The Hunstanton Blues

© Dave Whenham
A drone image – sunrise over Old Hunstanton

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. 

Hunstanton Minimalist
Hunstanton minimalist – my usual seaside fare

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

Hazy – great for strolling, not so great for a travelogue

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?

Hunstanton Beach 180 (Mavic Pro)

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!

Droning on – the vlog

One of my main photographic interests is creating audio visual sequences, AV for short. In this second vlog I ponder the current progress of an upcoming AV entitled Droning On which is built around a sequence of still drone photographs. I currently have a very incomplete narration written and wondered if putting the sequence into a vlog and recording my thoughts as I watched it would help.

In the event it did, but not in the way I envisaged. I’d set about the vlog thinking that it would free up the creative juices and I’d be able to come up with the additional three or four minutes worth of narrative I needed. In the even I decided to reduce the amount of narration to just an opening sequence, comprising most of what I’d already written and also a one or two sentence close.

It’s worth pointing out that the AV sequence is not complete; the sequence of images is how I intend it but the fades and timings will change when I settle on an accompanying musical track. The one used is YouTube friendly whereas the final version will likely use a piece allowed by my IAC licence but not necessarily allowable on YouTube.

Audo Visuals – an update

A quick reminder of some of the audio-visual slideshows I have produced over the last couple of years


#11 The Dark Art

A chance to see some of my black and white photography and hear of my influences. Audio-visual sequence created in Pictures to Exe on an iMac running Parallels.


#10 Autumn 2018

It’s been an unusually wind-free autumn up here this year and so, in the very week that the colour started to wane, I put together this celebration of Autumn 2018

Autumn 2018 (AV) from Dave Whenham on Vimeo.


#9 I want to go back.

A work in progress, produced using Pictures to Exe on a Mac running Parallels. I have uploaded this to go with a blog post and it will evolve as my skills in producing audio-visual sequences progress. All images and words including the poem “I want to go back” are my copyright. “Scottish Rhapsody” by Ronald Binge.


#8.  A little something I produced using mixed media for the Postal Photographic Club to promote their online circles.

“Fretless” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/


#7. Still working with Picture to Exe, this time trying out some more “advanced” techniques. For example with the two images where the boat merges into a previous image, which was also shot on the River Tay, I aligned the two images in Photoshop so that the boat appeared where I wanted it to. I’m also working with controlling the animation within each frame, particularly the time when items appear and then fade from the screen relative to others.

“The Forest and the Trees” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/


#6.  A brief look back at the first half of 2017 using a selection of square images.


#5.  Continuing to learn the basics of Pictures to Exe


#4.  My first look at the newly refurbished Piece Hall in Halifax. Shot on a Fuji X-T100 and slideshow created in Pictures to Exe Essentials v.9.0.11 on a Mac running Parallels.


#3.  I purchased PTE last year but haven’t used it owing to an extremely slow Windows laptop (I run an iMac for my desktop machine). However having now installed Parallels on the Mac, upgraded PTE to the latest version and bought some tutorials I am now getting to grips with this amazingly powerful program. This is the 3rd attempt, again using stock images from my files.

Music: Procession of the King, Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b…. and A Quiet Place licensed from beckhamdigital.com.au


#2.  I purchased PTE last year but haven’t used it owing to an extremely slow Windows laptop (I run an iMac for my desktop machine). However having now installed Parallels on the Mac, upgraded PTE to the latest version and bought some tutorials I am now getting to grips with this amazingly powerful program.

Music licensed from http://www.beckhamdigital.com.au


#1.  I purchased PTE last year but haven’t used it owing to an extremely slow Windows laptop (I run an iMac for my desktop machine). However at a loose end today I installed Parallels on the Mac, upgraded PTE to the latest version, bought Barry Beckham’s starter videos and have produced a very simple AV to get me started.

Music licensed from http://www.beckhamdigital.com.au

Autumn 2018 (AV)

The season of mellow fruitfulness I’ve heard it said – from Keats I think it was

But too often the onset of autumnal colour has brought with it wind and rain denying the weekend photographer and stripping trees and hedgerows overnight of this beautiful seasonal delight, robbing us all of the splendour of this jewel amongst the seasons.

“Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned”

(Longfellow before you think I’ve gone highbrow)

But 2018 was a little different up here and whilst muted compared to recent years the colours have at least lingered and provided a welcome visual feast

I want to go back …

I thought I’d share a work in progress. My plan is to revisit and amend this video in a couple of months time when I’ve had a chance to implement feedback on another PTE AV that I created recently.

Of course, as a work in progress it has many rough edges although I plan to maintain the length at 3 minutes and limit the images to 36.  I have a vague idea about 36 frames on a roll of 35mm film but it is very vague!

To conform or not to conform?

Hospital (again) this morning, routine blood tests so no stress just the inconvenience of arriving at 7.30am to be tenth in the queue, which is a lot better than turning up any later. They work hard at Calderdale Royal Infirmary that’s for sure. But you’ve not tuned in for a medical report!

I recently joined a dedicated audio visual group in order to expand my skills and most importantly get some impartial feedback. I have to submit a sequence (yup, already got the lingo) during March and I finished the first draft of one last week.  I said finished but added the caveat draft you notice; good practice is to leave the finished sequence for a day or two then watch it twice a day for a few days. Right, I thought, that’s a waste of time but I will try it.

© Dave Whenham
Light and dark – I don’t always conform.

Not to beat about the bush, I was wrong. On the first two viewings I tweaked a couple of things. After the third viewing I started to get annoyed at how a few of the slides didn’t quite dissolve into each other neatly. I spent half an hour sorting that out. After the fourth viewing I took all the music out and replaced it with new choices. Yesterday I watched it for the fifth time and completely scrapped the opening section and rebuilt it from scratch. An hours work for a newbie. © Dave Whenham

I’ve now watched it back eight times, making small changes until on the eighth viewing I finally decided there was nothing more I’d tweak.  At least not until I view it again I suspect.

 

 

But for now, PHEW!

There is a sting in the tail though. Reading some AV guidance notes from one of the larger UK clubs I’m now wondering if what I’ve done fundamentally breaks all the norms. I shall have to speak to my group leader for a view.  I’m happy to break the rules, but as it will be my first submission to the group I don’t want to upset the apple cart just yet. That can wait until I’m more settled in the group.

I’ve done a lot of reading and online searching this last week, eagerly absorbing any morsel of information that I can. Dedicated AV guidance is sparse. There is quite a bit available on using Pictures to Exe, the most popular software for the AV worker, either commercially or via YouTube. But general guidance is a lot harder to come by it seems. True, a lot of the skills needed are not specific to AV, but I’d expected to find something other than a few general, very high-level notes on AV Club websites. If anyone can point me in the direction of a book I’d be very appreciative!

I’m sure that there will be more words from me on this subject as the year goes on.

Watch this space!!