2017 – Year of Photography

I hope everyone has had wonderful holidays and is enjoying the winter weather when it’s not too cold. Our holidays were quiet, as they are every year and like every year, I start wondering about my life and all the various things I could do to enrich it. So. This year is photography year. There. I said it, now there is no backing out.

Last year, due to a few house moves and consequently all of our stuff being in storage, I did not get round too much wet-plating, much to my chagrin. This year will be different; I dusted off my Model Mayhem account and created a casting call, to start photographing some plates in upcoming springtime. Yeah, I know, I don’t do cold weather shooting so I’ll have to be patient. I look forward to shooting a few fresh faces in an exciting new project. The theme was so simple, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before! And – it will take me some time to finish it. Which could be a good or bad thing, we’ll see.

 

No, I’m not telling you what it is just yet! If you are truly curious, go find the casting call on Model Mayhem 😀

 

I did manage to do a couple of plates last year, but somehow they did not manage to enthuse me. They are just not exciting enough! For lack of a model, I used a small porcelain figurine that was left to me by my late great-grandmother as well as a small piece of a wasp nest that I found in the shed (and some wasps that were dead on the ground in summer). There was also a pepper, and a mortar and pestle providing the subject of the images.

 

I was mildly enthusiastic about this plate, where the top of the pepper emerging from the shadows almost looks like some monstrous stag beetle…This could be a fun image, after a bit of work.


I did get to do some medium format shooting last year though, with all that travel. I hope I’ll see more of that coming my way this year, that would be sweet! It’s a shame I don’t actually enjoy the scanning and retouching of my images all that much, it would make things a little easier. Hah! This time round, just like my belated holiday images in my last post, I have scanned them all small and did only the bare bone retouching on them. That way, I’ll finally not waste time on image that I’ll never use or will misplace at some point anyway. Again, time will tell if this is a good of bad way to go about it.

In my second round of scanning, I found a few beauties that I do not want to keep to myself. These are taken in the Chinese Garden in Frankfurt, Germany. It’s not a big garden, and it’s usually busier than this, but it certainly provided with ample opportunity for a few nice shots.

 

 

 

 

 

Belated Holiday Film Scans

We’re now almost 2 months into living in new Canadian place and things are falling into place. The house is done and decorated, as far is was humanly possible and we now have that typical ‘1 box of stuff that has not found its place yet’. Lucky for us, we have a lot of space to place that 1 box, so it’s not quite an issue.

I got round to opening a new Etsy shop. I would have much rather wanted to move the original UK one over to Canada, but apparently global organization Etsy does not cater for international moves. As I did not want to pay for currency conversions twice, only to then have my money sitting in a UK bank account – I opted for a shop Version 2.0.

I also managed to get round to scanning my medium format film images from all of my recent short trips to Gran Canaria, Italy and France. There are still more rolls to develop, but I’m sure I’ll get round to those in the next few weeks. But without further ado, here’s my best images from the lot.

 

France, Carcasonne and the Cathar Trail

 

Carcasonne by Yvette Bessels

Carcasonne view from the battlements by Yvette Bessels

The Cathar Trail by Yvette Bessels

The Cathar Trail by Yvette Bessels

View from Peyrepertuse by Yvette Bessels

Italy, Pompeii and Herculaneum

 

Pompeii Ruins by Yvette Bessels

Pompeii ruins by Yvette Bessels

Pompeii Ruins by Yvette Bessels

Pompeii Ruins by Yvette Bessels

Pompeii Ruins by Yvette Bessels

Pompeii grafitti by Yvette Bessels

Gran Canaria

 

gran canaria - yvette bessels

gran canaria - yvette bessels

gran-canaria-2016-4

gran-canaria-2016-8

gran-canaria-2016-13

gran canaria - yvette bessels

 

 

 

Toronto!

It’s been a few weeks since my last post and plenty has happened in the meanwhile. I already mentioned in my last post that we found ourselves a house in East York of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and we’re setteling in nicely. The neighbours are all very friendly and we’ve been donated plenty of super useful things.

The hardest part so far has been unpacking; all of our stuff had been re-packed by the moving company so we don’t know which box holds what. Apart from that, we got rid of almost all of our furniture in the UK, so we’ve been on more than one hunt to find replacements. And there was a ton of paperwork to do: for our house lease, energy bills, health care applications, changing over my drivers licence, applications to mailing systems, re-energising my Etsy shop…..and the compulsory hiccups. TV and Internet being fickle. Not being able to find anything. A washing machine flood in the basement and blocked water pipes for 12 hours. Our banking cards not having Visa. Our visa card having a stupid low limit. Transit lines being interrupted. Being caught out in the seasonal downpours. The heat. The humidity!

