Posted on January 29, 2014
First of all, I’ve had a few comments about the new format and layout of this blog, it seems that people miss the old Gridspace theme because “It looked less like a blog and more like a website”…but that’s what this is – a blog, a dumping-ground for my photographic meanderings and thoughts. I do have a dedicated portfolio website in the pipeline, so if you just want to look at photographs without my ramblings, it’ll be up and running in the next couple of months, I promise. You can also follow me on Facebook
I’m not really publishing much in the way of ‘serious’ portraiture at the moment because I’m saving it all for my exhibition at the end of March this year. It’s a dangerous game though, I have portraits sat in a Lightroom folder, titled EXHIBITION, and I keep looking at them, editing them, tinkering with them…I need to just leave them alone, because I know exactly what’s going to happen – come March 20th I’ll be sick of the sight of those photos. Every last one of them. Another issue I have is that I’m quite single-minded, if I’m not shooting portraits for my show, ‘serious portraits’, then I’m not really shooting anything else, unless it’s completely different. This alternative creative outlet comes in the form of instant film. I love instant film like the french love cheese.
Say what you like, try to convince me with £500 software or 79p iPhone apps – you can not fake the look of instant film. All images here were made using a Fuji Instax 200 wide camera. I’ll shoot some more Impossible Project 600 just as soon as I’ve sold my kidney to pay for the film…
Posted on January 21, 2014
I’m a naturally impatient person, so from the outset I always imagined that digital photography would be my ideal medium, but that hasn’t really been the case. For the last few years digital photography has been an itch that I’ve never quite been able to scratch, there’s always lacked the sense of total satisfaction that I only ever get when I shoot film. At the moment I’m very itchy, and there’s only one thing that can get up the back of my t-shirt with both hands and sharpened finger nails – instant film!
I’ve been shooting Fuji Instax film , on and off, for a few years now, I love the cold blueish tones and creamy highlights, but mention instant film to anyone and the first thing they’ll think of is Polaroid, almost a generic name for any kind of instant film. Polaroid stopped making film a few years back, but the factory was taken-over by a company called The Impossible Project. I never tried any of IP’s early emulations of Polaroid film, I’d read all kinds of horror stories about it, about how difficult it was to use and its instability, so I was never willing to part with my cash…but IP’s latest incarnation of Polaroid 600 color film is different, and I love it.
To be honest, I wasn’t really one of those die-hard fans of the original Polaroid film, I always found it a bit dark and ‘wishy-washy’, maybe it was just poor technique? IP’s version is everything I wanted Polaroid 600 to be – punchy colours and weird hues, sharp, but not too sharp. Development time is between 30 and 60 minutes, so still not actually ‘instant’, but worth the wait!
The one down side is the price – every time I press the shutter it costs me £2.25…but I want to keep pressing the shutter.
All square images were made using a Polaroid 600AF camera (circa 1999) and The Impossible Project Color 600 instant film. All rectangular images were made using a Fuji Instax 210 camera and Instax Wide film.
Posted on January 19, 2014
I’ve been working on some promotional shots with singer/song writer, Mae Challis, for the past few weeks, both in the studio and on location. I don’t enjoy shooting in the studio, to be honest, which is why I rarely do it, my default is always to shoot outside whenever possible. We had to cancel a couple of planned location shoots due to heavy rain, but we finally got a break in the weather, literally a 4 hour gap between showers, and got these shots, which I really love.
Make-up by the very talented, Kimberley Berridge.
‘Despite her tender years, Mae Challis is destined to become one of the leading lights of the vast array of exceptional and diverse musical talents currently being unearthed and nurtured here on our own Island’s doorstep. Along with her powerful vocal prowess Mae can also include a remarkable instrumental ability, charismatic stage presence and a song-writing gift that is just waiting to be released to the unsuspecting World!
Born in Sittingbourne, Kent on 6th May 1998, Mae moved to the Isle of Man at the age of 7, already a precocious singer and guitar player. She later added keyboards and drums to her musical capabilities and hasn’t called time on discovering possibly more latent talent. Listening to and drawing influence from an eclectic mix of artists, such as Queen, Oasis, KT Tunstall and Joni Mitchell to more contemporary performers like Hurts, Coldplay, Train, James Morrison, Skrillex, Bruno Mars and Emeli Sande’
Posted on January 14, 2014
My experiments with the Sigma DP1 Merrill continue, it’s been a steep learning curve, but I love this camera. I’m basically using it in the same way I’d use a medium format film camera – everything shot on a tripod, all manual control, and most importantly, thinking about every shot very carefully.
Something Sigma really might want to look at and fix in a firmware update for this camera is the white-balance – it’s terrible. The auto WB settings are next to useless and the manual WB gives a very warm cast which can be adjusted in post, but I like to get everything right in camera.
All images were edited using the amazing VSCO Film presets in Lightroom 5 – a perfect camera/software combination.
Posted on January 6, 2014
I’ve been shooting on a Sigma DP1 Merrill for the past week. It has a 42 megapixel sensor (actually 3 layers of 14mp) packed into a body the size of a choc-ice.
The camera really has a lot going against it – it’s extremely slow, it takes at least 10 seconds to write the huge 45mb files, focusing is basic and the battery life it appalling – I’m getting less than 50 frames before the battery dies (probably why Sigma supply two batteries). Also, the RAW files aren’t supported by Adobe Lightroom, which is a massive hassle.
…But the picture quality is absolutely stunning, as good as, if not better, than some digital medium format cameras I’ve used. You probably can’t see on these images, but the detail is unbelievable…and very film like.
It’s a keeper.
***Update to answer a few questions I’ve been asked***
Yes, it’s a very simple camera to use, the menus are very intuitive and easy to use. The lack of RAW support is my only real issue with this camera, I’m doing a basic adjust in Sigma Photo Pro and then editing full size TIFFS in Lightroom, which isn’t ideal. I am told that Adobe are working on it though. The day that happens I will do a merry dance, most vigorously!
The other complaint that people have about the DP1M is the battery life, but I don’t see it as being too much of an issue, I get about 50 frames from a charge, but I take 4 spares out with me (after-market batteries cost about £10). Knowing you have limited power really makes you think about whether you want to really take that photo, which is a good thing!
A vast improvement, after using the camera for a week, is the addition of the optical viewfinder and lens hood. The hood works well, and makes the camera look a bit more serious! The optical finder is very bright and accurate, it also reduces the need to turn the camera on to look at shots, thus wasting the battery.
This isn’t a camera for the snapshot enthusiast, sports shooter or any situation where you need to work fast. For landscapes and the kind of portraits I do, it’s perfect.
Posted on December 22, 2013
When I get a new camera, no matter how complicated it looks, I never read the instruction manual. Ever. If I did read them, then I would have discovered, months ago, that my Fuji X-Pro1 has a double exposure feature. I stumbled upon a few days ago, purely by accident, whilst looking for something completely different. So I’ve been playing with it.
All images were processed using the amazing VSCO film software.