Cemetery (repurposed)

Rock Chapel, Blackwood.  A converted church that is now a private residence as well as a B&B, the husband and wife team who own it are big supporters of the Wales International Documentary Festival.  The chapel was my base of operations, and the graveyard outside provided much photographic inspiration over the two days of the festival.

As the chapel itself has been renovated and repurposed, so too has the cemetery outside.  I’d make a joke about the neighbors being quiet, but actually they weren’t, especially at feeding time in the morning.  I never knew sheep could be so excited over breakfast, but what they lack in facial expressions they make up for in the height that they can jump.  I thought for sure I had more pictures with the sheep in the graveyard, so maybe they’re there and I’m not looking hard enough…maybe they’re lying in wait, ready to pounce…

Bittersweet

I already started posting pics from Wales, but before delving into more of those rather bigger posts, I’ll share a few miscellaneous pictures with you.

I grew up watching British television, and though it wasn’t my goal while I was in Wales, I did get to catch a few episodes of Father Ted actually being broadcast on Channel 4 reruns (RIP Dermot Morgan, and now Frank Kelly).  On my walk around Cardiff I went past the Doctor Who Experience, but was unfortunately too late to take the tour.  I snapped a few pics of the exhibitions in the lobby, and of course you have to get one of the daleks!  John Hurt was one of my favorite actors and I was looking forward to see him star in Terry Gilliam’s newest film before he was diagnosed with cancer.  I always thought he’d make a good regular Doctor, but sadly that dream, like so many others, will never come about now.  Since coming back from Wales I’ve learned that the Doctor Who Experience will be closing at the end of the summer, so I’m really disappointed that I wasn’t able to get further than the lobby.

On the festival circuit: Wales International Documentary Festival

I never would have considered traveling to Wales for a film festival if not for some generous offers of funding when I had just learned that Overwhelming Majority had been accepted.  Unfortunately that funding fell through and I cancelled my plans, then decided very last minute that the opportunity to go was too good to pass up, even if it meant paying out of pocket for my plane flight.  It was a gigantic leap of faith my part and I am currently accepting donations to recoup this expense, as well as help me get to festivals further on down the road.

Though only at the festival in Blackwood for two days, I was able to get to know some cool filmmakers from Britain, Scandinavia, and Belgium, as well as see some interesting documentary films.  Probably the best part of the festival though, was being able to share my experiences with the interns, mostly film and journalism students from Cardiff University.  They were all cool people and I found that I fit in pretty well there.  I hope I’ll be able to get back to the UK before too long.

I brought the Canon 7 and the Olympus Trip 35, loaded with some classic black & white and slide films, shooting 4 rolls total.  There is much more to be posted from my first overseas trip.

On the festival circuit: Greetings from Durango

March 1-5, the Durango Independent Film Festival.

It seems that each festival I go to is a better experience than the last, but I don’t know that Durango can be topped.  They treated the filmmakers so nicely there, and it being 6 hours away from me, I decided to stay for the entire thing, which was definitely worth it.  I stayed in the General Palmer Hotel (living in Colorado Springs for so long, I could stay nowhere else) which looked largely untouched by time.  There were lots of activities I to do around town (like a trip on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad), plus a special filmmakers only-lounge in the basement of the local Irish pub…assuming you didn’t watch films, and I did try to catch as many programs as I could.  The best part though, was that the entire festival took place in the space of two blocks in downtown Durango, making everything nice and easy to get to.  I forged some great relationships with people and will definitely be going back in the future.

Scoring Session: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Aka “Too Many Hats!”  I wouldn’t consider these the absolute best pictures ever, but it’s hard to be the composer, conductor, and music producer, and also try to take a few pics on the side.  This is the recording session for a new ballet film based on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.  As a ballet, I had to compose the music and have it recorded by a certain date, without having seen any footage.  Now that it’s recorded, I’m hard at work mixing, mastering, and polishing, while my director Felicity works on the choreography.  While I’d like to say that I drew a great amount of inspiration from Wilde’s novel, reading it would have taken much time away from actually composing the music; I watched Albert Lewin’s 1945 film adaptation instead.

This marks the first time I have used the Canon 7 since Fall of last year, and I’m out of practice: there are one or two rather glaring focus errors, and while I think I would have been better suited with an SLR, I’d say that I really focused on the music first (pun intended), and only snapped a few here shots here and there when not actively recording.  The camera was lying around in a few different places and not all of the pictures were taken by me, as evidenced by the fact that I’m in some of them.  The main visual component was shot by the film director as a “making-of” documentary, so at some point there will be a video of the recording session floating around the internet.

The pictures are almost current, as the recording session took place just a week and a half ago, and a few days later I was on my way to the Durango Independent Film Festival.

Yes, it’s that soft…

Do you know how rare it is to find a lens from the 1950s that isn’t scratched to hell, or at least loaded with cleaning marks?  Pretty rare indeed.  In fact, I had been holding off cleaning it until I got myself a UV filter for it (41mm is a pretty rare size for filters).  The plan was to clean it as gently as possible, screw the filter on, and never take it off again.  Good plan, but guess what…my best wasn’t gentle enough, and looking through the glass now, I wouldn’t call this lens near-mint condition anymore.  Ugh…