Discovering Music at a Festival

The wonderful thing about festivals is that you usually find yourself with a mixture of bands you love, and bands you’ve never heard of/listened to, and just by chance you watch, fall in love and listen to them repeatedly once you arrive home and have showered.

These guys did just that to me:

Paolo Nutini

I had listened to him in the past, but had neglected his music for a while. I saw him perform at the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2011, and finally appreciated his beautifully written and performed songs. He has a very distinctive singing voice, if you’ve never listened to him before, and I adore his style of blues that is both emotional and easy listening.

Frank Turner

Now one of my favourite artists, myself and one of my closest friends sheltered from Leeds festival rain under a stage tent he was just about to play on. And Christ he is one of the best live performers I have ever seen (about 5 times now). He’s also very genuine: encourages dancing rather than crushing others in the crowd (mosh pits/walls of death aren’t fun), and knows how to balance playing new material with the old favourites to keep the audience smiling.

Molotov Jukebox

I saw these by chance at Glastonbury because I knew a friend was keen on them. What fixated me was their unlimited energy live on stage. When I saw them the singer (Natalia Tena, who is also the actress who played Tonks in the Harry Potter films) was wearing a plastic lobster on her head, so you know they’re a band in the business to have fun.

Wilful Missing

Possibly the lesser known on the list, I saw them Limetree in North Yorkshire (which sadly I think has closed), a small festival organised by a couple which is family, hippy, and local (farm-life) friendly. A band from Bradford, not too far from my own home city, Wilful Missing are great to listen to if you fancy some gentle, folk-inspired music.

So if you want a long weekend of little sleep, questionable hygiene standards, and some of the best gigs you’ll ever see- snap up a ticket to a festival with an irresistible line up (or to one that’s cheap), dig out some wellies, and possibly drink so much you’ll only remember half of it.

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Columbia Road Flower Market

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Sundays are sleepy days: less traffic on the roads; offices are empty; usually I’m snoozing until it’s nearly noon. But certain streets that boast famous London markets are bustling with crowds, stalls and sellers shouting at the top of their voices. Today I visited Columbia Road Flower Market for the first time in my life. I expected beautiful ranges of flowers to choose from, because that much is obvious, but there were also vintage stalls and shops, food stalls that smelt amazing, and all kinds of arty shops whose home decor I dream of filling a place of my own with one day.

Because the flower stalls were so crowded, I didn’t take many photos of the flowers, so I snapped away at the ‘bonus’ sights:

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Taking a photo of the street sign to be all urban and edgy, because it’s the East End. Grey British skies help with this look.

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An offer I cannot refuse (tart= pastry dessert)

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Columbia Road: flowers, bagels, and Hogwarts supplies.

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Buskers everywhere

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For Sale: A girl can dream….(of getting her licence to start with)

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Quaint little sights in London

Finally I bought myself a bunch of ‘Dutch Roses’. My humble abode is a damp, cold, miserable place (yay for student digs) so I hope the pink/orange colouring will brighten up the place a little:

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And now for some ‘artistic’ close ups:

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Comparing Analogue and Digital Photography for Amateurs Like Me

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(An advantage of using both is this concept. Not my own, maybe one day I’ll give it a go..)

Investing in a Polaroid camera and a DSLR are quite possibly two of the best investments I have ever done. I never thought I’d ever be one to be interested in photography, but I always fancied the idea of an instant camera to capture random memories with friends and family. And since starting this blog, I realised how awful it is to capture travels and fantastic sights on a very crappy iPhone 4. So my little family started to grow…

Experimenting with both digital and analogue photography extends your knowledge and creativity, which I prefer to choosing one side over the other. The downside is both cameras are heavy to carry around; and you can look cool, perhaps even look like a professional, with one camera around your neck, but I’ve never attempted both…

(I’m writing about the pros and cons of analogue and digital, but it’s focused on my own experiences with instant film and a beginner’s DSLR. Analogue and digital photography go beyond these areas of course, so if you’re interested in buying a camera for either I would recommend researching different articles and reviews to cover all your curiosities.)

