I sincerely miss learning things, being at University was the best time for me because I finally loved learning and had this desire to know everything; I also had almost unlimited free time to create, critique, find inspiration and experiment, which helped. I have been using a digital camera for a couple of years now and still, for the most part, have no idea how things work so I have taken it upon myself to learn.
This week I’ve been experimenting with post production on my images. Double exposures, lens flair and bokeh are omnipresent in my news feeds and often look incredible. Having only shot film for over a decade I have no idea how to accurately create these effects digitally or outside of the camera so I did what every millennial does when they don’t know something and looked for a tutorial on YouTube.
There are some really great tutorials out there for certain effects so I watched a few and got to experimenting. Above are some examples. I’m not sure these are effects I would want to put on most of my images but I feel a little better now knowing these techniques and being able to just have fun with post production. I’m going to go out and shoot some images this week purely for the purpose of turning them into overlays and see what I can create.
Recently I was tasked with shooting an acoustic show, something I have always found difficult because of the sheer amount of empty space and the fact that most solo performers are not as energetic on stage as full bands, and I was trying to think of ways of making the photos a little more interesting. Some of my photographer friends use prisms to great effect but I have yet to purchase one, what I did have lying around however is a metal guitar slide. I took the slide to the show and experimented with using it to bend the light or obscure the frame in some way. The best effect I found was from shooting through the metal cylinder; if angled right, it would bounce the light around it creating a circular light that occasionally I could focus around the subject. I immediately fell in love with this effect and have been experimenting further with it this past few weeks. Pictured above are some of my favourites.
In the park, under our tree, laying in the slightly damp grass I finally calmed down.
“Remember how we used to do this all the time?”
I turned to gently kiss him on the cheek and I detected an almost microscopic flinch.
“I promise I will be better, I will do better. I want us to go back to how it was before.”
“I want to go back to how I was before I met you.”
This is something I’ve seen before and always wanted to do.
I found an old book for 5p the other day and have been taking a page at a time, redacting sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs to reveal a constellation of words that when connected make poetry (that’s the theory anyway).
Even if nothing comes from the page I’m finding it quite a soothing activity; on my breaks and when my brain is being too hyperactive to focus on my own work, this has helped keep me a little less off track.
Here is a little one from a page today.
Breath felt somewhat mad but relaxed,
Denying her beautiful until time revealed disappointment.
Tears, shut eyes.
Suddenly everything completed.
One of the best things about the internet, for music lovers anyway, is how easy it can be to stumble blindly onto a band that feels tailor made of you. Scrolling through Instagram the other day I flew past clip of Pinegrove’s bassist Adan playing in the Audiotree studio. It took a moment for my brain to register what it had seen so I scrolled back up hoping to find a new Pinegrove session but when I turned on the audio, what came through was something entirely different: Half Waif.
Nandi Rose Plunkett, also in the Pinegrove family, has an incredible voice that cuts through everything with that haunting, beautiful quality like Kate Bush or Bat For Lashes. It’s the kind of voice that stops my thoughts for a moment, everything else falls away. I immediately downloaded the EP ‘Probable Depths’ on Spotify with the kind of excitement I had as a kid holding a new tape on the bus home from town.
‘Probable Depths’ is a stunning and varied release from start to finish but it is the finish that broke me, specifically the closing track ‘Tactilian’. Opening with a stark piano line over programmed drums, reminiscent of an audibly filled out James Blake, this track had me hooked before the incredible vocal melody even swooned in; Plunkett’s voice layered on top of itself to the point where it almost sounds like a choir. The song shifts halfway through from the hook ‘think I’m a bit sick of holding on’ ironically making me want to never let go of it, to a moody, atmospheric second half that wouldn’t be out of place on a Bon Iver record. The combination of winding down song to the repeated phrase ‘I know I’m not going to be back for a while’ calming its way to the close of the record left me short of breath, desperate for more and with an odly tangible sense of hope rising in my chest.