The best part has been all the space we have to put things in. I’m especially loving the garage and I’m finally getting round to more than one DIY project. We’ve already repaired our antique fan, I’m currently still stripping our media unit (which turned out to be a very nice English Walnut) and refurbing an old pidgeonhole cabinet to go into my office space. There are still a pair of rusty folding chairs, a camera with studio stand, a black chipboard cabinet and a white kitchen cabinet to attend to. The latter two were free curbside finds and will be part of my darkroom outfit.

I’ve also gotten round to ordering my wetplate chemicals from two Canadian sources. Initially I thought getting this stuff in Canada would be very difficult and truth be told, the pricing of some of the ingredients (silver nitrate- $95 for 50 grams – GULP! Lucky I brought some with me!) would make me think twice if I wasn’t into wetplating already.

Now I still need a decent enlarger and to set up my scanner somewhere to process all of that film I shot in previous months. And then there is still more film to develop! So much work to be done!

 

Summer, downtown Toronto

Summer, downtown Toronto

It had to be done

It had to be done

Horrid black paint - stripping

Stripping paint

Mid-century look

Mid-century look with a brand new sofa, antique fan and curb-find box

The office, still barren

The office, still barren

 

Moving abroad

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve kept busy in the last few months, because we’ve sure been at it! Over the winter months, we’ve been selling off / packing up the house in Cambridge, UK to go into storage as we prepared to go live in Frankfurt am Main, Germany for a little while, in anticipation for another house move to Toronto, Canada to take place early July.

Why Germany for a few months? It’s a long story……feel free to ask me when you see me. And why Canada!? It’s work related, as ever!

We took a few trips within Europe, to soak up as much history as we could – these are only my mobile phone photos as my scanner is still underway. I have shots numerous rolls of 120 film and cannot wait to see them up on my screen. I would recommend going to all of these places by the way – especially Berlin and Carcasonne were amazing, Pompeii is not to be missed before it crumbles back to dust! Wroclaw is a beautiful historic city, but not amazingly big so a weekend will be enough to see its highlights.

So now we are settling into Toronto. We landed, as planned, on the 1st of July. The weather has been good and the people are super friendly. We seem to have already bagged ourselves a house (A house! OMG! With a garage and garden! Can you feel my joy!?!?) There is still plenty to do before we are fully up and running again, but I’m looking forward to it!

 

France; Carcasonne and the Cathar Trail

 

Germany; Visit with our friend Martijn in Berlin

 

Italy: Ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum

 

Poland; Historical city of Wroclaw

 

RPS day to Wicken Fen

At the start of 2015, I gave myself a membership to the RPS. I wanted to find out if joining such a big and venerable organisation would give me a much-needed push to further my photography skills. In short, the answer was no. Over the whole of last year, I ashamedly admit that I only managed to join them for one (1!) event and then made a write-up which I didn’t post. It was a field trip to Wicken Fen, a nature reserve maintained by the National Trust.

Well, as last year has been quite terrible for me photography-wise (I was too busy with other stuff, honest!) I might as well post this blog anyway to get rid of that horrendous back-log and start 2016 semi-afresh.

****

The day was grey and only full of the promise of rain. At the Wicken Fen reserve, we were greeted by Ann and it was very soon thereafter that everyone had gone their own way, spread out over a vast area. So far for meeting new people… For the day, I had brought my Canon 50D with a telezoom and wideangle lens, my Praktica Super TL-2 35 mm camera with a 82-200mm zoom lens, a 28mm wide angle and a 135mm, which was completely unnecessary and a Toy camera. The roll in the Toy Camera will not be developed till the roll is full, so I’m sorry there won’t be any images of that (yet).

The day was grey and dreary and even though there were a few rays of sunshine peeping through the clouds – it remained overcast and dull throughout. I followed the boardwalk for a while, ending up in one of the hides where a rat was busy pilfering the content of a peanut stuffed bird feeder. Every 2-3 minutes or so he would scuttle up, jump over, maneuvered a nut out of the feeder and jumped away with it’s mouth full. What a clever little thing! I believe most of the RPS photographers present on that day will have a few photos of this little bugger – he / she was the talk of the event!

_MG_8719 _MG_8707

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the day was so grey, the wildlife failed to make an appearance – or so I was told afterwards. I do not possess the correct equipment, nor the wish to stake out a spot for hours to photograph a species of bird I would not be able to identify. Instead, I stuck to landscape images / sceneries.

