New week, new project, new resident

It’s been an exciting week.

It started with a lovely couple of days at Swinton Park, a beautiful hotel near Masham in North Yorkshire. Whilst we were there, Mrs G read an interview in a “homes and gardens”-type magasine with a guy who was in the midst of his third or fourth year of a 365 photography project. It may have been feeling rested after a night away, inspired by the beautiful surroundings, or perhaps still enlivened by the wine from the night before, but I decided that I should finally undertake a 365 project, and kicked it off that day.

Today is day three:

Autumnal Feeling (003 / 365)

Over the first three days I’ve realised how much more I’m going to have to think, and how much that’s going to benefit me, so looking forward to seeing how things progress over the next few months. However, as we’re moving towards darker days, perhaps some lighting kit may be in order, we shall see. It will be interesting to see how many times over I can shoot, process and post a 365 image on film.

One of the highlights of our visit was sampling Swinton Hall’s resident cocktail expert’s Espresso Martini. Whilst I’m a big fan of the more standard Martini, and had already enjoyed a pre-dinner Bloody Mary, this was a new experience but one that took little persuasion. Rightly so, as it was absolutely delicious, so much so that either we’ll have to return soon or more practically find a recipe.

Espresso Martini

An hour or so after we returned from the Dales, we happily added a baby Syrian hamster to our household and named her Portia. She has only been with us just over a day, yet has made it quite clear that she knows her own mind, and as her home is in my office I can hear her rustling around in her nest as I type. I’m very much looking forward to Portia’s first appearance in the 365 project.

The return to work today is the first of a particularly busy series of days, involving go lives and client visits. It will be interesting to see what photographic opportunities can be unearthed once the real work has been done.

Happy photography!

Work invasion

Over a week since my last post, and one that has been dominated by my return to work after a week’s holiday. The resulting compression of two week’s work into 5 business days, with a further day to come tomorrow, has left little room for photographic endeavor.

However, before returning to work my imagination was refreshed enough to come up with a new photographic project covering the subjects that I am most interested in: people. The project, “A year of visitors”, will catalog the visitors to our home for a year, starting from 2014-09-14. Whilst it’s disappointing that I didn’t come up with the idea the previous weekend, as we had a number of visitors throughout the week, I was pleased that our visitors on Sunday, relatives from Texas, USA, were the first to be awkwardly photographed. I’m looking forward to being able to judge my improvement over the coming year, even if this does mean that we’ll have to try and be more sociable!

The joy (aka anguish) of film

A sunny Wednesday afternoon, half way into our week off work. What better time to develop a roll of Tri-X 400? That was what I thought, especially having used this blog post to work out how to more efficiently use my Kaiser film leader retriever.

Film, spiral, developing tank into the light bag. Film wound straight onto spiral, the hair drier having done the trick before spiral went into the bag. Much satisfaction and looking forward to seeing the images, until I realised that I’d made an error with the easiest, but most crucial element, and had reassembled the tank incorrectly. The result? One totally exposed roll of Tri-X 400, and one unhappy photographer. Also an unhappy wifey, who’d been looking forward to seeing the shots from Rotherham Fair that I took on Sunday, particularly of the hamster show.

The only positive I can take is yet another lesson learnt, and a mistake to ensure that isn’t repeated. Sadly these are rather stacking up.

Yesterday’s visit to York is still in the camera on a roll of HP5+, so intending to shoot the remainder of the film tomorrow and develop that on Friday, hopefully with more satisfying results.

Monday evening brought dinner with my old photography teacher, and some experimentation with the Canon kit. Not sure that I have ever had so many photographs taken of myself, so it’ll be interesting to drop the images into Lightroom and check out some professional, if not entirely sober, portraits.

Time to fire off the remaining HP5+ and load in another roll of Tri-X, not sure that the first roll was really a good way to evaluate it.

Happy snapping!

Sunny Friday afternoon

The second of my weekly posts follows a mixed photographic weekend. On the plus side, more frames of film were exposed (Ilford HP5+ pushed to ISO800) and then developed. Unfortunately, I think that the development attempt was made significantly more tricky by the spirals being very slightly damp, and the emulsion sticking as the film wound further into the spiral. Eventually it was loaded, but had to be split between two spirals after the sprockets became damaged. Pushing the second spiral into the light bag clearly caused some accidental exposure, as approximately 50% of the film was either completely exposed to white, or fogged.

It was disappointing, but part of the reason for doing this is to learn these lessons, and do as much as possible to ensure that if ever there’re critical frames of film being developed, I’ve honed the process to ensure these types of issues don’t occur.

Out of the shots that did make it out of the developing tank in reasonable shape, this is one of my favourites

Whilst I’ve not taken many shots this week so far, I’m hoping that some photographic opportunities over the weekend may arise to allow more developing practice. A roll of Tri-x 400 is now in the camera, so looking forward to comparing that to the HP5+ when it’s not been pushed.

Away from taking photographs, I’ve been reading “On Being a Photographer“, by Bill Jay and David Hurn. One of the best, probably the best, £3.82 I’ve ever spent on photography. I found it inspiring, although occasionally daunting, and the “q&a” format of the majority of the book flows very well. Highly recommended.

The weekend and coming week have plenty of opportunities for photography, so looking forward to relaying them next week. Have a photographically-fun weekend.