Noir

I have always been drawn to dark images, I like strong definition. I keep going back to night photography not just because of its stark beauty but partly because I have little free time and most of it is during the hours of darkness. People get scared of the dark, it gives a strong emotion much like the warmth of the suns rays or early morning mist in an image.

B62futLCQAA7meHI’m no stranger to long exposures, I’ve dabbled in various forms of light painting before but recently I have been really trying to do more scripted work. My Hasselblad lends itself beautifully to this. If you think shooting medium format slows you down, try shooting it at night! Sometimes you are struggling to see anything through the viewfinder.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHI think my wife has thought me mad to leave the nice warm house late at night. To be honest I’ve pushed myself to do it because I know I really enjoy the results.

Night shooting has a different set of rules, strange people come out at night (you’re one of them) I’ve been shooting in fairly remote places so it’s important you do consider the dangers. You have time to do this whilst shooting long exposures, once you’ve fired the shutter you could be waiting an hour to release it.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHPeople I have seen whilst night shooting fall into these categories, boy racers, midnight lovers (doggers), kids out smoking weed and tramps. These people can be intimidating however once I imagined what I looked like (hood up, head torch, staring into the distance, by myself) I look fairly intimidating. I wouldn’t approach me, none of them have. Just remember a sturdy tripod can be used for more than stabilising your camera.

photo(12)Since posting a couple of night images I’ve been asked what settings and how long I’ve been exposing the image. There is a lot of information online about this and all of it contradicts itself. I’ve been emailing Andy Martin about this (check his night and wetplate work) his responses have been brilliant. It is also the same way I shall reply, its important you figure it out yourself. Night time is not just black, you get clouds, you get different moons, you get street light, you get shadows. It’s impossible to apply a sunny16 rule to it. In some scenes 15 seconds will make virtually no difference but in others it can be massive. It also scripts if you want clean images or concentrate on astrology.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHGo out, experiment and be safe.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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