Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Finding the light in Wisbech

I'd like to start with; i know where the Light cinema is in Wisbech. 
Thats not the light i was looking for.

Light and shadows. 
The golden light in the evening and the shadows that stretch along the pavement creating abstract shapes; dividing expanses of space with lines.

Photography is described by Wikipedia as;

Photography is the scienceart and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film.

So whenever you have a camera in your hand your chasing the light, i do it intentionally.

Said many times, Wisbech is a great place for street photography. 

A quick drive after work on a friday evening, racing the sun, ideas in my mind, please don't turn cloudy.

 I'm stood in my usual places waiting for people to walk out of the shadow.

Sometimes they run from the shadow.
Sometimes they stare into the darkness.


The divine light?

Walking away.

The working man.

The window.

The window pt 2

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Do I or don't I?

Challenge, challenge, challenge.

I'd be lying if i said i didn't think about the word challenge at leat once every day.

I keep using the words on these blog posts, on my Facebook and Instagram pages, twitter, you name it.

Challenge is my buzz word and it has been for some time.

I have a freezer drawer full of films, ranging from 35mm Agfa Vista ISO 200 from Poundland to 120/medium format from the 1970's. All nice and cold to prolong the life a little more, waiting for me to use it.

Problem No. 1; Not really a problem, more of a question. Why shoot film when i have some amazing digital cameras? i know it doesn't make sense, its just a desire.

Problem No. 2; Will it come out alright?  Not the exposure, more, will the shop/lab develop it correctly, how do they know what i was feeling when i took the shot?

Problem No. 3; How to view my images? the traditional method was to print, i like prints but i want to share too. After all we are now the internet generation, travellers on the information super highway, everyone loves a 'like'.
The scans of previous films have left me wanting more, more quality, more information, bigger files. They lack sharpness, they're usually quite soft and muddy.

Problem No.4; The cost. Oh the cost. Pay to develop, pay for prints, pay for scans of the images so you can share them. The better the quality, the pricier the service.

So, the answer to many of my problems is home development. Yeah i can do that, i have lists of the equipment i need and have various kits saved in my eBay watch list. I figure it will cost me £100 to get set up.

The practical experiment will be enjoyable I'm sure once the paranoia and stress of getting it wrong subsides.

It does leave me with the biggest problem from above though; viewing the images and allowing others to see them too.
Do i shop scan?
Do I buy a flatbed scanner? the more you spend the better it is.
Do I buy a 'budget' film scanner, again it seems the more money spent the better the scan.

Do I scan with what I already have to hand; another camera.
Yes it's a little odd. Yes it almost defeats the object; Why shoot film if having to then digitise via a digital camera? 

It works though;

Macro Lens.
A light to illuminate the negative; iPad.
Film holders; pens.
With a piece of white plastic bag and the glass from a picture frame to block the pixels from the iPad showing through.



Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Wisbech Urbex, Despair

Urban exploring is something i don't do often anymore.

I've been focusing on weddings, photoshoots and street photography.

A little frustrated with myself too, I've not enjoyed exploring like i have have in the past. Perhaps i expect too much, or I'm lacking the creativity too make something out of nothing.

I'll continue to explore when the opportunity arises, perhaps enjoying more what i see with my eyes rather than what i see through a camera. 

As a total opposite from what i written in the above sentences, what i did enjoy about this explore was that it wasn't alone....ive made a new friend.

The internet, it's made the world grow inwards towards the self, for once though its been used to meet new people. 

Through an instagram follow I met up with Jack Smyth, a photographer from March, Cambridgeshire. Sunday morning, 8am, Wisbech, the site; an empty factory/warehouse that has been stripped and left abandoned.

Access was easy enough.
The site comprises of a large warehouse building which is segregated into 4/5 separate rooms that resemble coldstores or chillers, an office section and a number of smaller chiller units.
Inside, wiring has been dismantled and sold for scrap, all thats left is a pile of copper-less wire and a few desks, with a couple of extras thrown in for good measure. 

Guard cat
Work free office
From what?
Desperate place for a desperate measure
The waters been left on and so theres pools of water throughout.
Trusty waterproof boots.

Bazaar things happen
This was the most interesting thing found for me until moments later.

Dizzying heights
The main building is vast; a black hole.

