Friday, 2 February 2018

Introducing The Hacienda

I have quite a bit of blogging catch-up to do!
The week before last, I spent a bit of time in London doing various things including modelling jobs and attending birthday parties. When I'm with Simon, we mostly stay with his sister in Sutton, but occasionally we hang out at this glorious place called The Hacienda.. this time it was just me as Si was working elsewhere.
Anyway, I modelled for a studio day and ran a bath that evening to relax.. but ended up doing a selfie.. because I'm clearly obsessed. No, when I saw the brief for this week's Dogwood challenge and that I'd be staying here at that time, I knew it had to be a bath shot as it's quite honestly the most enjoyable and relaxing experience. The Hacienda bathroom is beautiful and spacious with a beautiful free-standing roll-top bath and always full of lit candles - you can always get genuine quiet time here. I decided to try shoot in the candlelight.

WEEK 4 Creative: Quiet Moment. Peace. Serenity. Tranquility. Convey a quiet moment.'

I'm finding myself using the 35mm a lot more than I ever have.. mainly because I keep forgetting we have a 60mm, but that would have been too long for this shot. 

My camera was on the tripod up as high as it goes, tilted down and the main light came from the candles placed on the side of the bath, (swapped the tea lights for big church candles) but I added a bit of fill light, by..... umm.. tying my phone with the flashlight app on to the bathroom door with my pants. There was a little bit that stuck out at the top of the door - phone was balanced on that, torch shining down with my pants being used as an elaborate elastic band.
I guess I could have asked Sean for some tape or something more practical, but he was in the living room watching a film, and by this time I was starkers and wet from getting in and out the bath so many times to test the composition.. plus the camera & tripod were completely blocking the door, so thought it best to leave my improvisation as it was.

I started by doing shots where my hands were together in Namaste and the shutter release was between my knees in the bath, (sat on my bum, knees up) and pressed together to get it to fire.. but there was a more flattering photo in the end.
The shutter speed was ridiculously slow, so any movement saw photos completely blurred.. the trigger squeezing between my knees wasn't an option in these circumstances, lol. 
I love the mirror opposite the bath and whilst there were some composition issues in the beginning, (before I tilted the camera) I found the composition I wanted which showed both me and my reflection quite quickly.
The biggest issue as ever was focus. I still had not read up on all the stuff this new camera can do and at the time didn't realise I could get the auto focus to actually track my face.. the ISO was right up, but I had no option but to have a slow shutter speed and a wide aperture.. a nightmare really.
Anyway, it ended up focussing on the right hand side of the mirror frame. I'm annoyed as it should have been on my reflection, but I'm pleased with how the photo turned out overall and I think it portrays a quiet moment well, which is the main thing.

I managed to get the shot before the water got cold so I could enjoy a relaxing soak as well. I didn't feel like fiddling around with studio lights for the shot.. I can use them and feel more confident by the day, it just takes me decades longer to get it all together and I knew I'd struggle keeping the feel of the ambient light.

Had a great night's sleep and I shot some more stuff the following morning before Simon came to meet me for lunch.
I set up in the main room, which has gorgeous natural light from huge windows.
These next photos aren't really for any purpose, I just saw the soft low sunlight and knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to shoot.
The bokeh (below left) is from a pretty standing lamp which was on and just in shot in the foreground.. settings are F5, 1/100th, ISO250 shot on 85mm.

The Hacienda mask..
Apparently no-one shoots this, perhaps because it's so heavy and wide but I love it. The added bokeh is from Creative Commons and used as an overlay.

My other weekly photographic challenge from Alley for week 4 was:

"The doorway to your soul - this week, I want you to photograph a door.. this door is going to tell me all about you as a person.. so for example, this could be the door of the church that you got married in, this could be the doorway to your home. It could be a door you drive past every day on the way to work.. it could be a piece of architechtural beauty, but I want this door to be passionate. So shoot the door and then edit it to describe the doorway to your soul.. change the colour, change the texture, edit something onto the door, age it, contrast it, brighten it, darken it.. make this door reflect who you are. This door, after all, is the deep soul within you, the person I might not yet know.."

Phew - thanks Alley! But this wasn't hard because again, I knew it had to be The Hacienda. This place is SO special to me. The studio is no ordinary studio; it was opened pretty much exactly a year ago just off Brick Lane, London as a non-profit studio where all proceeds go towards Shelter From The Storm charity for the homeless.
Over the past 10 months, this place, Sean the owner, the 12 resident models and all the creatives who have created work here have collectively raised almost £6k, hopefully with another successful year coming up in 2018.
The Hacienda is a beautiful creative hub for all people in the industry to come and make stunning work, whilst supporting the cause.
Being a socialist and an artist in a few various forms, I have never felt more passionate about anything in my life. It's heartbreaking to see so many people homeless; many of whom never thought they'd be in the position of no longer having a roof over their head. I believe if you are in a position of fortune to help others who are without sufficient food, drink, shelter and warmth, then you must step up and help - The Hacienda is the angel which provides a slight comfort to those many millions in need.

It takes just £16 to feed, water, clothe and give shelter to one homeless person for one day.. this is the link to the new Hacienda Just Giving page set up for 2018 if you would like to donate to our cause. We would be very grateful.

This innovative and unique space is my second home.. I feel very lucky.. I will continue to walk through these doors to work there, create, invent, socialise, and raise money for those less fortunate than I for as long as I am welcome and it continues to run.
Here are the doors to my soul.

Now for the boring technical bit, ha.. I used 35mm on the D850, F15, ISO 100, 1/125th sec.. had a Bowens octabox on full power set up 45 degrees to my right, camera on tripod in front of me, and a fan at my feet which was blowing my chiffony gown up.. ooh la laaa.

Thanks to Sean for letting me use his place 

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