Meg Wolf

pixels and parsnips


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On Resolutions

So it seems I’ve managed not to post anything here for over a year — which is a shame, as 2014 was fairly eventful.

I’m not usually much for New Years resolutions, but early last January I did write a note on my phone: “Get fit, get married, get British citizenship; make more art, make more music”. I rediscovered the note about halfway through the year and was both pleased and surprised to realise I’d accomplished nearly all of them, to some degree. Using myfitnesspal and focusing on lower-calorie weekday dinners, I lost more than 10kg over the year from last January’s all-time high weight; my husband and I got around to planning our wedding after a year’s engagement, and married in the fall; I finally got around to applying for British citizenship, and had my citizenship ceremony in the spring. We discovered a weekly life-drawing class just around the corner, and attended regularly through the year, improving our skills bit by bit. (Music is the outlier of the list, and still needs attention, although by definition we have made more music this year compared to a previous baseline of almost none. Baby steps.)

One year of life drawing

One year of weekly life drawing; first pose on the left, last pose on the right.

My goals for the coming year are perhaps less well-defined, but I hope to post here somewhat more frequently. I’m usually dissatisfied with my writing ‘voice’ in blog posts, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from this year’s cooking and drawing, it’s that the way to improve is to keep doing the thing.


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Sophie and Neal’s Leeds Town Hall wedding

Over the summer, I had the lovely opportunity to photograph the wedding of Sophie and Neal at Leeds Town Hall. My partner Roger came along as a second shooter. The ceremony took place in the Albert room, and the bride and groom looked radiantly in love as they said their vows.

Sophie_Neal_01

Outside, the tall columns of the town hall made a great setting for portraits.

Sophie and Neal Wedding

Sophie and Neal Wedding

After the ceremony, we moved on to The Lounge for the reception. The candy buffet and bride-and-groom dalek cake toppers were a big hit!

Sophie and Neal Wedding

Later in the day, we took advantage of the venue’s giant chairs for photos with the bridal party, who kept things fun with their expert silly posing. I loved the ladies’ vintage-style polka-dots and petticoats — especially the bride’s bright pink!

Sophie and Neal Wedding

Sophie_Neal_06

The Lounge is in a great location for receptions, being walking distance from the Town Hall and next to a scenic green garden. We moved outside for some final shots, and the weather indulged us with soft overcast light.

Sophie and Neal Wedding

Sophie_Neal_08

Sophie and Neal, thank you for inviting us to photograph your wedding day! We had a great time.


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A custom dinosaur wedding invitation

And now for something a little different: here’s a recent personal design project that I’m excited about! I designed these custom dinosaur wedding invitations for my friend’s upcoming wedding.

Dinosaur wedding invitations and RSVP cards

The invitation design was a very collaborative effort with the bride. We kicked around some more generic dino ideas in early stages, but things really took off when she came up with the idea and rough sketches of the bronto-groom craning to snack on the bouquet of his adoring bride-osaurus. From there, I created the artwork and layouts for the invitation and RSVP postcards, while refining the graphics to their final form.

Design progression of the dinosaur graphic

I loved bringing this concept to life, and can’t wait to celebrate what is sure to be a unique and fun-filled wedding!

Dinosaur graphic


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Lomography Sunset Strip film

About a billion years ago when I last blogged, I mentioned the Sunset Strip film from Lomography. Since then I’ve had my first roll developed, so thought I’d follow up and share some results. It turned out to be more different from the Revolog films than I expected, giving a more subtle colour cast.

Rufford Old Hall

I’m not quite as thrilled with the results from this roll, though the subjects may be a factor; I’ve got to stop bringing film cameras to late-night parties (not pictured)! The colour shift gave a sepia-esque tone to some photos, but was almost undetectable on others. These negatives came back a very deep blue, and for whatever reason the quality of the scans was particularly poor, with a distracting amount of visible grain. I’ve run these all through Noise Ninja before posting (and I’m not sorry). Some additional shots are posted over at Lomography.

In the meantime, I also finally purchased a Diana camera from the Manchester Lomography shop, right before they sadly shut down. The first roll totally exceeded my expectations – I love it! Here are a few shots taken along our European road trip in March. More at Lomography.




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Revolog results

Alas, far too much time has passed since my last post here! Much has happened in the meantime, including a holiday and a house move, but I’d like to start back up by belatedly sharing the results from my first roll of Revolog film.

Revolog are an Austrian-based company who make special-effect 35mm films. Their range includes various textures, scratches, and light effects. I was most interested in the colour-shifting films (600nm, 460nm, and Kolor), so I picked up the mixed pack. I don’t know exactly how they achieve this witchcraft, though unofficial consensus seems to be that the rolls are pre-exposed.

The first roll I shot was the 600nm, which is advertised to give either a red or blue cast depending on developing. The packaging suggest that underexposure will result in a stronger effect than overexposure, so I intentionally underexposed my shots — I’ve found I like strong colour-shifting results in other films, so didn’t want to risk negating the effect! I was very pleased with the results of my first roll. You can see the full set here.

