Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Toys

My purchasing has started and my Nikon SB800 flashgun has arrived.
Blimey, I have apparently been a follower of Ned Ludd. I have been working with old school camera bodies and flashguns up until now. I chose the Nikon F4s way back when as opposed to the cheaper new style electronic LCD on the top of the body types. The manual controls on the top of the body meant that I didn't have to change my working style at all.
I use ( still will be using all this kit, not getting rid of it and going completely digital ) film cameras and a Metz 45CL-4 and feel comfortable using it all. TTL flash is still a novelty as I like setting everything myself.
I now face a steep learning curve with the new digital body and flashgun. I never realised that a flashgun could be as complicated until I got my mitts on the SB800. It does things that I had to learn to judge using trial and error. Balanced fill flash at the touch of a button for example. A whold new world this is to me. I still like setting things like film speed, never have let a camera do it for me. Apart from compacts where I have no choice, of course.

I will hopefully pick up the camera body ( Nikon D200 ) today and the battery grip is on it's way and should be with me by the weekend.
I shall have to go out and earn some money as I am out of pocket quite a bit for this lot.

My nephew has his 1st birthday on Saturday and I will be spending from now until then learning how to use my new kit.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ray La Montagne

The lurgy has gone thankfully. Now I can be human again.
The Mrs, her sister and I went to the waterfront hall last night to hear the dulcet tones of Mr Montagne. We heard him first on Jools Holland's tv program, must have been around Christmas 2004 or Jan 2005. Blown away, we were. Thought he sounded like Otis Redding the first time we heard him. Mesmerised might be a term to use. Then we got the album and ranted and raved to everyone we knew about him. Not many takers. Getting older and not having the same tight circle of friends, but that is for another post.....

We then aquired the 2nd album, I am not going to say how but suffice to say we do own 2 legitimate versions, 1 of each album now, and wahey it is better in parts than the first one. 3 more days being a personal favourite.

The gig -

Support was Leona Naess. Nice voice. Wouldn't go out of my way to hear more.

The band-
Absolutely fantastic. I really, really wanted to get up and dance when he and his band played 3 more days. I am not a big fan of all seated gigs at all. Truly wonderful band, a drummer who can keep it low and reined in only to let it loose when it is needed is a rare thing outside of jazz. Maybe he is normally a jazz drummer, I dunno. Slide guitar player gave things a really "country" feel and then the slide player switched to a telecaster and played the brass section parts. Niiice.
Bass player, female-nice to see, not enough female players in bands. She danced through the music both physically and with her playing. Magic.

Ray hisself-
Skinny dude with a beard who dresses like me. Wish I had a voice like that though.
Voice of an angel, albeit an angel with a 60 fags a day habit. What a voice ( wonderful song writing too).
I could listen to him sing all day long. That man has SOUL.

What a wonderful gig indeed. Chips on the way home courtesy of "Eatsville" just before they closed.

I have a question...what is is with Belfast crowds on a Saturday night? Do all the arseholes come out of the woodwork? There were some morons heckling trying to make themselves look clever. Not big. Not clever. Not funny.
Thoughts of evisceration crossed my mind. This really only points out what a sick and twisted mind I have.

I was amazed at the amount of people there who only knew the singles off the first album. No, really I was. Why fork out money to hear a couple of songs only to record it on your mobile phone video camera. Must be gratifying to watch a fuzzy coloured blob with bad audio and tell your friends "That's him isn't he great?" Aye, right.

Understanding some things about photography an' all, the amount of eejits taking pictures with puny flashes on their wee digicams or mobile phone cams made me laugh. There is no way that those wee flashes are gonna make it all the way to the stage and back to your camera lens and give you enough light for a good photo. No way. Oh, how I laughed. Inwardly of course, no point attracting attention and marking oneself out as a "loony".
Since when do people not get thrown out for taking pictures during a gig? I would have turfed the buggers out, that'll teach them for blinding half the audience with their little strobes.

I feel better now for getting all that out of my system.
Don't get me started on trying to get out of the carpark.........

