Saturday, 26 December 2009

Gathering Storm

Gathering Storm
Originally uploaded by Ben Mottram

This is what happens when you expose for the bright bits of a picture - you get underexposure elsewhere. In this instance it doesn't bother me - the cloud over Weymouth (right hand side of the picture) really was dark and the slight underexposure emphasises the menace. Shame about the stern of the tanker on the left of the picture though -perhaps I should crop it off then again I don't like doing that because the picture is the picture not something I have messed with.

Fingers Of God

Fingers Of God
Originally uploaded by Ben Mottram

This is one of two pictures I want to waffle about from today's little trip to Ringstead. The weather, as mentioned on Flickr was Turneresque - lots of sky features and interesting interactions with the light and sea. The sun is, of course, over exposed, yet that is how it looks in many turner paintings (where there is sun). I suspect I should have set the shutter speed a bit lower to try to blur the water a little - I must get the camera off aperture priority once in a while - and for that matter get the 50mm off the front of the body as well.

Boxing day Walk

Well today we went for a walk on the beach. It was a lovely autumnal afternoon with intense sun slotted between heavy rain showers. Typically it wasn't cold and we had a good time with Dan & Harriet.

On to the pictures - well I will blog in a bit about the ones on Flickr, however here is one that I didn't Flikr but will post here. Dan and Daughters.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Finally - it is done. The green panel is quite uneven, however without the sun behind it I think it will be OK. The final intention is to hang the flag from the tent, although a pole may be in order - fresh cut each camp would be best, I guess, to save having to carry one around. I will leave it until tomorrow before thinking about fixing it - the patches where the yellow goes over the pencil need thought - if I fix the dye will it also fix the pencil? who knows... I guess I will find out

Well here we are 2/3 done, just got the green to do next. The red is much more striking in real life than on the photo. The silk does relax somewhat when wet, so next time I think I will be stretching it tighter. The other issue I have is that an even colour is impossible to achieve without airbrushing the design - there is just too much space around to keep the ink even. Perhaps an airbrush is the next thing to get, though it will be even less authentic.

Start with the light and work to the dark. I picked that up along the way somewhere, so yellow it is. Portcullis en Or where Or is yellow that is not too red or orange but fits with the artists palette. My eyes were playing silly tricks after painting this - ghost yellow portcullis shapes floating in front of my vison. The anti-dispersant works extremely well. I am so glad, because that means I won't be messing about with guta; I have a congenital shake so straight lines or even straightish lines are virtually impossible.

Anti-Dispersant II

Well here is the anti-dispersant having been painted in a thin(ish) band over every junction of colour on the map. It is quite sticky but even so seems to go in to the cloth well. I just hope it performs for real as well as it did in the test.

Flag Painting

This is the flag template, with the new portcullis taped to it. It just fits in the bathroom. I found earlier that I have made some mistakes when making the frame. Perhaps I should see Dan and see if we can Merso something more useful.

Here the silk is stretched over the frame, and lowered over the template for tracing. All edges where two colours meet need tracing in pencil. Hopefully it will wash out after ironing however I don't know. This is very much a Mk 1 flag and may not be good enough for use.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


Well, well, well. This picture, again nothing to do with my dSLR, shows the difference between silk treated with anti dispersant and plain silk. Can you guess which is which?

I put one drop of yellow paint on the silk on the left and one drop of anti-dispersant on the material on the right; the anti-dispersant I smeared out and made sure that the stuff was worked into the fabric - it didn't flow itself. The paint on the left cloth wicked out from the point of impact.

Once the anti-dispersant dried I dripped a single drop of paint onto the treated cloth. The dye just stayed in one place. I touched the bubble of paint with the other cloth - it wicked out immediately and made the second spot. It also spread the ink further on the treated cloth, however it still did not wick. Looks like I am on to a winner there. I will paint a strip of anti-dispersant along each line on the flag design, leaving the dye to wick across the vast open expanses of shimmering silk.

The progress of the flag is stalled as I reworked the portcullis but failed to measure it so the new pattern is too small. I cannot print out a new one at the correct size until friday so, medieval flag fans, you will have to wait for further progress till then.

Monday, 20 April 2009

And now for something completely different

And now for something completely different
Originally uploaded by Ben Mottram

This is a filtered scan of a MF (6x6) picture I took as part of this thread on the Talk Photography BBS.

The picture was taken in early December last year, shortly after the pic in my photostream of the sun through a rock on Portland - here.

The camera in question was a Twin Lens Reflex made by Lubitel. Kev M from the TP forum describes it thus "Be warned, this is a mass produced russian camera dating from somewhere between 1955 and 1982. Don't get hung up on the focus, there are no garuntees with this thing. Think Holga and you'll be somewhere in the right area."

Personally I loved it. I took the time to read up about exposure - you know that thing the dSLR takes care of for you (and mostly gets almost right) - I found some universal exposure tables on the interweb which I used instead of a light meter and the result, after developing and scanning by another Talk Photography member, is the picture you now see. Not bad for guess work and hand held camera on slippery rocks.

I hear the siren call of MF or even LF photography but, similar to Odysseus, I am tied to the mast of all things digital for the moment... who knows what the future will bring.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Not my dSLR

Well here is a departure for me. A post not about the dSLR at all, rather the new medieval project. My Burgundian tent is looking rather bare without decoration, so I am making semi authentic Tudor flag. Here is a photo of the pattern and the stretching frame. The silk is ready - almost, I haven't washed it yet - for stretching however I have no drawing pins (yet). The next stage is to trace the places where the colour meets in bleed resist so that one colour doesn't overrun the other and then paint away. There are only three colours, so it shouldn't be too tricky.

Monday, 16 February 2009


Originally uploaded by Ben Mottram

I never thought I would say this, but I can now see why one may have use for a ND Grad filter!

The white sea here is not white because it was choppy, in fact quite the reverse, but because it is over exposed. With an ND Grad I could have exposed the rocks correctly and also the sea, retaining detail and reducing the glare. I suppose I could have used a circular polariser as well/instead because that is good for -1EV or there abouts.

So new shopping list! I will go for Cokin P-System filters owing to the price/performance issue I need the following:-

2 adapter rings, one 52mm for the nifty and one 58mm for both the telephoto and the kit 18-55mm
1 P system Filter holder
1 ND Grad 4 - good for a couple of stops of exposure.

The trouble with using this arrangement is that the slower shutter speed will increase the water blur, which in turn will prevent one from seeing the spiky effect as the water crashes (!) over the rocks.

Another suggestion has been that I take an equivalent picture but in landscape orientation. next time I get over to Kimmeridge I will try that as well - after all I have a tripod and I am not really afraid to use it!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Machine Elbow

Machine Elbow
Originally uploaded by Ben Mottram

At long last I have found some more machinery to photograph. This is a fork loader, used by Wessex Water or their contractors whilst repairing what I guess is a sewerage pumping station at Osmington mills.

I love machines - I think too much watching Koyaanisqatsi, under the influence of certain substances, in my youth is responsible; though thinking back to age 3 or 4 I remember dragging my mother round Salisbury looking for "workems" and their associated machines.

The colours are good and strong - Auto Levels just emphasises the shininess which wasn't my impression of the image when I took it so yet again I post a picture with no post processing.

I should perhaps have made the silver coloured bolt head the focus of the picture, however hind sight is a wonderful thing and I like the picture as it stands.