I’ve been getting excited recently about my shiny new(ish) fisheye lens, which has done nothing short of revolutionise my roundography, as I say here. However, that’s not the only new lens I’ve thought necessary to acquire. My new status of Mother has demanded of me that I begin my Crafthole family album as quickly as possible, since our boy changes almost daily.

For the first four months of his life I have been snapping away at him, as you would expect, but I have felt the results singularly uninspiring. This picture of me in the early eighties, taken by my Dad on his splendid and much loved Pentax, was my standard:

What I love about this is the wonderfully shallow depth of field that really gives such a sense of softness and intimacy. Beautiful. I am so glad that my Dad amassed this collection of family snaps that can be thought of as true portraits.

I know a bad craftsman always blames his tools but this sort of image really is impossible without a lens with sufficiently low F number. My Dad had his portrait lens, and I wanted mine. And I got it (with a bit of financial shifting, squeezing and moving). It’s a 50mm, F1.4 Nikkor thing of joy. I couldn’t be more happy with it.

Here is my first attempt, taken the day the lens arrived (yesterday):

I can’t wait to see the pictures as they come in the next few years. I hope to give my son a documentation of his childhood as thoughtful and intimate as the one my Dad gave us.

November in Pictures

December 2, 2010

All the pictures have captions and *slightly* larger versions here.

Of course, the highlight of this month, and possibly my life so far, was my twenty-week scan on 23rd, during the course of which the very energetically moving @babycrafthole was promoted from an It to a He.

What an aid to the imagination this knowledge brings: during our walk on 28th the vision of us with a little boy tripping after in a couple of years time was glorious. We talked about it a lot for the first time as we walked. Of course he was picking up beetles and cones and leaves: we have fond hopes that he will be an enthusiastic little naturalist. I have little fantasies of taking him on fossicking holidays in Devon and lots of country walks. It’s all very easy to imagine this sort of vision of the future when I’m at home in Watlington with Crafthole, but at other times, which is most of the time, it feels far too remote to me.

This month I felt the baby’s little kicks and wriggles for the first time, which slowly became more and more noticeable, less ambiguous and more often until they have become unmistakable. The 29th was the first day that they were quite relentless. It is every bit as strange as I had always assumed it would be, and prompted me to consider that I wouldn’t be a man for all the world: what an experience this is.

As ever my idyllic week at home in Watlington was passed very joyfully. I was even moved to retrieve my camera from the drawer it’s been in for the last several months and make some more offerings to Flickr. I must be happy :-)

I also published my first calendars, ready for the new year. I’ll write a post about that on my website blog. I have so far sold two and blew my share of the money immediately on an album..

I must also mention the wonderful surprise that appeared on our doorstep on 20th. We are now the very proud owners of a genuine pair of Retronaut’s goggles, courtesy of The Retronaut himself, as a wedding present. We screamed with delight when we opened the parcel!

August in Pictures

October 29, 2010

I have let it all slide a bit lately… my general level of interest in everything has taken a bit of a slump. I haven’t taken a photograph since mid summer and my website and blog have been standing idle. I haven’t even opened a book for months, so what on earth have I been doing. My photo-a-day project did last until the end of August,

so I do have something to show, which is a good thing as August was an incredibly eventful month. On 2nd Crafthole started his new job in London: Project Manager with AOC Archaeology. He had been unemployed for 18 months (barring four months working in Ireland last winter) so this was a momentous occasion for us and a cause of much joy. It did necessitate him moving a long way from me, but Oxfordshire is our home and having him there gives me a base in a funny sort of way.

On 9th I gave my PhD transfer viva presentation, which I have been preparing for for quite a long time and got myself into such a state about. In fact I think I made myself ill over it. No matter now: I passed! I therefore could now add the letters MPhil after my name, if I was that way inclined, which I’m not.

On 12th I travelled down to Oxfordshire with my very old friends Beth and Amy and at 11am on Friday 13th August Crafthole & I were married in Abingdon Registry Office, to the strains of Albioni and Boccherini, with a small audience of close family and witnesses.

We met more people shortly after and took a riverboat down the Thames to Oxford, where we met more people at a pub in Iffley Village. I took not even a single photograph all day so don’t have much to show here. I may try and get a few more bits together and write a little more about it.

The following Monday (16th) we hired a van and moved our furniture down to Crafthole Cottage in Watlington, Oxfordshire, which we had been renting since the beginning of the month.

I spent most of the rest of the month living a life of unbridled luxury living in our beautiful little house. There are beams on the ceilings and barely a right angle in the whole house, and we love it. I had no internet connection (it only finally got installed very recently), which may be the start of why I lapsed so much in all online activities.

I now visit for a few days once a month, which isn’t quite enough to keep me going but it’s the best I can do. Due to other developments, which I have kept to myself, that may be about to change, but I’ll not go into that now…

I had to share this picture! It was taken at Beningbrough Hall last weekend which is, amongst other things, an outpost of the National Portrait Gallery.

On the top floor is a wonderful exhibit to teach children the art of portraiture in both painting and sculpture. This bit was against one wall with hangers full of different materials to drape, head gear of various sorts and a stuffed dog in front of a large smoked glass screen inside a gold frame. We had great fun.

The photo was taken with my camera (in shot in my hand). Crafthole is reading my book (the only one we had with us) so I think we’re holding what we would be were we to commission a real one; though we were bemoaning the general scarcity of props, especially a nice choice of wigs…

New Portrait Unveiled

April 7, 2010

The film Everlasting Moments is a lovely (depressing) story of a woman who wins a camera in a lottery in the 1900s. Still a very exotic object, she uses it to record her world.

This is the title image of the film… reworked much in the way I am wont to rework these things. It HAD to be done.

After seeing The Gentleman Administrator’s post about an archaeological book with a painting of a VERY glamorous Mesolithic woman, I thought I would like to dig out my own appearances in Prehistory.

I think there have been more than are here, I remember a few modelling sessions round Pete (@pighilltweets) & Ros (@BoggartyHolland) Lorimer’s house in Oxford, draped in various sorts of very very unglamorous Anglo-Saxon rags. I did have these files, but they were yet more things lost when our computer died. The reconstructions below were not modelled in costume though.

This one is a watercolour by Ros from a photograph taken in the graphics office at Oxford Archaeology where we worked as I posed with a polystyrene board in my hands. I’m the one at the right by the way.

It was used as the cover to a monograph about the excavations at Reading Business Park published in 2003 (almost ten years after the close of excavations you notice: that’s impressively quick in archaeology).

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Action drama series of the mid nineties. Possibly scripts to come…

First two episodes – Walkover and DBA – due out for DVD release in time for Christmas this year. Others expected to follow.

Novels by Ianto Wain include :

Crafthole’s Walkover

Crafthole’s DBA

Crafthole’s SMR

Crafthole’s Promotion

Crafthole’s [road] Scheme

Crafthole’s [London] Gateway

Crafthole’s [visit to HMS] Victory

Crafthole’s Revenge

Crafthole’s Waterloo [Connection for CTRL]

Crafthole was (for the time) a lavish production. Obviously the odd sandpit had to stand in for the desert (as in Crafthole and the EIA) and Stroud was, at times, an unconvincing Malta. The costumes however were generally accurate and even when there were shortcuts, they conveyed something of a period atmosphere. Despite this care and eye to detail shown by the costume designers does anyone know why the lead character wore such modern spectacles throughout Series I?
Edmund Simons