Autumn! (again)

I know, I know, I said I’d be back soon and that was in January but I’ve been busy, ok? Stop going on about it.

So this year I’ve moved house and got a new job and had a baby (yes I know that was last year but babies are pretty hard work alright?) so I’ve not had any time to write semi-coherent guff for this blog. However. I’ve been collating a few photos, all taken over the last year or so and all broadly autumnal feeling.

Here we go then. This was taken from my parents’ front garden, very early in the morning. The driver of that car just saw a short, dishevelled woman wearing pyjamas balancing a small cardboard box on a fence.

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The next two were taken in Fog Lane Park, just before we moved slightly too far away to go there regularly. The ducks will miss us.

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This was taken in Stenner Woods. Although you know, it’s some trees, could be anywhere.

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This tree. I like this tree. It’s kinda bendy and when I saw it I had to root around in my bag for my pinhole camera because even though I was in a hurry somewhere, I wanted to take a photo of it and remember where it was. It’s not a very good picture and I’d like to go back and take another one. I always carry around a pen and notebook for exactly this sort of reason which would be very sensible if I ever bothered to use it. This tree is somewhere in South Manchester. It’s in a park. (Fletcher Moss? Birchfields?) Erm. Yeah. That’s all I’ve got.

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Manchester Autumnal Skyline

There’s nothing my three year old loves more than riding up and down in lifts. It’s understandable. The doors shut, you press a button and when they re-open, you’re somewhere else. Anyway, this means I’ve spent some time recently at the top of various multi-storey carparks which is absolutely not as strange or dodgy as it sounds. The first was an accidental but fortunate double exposure from the top of the Arndale during a storm. The second is a picture of the cranes currently putting up the new graphene building (which, incidentally, is quite exciting). I’ve got lots more exciting things on the go, I’m currently being inspired by the spring-like weather in Manchester. Back soon!

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Jodrell Bank

We come here a lot and so should you. Last time, we took the newborn but I don’t think he’ll remember it. The three year old was pretty excited though and now has a good working knowledge of how black holes work (for a three year old). He also spent a while trying to figure out how to scale the fence so he could climb up the Lovell telescope but it’s pretty well protected from would-be tiny invaders.

Anyway here it is, looking all grainy and lovely.
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Holidays in the sun

Hello, I’m back! And once again, I have birthed a child and am facing a year of maternity leave and associated meanderings.

No one ever died from lack of sleep (allegedly) and therefore, despite my near-comatose state, I intend to make the most of my year off (And by year off I mean year of top notch parenting, obviously) and take a load of photos. I might start taking photos of my friends as and when I see them, people look awesome in pinhole photos when they’re trying really hard to stay completely still. Sort of like they’re melting a bit. I also have this idea that I’d like to make a giant portable pinhole camera, handcrafted from a big 1980s steel framed tent. The sort with plastic windows and orange and brown curtains. I also need to stock up on coffee for caffenol developing. And to stay awake.

In the mean time though, have a look at this (pretty terrible picture).

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It’s clearly not very good and it should look more like this fine example. But! It’s my proof of principle. This is a ~2 month exposure taken from my front window earlier this year, recording the Sun’s path across the sky. You can tell it’s Manchester because of the huge gaps in the sun trails. I’m going to do lots more of these, only hopefully much, much better. I’ve just missed the equinox, but if I get them set up nowish and expose for the next six months I should have something pretty. I’m also happy to send out a little widgety-flip to anyone who would like one to stick in a southish facing window for six months so just let me know! Incidentally, Justin Quinell is fabulous at this and I have this lovely Clifton suspension bridge print hanging on my wall from the Slow Light collection.

Right then. I’ll see you soon and remember, if you bump into me in the street or the pub and I ask to take your photo, you need to keep very, very still.

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Sorry, have you been here long?

Oh my poor neglected blog. Has it really been 6 months? Seems so. I’ve been busy though, sort of.
Anyway here I am in my new shiny WordPress home.

So. Rubbish weather we’ve been having, isn’t it? The trouble with pinholes is that they require light and plenty of it so the winter has been pretty uninspiring. I’ve barely taken a picture since my last update and as spring only seems to be happening an hour at a time, my massive list of potential pinhole-based things to make and do has been put on hold.

I’ve got to get my act together though, as this Sunday is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (Like you didn’t already know…) Details can be found at http://www.pinholeday.org if you fancy a go. In the meantime, here are a few pictures which have been languishing in a folder somewhere. Taken last year in Scotland at a beautiful rock pooly beach in Dumfries and Galloway. I think it was the last time I saw the sun.

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Bridges, Arches and Other Architecture.

Everyone loves a good bridge, don’t they. And this is a great bridge.

