Archive for light

Green Rays with a Nikon D600.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2015 by yammerman

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I took these at Christmas last year when my brother gave me a torch that you can strap to your head and a set of coloured filters. When I thanked him for it he suggested I do some creative photography and so I found myself in the cold dark garden, my blood alcohol levels reasonably high with my newly acquired Nikon D600 and a tripod.

I used two Nikon lenses, a 24-85mm zoom and a 60mm macro on manual and inevitably slow speeds, just to see what I could produce.  It took a while to figure out how to get anything interesting but eventually I started to like the movement effect I was getting. Thankfully the neighbours remained unaware of my cavorting in the darkness with a light strapped to my head and eventually handheld for better control.

The Green Flash is a phenomenon seen after sunset or before sunrise when a green spot or flash is observed above the sun or as a flash from the sunset point. It is caused by the atmosphere separating the sun’s light. A rare optical occurrence, it has been used by a few artists including Jules Verne in his Green Ray  novel,  Eric Rohmer in his film of the same title.

In Jules Verne, the Green Ray is missed because the hero and heroine are too busy staring in to each other’s eyes. I guess this is the kind of thing Tim Hunt was musing on when ‘joking’ about women in science. There is no truth in the rumours that, in Verne’s sequel, the lovers later separated due to the constant bickering over whose fault it was that they missed that damned Green Ray.

In Rohmer’s film, the heroine Delphine is having trouble in the dating game until she over hears  a conversation about Jules Verne’s book and learns  that ‘when one sees a rare green flash at sunset – our own thoughts and those of others are revealed as if by magic’.  I think I saw the film 20 odd years ago, so *spoiler alert*: Delphine finds her man; they see the Green Ray; and, I guess, live happily ever after.  I suppose this is as sound as any other method for choosing a mate but, if it doesn’t work out for you, don’t come a looking for me.

I think my own Green Ray reveals me as a dyslexic Mekon with a bad case of camera shake – smart ladies will choose to move on.

Holiday with a Teenager in North Wales with a Fuji X Pro 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2014 by yammerman

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We headed north on our summer holidays this year to visit the tribes of North Wales.  The idea was to visit Anglesey, a place we had been denied access on a previous visit by an over turned lorry.   The selected accommodation in Criccieth looked great in the online pictures and on this occasion the photos did not lie.  The place was huge and immaculate with stunning views of the sea.  Our hooded teenage monster grunted his approval and thrust his tablet at me and demanded wi-fi which, as any parent knows, is as important as oxygen to the young these days.

A first day walk along the beach set the pattern for the holiday with demands for me to calculate equations of distance v time, to which the apparent answer is framed in units of misery.  We set off walking on sand, my objective a rocky promontory in the far distance.  The mood was only enhanced by the rhythmic chorus of ‘Can we turn back now?’.   It was with great joy that we reached our way point only to discover that the incoming tide had pretty much covered the sand and we were forced to return on pebbles.

Why no one has not yet come up with an exercise machine based on such a surface I know not – or rather I do, it’s because it really is not very pleasant.  As we trudged back, the percussive sounds of our footsteps were accompanied by a chorus of ‘I told you so’ and adoption of a stick as a weapon.  I can’t entirely blame the boy as it is in his DNA; I remember his mother selecting similar tactics on a beach in Australia many years ago.  If one day, I should not return from a family outing and the reason given is that I accidentally fell off a cliff edge, a pier or into a river, I urge that the witnesses are questioned closely.

I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, though it followed much the same pattern for the remainder of its duration.  The boy was dragged to Anglesey, Port Merion, Criccieth Castle, Beaumaris Gaol, the National Slate Museum and any number of fine beaches.  My wife and I loved the Llŷn Peninsular and the magnificent house we stayed in – wish that it was for sale.

The highlight of the holiday though was when we stopped for supplies in Criccieth and, rather than shop, the boy selected to stay in the car.   Now I swear this was an accident but, as I retrieved some bags from the back of the car, I closed the boot and automatically locked it, setting the alarm.  My wife and I then spent a pleasant 15-20 minutes perusing the High St until our return to the car where to my surprise the hazard lights were flashing.  Upon unlocking the car, a rather disgruntled teenage boy asked ‘Where the hell have you been?’  Apparently the alarm went off four or five times and he’d discovered you have keep very, very still to avoid tripping it. The family sitting on a bench nearby eating ice-creams seemed remarkably unconcerned and really I hardly laughed at all.

