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My Ordinary 8 x 12

Well it's been a very long time since I got round to putting anything up here. I was full of good intensions last January to start this particular set of My Ordinaries. It obviously didn't happen so here I am at least getting one step further than last year which I'm already taking as progress. Let's see, now I'm committing to it, if I'll keep it going to the end of the year.

So the gist of this particular set of blogs is to share 8 polaroid images (which is all you get in the modern film cassette) made each month of the year, hence the name My Ordinary 8(images) x12(months). I've shot polaroids on/off with a ZX-70 for the last few years or so, creating the occasional emulsion lift from them too, which I really love to do and you may see on these pages over the next few months.

Last month though I managed to get a hold of the new Polaroid Now+ which being a modern invention, has a few additional functions which I hope to try and use through trial and error. Connecting to my phone via bluetooth it has the capabilities of remote use, self timer, double exposure, adjustable aperture priority, portrait with blurred backgrounds, light painting, manual and all this can be worked from a tripod hands free via the App if long exposures are required or desired.

I'm not saying I'm going to use all these functions but throughout the year I hope to at least try most of them. At just under £2 a shot it could get expensive if there's too many failures (I'm good enough at creating them already with the ZX-70. I may also go back to using the ZX-70 too if it takes my fancy even just to hold it again as it's such a gorgeous little camera.

Wasting no more of your time I'll get on with January's 8.

8 x 1 (January)

To start with, these were all taken with the ZX-70 as it was the original plan to use it for the whole year if I hadn't decided to treat myself in January with the Now+. One thing I love about this camera is that it folds up and although not tiny, it does fit well in my pocket just waiting to be popped open when I feel there's something I want to capture. One problem with it though is the light leaks, I've only started to realise that if I walk about with the camera popped up for any length of time then the first image I take is usually over exposed suggesting there must be light getting in through the side bellows. Evidence of this is in the first image below.

This was taken at my work (on the railway), where I had been walking in one of the yards looking for some interesting shapes in the line side shrubbery, with the camera open and bellows extended. There is a basic exposure compensation dial on the ZX-70 but I've already found it to be hard to judge how far to run it for the correct desired effect, in other words I'm hopeless at trying to figure it out. So we have a whitewashed image to start the year off with a very distracting lot of noise. Failure number 1.

Next up are 2 shots from a trip to the Moffat Hills and the first image was taken at the Grey Mare's Tail waterfall. There appeared to be far more contrast in the scene but this didn't seem to transfer over to the film in the way I expected, leaving another mushy mix of grey again. Not a good start. Second in this set was shooting into the sun at St. Mary's Loch. This time I thought I used the exposure compensation dial correctly to over expose a little and keep more detail in the foreground tree but either I went the wrong way or just the brightness of the sun sent the camera into a fast shutter speed and an silhouette was created.

I'm already getting the feeling this is becoming a bit of a disaster record.

The next 3 images are from a family trip into Glasgow and a walk around the Batgirl set, that was and still currently is I believe, being filmed around the city. The kids love seeing all the work being done and little details that go into making the transformation from Glasgow to Gotham. The first image I made the same schoolboy error of walking around with the camera open and over exposure being the result although on this occasion I actually like the washed out effect and the suggestion of detail in the corner building which had transformed from Transmission Gallery into a Gotham Hotel. The second is a view along Parnie Street with people similar to ourselves having a nosey around the live set. One of the props was this old American delivery van, with all the markings of Gotham and you could just tell if I was to look closely at previous movies I'm sure I would be able to spot this van in lots of the Gotham City scenes. As strange as it may seem to see these things in Glasgow you can also see why the City has been chosen for so many films recently, as the old tenement buildings and wide streets are timeless and can easily become whatever a director wants them to be.

Finally the last two images (if you've got this far) from a local walk in my little hometown of Hamilton where I was looking for some little details in the unseasonal bright winter sunshine and for once the accompanying contrasts that work a little better with Polaroids and particularly B&W. Anyone who follows my regular work might have noticed I have a bit of a thing for trees and particularly their shape and form so shadows of them are also a big attraction especially when in an urban environment. So the first image was a play of exactly that, the layers of silhouette and shadows I found worked well together and for once I managed to capture it as I had imagined in my mind beforehand. Further on in the walk was a lovely reflection in a town pub window, looking back over my shoulder to the buildings behind me. What had grabbed my attention was the bend in the glass had distorted the buildings reflection into what reminded me of the iconic Flatiron Building in New York. The bright conditions once again helping with contrast and depth.

I decided to pick one image to use for an emulsion lift and it was my favourite from the collection too. I'm far from an expert in this process but I have done a good few over the years with varying degrees of success. I've had plenty of complete failures but have learnt from every one of them, so they remain equally valuable. I've made a little timelapse of the process and an image of the finished piece of work on A5 watercolour paper. Ideally I'd use a slightly thicker paper but at this moment it was all I had lying about. Like the majority of photography this process is self taught so I'm sure there will be someone watching saying, "what is he doing, that's so wrong" and if that's the case then please leave a message as I'm always happy to listen to advice from those more in the know. For the time being it seems to be working just fine.

A few lessons learned but all in all it was good to get back to using with Polaroids again and just the joy of holding and carrying the ZX 70 is always a pleasure. As is tradition with my 'Ordinary' blogs I haven't set the bar too high if at all off the ground on this occasion, but in doing so it surely can only be upwards from here or maybe it just can't get any lower. Either way I hope it's been of some interest to some of you that managed to get to the end and perhaps you might return for next months where I am shooting for the first time with the Now+ and colour film. True to form I'm not going to commit to anything but I may do alternate months of B&W and Colour, we'll see how that pans out though.

Thanks for reading and I hope you might come back for the next 8 x 12.

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