Selection of images taken October / early part of November
Some new guitar videos
Just uploaded the fourth of my recent guitar videos. Just posting some points / info regarding how they were made:
They are just one take improvisations and I always make some mistakes, if the mistakes are pretty horrid I repeat the take (sometimes it takes up to four or five attempts to get a decent take), If they’re not too bad I leave them in.
The camera (my Sony RX100) is on a tripod and the tripod is next to a large mirror, so I can look into the mirror and see the reflection of the screen on the back of the camera and use this to ‘frame’ things properly. Unfortunately, in my exuberance when playing, I sometimes move out of frame – particularly my right hand – doh !
I’ve been adding some video effects on these recent videos.
The playing is just noodling really, I try to show a different sound or technique for each of them. I don’t play live currently, so these are an outlet for ‘performance’ of some kind.
For these videos, I’m using a great Amp simulator called ‘Flextron’ made by AXP. It’s a good as (or better) than all the other amp simulators / cabinet simulators I’ve tried and it’s made things much more flexible for me as I can place effects before the overdrive, which works best for phasers, wah pedals etc. I was using the overdrive from my Zoom G2.1u before, which was the first thing in the effects chain. ‘Flextron’ is free and available here:
Here’s the newst one, which is a different approach to the others:
Inspiration versus creative work’
Here’s some food for thought.
A quote from the artist and Photographer Chuck Close:
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”
Good advice in my view, but perhaps more so for the artist who can work on their material full-time.
To put this quote in context, I’m currently working on my new album ‘IRIS‘, I’ve just finished a phase of reworking and all the tracks are still at a very early stage. The work-in-progress material I’m working with is almost three hours in total duration – it’s a sizeable project !
I’m now going to move on to the next phase, which will require making listening notes and then another bout of reworking. From experience, I may need repeat this process at least another four or five times over again – it’s what’s required to get the album finished and it is a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not complaining about this, even work can be fun ( when it’s creative work) and having been through this process a fair few times now, it’s not such a daunting prospect.
So, in terms of inspiration, I’d say that my situation is more along the lines of what Chuck said, it’s the ‘real’ work stage where it all happens and any form of inspiration is more motivation, in that I want to advance the work and get the ruddy album finished ! Indeed, if I was to wait for inspiration, I think I’d be waiting for quite some time, the work brings up new facets by actually doing it.
Of course, any creative type needs to make some changes to spice things up, so here’s my current set-up, with even less gear and even more lights and buttons ! I’ve upgraded to Ableton Live Standard with their super-good sampler (cunningly called ‘Sampler’) and I think I’II get a fair bit of mileage from it. There’s an awful lot more you can do with these Launchpads than just launching clips (in Ableton Live) as well.
imac (invert) look as well !
Infra Red experiments with the Sony RX100 / Hoya R72 filter
Having experimented with many settings, I’ve decide to stick to shooting RAW, with a custom white balance. In the time I’ve been spending with this combination, I’ve been getting some very interesting results (IMO !), but the camera and the IR filter combination together can produce the ‘mysterious magenta centre spot‘. I can’t pinpoint this down to a specific combination of settings. It’s really a bit hit and miss, sometimes it’s not present at all, other times very present.
Here’s a jpg of a RAW file straight from camera (with pronounced magenta spot) Before processing
Here’s the processed version (see below for explanation)
The magenta spot kind of forced me into looking at black and white processing, primarily. I came across a tip on the B+W site IR filter site, regarding converting the image into ‘Lab color’ mode and converting the ‘lightness’ channel to grayscale, I found this yielded interesting results. When I started looking at IR in general, I was very disappointed when my images looked nothing like a lot of examples I’d seen online, I tried the channel mixer settings that most people do and a few other things too. I’ve got more to learn indeed !
Here’s a selection of assorted recent shots (mid July)
Igneous Flame Update, May 2014
I’m concurrently working on two projects at present, ‘Ikon’ and ‘Iris’, they will both be released later this year. The current state of play of these two projects is as follows:
‘Ikon’ – I’m currently concentrating on this one, it will be significantly different to anything else I’ve released, in that it is beat / percussion based with elements of ‘regular’ instrumentation with drone ‘overlays’. This has been a very time consuming project and it feels like it will never be finished – there’s always still more to do. Saying that, it will be completed soon (I hope !)
‘Iris’ – A much more ‘traditional’ work, primarily based around the guitar. Regular instrumentation and a focus on more formally musical compositions are in order for this one. Will end up as a large (two hours-ish) release. Will probably be finished towards the end of the year.
‘Kaleidoscope‘ (free track)
I recently finished a new track called ‘Kaleidoscope’, it’s available as a free download, which is very good value, as it’s fourteen minutes long !
On another note, having acquired a new camera, I’m getting back more into photography and I’m also looking at video work currently. I updated my copy of Sony Vegas Studio (suite), so I have lots of lovely new plugins to peruse and as the new camera (Sony RX100) takes pretty darn good video, it has inspired me to look into such things further.
Maxa at 14 and a half
Our hound Maxa is now almost 14 and half years old. She’s very much showing her age, but she’s still very ‘young at heart’ at the same time.
She’s a rescue dog, we got her from Leeds Dog Trust and she was hard work for most of her youth ! She’s still very wilfull, but age has tempered her somewhat. She’s a great companion, very affectionate, but still a bit of a monster from time to time. She loves pottering and digging in the garden and saying hello to people she meets on her brief walks out.
Here’s a selection of shots taken of her recently, as you can see she’s pretty grey, but her eyes are still clear (and her bark is still very audible !) and her mind is still pretty sharp. All images taken with a Sony RX 100, some processed, some not.
New camera – Sony RX100
I just acquired a new camera (well new to me anyway) – a Sony RX100.
I’ve had it for over a week now and the difference between it and my Sony HX5 are drastically significant, it’s pretty much better in every way (apart from the HX5’s zoom capabilities). I knew the HX5 was limited, due to it’s typical compact camera small sensor output, but what a difference !
Here’s a selection of shots taken with the RX100: (worth viewing large)