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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!
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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.

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Like this 'staining'

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I love this one!

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Digital snap of the same spot

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

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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.

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oops

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

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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.

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One of several attempts

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also a personal favourite

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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!  
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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)

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*pant * pant * pant *

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Sean <3

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Best team photo *EVER*

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There were plenty of demonstrations throughout the day...

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...as well as work-out sessions..

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...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.

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In the afternoon, instructions continued in the gym

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Feel the burn!!

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Training both balance and agility

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There were a few rounds of hilarious fights in the ring

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

   

California Honeymoon

Monday, May 4th

We take our own car to Heathrow, as parking there for 2 weeks turns out to be about the same price as taking the train. No hauling suitcases for us and we arrive well on time. The moment we try to check in, it turns out that I made a stupid little mistake on Sean's Esta, putting in an o instead of an 0, and he cannot be cleared to fly until we book another one on my mobile. This is super stressful but I am very glad that for the first time in a long while my phone just does what it's asked to do. About 12 hours later we are in the USA, collect our upgraded rental car and drive to the hotel. I am happy we brought out own satnav as I wouldn't have wanted to navigate the streets of LA by map at night. Or by map at all! We arrive around 22:00 at the hotel.

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Tuesday, May 5th

After a rough and restless night we wake up silly early and cannot seem to go back to sleep. We get up at 6.30, have breakfast at the hotel around 7.30 and off for Hollywood. We see the walk of fame and sunset boulevard (which is a bit of a...dump) but we're too early for most thing to even be open! After a much-needed coffee and a view of the Hollywood sign through a tourist binocular, we are off to see the sign closer-up.

We drive to the observatory through an amazing neighbourhood to a fantastic view over the city and hills. In the afternoon we go to the Citadel outlet shopping centre where we spend money on things we don't really need; apart from my wetsuit ofcourse!

We have out dinner at a diner, which was a poor choice and more for convenience sake than anything else. Sean is hoping to join a local Kyukushin Dojo for their Tuesday training session tonight. He can, and does, and I for one am very impressed as I sit on the side trying really hard not to fall asleep....

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Wednesday, May 6th

We're going to Disneyland!!! The ride over is smooth and after putting down $17 for parking we take the little tram to the entrance. The day start off great; The bobsled ride (Matterhorn) that Sean wants to go into, is closed for maintenance. We head into Toontown and get stuck in a ride that's breaking down! Then we find out that pretty much all the big rides are closed - in all fairness, there was a list at the entrance, but we were way too excited to get in to look at it properly. We still have fun in several silly rides, have a blast with the great purchase of a pair of  Malificent horns (small children are easily convinced you are a villain on a day off) and going on Splash Mountain was a baaaad choice. The Indiana Jones ride, as well as the Finding Nemo submarines were an unexpected success. Then, as a final stroke of genius, the park shuts early!!!! At 19:00 things start shutting down, restaurants closing and everyone gets kicked out at 19:30.....Boooo!

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Thursday, May 7th

After a broken night due to an alarm going off, we get up, pack our bags and have breakfast. We fail to find the address to 'It's a wrap' vintage shop on the satnav, so we point it toward Jack's Surf outlet instead. We find it (disappointing), we find a secondhand bookshop nearby (also disappointing) and finally and most wonderful antique shop, filled with goodies. Ellie, the owner of Gramma's Attic is lovely (and also went to the early-closing Disneyland yesterday) and we end up taking away a gorgeous black dress and a 1920's-1930's ice cream scoop. We then continue to Huntington beach where we have a great lunch at a 'good food' place and shop somewhat for bikini's and surfboards. The weather is cloudy and a little chilly and there is no waves.

Later in the afternoon we take the I-5 south to San Diego. Along the way we managed to slow puncture the front tire, which we keep filling up and after checking into the hotel we exchange the car at Dollar rental. Since we're already in that area we go into Old Town for some Mexican food.

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Friday, May 8th

Tonight, and this morning in San Diego it doesn't just rain - it pours! Bad news for us is that this means that we cannot go surfing, unless we'd like to risk infections and/ or becoming very ill. Apparently, when it rains after a dry spell, all the crap from the city washes into the sea. Not only that, they get the rubbish from Mexico on top of that! Needless to say, we stay on dry land today. We talk a while with a surf dude at 'the Surf Bunker' named Travis, who recommends going to the Wavehouse further down the road. With our luck though, its closed! Closed!!