 

_MG_8760

I’m such a sucker for God-rays….

 

The one ‘trouble’ I had was the lack of normal daylight film in my fridge. Hopelessly devoid of stock, I made do with 400 ISO Black and white film (Ilford Hp5) and I have to say, I might actually like the results! Next time I might be able to actually USE the tripod I brought and not have the horrendous unintentional shake in the image….. until then, here’s my best efforts.

12-1-2

14-3

13-2

 

Sorry!

My apologies for the site having been down for the last week. I moved hosting servers and with my limited knowledge on wordpress sites it took me quite long to get things back up again!

Everything should e working as normal, if you run into any glitches, just let me know 🙂

I will add the research pages I made whilst running classic-photographers.com to the site in case anyone feels the need to access them at some point. They should appear within the next few days.

 

 

Wet Plate Collodion Weekend 2015 – Llanthony Priory, Wales

Last weekend of the 7th, 8th and 9th of August myself and a bunch of other wet plate photographers gathered ourselves in a field just besides the gorgeous ruins of the Llanthony Priory in Wales, UK. We met up on the Friday afternoon, or rather in the evening for those of us that needed to come from far flung corners of the UK and Scotland (and Geralt from the USA) and we would start our wet plating on the Saturday morning. Getting there almost proved too much of a challenge as my satnav decided to give up 30 miles before reaching the final destination. Lucky for me, I found someone with a map!

IMG_9907

Brilliantly arranged once again by Tony Richards (you can find his blog here), there was an easily accessible field for our dark tents, running water and a pub on site. I brought along my newly purchased and blacked out Eskimo 3 quickfish tent, a gift for my birthday this year, but still opted to shoot with my small half-plate camera as I know the camera are silverbath are in good working order and the plate holder is light tight. The amount of space in the Eskimo tent now means I can go up in plate sizes as I’ll finally have space for that silver bath I still mean to build!IMG_9944

We started our Friday in the pub, catching up with old and new friends. The camp site was fine, the grass wet and dewwy and the night just a bit cold. Ahhhh Camping in the UK, always a joy!

IMG_9949

the stars were out in force!

 

SATURDAY

On the Saturday morning, we get started. The first few plates seem to be ok. Not without their faults, but acceptable. The first few go into the bin or on the recycling pile. I get a couple of good plates, but I also see some issues that I’ve not had to this extent. On the plus side, I’ve had a lot less problems with crepe lines. Some plates work fine, and I’ll be proud to add them to my permanent collection.

159-1

Like this ‘staining’

154-3

I love this one!

IMG_9915

Digital snap of the same spot

164-8

Technically OK, just a shame that the framing isn’t very good….

150-1

As the afternoon heated up, we had a LOT of fogging issues

 

SUNDAY

I had gone to bed a bit earlier this time and set my alarm at stupid-o-clock in the morning, to start shooting around 6.45. Since most of us will be packing up and driving back home today, we won’t have the entire day. Starting with a view on the priory that was popular with my fellow wetplaters the day before, I tried to catch the early morning sun as it passes onto the ruins. After a test plate on glass (which was an utter failure) I tried another, which I messed up in my plate holder, hence the damage in the center. This was 40 seconds on f22. I have no idea why I got that watery crap on the edge of my plate though. My best guess at this moment is that I may not have developed as well as I could have, or rinsed as well as I should have.

163-7

oops

158-6

Attempt 2. The sun hits the priory. I digitally cleaned up the sky a little, but there’s still a lot going on there

IMG_0018

my Eskimo tent on the right – proud part of an eskimo tent line-up 🙂

 

Giving up on that view as the sun had now gone behind a large stack of clouds, I moved my camera a little closer to my darkroom. The rest of this day would be overcast but also less hot, providing us with less contrast and less fogging issues.

156-4

One of several attempts

151-2

also a personal favourite

157-5

The last shot of the weekend

 

The whole weekend has been an absolute joy – the location, the company, the activities, the food and drink at the bar…. even the weather. Good luck to Tony for trying to top this one next year, I know I’ll be looking forward to it!

Wetplating with Wil

Here I am sat, on my birthday, packed and ready for a fun weekend of wet plating frolicking in Wales, poised to go our for dinner with my husband, that I remember my wet plating session with Wil.

So I’ll just leave these here…..

 

112-2

 

111-1

114-3

Kyokushin! Osu!

On the weekend of the 11th of July, my husband Sean (I still have to get used to that!) had a 1-day karate seminar with his sensei Brett. They asked me to shoot some images during the day and even to bring my wet-plating things for a few images.

