Posted on October 15, 2013
This week I’ve started planning my next big adventure, a road-trip of epic proportions – The Isle of Man to Moscow and back – a 4000 mile round trip. I’ve been all over the world, but never this part of the world, and what better way to see it?
This probably isn’t a lot of people’s idea of fun, but I can’t think of anything better; load a vehicle with supplies and just drive, stopping off whenever and wherever you like. Another thing that really appeals to be is the minuscule amount of planning that’s needed – no flights to book, no connections to miss and no accommodation to pay for (I’ll be sleeping in my vehicle…) As I said, I have no plans as to who or what I’ll be photographing, it’ll just be anybody or anything that I like the look of.
Posted on March 16, 2013
I’ve never been particularly musical, I wish I was, but I just don’t get it. Some people don’t understand apertures and ISO’s, I don’t understand cords and notes. Many people have tried to teach me, all have failed.
I do like the music scene though, but how can you get involved if you’re tone-deaf? Take photos! I’ve been involved in music photography for a few years now, I’ve photographed the odd famous musician and a lot of not so famous musicians, but every single one of them has been a pleasure to be involved in.
I know that I’m a bit of a film fascist, but I must admit that the majority of the images here were made using digital equipment, Canon EOS 5D mk2 mostly. A lot of promotional shots (such as the clown, which was going to be used as an album cover, but the musician in question wants something ‘more controversial’…) do have quite a bit work done in Photo Shop, so it makes more sense to work with digital media from the outset. If I’m shooting straight portraits, like the one of Tim Burgess, I’ll use film, normally medium format. For live music I always shoot digital…although, having said that, I did shoot a Strypes gig a few weeks ago using a 35mm Nikon SLR.
Posted on February 20, 2013
I had so many plans for the last couple of weeks, I was going to work on ‘The Old Leather Chair’ project, get a load of shots done, but it was not to be. I’ve been struck down by some hideous virus which has rendered me completely immobile for the last two weeks, at least. I normally handle ‘downtime’ quite well, if it’s just a head cold I can still work and even when I slipped a disc in my back and couldn’t move, literally, for 3 weeks, I still managed to get a lot done. But a double ear infection isn’t conducive to anything creative…although, I did have a CRAZY dream a few nights ago, fuelled by painkillers and flu remedies, it gave me several ideas for fresh chair shots.
These three shots were made a few weeks ago. All shots made using a Mamiya 7II, 80mm and either Fuji Pro 400 for colour, or Kodak Tri-X 400 for mono.
Posted on February 5, 2013
I can’t believe it’s February already, before we know it we’ll be wrapping Christmas presents again and drinking egg-nog…I’ve never actually tried egg-nog.
I haven’t really shot much this year, so far, I’m preparing for my second project visit to Yellowknife in April. Most of what I’ve shot has been for my own personal amusement and experimentation.
The shot above was the first photograph I took this year, it’s of my good friend, film producer and director, Richard Plumley. Richard is like an engine in a 24 hour factory – constant. Wherever he is, Richard will be on the go, stopping only to light a cigarette or open a beer, then he’s off again. This image, I think, sums him up.
Below is musician and my very close chum, Simon Campbell, I haven’t photographed him enough lately. I took this portrait as an experiment really, trying-out different flash techniques, ironically, this was the only frame on the roll that the flash didn’t fire. It’s the only image I liked. Simon wore a blanket around his neck, for some reason…?
I was in North Wales last week, working out of a crappy rental cottage on Anglesey, I took film, but didn’t return with much material. I’ve always been fascinated by crappy hotels, motels and bed & breakfast establishments though, I think there’s beauty in the ugly and banal.
I took the images below using direct flash, I think it suits the situation and gives them an almost ‘holiday snapshot’ feel.
I feel another project idea coming-on…
The shots above were made using a Mamiya 7II, 80mm lens and Kodak Ektar 100 film. The flash is a Vivitar 285HV, bare, no diffusion.
Posted on December 23, 2012
Posted on May 17, 2012
6×4.5cm film has always had a bit of a bad reputation, too big to have the convenience of 35mm, but too small to be a ‘proper’ medium format. But this is why I like it – most 645 cameras are no bigger than a professional size 35mm slr, but they produce a negative that is three and a half times bigger.
