Tuesday 29 September 2020

Bodnant in August

As summer fades and the grim winter sets in, here's some more pictures of flowers and wildlife from Bodnant back in August.  Even going to Bodnant feels like a lifetime ago now, as more travel restrictions kick in...

Hopefully readers will find them nice and calming :)


Wednesday 23 September 2020

A bit more Bridge 11

Just a short post today- I've had a lot to do with Bridge 11 on the KWVR lately.  It's been a regular haunt for photography generally, and until the recent rebuilding work it was one of the spots lesser-visited by other photographers, so I tended to have it to myself.  Anyway, the protracted replacement (caused by good old Lockdown) of the structure has finally come to an end.

Anyway, I was in the right place at the right time (in sunlight, huzzah!) to catch the first southbound run of a steam loco on one of the 'ghost trains' testing out the timetable ready for reopening, got a couple of shots, and sent them off to the mags on the off chance.

Steam Railway bit, and in fact used four of my shots for an article they wrote in the September issue.  The shot of "Royal Scot" was taken in 2019.

They used a shot from when I was attached for the day to the Civils team, getting some photographs for the railway in-house mag...

...and another shot I took more recently on a Boris-ercise walk with The Childs.


Monday 14 September 2020

Get Carter- exhibiting in Sunny Scunny.

Despite the Lockdown, and the Local Lockdown, and the Rule of Six or whatever the hell it is now that stops us going out, and the general feeling that These Are The End Times, we've managed to get involved with an open-call exhibition over in Sunny Scunny.

Amy showed a piece (origami map birds) at an open call there a couple of years ago.  Anyway we saw the ad a little late in these summer hols for another show, on the theme of the novel "Jack's Return Home", later retitled "Get Carter" after the film of the book.

For those that don't know it- the story (by the author Ted Lewis, native of Lincolnshire) follows a Northern gangster who's moved to London, but who returns home to investigate the strange death of his brother, starting a dark, escalating series of revenge attacks.  It's gritty, grim, and was turned into a really rather bleak but brilliant film starring Michael Caine.  Amy's dad used to live in Newcastle and gave her the grand tour of the filming locations, and in turn she did the same for me (Ben) when most of those locations were still standing in our Uni days.  So yeah, we're fans, so wanted to get involved with it.

The call was to design a new cover for the novel (either with the original or post-film title).  Amy went with stills from the film as a starting point of inspiration, then doing digitally-treated versions to create abstracts based on them, like the above.

Her design, a re-worked version of a scene from the end of the story.

I (Ben) naturally made a rod for my back, and did something a bit more involved that left me working right up to the deadline.  I had an image in my head, and after having taken a self-imposed break from model making for the last few weeks of the summer holiday, I found I wanted to do some work with miniatures.

A few years ago I made this scenic diorama, for the Artist Health and Safety/Observe to Preserve project.  With a different figure, I reckoned the view under the arch would frame a suitable picture of Newcastle nicely for a cover.

The figure I ended up using was a 1/32nd Britains farmer figure- not exactly Michael Caine, but with a bit of a repaint I think it works.

The problem is, it's been a while since we've been to Newcastle, so the only photographs I had to hand were from an inappropriately sunny and cheerful day a few years ago.  Also, given the city looks pretty run-down in the grim old days of the film, and that is not the image of central Newcastle today, I couldn't use almost all the shots as a backdrop.  Stupid economic recovery.

This view is a bit better, but not quite right for the angle I needed.

I ended up looking around elsewhere; this is Langley Green in the West Midlands, and though it looks like 1973 it's actually about 4 years ago...  If anything it looked better than this whilst I was growing up here in the 80's.

My first attempt- to start with I'd gone out at ungodly-early-o'clock in the morning to get a shot with it all, but even Keighley looked unsuitably pretty with all the greenery in the sunrise.  Eventually I settled on the slightly disreputable-looking road alongside the railway, but I couldn't get the focussing quite right.  In the end I shot some pics with it all except the figure, that I added in later- it at least allowed me to colour him and have the rest in moody monochrome.  I struggled a bit with the font- very 70's, but looks a bit cheesy.

Version two, with tower blocks in Keighley, and a rather better font in a less jolly colour.

Anyway, not that anyone who reads this is going to get chance to go to the show, as by the time it opens we'll probably be confined to sitting still in a kitchen cupboard for the duration of the plague, but for what it's worth, here's the thing:


Wednesday 2 September 2020

Bodnant in August (1)

Two visits to Wales this year, and each time we've been to Bodnant Garden.  There's something amazingly calming about the place, even in the current climate.  This post has a selection of my (Amy's) flower pics and some research shots for a possible laser-cutting commission too.  A second post will probably be up shortly, from the second visit.