playing with panoramas

I’m a big fan of square photos, it’s long been my favourite format, but I’m increasingly finding that there’s something about the panoramic format that appeals to me. 

You may have read my earlier post about my first foray into pinhole photography. It’s no accident that my self-built pinhole camera utilises the panoramic format.

I’ve long fancied getting my hands on a nice Hasselblad x-pan and a couple of lenses, but my wallet just won’t stretch to that, so my little wooden “x-pin” is as close as I’ll get for the foreseeable future. 

Now, I know that digital technology makes creating big panoramas relatively easy by stitching multiple images together, but really, if you’ve read anything on this blog you’ll know that’s just not me.  The mere thought of spending that long at a computer screen puts me in a cold sweat. It’s not a facet of photography that I will ever enjoy, so I’ll leave it to those who do. I will concede though, to a brief dalliance with panoramic cropping. It’s quick and easy, and can sometimes throw up an intriguing composition. Continue reading “playing with panoramas”

my happy place

Edited and updated historical post from www.steers-gallery.co.uk

Were it not for the fact that 2018 is designated a “fallow year”, this weekend just passed would have been the Glastonbury Festival, so it seems an appropriate point in the year for this post…

Back to June 2010 then, and the 40th anniversary Glastonbury Festival. A conversation with some friends ended with four of us deciding we’d like to experience it, and if it turned out not to be to our liking, well at least we’d know not to do it again. Beginners luck maybe, but tickets seemed easy enough to procure, sadly not a statement I’ve felt able to repeat since! Continue reading “my happy place”

pinhole photography – my first attempt

It must have been around five years ago that I decided to build a pinhole camera.
I’d come across this website:
http://www.teamdroid.com/diy-high-capacity-panoramic-pinhole-camera/
which sparked my interest, so using the plans on the site as a guide, but making a few minor adjustments, I set about cutting, shaping, sanding, gluing, drilling and painting.

I used 6mm MDF for the outer shell, and 6mm “mighty-core” foam board for the internals, making quite a sturdy little box. A simple winding mechanism pulls the 120 film in front of a piece of thin brass shim, which I hand-drilled with a 0.25mm drill held in a pin chuck.

With the 0.25mm diameter hole, and a distance from pinhole to film of 40mm, the f/stop according to Mr Pinhole’s calculator is f160. 
A steel washer is glued onto the front of the brass shim in a recess on the front of the box, and a “memo board” type magnet fits snuggly into the recess as a shutter. Continue reading “pinhole photography – my first attempt”

the good, the bad and the ugly (of framing)

OK, so I’ll leave “the good” for another day… Let’s concentrate on “the bad and the ugly” for now…

The trouble with framing is, the benefits of a quality job are not always immediately apparent, so it’s easy to see why some folks baulk at the cost of a bespoke frame and instead, choose something mass-produced. That’s not to say that a mass-produced frame won’t look entirely acceptable, as long as it’s selected wisely and inspected closely. I’m frequently asked to cut a window mount to fit a budget frame, and will happily do so (all customers are good customers, and there’s always the chance of future conversion to bespoke options) and often have to strengthen the corners or the hangers, and always have to add extra flexi-tabs to keep the back flat.  Continue reading “the good, the bad and the ugly (of framing)”

the tale of the taking of a photograph

First published on www.filmwasters.com forum – 20/07/2016

“’Ere, Tone,” said Emma the hairdresser (friend of Mrs S), interrupting the snippety-snip-snipping of her tonsorial attentions as I sat in her kitchen one sunny Sunday morning in June. “You’re the best person to ask.”
“Surely not,” thought I, “there must be millions more qualified than me, in every conceivable subject.”
“I’ve taken a picture of my fruitbowl.” She continued.
“Steady on, girl,” I spluttered, “children present!”
But it turned out she was actually talking about an actual fruitbowl, not some bizarre euphemism… I breathed a sigh of relief.

Continue reading “the tale of the taking of a photograph”

it’s a date…

Edited and updated historical post from www.steers-gallery.co.uk

Some years ago, when I had delusions of being an adequate photographer, I was given the opportunity to shoot a corporate calendar for my employer. You see, I’d made such a fuss about the quality of the previous year’s effort that I think they decided it was the only way to shut me up. Late 2003 it was. My deadline was very tight, but I managed to deliver a dozen nicely exposed 6×6 slides of moderately interesting views, and even got involved with the graphic designer on the layout. In truth, the print quality of the final calendar didn’t do me any favours, but that was well beyond my control, and having sold a number of the images as framed cibachrome prints, I’m happy in the knowledge that my personal quality control was up to standard. It was a fun project, and I wrote an article describing the experience and speculatively sent it off to Amateur Photographer magazine. Joy of joys, it was published, and only slightly edited. Surely I was now set… the big league beckoned… a stellar career in calendar photography, or journalism, or both, was a certainty…

 

Continue reading “it’s a date…”

the lifeboat station project

There are some places whose names become inextricably linked in our memory to events (usually disasters) that happened there:


ABERFAN
DUNBLANE
PENLEE
ZEBRUGGE
LOCKERBIE
WORLD TRADE CENTRE
GRENFELL TOWER
HEYSEL STADIUM


All appalling disasters which resulted in tragic loss of life. All are entrenched in our collective memory, even though we may not have a personal memory. The Aberfan tragedy, for example, happened exactly one year before I was born. There is no possible way I can have a “real” memory of it. Memories of my own childhood up to the age of around 5 or 6 are hazy at best yet Aberfan is etched on my mind, to the extent that on mention of the name, I “see” the old black and white news footage and photographs.
Continue reading “the lifeboat station project”

On-demand publishing

Edited and updated historical post from www.steers-gallery.co.uk Originally published 30/12/12

Have you tried “on-demand publishing” yet?

It’s an oft-quoted fact that people no longer print their photos.  We live in an age when anyone and everyone is a photographer, and you can upload the most banal photograph of your breakfast to a potential global audience before you’ve rubbed the sleep from your eyes, but people just don’t print their photos, preferring to view them on a smartphone screen, brushing each image aside, glancing but not looking, seen but not digested, instant gratification, instantly forgotten, swipe, swipe, swipe… It seems the humble photo album, that printed link to our, and our family’s past, is now itself, a thing of the very past it used to celebrate. What a great shame that is.  Continue reading “On-demand publishing”

exhibitions and influences

I love talking photography. Discussing and debating what I like and what I don’t care much for. Sharing knowledge and ideas can feed your own interest and also be a potent fertiliser when you feel your artistic life beginning to wither.

I’ll often drop in on any local gallery, and if the exhibiting photographer / artist is present, there’s nothing I like more than having a good old chat. There’s a connection between us as I take in what they’re exhibiting. I try not to critique, that’s not why I’ve walked through the door, but I’ll point out what I like and offer an opinion if pressed. If the exhibitor is proud / happy / confident enough to put their work up for public consumption then they’ve already won my respect, and that goes for any art form, not just photography. Continue reading “exhibitions and influences”