I can attempt myself, my luck with cameras just seems to be getting worse.

The bad luck doesn’t end there, when I took my rolls of portra to the lab I mistakenly took a fresh roll which they processed (without questioning why the leader was out). When I went to pick it up they made me think I hadn’t loaded the film correctly (this has been done before too) however after a frantic search of my fridge I found the exposed roll.

999862_10153235000955150_68808538_nThis is the problem with film, or rather my problem with film. If I had of ruined/lost a roll not only is it the money wasted but more importantly the recorded memories gone.

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Catch up

Apologies I appear to have completely stopped blogging. I’m not sure how to get you all up to date in a suitable way so I’m just going to give you the jist and then normal service will resume.

1. I became a father. Shes beautiful and will be the subject of many of my photos from now on.

485485_10152803144650150_1765418924_n2. I bought a leica. An m4 to be precise. This was my present to myself as I realised I wouldn’t have any spare cash for a while (see post 1) I got a Zeiss Biogon 35mm f2 with it. This was a proper indulgence and I promise I won’t turn into a leicawanker but its an investment and the best tool for my hobby.

Leica_M4_with_curved_lever3. I went to Germany for work, I took my Olympus OM1 to take some long exposures as it has an awesome bridge and cathedral. Long story short the camera fell whilst attached to the tripod and that was the end of the camera.

Cologne-Cathedral4. I bought a mint condition black Olympus OM1. Got a great rate and service from the finder and enthusiast that is Dave Lam. If you have any questions about seemingly anything to do with film photography or want to find a camera give him a tweet.

BRU-INtCAAAO72E5. I really enjoyed my Lubitel but it was limiting and the lens wasn’t great so I purchased a Yashica D. It arrived around the same time as I became a father and winter so I didn’t use it for a while and when I did I found it was broken. (Thanks Ffordes photographic) However I managed to fix it and its ready to roll again once I reskin it.

yashica-d6. The football shoot went really well. It was challenging trying to focus and use the floodlights. I had to sign all rights away however as the game images are all owned by Brighton & Hove Albion but here’s one of the crowd which I’m sure I can sneak in.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHThat pretty much brings us up to date. I have been reading a lot and admiring a lot of photographers work which has inspired me even when I haven’t been shooting much. Hopefully I have a lot more posts to come.

 

Football Analogue Experiment

I have managed to blag myself a temporary press pass to shoot a football game at Brighton & Hove Albion’s ground, The Amex. It has taken quite a few emails, proof of work, a friend who works for the club and £2m professional indemnity insurance to allow them to let me shoot a game. That’s not the end of the hoops as the club have had to apply for a temporary license for me as the image rights are all owned by presumably sky and the club.

I am really excited for this opportunity. I am an amateur photographer so money is not something that drives me. Its projects like this that keeps me interested.

The game I am shooting will be a Tuesday night game so I will be shooting using artificial lights. I am limited by a number of factors. Sports these days are shot entirely on digital with massive fast lenses.

The equipment I will be using will be my Olympus OM1, I have a 50mm lens on it which won’t be suitable for this so I have purchased a 135mm F3.5 zuiko lens from ebay. Ideally I would be using a F2.8 but the price rise is drastic. I will also be using a Lubitel 166 and a Zenit E.

This was taken on my Olympus OM1 using expired 200 kodal gold film. You can see the lights worked well and the position of a photographer. No problem for a digital long lens but still a hefty range for my 135mm lens.

As the distances my cameras can reach are minimal a lot of this will come down to luck, right place right time. All I can do is make sure I have done my homework and selected the right equipment to use.

I will have the Olympus mounted on a tripod , the zenit E for a hopeful goal celebration right in front of me and the lubitel for crowd reactions.

What I am struggling with is what film to use. This is really important. I do not want to match or replicate digital photos. It has to have that analogue feel to it. It needs to be a fast speed for film. Maybe I should use black and white rather than colour? I am considering using Portra 800 as this should be fast enough to cope with the artificial lighting.

I tweeted Ilford and they said “The HP5+ left at 400 will give you the most leeway with your exposure, push to 800 if floodlit”

I also tweeted my UK analogue crew. Check these guys out, they regularly produce work I can only hope to achieve one day

@IainKendall “B&W. delta 400 would have fine grain…but I love the Delta range.”

@sibokku hp5plus 400 pushed to 800/1600. When dev’d properly it should look nice but a wee bit grainy

@AdamBronkhorst something fast. If your shooting black and white, go for a fuji 1600, if your shooting colour go for as fast as you can get,

@RobOrchard   or there’s Kodak portra 800, too. I’ve still got some FujiPro 800 in the fridge that I’m saving for a rainy day.

So anyone want to recommend anything? Any tips before I go? I have not shot sports before and have read various websites. I am limited in the equipment I have, the quickness of the camera, the amount of shots I can take before reloading, my skill and knowledge and to cap all that it may be a dull game and nothing of interest happens!

There is a lot that could go wrong but likewise this could be a great experiment.

 

Olympic Games, London 2012

I think it’s fair to say the London Olympic games gripped the world. In the lead up to the games the media were concentrating on complaints, money being spent, contractors not fulfilling obligations, traffic problems. However from the opening ceremony to the closing day the world was transfixed to the Olympic Games.

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I will admit I was not exactly fussed with the games until it all started. Early on in the games I found archery, a sport I had previously no interest in, enthralling. I think this happened with a lot of people, finding a sport they barely knew the rules for, absolutely unmissable. Productivity must have taken a massive down turn as the BBC were providing great live footage for your Olympic fix at work.

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It was a massive soap opera unfolding, twists and turns, drama and dilemmas. It was great to see the people get behind their nations. There was something special about these athletes. We are used to over payed mega stars not giving their all unless everything went their way.

ImageThese teams were ordinary people with passion, pride and talent. The Olympians are the best we can do and when that athlete produces the best they can do on the day its incredible to watch. Imagine working ridiculously hard through horrendous conditions with poor funding for a race that lasts 1 minute, or 3 jumps?

ImageWe tried and failed to get any reasonably priced tickets so we decided to make the trip up to London on the last day to watch the marathon. Not the best of spectator sports but at least we were there and the atmosphere around London was alive.

ImageI wanted to take some nice pictures to try and capture some of the spirit of the Olympics but realised I was never going to get close enough to the action. I decided to cheat a bit. I had seen a technique of taking bokeh layered photos by taking a photo of light on a computer first then double exposing them with your image. Slightly unimaginative but I have seen some nice results.

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I decided to replicate this process but taking photos of the athletes instead and layering them over London landmarks. I scoured the internet and downloaded the best images on to a wide screen tv. I then sat there and took the photos of the images (getting strange looks from my wife) on my Olympus OM1. I used Kodak Elitechrome. I then rewound the film, loaded in an Olympus Trip and headed to London with @LucyWelland and met up with @Dypka and @Misslucybridger and strolled the sites.

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Even though the technique is cheating as I’m ripping off someone else’s images I was happy with the results.