My Blog, My Diligence

A wise man once said that to be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, where wise people are diligent.

This blog site is to be my diligence, a place where I can share my knowledge, experiences, conclusions and show you some examples of work I have achieved with them.

 

Looking for colour

Fourth day of Photovember (which honestly makes me laugh just a little every time I read it) and here's your fourth little blog post, too. It's turning in to its own little habit which is definitely a benefit, too. I do like scribbling blogs but I tend to get drawn in to making them a little too long. These short Photovember posts are perfect for practicing a Twitter-esque approach to blog posts. 

Today I wanted to head in to town after the gym and go on the look out for some colour, as much of it as I could. I've always enjoyed the challenge of street photography anyway, it's such an uncomfortable style for me. Turned out I ended up travelling an escalator for about ten minutes trying for one photograph too! 

It was a day that revolved around looking for photographs to create but I've allowed myself one of these days as getting out to make photographs is, after all, why I started this little mission. The reward for this was leaving the gym at 4:30 and seeing the gorgeous calm sky over the roofline, so there was a little glimpse in to my day after all. 

Tomorrow will be about capturing my day rather than going looking for photographs, promise.

Having said all that here're your images (yup, you've four today).

One of my favourite buildings in Derby. It would be amazing to live in this building, just need to knock through a space for my cars

One of my favourite buildings in Derby. It would be amazing to live in this building, just need to knock through a space for my cars

I saw the different colour temperatures on the entrance escalators and then tried to get this ghostly reflection photograph. Rode these escalators for about ten minutes

I saw the different colour temperatures on the entrance escalators and then tried to get this ghostly reflection photograph. Rode these escalators for about ten minutes

Went in to town looking for colour... think I found it! Love the reflections of the mural

Went in to town looking for colour... think I found it! Love the reflections of the mural

So having captured some images in and around town I walked back to the gym to head home and was treated to one last splash of colour. Wow!

Walked out looking straight at this sky! Stopped me in my tracks. I stood and watched it for a few minutes and then saw a flock of birds fly across the scene, too. Perfect

Walked out looking straight at this sky! Stopped me in my tracks. I stood and watched it for a few minutes and then saw a flock of birds fly across the scene, too. Perfect

I have to say again thank you so much to everyone who's embraced this little challenge. It's fantastic seeing everyones images and also seeing those who have dived in over the last few days and joined in too. I really am so excited to see all your photographs. I'll share as many as I can.

See you all anon, have a great Saturday night.

Chris

Me Time

Photovember is a few days in now and I’ve been so pleased with all of you who have joined in, sharing stories from your days. Looking forward to seeing more and I hope it’s been helping you all as much as it has me. 

Encouraging myself to create a little story image each day even though we’re only three days in has been a great focus, and today’s is a view I’m going to give myself more of from now on. One of the benefits of having a MacBook is being mobile and I wanted to take my work space out elsewhere occasionally. The first and most obvious of places was the gym I spend a lot of time at (I do my best to go daily) and arguably where my photography picked up again when I coached Tennis there many years ago. 

That is what today’s image is showcasing, my little mobile work space with a cup of tea in my gyms’ club room after a workout. I found it relaxing to be ‘working’ in a different environment and catching up with friends as they walk past was uplifting and made the work more pleasurable and less lonely.  

I plan on doing this a lot more regularly, and seeing as I train most days it will be easy to make sure I have my MacBook with me and have some ‘me’ time with my photos and/or blog and website afterwards. 

Keep your photovember images coming, I’m really enjoying seeing them and sharing them out as much as possible. Thank you again and have a great weekend with fireworks a plenty.  

Chris

Slowing down and taking my work desk elsewhere after a gym session

Slowing down and taking my work desk elsewhere after a gym session

Photovember Inspiration

We're only two days in to photovember (which, by the way, makes me chuckle just a little each time I say it in my head) and I've already been inspired to make a change to create a photograph!

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Last night Steph dropped this on Instagram (head over to her timeline and drop her a follow!). I can only imagine the warmth it made her feel walking out of a long day at work and seeing this sky peeking over the rural skyline, simply gorgeous. I couldn't help but remember getting up early months ago to catch a sunrise over my uncles farm and as such was inspired to make a change to get up early and capture another.

Todays photo for you is the result of Steph's photograph, and EXACTLY the reason I wanted to start this; a gathering of everyone's worlds shared and inspiring each other to develop our daily creative habit that is so satisfying and rewarding. I have more plans for projects like this but for now, I'm going to stop typing, share my photo from today, and look forward excitedly to what we all create tomorrow.

Thanks again to everyone involved so far, and Steph for the inspirational glimpse in to her world last night.

Chris

Sunrise over the fields. #Photovember Day Two

Sunrise over the fields. #Photovember Day Two

#Photovember

This year has been a tough journey. Despite ticking off some rather huge shoots and experiences I have felt like I’ve struggled a lot creatively and haven’t moved forward. A very odd and difficult to control sensation. 

It’s no secret that I am the most excited on and after a photoshoot but having said that I have found it difficult to head out on personal photoshoots. I’ve mostly tried to take a deep breath and get on with shoots, admin, scheduling and the like from day to day but talking to a friend has inspired me to take control.

