In the middle of the wet weather of the last few weeks was just one or two days of joyful summer sun. We tried to take as much advantage of them as we could; these are from 5th July, one such isolated perfect day.
This year I'm embarking on a project to produce a set of roundographs from a single spot taken every month throughout the year, showing how the place changes as the year cycles on: the changing light, colours and density of life as the leaves grow and fall.
The location I chose is a little country lane in Pishill, Oxfordshire, a few miles from our house. It is a point on a little walk we often do where a small path through grazing fields meets the main tree-lined track, and overlooks arable fields. It therefore contains a lot of natural and farmed elements that should provide a good amount of variety over the next ten months.
_Two months in, here are my first two images; in wormhole form to emphasise the canopy of greenery that will appear in Spring. My exact position was slightly different between images, which although it greatly irritates me when I look, it's something which I hope won't matter too much to other people!
I am very excited. As I mentioned in my last post, I've recently become the very proud owner of the fisheye lens that I've been lusting over for the last couple of years. This is a huge step forward, and I can't believe I've taken so long to make it.
Roundography used to be a tiresome business, as this post in my personal blog demonstrates, but I awoke on 7th July to a brave new world where roundographs could be shot in just twenty or thirty photographs, rather than around seventy, all because of a small but heavy black object that arrived in the post that day. I won't say how much it cost but suffice it to say 'a lot', but it wasn't just for the sake of a few fewer photographs.
My constraints on the suitability of different locations have been dramatically reduced by this lens: previously I was unable to make roundographs in locations with overhanging branches for example, or very close objects. In fact, many of the factors which make a location interesting actually prevented me from capturing them. Frustrating.
Now however, although I'm still getting to grips with exactly how to best use it, I already have several images to show that would have been impossible for me to make just a month ago: including overhanging canopy and - holy grail - my first indoor wormhole. Many more to follow I'm sure!
These pictures will be up on the main site soon.
I recently received a very exciting invitation from Hamish Robertson to contribute some of my images to the very first issue of an American bi-annual magazine called Afterzine, focussing on arts and culture.
Hamish studied art, and used part of this first issue to invite different kinds of artists to interpret a theme he was given himself by an old tutor: Negative Space. I did not study art, and don't find these sorts of interpretive questions easy, but I came up with some suggestions that I thought could work.
This image of Down House in Kent (Charles Darwin's house) seemed to me to fit the brief because of its unusual crop: the focus of the image is, to my eyes, three solitary leaves in a tangle of bare branches, appearing only in silhouette hanging against an open and empty, but textured and colourful sky, while the actual landscape is tucked away at the bottom of the image.
It seemed to me that Wormholes were very appropriate with their emphasis on the central empty space, but this particular one of Gordale Scar in North Yorkshire, looking directly up through what was once the roof of an enormous cave, seemed to fit perfectly. The material that once enclosed the space can still be seen scattered all around the interior of the scar, which dwarfs the waterfall at the back of the structure (about 11 o'Clock in the image).
Hamish decided in the end what images to include and I was very excited to receive my copy through the post, and to see my name against all these amazing contributors.
I have uploaded a series of pictures this last week taken on a beautiful weekend trip to Robin Hood's Bay on the North Yorkshire coast. We camped with friends overlooking the bay for just one night and did our best to fit as much of a summer holiday into our two days as possible. We did cram a lot in, but managed to keep that supreme feeling of relaxation you can only get from paddling in shallow sea water all the time we were there.
Mostly I wanted to produce roundographs. I tried one on Whitby beach (from more or less the position in the image above) but it didn't really work: everything was rather too far away and came out too small in the stitched image. The beach at Robin Hood's Bay proved to be a better and more interesting image. Note Poor Alan standing as still as he could in the coldest water we've experienced in quite some time.
I managed to get a decent one a little earlier in the day also when the tide was too far in to allow access to the beach. This took two attempts, I was too foiled by milling people the first time I took the photographs and had to return a little later for these pictures.