We might give the boy a break from holidays next year if he does well in his exams, oh and I love him really.  Anyway here are some snaps taken with an Fuji X Pro -1 and toned with an Aged Photo preset in Lightroom

 

 

The Soul of the FA Cup with a Fuji X-Pro1 and 60mm Macro.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2014 by yammerman

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We have had a glorious few days in this part of South Wales, the first burst of summer.  It coincided with my annual gathering for the Cup Final, a ritual I keep in homage to those far off days in the 70’s when the family gathered to watch the finale of the football season. Teams would leave hotels on coaches, men in terrible suits would walk nervously onto the pitch and a titanic struggle would ensue for that most romantic of silverware.

It was a big day with some big games now etched in the memory.  The fancy dans of  Chelsea v the cloggers of Leeds; the miracle of Jim Montgomery’s save to win the Cup for SunderlandCharlie George’s sizzling winner  for Arsenal in the week I bought a Liverpool bag; and Bobby Stokes, Roger Osborne and Alan Taylor becoming folklore.  In the eighties, it was Coventry winning; Ricky Villa’s goal for Spurs; while Smith had to score for Brighton; and, of course, the Crazy gang of Wimbledon toppled  Liverpool.

With the arrival of the nineties, the Cup lost its lustre as the filthy lucre of the Premiership became more important than the glory of the Cup.  Teams playing weakened sides in order that they might cling on to the gravy train at the top table.  The early rounds are still marvelous, the big boys having yet to come up with a way of ruining Third Round day.

You might be able to see what’s been gained by looking at the balance sheets of a dozen clubs but what’s been lost is something unquantifiable and invisible to the bean counters.  These days it’s either two rich clubs suddenly getting interested for the Final or a lucky minnow that generally gets trounced.  Well done to Wigan for ripping up that script last year.  This year it was Arsenal v Hull and we all knew how that was going to end.

The last few years the kick-off has been moved from three to five pm, no doubt after a financial analysis of advertising rates suggested a richer revenue stream in emerging markets. These are hollow men without imagination who think, Premiership B teams playing in the lower leagues is the way forward.  I rather hope one day the plug gets pulled on the money in football and sanity will be restored, but I’ll be long gone before that point is reached. The recent Richard Scudamore  sexist remark scandal tells you all you need to know about the attitude and mind set of those in charge of football in this country.

If you haven’t yet watched the game, spoiler alert for a brief ten minutes where Hull could do no wrong and scored two goals but, inevitably, Arsenal came back to win 3-2 for their first silverware in nine years.  For supporters of lower league clubs like myself, the idea of a nine year wait for an FA Cup doesn’t seem much of a hardship at all.  I’ll still be back next year, if only as it happens around my birthday and guests feel obliged to bring me presents.  It’s a ritual I still enjoy, even if the game has turned into a generally less than memorable side show.

Oh, and I did some pictures as the last shaft of light arrowed across the garden.  Then I sucked the life out of them in Lightroom as a homage to the vampires of football leaving just a faint glimmer of the beauty that once existed.

 

Light Found in a Bin with a Nikon F3 and 60mm Macro.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2014 by yammerman

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I’m tidying the darkroom/studio in my attic  the night after I’ve seen ‘Looking for Light‘  the quite splendid documentary on the life and work of Observer photographer Jane Bown. I’m thinking about the huge 35mm prints up on the screen and the Olympus OM-1 sitting in a bag somewhere amongst the pile of old cameras I’ve acquired  over the last few years.  I’m feeling inspired by the images I’ve seen and the slight grain I could see in the prints leaves me itching for the smell of fixer and the gurgle of water.  But the rain hammers on the roof  and I must clear enough space so that my brain can function before I shoot anymore film.

I plod on and then as I throw redundant packaging and old guitar strings into the bin, I see the roll of film I’d processed on Sunday and grumpily thrown there when I’d discovered my own stupidity manifest as a light leak. I remember an image in the viewfinder of a  plant standing tall and a twisting piece of metal looking like a cobra about to strike. I surveyed the roll and discover that image and several others have escaped the full eviscerating effect of their accidental exposure to light. ‘There you are’  Jane Bown used to say after wandering around her subjects till she found the person she was seeking for her portrait and I mumbled  the same as an incantation to the gods of photography.  They are not perfect as the gatecrashing light seeps in one side of the images but I like them well enough that I’m glad I gave then a second chance before the oblivion of landfill. I found twelve images I could rescue and after scanning choose the four below as worthy of posting.

