Before we push on with 2016, time to reflect. My Big Plan for 2015 was to get the darkroom up and running again. Plan achieved! The 'sink' which I had spent far too long making in the garage finally got finished and installed. It won't win any design awards but there you go. No running water in the darkroom as yet but since I mostly use a slot processor that's not too big an issue. I just carry in a few jugs of water to fill the tray that the prints go in when they come out of the fixer and then once I've run out of energy after a couple of hours in the darkroom I transport them back to the kitchen for washing. Since for now I'm using RC paper the washing doesn't take long.
So I got printing again - nothing spectacular, just feeling my way. But when I look back at prints made from 2014 I see an improvement, so I'm happy.
What else? Oh yes, I experimented a bit with toning. That was fun and more than a little magical. I mean you take a normal print, like this one:
and then you bleach it until there's hardly any image visible. Then you give it a quick wash and dunk in some sepia toner and the image re-emerges in front of your eyes:
Except of course now it looks a little different.
I tried a little street photography - and enjoyed it, I have to admit. And I read a bit and looked at too many images on the web. There are a lot of very talented people out there - photograph-takers and darkroom printers. Most times it's inspirational. Sometimes it's depressing when you realise you are standing on the foothills of a very large mountain range...
OK enough reflection! Time to look forward. I don't do resolutions, but I think setting a few goals does no harm.
I still spend too long sitting in front of a computer. I intend to do less of that and more of being Out and About, hopefully with a photograph-capturing device in hand. And there is still too much bare space on the walls of our little house...so I intend to fill that space with some hand-made prints.
On another note, when in Bath the physios went on and on about Tai Chi as just about the best thing we peeps with ankylosing spondylitis could do. Well there's only so many times you can ignore good advice so I found a local class and have started learning The Forms. If you don't know, Tai Chi is the one with deep breathing, relaxation and where all the movements are carried out very s-l-o-w-l-y. All I can say is, why didn't I do this earlier? They say - whoever they are - that Tai Chi is one thing you can actually improve at as you get older. So far so good and after a few weeks I'm already noticing a difference.
So there we have it. Here's hoping for a creative and healthy 2016 - for me and for all you, too. Thanks for stopping by.