Tuesday 21 September 2010

Big Yellow Blad

Big Yellow Hasselblad - Gorgeous!

It's been a day for hearing about expensive cameras. First of all it was the limited edition Leica M9 Titanium that was on offer for a cool... well hand over £20,000 and they'll give you a bit of change. Leica are making just 500 and are expecting those cameras to go quickly. Some people obviously have more money than sense. I'd rather buy a ordinary M9 for a fraction of the price and use it for its intended photo taking purpose.

The second camera i spotted was the one I'd go for. A 'built for NASA' Hasselblad MKWE kit going for the small price tag of $33,751 on eBay. Brand new, of course. The looks of envy on other photographers faces as you bought this baby out of your camera bag would be well worth the expense. As you may have already figured out, this is one Hassleblad that I'd buy - and I'm not a Hassleblad fan. It is a cool bright yellow though... and useful if you ever need to take photographs in space...

Finally, as you all may know, i do like Twitter, but i realise that many people just find accessing Twitter difficult. Well now you can enjoy some of the many great twitter photography links via my 'The Photography Daily' online daily newspaper - an online webpage that is 'printed' daily and contains the best Twitter photography links in a readable newspaper page form. Check it out HERE.

Thursday 16 September 2010

Welsh Farmer

Mowing a hayfield - North Wales, 1994

This photograph was among the first on the roll. Again it was another Agfapan 25 shot taken during the same stroll out and about as the portrait of the lovely Welsh horse that i posted yesterday.

The camera used would have been my trusty Pentax Program A which i must admit was a terrific camera. I loved it to bits and used it for most of the 1990's. It was light, compact and well made. Combined with the superb manual focus lenses Pentax did, it was a great system to learn photography with. I still have that camera, retired when i bought my Nikon F4, along with the Pentax Super A and MX i used too. Great gear.

My developing notes tell me that i processed the film in Agfa's own Rodinal developer. At the time i was using Rodinal purely for processing Agfa work, with TMAX developer used for the Kodak/Ilford medium and fast speed film. I used to shoot a lot of TMAX 400 film back then, but these days i use Ilford FP4 or HP5. I just decided, after around ten years of using TMAX, that i preferred the subtle contrasty tones of the Ilford films to Kodak's more creamier tones.

A few more of the Agfapan 25 shots will be posted on the Darker Skies blog over the next few days.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Welsh Horse

Welsh Horse, 1994

Going through the negative archive i came across this picture. It was shot in North Wales, in the wonderful countryside just outside of the beautiful Welsh town of Conwy. I vividly remember photographing the horse. It was 1994, the year that i was to start studying photography at HND level. To me, this image marks the point where i began to make the journey to finally becoming a professional photographer.

Even though it was late July, the light was starting to fade when i took this photo, and i wasn't helped by the fact i was shooting  using Agfapan 25 - a gorgeous quality, slow ISO 25 35mm film that, for a couple of years, was one of my favourite films of choice. The film was discontinued around ten years ago. It wasn't the easiest film to shoot, or process now i come to think of it, but i did capture some great photos with Agfapan.

This blog post is number 500, so to celebrate reaching that milestone, I'll be posting another Welsh Agfapan image tomorrow that will take the honour of being post number 501.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Book End II

Applying make-up

I've finally decided to put the extended version of the Making Movies book to rest. The book captures a rough timeline of six summer weeks working on the vampire film Christian. I thought that adding any images taken during the forthcoming November filming would not add anything new. Time to move on.

There are 68 photographs in all in the extended version of the book. I do love the original SoFoBoMo version that was released in early July, but i did take quite a few more images on set after the 31 day deadline of July 8th. It is a very loose documentary of the film making. If anything, it documents the places we were filming around more than the movie making itself - especially towards the end of the book.

Nevertheless, I feel the project worked very well and demonstrated nicely that you don't need a expensive high mega pixel camera to create a good photo book. I may release a redesigned version of the book that will be available to purchase at lulu.com later this year. Now i just have to come up with an idea for SoFoBoMo 2011. Next year's book will probably be shot using film. Maybe 6x6?

Friday 3 September 2010

The Demanding Mistress

Gone. This summer has seen two of the first photo blogs i ever followed fold. In both cases the authors had run out of creative steam so their blogs had ended with a last post. Both photo bloggers also used the phrase 'experiment' when talking about their blogs final end. For something termed an experiment, they had certainly managed to collect quite a following. Both bloggers seemed troubled and looking for new direction.

The ironic thing is that i didn't much like either photographers work. Some photographs stood out among others, but generally speaking a lot of their work i regarded as not technically very good. Dull.. So why did i subscribe to their blogs? The writing and enthusiasm for the subject. Plain and simple. I admit here that I'm not the greatest of writers but hopefully my enthusiasm compensates for that fact. Enthusiasm for a topic can, however, come and go like the tide, especially if the person is going through a torrid period. Many photographers have, indeed, talked about photography being like a love affair with all the ups and downs associated with those emotions.

Photography can be a demanding mistress though. I've always thought that photography is more addictive than the most potent drug. Once you are bitten, well that is it my friend. No antidote. It is a pastime/profession that we get very emotionally involved with. We ARE photographers to our very core. Our very being. That said, sometimes passion just isn't enough. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted on his blog how his love of all things movies had gone, burnt out by the rough time he'd had on the set of his first film. I knew exactly how he felt.

In mid 1998, I left university creatively burnt out. Photography.... bah! I'd had the stuffing knocked out of me, partly due to my own mistakes, but also (with hindsight) because I'd chosen the wrong university course. My confidence as a photographer was at rock bottom, as was my interest in the subject. My love for photography returned gradually, slowly at first and then with increasing speed. Bad times are  part of the course, part of the development as a creative person. The key is to overcome and learn from it.

As for closing blogs, well my advice would be think twice about it. Rest it, mothball it, or crate it up and put it in that warehouse that's at the end of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'. Ignore it even, but don't delete it. You never know what tools might be needed to come to the rescue and help restart the love affair.