This is where #Photovember started. I get really excited seeing my friends work, photographs of their trips to work in cities I’ve never been to or their views on their morning walk, and so I had an idea to do Photovember. A challenge to show a part of your world every day throughout November and share it with everyone, to develop a daily habit to create.

If I could do this and make a little community inspiring each other then maybe we can all help each other. Creation is addictive but overcoming the doubt that can come with it is easier with friends, bouncing off each other and knocking down those walls together!

So, for day one of my #Photovember I’m treating you to two photographs I’ve created today! The first a symbolic pair of walls barricading us in and the second...? Well the second just makes me smile. I took it on the way to the village shops to grab a cream cake to go with my cuppa!

Walled in

Walled in

Sunlight

Sunlight

If you want to join in, create a photograph of your world each day and share it out with the #Photovember hashtag and link it to me on any of my social media accounts. I share some of my favourites out each day as well as post my own. 

Look forward to seeing all your photos, there’ve been some gorgeous ones posted already! 

Speak soon! 

Chris

Hashtag # Print of the Week

I have made a lot of photographs that mean a lot to me. I remember every shoot I go on and could probably tell you the settings I used and why I used them for most of the photographs you see on this website. There's a link to the thought process that stays with you; so when you see the image again you're reminded of the decision you made and why. I'm constantly critiquing myself and doing my best to learn from every shoot I go on which is one of the reasons #KeepWorkingHard came about.

If you follow me on Instagram (and if not why not 😊) or Twitter you'll know I love a hashtag. Very rarely do you see a post without #LifeofaPhotographer or the aforementioned #KeepWorkingHard on it so I thought I'd get another one out there regularly #PrintoftheWeek.

The awesome @SkullAndPistons Garage Cortina

The awesome @SkullAndPistons Garage Cortina

The idea was to get more of those images that mean a lot to me out and accessible to you. It's very important to me that when my work is represented in print it's of the best possible quality, and the downside of that is it tends to push the printing price up for the final product. Acrylic and aluminised prints are some of my favourite mediums but pricey.

The prints for Print of the Week are still the top quality I can get; 400dpi gloss photographic print but offering just the raw print I think is going to be an exciting way of getting quality work out to you all. 

Iceland

Iceland

Each week I'll chose a photograph from my portfolio, or catalogue and offer it up on my online store. There'll be a different image each time and maybe at some point we can even do a vote between a few if it gets really popular. I'll make sure I pick from all the different genres of photography that I do, include landscapes and some of the more abstract images I create. 

Film photograph from an air show at Duxford Air Museum

Film photograph from an air show at Duxford Air Museum

So check back each week and see what image you can pick up! The first is already up, this gorgeous DeTomaso Pantera. Click the image to take you straight to the shop where you can pick up a print now.

DeTomaso Pantera – First #PrintoftheWeek

DeTomaso Pantera – First #PrintoftheWeek

If there's a particular image that you've seen that you'd like to see feature as a Print of the Week or would like an acrylic or aluminised print of, then please don't hesitate to drop me a message on here. I'll be happy to sort that out for you. Those two formats are still my favourites, and look so striking when they're hung.

Thank you for all your support, and I'm really excited and looking forward to getting more images out to you all!

See you anon!

Chris

The Revenge of the Wooden Grip

Yes, that's right, it's back.

Nikon F-Body Wood Camera Grip mkII

Well, to be honest it never went away, but I've been so busy with shoots over the last few weeks I haven't had chance to complete my second camera grip.

As some of you will no doubt be aware, last early last year I was shopping around for a Nikon FM2 to add to my Nikon film camera lineup. A firm favourite of anyone and everyone who has shot one and also a firm favourite of a friend of mine in Ohio,

I reached out and asked him if he was interested if I made two. The idea was to make them side by side, and it wouldn't take that much longer.  You can read about the original journey of the camera grip here but suffice to say I got very carried away and only made one.

The second grip started in much the same way but with a few tweaks. I decided to make it a two piece build to speed things up, and also to add a little 'bump' under the lens mount. This was two fold – firstly it matched the 'bump' on the camera and secondly the original grip would tip forward if the camera had anything other than an f-mount blanking cover on it; not ideal.

The process carried on in pretty much exactly the same manner with some little adjustments in the shape, again to speed up the carving process a little, and with a neat oak peg in the right hand corner. I found it looked neater!

All these changes gave the added bonus that Matt's is now even MORE unique and individual.

The scary task of drilling the last hole was done, the one for the screw that mounts the camera on to the grip, and all that was left was the lovely task of oiling it up, and branding my logo in to the base! As my friend John Aldred will tell you, that's not a phrase he's used to hearing from me.

As before, here're all the build steps and processes with the added bonus of some finished photographs I captured afterwards AND you can order your own at my shop!

Very very pleased! Now to go and shoot of roll after roll of HP5!!

How We Spend Our Time

NASA infrared image of the Sun

Ok, so watching Wonders of the Solar System again – this bluray gets a lot of use haha – has really got my science mind going again. I've always had a thirst for scientific knowledge and some of the images and facts you see on this program has awoken my mind to this again. I stumbled on some incredible infrared images of the sun a few years ago and I'm sure everyone has seen the beautiful photo of a sunset viewed at the north pole or the Aurora Borealis. I regularly find myself on the Nasa website looking at their recent images, and indeed, we're living in an age where some incredible high res images are appearing from Cassini and New Horizons.

