I was just musing, and there’s plenty of time to do that in Lockdown, that considering I was involved in Dentistry for most of four decades, there were only a few random fragments of that left around. I used to sell materials and equipment to the Dental Profession and as a consequence samples and demo items accumulate. I don’t throw things away, so I wondered what was left. There are a couple of Espe Elastomer Spatulas, used for mixing impression materials, that have been used as butter knives for many years, but they don’t count as they are still in daily use.
The Kurers, highly respected Manchester based dentists get a couple of mentions. This is an over-size model of their Kurer K4 Anchor, a post sytem for restoring teeth.
and this is the Kurer Ceramicolor Contact Point instrument, used with composite materials.
It’s a random and maybe interesting fact that Hans and Peter Kurers’ aunt, Margaret Stone, was my first primary school teacher.
I still have a few dental instruments, in a nice leather folder that was obtained for me by the distributer. It’s too good to throw away!
Models of crowns and bridges for demo purposes.
Some gorgeous catalogues of instruments and rotary instruments that again are too good to dispose of. Here’s three of them.
And finally an advertising campaign for exciting false teeth in the form of a postcard sent out to dentists in 1954. It’s an odd one, printed of course but pretending to be hand written and both daring and cutting edge and yet quaintly old-fashioned, all at the same time. This predates when I was working by many years, but was given to me by one of my customers as an item of interest. I still have it, so the gesture was clearly appreciated.
Meanwhile, I could do with a couple of replacement Espe Elastomer Spatulas (aka Impregum Spatulas) as my two “butter knives” are wearing out, so if anyone is listening…….
There was a period of a few years when Sue and I were exploring the canal system. There were many disused and derelict places to see and these were a fantastic source of images. If we travel along the Shropshire Union canal main line, eventually we arrive at the basins and locks that lead down to the Manchester Ship Canal, and it is here that the Boat Museum found its home. It’s a while since we did the canals, so on the agenda after lockdown ends is some canal walking, and also hopefully another holiday on a narrowboat. Last time we did Llangollen and back within a week, perhaps something else next time.
Meanwhile, as a taster, I’ve reprocessed some images from our last visit to the Boat Museum.
Yesterday, I spent an hour in a Zoom meeting taking remote pictures of Vampire Princess: it worked rather well, I think. Its important that she is techie-minded, and understands what shes doing with the Zoom link, so that I didnt really need to. Because shed shot remotely before, she was right on top of her technology, and had her Canon camera linked to her computer: all the controls were available on my screen, and I was able to adjust the camera with the aid of my mouse.
Yes, theres a delay with everything, but with a good model like Kay it isnt a big issue. And the delay isnt great, in reality. Most people dont shoot terribly fast, in any case More thought, fewer frames is a pretty good maxim.
I shot at a rate of slightly more than one frame a minute, and thats fine: I was learning as I went. And I feel that with several really good frames in the bag, my costs were well justified. But I would normally take rather more frames, with slight variations. For direct comparison, a one-hour shoot with VP in June, at an outdoor location, gave 141 frames, even after deducting walking time from cars to the location and back.
The wonders of modern Broadband meant that I had the RAW files downloaded around 20 minutes after we finished shooting. In some ways its a disadvantage shooting with a strange camera and lens, of course: VPs Canon is rather different from my Alpha 7, though working with live view reduces the apparent differences.
VP was shooting in her bedroom, which has the advantage of black walls at least, its an advantage for my preferred sort of low-key work. Lighting was a single Rotolight, supplemented by a little daylight for most shots. With the camera on a tripod, the necessary slow shutter speeds arent a big deal. Speedlights complicate matters, as you cant see the effect youll get, though studio flash with modelling lamps will rock it (as they usually do).
My usual style of shooting relies on fine adjustments of camera angle and focus point: obviously, thats not possible with a camera on a tripod. It was necessary to allow a larger dead area all round the subject though I caught myself out once or twice, and have sub-optimal framing in one or two shots.
A big issue could have been that I was shooting with an 18mp camera and a standard zoom, and Im used to using a 42mp camera with an 85mm lens on the front. Did it matter? To be completely honest, not really. Most pictures succeed or fail on the basis of their content, rather than absolute technical quality: and while I reckon 24mp is where film starts to lose out to digital, once cameras reached 12mp, quality was usually perfectly adequate for any shot that doesnt require fine detail to be beautifully sharp.
One thing I missed until we altered the setup if youre using a relatively weak artificial light source like a Rotolight, its important to kill all other light sources. The drama of our setup increased markedly when I saw that the curtains were open, as the daylight was providing a significant additional light source!
Would I do it again? Yes, I would. Should you? Very possibly: though you need to be sure what youre getting in technical terms. The deal I had meant that I got RAW files rapidly, and with virtual links that worked well: I can vouch for the Zoom/Digicam combination. And its worth being sure that your model understands what shes doing with her kit, and that you are happy with whats on offer. I know of at least one other model offering similarly sophisticated hardware and an incisive mind of the sort this needs at the models end to make it work.
I suppose we all have certain shots that it’s worthwhile using again and again and one that has always appealed to me is the model in repose. The Granddaughter previously Known as Sophie (now Jordan) has been particularly good at pretending to be asleep in various locations. Other variations are endless, but the lying down poses can be very attractive.