Thank goodness there is an arcade next door that is open and we throw some quarters at our misery. Afterwards, we drive to San Diego antique district where we have beautiful burritos for lunch / early dinner and shop around a little. Sean even manages to find some retro games to take home. We then ask the satnav to take us to a cinema, to have a look if there is anything we want to see perhaps, it guides us to Sea World... which is closed....and after resetting the directions to another cinema it doesn't have anything we'd like to see.

Back at the hotel, we walk to a pizza place for cake and margaritas and quickly jump into the hotel pool before it shuts for the night.

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Saturday, May 9th

We check out of our hotel in the morning, drive to the same Japanese-run fruit-and-crepe place we had breakfast yesterday and then go on to a secondhand board shop we passed yesterday (you may have guessed by now that it was closed at that time). Sean finds himself a great board, just what he was looking for. Across the road there is a kite festival going on and we decide to join in by getting ourselves a dragon kite. We have ice creams, enjoy the show and the great weather for today the sun is out in force!

At around 13:00 we set our satnav back to LA, first to the Anaheim center of photography. We arrive around 16:30 - it looks abandoned and it's... CLOSED! When the machine wants to charge us $14 for the privilege of undergoing this nonsense, I throw a little fit and get back in the car without paying the ticket. Lucky for me, a kind lady actually lets us out of the complex. We try the Getty instead. The satnav guides us to the rear of the building and after some cursing, swearing and honking by my fellow road users, we arrive at the Getty. Which is open!

We view their photography collection on display and after being thoroughly disappointed with the (second half of the) day, we pay for parking and head towards our hotel.

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Sunday, May 10th

Today, we're off to the Rosebowl, a giant monthly fleamarket held in Pasadena, LA. We get up at 6:30, enjoy our complimentary breakfast, pack up and we're on our way. We get there nice and early around 7:30 and dang! They did not lie when they said it was big! We decide to skip all the new stuff as we won't have time for that and focus on the antiques and vintage clothing sections as those will be hard enough to cover as-is. There is some amazing stuff for sale on this market - some cheap, some bizar, some wonderful and everything suited for every budget. We manage to find some amazing things: I get a short dress with apple print, a small musical box with a dancing man, a flight suit and a full leather sports / weekend bag. Sean finds a retro skateboard deck, fully made of wood and a bunch of retro games.

With pain in my heart, we leave around 13:00 to head for Vegas.

Driving through the Mojave desert is not as I imagined it. It's not actually very desolate with petrol stations around every other corner - and what's up with those little fences next to the Motorway? Are they afraid people will wander off into nowhere? We stop a few times and reach Vegas around 18:00. We booked a room at the Luxor (the pyramid) and after refreshing ourselves, I change into my old new black Cinderella dress for dinner and we take a walk on the strip.

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Monday, May 11th

We agree that Vegas is a little like Disneyland meets Times Square; the buildings are mad and everything is expensive around here. Even though we are - I am - happy to have seen it, we're also happy to have been here at night time. It looks so .... dead... during the day! We drive towards the North side of the strip to try and find the 'World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop' from the TV show. It's a lot smaller than we thought it would be and after checking out the other shops as well, just across the street we set off for Death Valley.

Today's drive will be out longest, according to our planning so wanting a fairly early start we leave Vegas at 11:00. Within the hour, there are plains with Joshua trees, mountain ranges and vast open spaces of hostile rocky terrain. We see sand dunes, salt flats, gravel pits, dust plain, dust devils and snowy hilltops. This is amazing and I am a little sad that I 'only' brought my medium format camera with me, instead of a proper proper old big one.

We get to our destination, a hotel at a half-way point at around 20:30, half an hour before reception closes for the night. We settle in with some store-bought cheesecake and a B horror movie. And I can tell you that watching a B-horror movie, set in a small town in the middle of nowhere is NOT a good thing to watch when staying overnight in a small town in the middle of nowhere!

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Tuesday, May 12th

After a restless night we pack up and go find breakfast in the nearest town. We have a look around some small shops, get a drink in the saloon (it has horse ties and swinging doors and everything!) and set course for the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park. Our hotel keeper advised us a different route than satnav wanted us to take, so we drove for many a mile through orange growing country before going off into the hills again. Along the way we stop at a lovely antiques shop where I manage to find a few stereo cards to add to my ever growing collection.

