Sunday 28 November 2021

Inflate-Deflate 2021

One of those projects of mine (Bens) that keeps on going, and going, is "Inflate Deflate".  Having originated as a studio shoot, then a location still-life, I got some gallery interest off some underwater shots relatively recently, as well as an exhibition of a number of the still-life shoots for an open call back in summer of 2021.

  I'd planned to shoot some more pics so I had a slightly wider body of work to choose from.  The underwater pics are a fun one to do as a project because I can combine the shoot with a family day at the beach.

This time around, I managed to acquire a bargain selection of bits from a closing-down seaside shop, to bulk out the props.  For a project that is increasingly becoming about single use/disposable plastic/ seaside tat being wasted, most of the inflatables in the props box have ironically been in use for at least a decade, so we're getting plenty of value out of them.  That said, I thought it wouldn't hurt to bulk-out the choice on the cheap.

The selection for the shoot on the day, with The Childs inspiring much jealousy amongst the nearest kids.

Though the sky was a little bit overcast, the conditions actually in the sea were rather nice, with the mottled light effect whilst the sun was out in the morning.  

Also demonstrating why this beach is so nice to use for this project; ridiculously calm sea and shallow too, about as safe an environment to not only shoot pics but have the kids messing around with floats.

The shots were done with our, now somewhat basic, underwater Compact.  It's getting a bit long in the tooth now, but we don't want to overspend too much on new kit that we wouldn't get to use much.

There's no real plan to these shots, just aiming for something abstract and unusual.  There's a lot of trial and error, because you can't easily see the screen on the back of the cam, and it chews through battery charge like a devil.

The shoot turned out... generally ok.  It would have been better if the sun had stayed out, but it clouded over after an hour which meant some of the pics turned out a bit flat.  We did manage a couple of hours of shooting alongside the kids playing, but it was getting trickier to shoot as the beach got a lot busier (there's something to be said for either coming out of season, or when the whole country isn't 'staycationing' in North Wales).  

A morning of work resulted in enough shots for the potential future of the project (another local gallery has an upcoming open call this project would be suitable for).

We also got a bit of grief off some other holidaymakers that turned up later in the morning, who were having a go at The Childs for playing in the sea with inflatables; the kids can swim, we were constantly with them, and the water was calm on an incoming tide, only up to their waists.  Nevertheless, a very posh and interfering adult couple made some very snide and angry remarks to any family whose kids were actually playing in the sea.  The woman actually snatched the ball off us, saying floats and toys were only for swimming pools.  Someone else was making loud comments about how we were killing the planet with plastic rubbish.  In the end we got sick of it all and left.

So that's the shooting done for this year on the project; there had been a plan to get some improved shots of the night-time still life pics on the beach during the half-term, when it should have been quiet, but Wales was not only still busy, but the weather was too appalling for night shoots and thus that's all for 2021 on this long-runner of a project.  Should be a big enough body of work though for sending off for these gallery open calls though.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Ffestiniog at the end of August

Right, time to get the backlog of shots published; here are some from the Ffestiniog at the end of the summer hols.  This was partly pleasure, but also partly a research visit for some model-making.

Tanybwlch is a regular haunt for us, as it combines railway photography with a nice cafe (with lovely cakes), and a playground for The Childs.

A new angle for us this year, we've been trying some shots from the garden near the water tower.

Porthmadog Harbour is another nice location for photographs, if somewhat limited for angles and tending to be somewhat busy.

A new spot for this year; Penrhyndeudraeth, where two footpaths leading up from the road to footpath crossings means it's a chance for a rail-level shot.  We (Ben and Elder Child) struggled a little for this, as there tended to be lots of other photographers about -railway enthusiasts and regular holidaymakers- it being a bank holiday week.

These are the main spots I wanted to try and get some shots, as there was a plan to do a 'photoplank', a scenic diorama for photographing some garden railway models.

Not directly related to the Ffestiniog visits, but two publications on a related theme, I got some shots from Llanberis into Heritage Railway in an article celebrating the UNESCO status awarded to Snowdonia...

...and a Railways Illustrated shot from earlier in the year, of the double-Double Fairlies on the Welsh Highland Railway at Pont Croeser.  One of my favourite shots I've ever taken in Wales.


Monday 22 November 2021

Blackpool 2021; Light Trails with the new camera

Apologies for the lack of posts recently; a combination of the day jobs, and also the joys of the HMRC Self Assessment have rather curtailed creativity.  To make up for that, here's some shots by me -Amy- from an evening out at the Blackpool Illuminations Friday just gone.

The annual pilgrimage to Blackpool Illuminations was canned last year because of Covid, and we weren't going to bother this year either until we found out that the season had been extended.  So after work on Friday we headed off to the seaside...

We went up from Starr Gate to the Tower by tram, rather than walk all the way as we have in previous years (Long Covid means we're not as healthy as we were, sadly) so we could get to the most lit-up area nice and early.  The new Christmas Tour tram was passing as we arrived.

New for this year, this dome of lights.

The point of the expedition was for me to test the settings on my new SLR; apart from a wedding in the summer and some train shots, I've not had chance to test it on long-exposure pics before tonight.

After some pics and a bit of a stroll to North Pier, we got back on the trams and up to Bispham.

The only Illuminated Tram running was the Frigate; usually we visit around the half term when there's four of them running, so we had to make do with just this one.

A bit of a walk to Cabin then we got the tram back to Tower, and I got some shots with the big wheel, one of my favourite spots on the promenade for photographs.

We were only there for a few hours, but it's at least allowed me to get a few more shots for the Light Trails body of work, and figure out the best settings for long-exposure shots with my new camera.  Hopefully a return visit at the height of the season in 2022 will be on the cards...