Why have I made one a planet and one a wormhole? I don't know really to be honest. I often try a roundograph both ways before deciding on one, but in these instances I really liked the outcome of the first one I tried and kept it.
As an aside, these were not in fact the images which most pleased me from this little holiday. We spent our evening playing games and, when the light failed entirely, stargazing. Our friends brought their telescope along and we saw the rings of Saturn for the first time. I got out my camera and did a bit of star trail photography and was beside myself with excitement (see my other blog for a post about that).
Earlier this month my partner & I had a couple of days where we managed to fit in four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in two days, which was great fun. I've only just started to go through the photographs I took, so over the next weeks there should be a few castles appearing in the site. Here are the three that I've finished.
This one is an incredible prehistoric monument close to Dublin called Newgrange. I don't know as much about it as I should because I sneaked away from the tour guide's speech to take the panorama shots for this wormhole (that's my group in the picture... my partner is somewhere in the scrum listening intently and didn't notice I'd gone). The outside of the monument is one archaeologists reconstruction of how it may have looked, but inside is more authentic, and incredible to see. The domed roof is a work of engineering genius.
That day we caught a ferry to Holyhead and spent the night in Anglesey, getting up good & early to do some of Edward 1's amazing castles. These images were taken from the top of one of Caernarfon Castle's towers. Expect some roundographs very soon....
I also used images from this vantage point to make some Tilt-shift photographs, which I think are quite cute :-)
VERY EXCITED. Today I have been featured on How to be Retronaut, which is one of only four websites I have an RSS feed for in my browser: I love it to distraction.
It is a wonderful site with a new post every day: always something visual, always poignant or funny, beautiful or alarming and always very personal and intimate that speaks to us from another time.
It contains images as epoch-defining as the first ever photographic image of a human, and the earliest known photographic self-portrait, to images showing the erection of Nelson's Column and film showing those few years when cars shared road space with horses. There are many very personal stories too, such as this photographic record of a couple's life through 45 years of marriage (starting in 1900).
This article fits in with those that touch on a Retronautic aesthetic (there is such a thing... see Steam Punk.).
Please have a look and subscribe too, you'll be taken on a journey :-)
On Saturday 27th March 2010 two of our best friends were married... an experiment occurred to me to which they responded with enthusiasm.
When the ceremony at Old Luxter's Barn (near Hambleden, Oxfordshire) was over, and the wedding photographer had just done the big group shots, all the guests were arranged in a large circle around me. With my camera I circled around once to take in all the guests, marked my position and waited until later when they were all inside to take the rest of the view: up and down.
I was on holiday so had to wait a little while before I could do my stitching, but as soon as I could I made two versions:
and a Planet.
To complete my commission I will print and frame them, and would like to offer smaller versions too presented in different ways... I am in thinking...
I am really pleased with how it's turned out and am excited at the prospect of seeing it framed on our friends' wall.
Every guest and all around the venue in one image: how better to remember the day!
My plan is to print them both out but have only one framed (I will leave the other underneath so the couple themselves can decide which they like best). I know which I prefer but would like to know what other people think. Please let me know by submitting your answer below:
Thank you! (your answers will help me decide which to leave visible in the frame)
(if the pole is not visible, click on the post title and it should appear)
I've had another go at this now (another friend of mine got married recently and didn't mind being another guinea pig). I took on board some of the comments I got about my first attempt and think it is a great improvement. Click on the image to go to the post.
One Tweet: Philip Sheppard of RadioMovies would very much like to use one of my images for the cover of a CD. One of my images for a CD cover.
Flattery gave way to awe when I went to his website and saw the reams of amazing projects, The handover music at the Beijing Olympics being just one of the most recent.
My image was wanted for the soundtrack CD of the 2009 Channel 4 documentary series Henry VIII, Mind of a Tyrant.
Thrilled is not the word!
I'm a photographer right at the start of my career.