I’ve found a few examples to show you, not many as it’s not something I shoot all the time, but just when the location or situation suggests it as a Good Idea.
Jordan finds a perfect place to pretend to snooze in.
Jordan just in the middle of the restored floor at a previously ruined house
Tyler just relaxes, which is fine for making a great shape to the pose.
Jordan feigning sleep out on the cobbled bridge at Worsley.
Jordan ar Arley Hall on the Woodland Walk.
This time Jordan in the boot of the car.
A totally different reason for the pose. I am on a ladder looking down at the model and the images has then been turned through 180 degrees to make the effect stranger.
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Models have had a thin time of it this year, with restrictions that prevent most of them shooting with most photographers. I contacted Vampire Princess, who Ive worked with a few times over several years, and asked her about her experience of remote shoots.
What does remote shooting involve?
Remote shooting is literally being able to shoot with anyone anywhere. From the models end it requires a DSLR, laptop or PC, tethering cable, tethering software (personally I use Digicam control), Wi-Fi and Zoom. It works by tethering the camera to the laptop and using the software to remotely control the camera settings, then I’m able to share my software screen via zoom so the photographer can then control my camera.
From the photographers end it requires zoom (free to use) and a good Wi-Fi connection. I know that you take pictures yourself does this make remote shooting easier?
My experience as a photographer helps when setting up lighting for a specific look, or helping new photographers with camera settings.
Are there any special problems for you as a model with remote shooting?
Ive not really had many problems other than the tethering cable breaking mid shoot and my Rotolight batteries dying.
How have photographers responded to remote shooting?
It has been a mixed response. Some photographers don’t understand the concept and don’t want to understand it, for others it’s a chance to work with models anywhere in the world, models they would likely never get the chance to work with in person. What sort of lighting equipment do you use?
I use a Rotolight and a speedlight with honeycomb, snoot or dome attachment depending on desired effect.
What would you say to a model who wants to try remote shooting, but hasnt got any experience behind the camera?
Personally Id say a model needs at least some experience behind the camera.
Whats the best image youve had from a remote shoot?
Theres a few. If I had to choose it would be between a fine art nude shoot with John Patton from a long distance tethered shoot (West Midlands, UK to Wyoming USA) or there’s 2 horror themed portraits taken by Rikki Singh.
How do the costs compare with an ordinary shoot?
Cost wise I shoot at a discounted rate purely for the fact I don’t leave my home so there’s no travel costs involved.
In the context of what I have in mind today, not a jar, but a gate. Just to check I looked up the definitions of a door and a gate using Chambers’ Dictionary and a door allows access to a building and a gate allows access to a space beyond, perhaps a courtyard, perhaps a garden, and so on. Of course there are a multitude of other ways to describe doors and gates and just thinking for a second then the gate at an airport is just one of them. Having defined the difference, and being a collector of images of interesting and even mundane doors, I wondered what I could find in the way of gates. The reason why is of course the making of projects, and projects give direction and purpose to our photography.
So on to some images, and these are the gates I found.
Yesterday, I had an experience that Im delighted to say I now need never have again. I watched an episode of a TV programme called Naked Attraction: it is definitely not family viewing, though it is funny. The humour is suitable for those over 18 and not of a puritanical disposition.
Its a dating show and it works like this. One person who wants to go on a date is faced with six pods brightly coloured boxes, inside which stands one person of the sex the individual wants to go out with. The fronts of the boxes are raised in stages, and at each stage one person in a box is eliminated. There is much silliness, and many lewd remarks.
So the first person is eliminated on the basis of their legs and naughty bits, the second on the basis of their torso, and the third on their face. After that, theyre allowed to talk (more raunchiness ). That takes it down to two bodies to choose from: the chooser has to make that choice without their own clothes. The final step is a date, with clothes.
It sounds appalling: it IS appalling. But everyone seems to have a lot of fun doing it. And I think there are deep lessons for any viewer about life, the nature of sexuality, and how we judge each other by the superficial: all the participants seem to realise that theres more to a relationship than physical appeal. Also, notably, there are older men and women involved, and many imperfect bodies.
You may want to watch an episode but dont complain if youre offended! And if youve ever thought unkind or judgmental thoughts about a model youve viewed on this site (whether or not they are wearing clothes), it may prompt you to think again. Human beings are a complete package, made up of a mind and soul as well as a face and body
But it is a very silly programme, and if your sense of humour encompasses the crude and rude, youll probably enjoy it.
I know times are very different, and materials and costs are also a totally different ball game, but I still think it’s a pity that much modern architecture is so stark. To be fair, what I like equates much more to the crowded, busy interiors that are exemplified by the John Rylands Library in Manchester. A wonderful, gothic place that excites the imagination. And then we have the modern extension, welded onto the side of the old building and looking more Ikea than Gothic. I will admit that the open, spacious cafe and shop area are pleasant, but they waste space, as does the atrium that leads to the stairwells. The atrium is a classic example in my book of a total waste – it is just a large, open space that seems to have no connection with the humanity that passes through it with no sense of interaction.
Or the areas leading to the lifts.
I just find that so boring and bland. So, let’s contrast that with some of the dark, gorgeous Gothic architecture of the old library buidling.
But sadly, I doubt that many clients will pay for Gothic these days, so we may be stuck with glass, metal and concrete for some time.
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