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Lurgy

Pah, all my talk last week to my nearest and dearest about fighting off the infection that knocked out the inlaws.......
I now am proud possessor of the "Lurgy".
Felt ropey on Sunday night and Monday morning couldn't get up. Every bone in my body was aching and I felt as if I was under the influence of some pretty powerful drugs. All side effects and no fun of course. Ringing into work meant that I had to go and sit shivering with a temperature a lot higher than normal in front of the infernal machine and email some photos that were needed for a report. Off sick? why I can't be...I'm working ! Then back to bed with a paracetamol based dissolvable anti cold and flu remedy. No shameless promotion on this site. F*ck you pay me!
Monday night through to Tuesday afternoon have been the worst so far. Ugh.
Still not fit for driving and or doing the work I am scheduled for before month end, now I have waay too much to get done next week when I go back. Dagnabbit.

The aforementioned cold and flu remedy will, be quaffed again very soon as I am having a hot flush ( at my time of life and my gender? ).

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Doin' good.

I delivered my photos from the pre Christmas wedding to the mother and father of the groom today. By a complicated system of pulleys and wires I got confirmation later that they thought they were brilliant. 6 degrees of separation an all dat. Only the happy couple to please now when they get back from their loooong honeymoon. Me jealous of a month in Oz?...noooooooo. Lucky beggars.

The Mrs is a dab hand at the marketing malarkey and is organised to a frightening degree. She has my candid wedding photo career mapped out already ! All I have to do is quadruple the price I charged for the last job and shoot on digital and hand over a disc of photos per job and I am in the money and no mistake.

Sounds good to me already.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Work work work

I am still at home at nearly 10 am, haven't had breakfast and have just downloaded and labelled a pile ( yes, a pile, no less ) of photos from work yesterday. Not my own, on the side kinda work, but bona fide day job stuff. I need the camera card empty for todays work. I am working on my own today as well. A few locations to visit and that should be it. They aren't as far apart as the places yesterday - much driving- so I won't be too tired when I get home tonight. I feel the tendrils of a cold slithering at me, I must go have a hearty breakfast and eat waaay too many vitamin C tablets. Maybe throw in a zinc and Vit D tab for good measure.

Heigh ho...heigh ho.....heigh ho.....

Monday, January 08, 2007

All work and no play.....

So much for getting a DVD put together quickly....
I had to clean up every scan becasue the lab aren't as dust free as they should be. It took a long time. Then I had to make an edit of the images. I spent a few hours on Saturday morning and then most of Sunday as well. A great pity I agreed a price beforehand which most definitely reflect the work involved. Oh well, I only did the job to pay for some christmas presents.
The edit came down to 132 images which had to be cut down again to 99 to fit in with Nero's 99 image limit. This amount is for the happy couple and their families. I would cut it down to under 30 myself. It tells a story of the day and I am happy with it. Well, as happy as one who always feels they can do better can be. I deliver the photos and discs this week and the couple should be back from honeymoon near the end of the month. Then I get paid.

That is the last wedding I'll be doing in quite some time I think.

I only shoot black and white.
I shoot candids.
I really do not like taking the ubiquitous posed shots.

This still doesn't put people off.

I will be saying NO from now on as I have found if you do a good job word spreads.

I know, I sound like I have a screw loose, think of it this way - I am pretty damn good working in a shop and dealing with the public but I won't be doing that anytime soon. I'd rather use those skills in another arena, ya dig? Same with the photography, I'd rather use the skills on another subject. Covering events etc, good old fashioned reportage. I know I'm not going to end up rich doing this but I love doing it and it makes me feel good.

I am pretty good at other areas of photography too but reportage and landscapes ( meditation to me ) are what floats my boat.

Specialization is for insects.

Friday, January 05, 2007

First Friday of the year.

I am feeling celebratory as it is the first Friday of the year and I have been on a really healthy diet for four days to detox from the excesses of Christmas. Tonight, me and the Mrs are heading out to the Pizza Parlour for pizza and a bottle or two of wine. A brief respite from the healthy eating frenzy we have both embraced over the past 4 odd days. I am really looking forward to it. Then an evening of music, maybe some of Tom Waits new album. One of the discs anyway, there being three. Some relaxing jazz for afters or maybe the Mrs will want to watch that Celeb Bigbruvva nonsense. I shall then make myself scarce as I cannot take it anymore, I have had my fill of that faux reality caigh. I hope I spelt that correctly?
Enough of my ranting. The Pizza parlour has rickety tables and is dark and I love it. the pizzas are good and you can bring your own alcoholic beverages if so inclined and it is cheap. If the pizzas weren't good I wouldn't go. A cheap night out with plenty of the feelgood factor.