I bought a second-hand Mamiya 645 Pro tl a couple of weeks ago, in an as new condition for £350 – an absolute bargain. I love the camera. I’ve had it in my bag with my Mamiya 7II, which I’ve hardly used, it’s so much easier to use the 645. I use the spot metering 99% of the time, which seems to be very accurate. The standard 80mm 2.8 lens is razor sharp.Here’s a few images that I’ve shot over the last couple of weeks. All images made with Kodak Portra 400. I already have quite a long queue of photographer friends who want to borrow this camera…
Posted on March 25, 2012
It’s the first day of British summertime today, the clocks have gone an hour forward, robbing me of a precious 60 minutes of sleep and upsetting my delicate body-clock. I still don’t understand, at 42 years old, why we have to adjust the clocks back and forward every year?Anyway, it’s been summer on the Isle of Man for a few days now, which is lucky, because the passenger side window of my car has been jammed open for the past 3 days – if this had happened two weeks ago I’d have frozen to death within 5 minutes of my daily commute.
I like the winter, I don’t know why, but I can always tease a better portrait out of a person in the winter. All my favourite portraits have been taken outside, in winter, I prefer the dull, muted colours and flat light that we tend to get on the Isle of Man. I’m going to make a concerted effort to do more summer location portraits this year. I’m off to the US to shoot a project at the end of the year, so I really need to get used to using bright sunlight.
I upgraded my iPhone 3Gs to the 4Gs this week, I’m a big fan of any gadget that includes a camera, but I was never really that impressed with the 2mp effort on the 3Gs. However, the 4Gs has an 8mp camera which is a lot more usable. If you take the original through a few apps, in this case Snapseed and Tilt-Shift, you can produce perfectly acceptable results.
Posted on March 17, 2012
I’ve never really had the patience for filmmaking, it’s something I’ve always been interested in, I’ve dipped my toe into it over the years, but stills photography always wins my attention. I’ve constantly been unable to focus my creative interest into two things at once, I suppose it’s a good and a bad thing?
Over the past two or three weeks I’ve been a bit ‘static’ due to back problems, this has had the hidden bonus of allowing me the time to sit and play with Apple’s fantastic bit of software, Final Cut X. With the help of Youtube tutorials, Google and a bit of intuition I’ve managed to teach myself the basics of this professional video editing package in less than two days. The fundamentals of video are actually easier, for me personally, to get to grips with as there are only 3 colours, red, green and blue, to deal with, as opposed to 6 in digital stills. All the other nuts and bolts, such as contrast, saturation, hue , etc, are essentially the same.
The video below is just a short 2 minute thing that I put together using existing footage and some bits I’ve made over the last week or so. Final cut is amazingly easy to use – I edited this film together in just a couple of hours. I haven’t seen many friends over the last two weeks, but those I have seen are probably in this short…
Click on the image below for a link to ‘People 1:01′ at Vimeo.
Posted on February 4, 2012
This week I’ve been photographing musicians, mostly. Last Monday I had the band ‘3 Million‘ in the studio, they didn’t bat an eyelid when I told them I was going to bind them all together with cling-film for half an hour. I’ve seen these chaps play a couple of times, I recommend you do the same.
On Wednesday I had a second session with the yet unnamed duo, Adam Jones and Geoff Tinkler. This pair are VERY photogenic! We started the shoot at Port Soderick, but it was so cold that me thumbs went completely numb and we were forced to retreat to The Carrick Lodge coffee house for Angela & Simon Campbell‘s finest refreshments. I got a few candid shots on a very cold Gansey beach , we then finished-off in Port St Mary. The ‘bus shelter shots’ are going to go down well, I think.
Posted on January 29, 2012
I’m going to be working with two very talented young musicians, Adam Jones and Geoff Tinkler, over the next couple of weeks. I had a brace of location shots planned for our first session, but biblical rain put pay to those plans. I think I actually saw Noahs Arc going past the studio at one point. We ended-up just doing some informal, naturally lit portrait shots. I think these chaps will go far on looks alone…you heard it here first.
Shot on a Canon EOS 5D MK2 with 50mm 1.4 @f2, ISO 400. Converted to mono using Nik Software Silver Efex Pro. Click on the image to enlarge.