Seeing these awe inspiring photographs has really made me question where I go and where I WANT to go?! Surely the best use of our time would be going to see some of the most incredible views available on Earth?

There's a volcano in Ethiopia that bubbles lava permanently, a cave in Mexico that has 50 foot crystals, an ice field in Iceland that resembles the surface of Enceladus, Saturn's sixth largest moon and 1/4 million gallons of water flow over the Iguaçu Falls every second.

These staggering sights across the planet must be worth a little of our time?! To come back from a trip saying that you've seen and experienced a crystal clear view of the solar winds reacting with our Earth's magnetic field in a polution free sky, or felt goosebumps at the view over the Grand Canyon at sunset! Maybe this short blog has triggered a child hood memory or ambition in you, the reader, to chase a view or experience you will remember forever.

I didn't get to see the ice lakes in Iceland, but I did get to see the geysers.

Geyser erupting in Iceland – Chris Frosin

Feel free to comment, agree or disagree with me or share some of your own experiences and wishes.

Thanks for reading, and I'll speak to you all again soon.

Chris

Holding Wood – A Custom Camera Grip

I was looking for a Nikon FE/FM/FM2 at the beginning of thIs year, 2015. I'd thoroughly enjoyed dipping my fingers back in to the film pie and had bought a very cheap Yashica Electro 35 GT rangefinder and an even cheaper Yashica FX-3 to shoot some rolls of 35mm film. The Electro was a bargain from Italy and included wide angle and telephoto filters and the FX-3 had its vinyl covering falling off; I re-covered it and is now my infamous 'carbon fibre' FX-3. 

My Carbon Fibre FX-3

My Carbon Fibre FX-3

Both of these cameras had built in light meters which have proven accurate in their exposure readings and although both were great fun to use I wanted to make use of the Nikkor lenses I have.  

Nikon have a very strong choice of film cameras available and the F body range are rightly known as absolute work horses by those who shoot with them. The FE, FM and FM2 were the models I was keeping a casual eye out for on various for sale sites when something rather interesting showed up. 

There was a Nikon FM for sale in Germany on eBay but it had two very different features about it. Firstly it had a 45mm f/2.8 Schneider lens adapted to fit the Nikon F Mount but secondly, it had a wooden 'grip'.

image.jpg
image.jpg

As I said in a blog post a few days ago I'm very much a 'I can make that' sort of personality and this grip instantly struck a chord with me, especially as I hadn't done any wood work for years. Wood is a beautiful material to work with and because I've spent a lot of time over the last few years working with metal on my car restoration the chance to tool it again was exciting.

While I was thinking about it, I picked up a spares or repair Nikon FE for very little – I didn't want to be covering my  immaculate FM2 with sawdust as I was making it – and reached out a friend of mine Matt Day. Matt shoots a lot of film, too, and I'd been following his YouTube channel for a while, and knew of his love for his own Nikon FM2. I figured it wouldn't take me that much longer to make two identical grips up and it was cool to hear Matt's enthusiasm for the idea, as well.

Here's the process...

And here's the second part of the camera grip's journey...

Film, film, film

Mountain range of Esja, visible from Reykjavík, Iceland. Shot on Kodak Tri-X with my Yashica Electro35 GT

Mountain range of Esja, visible from Reykjavík, Iceland. Shot on Kodak Tri-X with my Yashica Electro35 GT

I'll say it again, it really has taken me too long!

There're a number of things that have taken me too long to start getting involved with. Picking up the guitar again is right up there. I used to play when I was ten but I've only recently picked it back up. I've a number of R.E.M. tabs I'm now trying to learn which is a great motivator. I'm making up for not having gotten stuck in with car restoration years ago by throwing myself head first into restoring and modifying my dream car, a 1976 Mitsubishi Galant GTO. It's going well but I'm learning quickly, and learning some lessons the hard way too.

Getting back to shooting and then developing film is now officially on that 'it's taken me too long' list!

My first two cameras were film cameras. Back in 1989 I got a Boots 'toy' camera – basically a point and shoot film camera from a high street pharmacy. I shot plenty of rolls of film, got them developed and had a little photo album. There were photographs of Lego cars, my family, and lots and lots of the car shows that I would go to with my Dad and Poppa.

After shooting more digital work professionally I've gotten the urge to pick my film cameras back up. It's pretty much the same reason as I have a record player and still play vinyl, and that I like the older types of cars; I get to feel somehow more involved and connected with the process. Ian Ruhter of the brilliant Silver & Light project sums this up perfectly.

"When I started in photography I was using my hands to create images. It seemed that overnight digital came and all that came to an end. I didn't know it then, but I'd lost something."

Ian Ruhter holding one of his earlier wet plate prints from Yosemite National Park

Clearly, once you realise that you sell everything and make a wet plate camera so large it will only fit inside a truck? Well maybe not. This level of commitment is what make people like Ian unique and incredibly inspiring. Fortunately, 35mm and even some medium format film cameras are very affordable right now, which is good as Ian's plates cost upwards of $500 each!

One of the first things I got done was get all my old negatives together, as I wrote in the Film Negatives blog post a few weeks ago. Some of these date back to 1988 and once they were sorted out, I could choose which I'd send off to get scanned. 

