Photos of the Day: Timoleague Abbey

I am still looking back over photos I took 2 years ago, I have thousands to go until I am up to date! These ones are from our tour of the the west coast of Ireland (Counties Cork and Kerry) in September / October 2018.

Timoleague Abbey was one of the first abbeys we visited in Ireland, it was where we first discovered their practice of using ruined abbeys (both inside and out) as burial grounds even into the modern day.

Lensballs, and beach huts and sunsets oh my…

Despite the ever variable British autumn weather, I have been continuing my investigation of the beach huts of the south coast. After all there is no point in waiting for ideal conditions in the UK, who knows when they will be…

My first stop this weekend was Shoreham. Somewhere I had been earlier in the summer with my Polaroid and iPhone but I wanted to see if I could get some better shots and give my lensball a trip out. TO be completely honest, I would have had better light if I had made the trip earlier in the day, however not to be deterred, I gave it a go and managed to get one or two interesting shots. Including one lensball shot I am particularly pleased with.

This one I love, I am so pleased with how it came out.

The Shoreham trip was a little late in the day, badly lit and rainy, but it was absolutely worth it for that one reflection shot!

The second expedition of the weekend was a trip to Rustington. It was another late evening trip, but this one involved a pretty spectacular sunset, and Rustington has an extremely colourful and extensive range of beach huts. Absolutely worth a trip!

All of the beach huts in all of the colours!!

And that was before I had got the lensball out…

All in all I am pretty pleased with these shots. I absolutely want to try some more lansball plus reflection shots. This is beginning to get interesting!

The beauty of beach huts

Living, as I do, a stones throw away from the south coast (well, it would have to be a pretty spectacular throw, but still…) I am pretty well placed to investigate the quintessential British tradition that is the beach hut.

You have seen this one before…

Those ones up there are in Littlehampton, West Sussex, they are the beach huts I have photographed most, I keep going back, and I keep finding new ways to photograph them:

Those ones were taken on a dull rainy day, with my iPhone, but even in terrible conditions there is still something about them that makes me want to photograph them. I did, at least try to take one or two different looking photos…

It has to be said, however, that there are more beach huts on the south coast than these. There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of them scattered around in clumps (well, lines) all along the southern edge of the country. During the parts of this summer that we have been allowed out, I have made it my mission to visit them, and photograph them.

I know I am not the only person who does this. But I have fallen in love with these funny little huts and the vast variation that can be found in them. Not only that, they have a lot of pretty compelling details and repeating patterns, two things I am not really able to resist!

I have been out there with both my Nikon D7500 and my polaroid 600, which is almost but not quite from one extreme to another. I took my phone along too…of course 🙂

Needless to say, those photos up there have been taken with my polaroid 🙂

These slightly more modern looking beach huts were found on Worthing sea front. I love them, they are so geometric and interesting. I have tried to photograph them on more than one occasion, this time, I finally got a few photos I am happy with. (taken with my Nikon)

These slightly more traditional and less uniform beach huts are just along from Worthing in Goring, they presented me with some absolutely brilliant rusty details and in one case, a boat… (taken with my Nikon)

This project is likely to go on for a little while, I might give it a proper name and do something interesting with the photos in due course, but for now I am going to just carry on photographing what catches my eye. Then, quite probably going back and photographing it again with a different camera…

Lensball antics…

Many moons ago, at christmas I was given a Lensball. For the uninitiated, this is the description of a lensball, taken from their website:

A lensball is a hardened, ultra clear polished K9 crystal ball which acts like a wide angle lens giving you a 180 degree view and creates a refraction effect, whereby the image in the ball is flipped over – in the right setting it creates some stunning visuals.

https://lensball.co.uk/pages/faqs
lensball…

For one reason or another (lockdown…) I didn’t get a chance to take this new toy out to play until August.

I have to say I am loving it. It is fun and you can get some interesting effects… I am really only just getting the hang of using it, but I can see the possibilities for some interesting shots.

These are the first shots I ever took with it, using my Nikon D7500. I took a couple with my phone, but the quality with the Nikon is so much better that I am sticking to that!

I have read multiple reviews of lensballs, mainly when I was searching around for ideas, and there are definitely mixed feelings out there about the validity of it as a photography tool. There are people who think it is a gimmick, there are people who think that it is not worth their time because everyone is doing it, there are people who think it is not for serious photographers…

I have decided I don’t care what those people think, there is absolutely room for some lensball photos in my photographic shenanigans! Just because lots of people are doing it doesn’t make it a bad thing. Everyone looks at things differently, even through a lensball! And as for those who think it has no place in serious photography, who wants to be serious all of the time! There is a lot to be said for having fun, and you might just end up producing some pictures that people like to look at. Which is the point after all…

These pictures come from the only three times I have taken the ball out for a play. I have already learned a lot about using it and am looking forward to trying even more new things!

The exhibition that never was…

Also known as North by Westy, it was going to be brilliant, but instead the poor photos got locked up in the gallery for 4 months with no one looking at them!

Poor photos, I felt so sad for them!