I had to shoot something to make use of having a companion.
What can you do when theres harsh light and deep shadows, use both and create a silhouette.

A sobering thought to end with:
Imagine being homeless.
Where would you go?

This is a stark reality, that may never cross your mind, for some though they live this despair everyday.

I felt awkward and ashamed for invading this persons space.

Everyone's got their own demons.
Some physical, some mental.

Its easy to judge but whats their story?

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Taking Doug home

It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

How do you tell someone something so life changing?

I sat him down, made sure he was comfortable and came out with it;

"Doug, im not your real dad. And Laura, she's not your real mum"

"your parents were too young and had 6 other children to look after"
"they sold you to us"

"no" "no" "its not like that'


"your a dog"

"it happens all the time"

He barked a bit, chased his tail, wee'd in the garden and then he was happy agin.

Not so bad after all, i thought it was going to scar him for life.

We took Doug to meet his real parents; Willow and Bubba. Both of Jug breed.

I wonder if a dog knows after 6 months of being part that the dog thats just walked through the door is their son or the 2 dog's in front are their parents?

It was a great half hour spent, watching the 3 dog's run around the garden, chasing each other. it made for some great comical images.

and the chase was on
He'd only been there a few minutes and already they were giving him a grilling
Willow loves to cool off in the water
Lol, what does this look like?
Extreme close up
Face off
Another grilling from his dad

I grew up with dogs around me; German Shepherds, i'd previously never been a small dog person but having a small dog is great, you can take them anywhere and everywhere because they take up no room.

However don't go thinking that a small dog has no personality, Doug is a legend! He's randy, stubborn, intelligent, loyal, smelly; he's always passing wind, energetic, he's a real ladies man.
This actually sounds like someone i know!?

To the greatest dog ever..........Big Doug!

Now I've got to go hoover the car because he's malting and there's hair everywhere.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Going manual

Having scoured shops and boot sales for the past few years I've built up a small collection of different lenses. With the beauty of the internet and the popularity of photography its possible to mount lenses from different camera systems to your system of choice, very cheaply.

I think in the grand scheme, the adapters to mount these lenses to my Fujifilm X-Pro1, cost more than the lenses themselves and the adapters were perhaps only £5-£10.

Compact system cameras, like the Fuji X system, make these old lenses very usable via the aides; focus peaking & magnification, used in tandem you can focus with an old manual lens quite easily.
My X-Pro 1 is now an old model, so a newer model, oh X-Pro 2 you will be mine!!!!, the focus peaking capability will be even better and so the process even easier.

Because i like to challenge myself to keep things interesting ive mounted different lenses and have carried them around during dog walks, car journeys etc to see what can be done with them.

The 1st lens, not an old lens at all but a manual one, something very different; the Lensbaby Composer. Ive had it for a number of years now, it usually gathers dust in my drawer as i just don't get on with it. But i need to challenge myself, so why not start with my least favourite lens.

I should also mention that its not one of the £5 - £10 lenses either. The prices of these are very high considering what you get.

Being very picky, i like photos to be sharp in focus, i don't like the subject to be soft; the edit or the feel of the image can be soft but the focus needs to sharp; the Lensbaby however is not sharp; in focus at all is usually a small success.

Manual lenses slow you down; fine adjustments of focus, check & check again, then take the shot. With the lensbaby, its a case of focus, tilt the lens, focus again, check, check again, focus, tilt, focus and cross your fingers and hope for something thats remotely decent. Can you tell I'm not a fan?

This is where i hope you all like dogs as the majority of photos coming up are all of my puppy; Doug.

He's a Jug, a cross between a Pug and a Jack Russell, he has the looks and colouring of a pug but he has a longer snout, which i think makes him a far better looking dog. He's my best friend and i take him everywhere, luckily we've trained him well and so he sits and poses for photos regularly.

He makes me laugh.
So this ones surprisingly sharp on the eye closest to the camera.
Easily done if your dog is happy too sit there.
Not a great photo.
What it does show though is the odd qualities of the Lensbaby; the out of focus warping around the edges.
If you go down to the woods today.
I had a quick go on this.
This image is more than a little frustrating for me.
I love the red 'light leak'  on the left side that was present at capture, its not part of the edit.
However, when zooming in on the image there is a pattern that i could only put down to the image sensor that is visible in the image, very odd and very annoying. I'm wondering if this is something to do with using the camera and lens combo whilst shooting into the light?

