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!


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*

October in Pictures

November 1, 2010

I have been swapping phones with Crafthole lately due to one of them working in Watlington and one of them not, so I let the Photo-a-Day Project slip a lot. We have ourselves all sorted out now though so I have my old iphone back at last. I’ve started it up again as well as a proper diary, which I haven’t done seriously since 2006 (our first winter living on a canal boat put an end to my diary-writing days and I never quite picked it up again). I’m hoping they’ll both be a spur for each other, as they are nice compliments.

Diary writing is a strange thing to do in many ways, and I can’t imagine who is ever going to read through them all. I write the diary in the same way, and maybe for the same reasons, as I write this blog: I don’t assume a readership, I do it for the feeling of purpose it gives me and as an aid to my own TERRIBLE memory.

I will try to explain what I mean by purpose. When I created my flickr account it had a huge impact on my motivation to take photographs: having a destination for my work, whether anybody looked or not, provided me with a reason to go out and make more. A diary somehow motivates me in the same way with the rest of my life. Also, if I do nothing worthy of note I feel it much more strongly if I also am forced to write about it afterwards. So simply having somewhere to document my life and the things I am interested in, to put a little of myself in a book or online, is a therapy and a motivator. Even when something bad happened, there was always the consolation of, “well, it’s something to write in the diary” as my brother and I used to say to each other. I’m quite excited about starting it up again :-)

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…

July in Pictures

August 3, 2010

I recently started a sort of online diary through an iPhone app called Project 365. One picture a day, either as a record of your life or as a way of training yourself to be a better photographer, forcing you to constantly be on the lookout for photographs. I started a few days after we had our iPhone extravaganza (Crafthole got one to celebrate his new job which promises to end our recent woes and I just did some freelance work that will pay for mine). They are not the new ones, or the previous model, but the one before that. They don’t have a compass and the camera is the worst one I’ve had on a phone yet both in terms of resolution, terrible noise levels and complete lack of control (all the newer models have metering options and higher resolution), but there are some lovely apps to download that make up for all this. Besides, my previous phone had been broken for months so this iPhone has revolutionised my life and I love it.

I am one month in now (almost) on my Project 365 and think it’s by far  my favourite app. I hope I keep it up.

All the pictures have captions, though some of them don’t make sense (where I have replaced pictures it sometimes won’t update the caption when I upload). Click on the link to see the whole thing :-)

I’ve posted a couple of bits about long and short exposures lately and this seems to fit in well with them. I started thinking about the power of photography to capture the world in ways new to the human experience in my post about some star trail photographs I took earlier this year. In that instance, a long exposure allowed me to track the movement of the stars across the sky in a single image, stretching out the points into arcs of light. This is a view as real as any other photograph but invisible to our unaided eyes because it occurs over a longer time-span than our senses operate at. I elaborated on that point a bit here.

This image is the same principle, but in reverse: it is also a view invisible to my eyes because it is too fast.

To my eyes, the event looked like sheet lightning: I couldn’t resolve a bolt at all. I saw the whole sky turn white and back to black almost before I knew what was happening and really expected the camera, who’s shutter was thankfully open for a twenty-second exposure, to register something similar. I was amazed when I first saw this image.

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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…

My dad, David Martin, is this year’s featured artist at the Dewsbury Arts Group Summer Exhibition and I had the pleasure yesterday of seeing some of the setting up.

Our house has been filled with paintings wrapped in bubblewrap propped against every surface for the last week and finally, yesterday, my dad and Crafthole (humming the theme to Lovejoy apparently) filled up their cars and drove them all down to our town hall where they’ll be occupying the entrance half of the main hall throughout this year’s exhibition.

Setting up was a mammoth task it seems. I met them there last night to find all the paintings had been arranged around the room and are being hung throughout the day today, ready for the preview this evening.

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Painting & Decorating

July 1, 2010

A couple of years ago, while visiting my mum&dad (back in the days when we had a home of our own in Oxford) I got roped in to, quite happily, helping out with the decoration of a Bacchus themed new wine bar in Batley. I went down with my dad and we spent our time painting grapes on panels propped up on the floor. I didn’t get much done, being not as quick as the others, but I did my bit and can now proudly state that I have painted with an artist with three paintings in the National Portrait Gallery. Oh yes.

Tom Wood (on the right above) was directing the people there and handing out jobs. He has painted Prince Charles and Alan Bennett amongst others and can be found in the NPG directory. There were only five of us altogether and I was the only one not a professional artist; I don’t think I’d have dared go if I’d known that to begin with…

My dad’s bit of vine (left) was rather better than mine (right) as is only right & proper I suppose…

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I started to post a serial in the spring following the progress of my dad’s latest project: a copy of his favourite painting (the second time he’s done it, but the first time at almost the full size). My plan was to photograph it in the same place with the same light after each session, but that never actually happened. I didn’t get very far in (I got up to parts 1 and 2) until Crafthole & I had to go away for a wedding (and stayed away for a few days) during a very crucial point in the proceedings, and I missed most of the development.

Those still at home kept it up for me though, and photographs do exist of the stages while I wasn’t there, but they were mostly taken with mobile phone cameras and some are quite blurry. I never got round to posting them as parts in a serial and it has now been finished so long that it seems daft to keep it going now.

Therefore, here are all the photographs that were taken after each painting session, including the ones I’ve already posted. The colours I can’t vouch for, I haven’t made any effort to match them to the painting (which is now covered in a blanket and propped up on the back of our sofa) since my monitor isn’t colour calibrated properly anyway, and I bet nobody else’s is…

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