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.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

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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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.

National Trust Oast House

I have recently come back from a lovely weekend staying in an Oast House in Worcestershire.

It was a really lovely weekend and probably the first of the actually warm weekends we have had in Britain so far this year.

I was really looking forward to seeing my neices and playing out side in the wild! It was great fun.

I thought I would share some of the shots with you. I used my Olympus OM1 loaded with Kodak Ektachrome film and cross processed it.

This was the farmers house which was nearby.This was the nearby farmers house.

My Neice on the viewers right and her friend.

Three generations! My mum and my sister and my two neices.

My neices.Harriet is a real girly girl whilst Ruby (with the stick) is a big Tomboy and helped me climb trees.

The girls scared the hell out of the cows.

It was such a nice weekend and very cheap. You can hire most of the National Trust properties. Details of this house are here

Im not sure where the reddish tint came from in these photos. Thats the beauty of using slide film I guess! You can see the rest of the photos from the weekend here

Sorry this is such a short rushed post. I kept meaning to write it all up and got very busy!

Lomography Swap Shop!

I have in my possession a brand new, in box, Coloursplash Lomography camera. It is the snazzy looking chakras edition and comes with a great book, film and a cardboard box (perfect for making a hat with).

You can take some awesome shots with this camera.

This sleek Lomographic camera will re-cast your world with a gorgeous riot of color. Its patented colorwheel system puts several tinted flash filters at your finger tips for instant selection; with an additional 9 filters included to exchange. Just select your color, put it in front of your flash, and fire a burst of colored light at your subject! Long exposure capability creates dreamy streaked backgrounds behind crisp, color-flashed foregrounds.

This special limited edition has been customized by Staple Design with a rubberized surface and Staple’s signature pigeon graphics. Inspired by the ubiquitous bird of New York City (and countless other urban locales), this special edition is outfitted in a slick grey & red color scheme. It uses regular 35mm film that can be developed anywhere.

The camera retails for £69.99 and it can be yours for a swap! What I would like you guys to do is…

Step 1. Comment below telling me what you would like to swap this camera for and why I should swap with you.

Step 2. Sign up to the email service for this blog so I can let you all know when a new post is published. (Your details will not be passed on to any other people)

Step 3. Tweet ” I have entered the swapshop competition for a #lomography camera at https://tomwelland.wordpress.com/ @tomwelland ”

If you don’t have a twitter account, you should get one, its fun. I guess you could maybe blog or facebook it but you will need to post me a link or screen grab of you saying it.

The swap shop will be open from now until the 1st April 2012 and a winner will be picked in early April. I will pay for the postage to get the camera to you but likewise you will be expected to pay for the postage of whatever you swap to me! I am based in the UK but will happily post overseas.

Please do not think this swap is all about monetary value or that I am after something specific, I want to see all kinds of suggestions. It could be anything from a left footed flip-flop once worn by Winston Churchill to a pigeon’s toupee and everything in between.

Good luck, everyone is in with a chance and I hope the camera goes to someone who really wants it.

HRH

Dishwashed Film

I have long been an admirer of distressed film techniques. There are various ways of distressing film such as dishwashing, soaking in salt water, silicon gel, rice. All can lead to great shots but what I love is that it is a massive experiment and the results are bespoke and unknown. You cannot guarantee what results you will get as you are playing with the chemical balance of the film and the reaction will be different each time.

I have recently purchased an Olympus OM1 and I decided the first roll to go through this awesome camera would be a distressed film. There are a number of people who have written about these techniques with deliberately misleading information and missing out vital steps. I had tried this technique before without success due to following someones recipe who thought it was clever to not tell people the full story. Analogue is not always a great community, some people do not want you to succeed contrary to what some marketing schemes would have you believe.

So here it is the Dishwashed Soup Technique (DST).

1. Get a film, any film would work but remember what you are going to shoot with it and in what camera and adjust your speed and type accordingly. From what I have seen they will come out darker than what you would if shooting without DST.

2. Load into your dishwasher! Take it out of its canister and its best to load it into a cutlery tray to avoid it flying about.

2. Once finished leave the film for a couple of days to relax. Somewhere nice and dry and out of the sun unless you wish to distress the film even more. The reason for leaving it to relax is because step 3 is applying a lot of heat and that may just tip the chemical reaction over the edge.

3.  Find yourself dark room and a hairdryer. You will need to pull the unexposed film out of the can and carefully dry it. Use nice big sweeping motions to avoid prolonged heat contact. When you pull the sticky film out I found it curls up a lot so a top tip is to attach a clothes peg to the end of the film, this will keep it nice and straight.

4. Shoot it.

I knew that with this film it’s not great for creating detail so I wanted to try to shoot some shapes. So I rang up another aspiring photographer, Mike and asked if he fancied coming on a photo walk through the countryside. We decided upon a nice 10 mile walk in Lower Crawley following an old disused railway line. The route is called Worth Way and I highly recommend it. Details of the route can be found here. Mike  (@Mikey_AbsentElk) was great company and walked at a good pace which was nice as I like to walk fast! He was shooting digital but don’t hold it against him. We saw wild deer, llamas, pigs, pheasants, squirrels, pigs and various birds. Was all going swimmingly until we met the main road and didn’t know the right way to go so asked an old lady which way. She pointed us in the (wrong) direction. It started raining. We walked about a mile down a really busy 50mph road which was a bit sketchy. After deciding the old lady had sold us up the garden path we turned round and did the mile again. We decided to escape the rain and headed to the nearest pub to sample the local ale. (God I’m old).

So here are some of my results from that day. If Mike is kind enough I will show you some of his shots later.

Would appreciate any feedback on the shots. I know they are not everyone’s cup of tea. The rest of the shots can be viewed on my flickr page. A word to the wise putting these types of film through a commercial lab is naughty. It can ruin their chemicals so either ask permission and be prepared to be shot down, send it away to a mass lab or give it to a lab you are not fussed about using again. I won’t disclose where I got these developed.