Going through Sequoia National Park is tough - an hours of slowly winding upwards, fortunately with stunning views to easy my pain. We reach the old man around 17:00, have a good look around - but not too good as it's freezing cold up here - and then go find food and out hotel for the night.

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Sherman! Buddy!

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Wednesday, May 13th

We leave the hotel early in the morning, after some amazing complimentary self-cooked waffles. Today we'll be setting course for Yosemite National Park. We drive a while and stop along the way at some random antique shops and I manage to find myself a beast of an X-ray lens. I don't yet know how I should be using it - let's just say it won't be for original purposes. We reach Yosemite proper at around 13:00, drive a little further in but do not really have time to do a walk as we had planned as we'll need to reach San Fran by the end of today. We also managed to miss inspiration point, but I suppose the Tunnel view vantage point more than made up for that. We also have our lunch there, on a log next to a stream....ahhh. Relaxation! It's out first 'normal' sandwiches we have had here and the desert we got - a cake/custard vanilla/ banana whatever sort of pudding mix - is utterly delicious!

Then, we drive another 3+ hours to San Francisco, arriving at around 19:30. We check online for tickets to Alcatraz, but as it turns out, May is not a slow season around here and everything is sold out! The night tours are even sold out for the next 2 months! Oh well, we head out for a slice of pizza and dive into a book shop that's open late.

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Thursday, May 14th

Today we'll be spending the day in San Fransisco. Going up Polk street, we have breakfast at a 'French' Boulangerie place, having coffee from a cereal bowl (honestly, these Americans! ;-)) Visiting the Fisherman's Wharf, we quickly determine this is NOT for us as the area is overly touristy and walking onwards to the Alcatraz landing dock we see that normal tours are booked up till Tuesday. Sean does receive some kind compliments on his wooden skateboard deck from the local bums, which is nice. We take a street tram towards Mission street - we are hoping to find a skate shop that can fit Sean's deck with some trucks and wheels. We find one and he gets the work done.

We carry on a few blocks to a bunch of Antique and thrift stores before going towards Chinatown. Chinatown, like Fisherman's wharf is unfortunately yet another tourist trap. We do sit in at a great teashop, having a full-on taster session with the salesgirl. We opted for dinner at the 'Great Eastern Restaurant', a place where apparently Barack Obama once had a Dim Sum take-away, or so the proudly displayed newspaper clipping tells us. We walk back to the Hotel UP the giant sloping hills, wandering what it would be like to live here (and having to carry shopping bags up this hill....and what if you forgot the butter....?)

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Friday, May 15th

We walk over to Lombard street 'the crookedest street in the world' - which was yet again, disappointing. We walk back to our hotel to check out and head over to Santa Cruz instead. Sadly for us, there's not much surf going on. The winds are fierce (and a bit chilly). We park at the hotel, take a walk on the pier where we spot a group of sea lions chilling out, go over the boardwalk and have some hotdogs for lunch. The place we decided to sit down at, the picnic basket also does these amazing wild flavours of ice cream, most of them from local farms.

We take the car for a drive round some other beaches in the area and to a local surfshop to get Sean a boardbag. We visit the museum of surfing at the lighthouse and then lo and behold! There's waves!! Sean heads out on his new board, we meet a new surfer in the area and help him out a bit. Afterwards, we head into the Santa Cruz main street for dinner and some late night shopping. I could get used to shops being open till 22:00!

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Saturday, May 16th

We have some complimentary waffles and head out to the beach. Again, no waves! Instead, we check out some of the sample sales advertised along the roads and make several unplanned stops for yard sales in between. At a local surfshop, Sean finds some tiny fins to go with his board and I find some vintage clothing to put on Etsy. Win!

We then drive South along the Coastal Highway, stopping countless times to take photos. When we arrive at our hotel for tonight, the historic Santa Maria Inn, it turns out that it played host to the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Eva Gardner, Judy Garland, etc etc. No=one famous stayed in our room, however. We take it easy for the night as there is nothing to do or see in this area.

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Sunday, May 17th

We get up quite late and re-pack all of our stuff. My hand luggage now has a killer weight due to that massive 'radioactive' lens I just 'had' to buy. We enjoy a continental breakfast and set off to Venice beach, where we booked the last hotel of this trip. We are hoping to meet up with James Cooper, one of Sean's former colleagues who lives somewhere in the area. We arrive fairly early and after a bit of faff parking the car, we walk up to Santa Monica Boulevard, play a few games in the arcade and end up at 'Hama Sushi' in Venice for food. They are not the cheapest place, I'm sure, but their dishes seem quite original and sure were tasty!

