New Beginnings

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

For my birthday this year, Sean gave me a talisman pendant from local Vancouver designers, Pyrrha. He chose it without any prompting from me and out of all the symbols on offer, he chose one that represents ‘new beginnings’. At that stage in the year, we had not decided to move back to Australia, but somewhere the stars aligned and here we are again on a new beginning wading our way through the next stage of our life.

We’ve only been back in Australia for a fortnight and already so much has happened. Life is fast paced in Sydney and at present, I’m struggling to keep up. I know things will settle down soon and I look forward to the moment that we are completely unpacked and settled again.

I’m soaking up the family and friend time as much as I can and wishing the sun to continue to shine. We’ve spent time by the beach, been to our favourite dessert place and had lattes a plenty! I’ve got big plans for another summer here in the Southern Hemisphere filled with pool parties, picnics and Polaroids.

Speaking of Polaroids, Jen and I are pleased to announce that there are now a few spaces left in the 2nd week of our Instant Love retreat in Marrakech! We are keeping places open until October 22! If you’ve been thinking about your own new beginning and have wanderlust and the want to learn about instant film and the wonders of Morocco, now is your chance. Come spend a week with us in the beautiful Peacock Pavilions! It’s going to be an amazing time and I’m already getting excited about it! Check out our lovely website here for all the information. It’s going to be awesome!

Images shot on a Polaroid 180 Land camera using Fuji instant peel apart film.

Once More

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

There is so very much I could say and tell you about. My life has done a 360 in the last few months and as I’ve been trying to process it and organise for it, there has been little time for keeping up with my usual routines.

And of course, the decision that we have made is once again turning our normal routines upside down for a brand, new start. After much deliberation, the Canadian and I have decided to move back to Australia. We don’t know if this is the right choice, but for now, at this point in time, it is the right one for us. It’s going to take lots of re-imagining and finding our way in the waters of a different kind of life again but I know that our adventurous hearts will guide us through.

We love and will miss the beautiful village life we’ve made here in Vancouver. I know I will certainly miss seeing those snow capped mountains each morning as I looked out our window. I will miss the ease and the stress-free day to day living a smaller city brings and hope that readjusting to the bigness of Sydney will be a fun change, rather than a troublesome one.

As I think of our new life, I have been imagining us close to the sea, taking daily walks by the beach. Fingers crossed that an apartment will be waiting for us when we are ready to find it in just the right place. I, of course, am overjoyed at being able to spend real time with my family and friends again and cannot wait to reconnect with them all. I’m already planning our Christmas gatherings. As excited as I am, we will leave here with heavy hearts, knowing that we once again have to say goodbye to people whom we love and to a place that will always be our home.

These images were all taken around Vancouver with my Polaroid 180 Land Camera and Fuji film.

Hello Again

Monday, August 13, 2012

Where to even begin? I’m still alive, dear friends! Life is certainly full of ups and downs and twists and turns. Lately I’ve been experiencing them all and enjoying the things in life that important while trying to figure out the next move.

But rather than let life get in the way too much, I thought what better time to come back to this space than Roid Week! I will be sharing some instant images that I’ve shot in the past few months, plus some that I’ve held off from sharing from Instant Love.

I’ve got some big changes happening again in my life soon but more on that later. Hopefully, I will be able to share some new images from my latest toy with you soon.

Happy Roid Week!

 

What’s In Your Kit? with Alice Gao

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Alice Gao is a photographer from New York whose work I’ve been following for many years. I first discovered Alice on flickr and was so pleased to see her launch a blog a couple of years back. Her photography is filled with gorgeous light, warm tones and textures, and she has the ability to make you want to live in the world she shoots. Alice shoots lifestyle, weddings, portraits and food. Her food images are shot in a way that makes you feel like you’re right there at the table with her and they’re constantly making me drool. You can find her work in the gorgeous Kinfolk Magazine and on Serious Eats.

Her instagram feed is one of the most popular ones around and she’s one of my faves. If the photographer can shoot images with an iphone that are just as beautiful as those shot with a DSLR, then they are serious talent. Check her out!

Take her away, Alice…


ALICE’S KIT

MB: What are your cameras of choice and why?

Alice: iPhone 4S – This has become my go-to carry around camera. It is always on me and perfect for my everyday snapshot (not to mention the addiction and draw of Instagram!). I’ve actually been kinda curious about doing a client shoot entirely on the iPhone, but I don’t think the client would appreciate that. :P
Canon 5D MKii – I’ve got two of these babies and use them on almost every shoot. I still remember that “ahhhhhh moment” (angels singing) when I switched to full-frame after years of using a Canon Rebel. 
Contax 645 – Medium format bliss. Enough said. 

MB: What are your favourite lenses to work with and why?

Alice: I am married to my Canon 50mm f1.2 lens and likewise the 80mm for the Contax system. That focal length is just perfect for me, because it’s how I see the world and how I compose things in my head anyway. The 80mm Zeiss lens on the Contax produces some seriously beautiful bokeh. Sometimes to travel more lightly, I’ll swap my 50mm f1.2 for the 50mm f1.4. It’s like 1/5 the cost of the 1.2 and still a wonderful lens.

