Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Skeleton Project - Week 01

So its a new year, of course. If you didn't know then... Surprise! If you did then... Happy New Year! Anyway, the new year marks the first week of my 52 week project. I am basing it on the skeleton I got (more info here), not necessarily because I think I will be able to come up with 52 interesting photos with it, but because I couldn't think of anything else lol.


Anyway, here it is! Week 01:




This photo was taken in a bush in my back garden, I used the last of my plumbers smoke bombs on this one... it really did smell horrid. Although that might imply I am a plumber, I am not lol.




There you go, week 1 done, only 51 left *nervous laugh*...




See you next week!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

The Chattri Shoot - Update

Hello everyone! Here are a few of the photos from my shoot a few weeks ago. :) The first was taken with my Bronica ETR-Si, and the others with the 5DMkII. Just a little selection, but we managed to get a ton of photos on the day.





And one of them got onto my Vogue.it PhotoVogue portfolio thing too!


Model, Marta Wolniak - @marta_wolniak
Make-up by Rebecca Rojas - www.rebeccarojas.com
Styling by Hugo Harris - @Hugo_Harris
Hair by Emma Hellier - www.emmahellier.com
Photography by... well me lol. - www.tomsimmonds.com
Dresses by - Renaissance Couture and Former Glory


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Yo-ho-ho-da!

Merry Christmas everyone!




Thanks to everyone who has commented, liked, added a favourite or just looked at my photos over the past year! Here are a couple of shots to get you in the mood for today. :D





The Yoda and the tree were days 23 and 24 in my Lego Star Wars calendar. :D

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Chattri Shoot

Today I had a fantastic shoot at a great albeit remote location! For several weeks I have been planning to shoot with Marta (a model who I have previously shot with) and it finally came together! Along with stylist Hugo Harris, make-up artist Rebecca Rojas and hairdresser Emma Hellier we drove out to the countryside and trekked up a huge hill through sheep, cows, thorns and 'mud' with a fortunes worth of dresses in tow. The shoot was for a bridal magazine and to showcase some Renaissance Couture designs as well as a bit of a portfolio update for everyone involved.


The location for the shoot was The Chattri, a First World War memorial to the Indian soldiers who sacrificed themselves during the fighting. As memorial sites go it is quite out of the way, we were wondering how people would easily get to it! ...it turns out you can't easily get to it lol.


Last night I did a sketch of what I was hoping the scene to look like, and it turned out about right, save the low quality of my drawing skills. :P





Here are some behind the scenes photos from the day! Can you tell we are half dead from cold?




Photo: Rebecca Rojas
Photo: Rebecca Rojas
Photo: Rebecca Rojas
Photo: Hugo Harris




And here is a preview of the shot I am editing first!




This was by far the biggest shoot I have done, in terms of people working on it. I couldn't have wished for a better bunch of people to work with! Thanks everyone! Off to my editing cave for a while now...


Model, Marta Wolniak - @marta_wolniak
Make-up by Rebecca Rojas - www.rebeccarojas.com
Styling by Hugo Harris - @Hugo_Harris
Hair by Emma Hellier - www.emmahellier.com
Photography by... well me lol. - www.tomsimmonds.com
Dresses by - Renaissance Couture and Former Glory

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Stop! Motion update!

Hoi!


So after spending a hefty chunk of hours putting together a bit of the first stopmotion I did I decided it wasn't very good lol. While I was taking the photos I knocked the tripod and everything was off about half way though and I don't think I took enough frames either so it looks a bit jerky.


Here is the first version, not properly edited but just good enough to show you what I mean about it being a bit rubbish hehe. there is no sound on it because I will be redoing it, but you can imagine. :P


video


I did another not bothering to go to bed thing the other night and started on a new version. I am most likely going to add more scenes to it but this is what I have so far. Filmed from the back of my camera, so you are watching a video filmed with a camera filming the back of a camera of photos taken with the camera that are to be turned into a video... :D


It is also going backwards and the scenes have no relation to each other lol, but a preview is a preview so who cares!


video


I think the chances of me following this project through the whole 52 weeks is getting more and more likely, I have spent too much time on it already and I haven't even done week 1 lol.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Fuzzy Felt!

The other week I met up with the lovely Katy for a little shoot. We were going to go to a few locations but after about 25 minutes it starting raining and we had to call it a day. However we still got some nice photos before the weather changed! 

Here are a couple of them!




This was also the first shoot I have had since getting my Bronica, still getting used to it but I hope I managed to get something, I haven't been able to get it developed yet though so I will have to wait and see! Looking forward to using it again in future shoots though, fingers crossed! :D

We had to take shelter in the Pavilion Museum after the beach which turned out well, we got to make up a poem from magnet words and a picture from fuzzy felt! So overall not the must successful shoot number of photos wise, but the most successful fuzzy felt wise!



I love to play with my magic monkey friend because he whispers and glows as we ride father every night in the garden pretending that a girl went home by fast a (should be a fast haha) birdy.

I wonder of how it has read mother like she always though you are not happy or good together.

The little boy talked all big but was more different at music.


