Wex Monday: Week 16

© Katherine Broadbent 
 
I was really blown away by the light at Holkham this week so my entry had t be from this set.
 
 
Winner this week are over on the Wex Blog. Third place was a dreamy still life by Matthew Laviers, the pastel tones in this image really caught my eye.

Friday Adventures: 17th April 2015 Holkham Beach

Sorry I have been quiet of late.
 
I’ve been unwell which has resulted in me having the odd day off work and having every of my normal days off not taking photographs.
 
Despite still suffering vertigo I decided to go out anyway. Or else I would have contracted a secondary infection of Cabin Fever.
 
I parked up at Holkham along Lady Ann’s Drive and after purchasing a cheeky ice cream started off along the Costal Path. The path snakes through fields and trees eventually, after nigh on 2 miles, end up at the beach area bordering between Wells and Holkham.
 
To get to the beach there is a staircase up the embankment.
 
© Katherine Broadbent
 
And then the view from the top blew me away.
 
© Katherine Broadbent
 
The way the light chased across the sand had me awestruck for a length of time I could no longer comprehend.
 
Holkham for me is heaven on earth. I’d be hard pressed to choose between Holkham and Machu Picchu as the location have my ashes scattered when I die.
 
Sorry, that statement may seem strange. 
I’m not planning on kicking the bucket anytime soon!
These two places give me a feeling that I could stay there forever and ‘just be’. It’s a special connection that you get with a landscape and it plays a large role in how you interact and capture that scene, the spirit of that place.
 
So maybe I’ll be scattered half and half.
 
The experience of being in a place, of walking through that landscape, the time spent connecting and being mindful with your surroundings are just as important, to me, as the photographs.
 
 
© Katherine Broadbent
 
Here is an opportunity to see the before and after of my open skies project. This image is my edited version of the colour capture above.
The light when I think about it, must look odd in this edit. I’ve removed the clouds! This is intentional to fit the ascetic of my Open Skies project. In which I want to convey a certain sense of a disjointed reality. Things are not quite right, not as you would expect and not how science and logic teaches us it should be.
 
© Katherine Broadbent
 

Open Skies is about my ongoing battle with mental illness and my quest for wellness.
I feel disconnected from people and the world at times.
At times I feel very far away.
I feel that I am on the outside looking into a world in which I do not conform to or belong in.
Through my photographs I hope to remake that connection with people through a visual explanation of feelings and sensations that I often don’t have words for.

 

 
 

Review: Lomography LC-A+

Today I finally got two rolls of film that had been through the Lomo LC-A+ (that I got for Christmas) developed.

I was going to do a bit of editing but the store didn’t scan TIFFs as I requested, they gave me JPEGS ….72dpi… (ALWAYS THE SAME). So here is my selection in it’s unedited glory.

Lomo Chrome Purple 100-400 (this film and the LCA+ are available at Lomography Store in both 35mm and 120):

© Katherine Broadbent
 © Katherine Broadbent
© Katherine Broadbent
© Katherine Broadbent
© Katherine Broadbent
Expired Fujicolour 200
© Katherine Broadbent

© Katherine Broadbent

© Katherine Broadbent
So I am hard pressed to decide what I enjoyed most about shooting these rolls. I love how easy the double exposure feature is with the LC-A+. But the effect of the Lomo Chrome Purple is sensational! I’m also a bit enamoured by the grain on the Fujichrome! I am really looking forward to shooting the next roll I have. Also excited when my turquoise edition is shipped!
With the LC-A+, metering is done by half pressing the shutter. One red light means you’re all good. Two means your pictures will end up either under or over exposed. Now every shot I took; I had one red light. But as you’ll see from this selection some did still come out exposed incorrectly. This might have been due to the batteries going down. Or maybe just how far away I was in low light! Since the LC-A+ let’s you set your ISO, you can always try pushing the ISO up to compensate for the low light.
In any case, happy accidents. I like the gothic feel. And I will be scanning in the negatives to see what I can do to compensate for the exposure.
The LC-A+ is a really great camera to have in your bag for some analogue adventures.
Pros:
  • Double exposures are a breeze.
  • Compact, light and robust. Perfect for having with you all the time.
  • Focusing is straightforward.
  • Manually select your ISO. Great for when you have ISO variable film (eg Lomo Chrome!)
Cons:
  • Metering can be a little off at times.
  • Can’t focus close up. 0.4m is the closest you can get.
  • Vignette a little inconsistent.

