With my dad in Soho, London. He talks a lot, and manages not to be boring. Rare, I like that. Another thing I like is that if I have my camera he doesn’t mind me taking a picture. And another. …and another. This is also rare. I photographed him in some winter sun, near the corner of Greek Street and Bateman St. The low afternoon sun was glorious, and a reflection from a window picked him out against the background.
My best of the year so far.
I regularly come back to this thought: Do I have the courage to get a T-shirt printed with “I want to take your photo” and stand in a place like that all afternoon gathering any willing people, no charge – just for fun? Not yet.
London people are often very reserved. They can treat you like you’ve popped out of a spaceship just for making eye contact. But this is a good area at this time of year for a mix of really interesting people, for light and for capture. …Maybe one day I will get that T-shirt.
I recently posted one of my latest life drawings. It occurred to me some time ago (as I use Adobe Illustrator at work,) to add colour form and shape into the drawings and see what happened. Well, this is what happened:
I use a Wacom intuos tablet at work – they’re great tools, essentially they’re a mouse but also work like a pen, pencil or paintbrush. As well as tracking across the screen responding to pen pressure that can be used in many ways (like making the line you draw thicker the harder you press). at home I have an old one – a graphire 4. It no longer works with my operating system osX El Capitan. so I have done this one using the track pad on my laptop – which has taken much, much longer.
Wacom products are great, but they’re expensive. Looking into it I have seen this on Amazon: Huion H610 Pro Graphics Drawing Pen Tablet, there are MUCH cheaper and have great reviews.If anyone of you guys out there has any experience of using one I’d love to hear from you.
I captured this photo of my friends son Billy on the bus, we were on our way to see the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. While he was daydreaming out of the window of the newer Routemaster buses in London’s Regent Street. It was taken on my phone – but it was such a nice shot with his reflection in the window I had to make do with what I had.
For the record we thought Star Wars was great. I have seen some mixed reviews for it – particularly people criticising the movie for being a ‘remake’. I think this is a bit unfair. First of all its stripped back and is a simple story – much like Star Wars, the effects are great – it has heart and is beautifully produced. Secondly It delivered what Star Wars needs to deliver. Its a certain type of movie and it hits the mark, if you’ve seen any of the previous movies it meets expectations. Well thats my opinion and i’m sticking to it! (Billy liked it too – well, apart from the twist on the bridge – but no spoilers!)
These were taken at my friends wedding, I have been interested in this technique lately, it creates an emotional warmth, and is really easy to do in the evening, or winter and spring months when the sun is out and hangs low in the sky. And while I’m not yet in a position to totally control the results its beginning to work.
Essentially, with the sun in front of you, spot meter your subjects face. If the sun is directly behind the subject, (as in the header image), you get that hazy result, and in the image below I placed the subject in the shadow of the tree, with the sun slightly to the right to give them more definition.
Needs some more work – but i’ll find a willing London victim and post some more here when I do.
The word ‘harvest’ has come up again in my blog, since the raccoon post, as it’s that time of year. The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, is known as a huge produce area, people will come down from as far away as Vancouver (400km) for the weekend to break for the weekend, and in addition to activities or just hanging out they’ll pick up huge bags of fruit and vegetables on their way home.
On our way to Osoyoos we passed through Karemeos, also in the Okanagan valley. I was astounded at the amount and variety of squashes and pumpkins, apples, aubergines and other fruit and vegetables there were for sale directly to the public, a huge farmers market.
I love the fact people are so obviously dedicated to this as a way of living, despite the fact these are growers who supply across the province (if not country) there were varieties of apples, onions, courgettes and aubergines I have never seen before. I also admired the spirit of the grower markets; the fact that the stalls were bigger than mini-supermarkets at home in London, the range of creative displays and handpainted signs created a sense of community.
Vancouver has great coffee, and great coffee shops (such as my favourite ‘Our Town‘ in Mount Pleasant – where this photo appeared on ‘Road to Wherever’ last year). Soup bowls full of rich coffee are served to customers, like myself, who sometimes over-indulge.
So I was in Our Town, with a sketchbook trying to get into the flow of drawing. It wasn’t forthcoming, when a couple sat directly behind me. While listening to their conversation, which may have been over-caffinated, I began draw. Their exchange was a little peculiar, I honestly have no idea if it was a first date, breaking up or perhaps they were rehearsing a play. I also couldn’t really hear what he was saying – men talking at a lower frequency in a crowded place are hard to hear (sadly), but she was a bit fierce and really articulate – my favourite line of hers was “Don’t be pretentious, it brings me out in a rash” she then challenged him on his heterosexuality (twice) and they left together for dinner… quite happily it seemed.
I’m often amazed at other peoples’ conversations. London’s listing magazine, Time Out, has a section called word on the street – pieces of overheard conversations which are often quite funny / weird / ridiculous – if you like that kind of thing do have a look.
I think this particular conversation had a direct influence on my drawing!
Passing Spotted Lake on the way to Osoyoos, I had heard it was unusual; a mineral rich alkali lake and a sacred First Nation site. Waters that been used for healing. On the first pass through, the sun had already gone down, the light was unkind – offering only a little definition, the lake also had one viewpoint from the highway, which was a shame, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to enter the site, beyond the gate, seeing as it was sacred.
Visiting a couple of days later everything had transformed, it was obvious the spots on the lake were mineral rich and ‘lakes within the lake’, if you see what I mean. The low sun picked everything up, and it was worth capturing, even with the lens flare as it appears above. After a dry summer most of the water in the lake had evaporated leaving the moon like surface you see here. In addition the gate was open, I could see figures on the lake setting something (that looked) scientific up. Although this didn’t grant me access, it did offer a sense of scale, looking at the figures on the lake I realised it was actually huge.
And there he was, in Stanley Park, sitting at the top of a tree, gorging himself on berries as if on the stroke of midnight they’d never exist again. Like he was an extra in one of those japanese paintings with blossom trees, charming, beautiful, greedy and totally uninterested in us watching below.
I booked a trip to Canada – where I am writing from now. Looking for the most reasonable air-fare, the runaway winner was Icelandair, who run seasonal flights ending in October, If theres a transfer in Rejkyavik they offer a free stopover of up to seven nights. I have a good friend who sadly is about to return to Australia – but wanted to see as much of Europe as she could, so – and off I went with companion in tow.
I didn’t really book enough time (2 days) to go and see a lot and we spent a lot of time in Reykjavik before driving out to the area southwest of the country around Hafnarfjordur.
I’m drawn to this kind of place, I enjoy the bleakness, (for proof see my last post on Dungeness), it also has a rich otherworldly or alien quality and feels rich and mysterious.
We were heading towards the famous Blue Lagoon, for a late afternoon dip in the thermal waters and the weather was miserable. I posted on Facebook that it made the west coast of Ireland look like Barbados, I was only half joking. The afternoon before the Blue Lagoon consisted of parking, going for a long walk, getting soaked in seconds, returning to the car and hiding in a cave.
The Blue Lagoon is amazing, I didn’t take a camera or even a phone, I had made that time to hang out and relax, there’s something about taking photos that can get in the way of experince sometimes. Ironically it was the only time the sun came out that day (briefly), when we were in the water and it didn’t matter.
Having said all this, i think i need to be clear, I loved every minute of it. I have eight hours on my way back – If i can wriggle out of the airport I’ll go back and find something else to shoot.