Sunday, 30 September 2012

Jersey Part 2

On our recent trip to New Jersey I naturally used it as an opportunity to practice my photography. I didn't only take my digital camera I also took my Polaroid 636 closeup. Now I don't really mind making mistakes when using the Impossible films even though they are very expensive and it does make it a rather high cost hobby to have. The frustrating thing for me is feeling that I'm making no progress and worse that I don't actually know how to take photographs. All it really takes is the time to read a manual to understand your camera. I have finally managed to find a user manual online to help me get the most out of my pictures. Most won't allow you to download them but if you search hard enough you can. I've found many and will be passing them along here on the blog. I'll start with the 600 manual.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Sweet Soul

On Thursday I got the opportunity to go and see the wonderful Jose James performing at a venue called The Slipper Room. This one time burlesque joint has been closed since 2010 and has undergone major refurbishment to bring it up to date. I was particularly impressed by the use of William Morris wallpaper which really added to the victorian style of the venue. This revamp is also to allow for more diverse programming. Indeed I was informed that thursday was the first time the venue was testing it's audio equipment. Who better than Jose then, an extremely talented singer with enough confidence to try it out? The show went without a glitch (at least from the audience's perspective) and I felt the sound quality at this little venue was immense. The space is quite small that so I can imagine in the future getting tickets will be difficult, but the benefit is everyone can clearly see the stage and you feel as though you have front row tickets. It's a real intimate vibe. If you want to see the finished product look here. And check out Jose's new material below, follow the YouTube link too. Immerse yourself why don't you.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

In the middle of the night

I'm only just learning about photography and so far I'm still using my digital camera like a point and shoot camera. It's always on automatic mode and my go to rule of photography is if it's not coming out just don't bother. But recently we had some amazing foggy weather here in New York which made the Empire State Building look incredible. I actually had to run back into the house to get the camera after failing miserably on the iPhone. Now I've been bad mouthing the strength of my Olympus E-PM1 to my bestie Pamela of Nera Sposa who is currently looking for a camera. Telling her that while it is amazing in the daytime it struggles at night. And I still think that it's not the most powerful camera I've handled at night however very simple techniques can help to get the most out of it.

I have to admit that the first thing Hipster Dufus told me was that I needed a tripod or to lean on a solid surface. So after many shots coming out blurry finally I leant on a wall to get the shot I wanted, and this little camera really impressed me. The shot below was not only taken at night, it has been completely zoomed in, and did I mention the fog? Pretty powerful and has inspired me to keep trying in the dark and at night.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Under the sea

So now it's been a month and I have explored a little I've started to find things I like (and don't like) from stores to restaurants, and can finally start giving you my personal tips from this big city. We're based in what New York Magazine calls the 'decidedly unhip' Murray Hill. At first glance I too was a bit skeptical of my new area's ability to live up to the diplomatic lifestyle ideal, but I have grown to realize the benefits of Murray Hill and also discover some real gems in the area. The benefit is that Murray Hill is perfectly placed to give you easy access to the whole of Manhattan, being practically equidistant to the Upper East Side and Lower East side and the right side of the river to easily hop over to Brooklyn.

Now for the first gem, it's the wonderful Wild Edibles Seafood Market. As well as being able to go in to buy fresh fish and actually use it as a fish market, it also has a bar and restaurant. Both with a fantastically relaxed and laid back vibe. The waiters just look like your mate from way back when and serve you in the same manner. If you're a seafood fanatic like I am, their deals like the $1 oysters will drive you crazy. Follow those up with the seafood ravioli or my favorite the lobster roll. Oysters and lobster for lunch all for under $45 for two. Amazing!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Jersey Part 1

So the days in New York have started to get cooler and the faint air of fall is fast approaching. I'm so glad that Hipster Dufus and I travelled to Jersey two weeks ago to try to make the most out of the end of summer. We didn't want to wait an entire year before seeing a sandy beach. We took the ferry there and when we landed made the fatal mistake of not taking the waiting bus to take us to the beach. Although in our defense the very helpful guard did tell us that it was no more than thirty minutes to the beach walking.