Sunday Outing: Sea Palling 15th February 2015

Today we ventured out to the cost. While there was no rain the weather was infinitely gloomy. So trusty tripod and filters in hand I experimented with long exposures.

© Katherine Broadbent
This is the shot I am happy with out of the 12 I took. Did a bit of editing to get it looking presentable. I’m still finding me feet so I don’t think I will enter any long exposure into Wex Mondays until I get a bit better at the whole process. Any tips from my readers would be gratefully received.
I also snapped a shot with my iPhone.
© Katherine Broadbent
Edited on Snapseed. I have briefly tried the new Darkroom by Bergen app but I did miss the selective editing tool I’m accustomed to in Snapseed. I will be having more of a play Darkroom over the next few weeks and plan a review.

Review: David Lynch: The Factory Photographs

June last year I came across an advert for Prestel Publishing. Who have quickly become one of my favorite publishers.

The first book that caught my eye was David Lynch The Factory Photographs. My first thought was ‘David Lynch does photographs?!’ But on reflection, it’s not that odd for a cinematographer, especially such an auteur* to also be a photographer.

* A term used in film theory. The French word for ‘author’. Used in reference to a film maker who’s personal artistic vision is portrayed throughout their body of work.



The book collects images taken between between 1986 – 2000 across Europe and America. Interestingly England only providing a handful of opportunities to shoot. Lynch explains how the decline in industrial factories in England meant that a lot of the vacant sites have been demolished and/or rebuilt. I would imagine this is owing to the limited space we have in England, all workable space is precious with our ever expanding society and need to preserve Green Belt areas. I suppose in larger countries and states in Europe and America, respectively, have space that they can allow to ‘go to seed’ for longer periods. Creating some beautiful derelict and abandoned places. Perhaps it might also have something to land owning and procuring laws.

The book opens with a portrait (taken by Nicky Bonne) and quote from Lynch:

“I just like going into strange worlds. A lot more happens when you open yourself up to the work and let yourself react to it. Every work “talks” to you, and if you listen to it, it will take you to places you never dreamed of.” Gilroy-Hirtz, P.“David Lynch: The Factory Photographs Germany: Prestel, 2014. 


I suppose this is fitting owing to Lynch himself, as an artist and public figure, being the main selling point for the book. Opposed to the notoriety of the work, however brilliant, itself. The quote also prepares us as readers/viewers on how to contextualize what we are about to see. 

Following this is a short interview between Petra Gilroy-Hirtz and Lynch which further familiarizes us with the world we are about to enter. Lynch remembers some photos were taken just after his film, The Elephant Man. This dates some shots in the collection back to the nineteen eighties. We also learn the subject matter of Lynches great fascination is owing to the great beauty and abstract forms he found in these abandoned places. This certainly comes through in the images. Lynch succeeds in capturing the individual personality of each factory. Personality that is, Lynch laments, lacking in modern factories.

After a longer piece detailing an overview Lynch’s career and further exploring his fascination with industrial scenes. Finally a collection of quotes from Lynch. The title “Reading David Lynch” directs us to take note and bear these in mind when looking over the work.

For me all this introduction material was fascinating. It really helped me to understand the meaning of abstract photography. I was also able to contextualize modern photography in terms of photographic history. Gilroy-Hirtz draws parallels between Lynch’s work and that of the New Objectivity movement in the nineteen twenties. Even those who have studied photography academically, or otherwise, will find something of interest. 

The Text

Written by curator Gilroy-Hitz is compelling and well presented. Making the reading experience enjoyable.

The Book 

The one thing I love about (and makes me willing to invest in) photography books is that they are often beautiful objects. The Factory Photographs is just that. The cover is a soft textured linen. The 160 prints are spread across good quality paper in a matte finish. It’s a medium sized book measuring 30.4 x 26.7 x 2.6 cm.   

The Photographs 

The collection is arranged loosely into untitled sections. My description would be External, Internal, Windows and the final section moving toward abstract landscapes.

A common thread through out the series is Lynch’s use of high contrast black and white. This is commonly used in abstract photography, creating flatter images breaking 3D objects down into 2D shapes. As color film was readily available at the time it’s worth noting that this was a conscious choice by Lynch to create a certain mood in the project. One he has made in some of his films(IMDB: David Lynch) as well.

Through out the book we certainly get a sense of Lynch’s fascination with industrial spaces by variety of shots included. Delving deeper we find the photographs were taken over a period of 14 years. Further showing how much time Lynch has dedicated to the study of his subject. 