We set off early and headed to their normal training location just outside Bury St Edmunds. They put the mats out in the hall, waited for everyone to arrive and started their warming up. In the meanwhile, I had set up my darkroom and chemicals and snapped some images of their group, on film and with my digital camera. I do still own a digital camera and what better use than a full-day sporting event?

They then went for a jog and workout sessions in the park next to the training hall. I had no idea in advance that I was supposed to run with them and I had not prepared for it; my leather shoes were soon biting into my feet, my arms weirdly clamped to my sides whilst trying to keep my 2 cameras in check – and that’s without mentioning my absolute lack of any sort of physical fitness! Huffing and puffing in the heat of the day I managed to get some nice shots of everyone in action and when they had their lunch break they gave me just enough time to shoot 1 wet plate of the full group. Luckily I had tested my chemicals the day before and I was only a little bit off on the timing! Yes!!

The afternoon program would take place at a friendly nearby gym where they would do bag work, so we packed my chemicals away in a speed-checked military drill and rode to the gym in convoy where I shot more film and digital images till quitting time around 16.30. I can honestly say this was the most intense shooting session I had had in a while, perhaps I should pick up a sport and build up some stamina!

 

_MG_9148-2

Their regular Sunday training hall – complete with blue and pin…. OOPS I meant BLOOD red mats.

Kyokushin by Yvette Storey (6)

Mac (centre) and Brett (Centre left)

_MG_9294-12

*pant * pant * pant *

119-5-4

Sean <3

_MG_9594-49

Best team photo *EVER*

_MG_9488-34

There were plenty of demonstrations throughout the day…

_MG_9601-51

…as well as work-out sessions..

_MG_9743-64

…and kumite (sparring).

Wet plate by Yvette Storey

During lunch, there was just time for 1 quick wet plate of the whole group. Even though I can see plenty of things wrong with it – I was very pleased with my 1-shot-1-kill plate on the day.

127-13-9

In the afternoon, instructions continued in the gym

Kyokushin by Yvette Storey (74)

Feel the burn!!

135-21-16

Kyokushin by Yvette Storey (91)

Training both balance and agility

Kyokushin by Yvette Storey (109)

There were a few rounds of hilarious fights in the ring

125-11-8

_MG_9945-79

But I think it’s fair to say that everyone was knackered at the end of the day. Well done everyone. Osu!!

 

 

Etsy pop-up at the Babylon gallery in Ely

Earlier this month our Etsy Cambridge team had another pop-up event on the calendar: a mixed shop at the Babylon Gallery in Ely on the 4th and 5th of July. The Sunday would coincide with Ely’s aquafest, and we were all looking forward to enjoying some sunshine on the river and cheering on the brave souls on their home made rafts.

We’ve had 23 of our sellers come together and over the space of 2 days (not accounting for the days and days of preparation – folding those boats did not happen overnight!) we built ourselves a beautiful shop in this luscious white space. The Saturday proved to be a fine and warm day, but unfortunately we did have plenty of summer showers on the Sunday. We did not even get to see many of the boats, it was just way too busy in the shop to leave! Thank goodness we had put up our own drinks stand….!

At the end of the event, the visitor counter hit 4275. After taking a guesstimate amount off for our own team members going in and out, the estimated visitor number lies around 2000. Not bad indeed, although I have to admit that Sasha’s gorgeous flyer design might have had something to do with this!

 

IMG_9109

Thursday: Placing of furniture, putting up origami decorations

IMG_9123

Thursday: putting out stock along the edges of the room

IMG_9112

Friday: setting up centrally

IMG_9099

This ladder is for sale too! www.1000crows.etsy.com

IMG_9115

Mixed seller display: Okko Skincare, DeLaUz, Sasha DeWitt studios, Anomaly Park, 1000crows (me!), Maureen Mace

IMG_9097

One of my photographic prints, which will become available in my newly set up shop Storey’s Silver Studios – www.storeyssilverstudios.etsy.com

IMG_9117

Mixed seller display: 1000crows (me!), Storeys Silver Studios (me again!), Louise Webber, Laura Evans, Claireabellemakes, Weaversfield

IMG_9119

The plinths available at the gallery were really useful

IMG_9098

Anomaly Park

IMG_9126

We actually had space at the till this time!

 

IMG_9133

Our little drinks stand <3

 

IMG_9134

Some of our ‘spare’ origami boats found their way outside

 

11148239_810888125673550_3024489564631707185_o

Sasha DeWitt’s beautiful flyer design