Saturday 28 April 2012

The Perfect Storm

Some moments you'll remember forever. You raise the camera to capture the shot, but you'll always remember the thrill of just being there and experiencing the moment. This photo always reminds me of that..

It was taken in 1999 during a very memorable couple of weeks in Norfolk. The weather was, for the whole time i was there, very predictable. Beautiful sunshine with blue skies until around 4 o'clock in the afternoon then the clouds would gather and all hell would break loose. For an hour or two, a storm would rage, throwing rain, noise and light all over the place. Then, it seemed to burn itself out; the sun and tranquillity would return and all would be well again. Nothing like a good storm to clear the air.

The photograph above was taken after a day out and about. I was having a wander around at a place called Burnham Deepdale just before heading back to base, when the clouds started gathering. Mother nature was going to put on a floor show. First of all you heard the sounds - deep rumbles could be heard coming nearer and nearer. As i watched i could see the storm make it's way along the coast, the flashes and deep rumbles giving you the sense of watching a moving floating battlefield that was making it's way towards you. It moved very slowly indeed and the whole display made you feel very small in the scheme of things.

Somehow being on the outskirts of a storm makes it seem more entertaining. You get to see the whole production play out before you.What surprised me most is how quickly they change direction - or at least appeared to change direction. I spent around ten minutes watching how things played out, got this shot using the TMAX 3200 loaded in my camera and then headed back to the car as the storm came closer. The rain came some five minutes later followed by the usual rumbles and flashes. I loved ever minute of it!

I've had a print of this photograph on my wall for around ten years or more. It's among the last photos i printed in my darkroom before switching to scanners and Photoshop. It could even be the very last photo to have hit the developer tray. There aren't many images that i can vividly remember taking , but this is certainly one photography moment that I'll remember for the rest of my life.

A framed version of this photograph can be purchased HERE

Sunday 8 April 2012

Wet Plate Photographer

Wet Plate Collodian looks to be a very labour intense process, if the video by LA based photographer Ian Ruhter is anything to go by. It is great to see an old photography process being kept alive, and better still delivering fantastic results. I especially love the portraits.

The photographer uses 36x24 inch large metal plates to record images. The costs of each Wet Plate photograph are not insignificant - upwards of $500 per shot. Ruhter's has developed a complete self propelled Wet Plate photography system using his van. It's the camera, the darkroom and the transport system for his photography.

Why does he choose to do photography this way? Well an interesting comment by the photographer brings it back to being apart from the crowd. Ian Ruhter says 'everyone around me has the same camera, and has the same signature. I'm going to go out a build a camera that no-one has!" 

He's certainly done that!

A gallery of Ian Ruhter's images can be found at