I love a happy ending though it’s back to the tidying for me now.

 

A Few Shots with a Nikon F3 and 60mm Macro

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2014 by yammerman

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Further use of the Nikon F3  using the 60mm Macro, which has always been a favourite for both film and digital.  A stroll to the pier and then some macro in the garden. It was all going so well until I discovered the back of the camera opened as I rewound the second roll. Give light a second and it does it worst to those grains of silver. A  deep sigh then processed and found to be ruined so straight in the bin. Naturally the second had the award winning images on so that was a damn shame. Here is the best of the first roll.

Shot with  Ilford FP4 at 125 processed in Rodinal/Adonal 1 to 50 for 12 minutes at 21 degrees.

Lunch in Crickhowell with a Fuji X Pro-1 and 18mm

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2013 by yammerman

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Today I travelled up to meet my good friend Bob as he traversed Wales on his way west to Cardigan. We’d agreed to meet in Crickhowell and lunch at the Bear Hotel. He sold this prospect to me with the recommendation that they had given his wife food poisoning ten years earlier. I decided to give the faggots a miss.

The desolate landscape as I came up the Heads of the Valleys road might have made a better subject, with its picturesque dusting of snow on the mountains. But you are not getting that because they would be very dull in comparison to these thrill filled pictures of  Crickhowell’s buildings and, if you’re buying that, I’ve also some very reasonably priced evaporated water you may like to purchase.

I arrived a little early for the meet so had a quick stroll around what is a very pleasant small town. A man in a funny hat with a camera is wisely given a wide berth and a wary glance by the locals although I imagine they are quite used to this kind of thing in the summer months. Given more time I might have wandered further afield, but the clock was ticking so I returned to find Bob outside The Bear.

It was good lunch; Fish, Chips and Mushy peas for me, while Bob had the Belly pork. Fine grub it was too with the old fashioned pub ambiance turned up high. We put the world to rights in about 90 mins so sleep easier in your beds tonight.  I then headed south once more while Bob went on westwards .

Here are the snaps taken with  a Fuji x Pro-1 and 18mm then given the Yesteryear treatment in Lightroom.

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Exposing Penarth with a Leica MP and 35mm ASPH

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2012 by yammerman

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This week, ignoring the pressing demands produced by an approaching Christmas, I ventured out for a walk to Penarth Pier.

I have been fondling my Leica MP these past months, a camera which my talents do not deserve but which my 50th birthday made possible. What better way to pass such a mile stone than to have a camera that might well be the last in the line of beautiful analogue tools produced by Leica.  The future is digital and a manual film camera in this day and age is going to go the way of the sabre-tooth tiger and the dodo. I fitted my Leica 35mm f2 ASPH which means that almost all you see through the beautiful viewfinder will appear on film.

I decided to walk to the pier in Penarth, not expecting much but the joy of hearing the shutter click. Photography is like Christmas shopping though, once you have made your first purchase the next comes much easier. I declined the road to the pier and followed the back lanes, an area I have trawled much, so was really just expecting to repeat myself.

The world though is always turning and changing so while it may be subtle, even these unloved back lanes evolve. A new garage door, a fresh lick of paint and a new graffiti tag;  all these and of course the light is never the same. It dresses the stage a little different each time and I quickly found my self in that world I see with a camera in my hand.

The camera gods played a neat trick on me as they always do, as half way down to the pier, the meter battery  ran out of juice thus removing one of Leica’s few concessions to the modern age. The rest of the shots had to be done with me guessing the exposure which after swallowing hard and grabbing hold of  ‘sunny 16’ like a drowning man I carried on.

I read that  Paul Strand said once that it takes eight to nine years to become a photographer and 2012 marks my seventh year,  so maybe I’m getting close. It is a measure of my progress that the two rolls I shot came out of Ilford HC with me unable to tell which the camera had chosen the exposure and which were mine. I confess a little jig of delight escaped me when I saw the negatives for the first time.

As for the pictures, among the dull shots of the pier (again) were also some shots of Penarth that won’t make the tourist brochure but they are in the town somewhere if you care to look.

These were  shot with FP4 with a yellow filter. Processed in Ilford HC 1+47 @ 20degrees for 9mins.