David Lynch: The Factory Photographs is available from The Photographer’s Gallery & Amazon.co.uk and is published by Prestel

This publication coincided with an exhibition of the work. I was gutted to have missed this as it was held in London at The Photographer’s Gallery 17th January – 30 March 2014. 

I have since visited The Photographer’s Gallery and it is a fantastic exhibition space spread over three floors. There’s also a cracking photography bookshop (shop online here) in the basement. They also, if you have the budget, sell a selection of prints from selected photographers (available online here). Along with a large selection of books and magazines the shop also sells refurbished Polaroids by The Impossible Project and Lomography products. 

Wex Mondays: Week 2

So week 2 of Wex Monday and here is my entry:

© Katherine Broadbent
This is an intentionally abstract shot. I liked the subject it because it looks like old wrinkled skin, maybe an elephant?
I took this at Wells-Next-The-Sea. As the town is liable to flooding there are a lot of sea defences. If you’re not familiar to the area you have to walk alongside a long tidal channel to get to the beach. While walking down I spotted what I thought was some thick gloopy mud where the dinghies are tied up. Turned out to be concrete poured over the rocks to stop erosion.
I took a few shots experimenting with framing and different sections. I thought this one was the most intriguing because the central shape looks like it could be a shoulder or other joint. I used high contrast to add to the abstract nature and also to convey the texture. As I mentioned I initially thought it was mud but was so surprised to touch solid concrete! I wanted to get the juxtaposition between the soft fold and the hard material.
I didn’t place this week, there’s a lot of good photographers involved! You can see the current leader board and this weeks winners the Wex Blog. I particularly liked the second place image, by Greg Whitton (last weeks winner)  a minimalist landscape. The winning shot by Chris Grimmer was sensational! A beautiful nebula shot, I love anything to do with space and stars at the moment!

Dreams of Burgh Castle

Today, being the last day we have off before the New Year, we were determined to go out somewhere for an adventure. Having, ashamedly,woken up at 10.30am -we decided to visit the Roman Fort at Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth. It’s been considered a few times before and was the only place we had considered the day before.

I found a couple of subjects that peaked my interest, but nothing that I got excited about.

© Katherine Broadbent
© Katherine Broadbent
Overall we were a little disappointed. Photographically speaking it’s a beautiful place but not very photogenic. Even Nick, who shoots Landscape felt the are was lacking good focal points for composition. Burgh Castle is a lovely place for a walk, especially if you have a dog. Added bonus of free parking and easy access to the site. Just don’t hold out too much hope for an interesting composition. I did however happen to have my Cokin Dreams 2 Filter in my bag! As I’d not previously had a chance to give it a go I thought this might be the prefect opportunity.

The Dreams filter has an arrangement of small circular lenses on it’s surface. This means the object/s within frame is/are duplicated and appear as a halo. Creating some soft in camera distortion.

Two unedited images to compare – showing the effect created.

To the left without any filter.
To the right with the Cokin Dreams 2 filter.

I can see it’s going to take a bit of practice to get this just right.

I already learnt you don’t want to go much about F11 or else the lenses on the surface of the filter can be picked up in
focus!

So after the initial experiment I put in a little more thought and effort (as well as some editing)!

 © Katherine Broadbent

 
I increased the contrast and dodged the highlights on the fluffy seeds. I wanted them to look as if they were glowing, adding to the dreamlike quality of the shot.

I’m going to experiment further, and have a good think about different situations this filter would suit. If you have any suggestion feel free to leave a comment.

For those not familiar with the Cokin Systems they comprise of three elements: the filter, the filter holder and the adaptor ring. This system means as long as you buy the relevant adaptor ring, you can fit the filter onto any of your lenses. They have a variety of systems; A, P (which I use), Z-Pro & X-Pro. Basically each system covers different ranges of lens diameters. There are other systems out there but as I am not a serious landscape photographer(i.e lenses are not what I would class an essential part of my kit) I didn’t want to spend the kind of money you would on, for example, LEE filters. At the end of the day Cokin met my needs within my budget. I the Cokin P System, it relatively easy to use, filter systems can be a little fiddly but as far as I can tell that’s in their nature.

You can read more about Cokin’s systems here and purchase from many different photographic retailers. I got mine from Wex Photographic. At the time Wex were running a promotion where they gave away a free filter holder with each filter purchased. I’ve found this quite useful as I’ve got three lenses that I use with filters. Having a filter holder for each saves time but is in no way essential.