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.

Joyous new arrival!

April 29, 2011

I posted this .gif shortly after I made it in my post about zoetropes. I wanted a good record of my eight-and-a-half month pregnant body before the long-anticipated Event, which could have happened any time.

That was 27th March, and one week later, on 3rd April, a few days before his official due date, George Frederick, or Freddy as he is known by his family, was born. He changes everything, and not just for us. I am now a mother, Crafthole is now a father, my mum and dad are now grandparents and my siblings are uncle and aunt for the first time. It seemed to us in our delirium of newness and happiness that he changed the whole world: he appeared in the precise week that the buds on the trees became leaves and the blossom bloomed for the start of spring. The trees outside my hospital window were bare when we went in, and green when we came out, blinking. They really were. Freddy was the Bringer of Spring.

On 20th April we returned to exactly the same spot as above and took another series of photographs (and just look at the difference).

The .gifs below were taken largely because I cannot help myself… He is shown being weighed on his fifth day of life as a citizen of the world,

and being bathed against his will about a week later.

First Zoetrope Strip!

March 29, 2011

I’ve recently developed a new obsession, which I think I can trace back to the wonderful Muybridgizer iPhone app. This was made to accompany Tate Britain’s recent Muybridge exhibition, which unfortunately I never actually saw. It’s a lovely fun app that allows you to make little movies, Victorian style, covering movement lasting around a second. Here’s a lovely post demonstrating the app better than I could.

This got me thinking: what a lovely way to make my family album come to life. I’m due to give birth in a week or two and have been thinking a lot about how to document the new arrival in a way that feels permanent and interesting.

This was an attempt of mine last weekend when Crafthole & I walked out in the beautiful springtime sun and took a little sequence to show off my 8 1/2 month pregnant belly:

However, the lack of any way of exporting the moving image or individual frames really limits the usefulness of the app in making a real record. I decided therefore I would be better, and happier, doing it myself. So, I cast around for a zoetrope of my own and settled on this little one from Ancient Magic Toys:

After taking my little Muybridgizer sequence, we switched to the proper camera and took a sequence of twelve, which I treated in photoshop:

…and made into a strip:

I now have only to wait for the zoetrope to arrive to see how it actually works out, but in the meantime I’ve made myself a little sneak preview. I think it will work out fine! (if the animation below doesn’t automatically start, click on the image)

This should be the first of many little movies this year, I think it will be the start of a lovely family album.

September in Pictures

November 10, 2010

August was a busy month to say the least (new job, PhD transfer viva, wedding, house moving) but I mentioned in my August in Pictures entry that there was more to it still. Something more important in itself than everything else put together. It is summed up in the most significant image of my life so far, taken on September 20th 2010, but far too amazing to squeeze into a single day I think.

We thank everybody on Twitter who contributed to our wonderful wedding presents (we were incredibly touched, thank you thank you), and I’d like to let you know that we’re saving the champagne for a day somewhere around April 7th 2011… *beams*

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…

Hee hee, this is my first attempt at time-lapse photography. It’s done with my new (to me) iPhone, which we treated ourselves to the day after Crafthole was offered his new job, about a week ago. It is a never-ending source of excitement to me at the moment.

The angle is weird because I don’t have a little tripod for it yet. It was propped in place in a drawer for the THREE HOURS that this film represents. It was taken during a visit to my granddad’s, who loves jigsaws. I was with my dad and my sister and none of us can stand them, but they pass the time and give us all something we can do together.

We didn’t manage to finish the jigsaw as we were ready to slit our wrists after so long and had to stop.

Next logical step… a time-lapse painting…

We had all our family’s old photographs scanned in a few years ago and it only occurred to me that they are a mine of Photoshop opportunities last week in a flash on the bus home from work. I was imagining looking over my own shoulder as a child and thinking about everything that has happened since and wondering what I would make of my adult self…

The photographs mostly range from the late seventies to the late eighties when my brother & me were little (our sister is only sixteen and isn’t in any of them, I wish she was). My brother lives in London ad I don’t see him very much, and my mum & dad showed very little enthusiasm for the idea, so I took the opportunity of snatching our childhood (and adulthood) friend Beth, who makes many appearances throughout, for a very quick photo shoot this weekend.

We were in rather a hurry and we didn’t really think about the angle of the pictures, and we are not even looking at the same place. Even so, I thought it was worth finishing as an experiment so that the next time I want to do (a better) one, I won’t have to go through the tortuous explanation of the idea.

I want to do loads more of these but I’ll have to wait until I’m next in a garden with my brother and a camera to do another.