Archive for September, 2008


There’s two six o’clocks in a day!?

September 22, 2008

Who knew?

So an early start today, had to be on the shores of Wast Water in Wasdale, in the Western Lake District for 9:00am to snap Richard Nankivell, and tho’ it didn’t rain it was quite an overcast sky which didn’t really lend itself to the being the month of May!

Yah-boo sucks to the lot of you!

Yah-boo sucks to the lot of you!

But with some flash work and a bit of Photoshop, I think the results will be great …

Then from Wasdale it was up to Allonby (via the cafe in Morrisons at Workington for breakfast) to get Richard Corrie playing on the beach, building sandcastles and generally having fun in the sun – shame there wasn’t any sun and it was so bl***y cold too. But after an hour of snapping, I think we got something that’ll work.

Downside is that I’m still a flash down, and probably will be for quite a while, which made balancing the light a bit harder and my “poverty wizards” have gone haywire – one works perfectly, one only works with the back off, and one doesn’t work at all – but all told, it does mean you learn a lot faster and just what you can do with what you have to hand.


The dating game

September 19, 2008

Today saw the start of a major project for me, shooting a calendar for the BBC Radio Cumbria Children in Need capaign 2008, fairly simple, exept that it needs 12 shots from around the county, with an associated radio presenter, and each shot representing a month of the year …

So, with ideas sorted and locations chosen, we set off for the first location shoot today – the shores of Ullswater and then the forests of Winlatter. Both these seemed to go off with out any worry, everything worked well, people turned up on time equipment behaved … it was really great.

One of the ou-takes from the days shooting!!

One of the out-takes from the day's shooting!!

Then the final shoot of the day in the Radio Cumbria studios, all was going really well until one of my flash packs exploded!
Fortunately, I think I’d got the shot that was needed, as that point my wireless flash units decided they wouldn’t work anymore either, and as people were getting tired, bored and wanting to go home, to work or out for the evening it was time to call it a day.

So that’s three pictures done (hopefully) and another nine to go over the next two weeks. Wish me luck.

And if anyone knows where you can get Norman 200B flash packs repaired, send me the link, i’d be most grateful.


The Vulcans cometh …

September 13, 2008

Yesterday (Friday 12th September 2008) saw me trying to photograph the flypast of the only airworthy Avro Vulcan bomber.
The aeroplane was making a detour on its way to RAF Leuchars, so it could pass over its ground based sibling at Carlisle Airport.

Now photographing aircraft isn’t that difficult, normally. Just over expose the sky by 2 stops and that’s it for the most part, but I wanted something different! I wanted both Vulcan bombers in shot, to give a sense of what was going on.
So that narrowed the choice of lens down to my wide-angle (Sigma 10-20mm). Next was where to stand? I’d heard different accounts of what the Vulcan was doing on arrival at Carlisle and what direction it was approaching from.

Taking a chance I lined up a good shot of the ground based plane and hoped that the flypast would happen in the right place for me – and since there was no chance to change lenses, I’d either get it or get nothing!

10:40am and the flypast took place, and I was almost in the perfect position!
Only got one shot of both aircraft, but I’m really happy with it, especially the final version after I’d worked on it in Photomatix and Photoshop …

40am Friday 12th September 2008

Two Vulcans at Carlisle Airport, 10:40am Friday 12th September 2008

The ground-based Vulcan XJ823 is probably the star attraction at the Solway Aviation Museum, which is based at Carlisle Airport


My new instant toy joy

September 3, 2008

It arrived today, my new (to me) Polaroid SLR 680 camera from MW Classic Cameras in London

The joy of the 680 over, say the SX-70 is that it takes Polaroid 600 film, which, whilst in ever dwindling supplies, is easier to get than Time Zero film, and doesn’t necessitate various fixes and tricks to make it work with the camera, as the 680 was designed to take 600 film stock.

But why an old Polaroid camera? Surely digital is better and easier and cheaper …

Well most of that is true – up to a point. There’s something about Polaroid cameras that makes people smile, this post from Alyssa Kayee on Flickr, sums it all up really and it’s quite true too. I took a snap of my niece on an SX-70 and she was convinced it was magic the way the print just appeared!

Polaroid cameras from the SX-70 family; the SLR 680,original SX-70 and Polasonic Autofocus SX-70 Model 2

Polaroid cameras from the SX-70 family; the SLR 680,original SX-70 and Polasonic Autofocus SX-70 Model 2

And it’s not just the SX-70 type stuff that’s magic, the peel-a-part films have their own appeal, the wondering what’s going to appear as you pull the film apart:
Has it exposed right, has it developed right?
If it’s out-dated, just what are you going to see on the print and of course it’s the instant gratification that comes from seeing a finish product there and then; and unlike digital it’s so easy to share at that point.

But with the demise of Polaroid films (and their general expense if you can find them) a camera like this is a bit of a luxury, a frivolity; but then why should art be serious?

As ever, yesterday’s technology is today’s art …

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