Monday 12 September 2016

A four week trip on the trains in northern India is nearing completion.  We, my daughter Morag and me, have flitted around the country on and off trains on a 3 or 4 daily basis visiting some of the seminal sights of northern India and seeing the country in the raw in between. And there is much to see and more than a few surprises.  But it has always been an enjoyable and exciting experience.  A long held desire to visit India combined with Morag’s wish to get in touch with India came together in August and September (2016). 

It has been focused on photography and a search for the real India.  Sounds heroic but the camera opens up so many avenues of engagement.  Particularly on trains as the world passes by and people engage.  2 AC is what foreigners are expected to do and we need to book ahead.  So it has been highly structured.  Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, and finally Amritsar with a base in New Delhi.  All at the tail end of the monsoon and summer heat.  It has been hot and Varansi was particularly challenging because of floods.  But we quickly got into the routine of going out at sunrise and returning to our hotel for 12-4 pm and then out again for sunset.  And it works well to avoid the heat of the day.  Hotels have been good and not always budget.  They have also been almost empty because this is not the tourist season.

The trains have always been busy and it is a culture shock but it is the real India you see.  Uncensored and trundling past your window as you wake up in the morning to the sound of Chai or panne or much else.

For photography well I continue to shoot with the D800and continue after 3 years to expand and improve how I use it.  Perhaps it reflects the amount of time I have recently been able to spend shooting with it.  But it is a fine tool.  It has become a reflex and the only limitation it has is its iso sensitivity beyond 3200.  Which is a draw back yet given the recent improvement in this area is hardly a criticism.

The Indian multitude wants its photograph taken.  The difference between here and the UK is astounding. 

Highly recommended.


Friday 24 April 2015

Chamonix 2015 Ski Season

After nine weeks of skiing in Chamonix I am home and working on my portfolio.  One of the outcomes of the trip is a new book in the offing.  This will be a monochrome work and is nearing completion.  It is highly focussed and is an emotional response to being in the Chamonix valley in the depths of winter, skiing every day in good and bad weather.  Living to life's beat in the snowy days and the sunny days.  And lots of wind.

I started out thinking I would be very formal and shoot with a tripod.  But in the end that just wasn't possible.  The best photographic opportunities, as it transpired, were in gales of wind and it was so cold -15ºC some days and -30ºC on top of the Midi that I could not hang around to fiddle with a tripod.  Also I shot with my trusted Nikon D800.  I am very happy with this camera.  The photographic world raved about it when it came out and then moved on.  Sure it has been superseded by the D810 but in reviewing the detail in these RAW files; it is a truly stunning camera.  The best I have had to date.

So here are some shots.  I have put a lot more on the home page of my website:

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Vintage Glastonbury - 2013 Was About the Rolling Stones

After Glastonbury I bathe in a post Glastonbury glow as I trawl through my images.  My memories of of music and people and much else floods past.  2013 was vintage.  Because the Stones played and it was such a privilege to be there.  As the girl in the Nelson Mandela Bar said after the gig - that was the Stones.  I cannot believe I saw them.  And so it was it was like a surreal dream.  They came on and you just couldn't believe they were real.  And with time and the smoke and the emotion and the colour and the sounds it became more and more surreal.

And there was such warmth from the crowd to them.  Clearly it was special for everyone.

And then there was the D800.  It was the first major event I have shot with it.  There has been so much written about it by people who get it one day and review it profoundly the next but who don't try it out in the heat of a must get the shot situation.  Well this is undoubtedly, for me, the best camera in the world.  Yes there are other more expensive cameras and there are quicker cameras.  And there are more forgiving cameras.  But when you get it "right" with this camera it has a tonal range and quality that is above and beyond my expectations.  Difficult to describe but the D700 became an extension of my photographic vision and in time so will the D800.  And it will take time because it is unforgiving.  Especially when in one minute you move form a dark festival tent and flashing strobes into bright sunlight and then onto night time.  But it has all the right capabilities and more.

Sunday 9 September 2012

The "Glastonbury Vibe" Coming to an iPad Near You

There are several reasons to be cheerful. Our Glastonbury book has gone to the distributor.  When I say our, I mean this is a photographic documentary of the Glastonbury Festival and contains images from both Alasdair and myself.  250 images to be precise.  So it has been a serious undertaking and covers 3 Glasto festivals.

I find writing a cathartic experience.  Also I enjoy the challenge of doing a photo book.  It is a historical record of my photography at this time.  This time around I have used Apple's iBook Author.  This was not an easy decision as it restricts the book to those that have an iPad.  Nevertheless I am using iBook Author because it allows me much greater flexibility in how I present the book.  I have been able to include YouTube clips from some of my favourite Glastonbury sets which help to bring the book alive.  Also I very much appreciate the ease with which you can produce what is a very slick presentation format.  Like much of what Apple does - it just works.  And effortlessly.  Following on the challenges and tribulations of trying to achieve photographic quality in an eBook format, by comparison iBook Author is a dawdle and much more.

So the book should be in the iBookstore in the next few weeks.  I will confirm the date nearer the time.

Meanwhile it is back to the mountains.  Where I belong :-)

The Golden People - Death of Michael Jackson

Trash City Mega Phone Music

Silhouetting The Ting Tings on the Other Stage

The Boss on the Pyramid Stage

Monday 4 June 2012

Tabernas Turbidites and Cowboys

I always wanted to visit Tabernas in Andalucia and see the deepwater turbidites.  And also the cowboys.  For a week last week we drove around the ramblas and inspected the world class outcrops.  Many thanks to my colleagues and I dedicate these images to all those in Car 5.  May you always be strapped up and your sense of humour never leave you :-)

And here are the outcrops and the cowboy.  I include the perro who is  a contemporary Spanish native.


Looks marginal to me - the devil is in the architecture.

Tabernas Europe's only desert world class mostly confined tubidite systems.

Modern cowboys have PDAs and still shoot.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Sunday Morning Reading

A couple of articles in the FT make interesting reading this morning.  One does not expect quality photographic critique on the FT, but these days you take it where you can get!!

The first is an interview with Cindy Sherman.  For those not familiar with her work then this article reveals a great deal.  It is a prelude to her forthcoming retrospective at MOMA.  Say no more:

Cindy Sherman in the FT.

The second is a more difficult concept to get your head around but nevertheless a thought provoking one.  A review of a project on Israel with a group of the most famous photographers in the world.  Sounds extreme and from reading the article, seems.  If you are interested on how Koudelka and Shore and Struth spend their days then this a is a little, but not huge insight.

FT Ways of Seeing.

Finally the reason for my long time silence is that I am busy and that includes another book.  I always wanted to publish my Glastonbury homage.  And with a year off - the Olympics in June will use up all available portaloos in the country- this is the time to do it.

As a taster here is a photo from Chumbawamba in the Avalon Tent - not many musicians can play the tie!!