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The now disused, 20 arch, Big Water of Fleet Viaduct used to carry trains on the Stanraer to Castle Douglas line. It was opened in 1861 and was in service until 1965 when it failed to survive the Beeching cuts. It’s tricky to get to, requiring a drive along several miles of distinctly country roads and gravel tracks and a fair bit of sheep dodging but absolutely worth it.

The viaduct has sadly fallen into disrepair and the ground is littered with huge chunks of brickwork. Which may have made this picture inadvisable. It also scanned terribly with some weird artifacts down the side of the photo but I risked my life to take it, so it’s going up here anyway.

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On a similar but less crumbly note, here is the viaduct running between Manchester PIccadilly and Oxford Road stations, past the Palace Hotel, taken from Charles Street.

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And some other architectural bits and bobs and whatnots. A couple taken at Whitby Abbey during this year’s annual one week of decent weather. The sun scared away the vampires. And a couple taken in London during olympics week, the very busy London Eye (although you wouldn’t know it) and the temperate house in Kew Gardens.

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Forays into 4×5

It was my birthday in July, I was 29. Again. My present from lovely husband consisted of, in part, two 4″x5″ large format film backs. Now I know this doesn’t sound very exciting but when you live in my head this is pretty thrilling. When I tell you that he also bought me a 0.2mm hole in a brass shim, you will understand just how fantastic this birthday was. He’s a goodun.

I made a sort of…structure, out of cardboard, gaffer tape and fabric and stuck it on the front. A few disasters and a bit of optimisation later and off I tootled to take these two pictures.

First one is a David Nash sculpture at Kew Gardens. Second is the duck pond at the Isabella Plantation.

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Playhouse, Same as Ever

This is the Playhouse pub in Colchester where I have been drinking, with varying frequency, for over 15 years. Nothing has changed, not one single thing. How reassuring.

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How Not To Take Pinhole Photos (or… Caffenol Mark II)

I’ve been experimenting again. What could possibly go wrong? First, I made a new hole for the Brownie with the intention of getting a sharper image. I then took a meter or so of 35mm film and taped it inside the backing paper from an old roll of medium format. This meant that not only can I run 35mm film through the Brownie (with correct numbering on the back), I can also expose all the way to the edge including the bits around the sprocket holes. That’s right, I said sprocket holes.

So far so good. I then developed the exposed film in Caffenol. Tried and tested, right?

First, when I had unloaded the film I realised that the shutter mechanism had malfunctioned… It was staying open inbetween shots and therefore in a permanent state of leakage. Turned out this was from my tinkering with the new hole. So overexposed for a start. Then, my rather excessive 90 minute development in Caffenol made everything a tiny bit on the brown side. It also turns out that developing anything faster than ISO 400 in Caffenol is a bad idea as it doesn’t really work. As I was using super quick 3200 film I am left with an unpromising brown strip of film, with barely any trace of an image.

But, amazingly, I did manage to scrape a few images out of the fog and because of the level of brown staining, Photoshop thought they were colour negatives and had a go at colouring them in for me. I seem to have inadvertently toned my pictures. These are exactly as they came out of the scanner, no editing apart from a bit of cropping, so I cannot be held responsible for the not entirely accurate colours.

First picture was taken by the railway arches on Charles Street in Manchester, second and third from my spare bedroom window. If anyone can tell me what the fourth image is, then please let me know as I haven’t a clue.

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Incidentally, when I helpfully informed potatoshop that they were black and white negs, and it adjusted accordingly, the results weren’t nearly as interesting.

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Essex

Essex. It’s where I’m from. With a number of rather, erm, unflattering telly programs in recent years, it has a bit of a reputation and I find myself defending it often. It’s not all that bad really, in fact it’s quite nice. Well the nice bit is anyway. Specifically, I’m from the bit known as the Tendring Hundred which is at the top on the right. It’s practically Suffolk. I went back to visit recently.

These fields surround the house that I grew up in and the water tower was visible from my bedroom window for the first eighteen years of my life.wix2-psd-scaled500

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Later on I moved into a house just down the road from this lovely (if slightly broken) Augustinian priory in Colchester.

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On our most recent visit, we ventured out to Mersea Island just off the North Essex coast. It’s separated from the mainland by the Strood and is famous for its oysters. You can keep an eye on the various comings and goings at Stroodcam.com

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Hello, I’m Lisa and this is my increasingly sporadic pinhole blog
I like cameras. I especially like cameras that take film and don't have a lens. It's one less thing to worry about. I like Manchester too. It's ace. I sometimes take my pinhole cameras to places I am going to anyway and try not to look too suspicious while I take pictures. Mostly, these photos are just holiday snaps. But if you like them, please tell me!
Ooh look, it’s me, talking rubbish, on Twitter!

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