Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Poised to Spring

I'm revisiting some old themes with the above picture. It's always a pleasure when the subject illuminates itself which is probably why I like photographing lamps. Or perhaps I'm just too lazy to find my own light sources.

The springs are the essence of the Anglepoise Lamp, an invention dating back to 1933. A colleague of mine once lit a newsreader with a pair of these when the studio lighting failed - the show must go on (but she didn't look too good with 200 watts worth of illumination instead of 3 kilowatts).

Well, I can't think of anything much to whinge about or praise today. I'm in a sort of opinion limbo. Plenty of things irritate me but none are worthy of my scorn. I''ll save it for something more deserving.

Actually on the praise side, at least two young women with kids in pushchairs thanked me when I held a door open for them today - what is the world coming to?

And this which intrigued me, from a woman in a teashop in Moreton-in-Marsh.

"Doughnuts I know I'm safe with - anything else I can't take a chance".

Friday, December 15, 2006

In The Balance

The city of Birmingham (the original one, not that upstart in Alabama) has more canals than Venice. It's true, would I lie? They were built to serve what had become the powerhouse of the world's industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. If it wasn't made in Brum, it wasn't worth making. However the manufacture, commerce and industry that was supported by this network of waterways, basins and wharves has long gone, spirited away to lands of cheap labour and dubious or non-existent health and safety regulations. What is left is a place of eating, drinking, clubbing and frolicing.

And some neat lights, reflected in water caressed by a gentle breeze. These are the sort of locations I like working in on a cold night. Just add enough illumination to pick out the salient features and make sure we can see the presenters' lips move when they speak. The trick is not to overpower what nature, or the resident restauranteurs, has provided.

It's all in the balance.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stepping Outside The Box

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.

Cecil Beaton, 1904-1980

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Work in Progress

Today's post may well be the long overdue (or unfortunate - take your pick) renaissance of this blog - I'm not working for a few weeks, the nights are long and the days are cold. For the first time in ages, I seem to be time-rich. What better use could I find for this largesse than to get back into writing my little gobbets of nonsense?

I've just come to the end of a long stint lighting a TV programme at a studio in Kent. So I that I don’t forget who I am, here’s a picture of me at work; nothing beats narcissism if you want a good opinion of yourself, or for that matter, a poor one; I’m too exposed to iced buns and pastries in this job and the situation is not helped by Niki from the make-up department who makes sure our control room is fully furnished with these delights each morning.

They gave me a brand new lighting console to play with, apparently untried in television; unfortunately they didn’t leave a sledgehammer. I’ve never come across a piece of equipment that was so frustrating to operate. Fortunately my colleague Hugh forced it into submission through sheer will power, skill and bloody mindedness. We will not be defeated by a rude mechanical. Still it's very pretty and has an impressive number of switches, faders and chrome wheels.

The other image is of the results of my lighting design for this production. For once it looks almost the same in the studio as it did in my imagination. Oh joy of joys!

Talking of joy, Christmas is creeping up on us. I’m going to try the non-grumpy approach this year. This will be a novelty and probably nigh on impossible to achieve. Still it’s worth a try – bring on the tinsel.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Almost back with you (again)

I apologise to anyone who's been hanging on during the continuing absence of any intelligent or otherwise input to this blog. I've any number of excuses - trips abroad, trips away for work - but the truth is that I ran out of steam.


I've taken a lot more pictures and I'm building up a backlog of subjects that I feel need airing.

I've put some kindling in the boiler, topped it with some good Welsh steam coal and added a light covering of nutty slack. The blower is on the fire is starting to draw. With luck the safety valves should lift sometime next week and we'll be under way.