2016
December
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notebook scrawly wittering

In a vain attempt to organise myself and refine my approach to photographing things, I decided to keep a notebook, which I will henceforth refer to in a snooty manner as my
journal.


My Journal My Pen what I write with My Journal


In my journal, I use something called a pen to write down words, it’s all very primitive and makes me feel like some sort of Victorian toff, what is all posh and that. With my whizzy fountain pen swooshing across the page, I imagine myself penning some sort of literary classic. My thoughts flow in a raging torrent onto the page, insightful and full of witticisms, recorded for future generations to marvel at, and learn from.

In practice, instead of creating a literary masterpiece, I’m literally scrawling gibberish, as my words spew out onto the page like sick out of a drunk cat, with smudged ink everywhere and ineptly scribbled diagrams that wouldn’t look out of place gracing the pages of a workbook of a five year old.

Exaggeration? I wish.

By writing down in advance what I hope to achieve, and how I will approach a shoot, I hope to be able to improve my output by setting goals and working towards them instead of frenziedly firing off frame after frame and hoping something good results.

Will this work? Who knows, but it can’t hurt to try. Plus I get to cut things out and stick them in, I always wanted a scrap book when I was a youngard.

The end
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Howdy, Audi. (a.k.a. the continuing adventures of a Vivitard)

Last night I used my new Vivitar 285HV Flashes for the first time in anger.

I set out with Rich for whom I’m currently working on a website. He buys and sells tasty but affordable motors, and I take the opportunity to take pictures of them. We made our way to a pitch black industrial estate, and after convincing the security guard not to “release the hounds” and that we weren’t there to instigate a terrorist plot against a double glazing company, I set up my gear.

Inexpert clumsy fumbling in the dark is my forte (just ask my Wife), and last night was no exception. Note to self – buy a torch.

The next lesson was a more painful one. When trying to work out if the remote flashes are firing, staring directly into them is not a good idea. MY EYES!!!!

I had in mind two images I wanted to create, and although I struggled a bit in this first one getting the lighting even, I got there in the end. This was shot with the two Vivitars off camera, and my Nikon SB600 on the camera, set to underexpose by 3 stops.

Audi A3 TDI DSG

By saying “underexpose” and “3 stops” I appear to know what I’m talking about – don’t be fooled, I heard those terms somewhere else and thought they might make me sound clever if I used them. (this may be a lie). The idea was for the car to loom out of the dark, like some sort of sinister zombie monster. This is admittedly less convincing when the car is sunshine yellow coloured.

This next one was taken by cranking everything up to full power, and then pressing the button. Oops, looked directly at the flashes again, now I’m definitely blind.

Audi A3 TDI DSG

Anyway, I was pleased enough with these for the first attempt, and I’m looking forward to exploring the creative opportunities these flashes open up for me. I am however in the hunt for some radio triggers which I hope will be more reliable. It does mean spending yet more money, but as I only have one set of eyes, I’d like to protect them by avoiding beaming flashes directly into them in future.

Ebay here I come!

The end
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Gordon’s Alive!

Flash. A-ha. Saviour of the Universe.

fffffftt….splrrgggh…ft.

That is the sound of money, hemorrhaging out my wallet across the pond to the YEW ESS of AYE, where these bad boys were purchased;

Vivitar flash boxes

Not the boxes silly, but the stuff in the boxes. In nerd parlance, these are two Vivitar 285HV flashes, and two Morris hot shoe optical slave units. In normal speaky they are bright lights what flash when you press a button on a camera… Oooooooh.. Like this! Flash! AHAAA!

Vivitar flashes fired off camera

Mistake one. Looking directly at these and firing off the shutter hurts my eyes. The blindness eventually subsides, which is a relief I can tell you. On to a more advanced test; Here you can see the flashes illuminating stuff, which is basically what they are designed for. Those grey things at the bottom are record decks – remember when I said I used to not be a SuperStar DJ – these are leftover from them days.

Vivitar flashes lighting up stuff

These flashes, or flashoids as I want them to henceforth be known, are pretty much all manual so you have to do actual working out before you use them. This seems primitive but then I remember I’ve been playing with a Holga for the last few weeks, and then these suddenly are elevated to space-age technology status in my addled little mind.

This white dial here is for the worky outy stuff;

Vivitar flash dial

And this here ‘Vari Power’ dial controls how badly you are going to blind someone. It’s physics Jim, but not as we know it.

I call it the Blind-O-Meter. Set it to stun!

Vivitar Vari Power dial

Anyone that is still reading this is a glutton for punishment, so I will punish you with more nerd speak.

The Morris optical slaves seem to work well – although my tests so far are limited to indoor work in low light. The Vivitar flashes seem to be quite powerful, which is great – the above were all shot at 1/16th power, triggered by an Nikon SB600 in the hotshoe of my D200, which was set at f/22 and 1/250th.

Punishment ends.

