Monday, 20 June 2011

Heligan Pinhole Poppies

Heligan Pinhole Poppies, originally uploaded by Wulfus.

This is the best result from the first film through my second homemade pinhole camera. I've found that most pinhole camera shots tend to be rubbish but on every film I put through there is usually one gem. These experiments in pinhole photography have often produced surprising and completely unexpected results and it's the unexpected which makes the process so fascinating. The fact that the films have to go off to be processed and then put through the scanner to see what you've got makes the experience all the more exciting - gratification is delayed and the surprises almost seem bigger when they come.

The unpredictability of the homemade pinhole cameras feels like grappling with the raw science - the basic physical fact that light passing through a small aperture forms an upside-down colour image which may be captured if you place a light-sensitive surface behind that aperture. It may be tamed by lenses and view-finders but there's none of that with a pinhole camera...

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The mystery of the pinhole

Kew Tree Pinhole

I made myself a pinhole camera back in the autumn and the results have been amazing me ever since. The pictures produced are nothing like conventional photographs - the focus is soft to the point of being vague, there's no viewfinder so there's no question of composing pictures and exposure is a matter of rough guesswork. The body leaks light which puts odd streaks and clouding on the images. Some would argue that the camera should go straight in the bin and 20 years I'd have agreed with them.

However, I'm older and a bit wiser now and I see the imperfections of the homemade camera as a source of intrigue and excitement... The results are impressionistic and atmospheric - something I would not be able to capture with a digital camera, even with manual focus.

The picture above was taken in Kew Gardens - I simply propped the camera on top of my bag at the foot of the tree trunk and guessed the exposure... The result was spooky and dramatic. The image below shows Tower Bridge on a beautiful April day that felt more like June. It's great to capture an iconic landmark in an atmospheric, off-beat way.

Tower Bridge Pinhole

Pinhole cameras are great - everyone should try using one.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Something egg-stroadinary...

Something egg-stroadinary..., originally uploaded by Wulfus.

Easter Sunday calls for something creative - the modelling dough from the pound shop paid off here...

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Return to the Bluebell Wood #1

Return to the Bluebell Wood #1, originally uploaded by Wulfus.

I've been trying to capture bluebells for about three years now... they never seem to get any easier...

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Warhol's daffodils...

Daffodil frames

I added a new dimension to The Great Panoramic Mask Experiment by cutting out the yellow daffodil head and pasting onto a second layer to preserve the colour. Then I altered the colour of each background. In the past I just tinted each whole frame...

Sunday, 13 March 2011

An adventure in pop art on the pier...

Brighton Pier Frames

The weather played a very nasty trick on a day trip to Brighton. The sun shone for the whole journey down on the train and for the walk down from the station to the seafront. As soon as we got to the sea the clouds covered the sun and that was it for the rest of the day...

It wasn't particularly good photo weather after that - I'm beginning to despair of ever getting a good sunny day ever again - but I did get the longest set of frames for a composite picture which appears above. I decided to put in different colour tints to make up for the lack of sky. It's come together pretty well and my Flickr friends are enjoying it...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Ten great books

Today I feel like making a list... ten great books, although not necessarily in order of greatness, plus links to their Amazon pages should you wish to look further...

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

This is one of my all-time favourite novels. I particularly admire the way the narrative swings from "Big picture" glimpses of dust storms, people being turned off the land, roadside diners and migrant camps to the "detailed picture" and the story of the Joad family and their struggle to survive. Some critics say the ending is unsatisfactory and I'm inclined to agree that it does leave a lot of loose ends. However, after the journey the reader has followed it is quite a relief to reach the last page.

Harper Perennial Modern Classics - Best of Myles writings by Flann O'Brien.

Brilliant extracts from columns written for the Irish Times under the nom de plume of Myles na gCopaleen. Includes a brilliant description of a book handling service for rich people who want to have well-thumbed books on show to give the impression that they are cultured but lack the intelligence to read them...

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Penguin Modern Classics) by Carson McCullers.

Play the Piano Drunk Like an Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit poems by Charles Bukowski.

The Complete Poems (Classics) by Ben Jonson.

A Handful of Dust (Penguin Modern Classics) by Evelyn Waugh.

Selected Poems by Bertolt Brecht.

Ubu Roi (Dover Thrift Editions) by Alfred Jarry

Collected Poems (Penguin Modern Classics Poetry) by Patrick Kavanagh.

Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters by John L Waters.

Well that's ten and already I've thought of the first of many glaring omissions...

Whatever happened to The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger?

More will be thought of... maybe that's another blog post...