Sunday 26 July 2015

Back from the Island, and an exhibition.

Just a quick update tonight, we've been off on an island in the sun for the last week.  There'll be a post on our Brownsea Island adventure with our Scout group soon.

In the mean time, a couple of quick snaps from the Bradford Open, where we are exhibiting- the above taken before it got really busy at the Preview, there wasn't chance to get any more pics so a return visit may be in order.  Amy has three pictures in, I have one; to our surprise there are only two other photographs in the show by the look of it, so to be chosen at all is great, and for Amy to have all three of her pictures selected by the judges is absolutely terrific. 
First impressions are that this is a very good show this year, with a high quality and standard of work, though being all fine art rather than photography (lots of painting and prints) we can't give that much of a detailed judgement as its a little bit out of our sphere.  Its a nicely varied show though, and open at the Cartwright Hall Gallery until November... see linkery here: 
What else?  Well we're in Wales for a week, holidaying with the kiddies and shooting some underwater pics by day, and redesigning the website by night... Its been a concern for a while that it needs a refresh and some more up to date photos there, so a few nights should see a better site online and a bit of a refresh of the Facebook site.  I'm also starting work again on my model making blog too (link somewhere on the right of this post).


Friday 17 July 2015

Showing Work

Just a quick post tonight, we have some pics at Cartwright Hall Gallery in the Bradford Open 2015 exhibition...

Last time we entered we got a couple of pics in, this time we have 4, 1 of Bens, 3 of Amys.

All are fairly arty and unusual (one from Amys Blackpool light-trails set, above, is in)

The above, one of Bens from the industrial museum in Bradford was not selected, the odder, artier one entered did.  Anyway, the show opens on Sunday 26th and runs through until November.

Speaking of entering work for things, we both also entered some landscapes in a national competition, more info at some point in a future blog; the above is a composite of two images being entered for the Network Rail-sponsored "Lines in the Landscape" part of the contest.  Two images with a bit of playing with hue and saturation, which looks odd, and all its missing is Rainbow Dash on the right-hand sign of the screen.
Anyway, no blog entries for a week or so, we're off on camp with our Scout Group shortly.

Sunday 12 July 2015


Well, tonight a brief update, and some more pics taken with the new underwater camera.  In this case, I thought I'd try for some underwater pics featuring fish, and so spent an hour or so up to my elbows in the pond at my parents house.
It has to be said, this was the first time I've ever tried this, and these pics are purely experimental.

First issue (after the general cloudiness of the water) was trying to get the monster Koi Carp into frame at all.  The fish went from being spooked by the camera to somewhat blasé ignoring of it, in a short space of time.  It was tricky to get them captured neatly anyway, as the camera cant cope too well with moving subject matter.

In any case, I don't think wildlife photography is something we'll be doing much of with this camera, but it was worth a try nonetheless.
In other news, we've recently entered work in for an exhibition at the Bradford Open (we find out if anything has been selected for the show this week), and we've also entered a nationwide competition, again if we get anything in we'll post about it...

Sunday 5 July 2015


In a couple of previous posts, I mentioned about a new project we'd been working on; a bit of a white lie, as its actually an older project, but we're shooting with better kit.  Since before we went to Uni we've both been wanting to shoot photographs underwater, but couldn't afford the expensive kit to do it with.  In recent years we managed to get a couple of sealable underwater vinyl bags which could be used for compact cameras, the latest one with a special toughened plastic section to accommodate the lens, but there was always limitations with this setup.  Even so, we both managed some very nice shots which have sold.
We managed to sell some prints over Christmas with our friends at Cupola Contemporary Art in Sheffield, and invested the money in the above; £40 got an underwater digital camera from Aldi on a special offer.  It has two settings, close-up or landscape, and is a tad basic but surprisingly reliable, all it needs is a thorough check that all the compartments are closed, and an equally thorough rinsing in cold tapwater after use.  It probably wont last too long, but for £40 its not bad at all.
First trials were by Amy, and a return to a location we've used a lot over the years, Criccieth.

The point of this test was just to try the different focus settings, we've found the 'close up' is pretty useless (above), landscape works better for our purposes.

Rather than fully submerse it, Amy took some shoreline pics this time.
In the evening we went into the woods near where we were staying, and shot some pics in a woodland stream, at a small waterfall, trying full submersion of the camera and thusly encountering a couple of problems with our new toy...  The first, above, is an awful 'datestamp' feature which somehow got activated without us realising, rather spoiling the above shot.
When we'd spotted and deactivated the datestamp, along came problem two, condensation in the lens, occurring in the ice-cold water.
We did manage a nice shot, above, behind the curtain of water dropping down the waterfall.
Next, it was back to the seaside on a nice day toward the end of the holiday, this time to Llanbedrog, where we shot most of our underwater pics in 2013.

First up, a couple of waterline shots, Amy aiming for a shot which had the surface and sub-surface in the same image.

Then it was fully underwater.

The last day of the holiday saw us at Beddgelert, photographing in the crystal-clear waters of the Afon Glaslyn which was beautiful.


These turned out really well, the clear water and strong sunlight giving pictures which were a marked improvement in the quality of the shots we took in 2013 with the older kit.

So what next?  Well, Ben shot a few pics in a pond, which will end up on the blog some time this week.  We've also proved the usefulness of the kit, so aim to finally do at least two underwater projects we've been planning to shoot for a while... more on these as they happen.


Thursday 2 July 2015

June at Hirst Wood

June saw a couple of after-school trips with the Childs to Hirst Wood, both times in glorious weather, and therefore the chance for a few quick photos.  Probably ought to start exploring some new areas soon, as this is another regular haunt...
Visit one coincided nicely with the bluebells being out, and Hirst Wood is always a nice spot for them.

Visit two started with some 'traditional' shots...

... but then went back to abstacts.  I started with these sorts of photos at Hirst Wood years ago, and occasionaly do a few more; they tend to sell, the sorts of abstracts which people apparently want to hang on their walls.

Was particularly struck by just how lush and green the leaves were in the odd, bright light.

The above was my favourite shot of the day, has a nicely dramatic sort of atmosphere about it.



Wednesday 1 July 2015

June Trains

Some railway-related pictures for this update, with the Ffestiniog, the Welsh Highland, and the Worth Valley featuring...
First up, a regular haunt of ours, Harbour Station at Porthmadog, on the Ffestiniog.  We were only up for a couple of days whilst visiting family, so no time for a ride or any line-side shots, but being as it was half-term week the cosmetically restored "Princess" was on display.

A more close-up shot of Princess, from the traditional super-low-angle perspective...

Later in the week saw us at Beddgelert doing a project shoot, but I took the opportunity of two services on the Welsh Highland Railway passing close by to the location of the shoot.  Above, a train crosses the Glaslyn towards Beddgelert...

...where it crossed this service, heading towards Porthmadog.
Back home a couple of weeks later, and a trip on the KWVR with the youngest.  Above, in the yard at Ingrow was the rolling chassis of the Ivatt tank which is being repaired ready for the anniversary celebrations on the line.
The Standard was hauling the services, and is seen under a dull sky coming into Ingrow...

...and at Haworth, where we disembarked.  This shot was actually taken by The Child, who is rather good with an SLR for a three year old.

And in the woods near the house, the 4F a few days later heads for Oxenhope, on a day when the bright lighting conditions threatened to really confuse the camera, and it was a struggle to shoot anything at all.

And the final shot, another favoured location, Hirst Wood.  Dull sky again, but it was a recce visit for an upcoming shoot, more on which in a later post.