Alas I have to do some picture editing tomorrow morning for someones wedding DVD so an evening of wild excess is not on the cards.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Biting the bullet, grasping the nettle etc

Info time....

I can take a good photo. No really, I am published and all that malarkey, book covers, magazine editorial ( well ,one), annual reports, brochures etc. But I am a rather shy introverted individual , hence the pseudonym. Every photo is under my own name so I cannot post y'all a link.
Now it sounds like I am telling lies. Hmm...
I may post some when I set up a flickr account. Watch this space.
I haven't done any exciting stuff like book covers in about 3.5 years now.
I lost my mojo, if you can call it that.

I was asked to take some photos at a friends wedding in August. Nothing formal, just candid pictures of people enjoying themselves.

I got some really good photos. I captured the spirit of the event. I did good.

It made me feel good about my abilities again. I got as drunk as the rest of them as well.

I put together a DVD slideshow of my edit of the pics, a reportage style covering of the day.

On the back of this I got a paying gig.
Enough money to put together sufficient funding to take a leap into digital land.

Not enough for the top of the range model, more like 2 steps up from the bottom but in line with my immediate needs/wants.

I don't actually like doing weddings per se as the stuffy formal shots are ususally implicit in the deal no matter what the bride and groom say. I don't like doing them, I am not "That guy".
I feel like a performing monkey doing all that crap.

I like to float about and catch things that are normally missed.

Can you tell I am a big fan of Gary Winogrand? Huh, can you?

Anyway the move to digital has been a long time coming.
It will mean I can take paying jobs that otherwise I had to turn down due to me not being able to get to a lab as my day job means I am not in the vicinity of an E6 lab anymore.
With the new camera I can just pop the photos on a disk and post/deliver them.

I am not in the cut and thrust world of news photography, no thanks, so getting images to someone within minutes of shooting isn't a priority. But cutting out the lab saves a lot of time.

Some things will still demand the large tranny ( no, I am not a cross dresser ) and the laborious route of the lab will have to be undertaken.

I still like film better as I have a couple of little rangefinders I picked up on ebay for £100.
Like vinyl versus CD as a friend of mine pointed out. Each fills a niche in my opinion.

The immediacy of digital does appeal and the ability to see macro shots at the time to ascertain lighting and focus will be a revelation.

I still need the polaroid back for the 120 camera though.

Maybe some day I'll find my photographic niche and make it pay instead of the dayjob.

Did I mention that I like the creative process and would love an agent to hawk me, they can do all the selling etc and I'll make the images?

Maybe some day.

Sad it's all over

I hope I've used my apostrophe correctly in the title?

Well ,a week spent visiting family and eating huge amounts of food in a single sitting. Getting up at 11am and staying up until 3am. Drinking wine and beer. Every night. Then literally finishing myself off with large tumblers of Talisker on Old Years Night. Rather a sore whisky head the next day. Haven't felt that in a looong time now.

A distinct lack of daylight for nigh on a week has left me feeling a bit discombobulated. I reckon a restricted diet of my own home made bread in my new 4lb loaf tin ( Santa was good to me ) and cheese for Breakfast. Followed by home made chips one night, a veritable sack of spuds were immersed in the little fryer, and tempura the next. I ,again, made too much and ate too much . If there's one thing I can do lots of, its excess.

I now feel tighter of waistband and today I have embarked on a healthy eating campaign. Alcoholic empty calories are a bad thing.

Many, many thanks to Nelly for linking to my lost corner of t'interweb.
I bought the flour and tonight is cheese scone making night. A loaf will also be made. Some creative therapy to make up for...what am I saying I did all the cooking over the holiday period.

I am back at work....easing myself into a hectic schedule that is imminent. Not today though, thankfully. I came in to find I was marked down as being on a days leave today....GAAAAHH!
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