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Monday, May 18th

It is our final morning and again, there are no waves! We have been unlucky on this trip with quite a few things, but thank goodness there was also plenty fun stuff and more than enough to make us want to come back!

We have out breakfast at a nearby cafe, complete with building site ambience. We grab the car, check out a few shops on the South side of Venice and then drive towards Santa Monica. There, we get bored real quick with the dime-a-dozen up-scale shops, but we do manage to find a massive charity shop. We have crepes for lunch and head back to the car. The car!! Where did that car go!!!!

PANIC STATIONS EVERYONE!!! WHERE DID THAT CAR GO!?!?!

Turns out we were looking in the wrong building.....sigh....

The rest of the day runs smoothly, dropping off the car, getting to the airport and faking my hand luggage really isn't that heavy at all. Bye bye California! We hope to visit again soon!

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Photography Presentation: Greg Funnell

Almost every single time I'm writing a blog post I'm wandering where time went. In this specific post I wanted to write about a photography presentation by Greg Funnell that I went to on the 12th of February, and that was already well over a week ago! Thanks goodness 'late is better than never', and his work has not gone out of fashion in this short time span. This talk was organised by the Phocus group. From his website www.gregfunnell.com:   "Greg studied History and War Studies at Kings College London before moving into photography. He's since  spent the last 8 years working for clients that include Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian, the Financial Times, the Washington Post. Shooting everything from commissioned celebrity portraits, to travel assignments, in-depth documentary features and development work in the field for NGOs. He also works in the commercial and advertising sector producing campaigns and content for clients on international campaigns, especially in the travel, lifestyle and adventure industries. His work for charities and NGO’s in the UK and abroad, involves being relied upon to deliver the goods in often unstable environments. Having worked across Africa, South East Asia and Latin America for clients such as Save the Children, ActionAid and WWF."   As the talk began, I felt a little bit like an intruder as I was the only non (phd) student present. The talk was interesting: Greg told us about his life so far (he's only in his early 30's), how he got into photo journalism by starting at the college newspaper, taking silly risks like going abroad without a solid plan and getting caught up in crossfires and learning on the job. He presented us with tips to get into the trade, amusing anecdotes about people he photographed and a short list of recommended books to read. He's taken a ton of amazing images so far, my favourite ones being the surfing images (I'm prejudiced!) and his portrait work. I will also admit to finding slight amusement in Greg's apparent diversion from his original planned story at times - it's so recognisable. I've only presented my wet-plating work twice, but both times I happily went on several side-roads to the subject we were discussing. Meeting Greg afterwards, I was a little surprised to hear that he has an interest in learning about wet plate photography. We agreed that come spring, he and his assistant could make the journey up from London to experience the process first-hand and perhaps even start using it in their London studio. I do hope he decides to do just that!   Featured image by Greg Funnell, you can see more of his work on his website.            

