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Three years ago I wrote a journal entry about how I'm using dA again and then promptly disappeared due to work, the upheaval of moving to a new city, and other things. I also stopped photographing for a while.

I've recently started making pictures again, but I'm focusing on Flickr these days. If you want to see what I'm doing, my Flickr stream is the place to be. It would be lovely to see you there. I may drop in on dA now and again, but don't count on it.

Love and kisses,

Life has calmed down. After the last month of upheaval things are finally starting to settle down. Turns out I got my degree after all, I have found somewhere to live, and the new job is coming along nicely. It's been a bit of a baptism of fire as it's part of an entirely new department that's supporting existing systems (so there's no go-to guy when you have questions) but I am on top of it.

So, yeah. Now I'm exploring London, and trying to find out things like where the good bookstores and wholefood shops are, as well as fit in things like galleries and museums and gigs and socialising. My social circle is currently being twisted into something new as I make new friends and see existing ones in London.

Finally, I have a cold at the moment. My stomach feels like I've swallowed a hedgehog. Urgh.
Oh my word, life is busy.

I have now finished my degree and have been failing to find a house in London. I got a job, you see, so I will soon be a yuppie. My negative scanner died and I decided to get myself a 350D instead of a replacement. So I'm now shooting digital as well as film. I consider it an addition rather than a replacement.

That's about it for news, really. Degree finished, house hunting, packing, moving out, buying clothes for work, working, etc. etc. etc. It may only be a couple of lines but it's sucking up all of my time.

Oh, and I was fortunate enough to win the black and white competition in the justportraits community. Thank you very much!

It should be easy to get access to a studio in a University, surely? It's all about expanding your abilities, trying new things, and providing good equipment? No.

  1. Badger SU 3 or 4 more times until you get confirmations for all your requested dates. Grin.
  2. Build flash adaptor after consultation with electronics engineering housemate. Test it. Go back to lab and fix it. Test it again. Go back to lab and fix it again. Test it again. Become baffled. Consult with other electronics types and discover that the chip used is designed to prevent you doing what you want it to do, and furthermore that what looks like a simple problem isn't.
  3. Buy a second-hand flash gun for your camera to slave the studio flashes off, and wish you hadn't wasted 3 days and £10 on your electronics endeavours.
  4. The night before the first shoot, go and visit the friend who offered to help you move equipment several weeks previously. On arriving at his house, discover he wrote off his car the night before.
  5. On both Monday and Wednesday's scheduled shoots, discover that reception has no record at all of any of your bookings. Get pleasantly surprised when they let you in anyway, even if the woman with the keys manages to jam the door shut for an hour so you don't get in until an hour and a half after you planned.
  6. On Monday evening, get contacted by the model scheduled for Wednesday to be told she's pulling out. Panic slightly as although you have expected her to drop out you haven't found anyone on standby yet.
  7. Breathe a huge sigh of relief as after all that, everything works mostly as planned.

Yes, it has had its hiccups, but I managed to get the 3 scheduled shoots in. They all had their problems - not being able to get into the room for the first one, me exposing 400 ISO film at 100 ISO for the second, and no heating for the last. Images from these should start to trickle online - there's one here already, which amply demonstrates the lack of heating. My to-be-developed bag is back up to post-Australia levels (and I still have a long way to go with scanning those, although I have just finished scanning the slides - WOO!) so expect less shooting and more printing/posting from me over the coming months, I guess.

So you've been pondering some studio photography for a while, and discover that the darkroom holds two flash heads. You decide that you're going to try it out. How do you go about it?

  1. Ask a friend who is coming to visit if they'd mind modelling. They say they'd love to.
  2. Ask photographic society if you can use flash heads. They say yes, but point out that only one of the heads works and the other smokes.
  3. Talk to SU about booking a room. Discover that it's the College masters who book out rooms. Go and talk to college master. Find out they're not in. Come back next day. Talk to master. Find out that drama controls those rooms. Go and talk to drama. Find out that they won't let anyone who isn't a drama student in them.
  4. Test flash heads. Find out they don't smoke and both work but one is missing a modelling light.
  5. Aquire modelling light. Fit light to head. Discover that there are no PC adaptor sockets on my camera and there are no hot shoe adaptors in the darkroom.
  6. Spend £6 on hotshoe -> PC adaptor. Spend £15 on PC -> 5mm jack cable. Find a spare £15 cable in the darkroom after all. Curse.
  7. Go and talk to other college masters about a different room. Find out that timetabling controls them outside of term time. Go and talk to timetabling. Get told that conferencing controls them outside of term time. Go and talk to conferencing. Find out that yes, they do control them, but I will have to pay unless I book them through the SU.
  8. Discover online that Canon cameras have iffy trigger voltages. Read lots until you understand most of the problem. Ask a friend for help to build an adaptor that lets you get from high voltages to the lower required voltages. Rediscover that said friend is incapable of giving any useful advice, and is merely arrogant and clueless. Get told that what you think is wrong.
  9. Go over to darkroom with a multimeter. Round up random stranger as safety net in case one gets electrocuted. Test flash heads to find out trigger voltages. Do not get electrocuted.
  10. Talk to more useful friend. Discover what you want to do is very easy. Go to electronics lab with camera and adaptors and spend a couple of hours with a multimeter, PSU, and oscilloscope. Build suitable converter and save around £30.
  11. Talk to SU. Get them to enquire about the rooms.

That's where we currently are. Still to be ascertained is if I've got the rooms, finish off the converter, and figure out how to get heavy bulky things from point A to point B easily.

This is proving harder than I expected.
University trundles on but I try not to let it suck up too much of my time. Can't let life get in the way of my photography, can I?

