Monday, 31 May 2010

"Polaroid", Who Are You Kidding?

The once great Polaroid has surprisingly gone and sold out again, if you go onto their website you will be greeted with a much more "hip" welcome page featuring shots from there various commercial out of production instant films and in the middle an announcement of the release of the new Polaroid 300, doesn't really take an idiot to realize that its just a re-brand of the Fuji mini 7s and the film is just a re-brand of the Fuji Instax mini film. Yet they have nearly doubled the price of the film and the price of the camera, so you have to wonder what they are trying to achieve here? as the new owners of Polaroid have received very little respect from instant film lovers. Why would we pay more to see the brand on a Fuji camera? 

It is however some what satisfying if not frustrating to see Polaroid getting back in to the instant market, with stories flying about of Polaroid making a new camera for The Impossible Projects films I'm excited to see what might be coming soon! hopefully not another Fuji clone. 

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Happy Towel Day!

Today is towel day in celebration of the life and works of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy series (the trilogy of five) these have got to be my favorite books of all time. This blog is actually named after one of the stories in the book which to this day is still the funniest thing I have ever read

"Tell me the story," said Fenchurch firmly. "You arrived at the station."
"I was about twenty minutes early. I'd got the time of the train wrong. I suppose it is equally possible," he added after a moment's reflection, "that British Rail had got the time of the train wrong. Hadn't occurred to me before."
"Get on with it." Fenchurch laughed.
"So I bought a newspaper, to do the crossword, and went to the buffet to get a cup of coffee."
"You do the crossword?"
"Which one?"
"The Guardian usually."
"I think it tries to be too cute. I prefer The Times. Did you solve it?"
"The crossword in the Guardian."
"I haven't had a chance to look at it yet," said Arthur, "I'm still trying to buy the coffee."
"All right then. Buy the coffee."
"I'm buying it. I am also," said Arthur, "buying some biscuits."
"What sort?"
"Rich Tea."
"Good Choice."
"I like them. Laden with all these new possessions, I go and sit at a table. And don't ask me what the table was like because this was some time ago and I can't remember. It was probably round."
"All right."
"So let me give you the layout. Me sitting at the table. On my left, the newspaper. On my right, the cup of coffee. In the middle of the table, the packet of biscuits."
"I see it perfectly."
"What you don't see," said Arthur, "because I haven't mentioned him yet, is the guy sitting at the table already. He is sitting there opposite me."
"What's he look like?"
"Perfectly ordinary. Briefcase. Business suit. He didn't look," said Arthur, "as if he was about to do anything weird."
"Ah. I know the type. What did he do?"
"He did this. He leaned across the table, picked up the packet of biscuits, tore it open, took one out, and..."
"Ate it."
"He ate it."
Fenchurch looked at him in astonishment. "What on earth did you do?"
"Well, in the circumstances I did what any red-blooded Englishman would do. I was compelled," said Arthur, "to ignore it."
"What? Why?"
"Well, it's not the sort of thing you're trained for is it? I searched my soul, and discovered that there was nothing anywhere in my upbringing, experience or even primal instincts to tell me how to react to someone who has quite simply, calmly, sitting right there in front of me, stolen one of my biscuits."
"Well, you could..." Fenchurch thought about it. "I must say I'm not sure what I would have done either. So what happened?"
"I stared furiously at the crossword," said Arthur. "Couldn't do a single clue, took a sip of coffee, it was too hot to drink, so there was nothing for it. I braced myself. I took a biscuit, trying very hard not to notice," he added, "that the packet was already mysteriously open..."
"But you're fighting back, taking a tough line."
"After my fashion, yes. I ate a biscuit. I ate it very deliberately and visibly, so that he would have no doubt as to what it was I was doing. When I eat a biscuit," Arthur said, "it stays eaten."
"So what did he do?"
"Took another one. Honestly," insisted Arthur, "this is exactly what happened. He took another biscuit, he ate it. Clear as daylight. Certain as we are sitting on the ground."
Fenchurch stirred uncomfortably.
"And the problem was," said Arthur, "that having not said anything the first time, it was somehow even more difficult to broach the subject a second time around. What do you say? "Excuse me...I couldn't help noticing, er..." Doesn't work. No, I ignored it with, if anything, even more vigor than previously."
"My man..."
"Stared at the crossword, again, still couldn't budge a bit of it, so showing some of the spirit that Henry V did on St. Crispin's Day..."
"I went into the breach again. I took," said Arthur, "another biscuit. And for an instant our eyes met."
"Like this?"
"Yes, well, no, not quite like that. But they met. Just for an instant. And we both looked away. But I am here to tell you," said Arthur, "that there was a little electricity in the air. There was a little tension building up over the table. At about this time."
"I can imagine."
"We went through the whole packet like this. Him, me, him, me..."
"The whole packet?"
"Well it was only eight biscuits but it seemed like a lifetime of biscuits we were getting through at this point. Gladiators could hardly have had a tougher time."
"Gladiators," said Fenchurch, "would have had to do it in the sun. More physically gruelling."
"There is that. So. When the empty packet was lying between us the man at last got up, having done his worst, and left. I heaved a sigh of relief, of course. As it happened, my train was announced a moment or two later, so I finished my coffee, stood up, picked up the newspaper, and underneath the newspaper..."
"Were my biscuits."
"What?" said Fenchurch. "What?"
"No!" She gasped and tossed herself back on the grass laughing.
She sat up again.
"You complete nitwit," she hooted, "you almost completely and utterly foolish person."