The next matter at hand was a roll of black and white Kodak Tri-X I had shot in Iceland and at a car show a year back and with the wet plate process eating in to my consciousness, I had to dive in and develop it myself. I picked up some Ilford developing chemicals, took a deep breath and spent the next 20 minutes with my hands inside the changing bag trying to get the roll of film on the cartridge and in the paterson developing tank. 

This was my first venture in to developing film myself and the end result fuelled more goosebumps and enthusiasm for film than before. There're plenty of videos about developing that you can follow, Matt Day and Ted Forbes have some great videos here and I'll look at making my own walk through video in a few months time, too.

Ilford Development Chemicals

Final rinse

The developed film hang drying

Here's the first roll of black and white film I've developed, the first of many as I'm thoroughly addicted.

I used Ilford ID-11 Black & White Developer, Ilfostop and Rapid Fixer with Ilfotol as a wetting agent. There're a few things that have now found their way on to the shopping list. I'd like to try Ilfosol 3 developer as I can see the powder ID-11 developer being difficult to store when not used regularly. It'll be interesting to develop a handful of films using each developer under the same developing conditions to compare the grain and contrast, anyway; see which process I prefer for my negatives. 

The second is to get myself a film scanner. I dropped these rolls and a pile of my old negatives in to Photographique in Bristol to get scanned in and although it was a lot of rolls of film, I can see the cost quickly mounting up! I've seen a lot of photographers are using Epson scanners, the Epson V600 and V700 looking like very strong contenders, particularly as you can pick up both very reasonable on the second hand market.

Rest assured I'll keep you all up to date with my shootings and discoveries but I'd like to share some of the scans from Iceland and the Retro Rides Gathering and also heading back to the early 1990's when I'd frequent Vintage Sports Car Club meetings.

My initial attempt at scanning on an old scanner. Terrible quality, but great to see the positives on screen

The little Yashica Electro 35 GT that took the black and white photographs you see here has recently been moved on as I'm pining for a little Nikon S2 Rangefinder. I've got a little Nikon FM2 that needs a little attention and tlc and I'm planning a couple more film camera bodies for some personal projects that are in the works. I'm excited to get those off the ground over winter. Until the next time, I'd love to see some of your favourite film shots, and your experiences using, shooting and developing film. I can safely say that film isn't going anywhere in my life and I'm thoroughly looking forward to expanding my portfolio to include some film, a medium that we mustn't let drift into obscurity. 

I'll see you all anon, thank you for reading!

Inspiration – Where do you get yours?

Sunrise at the top of my Uncles farm

Sunrise at the top of my Uncles farm

The sensation you get of goosebumps under your skin, and a shiver running up your spine that you just can't quite shake out. That shiver buzzes through the body up to your mind and electrifies some part of your brain that instills an urge to something. At that moment I find myself feeling invincible and badly wanting to sink my teeth in to projects or ideas.

We're in a social media world where inspirational and motivational pictures and quotes are thrown around like skittles in that 'everything I touch turns into Skittles' advert, but inspiration goes further than a quote or meme that resonates with you.

I thought I'd try to put into words a few of the things that inspire me and inspire others close to me. The first you might have actually seen at the top of my Blog Page before. 

'A wise man once said that to be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, where wise people are diligent.'

When I started my first blog page on blogspot years and years ago (it was around 2005 I think) I had a quick search for a 'wise crack' inspirational quote to head it up. I'd left a graphic design job a few years before where I'd regularly be writing copy for magazine articles or little snippets of lore for fantasy stories and I started the blog page to persuade and inspire me to keep writing. That quote was one of the first I came across. It's just a collection of words but it still manages to make me smile today and reminds me, in simple terms, not to be idle. Back in 2005 those words kept me coming back to my blog almost as if I had a 'need' to read it again. I kept posting and as I picked up my camera again it evolved in to a photography blog page. Ultimately it evolved to where I am today. After all these years that quote still makes me smile and when I read it it gives me that shiver that makes me want to create.

If you ask anyone what inspires them, an answer you'll hear regularly is a time that relates to childhood. Be that their children that inspire them or a moment or time from their childhood. I grew up with my grandfather building a 1935 Frazernash and my dad building 'Baby' Bugatti Type 52's. I'd watch in awe as parts were fabricated and created. Growing up in an environment of 'we could make/build/mend that' has clearly influenced my lifestyle now. There's always something I can 'make' or 'create'. My current list of things I need to make is getting longer by the day and isn't helped by finding edison lightbulbs available very cheaply on eBay!

My Dad

Poppa and I

Poppa and I

But why do so many people draw inspiration from their childhood? I don't know. I've no idea. Experiences and influences during your childhood must be so deep set in our psych that we hold on to times that made us happy, and our parenting instinct fills us with enough inspiration to push us further than we ever thought possible. A good friend of mine writes tens of thousands of words a week for car magazines so that his children can have the best of what he can provide. He regularly sites her as his inspiration and I know many of others who do also.

I spend a great deal of my time writing down creative thoughts and there's always ideas buzzing around inside my head. Beyond family there're certain artists and people's work that inspires me to keep challenging myself. I'm lucky enough to consider calling some of the world's leading automotive photographers friends, and their work is always going to be a little poke and reminder of where I want to be. There are others, though, whose work and life can't help but give me goosebumps. A podcast I did (you can have a listen here if you like...) with a good friend and business partner of mine, Ashley Kalym, regularly discussed inspiration and we recorded almost an entire episode on the first of a few films that I'd like to end this post by sharing with you. These are some of my favourite music and movies that I regularly listen to when I'm in a creative mood (or when I want to try to get into one).