MB: What equipment do you prefer to use to shoot portraits?

Alice: I like both the 85mm f1.8 and 50mm f1.2 for portraits. And if I’m shooting film, then definitely the Contax and the 80mm.

MB: Name a camera that you just love to have fun with and why.

Alice: I do love my Polaroid SLR680. It’s so fragile so I don’t take her out much, but I am seriously gleeful when I do use it. Sadly I have quickly gone through my packs of original Polaroid film and not quite willing to shell out the current eBay prices for them.

MB: What do you carry your equipment in?

Alice: It depends. For simple shoots, I just use a camera insert like this one and stuff it in one of my normal day bags. I like big bags, so this insert fits nicely in just about all of them. That way I’m not walking around screaming, “I am carrying a camera bag with lots of expensive equipment inside!”
Otherwise I use a Think Tank Retrospective 10. Not exactly glamorous but man can you pack a lot in there. For weddings and bigger shoots, I tote around my equipment in a pretty serious looking Pelican case.

MB: Is there one piece of equipment that you would recommend to a newbie shooter?

Alice: I’m totally biased, but I almost always recommend a 50mm lens to newbie shooters. Skip the kit lens and opt for the 50mm. Also, I’m a firm believer that the best camera is the one you have with you. For instance, think of the iPhone as more than a device for texting and checking twitter. Even if you just practice with your phone’s camera, you’ll still be practicing finding good light, composition, etc.

MB: Name one place you would love to travel to with your favourite camera and why.

Alice: Paris with my Contax! Mostly I am dreaming of the light hitting the buildings and small alley ways, the Eiffel Tower in black and white film, the bread… Lucky for me, I’m going this week. (Alice has actually already been to Paris and returned- check out her blog for Frenchie photographs-Amanda)

Thanks so much for sharing your kit with us, Alice. I think I may need to come around and steal all of it!

Travelling with Cameras

Monday, June 4, 2012

If you are anything like me, the hardest part about planning a trip is deciding what cameras to bring and how to pack them. Whenever I travel, I usually have an assortment of cameras with me to document my journey, so it’s always a struggle to figure out the best solution for travelling light.

If you are just travelling for pleasure, I would consider the type of adventure you’re taking and whether or not you’re going to be able to physically lug (and I mean LUG) around that beast you call a DSLR. I’ve gotten to the point where carrying a big camera around whilst travelling is too much of a burden and I now really think about what kind of experience I want to have before I leave.

I generally try to limit myself to a few kinds of cameras. In the past I would bring the DSLR, a 35mm, a couple of Polaroids and any number of other quirky cameras like the Holga or Fuji Instax. After years of breaking my back lugging cameras through airports and dealing with the ordeal that is airport security, I’ve realised it really isn’t worth the stress on my shoulders and brain. And yes, I deal with airport security because I never check my cameras- they always come on board with me, no matter what. I’ve seen how baggage handlers “handle” luggage and there is no way I’m ever putting a camera in my checked luggage. EVER!

I now bring one 35mm or medium format, one Polaroid camera and one point and shoot-either digital or film. Obviously if I’m travelling for a specific shooting purpose then I would have to bring the DSLR and lenses and a Polaroid- there’s always a Polaroid.

My recent trip to Morocco was rather difficult because I had the Polaroid cameras I needed to bring for the workshops plus other cameras I wanted to use to document my trip. I actually ended up leaving two Polaroid cameras at home simply because I couldn’t get them in the ONE on-board bag that stupid Easyjet allows. Not one bag and one personal item like every other airline–ONE BAG! My on-board bag is usually chosen on the basis of what cameras I’m bringing and how I can best fit them in.

On international flights, I will generally take a backpack for all my cameras and then a smaller handbag for my personal items. I’m yet to graduate to the hardcore photography case but that’s simply because I’m not transporting two DSLRs, various lenses and accessories. If this is something you do, then you may want to look into one of those or a professional carry-on like this one.

My backpack is just a regular one that I will outfit myself to store cameras. I pull the velcro inserts out of my old Crumpler and Lowepro camera cases to make some buffers between the cameras. I also wrap my cameras. These camera wraps are designed for that very thing. I actually wrap mine in a soft case that my Peter Alexander pyjamas came in! They are soft and have a ribbon that you can wrap around the camera to protect it whilst inside a bag. It’s totally dodgy but it works! I’ve used scarves in the past too.

On smaller trips where I don’t take as many cameras, I will usually take a tote or satchel that is big enough to house a few cameras and my personal items. This camera insert is a great idea when transporting cameras inside other bags that aren’t camera bags. I will also take a pouch or two for little odds and ends like memory cards, rolls of film etc. Of course, there are an array of gorgeous photography bags out there for women who want stylish cameras bags and many of these are great for travel. I’m rather fond of this one.

