Saturday, January 2, 2010

Photography - Winter in pictures, plus testing a new acquisition

Just a few pictures taken throughout December, in more or less chronological order...

These are The Candle Thieves, otherwise known as Scott McEwan and 'The Glock'. I became aware of The Candle Thieves by the roundabout route of first being introduced to Mesh 29 way, way back in 2007 when I crazily stepped into the shoes* of the main-stage announcer at the first AMEF Music Festival, held at Fermynwoods Country Park. Angela, one of the organisers of the festival, fell madly in love with Mesh 29 and they have since played an infeasible** number of times in the village hall, back gardens and living rooms of Covington. Since 2007, Mesh 29 has spawned a number of other musical ventures, one of which is The Candle Thieves, to whom Angela has taken an almost equal liking to (it must be Anthony), and so they have also been drawn into what is quickly becoming the musical centre of everything; Covington.

This introduction to The Candle Thieves has gone on a bit, so I'll break it up with one of their videos:

Wasn't that good?

Without wanting to waffle on too long (I have more pictures to show!), they're a great band: truly talented but with none of the prima-donna-ishness exhibited by far too many of the bands I've seen. They put on a performance rather than simply turning up and playing music and then going again, and they take part in the events that they've come to play at. They're just that little bit different to other bands that could be considered musically similar; I don't want to spoil anything by going into specifics, but if you have another look at the photo above, you might pick up a few clues. All in all they're well worth having a listen to (check out their myspace page, and while you're at it they're fairly entertaining on twitter), but the real treat is to see them performing live.

Some of you who weren't living under rocks at the time may remember that it snowed fairly heavily in the UK just before Christmas. This had the rather pleasing effect of closing various schools including mine on the last day of term. It also caused some rather pleasing effects to occur in the back garden. These photos depict, in case you haven't guessed yet, spider's webs. I didn't get the permission of the spiders concerned, but if they mind then I hope they get in touch to let me know. The web on the left was spun beneath the bird bath, and the one on the right was on the shed. I thought they were gorgeous examples of the forces of nature conspiring together. I hope I've done them justice with my camera skillz.

And now to Christmas day, during which Henry the dog sneaked onto my chair for a nap. I took a handful of snaps before telling him off...

Dinner time. Dad, as usual, managed to be totally unprepared for pretty much every photograph. Our house looks quite nice when we've had a bit of a tidy-up. We should have parties more often.

There's one in every family: someone who likes sprouts. In this one, it's my dad.

No, Emma's nan's not really a wino.

I quite like this photo. Spot the Triffid!

Emma managing to look both festive and foxy. Not sure how she does it.

Emma got me a tripod for Christmas (no, not one of these, one of these). I had a play with it today, including messing around with shutter speeds. I asked Emma to pose in various positions in the kitchen, and this was the result. This one was taken with a shutter speed of about 30 seconds, a tiny aperture and the lowest ISO number that my camera is capable of...

... as was this one, but this time I was the model, which is why it's not so good. I focussed the camera on the books, pressed the shutter button, then went and stood just in front of them and moved slowly towards the camera as it exposed itself.

I had to stop playing with my camera because it was time to pick Julia up from the station. Julia lives in Foreign at the moment, but comes back to the UK now and then, which makes a good excuse to get the old Mathssive back together for a gathering. In this photo, Julia is killing zombies.

These are, from left to right, Julia, Bethany, Neil, Robin and Jo. Neil and Jo are mummy and daddy (irrespectively) to Bethany. Bethany is the reason why Mathssive shindigs don't go on late into the night any more, but she does bring lots of cool toys to make up for it. She forgot the Cowbra this time, but I'll forgive her because the bricks came along, and the Weebalot Castle was very, very cool.

O.k, o.k, I'll stop.

* Which had been abandoned at the last minute, causing the organisers to narrowly avoid a nasty pant-filling moment.
** The use of this word becomes clear when you see precisely where Covington isn't: anywhere in particular. In fact, it could well be considered nowhere at all being as it is in the dead centre of nothing whatsoever. Some people maintain to this day that Covington doesn't really exist, and only mad people can find it.