Well it’s been a busy few weeks since my last post with all sorts of things happening. I’ll try and catch up with it all over the silly season holidays. Anyway here is a shot to kick it all off again. I’ve called this one ‘Redemption’ and I hope it’s clear why. The shot was taken a few weeks ago at an old unused church some friends told me about. The church itself is Saxon with a medieval altar and this shot was taken looking through a ‘squint’. That said I like the way the perspective is such that it looks almost like a walkway. In reality it was only a few feet high. I’ve got more shots from there but I’ll share them later.
On a different note – are you on the ‘New Myspace’? If so then why not let me know so we can connect over there. Oh and if you want to join up I still have a few invites left
And Nature Returns (Buy Prints etc)
This shot is a bit of a departure for me. I took it last weekend at the old abandoned farmhouse in Essex as part of the Other Realm / Ghost Project. However it’s the first shot from that series which I’ve not processed purely into monochrome. Despite being upstairs this room was by far the darkest in the house. The glass from the window was long gone and nature was climbing in. The light streaming through those ivy leaves was amazing and gave the scene a fairy tale feel.
Normally when processing shots like this with extreme lighting conditions I would bracket and combine those images in post-processing to bring out all the details, but with the ghost project that’s not an option. I know it’s possible to take multiple exposures and combine them to produce lots of wonderful effects, including ghosts, but all the shots in this series are being created from single captures. So that means bracketing isn’t an option. Instead I went for some off camera flash to help brighten the inside of the room.
Then I processed to give the colouring shown. I wanted to emphasise the green of mother nature reclaiming this man made structure. Overall I’m quite pleased with the result.
Last weekend I was out and about again doing some urbex photography with my friends Ann and Neil. This week was the turn of a lonely forgotten farmhouse, perfect for some ghost project shots. I could have spent days in there investigating and happily shooting away. Unfortunately it was only a few hours before the sky started to darken and our stomachs were rumbling loudly. A return visit is in order for sure.
It never ceases to amaze me how on such an over populated island we have places like this. Someone must own it. Someone has taken the decision to abandon and allow nature to reclaim it. Why? Was it genuinely forgotten or did some horrible event happen there causing it’s family to choose to abandon their home? Guess I’ll never know but it’s fun to speculate.
Standing in the Hidden Doorway
This image is a departure for me from the regular Ghost Project shots as it’s made up of two separate shots. The first shot was of my hand holding the crystal ball and the second of me as a ghost in a doorway. They were then combined to make it look like you could see the ghost me in the doorway through the crystal ball. The sunbeams which form part of the ghost were created in camera I might add.
Just like the shot from the last post this one has aspects that are about boundaries. The idea of seen and unseen in this case. That said I don’t want to start sounding like some arty farty type who takes themselves far to seriously and waffles endlessly about the symbolism. So I’ll leave it at that and let you make your own mind up about the shot.
Catching Sunlight (Buy a print or greeting card)
The ‘Ghost Project’ is taking on a life of it’s own and I think it’s far enough along to start sharing more of it with you all. There have been a few posts already but to be honest I’ve not shared most of it. This is a recent one taken last week on an Urbex trip with some friends. I love how 3 photographers can visit the same place but come away with such different shots. I made a video of the shoot which you can watch here.
Once again this is a self portrait and it was a complete so-and-so to take. This old industrial installation has been abandoned for some time and posed some interesting lighting conditions. I liked the idea of the ghost being on the boundary between the bright world outside and the dark inside of the man made structure. So I positioned myself where part of the wall had fallen away beneath a window frame. The starburst in my hand was created using a crystal ball (there is a smaller star burst at the top of the ball if you look closely) and as usual the image was captured in colour before being converted to black and while. I’m fascinated by this idea of the ‘boundary’ and it seems to be featuring more and more in my thinking when it comes to this project. Expect to see more of these shots in the next few weeks.
The Spirit of the Tree Sleeps
I thought it was time to share another shot from my ghost project with you all. This one was probably the hardest to take as my friend Miss L and I were about 10 foot or so up an ancient oak tree. This fantastic tree is a couple of miles from where I live and I’ve wanted to shoot a ghost shot there for a while.