MPC, PhoCUS, King’s College Darkroom & RPS

On this last day of January I'm feeling ever more guilty about not actually shooting any wet plates in the cold. Luckily, I had some distractions in the form of my presentation for the Milton Photographic Club on the 21st of January, a portfolio review at Caius College with the good people from Phocus (the Cambridge University Photographic Society) and the viewing of the newly put together King's College Darkroom. Apart from that, I finally joined the RPS and even though I fully forgot about the presentation being held today on 'How to get Published' I'll be looking forward in getting involved in my local (East Anglian) Region.   The talk at the Milton Photographic Society went well - I always dread I sound boring, flat or monotonous or that I'm not explaining the process correctly, making people more confused then they might already have been. I was warmly received by the organiser Duncan and by Chris, whom I knew from a Bloggers meetup I used to frequent and who kindly subjected himself to my wetplating in it's earlier stages. Even though the group was smaller than the one I spoke to on my first attempt at this presentation, they were polite, attentive and full of questions. I re-structured the presentation and I am pleased to say it worked a lot better - the evening went by in a flash and we finished up in the local pub for a not-so-quick half pint. Should Milton be your locality and you are looking for a casual meet-up group to discuss photography, meet speakers and mount exhibitions of your work, this group could be for you. http://www.miltonphotographicclub.org.uk   The portfolio review at Gaius and Gonville was another matter. Organised by Phocus member Barney and president Giulia, the turn-up was a healthy 10+ people who were crammed into Barney's living room at the College. As informal as meeting as could be, we sat in a circle on the floor and presented our works to the other group members and received their comments, good or bad. Initially, I was not going to go - It was very cold outside - but I am very happy I did. The comments were always constructive, and I was especially impressed by the knowledge Barney presented on current photographers, places to gather information and the best places to source film. I presented a small gathering of my Medium format film work and took away 2 photographers to check out (Mark Power, Gerry Johansson) and a German website (Macodirect.de) to buy film. All comments and suggestions were individually tailored and there was none of that 'oh that's perfect, no comment' nonsense that I hate so much! Phocus has a lot of activities going on per term, and it's not student-only although the majority of their membership will be. If you don't mind being shown up by the sheer talent some of these people possess in the (much) younger years, I would suggest joining. You can find them on www.phocus.org.uk, which is not updated that frequently or just join their Facebook group to stay up to date. Lifetime membership was £20 or £25 last year when I joined and you can join at any event, just message one of the member on the committee.   My third photographic engagement was the viewing of the King's College Darkroom. Once established and up-and-running as it should, it was closed for building works to be carried out. The college decided to do this over the Summer break, so the people that used to be involved were not notified, or they may have graduated and moved on. Other (newer) student were left wondering what happened to their darkroom and since building works lasted for about a year and a half, the darkroom was all but forgotten. Luckily, a few photographic enthousiasts managed to bide their time and keep an eye out for further developments, apply for the funding and in general fought hard to preserve this nearly extinct facility for future generations of students to pass though King's. On the Sunday I visited, I met up with Jack (who is petitioning for the funding), Pranav (who is doing most of the physical organisation of the space) and Peter (who was, like me, there to help out). Pranav has already done a lot of the cleaning required and we shifted and matched up parts to see what was still needed and hopefully, fingers crossed, Jack will bring some good news in a couple of weeks time that funding has been approved, the rest of the materials and equipment bought and the darkroom will once again be up and running! How the darkroom will be run in a practical sense is still to be formally decided. They are hoping to bring in members of Phocus (and maybe share some of the cost involved) and otherwise opening it up to the general public for a small fee per session. It might look like papers and film will be made available, but again, nothing has been formally decided on that. You can find the King's College Darkroom Society on Facebook.  
IMG_3222_DxO by Pieter Nixon

Image by Peter Nixon

IMG_3223_DxO by Pieter Nixon#

Image by Peter Nixon

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New Year, New Resolutions

First up: Happy New Year everyone! I know it's not common to still be saying that halfway through the first month, but what the heck. I hope everyone has had a good Christmas and an even better New Years Eve. We did... nothing! Sitting at home with food and video games, because that's how we roll! For the new year, my resolutions revolve around one thing: more photography. So far I've been dusting off my photography books and checking my chemical and darkroom inventory. Since we moved into this new house, I was kind of hoping to be able to build a darkroom in one of the cupboards, or to transform the bathroom - but it's proving trickier than I thought. The cupboards are both quite small and narrow and will not allow for any ventilation to be put in place. One cupboard, which holds the boiler, has a window, but frustratingly it does not open. The bathroom has quite a good window but the access to the wet space is a little awkward and the shower head itself will not come so far down as to provide an easy rinsing solution. Oh well, I'm sure I'll figure it out. I'll be sure to keep my wet-plating activities outside, but it would be nice to get properly into salt printing and traditional darkroom techniques. When digging through my photography books (I do plan on reading some of them this year), I did run into some beauties I fully forgot about. Dutch speakers amongst you might appreciate this book for kids.   IMG_5530 IMG_5532 IMG_5533 I also found a photo Technology; Learning activities softcover workbook, for which I may have to try and find the actual instruction manual and a manually typed out collectors checklist of Voigtlander Camera's 1840-1970. The latter one is pointless for me to keep and it will make it's way to my Etsy Shop within the next few weeks. Should you be bored within the next few weeks and finding yourself in the Cambridge area: I'll be speaking about my wet-plating for the Milton Photographic Club on Wednesday the 21st of January at the All Saints Church Hall, Church Lane, Milton CB24 6AB, the talk starts around 19:45. The week after, I'll possibly be part of the discussion panel for the Cambridge Darkroom group, our discussion will revolve around image editing and the ethics in doing so. The meetup is being held on Thursday the 29th Of January at the Cambridge Brewhouse, 1 King Street, Cambridge, CB1 1LH, Cambridge and starts around 19:30. Well, that's it from me for today - I found a roll of exposed film in my Rolleiflex today ( I fear might have a light leak) and I should set to developing that / testing the camera. Let's get to work!        