I always make sure to have my film in plastic zip-lock bags for airport security as I get them to hand check it. I never put my film in my checked baggage because those X Ray machines are a lot more powerful and dangerous to film than the ones we see at security. Film under 800 ISO is apparently able to go through the security machines, but when I’m doing various flights in a short period of time, I’d rather not take the risk. It shouldn’t go through continually.

You just ask one of the security agents to hand check your film and they are always happy to oblige. I’ve never had a problem. I usually have bigger problems with my SX70 or SLR680 because they lay flat and the security agents have no idea what they are- they don’t look like cameras when they are folded. So I often have to open them up and explain what they are. Most of the time I think they are just intrigued and want to know how these weird looking cameras work.

It takes a bit of time at the security check point to get everything arranged back in the backpack again but it’s worth the hassle. How do you travel with your gear? I’d love to know if there are any new bags out there that people are enjoying. I’m always on the hunt!

p.s. This ‘travel shot’ wasn’t taken on any of those cameras. Total iPhone shot!

An Instant Love Book and Camera Give Away!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More Instant Love news today…

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Ryan Marshall video extraordinaire shot and produced the book trailer for Instant Love. To coincide with the book trailer release, we are having a fun give away. Head on over to Ryan’s blog for your chance to win a copy of Instant Love and a restored Polaroid land camera!

The wonderful Cory at Rare Medium in Seattle (one of our book retailers) and Land Cameras has been super awesome to provide the winner with the fabulous Polaroid land camera. It’s the type of camera that uses peel apart film (just like the image I shot for the book above) and has been completely refurbished. If you need your Polaroid camera fixed or refurbished, Cory and the team at Land Camera are the people to see!

To enter this fantastic give away, head over to Ryan’s blog and leave a comment. If you want a second entry, all you need to do is repost the trailer and post about the book on your own blog. The contest starts today and closes next Wednesday.

Once again, thank you to Cory at Rare Medium for helping out and giving away a camera to our lovely Polaroidy friends! You are awesome!

Pacing The Panic Room: Enter here! // Follow Ryan on instagram  @ _ryanmarshall

Rare Medium Store and Gallery // Land Cameras Repair Store // Follow Rare Medium on twitter

Instant Love:How to Make Magic and Memories with Polaroids Is Officially Released!

Monday, May 14, 2012

This journey began in late 2009. It began with a rather long email that started as an intimate conversation between friends and turned into a plan to write a book together. And now the day is finally here- our book, Instant Love is done. It has pages and a spine and is sitting on book shelves. It feels so good to be able to look back and say, “we did this together.” We created something that we truly love and believe in and want to share with others.

We wrote this book for you- lovers of Polaroid who want to learn how to shoot dreamy photographs filled with light and possibility. We share all we know about crafting beautiful compositions, our lighting techniques and tips on portraits. Throughout the book you will find snippets about what we love about Polaroids, the joys this love has brought us and pieces of our lives as Polaroid photographers.

And today we are super excited to share the trailer for Instant Love. We are very happy to have collaborated with Ryan Marshall to create this gorgeous video. We hope you love it!

Thanks to the band Rabbit who provided the music. The awesome song is called “Camera” and it’s available here. And of course, to the amazingly talented Ryan Marshall of Pacing the Panic Room for shooting and producing the video. Thank you, Ryan!

I want to thank Jen and Susannah, our girl Amy Haney for her beautiful illustration, our awesome contributors Mia Moreno, Fernanda Montoro, Grant Hamilton, Matt Schwartz, Parul Arora, Leah Reich, and Lori Andrews, our wonderful editor Bridget, Matt, Brooke, Peter and Diane at Chronicle Books, all our models, The Impossible Project, my family and friends who have all been so supportive (like seriously amazing and out of this world supportive), and most especially my Sean who got me through those months of writing, shooting and editing without cursing at me once.

And of course, Dr Edwin Land and the original Polaroid company for giving us the opportunity to make art with these amazing cameras.

Check out the trailer and tell us what you think! You can of course find our book at Chronicle Books, Amazon, Urban Outfitters and many bookstores around the world!

p.s. If you already have Instant Love and enjoyed it, we would love it and be super thankful if you would share a review on Amazon. :)

Impossible PX70

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday brings some images from Impossible PX70 colour film shot in my Polaroid SX70.

I’m really liking the colours that you can achieve with this film. The blues and pinks are lovely. The reds are still coming out a little yellow but it’s such a great advance in colour from the original Impossible films. Those pesky leaks happened because the light managed to break through my mighty-impenetrable-defense-of-steel-shielding technique (aka flimsy card attached to camera with sticky tape). However, in these 2 shots, I quite like the glowing effect.

I’ve been waiting for the weather to clear in Vancouver to get out and shoot more with this film. I shot so much instant film while I was in Morocco and France and haven’t shot a lot since (apart from a sneaky little project I’m working on at the moment). Now that sunshine is here, my camera and I have a date this weekend. What are you doing with your two glorious days? Go shoot some instant film!

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