Christopher Nolan's Interstellar – Warner Bros. Pictures and Paramount Pictures, 2014.

Christopher Nolan's Interstellar – Warner Bros. Pictures and Paramount Pictures, 2014.

As we mentioned in the podcast, Christopher (it must be the name!) Nolan and Hans Zimmer are absolutely at the top of their game right now. We talked about how Nolan tried to influence Hans Zimmer's creative process to create an incredible moving score to an incredible film. When I'm either listening to just the soundtrack or watching Nolan's latest film, Interstellar, I find myself riding a wave of creativity.  

When it comes to films about people at their peak, they don't come much better than the last film I'm going to leave you with. A few years ago, a photographer in America, Chase Jarvis, interviewed Travis Rice, a snowboarder who told us about a film he'd made with Redbull called The Art of Flight.  

He spoke about the film with such passion and enthusiasm I almost felt obliged to watch it out of politeness. Wow! I cannot recommend this enough. I've attached the Redbull trailer below for you to watch, but pick up a copy on Bluray or DVD on Amazon and sit back and watch as five friends who are at the very top of their game show us just how fearless and phenomenal we can be. Jumping out of a helicopter to ride slopes that have never been ridden and one particular moment when Travis pretty much free falls down a vertical snow covered cliff face with a snowboard. It's incredbile. Awe-inspiring. And if it doesn't make you want to push yourself to create something or provide for someone special then you may very well be, to quote Robin Williams in Hook, a two-toned zebra-headed, slime-coated, pimple-farmin' paramecium brain. 😊

For now, though, here's the trailer for The Art of Flight! Give it a watch, you'll thank me at the end. And, if you're anything like me, you'll buy all the albums from the artists that are on the soundtrack... listening to that music takes me right back to the feel good feeling I get from watching that film!

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, and I'd love to hear what inspires you in your life. 

Leave a comment below or find me on Facebook or Twitter, my links are at the bottom of this website.

Thanks everyone!

Chris

...and if you haven't seen Hook, watch that too!

Rolling back the years

It's taken me far too long! I recently found one of my old photo albums from my childhood, with all the photographs neatly labelled and dated. I was amazed to find that some were dated from when I was just 1989! I was nine years old. There's some interesting photographs there; 90% of which were from Vintage Sports Car Club track days at Mallory Park, Curborough or Cadwell Park. 

They've given me an urge to shoot more film but more importantly to develop it myself. At this point, why just shoot film when you can get more hands on and develop it yourself too. I've a number of film cameras to use, a Yashica Electro and a couple of other Yashica Rangefinders, Nikkormat FTn, Yashica FX-2 and a Pentacon Six. These are just some cameras I've picked up over the years but never shot any quantity of film from them. I took the Yashica Electro to Iceland a few years ago but the film has been sat waiting to be developed since.

We'll get in to developing in a later blog post; how I've gone about it, what process etc but for now this is about the old prints and negatives.

I've had piles of DoublePrint envelopes with all my prints in for years and have digitally photographed a few of the prints before but I really wanted to get the negatives stored and organised better. I'll be looking out for a good quality film scanner, probably the Epson V700, over the next few months so that I can get all these old negatives scanned in so I can do a small photobook of my old photographs.

Turns out I have a lot more negatives than I thought, so I hadn't ordered enough sleeves at all. I have twelve rolls sleeved up, and I probably need another 10. 

Sleeving the negatives up was straight forward enough. DoublePrint cut the negatives down to strips of four, and the sleeves I grabbed were perfect for this. The sleeves themselves are slightly translucent so I'll definitely need to remove them to scan. 

I've been excited to shoot and develop some film and having dug these out to organise the negatives has only fueled that urge even more, so, that's where I'm heading now. I've got my Yashica FX-2 loaded up with some Kodak Tri-X and I'm off out to shoot a roll, and as promised, I'll pop up a post about the developing of the film later.

Until then, I'll leave you with some of the photographs, including my favourite, the E-Type E.R.A. that you'll have no doubt seen before... I post it up a lot.

See you anon

Chris!

Everything Under the Sun is in Tune...

...but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

Roger Waters clearly wrote about todays eclipse in 1973! Incredible!

Well maybe not but what a great musical accompanyment for another solar eclipse today. Starting a little before 9am here in England, I hadn't really planned anything for it (ok, so I'd forgotten about it this morning) but wanted to see if I could at least document it.

I'd not photographed an eclipse before, but knew I could manage the light just like any other photograph. I knew I'd have to limit the light coming into the lens as much as I could at the beginning so a welding mask stepped in as a very dark ND filter – it turns out it's about a 10 stop ND filter. As the moon covered more and more of the sun I was confident I could loose the welding mask, leave the aperture stopped down and take a 'naked' image of the eclipse the further towards the later phases. 

As it turned out I was very surprised at how quickly and by how much the light level dropped. From the first image I took (9:11am) to the last (9:35am) I lost about 11 stops of light!

The solar phases, through a welding mask

The first six images here are all shot behind the welding mask glass which is no doubt of low quality, in terms of optics. These images proved very difficult to accurately correct for colour casts and white balance but they did their job in terms of showing the sun as it went through the first few phases of the eclipse.