Two hours later with blistering heat and even Hipster Dufus lost his Australian cool. By the time we'd reached the beach it was practically time to go home. On the plus side, however tiring the walk, it was really beautiful and the views at the end were certainly worth it.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Polaroid Love

I love my polaroid camera's but I have to say that our relationship is somewhat tempestuous. They behave like Latin lovers and literally only produce the result you want if you rub them up the right way!  I have seen others who have given up on it, becoming frustrated with the Impossible Project and it's lack of film that can actually replicate the original Polaroid format. I love it though, and I refuse to give up on it. Especially when the film still captures the essence of instant photography. You never know what result you're going to get. My only problem was that I was just tired of feeling like a total failure. Like I wasn't a good photographer.

So I did some online research and managed to find some manuals that just explained the basics of photography. Simple things like understanding the light/dark wheel. The first one I came across was this great little page taken from a manual, and immediately I could see the difference in the quality of my photographs.  The images below have been scanned in on a poor quality scanner hence their haziness, but the actual photos are really quite sharp. Not bad for a first attempt. These images were taken on my Polaroid 600 which I wrote about here.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Friday, 7 September 2012

New York FNO

As if I'm not acutely aware that all my girlies are not with me Fashion Night Out comes round to remind me. And I'm in new York y'know! There are so many events to go to and I want to see them all, but I decide that without and famale companion there just isn't any point. Then Hipster Dufus gets offered two free tickets to the Ben Sherman store where Jamie Woon will be performing as part of FNO. He is unable to make it having committed already to a game of football with his new found friends. So what do I do? Do I sit at home and wait around for him. Or do I swallow my fear for one night and enjoy Jamie before he inevitably explodes onto the music scene?

I opted for the latter. I thought it would be a simple acoustic session/no fuss scenario, but after waiting two hours I relalised that this was going to be a full gig. I almost regretted my choice until Jamie started crooning away. And by the time he was onto Lady luck I'd forgotten about my anger and how I wished I hadn't bothered trying to be brave. The icing on the cake was a lovely Jamie happily posing for a picture with me.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Elite photography

While Instagram is mainly known as a social networking site (especially after being acquired by Facebook) it did seem that it originally tried to set itself up as being mainly about photography. In fact there is a strong photography community on there. However most recently it seems to veer more towards the Twitter and Facebook style of networking. It has even got its own little backlash from some in the photography community. A group of people got so tired of pictures of One Direction reaching the popular page that they set up their own photography social networking site called Instafocus. Although ironically this is just a somewhat elitist photography group where you have to be invited in or selected by the creators. And wouldn't you know it that it still comes down to a popularity contest with those with high numbers of followers being the ones selected rather than those who are genuinely taking fantastic photos.

Anyway, rant over and I have been trying to use Instagram for more artistic purposes. While I love being able to snap a quick picture and send it to friends showing what I'm up to (I'm also a huge fan of #todayimwearing), I also love trying really hard to get pictures that are better thought out and more creative. Here's a recap of my best photos so far.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Impossibly fun!

So it hasn't been long since Hipster Dufus and I crash landed in the middle of New York. But we dove straight in and tried to get up to as many activities as possible. Hipster Dufus literally brought a Time Out magazine at the airport and started scouring the listings for fun things to do. I already had an idea of what I wanted to get up to thanks to my passion for photography. One of the best things about moving here was that New York has an Impossible store. Now I've only ever alluded to the Impossible Project and never written about it as London is a bit behind. These guys are the ones behind the saving of instant photography. Instant being a key word as this is not the same as Polaroid. A mistake that many have made which just ruins the beauty of this new medium.

There's no point in going into the whole story when others have done it better here, explaining exactly what this project is all about. The main thing to understand is that it's not for those who want polaroid pictures in the 'shake-it-like-a-polaroid-picture' kind of way. This is for those who love the possibilities that old photography formats offer. Just like still using a film camera and never knowing what your pictures are going to come out like. This is for those who get giddy at the waiting 2-3 days for the results of their film. This is important as their format is not yet perfected. The Impossible team always seem to take the most kick-ass polaroids however for us mere mortals it's temperamental, but when you get a result it's totally worth it. And learning is half the fun. So armed with this I was so excited to go on the NYC Impossible Project's first photo walk. A perfect opportunity to learn and get inspired and also get a tour of our new city.

This was my best shot of the walk by far.
Hispter Dufus with his creation, Photo courtesy of the Impossible Project 

And check out this awesome video made by one of the guys that came on the walk. Very happy to have my photo make the cut.