Take from that what you will... probably a reason to get us sectioned lol.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Skeleton Project

The other day I acquired a new chum in the form of a 2 foot tall skeleton... see, we are best friends!



I had it sitting around for a few days before I could think of anything useful photographically to do with it, then after staying up for about thirty hours and enjoying a coffee or two I was a wash with inspiration (you can judge for yourself whether it is good or bad hehe). 

I have never done a long running project before such as a 52 week or the 365 day challenges. I have always thought they seemed like a great way to keep a photographer on their toes, unfortunately I am far too lazy to go out and about for nature shots or whatever and finding a model to shoot every day or every week would be quite impractical. 

With this in mind I have decided to use this skeleton as the subject for my 52 week project. I don't know what it should be called, I suppose I will know by the end. However for now it will be 'The Skeleton Project'... hmm, yes that will do. :D

I actually took quite a few weeks worth of photos today so I know I will at least get a bit into the project before giving up, not that I am planning to give up but you know how it is lol.

Here is a bit of a preview of what the project might be like. I will most likely start it in the next few weeks, maybe new year.



I also made a stop motion film featuring the wonderful talents of the skeleton today, it's just a bit of fun but that will most likely be around before I properly start the project. So make sure to keep and eye here or on my Facebook and Flickr for updates and such.

Here are a couple of the behind the scenes (although not much scene) of the stop motion too. :)





Thanks for reading!

Monday, 14 November 2011

What's in the bag?

Quite a hefty number of blog posts ago I did a little show and tell sort of thing about the cameras I had collected up to that point (parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here. As it is now, my collection hasn't grown too much. Most notable additions were the Canon 5D Mark II and the Bronica ETRsi. If you don't get bored of reading this however you will see them in a moment!

Back in July I took a photo to finish up the roll of film that was in my camera. I had recently seen a few of these What is in your bag type things and though that was as good a use of the last shot as anything else. I uploaded it to Flickr and after a couple of weeks it somehow managed to get almost 4500 views, which is over 4000 views more than any other photo lol. Here it is if you were wondering.



Anyway I though I would have a go at doing another one, but this time focusing on the equipment I take on photoshoots instead of the old crap I carry around every day. No one asks questions like "What sort of equipment do you use?" But if they did this would answer it lol...

Ok so I will start with the bag itself. It has a bit of a grim history actually. Many years ago, before I was even born my fathers friend inherited the bag and it's original camera (a Nikon F) from a guy who hung himself... cheerful eh? Anyway my father eventually bought it off of his friend and it became the family camera for many years, capturing every event from Birthdays to Christmas and holidays to lazy Sundays in the garden.




Unfortunately while the camera was being stored our house leaked and most of the equipment was ruined, however the bag survived and how been on almost every photoshoot I have done. 




I am not one for badges most of the time but I make an exception for these two!

In the front pocket I store usually store my Canon AE-1 Program along with the Kodak strap in the style of a roll of film.




The pocket at the back is where I keep and a Zeiss IKOPHOT light meter for use with the Bronica and a small stash of business cards just in case!




As I open the bag you see two pockets on the flap, here is where I store spare filters, adapters, memory cards and spare rolls of 35mm and 120 film.




In the main part of the bag I managed to fit in quite an impressive selection of equipment considering the size of the bag. Bloody heavy though! The most important being the lovely body of the Canon 5D Mk II along with a 50mm f/1.8. The second body is the Bronica ETRSi along with it's 75mm f2.8, 35mm and 120 film backs, prism and waist level finders as well as a speed grip. There is also just enough room for the 50mm 1.8 that fits on the Canon AE-1 Program.






So that's a look at the equipment I use, thanks for reading if you did!


Be sure to have a look at the following links for more.. stuff!


Website
Flickr
Facebook
Twitter

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Bloody blimey! My first paid job.

So this was a couple of months back now but I am crap at doing a blog so I am writing about it now hehe.

I had my first ever paid job back in September, it wasn't a huge deal project wise or anything but it was great to actually be paid for doing what I normally do for free.

It was also my first ever shoot totally shot indoors with a simple backdrop. I had to convert a small area of my parents living room into a studio and I had to use the chimney breast as a background. Luckily for me they 1, like white walls and 2, weren't home to get in the way lol.

Here is a little shot of the crummy set up I had.



You might notice in these photos I had my flashes there and my reflector all ready to go, but my wireless trigger decided to break, as well as my 2nd wireless trigger haha. So I just ended up using the huge window and all the lovely battery free natural light instead. That was probably for the best too!

As for how I managed to get the job, my mum's friends son needed some headshots done as he is embarking on an acting career. Proof that it is who you know even for the most basic of jobs. Here are a couple of the photos we got in the end.




The chap in question is called Ben, look him up in 20 years time, hopefully he will be an Oscar winner and I can retire on one of the out-take photos hehe.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Analogue and Digital

Firstly, I am by no means a professional photographer; in fact I have quite limited amount of experience compared to most people in the field. However I do have a huge (and I hate to say the word) passion (sorry) for photography and in some ways I think that matters more. You can oppose that opinion after you read the waffle I am about to spew.

I of course see the benefits of digital photography, only a fool would write it off as a medium and to stick only to analogue processes. Having a memory card smaller than a 35mm roll of film that can take hundreds of photos is clearly one of the most compelling arguments for digital. Not only that but the quality is fantastic and editing the photos is clean, simple and extremely enjoyable as well as artistically liberating with such programs as Photoshop or Lightroom.

However I still love analogue and I think it is extremely important that it is supported, especially by large photography suppliers. Seeing shops like Boots only having about 20 rolls of film on one dusty  shelf in some forgotten corner is really disappointing, but thank John Herschel they still offer developing services... even if they are a bit rubbish at it. All I can recommend is that you support companies like ‘The Impossible Project’ (http://the-impossible-project.com/) who recently look over after the cessation of Polaroid’s instant film production.

I must admit that I haven’t spent time in a darkroom since I was at college (several years ago now) and I really do miss it, being so involved in the creation of each photo is such a joy and although with digital you are still involved (more so if you take into consideration post processing) actually using your hands to do what your digital camera would be doing in milliseconds is an irreplaceable experience that all photographers should go through, and it is a set of skills that should be preserved.

The main reason I don’t want to see analogue photography lose any more ground is that almost every photograph taken with film; be it 35mm, 120, instant or whatever it just seems to have more meaning. Perhaps it is the fact that with an analogue photo you have something tangible. Something you can touch, a memory of a moment that you can physically hold onto. But it is more than that; a print of a digital photo should draw out the same emotions and connections as a negative or Polaroid, but to me it doesn’t and I am sure others feel the same.

For some reason dust, dirt, scratches, grain, light leaks, odd focus and unintended exposure all add to the character of an analogue photo. However if these traits were applied to a digital photo it wouldn’t have the same effect, and in most cases you would do your best to remove these ‘flaws’ in your post process.

Digital has its place, in my opinion it is brilliant and it is only getting better, convenience and quality are why it has taken over. Whether you are shooting a magazine editorial or a wedding, getting perfect images can only be a good thing. I am not saying perfection can’t be achieved with analogue, quite the opposite in fact, the character and emotion that comes with it can’t properly be replaced by new technologies.

The digital camera is probably shooting the analogue one with a flash gun... get it? Har har har.

As a side note I am also all for word processors but I still use a typewriter on occasion and I never go anywhere without my fountain pen. I use digital because it is fantastic but as long as I can use analogue as well I will.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

New camera!

I didn't even bother doing one of these about my 5D.. even though that was amazing to get, the camera I got in the post yesterday trumps it because film cameras are better and medium format cameras are doubly better! :D I took the photos of this new camera with the 5D though so it is still getting used hehe.

I woke up on Friday to the sound of the postman at the door. Ironically my Dad, who is also a post man answered the door to retrieve the package... they probably knew each other actually. Anyway I went downstairs heaved the huge box back to my room and thus begat a Christmas style unpacking!

The box was filled with screwed up bits of what I presume was a Chinese newspaper, I of course put some aside to make an origami bird. of which I seem to be slightly obsessed with (refer to previous photoshoots for the evidence of that lol).

Sitting amongst the paper were manuals, filters, film, a speed grip, cartage, a prism and of course the camera itself! I finally got my hands on the medium format camera I have been eyeing up for many months, the Bronica ETRsi! And I have to say that it looks brilliant. I haven't used it yet but I plan to on my next shoot which will be some time next week. :)




The highlight of it so far is how amazingly bright the viewfinder is when using the waist level finder. And because I didn't want to waste the film that I have on some silly around the house type stuff I though I would set up the camera on a small tripod and then set up my other camera, the 5D over it looking down into the viewfinder in order to take some photos through the Bronica.

Several weeks ago I bought a prop for a shoot that I still haven't sorted out yet, it has been sitting in my room all this time doing nothing so I thought I would use it on this little test. So I donned my rabbit head (don't worry that is the prop, I don't always wear an animals head while shooting) and set to work!

Below is a little gif animation of poor Mister Rabbit looking all stressed and upset. It's quite a big file so you might want to give it a moment to get going.


Thanks for reading! Don't forget to like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter and add me on Flickr for more updates. And while you are at it have a look at www.tomsimmonds.com. :D

One last photo! A bit less depressing, thumbs up!


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Secret Garden

A few weeks ago I met up with a fantastic model Wioleta Michas in Lewes. I first met Wioleta 15months ago on my first ever photoshoot, it was a pleasure to work with her again. We didn't have any particular theme set but we ended up with some great photos and a theme sort of came out of it by itself - The Secret Garden.

Wioleta didn't come alone, Marta Franzkowska did the make-up for this shoot. Here are a few behind the scenes shots.



The Secret Garden set can be seen in its entirety on my main website here http://www.tomsimmonds.com/secretgarden and some other shots both here http://www.tomsimmonds.com/portraits2, here http://www.tomsimmonds.com/thirtyfivemm and here http://www.tomsimmonds.com/instax

Below are a select few for you to have a look at. :D






Last month I also went to Poland with a few friends, I didn't manage to get many photos unfortunately but here are a couple from out of the plane window and the atlas hehe, amazingly interesting I am sure. :P






Be sure to check my website, facebook and twitter for more updates. :)