The last image in that sequence and this one below were shot within 10 seconds of each other once I was sure that I could drop the filter, stop down the aperture and get a safe exposure. I'm sure we've all shot blown out highlights before, but blowing out the highlights pointing directly at the sun is to be avoided. I don't know, but I'd imagine it's definitely not something you'd want to exposure your camera sensor to.

Same exposure but minus the terrible optical quality of the welding mask! :)

This was closing in on 9:35am and it was becoming clear that the waning phase was drawing to a close and the sun was about to wax back into view (does the sun wax and wane the same as the moon, or are the phases named differently as it's 'the sun' ?)

But as you know, you should never not have your camera ready, as just before I packed up to go back inside and make some awesome toast and honey, some birds appeared to 'complete' the photograph!

Final solar eclipse photograph – March 20th 2015

A stroke of luck having the cloud cover come over just as the phases drew to a close and then to top it all, three birds appeared too! Bonus points if you can name the birds! 

Post up your images in the comments below. From what I've seen it appeared to be cloudy most places where the eclipse was visible today, but as I mentioned, that probably added a little more interest.

I'll leave you with a suitable soundtrack your evening, and I'll see you anon.


24litre Napier - Bentley. Then and Now

If we go back a few years then you'll see a tonne of film shots from Vintage Sports Car Club meets. My first camera was a Pentax ME Super that my Poppa gave me and I'd regularly join him on VSCC meets across the Midlands. Curborough, Mallory and my favourite of our English tracks, Cadwell Park. I'd take hundreds of photographs over the meets and see crazy cars like a 4litre V-Twin engine on a GN and the even more crazy 24litre Napier W12 engine from a Sea Lion. 

Flicking through some of my old film prints the other week I came across this photograph and it put a smile on my face. This is that crazy Napier - Bentley in 1994 at Curborough. I was 14 at the time and seeing this photograph reminded me of something else.

The W12 Napier engine in the infamous Napier - Bentley

I've been to the Retro Rides Gathering for a fair few years now and I've covered the show for Retro Cars Magazine. The show has a tonne of awesome guest cars and last year there was a car that looked and sounded (wow you really can't mistake this sound!) rather familiar.

Unknown to me at the time, I photographed the Napier - Bentley again; a second set of photographs of the same car, 20 years on. 

The very same 23 litre Napier - Bentley 20 years later.

Half of the W12 Napier Sea Lion engine

I like the round-a-bout way of this story, even more because I was unaware of the 1994 photograph at the time. I've a tonne of old film prints and a few less negatives from back when I went to VSCC meetings and I will most definitely dig a few more out to see if I can revisit some of the cars now, including one of my favourites of a 1938 Grand Prix E-Type ERA, which has another cool personal story behind it.

Until then I'll leave you with what 550 bhp from a Napier W12 can do to 6・15 Dunlop Racing tyres, and I'll see  you anon.

Chris

One of those moments when you wished you  hadn't cropped out the guy holding his hands over his ears!

Frame this, frame that, frame everything.

Recently I have been developing my framing skills. I've out sourced some of my framing in the past but it was always a skill I was keen to practice so I could do my own.

Mark and Sam and their awesome VW Polo, and Jack's air ride mk1 Escort Estate have both been framed up recently and I have been very pleased with the outcomes; especially as I'm a self proclaimed perfectionist and always manage to find aspects that I feel I could have done better.

Framing will be even more important as I lean towards slightly more panoramic aspect ratios in my prints. Something to talk about in the future but I love the way the 7:4 or 16:9 ratios look (yes, the Lotus 2+2 below is at a familiar 3:2)

Lotus Elan 2+2 mocked up in it's freshly handmade frame

Ultimately I want to get a lot more of my images printed and available to you all and framing them allows me to have more control over how the finished product looks. These style of frames are a great starting point, but I've been looking at double framing high quality acrylic or aluminised prints in the future.

Imagine this framing a high gloss aluminised print of a Jaguar Low Drag E-Type! 

I'd like to put a few more posts up on the process my Dad and I take from start to finish. If that's something you'd be interested in, let me know but until then I'm going to keep making perfect frames to match my images and putting them up in my web store.

Keep shooting, and I'll see you anon.

The 911 Bug

Just recently I've really started having a hankering over the classic 911's. Whether that coincided with seeing the Singer 911's I'm not sure but I've become more and more intrigued. Late last year I reached out on social media to find out if anyone had a cool 911 I could photograph and very soon after Tom at Paul Stephens 911 in Essex reached out and said 'Yes'.

Paul Stephens 911 – Little Maplestead

Yesterday I took a long drive down the A14 to visit and see what cars they had and arrange a day to shoot some.

Firstly, this place is awesome and it certainly did nothing to budge my want for a classic 911. There's some images later to prove this but here's the view that met me as I was shown through their showroom.

550 Spyders, 365's, 911's and Carrera's everywhere!

Greeted with a cup of tea and a fan of my photography, Tom took me round all the cars in the showroom before heading out to look at an insane Porsche RSR in the workshop... check out that rear tyre!

Width!!!


The RSR is a definite shoot that we're organising along with one of their awesome PSAuto Art 911's and I want to organise a sunset shoot with the silver 550 Spyder Chamonix Replica and the Porsche 356 which pretty much stole my heart once I gave it closer inspection.