Interestingly, not long after I ordered these, Lomography brought out their own pre-coloured film, ‘Sunset Strip’, which looks like it has a similar effect in blue/orange. I’ve just turned in my first roll of this film for development, so will be curious to see how they compare.


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Weekend app challenge

While we were out in town last weekend, my boyfriend proposed a challenge: to take photos using an app other than Hipstamatic or the main iPhone camera. I accepted the challenge, then had to consider what other apps I could delve into. As a rule, I’m not big on straight camera replacement apps, and I thought it in the spirit of the challenge to use something that applied an effect either immediately or directly after shooting, rather than relying on later post editing.

My first thought was to reach back in my toolbag for the Cross Process app. It’s a bit of a classic, having been around a couple of years, and it does one thing but does it well. It has an option to turn particular colours on and off, but I usually let it randomise the settings. I still reach for this when I want to give a photo some flare but don’t have any specific editing in mind. It’s a quick way to get usually-good results, and I used this app for several shots around the Piccadilly basin area.

CrossProcess app

CrossProcess app images

The next app I tried is one I downloaded a while back, Harris Camera. My first (indoor, handheld) experiments with it were a bit disappointing, and I never got back to exploring it further. On our walk, I first tried taking some pics with this over by the Lomo wall, but the busy background and handheld shake produced less-than-stellar results. Later in the day while we were sitting with a coffee, I finally tried this with the phone on a tripod, and voila – it really made all the difference! I took several shots from this window, waiting for a tram to roll in at the right moment. The interface is a little quirky, but now that I’ve got the hang of it, I’ll definitely be using this more often.

Harris Camera, Market Street

Harris Camera, Market Street

(This shot also tied for top spot in an @igersmcr weekend challenge!)

This weekend, I’ve mostly been enjoying the new W Mag FreePak from Hipstamatic (below) – and I’ve *finally* finished off my first roll of Revolog film (600nm)! I can’t wait to see how it turns out; watch this space.

W Mag FreePak Samples

Out & about with the W Mag FreePak


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Eulogy for an app

Lifeinlofi has reported that the Hipstamatic Disposable app has been removed from the app store, in what is likely to be a permanent disappearance. I have mixed feelings about the demise of this app, though its features were often overshadowed by technical issues.

Hipstamatic Disposable

Manchester snow, my family in New York state on Christmas eve, Manchester Christmas carnival – from a Disposable D-Fault roll.

On the one hand, this app had many serious flaws for me: even after initial blank-image issues were (somewhat) resolved, my friends’ photos often only came through as low-res with extreme JPEG artifacts. During my HipstaMarch project, the app managed to eat through ALL of my data plan in one weekend, even while shooting mostly on my own. There were a host of smaller glitches like lagging on invites or failing to save to the camera roll. It was problematic that the app only ever worked well over WiFi, when it was most interesting to use when out and about. I always wished it had a better system of syncing, say, only the shot counts, with something like a local cache to save the heavy data transfer for an Internet connection.

Hipstamatic Disposable BlacKeys

Hipstamatic Disposable BlacKeys shots around Manchester

On the other hand, the concept was unique and interesting. Early on I shot a shared roll with my sister-in-law back home in the states over Christmas, giving us a peek into each others’ celebrations, and always wanted to start more rolls with friends abroad. If it had worked better, it would’ve been great for days out with my partner and parties with friends. Unfortunately, the poor performance without WiFi actually prevented me from using it in some situations where I would’ve liked to – I thought it would be brilliant to share a roll with my siblings at a family wedding, but alas, I was abroad with no data connection, so it was a non-starter. The pay-per-use rolls were an unpleasant pricing model, and made it far more frustrating when a roll went wrong. But the Dreamy, Foxy and BlacKeys cameras offered really lovely effects, whereas the unlimited-use rolls rushed out in reaction felt a bit chintzy in comparison.

Hipstamatic Disposable D-Fault

D-Fault around town

Overall, I won’t miss the app too much for day-to-day use. But it’s a shame the problems couldn’t have been better worked out to allow its unique social features to take the spotlight.

Hipstamatic Disposable 'Dreamy'

Hipstamatic Disposable ‘Dreamy’

In other Hipsta-sibling app news, an Incredibooth update this past week offered a new set of booth styles. They also appear to have snuck in the ability to flip round and use the back camera, a long-requested feature! Though it’s never among my highest-rotation camera apps, Incredibooth’s gimmick is a fun one, and my boyfriend and I often do at least one photobooth shot together when we’re travelling. The new booth styles draw from some of the recent Hipstamatic lenses, and seem quite usable for all situations. (Though I actually love the silliness of the face-recognition effects like elf ears and antlers in the Holidaze booth, they’re not great options for everyday pics!)

Incredibooth on a walk

Old Incredibooth shot from a walk (sorry, nothing from the new booths ready to post yet!)

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