The 2nd lens used in this blog is the Jupiter 11, an M42 mount 135mm f/4 lens produced since the 1940's. On my X-Pro 1 it has the focal length of 202.5mm (est), very telephoto.

I think I paid a couple of quid for the lens, I'm sure I got an SLR with it too.

Shooting with a 202.5mm (est) focal length with no stabilisation on a rangefinder style body is no mean feat. The slightest bit of wind combined with the focal length can lead to a very wobbly viewfinder. Having no stabilisation means that the shutter speed becomes very important to freeze any possible movement.

To summarise my thoughts on this lens; I like it!

It's sharp!

The low contrast quality of the lens makes for nice 'vintage' portraits.

Teaching Doug to wait. (nice bum bag Laura)
Living in near the coast has many opportunities, especially for exploring Pillboxes from WWII.

Im itching to use the Jupiter 11 again, its a great lens.

Keep shooting.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Richard; a Street Portrait

It's important to challenge yourself.

Force yourself into doing something your uncomfortable with.

Doing this will hopefully lower your inhibitions and make you grow as person and it should be easier next time.

Ive been really busy lately, by advertising myself. Ive released that not everyone is going to come to me just by word of mouth, though its proven very successful. So those local to me will no doubt have seen my adverts popping up on various Facebook pages. Result, more business.

Because I've been busy, I've let my blogging fall behind. Its not like i don't shoot regularly, i have a camera with me at all times, though today walking the dog in the hail i didn't feel like getting the camera out.

So, a mental note to keep blogging.

A time recently where I've challenged myself is to talk to a stranger and ask if i can take their portrait.

I spotted Richard sitting on a windowsill on St. Benedicts street, Norwich, nursing his cider. At 1st i thought about grabbing a candid shot of him. I walked away with my tail between my legs. After going in a shop looking for bargain CD's, i noticed that he was still sitting there, i just had to talk to him.

Go for it, whats the worst that could happen, he might just say no.

Very politely Richard, told me his name, told me that he lived just up the road , told me his story and agreed that i could take his photo.

I gave Richard my card and my details, to which he replied he doesn't have a phone or a computer and so wouldn't be able to see the photo. Now that i think about it, i should of took his address and sent him a small print as a way of saying thanks for his time.

Some people in a worse position than you, may still be willing to give you a hand, just for a little bit of time.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Characters of Wisbech, the Town in Decline.

You don't need a city to shoot street photography. You can do it in your home town.
Ive started to do it around my home town or village of Sutton Bridge.

If i had to choose my favourite nearest location though it would have to be Wisbech, without a doubt,

A town of many cultures. At least one third of the population is thought to be eastern european. 

A town in decline.

Even in my lifetime, I've seen the town spiral downwards, as the 'big named' stores have come and gone, the small local business have shut down. Mostly whats left is phone shops, coffee shops, Poundland x2 and Eastern european convenience stores, other store fronts lifeless or boarded up.

I suppose what i do like whilst at the same time hate about the place is the characters and the litter roaming the streets. 
Drunks, jobless' and bear cans strewn in the gutter. 

Maybe a paradise for those of us who like their hobby photography to be grimy, very different from my weekend wedding work.

I'll start with my favourite alley in the town, Scrimshires Passage. Some seriously old buildings with peeling paint, padlocked doors and an archway to provide contrast between shadow and light. I always head there hoping to catch someone walking through. 

This day i met something else, shoes, new shoes left on a window ledge. 

Only 10 seconds after taking this shot a drunk cyclist came through and asked me if the shoes were mine. I then had a conversation with her about how much i think she could sell them for. Good luck to her and her new items for sale.

The reason i love this alley so much.

When standing around in dark alleys for too long you start to get stared at, please, keep on staring.
Notice the beer can on the right

I manual focus a lot these days as it allows me to wait for someone to walk into the shot. I truly love this image.
Cool dude
The look, the 'why's he taking a picture of me' face.

Another can.

I wonder how long this couple have been in love?

Modern love?
Quick love?
Love you long time?

I still return to the penguin street art.
Whoever the street artist is, i do hope they continue.

Wisbech; the town i grew up in, lots of good times spent with mates.

Look after it.