Desperately beautiful Porsche 550 Spyder Chamonix Replica

Immaculate on the outside, and beautifully clean and worn on the inside, she is just oooozing character from every curve and it totally seduced me. I'm really looking forward to shooting the pair of classics in a few weeks time!

This combination of cleanliness and wear totally seduced me

Thanks to Paul Stephens 911 and especially Tom there, and I'm rather excited to get back down to create some Porsche art! Until then, here's some of the images from their showroom and workshop from yesterday.

Porsche RSR

PSAuto Art Porsche 911

WHAT a view. Just imagine driving that!

And on that note, I shall see you anon

 

New Website = First Print of the Week!

This has been a long slog!

There comes a point when you must draw a line and take a step or you'll continue to be indecisive and worried about what might happen. Today at 2pm I took that step and clicked to set the new website live (thanks to 123-Reg.co.uk it wasn't quite a single click, but the intention was there!)

SquareSpace has been a goal for me for a while after fellow photographer Adam Lerner moved his site and I helped Polymaths co-host and author Ashley Kalym move his website over too. It turns out to be quite a service and I must say their customer service is impeccable as I had a number of specific needs in migrating from Wordpress.

Now it's all done I want to offer you all a Limited Edition 42cm x 52cm (17" x 21") framed photographic print! This opening print is on offer for £80 + postage. 

CF Print of the Week – Number 1

This is the first of what will become a regular Photo of the Week on offer, a collection of some of my favourite images. Always a limited run (I'll only ever print and frame 10 of these) the prints are very high resolution, framed and packaged beautifully for you.

At the Throckmorton Challenge in 2014 for the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (HERO) this Renault Alpine stole my attention for most of the day and finally parked up towards the end challenge under what can only be described as a very dramatic sky. One of my favourite images.

Clean black frame with taped back board.

Individually numbered, this is number 2 of 10. The first high resolution print was picked up by my good friend Bruce Holder so there will only be 8 more of these printed and framed.

If you'd like this print, please drop me a message on here or on Facebook or Twitter.

Offer price for this first Print of the Week is £80 + postage. Postage is likely to be £5 across the United Kingdom. Happy to ship to other countries but I'll have to check postage beforehand.

Very pleased to get my first 'new' blog post up and especially pleased that it's a print offer so that you can start sharing my prints with you all!

Look forward to seeing all your comments and I'll be sure to let you all know when the next Print of the Week is up!

See you all anon,

Chris

Fitness Fitness Superman

After a few years of Batman running high in pop culture, this year is going to belong to Superman. In a few weeks Man of Steel is going to appear on our screens and make us all believe again – as happened in 1978 – that a man can fly, move faster than a speeding bullet and check out ladies underwear through their jeans or shirt. Ok, maybe not the latter but I'm sure it will go a long way towards creating a new generation of believers. In any case, it wouldn't look great to have a fat Superman and a person I've been working with a lot recently is doing everything he can to help the personal fitness market by writing eBooks about every training regime out there, and with some aplomb too! Our first shoot together was a towards the last quarter of 2012 and it was one of his first books where he was talking about general weight loss, giving readers advice, tips and, the part where I came in as a photographer, exercises to follow and progressions. We must have taken some 200 images in that session and it was this particular shoot that whet my apetite for the control and intricacies of studio and flash photography.

One of the great things about spending time with Ash is his enviable enthusiasm to constantly create new WORK. We've now worked together on either photoshoots for different books and it has given me the opportunity to develop my understanding of controlling and manipulating light in my images.

And this is where we get to the crunch point in the blog post.

It's been so important to the early stages of my development that I could create work with someone who not only had the patience to work along side my 'experiments' but was comfortable spending time, collaborating with trusted.

Our last shoot, which was focusing on how to train your legs, generated some of the best fitness and sports style images I've shot to date and showed some of the insane superhuman strength that the exercises can develop.

One Legged Squat - Ashley Kalym
One Legged Squat - Ashley Kalym

Fitness shoots I feel definitely lend themselves to controlled lighting conditions and by pushing myself not only to improve and understand this style but to do it to help create what is becoming a library of fitness eBooks is very fulfilling. They say that inspiration doesn't find you, you have to go looking for it with an axe and I think it's often overlooked by many who are trying to start up a creative business that you do actually, at some point, have to grab hold of some inspiration and create something. Sharing that inspiration with someone and creating as a team has definitely helped me develop and continue to develop lighting setups, skills and techniques to push further and along that road I will get to a stage where I can pull some strings and make some of my creative photoshoots happen.

What came first... being creative or creating work.

I'll leave you with one of the first images I shot for Ash, and then one of the last. I'm excited where my skills can move to and I'll see you at the next Olympics when I've photographed the Olympic Team GB portraits! :)

Hold it!
Hold it!
Squeeeze
Squeeeze

If you want to check out Ashley's catalogue of work, you can check out his Amazon author page at this link to find all his books and I can thoroughly recommend each and every one if you're interested in fitness or are a bit of a gym buff.

You can also follow his blog at Train, Sleep, Eat, Repeat to really keep in touch with any upcoming news or eBooks.

Enjoy Superman - Man of Steel when it comes out, and remember, if you're struggling to create or find your inspiration, try finding someone to share it with!