So, what's been happening? I went off to Belgium for a few days earlier this week and took 180 images - I've still got loads of Australia images to develop, scan, and/or post so don't hold your breath for these. More fun at customs over the film:

Customs: This machine is safe for films up to 1000 ISO.
Me: I've got some 3200 ISO films in here, as well as expensive pro-grade slide film.
Customs: It'll be fine.

Customs: We simply don't have time to hand-check this film.
Me: There's one person in the queue behind me, there are six of you... [recounts] eight of you, and an hour until the train departs.
Customs: Erm.

I got my film hand-searched (I didn't have that much) and the officer who did it apologised for the front-gate man with "He's a bit old."

I've still got lots of ideas, as soon as I can find the time to do them. I want to try some studio work as soon as I can book the room (I've got 2 flash heads and a softbox to play with) as well as some other low-light stuff. I also did a nice autumn-themed shoot a while ago that I think produced some good images, but I can't post those for the time being for a variety of reasons. I'm hoping to get some more images up over the next week or so for you all to enjoy.

In my last journal I mentioned the minilab in town - I think I described them as fantastic. Well, it turns out they're possibly the suckiest lab it's ever been my displeasure to encounter. Check out this slide. That's a lot of scratching, but I'm mainly bothered about the crop on the right. Note the frame border and 3-4mm of the neighbouring image, because someone can't work a guillotine. There's a lot of scratched slides and several with cropping like this, and as you can see it's not like I can easily reshoot them. I complained and they told me it was my camera's fault. I explained why it wasn't, they agreed it was their fault, then politely told me they were not going to do a single thing about their error. I'm in two minds about complaining to the head office, or standing outside with examples one afternoon loudly proclaiming how much they suck to potential custom.

I also went to the fireworks devMeet on the 5th - it was nice to see blackice, cyberyt, soraneko, and picnic amongst others. It was less of a devmeet and more of a devloiter, but it was still fairly enjoyable. Thanks to :devversion3point1: for letting me try out her flash, too - if I were less of a gentleman I'd make a joke about young women flashing me or something.

Much love to rocksicle for the new avatar, too. You now get no more of my ugly mug staring out at you and get some pixelart goodness. Enjoy.
J'ai retourné.

So, I'm back from Australia. I've been back for less than a week, which is insane - this time last week I was in Adelaide, and still had a couple of days left. Actually, this exact time last week I was sitting in the living room of the place I was staying watching Quantum Leap. It's a beautiful country, and the facilities there are amazing. Everyone's very friendly, public transport is good, and the weather is lovely. Definitely worth a visit, and it would be a good place to live too.

I have taken an obscene amount of photos - well over 1,000. 17 colour films, 19 B&W. If I get them all developed and scanned by Christmas, I think I'll consider it good going. Fortunately, I seem to have found a fantastic minilab in town who actually know what they're doing - they develop E6 on the premises and can push process colour film, plus they gave me a great deal on my developing.

I'm now back in Canterbury at University, which is nice. The weather here is still good, and apart from the people who keep looking in at me in my dressing gown through my window I'm enjoying it. I'm itching to do some more photography - while I was in Australia I didn't do any featuring people, which is kind of my stock in trade. I've missed it and am brimming with creative ideas. Hopefully I can slot in some shoots while maintaining a fun life and a degree too.

So yeah, I'm back.
In 16 days, I am off to Australia. However, things are going to be manic between then and now so I thought I might as well do the whole goodbye thing now. I'm getting back early September but things are going to be manic then too, so don't expect me back online until October. I might be back before then, but don't count on it. To be honest I feel a little guilty running away for the UK's best months - I do like the summer a lot, and I'm missing out on it this year.

I've shot a lot of film over the past month or so, and I haven't had time to process it. So that's going to wait until I get back, I guess. A little in North Wales, an afternoon shoot of opportunity with Tattered Alice, some long exposures of the moon and my town, some macro shots of an insect I found in my salad (!), and probably other stuff besides. I've also written a program to solve sudoku puzzles, with some nifty bits to render the puzzles as a graphic.

That's about it for now. Have a good summer. Goodbye.
  • Reading: The Negative by Ansel Adams
First up, I should thank blackice for my subscription. He was kind enough to buy me a 3 month sub - in return, I highly recommend that you heap him with sexual favours. It would be rude not to.

I'm off to Australia in the summer. If any .au deviants want to offer me a place to crash or recommend places to go, now's the time to get in touch. Please do.

I've finally got a negative scanner, and have been getting to grips with my new camera. I like both, although the negative scanner has started making odd noises. It still seems to be working though, which is the main thing. I've also ordered a couple of lenses and filters which should show up tonight - very exciting.

I've shot a fair bit of film over the past week, having met up with the delightful eblade and the lovely-but-slightly-odd foalface. Around 5 rolls in all - I've developed three of them so far, and scanned one of them. I should get to the others some time this weekend.

That's it for now.

I've recently started photographing as a hobby to try and get some of what's on the inside, out. It's a nice medium for those with no ability to draw. Over the past 6 months I've been exploring a variety of genres and styles, and now have a better idea of what I want to do.

Up until now I've been shooting with a point-and-shoot digital camera and a fully manual SLR. These have helped teach me a lot as I've had to work hard in my attempt to get the image I wanted. I've recently got a Canon SLR that's a bit more up to date and I should be getting a negative scanner soon, both of which should help the quality of my pictures.

I've also started to develop my own film, something I really enjoy. At the moment my main drive is to try and implement some of the ideas I've got written down, but I'm lacking the resources (time, places, light, and models) to do so. I'm working on it. If you think you can help (if you're willing to model, in particular) get in touch.

I've signed up to dA in an attempt to improve my photography and interact with others. It took a long time for me to do so, because I don't consider myself 1) a deviant or 2) an artist, but I finally buckled. Here I am.