So, I am sat in Costa having a brew … what better opportunity to process the few snaps I’ve just taken with my phone on that venerable institution that is Snapseed. As you can see I was playing with shapes and lines rather than candid photography.
Original image taken with a Fuji Instax SQ6 instant camera. This was scanned, with white borders intact using an Epson flatbed scanner into my Mac computer. I applied a texture to the white borders within Photoshop and voila! A meeting of technologies.
The image itself now I look at the print on my desk shows that composing to avoid the sky on bright days like today would be sensible to avoid that white stripe. Unless I try holding a graduated ND filter ….
A few images shot on my Fuji X100T but then transferred over to my smartphone for a quick edit using the Snapseed app. The wife was in the open air market under a blazing sun and I was sat in the shade of a pub terrace with a lemonade and my phone 🙂
Back in February Amanda and I booked a few days in a B&B in “Sunny Hunny, the Hunstanton of the title. It was to be our third visit in twelve months and on each of the others we’d been treated to fabulous weather; sunshine, bright blue skies with lovely white fluffy clouds. Perfect for an audiovisual extolling the delights of this seaside town. I’ve not attempted a travelogue style AV previously so now was a good time. We were booked to go in the third week of March so I had several weeks in which to plan and prepare.
The elegant resort of Hunstanton is the ideal base to enjoy Norfolk’s superb coastline. Hunstanton, or ‘Hunston’ as it is known locally, is renowned for its unique striped cliffs and magnificent sunsets, made special by its position as the only west-facing resort on the East coast.
Thus starts the script that I started writing in early March. I also started a basic shot list and felt that having both would inform my shooting whilst away. It was a family holiday and not a photographic trip so I’d have to fit the photography around the vacation. Not that I saw that as a problem, the types of images I wanted were more suited to the daytime and I didn’t think that black and white long exposures, my usual fare at the seaside, were really suited to a travelogue.
So how did it go? Well, given that it’s August and no AV has yet been forthcoming that might give you a clue. I have however started to rewrite the script:
The sun is out, the sky is blue, there’s not a cloud to spoil the view but it’s BORING
Yup, harsh, bright sun in a blue, tending to white, sky with not a cloud in sight. For three days. With no let up. Not once. I shot some images of course, but bland skies were not part of the original idea. I needed a rethink.
Ironically, I’d written in my diary the day before we arrived: “… I could also produce a VLOG, behind the scenes as it were, talking about shooting for the edit and being adaptable…” Prophetic words indeed and in the event it was May before I returned to the subject of Sunny Hunny, writing on 1st May: “my Sunny Hunny AV needs rethinking owing to the hazy weather. Perhaps ‘Hunstanton Blues’?” The real lesson from March was that I shouldn’t approach a project with too fixed an idea. I did try to adapt but for some reason I really struggled to do so, I shot relatively few images and no video at all despite the idea of a behind the scenes VLOG. Which was odd as adaptability, particularly to the vagaries of the British weather, has always been a key part of my photography in the past. Perhaps it was because AV and VLOGs are all still very new to me and I’m having to work hard on the basics?
So, apart from the few images I’ve shared here my Sunny Hunny trip remains hidden on my computer. I think however, that I do still have enough usable images for a shorter AV, say 3-4 minutes rather than the 6-7 minutes I’d originally planned. The original idea was for a travelogue style AV and I think that is still the way to go but with a shorter sequence and so I shall have to rewrite the narration to fit and drop some of the subjects I’d planned talking about. The other option would be to write it as a photographic cautionary tale although that rather limits the audience. But that’s not stopped me before and two of my previous AVs, Square Shooter and The Dark Art both fared well in front of more general audiences this year.
Purpose-built as a seaside resort in 1846, Hunstanton retains its Victorian charm to this day. We’ve visited several times over the last few years and whilst the summer crowds tend to be smaller now than in the 1980s the promenade area has always been busy. However, strolling north or south along the promenade the crowds quickly thin and we can enjoy a pleasant walk.The script re-write has begun …
Watch this space!
We took a trip out to the Wetland and Wildfowl Trust at Martin Mere during the school holidays with Ted. I’d have liked the opportunity to spend an hour or so in various hides just watching the birds, chilling and taking a few photographs. That isn’t an option with a hyper four year old however.
Walking and snapping wasn’t that easy carrying in my right hand a 100-400mm lens on the Fuji, a picnic in a rucksack on my back, the camera bag over one shoulder, the bag for the Fuji on the other and Teds belongings in my left hand. Try steadying the equivalent of a 620+mm lens with two bags hanging off the arm that you are using to steady the lens!
So, rather than bemoan my fate I made the best of the day, set a fast shutter speed and concentrated on what was achievable within the limitations of my packhorse status. I came away with a pleasing set of images but more importantly Ted had a great day.
I popped a few images from the day onto Flickr in the album: WWT https://www.flickr.com/photos/fatherpie/albums/72157710485019366/with/48599384831/
Six different instant cameras showcased here.
- Fuji Instax SQ6
- Polaroid 635
- Lomography Instant
- Fuji Instax Wide 300
- Fuji Instax Wide 210
This sunflower has been a useful subject whilst testing my instant cameras during Instant August. I found the close-up lens for the Instax Wide 210 this morning (it had become buried under the detritus on my desk) so despite the sunflower being way, way past it’s best it was the obvious subject. Especially with a blue sky against which to frame it.
By way of comparison, this was taken at the same time but with a Polaroid 635 camera.
Original prints copied using iPhone
The image surface of the Instax Mini film is 46x62mm – which means that most of us using a desktop machine will be viewing the scan above at considerably more than the prints physical size.
The whole point of Instax Mini though is not photographic-perfection but that is that it is fun. It’s not a serious photographic tool, but meant to be something that captures the moment. Pixel peepers need not apply! This was the very first shot from a secondhand Instax Mini 70 camera and despite its flaws captures a spontaneous moment in a way that couldn’t or indeed wouldn’t be captured by the nearest camera at the time – my Fuji XT3 which has a 100-400 lens permanently fitted.
Horses for courses.
As this was the very first image we captured I was not aware of the light leak, something I associate with Lomography or Polaroid but until now not with Fuji Instax. I found that I could cure the problem by using the case which came with the camera (which is for a Mini 8 but that’s another story). I think I’ve isolated the point at which light is leaking in so it’s either some black gaffer tape or the neat brown, semi-fitted case.
Photography is fun, we all lose our mojo at times, what better way to regain it!
All of the Grandsons respond well to these instant cameras. Put a smartphone or a DSLR in front of Ted and he pouts and poses. Pick up an instant camera and he is natural and relaxed.
Instax Wide 300