I'm Only Happy When it Rains

Or at least so Shirley Manson sang in 1995. And in the current English climate she'd be very very happy as we have had nothing but rain for what seems like months and months! Fortunately this provided me with the perfect opportunity to capture an image I've had in my minds eye for a while now.

A few weeks ago Adam Lerner interviewed a street photographer from Brooklyn, New York, Barry Yanowitz. Firstly, the interview was fantastic, hearing about how Barry is so patient at scoping out New York for perfect photo opportunities and then setting up waiting for the perfect scene through his Roleiflex and secondly some of the photographs that Adam was looking through and talking about were incredible, and very aspirational.

I was itching to get out and try one of the styles that runs regularly through Barry's work and that's his use of reflections in his images. I had a few ideas but finding the right setting was proving a challenge.

Roll up Jared Polin and his weekend theme challenge. For July 14th and 15th his theme was 'Reflections'.

Perfect!

Just the nudge and prod I needed to narrow down a location and capture that image. I found the largest and most interesting shaped puddle I could with an alleyway/doorway opposite and setup to see what sort of reflections and angles I could play with.

The Umbrella

This is the image I came away with. This is flipped as I was standing at the 'top' of the frame waiting for interesting forms to enter the puddle. You can imagine how overwhelmed I was to find that Jared had chosen my Umbrella photograph for his weekly Top 5, especially looking at the other photographs that had been submitted that week.

You can see the video of Jared Polin's Top Five from July 14th and 15th here.

Pretty much the only thing I did in post processing was saturate the red a little more and pull back on all the other colours in the image. It's surprising that such a striking image can come from such a simple concept and thank you to Barry for his inspiration.

If you do like the image, I'd love for you to pop onto FroKnowsPhoto.com and put a vote in for me. I'm very proud and pleased by all the comments made thus far about the image from the FroKnowsPhoto audience. Thank you.

The next 'reflection' style image I want to create is going to be on a slightly grander scale. We'll see how I get on!

I will say that street photography is rapidly becoming a very intriguing hobby. A style and genre that at first fascinated me and then scared the bajeebus out of me when I tried it has solidly stolen my mind and keeps me coming back for more. You find yourself thoroughly investigating every last nook and cranny around towns and cities (and villages for that matter) hoping to find just one killer location that can spark a great idea for a photograph.

Have a go, and once you've captured one, post it up in a comment below. I'd love to see what you can create!

Until then, choose your lens carefully, click it on the camera and get out there and shoot. I'll see you anon.

Many thanks!

Chris

70 300 Out, 80 200 In.

Lenses can be particularly expensive and seeing as I dislike spending large chunks of money it made sense for me to 'free up' some of my current lens slots. The first which had to go was easy. Unfortunately, although I've been impressed with the eventual image quality of the Sigma 70-300 f/4-f/5.6 DG OS, there are some user issues which plague this lens while I've been using it. 

Nadal @ O2
Rafael Nadal preparing for a forehand at the O2 Masters of 2012

It does have the capacity to produce some great images, as you can see above, the low aperture makes it difficult at times and makes it very difficult to shoot at low ISO values at the full focal length. It's clear to visualise the size that a fully open aperture would be in this image.

Predominately photographing sports, and in particular tennis, I have no time to wait for lenses to autofocus either. Even though this Sigma lens has internal focusing motors, it's accuracy and speed of focusing is still too slow for the speed which I need to capture fast moving dynamic images. You can regularly challenge the accuracy of it's focus point, once images are back imported into Lightroom which can get frustrating when faces, rackets or even bodies or just out of focus; a shame, especially shooting at f/5.6.

Strengths and applications

So this was the first lens in my collection to be moved on for the reasons I've always listed, but what could this lens be used for?

Its focal length combined with a crop sensor body makes for a great wildlife lens. On a 1.5x crop sensor like my D90, or the brilliant D300s, turns this lens into a 450mm monster telephoto. The low aperture shouldn't be as much of an issue as you would mostly be shooting outside in good light and the optical stabilisation helps too.This is actually very good, easily allowing you to drop the shutter speed a stop or two.

I would think this lens would also make for a great motorsport lens, panning and following cars on track. Again the 450mm on a crop sensor body gives you good reach.

It's just not great for sports where you need to be challenging your shutter speed to freeze motion and focus sharply and with a wide variety of distances.

The replacement...?

For me, this is an easy option. I've rented the lens a number of times already for a number of tennis tournaments and it has performed flawlessly. It's lack of optical stabilisation really makes no difference with the high shutter speeds I'm shooting sports at and the autofocus is so lightning fast I'm sure it could follow Nadal's frantic scramblings across the baseline with ease or even, if I ever get the chance, the fast carving of a downhill skier.

Winner!
Shot with the Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D at a tennis tournament I shot last year

Anyway.. it's the Nikon AF-D 80-200 f/2.8, the lens I have used and written about on here a number of times at tennis tournaments. Thoroughly looking forward to ordering it and I will record a full review as soon as I have it in my possession...

... it will be mine! Oh yes, it will be mine!

The Nikkor AF 80-200mm f/2.8 D

Thanks for reading, and this lens will be going to Wimbledon in a few weeks. I'll give you a full run down of it's performance at that tournament, if not before.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I will see you anon.

Chris