Winter Updates

So after completely ignoring my blog for a near 2 months and NOT telling you the dates or locations for the Etsy shop - I think you may well have guessed that I've been kept very busy. I have been working my days at the Antique Attic, we've organised and put together 2 pop-up shops in the center of Cambridge (for which I had been appointed the role of treasurer, causing me a few nights of headaches after the events, trying to work out what to pay to whom), I've had a visitor from the Netherlands (good to cya again Kaya!), Etsy sales have been up, we've moved house and, already knowing that my mum is quite ill, I've gone over to the Netherlands to pay my family a visit. So that's where I am now. Here's a few images of our pop-up shop. I have been a lazy bugger (well, not really but I did not take any decent photos due to manning the till) so I've used a few that were shared on our Facebook group by Sofia Salazar, one of our sellers.
pop-up 1

image by Sofia Salazar

pop-up 2

image by Sofia Salazar

pop-up 3

image by Sofia Salazar

pop-up 4

image by Sofia Salazar

  The exciting news on the photography front is that I have sold my first salt-print (yay!) and I'll be giving my second ever talk on wet-plate photography at the Milton Photographic Club on January the 21st, 2015. I sold a few postcards with my wet-plate work on both pop-up weekends and I will be looking into doing more digital and hand-printing of images, as well as looking into additional alternative photographic processes such as Cyanotyping, Van Dyke Brown, Pinhole photography and image toning.  
salt print

My fist salt print that sold on Etsy. I am SO proud 🙂

 

Wet Plate Photoshoot: Lara Alice

Straight after the shoot with Alp on a Tuesday, I would photograph Lara Alice on the Wednesday. She also knows all of the guys (Wil especially) and has a healthy interest in photography. I showed her the process and some of the plates that I did with the guys and we set to work. The BBC had predicted a foul day with nothing but rain, but we didn't see any of that. Our first plate did not come out well. It had the same dark spot as Alp's test plate the day prior and the lighting did not favour her features, although the timing was good. I recalled a story told by one of my fellow wet-platers that he knew a beautiful girl that would not photograph well on plate, and sincerely hoped that would not be the case here. We made some changes with regards to the pose and location, which made a world of difference! What I really loved about this shoot was not just Lara (although she was rather lovely) but having to think on your feet, and the fact that she looks so different in the various images. The images were taken on a no-brand 1/2 plate camera with a Dallmeyer lens, mostly on f5.6 between 8-12 seconds.  
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test plate on glass

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second plate on glass, the pose is much better but the technical side is not

 
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third plate on metal

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Fourth plate on Glass. Darn those too-dark-darkboxes!

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Gotta love a flower crown!

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My favourite plate of this shoot. The actual plate has a lot less contrast than this. Shot on glass

     

Wet Plate Photoshoot: Alp

Alp was introduced to me through Calvin and later it turned out he is also friends with Wil and Varun. We would take out shoot in the afternoon and lucky for us, the weather was as beautiful as an October day could be, albeit a bit chilly. The only plate that would not come out well from this session was our test plate, due to the pose being a bit 'common' and the plate had no real sparkle. Some small little tweaks and the second plate was a great improvement, but then he spotted the swords! Neither of us had anticipated him going bare-chested - it being quite nippy and all - but he went there! The portrait we took at a shady spot in the cemetery and I completely adore it - the pose, the light, the crispness.... all of it! Then, Alp kindly agreed to let me have a go at photographing his fangs and even though it did not fully work as intended, it was good practice. The last plate of the day however, steals the show in it's sheer over-the-top-ness; I shall have to find a nice spot in my house to hang this one 😉 The images were taken on a wooden no-brand 1/2 plate camera using a Dallmeyer lens, mostly on f5.6 at around 8 seconds.  
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test plate

 
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plate 2, a little more vintage thug-ish

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Time to bring out the props!

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Possibly my favourite portrait to date

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we tried to get the fangs in by using an apple

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And one more go with the sword. I still believe it's missing the maidens and mullet 😉