So in the dark of the night we both climbed the old oak and moved onto a large limb each. The images in this project are all created in a single exposure using either ambient light or firing a flashgun. For this particular shot my camera was positioned on it’s tripod but being up the tree I couldn’t see through the viewfinder. That made composition and focusing quite a challenge. The light was generated by clambering about in the tree with a flash gun. I guess I don’t need to worry about growing old while this is still my idea of a fun night out….
The Little Witch Girl
Over the last few months I’ve done a few more shoots for my ghost project. This area of East Anglia is famous, (or should that be infamous), for the Witch Trials of the 17th century. So much so that the area was known as ‘Witch Country’. So I started wondering about a Ghostly Witch. I don’t subscribe to the stereotype of a pointed hat and warts (I find it rather offensive) but I was fascinated by the idea. If a ghostly Witch remained haunting the area where would she be? What would she be doing? Since I know women and girls accused of witchcraft were often swum, to ascertain their guilt or innocence, I wondered if ones spirit might haunt the local waterways. I have no idea if any were swum in the River Stour but I liked the idea of a spirit gazing out over the water.
Unfortunately I was eaten alive by nasty bugs during the shoot and then horribly ill as a result due to an allergic reaction. Honestly my left hand was so swollen I could hardly use it and lets not even think about all the bites on my back! Fortunately I rather like the shots with this being one of my favourites…
Last night I decided to take the dogs out for a sunset walk. Pebbles has been on season recently so that has seriously curtailed our outings and they were both happy to be out bounding in the fields. There was the river to splosh in, trees to wee on (mainly Jake) and muddy bits to roll in (Pebbles). As we walked along the river bank however the promised beautiful sunset failed to materialise as storm clouds rolled over the horizon blocking out the last of the sunlight.
Resigned to no spectacular sunset I decided to set up for another ghost shot. This time with the ghost forming part of one of the wonderful old knarled trees along the river bank.
I set up the tripod and worked out my settings before pressing the shutter release and running into position. After what I hoped to be the correct length of time, I then ran out of shot. Or at least I tried to. Jake and Pebbles were hurtling back along the river bank when I started legging it. Slightly confused as to why I was running Jake changed direction and within seconds had crashed full tilt into my legs. Human and dog ended up on the floor amid confusion and startled cries. This naturally didn’t compute in the little doggie brain of Pebbles the other dog, obviously we were playing about so she bundled on top as well. No doubt worried she was loosing out in some way.
Fortunately Jake is fine and I think his yelps were more from shock than anything else. I was especially worried of his back leg which he broke so badly a couple of years ago, but all seems to be in full working order My left leg however didn’t fair quite as well. I knew as I hit the ground that nothing was broken but after I calmed the dogs a quick inspection revealed bruises starting to form and the leg starting to swell. Time to call it a night a head home. Fortunately I already had a shot in the camera…
Remember the portrait I did of myself as a ghost here? Well I thought you might be interested in what the ‘ghost’ was watching.
It’s a funny thing but most photographers really don’t like having their photos taken. We much prefer to be behind the lens than in front. Unfortunately if you go out shooting with other photographers you will end up having your image captured by some of them, probably when in some strange position trying to get a shot! Nevertheless I find it immense fun, even if it does mean I end up being photographed. I very much admire a lot of the Urbex (urban exploration) photographic work that’s being done by some at the moment and an integral part of this for many is the self portrait – known as selfies.
Now these aren’t a piccy of themselves posing in front of a famous landmark (ok some are but not the good ones), but often fantasy style shots in some way. Characters created by the photographer/model to contribute to a surreal or unusual image. Some people do this by wearing masks or hoodies, and if you have a scoot about on the internet you’ll find loads of really inspiring shots.
So I suppose it was inevitable that I’d have a go, even if only at one. And so here it is….
I’ll watch as a ghost
It was taken in a tunnel near London’s Waterloo Station and this is from a single exposure. I did debate taking multiple exposures, some with me in shot and some without, then combining them on the pc. However in the end I liked the idea of trying to capture me as a ghost rather than creating the impression. So here was have it. ISO 100, F20 and an 8 second exposure. I felt very self conscious doing it but I’m kinda liking the results.