Thursday, 31 January 2008

Photographer Photographed.

., originally uploaded by multum in parvo.

I had a great couple of days in London, mostly photographing street art of one sort of another. I haven't seen anything new and inspiring in Manchester for absolutely ages and had rather lost interest in this subject. Even if Manchester seems to be drying up, London is in good shape as usual especially in the old favourite haunts of Spitalfields and Brick Lane and it's environs.

This picture is in the borders den underneath the Royal Festival Hall where I have previously only been at weekends and you would have to have a death wish to venture in there when it's full of skaters. It was a pleasant surprise to find it totally deserted apart from quite a few people with cameras all taking advantage of the quiet time.

I love the sharp focus on the rough, silver painted concrete and the girl in the middle distance taking a close up of some graffiti on the column and the tour group in the background against the really blown out sky.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Through the Viewfinder

I discovered Through The Viewfinder (TTV) photography last spring on Flickr and thought it was a really beautiful way of creating images. I have an old Rolleicord which I thought would be perfect as it has a ground glass viewfinder which has a really lovely look, it's quite speckled with quite heavy centre hotspot, but it's very subtle and I love the cross hairs. I constructed a ridiculous contraption from foam which sits ontop of the Rolleis viewfinder which supports my digital camera at the top. When I was using it last year I was using my happy snappy - a Fuji Finepix F10 which seemed to work quite well as it's nice and light with a good macro setting. But I've recently fallen out of love with that camera, I find it very irritating as it keeps resetting itself randomly which I find very annoying to have to reset everything. So I decided to attach the Rollei to the tripod in my new studio set up at home and have a bash with the D300. I did work as the photos here show, but it's still very hard work even when I don't have to hold the Rollei which is very heavy (this is why I could only use the happy snappy previously as I was shooting without a tripod and there's no way I could have juggled heavy metal Rolleicord, long foam contraption and relatively cumbersome Nikon D70 - as well as dealing with a long zoom lens!). So it was quite a releif to be free of the weight. But it was still very awkward, but I'm fairly pleased with the results although I do need to find some bigger subjects as the focal distance on the Rollei is massive and the smallish things I was using do rather receed into the distance and look tiny! Later on I had a go with Peter's Lumix, which I think may be the final solution as it's really small and light, has a great lens, zoom and macro and it's 10mpx and can shoot in RAW too. When I next have a go at TTV I shall definitely use the Lumix and I mustn't be dissuaded from trying again as I am determined to crack this. TTV images seem to sell really well on Etsy where I am determined to find a really good look for my shop and have a few really good lines which I can churn out and sell hundreds of beautiful cards, prints and postcards.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

First shots in my home studio

Today was momentous as we set up our brand new set of lights and had an experiment with some still life subjects. The lights are a pretty straightforward constant lighting system as we thought that leaping straight into a flash setup might be asking for trouble, if we graduate to that in the future, these lights will still be useful.

The lights themselves were a real struggle to put together and I think that we'll have to find somewhere for them to live with their shades on as it will waste far too much time to have to put them together each time.

I shot quite a few pics using my wide angle and then my 50mm, both on and off the tripod. I'm quite pleased with the results and have uploaded this selection to iStock to see if they get accepted....fingers crossed.

I'll need to come up with a list of subjects to shoot to make the most of my time as it's a fiddly process.

The kit came with a white cat basket which apparently is the bees knees for shooting, I have yet to set that up, but it looks like it might be interesting.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Photoshop Dramas.

I've been trying to revitalize my rather ignored and abandoned Etsy shop which I started full of good intentions last year. I sold a few cards and sets of cards but then sort of lost interest and when I saw that everything had expired I was shamed into starting again. I spent quite a lot of time thinking about what to do and looking at lots of other shops. I've always found the sticking a photo onto card stock at bit of a hit and miss affair although they always look nice so I decided to buy some pre-scored cards ready for my Epson printer. I tried some cheap and cheerful ones from WH Smiths which were okay, but not great, then some which looked better from PC World which are so crappy that I threw them away after one try (nice envelopes though!). I decided that I would have to go upmarket and ended up with a seriously classy stack of black boxes on my desk from Crane Paper, their Museo Art Cards are absolutely stunning, 100% cotton rag acid free, double sided loveliness. The only problem was that I could not get the buggers to print. Whatever I tried, the formatting was wrong, the layout didn't fit, it was all bad. I entered in to lengthy corespondence with the company who were staggeringly helpful sending me advice, figures, templates made specially for me (I'd already tried the ones available on their website). Finally it worked! The cards are stunning and I was gearing myself up to go into production.

You'll notice that I said "was gearing up" this is because Photoshop CS2 suddenly and totally out of the blue started to quit every time I selected Print with Preview. This is my chosen way to print and I don't really feel secure enough with the templates to risk wasting rather pricey cards by printing in the regular way. I've tried re-making the templates from scratch which worked for a while then it started to Quit again. I've tried saving the document as a jpg, but the same thing happens. I've tried doing the regular Print and then selecting Preview, but nothing shows up, I've tried viewing as a PDF but nothing shows up and I've even saved the document as a PDF, but when I open it up, there's nothing there. I am not happy. This weekend was going to be for a serious card making session.

I suppose I'll try uninstalling and reinstalling CS2 if I've still got the disc as I can't remember where I got it from. If that doesn't work I don't know what I'll do.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

New year, new blog!

Hello world! My name is Sarah and this is my brand new blog. It's a photo blog actually, my other blogging needs are satisfied elsewhere.

This is where I'll be keeping track of my photographic goings on during 2008 (and beyond, hopefully). I've got lots of photos online already, at my lovely website, eyeshoot and on the wonderful Flickr and those will remain, but I feel I need a new space for a new year and a new approach.

I'll be leaving my current job in the Spring and obviously need to earn my keep and I have decided to attempt to do so via my collection of cameras. I reckon that I'll be needing a sounding board, a place to wibble about new equipment and new techniques, a promotional space and I would, of course like people to get in touch and tell me what they think!

So that's what will be going on here.