Analogue Pros

  • The camera is cheaper: I bought mine for £30 off eBay, which was a nice bargain. Of course some better models (the SX-70 for instance) cost more, but for a starter and for something to be not afraid of getting a few knocks, it’s very easy and guilt-free to purchase.
  • It’s simple, honest fun: All hobbies should ‘nurture’ you’re interests, not drain the joy from them. Taking photos with friends to capture memories in this way has caused a few drunken, sentimental tears; and I love flicking through my expanding collection.
  • Priceless quality: Because it cannot be duplicated, and because it develops in front of your eyes (although to be on the safe side keep them developing in the dark), once it’s there you hold something unique in your hand, and it’s a fantastic feeling.

Analogue Cons

  • The film is expensive: Each photograph costs between £2-£3, which often gets a gasp when I tell people. Fuijifilm have their own range of instant cameras which work out a little cheaper, but if you want to go for the original and classic with analogue film you have to fork out a fair bit.
  • One shot equals one chance: More often than not, if the photograph doesn’t turn out how you want it cannot be repeated. And when the film is pricey, it can hurt a little.
  • Care is needed: I’ve damaged film by using the camera in the sun, or left it for too long in my camera, or peeked at a photograph developing. And as the photograph ages it can go a funny colour (I have a few black and white shots turning sepia) if you don’t use aftercare. It’s a very demanding hobby…

Digital Pros

  • Unlimited photos: Or at least until you run out of memory. After carefully using analogue film packs of 8, it felt liberating to snap away without a care in the world. And when you’re not very skilled at taking photos like me, it’s very handy to be able to retake again and again.
  • Easier to share: Once you upload to your computer, the internet’s your oyster. With analogue you have to scan, and I use an app on my phone which isn’t very good, so the quality fades. Plus, if you use a film, you also have people wondering why buy an analogue camera, only to upload your photos to the internet anyway.
  • Captures every detail: Safe (and obvious) to say the lenses on DSLRs are pretty good. The quality can be quite mesmerising, and having control over the focus ensures you’re in better luck to have the photograph to turn out how you want it. It’s a very different experience than when I use my Polaroid, as I take one shot and pray for the best. Also personally, in the modern world of filters to hide our imperfections (and analogue film seems to provide an automatic vintage style ‘filter’), it’s quite beautiful to see detailed, human beauty.

Digital Cons

  • The expense: You don’t have to cough up for film all the time, but the camera itself, and any lenses you want, can be very expensive. If you’re an amateur like me; I wouldn’t advise splurging on a professional DSLR, but it’s still an investment to think over carefully. And if like me you’re very clumsy, there’s the fear of breakage… (Also once, when instagramming a photo of my Labrador with my camera, for no necessary reason other than boredom, he tried to bite the lens. Not worth the risk.)
  • Models can fall out of date: Companies are constantly throwing out new models, with new features, which means the camera you bought a year ago could be half the price you paid, and not meeting our increasing standards. At least with instant film, it is already out of date, so you can think of it as aged like a fine wine or whiskey.
  • Too many to choose from: Is it worth investing in a DSLR? Or would a simpler, cheaper digital camera do your bidding? All the different kinds have overlapping features these days, and some features are advertised heavily to entice you but that doesn’t mean it’ll be suited for your demands. And it’s a lot of money to only gather dust on the shelf…

So to conclude: both are awesome, despite their complications/hurting my back when I carry both in a backpack. Sometimes I wish I had my Polaroid with me, other times my DSLR. Usually I wish I had both. It’s all about finding what suits your own style.

A Few shots of East London

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Using *just* expired film (my bad) the colours didn’t develop fully, but to me it gives it a vintage, or even timeless, feel to the photo, which I always find to be a fun quality of using a Polaroid camera.

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(This one looks better in real life I swear, makes me think I need to find a better scanner, rather than my iPhone 4…)

Taken on 04/03/15 using The Impossible Project Colour 600 Poisoned Paradise Film, on my Polaroid 600 Impulse Camera