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Superstar DJ…

…here we go! My good buddy Andy Hoskins recently got through to the final six in a competition to DJ at the closing party on the Terrace at Space in Ibiza. Anyone who knows anything at all about dance music will know this is a huge deal. And I mean huge. Go Andy!!! Woo!!

Andy is “old skool” which means he plays actual vinyl records on record players with needles and tonearms and all that malarky. Once upon a time I tried to be a superstar DJ and failed, becoming at best a modestlyoknotastar DJ.

It’s nice then for me to see my number one bum chum Andy achieving success, although he’s a dad now which begs the question how can he be a cool big time DJ and be a dad, when dads are not cool. Except for “daddy cool” who Boney M did a song about. He was cool.

You can listen to his winning mix here Andy Hoskins @ We Love.

Good luck Andy, don’t forget me when you are fame-arse!

The end
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Speed. Oh.

I wanted to revisit the interior shots of my Ignis because I figured I could do better than the last time. The question is, how do you make the inside of a car look interesting? “Good lighting” I hear you say, but you are wrong. The correct answer is fill it with attractive, lightly oiled naked ladies. The problem with this plan is that I am repellent to almost all ladies, naked or otherwise. Just ask my wife.

With a dearth of sartorially challenged female models, and with it being dark outside, I could only manage this;

Speedo

If this doesn’t excite you, then you need to see a doctor, because you can’t possibly be alive. Check your pulse.

Apropo of nothing, today I also spent some money on yet more camera gear. This time I have to wait for my purchases to be shipped over from America, so I probably wont get them till next week – watch this space, all will be revealed…

My wallet hurts.

The end
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I do bad things.

Following his needless slaughter of a soft toy earlier this week, Wilf felt very guilty, and went to sit in the corner.

Sorry about your teddy.

His favourite T-shirt is a fitting item given his behaviour.

Wilf do bad things

Huge amounts of bribery are required to get Wilf to sit still for a minute, luckily he’ll do pretty much anything for cheese!

This photo may look like the precursor to a savage dog attack, but he’s actually gobbling a thrown bit of cheddar out of the air!

I'll do anything for cheese!  Woof!

Good dog. Stay.

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All new blogtasticness

The sharp eyed reader will notice some subtle changes to these pages. I’ll explain what’s happened;

I’ve moved this blog from it’s previous location, onto another server, so that I could use WordPress, which is a tool for creating blogs. This makes it easier to manage and keeps the page size down by archiving older posts off automatically.

Also my wonderful beautiful readers can now leave comments, telling me how great I am, and how much they love me. This is good, I did it all for you. L eave a comment or two, why not, who does it hurt eh? Don’t make me beg.

As the new server is faster and on a better connection, it should speed things up as well, which *thud*

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……

Sorry, I bored myself to sleep there.

Nothing more to see here.

The end
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Deady Bear.

Being a sentimental sort I just couldn’t throw away the bear I’ve had for 30 years, so he was sat on a shelf in my office.

Wilf the dog managed to get hold of him and have his wicked way, it wasn’t pretty.

Dead Teddy

Poor old Pooh.

I made this to try to improve my photoshop skills, using some blood spatter effects I found by smashing words into my keyboard on a search engine. It would be rude not to link to Peterpson’s blood spatter brushes since I’ve benefited from them

The end
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Crash!

Why do a lot of photographers think anyone will be interested in a photograph of flowers? It’s a flower, what’s the big deal? I find these things interminably boring myself.

A flower of some description

Ha! IN YOUR FACE!

See how I confound expectations by saying I don’t like pictures of flowers, then post a picture, of flowers!

It’s like that film Crash where that actor Matt Dillon plays a caring son of an invalid father, and we like him. But then, oh no! It turns out he is a horrible racist, we definately don’t like him. Then worse – he sexually assaults a woman – we hate him! Then suddenly, BAM! The storytelling confounds expectation, as Matt Dillon’s character risks his life and helps the very same woman he assualted when she is involved in a car crash, so how can he be a bad person, we should like him again surely?

No, because he’s a racist, and a disgusting pervert. I’ll shut up now.  Still at least we are treated like total morons by the writer and director.  To think they won an Oscar too,  reedickularse.

A macro stamen picture

After my foray into critiquing films that have been out for ages and no-one really cars about, I’m back on safer ground posting photos. This was taken with a 50mm lens reversed onto the camera body with a reversing ring, focused manually at f/22 and shot with flash.

ooooh.

The end
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Sunset

For the past two weeks I’ve been lugging all my camera gear into work to try to catch a sunset on the beach at the end of the day. Every day it’s either been cloudy, or I’ve arrived 5 minutes too late

Finally yesterday I managed to get there in time – the colours weren’t that exciting compared to some other recent nights, but I was just happy to get a result.

Sunset over Clevedon Seafront

I used 2 Cokin ND grads on this to try to even out the exposure, which has resulted in a dark top corner where the graduation was too severe, other than that I’m happy with what I got.

The eagle eyed amongst you will notice it’s Clevedon Pier – again. I’m turning into a one trick pony, and it’s not even a very good trick.

The end