Wednesday 4 November 2015

Further experiments with Inflate-Deflate

For some years I (Ben) have been doing an experimental photography project called "Inflate-Deflate", shooting abstract images using inflatable toys.  It goes back to Uni days, and every now and then, if the mood takes me, I try something new with the shots.  Most recently, a couple of years back, I took some photos using an underwater camera, right at the tail end of the summer in 2013.  I didn't get much chance to develop the idea, but armed with a new underwater camera and some time at the seaside in 2015 I thought I'd have a bit more of a play with the idea.

The first lot of shots were taken at Criccieth, and as most people remember the summer weather wasn't exactly spectacular this year, and on the few days when the weather was nice enough to hit the beach, the storms the days before meant there was a lot of rubbish and seaweed floating around in the water, as shows above.

The water in fact was very cloudy, annoying as when I shot the set of images in 2013 it was gin-clear.

On top of the problems with cloudy water, there were also issues with poor lighting as the sun wasn't very strong either, so the shoot was abandoned...

Then onto the last beach day of the holiday, at Llanbedrog, which is where the 2013 images were shot.  Handy for still-life underwater pics as the sea here tends to be very clear, its shallow, and a relatively quiet bit of beach.  Unfortunately, on the one day it didn't rain, it was very murky and overcast.

Being as this was something of a last-minute plan, we hadn't packed any decent props (the shoot works best with transparent, multicoloured toys we've found), and only had this ball in the car.

The lighting for underwater shots wasnt spectacular, however.

So, as a further experiment, and somewhat reflecting the melancholy mood on the last week of the summer holidays, on a manky day, it was shooting with the water-smeared lens of the underwater camera, in greyscale.

Actually the effects naturally provided by the wet lens distorting things has had a nice effect overall.

So, there we go.  Not an avenue I think I'll be exploring further, as what has attracted people to the project (and led to sales in galleries) has been the distinctly abstract close-ups and the vibrant colours, so if I choose to revisit the project again next year I'll have to come up with a better solution... or spend more time at the coast.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Wales; beaches, underwater, and shoreline

Blimey, another two months without an update... as usual, its not because we're not doing any photography, far from it in fact; we've a couple of big projects on the go at the moment which are at the stage we can't share yet.  On top of that The Childs went back to school, and in a sense so did Ben who started a new job at a school too.  So, much on, and therefore a huge backlog of images from the summer and autumn to edit and post.

First up, a look back to a bit of a play at Criccieth, Llandanwg, and Llanbedrog back in the summer, with the underwater camera and 90.  More of our usual haunts, and nothing groundbreaking as such, just keeping our hands in with some photography.

One of the things we were trying were water-level reflection shots.

Less washed-up rubbish on the beach this year compared to years gone by.

It wouldn't be a photography update without some token railway photography by Ben, so here is some.  Arriva Trains Wales class 158 on a Cambrian Coast service.

And then underwater, up at Llanbedrog now.  The new camera is better than the old one, but we're still finding the best settings for it, a nice excuse to experiment a bit with shots, weather dependent.

Better weather and better shooting conditions, down at Llandanwg near Barmouth, where Ben shot the Dalek pics in the previous updates.

So anyway, apologies for being away again, more updates to follow in the next few days...