A bit sad for me too, and Trevor, my fellow photographer and joint exhibitor. There is something brilliant about seeing your work framed and hanging in a gallery for the world to see. After all, part of the point of taking photos is showing them to people.

The theme for this exhibition was a little different to the first one, but me being me, it did have a degree of crossover. This exhibition was based on pictures taken during trip we took in two little red VW camper vans around the north coast of Scotland. As it happens some of the Beauty in the Mundane photos were taken on this trip and were already framed and ready to go so I used those, plus some more that ranged from abstract and esoteric, to my take on landscapes.

We split the exhibition 50/50 with 15 photos from me and 15 photos from Trevor. We picked photos which were vastly different in nature, but also complimentary. I added in some smaller photos and some lino cuts / cyanotype prints which had been inspired by the trip and all in all we had a pretty coherent and well laid out exhibition…

At least it was well laid out and coherent after we had drunk coffee and moved little pictures around on pretend walls!

It was hard work but it was done, it was set up and ready to go. Ready to be shown to our adoring public and launch us in to the spotlight. Or possibly just to be seen by the good people of Horsham on the way to the theater and the cinema. Our gallery was inside the Capitol Theater in Horsham, and the date of our set up was 16th March 2020.

The date and location are particularly important to this story…

2020 is the year of the global Coronavirus pandemic.

On the 17th March 2020 the Cinemas and Theaters across the UK closed their doors for an (as of then) undefined amount of time. On the 23rd March 2020 the country went into complete lockdown.

So, despite the all of our best intentions, the venue for our exhibition closed its doors the day after we put the exhibition up and 5 days later noone was allowed out of the house (much).

Our pictures hung there lonely and abandoned for approximately 4 months. Making it one of the longest running and least viewed exhibitions in the history of the venue! Luckily for the venue and the country, the Theater has now reopened, but our pictures were taken down before anyone got to see them other than a small number of the Capitol staff.

We have been given an revised date, so you never know the pictures may get another chance…

Watch this space

Cyanotype Printing

Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. Engineers used the process well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints. The process uses two chemicals: ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide.

(Wikipedia)

Cyanotyping is a process I have wanted to try for a long time; I am always trying to make interesting images out of my photographs using alternative processes. I have tried acrylic image transfer and I have made lino cuts and prints based on my photos, . This is a much more direct way of making photos and photo prints, using photosensitive paper and items (either photo negatives or any random items) directly on to the paper to mask its exposure to light. I have wanted try this for so long that I have had the chemicals, dry, un-mixed, in my kitchen cupboard for so long that i am wondering if they have gone off…

I decided it was time to get my act together and actually go somewhere where there was someone who knew how to do this thing and was willing to teach me! So, on Saturday I went on a Cyanotype Printing Masterclass at the Surrey Art School. It was run by the lovely Ellie, a photography and print specialist and founder of the school.

It was a fantastic course in an absolutely stunning location, the studio is absolutely lovely and Ellie was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. She took us through the whole process from coating the paper to placing your items, exposing them in the sun and rinsing the prints off. She had also pre-coated some paper for us to use, coating your paper in bright sunshine doesn’t work that well…it is photosensitive after all :-D. We also got some spare coated paper and unmixed chemicals to take home so we can keep practicing!

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This was my first attempt, I learned pretty soon that the shaft bit on the feather was too thick and was lifting the rest of the feather away from the surface of the paper.

If things are sitting up above the paper like this, the light can get underneath and the edges will be fuzzy…as you can see 🙂

This is a good lesson to learn 🙂 and that is the whole point of going on this sort of course, you learn what to do but also make mistakes and therefore learn what not to do.

I am obsessed with feathers at the moment and discovered that peacock feathers work really well for this process. I also took some of my own photos what I printed on to acetate. I completely forget to make negatives of them first so the resulting prints are negative themselves, but I like them, they look like blueprints 😀

Beauty in the Mundane: The book!

Slightly later than anticipated, I have put together a book of the photos which featured my recent photography exhibition.

book

Click on it and you will get a preview of it and you can even become the proud owner of a lovely shiny copy of your very own!

Photography exhibition glamorous opening event!

Well… fairly glamorous…

Well…there was Prosecco and I wore a top hat…

Whatever it was it was awesome!

I invited friends because this sort of event is better with people you like, and to be honest I really wanted to show it to them because they are my friends and i am proud of it! Even the lovely Lucy from PorterGirl came from Cambridge which was amazing!

I (optimistically I thought) ordered prosecco, orange juice and nibbles for 30 people…and invited lots of my friends 🙂

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It turned out that this was just about the right amount of refreshments 🙂

There were of course people who were otherwise engaged on that day but I was genuinely quite overwhelmed by the amount of people who showed up to support me 🙂

I had people travel from far and wide (Cambridge and Kent and Reading) to see it I had people get back early from being away for the weekend to see it…it was amazing!! I had so many lovely people that I am assuming it wasn’t all just for the free Prosecco 🙂

 

My favourite comment so far is a friend of mine who said:

“I never thought I would like a picture of rusty railings so much”

This, is exactly the point of the exhibition 😀