So if you are a fan carry a towel if not, read the book.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Its a Holga Summer

I've had a Holga 135BC for ages now but bought it in the winter and its just not a winter camera, but now in true English style its gone from being 8 degrees to 28 in the space of a day and bring on our 5 days of summer!

This is my Holga its the one that uses 35mm and has a special mask between the film and plastic lens to vignette the corners and give a lovely tunnelling effect thats what the BC stands for, Black corners. I love mine as its red and white and really stands out, I quite often get asked if it actually takes pictures. The camera itself is reasonably robust and is all plastic, with a 47mm lens at about f8 or f11 and I think the shutter is somewhere around 1/100

shot these on the nicest day we've had this year using some expired cheapo film, will be running a lot more rolls through my Holga this summer and I think with the shots I have seen so far it well and truly has earned its title of the "Poor mans L-CA" at only 25 pounds.

Monday, 10 May 2010

My new bald patch

I gave the technique of using burning wire wool and a slow shutter speed featured in the post below another try this evening and just thought I would add a quick update saying don't get too cocky if you try this like I did in the picture above! maybe practise a bit with swinging it around not lit. I managed to hit myself in the back of the head with a burning clump of steel and this is what happened, the worse thing isn't the stinging but the smell of burnt hair. saying all this though I do still love this technique and will be giving it many more attempts to capture something truly amazing. But maybe wearing a hat.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Wire Wool Fun

Ok so I did successfully scare the shit out of myself whilst trying this and I think I burnt some of my fringe off as well, but I'm not bothered the potential for some absolutely amazing photography with this is massive. The technique for this is simple enough you get some wire wool contained inside a chicken wire cage on the end of a damp piece of string and light the wire wool, you then franticly swing it around with your camera pointing at you on a slow shutter speed.

Both of these images were taken at night using my Nikon D60 at night with a 30 second shutter speed at f11. If you give this a go do take care as you will be amazed at how many sparks come flying off the wire wool! (I used a clump about the size of a tennis ball)

I found this on Flickr and quite a few people have done it before me, but haven't seen anything truly amazing, nor a brilliantly creative use of this so hopefully I will think of something good in the next week, any suggestions though please comment!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Turns out airbrushing isn't even that hard

I've never bothered to airbrush in photo shop before as I figured it was something I would eventually need to go on a course for and learn. but as with most things to do with photography you can learn it with a bit of nouse and the internet.

 - All you do is copy your background layer to make a new layer and call it airbrush or something like that, on your new layer apply a surface blur filter enough to smooth the skin, use the amount of details in the eyes to know when to stop (when the eye starts to loose touch with reality you have gone too far). Then blend your airbrush layer with the original background layer using the blend slider bar to choose how strong you want it to show through, when you get an effect your happy with create a new layer above your airbrush layer called texture and just change its blending mode to hard light then merge the two new layers with your background. Job Done.

I got these quite nice results when doing some shots for a friends nail business, not to bad I thought

guide I used is here

Monday, 3 May 2010

Poladroid: The Instant Digital Polaroid

Poladroid is a lovely bit of software that allows you to pop in any digital photo and it converts it into a Polaroid 600 format with a vignette, soft focus and some other lovely 600 film traits. when you click on the icon a Polaroid camera pops up on your desktop which you can then drag and drop in image onto, the famous Polaroid 600 noise then follows and the image slowly develops in front of you on your desktop. You can even only do batches of ten photos at a time!

these are three images from my Diana Mini made into Poladroids, works well with the Diana as the pictures are already square format and have an old school look.

The software is available free at

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Oh hello There Instax Mini

Whilst Fujifilm have not really filled the void that Polaroid has left in the world of instant film, The Instax mini film does bring back some of the fun and charm that Polaroid type 500 and 600/1200/SX-70 type cameras gave to millions. The prints are smaller than Polaroids equivalent film (Type 500) but can still give you the excitement and that nostalgic "memory capture" feeling that instant film can produce.

The film itself produces very fun sharp-ish images with surprisingly vivid colours even when using the flash.

I picked up one of the older model cameras on eBay for about £14 and a pack of 20 films for £9.99, its already starting to make sense isn't it? for instant film that is quite cheap, so you can take the little thing around with you and snap away at your friends or favourite gnome without having to break the bank on a pack of TIP 20 pound for 8 shots silver tone film. Whilst TIP might be saying their PX-600 and PX-100 film is for artistic purposes the average person just wants to get some great memorys of them and there mates so maybe fuji mini can keep you happy until TIP produces a more user friendly and afordable film.

P.S. I still do think what TIP did in a year is incredible and the new interest they and other groups have created for instant film is priceless