Sunday, March 28, 2010

Last of the Dark Nights

It was great to celebrate the end of the long dark nights of British Winter Time with a ‘Playing with Light’ workshop on Westward Ho! Beach. Apologies to anyone who, after seeing the centrefold in the North Devon Journal, had come down to Westward Ho! hoping to witness a light spectacular and missing us. I started the workshop in the warmth of the Waterfront pub, over a coffee, discussing the merits of various long exposure photographers and explaining various technical considerations for the camera. We didn’t get onto the beach until about 7.45pm where we made our way away from the lights of the village and far down the beach to the wetter sand near the sea. Even at this remote spot we attracted a couple of groups of teenagers who had been spending the evening playing around the pebble ridge. Both groups were keen to engage in our activities the first group of I think 6 had read the Journal’s feature and had come specially to get involved. The image above was made through a 50 second exposure each of the workshop participants and the teenagers had torches and Mike Bentley and I added some flash into the shot. Any of the people who participated in the making of this image can click on it to get a larger version for printing out.
A couple of weeks ago I ran a similar course at Spacex in Exeter. Here a lot of image making was achieved in one of their gallery spaces. It was designed for video art projection, blacked out with black curtained walls, so it was perfect for light graffiti. The image above was made by Claire Gladstone and describes the process through the 30 second exposure; the running around with torches swinging on string and flash fired from the sides at a low angle. I’ve cropped the image below because that to me is the part so totally full of life and colour.

I’ll be doing more night photography during a Beaford Arts residential over Easter and look out for the Bideford Bay Creatives Night Light Extravaganza which will hopefully be happening at the Westward Ho! Potwalloping Festival for the late May bank-holiday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Good Publicity

“All publicity is good publicity” has a nice reassuring ring to it but I’m always a little nervous and excited when the press are interested in what I’m doing. Rosanna Rothery and her photographer partner Jon Bowen joined me with others at the end of last month for a ‘Playing with Light’ workshop. I was expecting the journalist to sit quietly in a corner observing and making notes and leaving after she had enough for her story. I was so wrong! Rosanna was an active participant in the workshop on a cold dank winter’s night on Westward Ho! Beach. You’ll see her in the Journal’s feature top right with angel wings. This particular image was made using 3 pairs of torch swinging hands, Sadie and Janis stand directly behind Rosanna, and a flash was used to freeze and correctly expose her against the night sky.

The main picture features three teenagers who had come down to the beach to see what was going on, attracted by the bright lights. They were very enthusiastic to get involved and this image of 30 seconds had a few of us scribbling with torches behind their backs, giving them saintly halos and adding a little white light on their faces so that we can see who they are. The Superman poses were chosen by themselves.

Here’s a link to the full article from the North Devon Journal 25th March 2010: