In part one of my “2008 and thereabouts” retrospective, I talked about what I’d been up to work-wise. Now I’m going to focus on my personal and family life. I find this side of things a little harder to talk about, and recall, if only because for most of the year, I spent five days per week at work (usually in London, away from my family) and the other two days recuperating. But here goes…
Six months ago, I published a book of my photos. Then I got caught up in a whirl of job-change-commute-business, and for six months most of the books remained in boxes in my hallway.
Well, I finally got around to putting up a web-page where people can order copies of the book. Please buy Working Nights here.
The 30th November launch date for the Canon EOS 5D Mark ii is creeping closer, and my lust for it is growing. I’ve seen many, many posters commenting that Canon have “lost touch with what photographers want” with this new release – well, not what this photographer wants. It seems their main push has been to improve low light performance, and that’s exactly what I’ve been longing for. 25,600ISO doesn’t exactly look usable (though I’m sure I could coax something from it) but there are some amazing results at 3200ISO. Equally important for me, it’s full-frame, which means my 24mm f/1.4L comes into its own and I can finally produce some decent ultra-wide shots in next-to-zero light.
Continue reading 5D Lust & Working Nights
Some of my more observant friends have noticed that I’ve hardly uploaded any photos in the last few months. My last set on Danshotme dates from early October, and I’ve only posted half-a-dozen or so pics to Flickr since then.
I have been going through one of those “fallow periods” which will be familiar to all photographers. Of course, whereas in the past a fallow period meant not touching my camera for six months, now it means that I average only one hundred or so photos per week, rather than the usual couple of thousand. And I’ve had neither the time nor the inclination to do much with those photos.
Continue reading New photos – sort of
On Thursday night, I was hired to photograph the launch of Bench‘s new flagship shop at Sheffield’s Meadowhall, and the subsequent VIP party.
I have to admit, my hopes weren’t that high. I mean, how exciting can a Meadowhall shop be? Well, how wrong could I be? The shop was amazing, and the evening even more so.
Continue reading Sheffield Bench store launch party
Tonight I taught my first photography workshop in Wath-on-Dearne. I had been dreading it – was on the verge of panic attacks last night – but actually it went very smoothly, the kids were wonderful (there were only 4 of them – I had been prepared for 2 or 3 times that number) and everyone had a good time. It’s been a massive confidence boost to me, managing to get this under my belt.
We started the session with a quick slide-show of about a dozen of my photos, then I showed them in about 30 pictures from the National Portrait Gallery Photographic Portrait Prize over the last four years. I got them to to talk in detail about each picture – what it told them about the person pictured, and how different things like the background, clothing, possessions, pose, framing, angle, lighting etc. could all affect our understanding of the person shown, and could add up to a story about that person.
Then I got them to split into two groups of two, and take photos of one another, thinking about some of those different elements and how they could be used. I just let them use the cameras on fully automatic settings, with flash (although a couple of them worked out how to turn the flash off).
Then I mixed up the groups, and gave each group two halogen desk lamps to play with, switched off the main lights and got them to play with lighting.
Finally, we downloaded the photos and looked at them.
I’m really looking forward to next week now! And on Sunday, I’m giving another workshop to a local Muslim girls’ group.
Several more photography commissions rolling in – I’ve got a conference to do on Friday, and it looks like I’ll have another party to do next week. Suddenly, all systems are go!
It’s been an interesting couple of days. Saturday’s Guardian Weekend magazine had a new section called “In Pictures” – a set of around half-a-dozen photos on a theme (this week: water). They were asking for submissions for the next week’s mag (theme: Parklife), and the best one selected would win a Canon Ixus camera and a photo-printer.
I have a few interesting park photos (in particular, this one), so I thought I might give it a shot. Unfortunately, details on the competition were pretty thin, and I had to read the small print to find out where to send the photo, and what the deadline was. Good thing I did. The terms were not nice! The story is perhaps best continued by quoting the post which, with small alterations, I submitted to the Guardian Unlimited’s talk website, Flickr’s Utata and Flickr Central group discussions, and the Lightstalkers website for professional photographers. (Oh yeah, I also posted it to the Krautrock Message Board, just to keep friends in the loop): Continue reading Fighting for Photographers’ Rights
I picked up the final item in my camera package today – the tripod. Walked into town with Gizmo to collect it (about a 90 minute round-trip). On the way back, walking through Crookes Valley Park, I couldn’t resist (very foolishly) sitting down on a park bench in near pitch darkness, pulling the tripod and head out of their boxes, unwrapping them and trying to work out, using my hands alone, how to fit the whole lot together. I’m glad I did it (and also glad that, as far as I’m aware, no pieces dropped out) because it meant that I got to take this lush 25-second exposure shot: just check out those ducks!