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Bluebells in the woods: springtime comes to Hardcastle Crags

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser.

After the short, grey days of winter, springtime percolates slowly through Calderdale, injecting life and colour into the valley once again. Muted monotones turn into verdant hues, flowers and buds appear, and the hills echo to the sounds of bleating lambs and birdsong.

This year it feels as if spring’s come later than ever: the wild garlic is still here, coexisting alongside bluebells and daffodils almost a month later than when I shot this panorama last year. It all feels a bit messed up, and I can hear hailstones hitting the windowpanes outside as I write this. So when there’s a window of good weather, it’s worth taking advantage… such as when I caught the setting sun light up this

Hardcastle Crags is an oasis of calm for me, an outpost of tranquillity and a place to escape the hectic nature of working life. It’s by no means an unspoilt landscape, but despite hundreds of years of man’s influence it’s a treasure trove of flora and fauna, and a great place to explore.

Technical info: shot with Canon EOS 5D Mark III, shaved Sigma 10mm f2.8 fisheye lens, Nodal Ninja RS-1, Promote Remote Control. 10 exposures, 1.7EV apart; HDR tonemapped with Photomatix Pro & HDR Efex 2.

 

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser.

I first shot the bluebells in the Crags during my first spring in the valley, back in 2007 as I was just starting to embrace panoramic photography. It was the first panorama I shot bracketed in RAW… 3x exposures of 39 views. I stitched three separate panoramas (one for each exposure) overnight using the long-departed Realviz Stitcher. Seems an eon ago.  Six years, and thousands of panoramas later, it was great to revisit the theme once more, applying more rigorous technical and artistic experience to the subject.

It’s prompted me to dig out the original RAWs from 2007 and restitch this scene, which you can view above. It’s by no means perfect, but it acts as a good comparison to this year’s version. And you can never have too many bluebells on on page…

Technical info: shot with Canon EOS 400D, Canon 18-55mm, Panosaurus head. 3 exposures, 2EV apart; HDR tonemapped with Photomatix Pro

Look up, duck down: Stratum by Susie MacMurray at Islington Mill

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser.

This installation, Stratum 2011 by Susie MacMurray is made up from around 80 kilos of feather down, carpeting the floorspace of the attic in Islington Mill in Salford in a dreamlike film of feathers. As you clamber up the steep wooden staircase, you emerge into a veritable cloudscape of soft textured down, providing a curious sense of weightlessness. Talk about having your head in the clouds. The contrast between the infinite bright lightness of the feathers, and the textured wooden beams, cobwebs and dark shadows around is incredibly powerful.

Feather and duck down everywhere

The piece celebrates ten years of Islington Mill as a cradle of creativity, performance and inspiration, and draws on MacMurray’s time as artist in residence a decade ago, when she created a similar installation. I’d originally heard about this when working at a client’s in the Mill late last year, and knew it’d make an amazing subject for a panorama. I’d already seen a short video by Ed Baptist, concentrating on the attic’s entropic decay and detail, so the prospect of shooting the exhibit in such surroundings thrilled me even more. I love capturing contrasts in texture and light in my panoramas.

It’s only viewable by appointment, so when found I had two food photography shoots in Salford booked on the same afternoon, with a spare half an hour between them, I contacted Shereen at Islington Mill to arrange a flying visit. I’ve since spent much longer looking at the photos than I had to drink in the detail in person onsite. A good thing, as I’ve since spotted a lot which I’d never have taken in at the time…

However I’d recommend arranging your own visit if you can… while this high resolution 360° photograph gives some idea of the scale, scope and otherworldliness of the installation, only being there and experiencing all the sensory stimuli can really capture the full impact of the exhibit.

Incidentally, one of my friends told me about him and a few others visiting the original installation a decade ago. Despite copious signage, and their protestations, they looked on in horror as one of their friends cast off her shoes and ran, barefoot, amongst the feathers. Obviously I did not do this…

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Bobbins, lace and frilly knickers: heritage and modernity at Headen & Quarmby

Headen & Quarmby production facility, Middleton, Greater Manchester

A small selection of images from a recent shoot at the Headen & Quarmby production facility in Greater Manchester. Recently featured in Mary Portas‘ new show on Channel 4, “Mary’s Bottom Line“, the building’s filled with reminders of the rich heritage, skills and traditions of clothing production in the north of England.

Headen & Quarmby production facility, Middleton, Greater Manchester

Trading for almost eighty years, the building is full of materials, fabrics, machinery and memories which harks back to the glory days of British textile production in the mid 2oth century. There are reminders everywhere of a close-knit community of skilled workers. Now, as the machines operate here once again, age-honoured manufacturing techniques sit cheek-by-jowl with modern computer aided design.

After a decade when the machines were mothballed and production moved overseas, once again the factory is resonating to the sounds and sights of undergarment manufacture, staffed by a group of new apprentices tasked with making Kinky Knickers in Blighty. And right now, these knickers are hot

Headen & Quarmby production facility, Middleton, Greater Manchester

Lovingly made using authentic Nottingham lace, the new Kinky Knickers collection flies the flag for British manufacturing. Championed by retail guru Mary Portas, each pair is handcrafted by local apprentices, and comes in a gorgeous vintage-inspired gift box. Leading retailers… including Liberty, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, House of Frazer, ASOS, Boots and others… have embraced the chance to carry the cheekily retro, 100% British underwear. Public demand for the new lines is incredibly high, and everyone was working flat out (though not getting their knickers in a twist) when I was onsite.

Headen & Quarmby production facility, Middleton, Greater Manchester

Acclaimed creative agency Mill Co are delivering a new Headen & Quarmby website and brand development, and Anti Limited was commissioned to photograph the detail and character inside in the company’s headquarters in Middleton. As well as a range of intimately observed stills, taking full advantage of the natural light and unprepared working environment, we also captured a 360° panorama of the production floor. This gives vistors a chance to see the story behind the knickers…

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser

This is a superbly positive project; a great story of British talent and optimism, and it provided an evocative selection of details to capture and highlight. The subject matter gels closely with many personal and professional projects we’ve worked on, and it’s always good to support a scheme which promotes locally made, quality products. There was a tangible pride and professionalism with everyone I met – deservedly so, judging by their products – and I hope they maintain their position as a successful, well-respected British manufacturer for the next few decades. Thanks to all the staff at Headen & Quarmby for their unbridled co-operation and enthusiasm.

Headen & Quarmby production facility, Middleton, Greater Manchester

You can view a larger gallery of photographs from the day’s shoot here on Flickr

Bramsche timelapse: a day in the life of a new café bar

Here’s a standalone timelapse and photo slideshow, capturing the opening day of the new Bramsche Bar in Todmorden on Friday 9th December 2011.

Anti Limited was commissioned to install one of our self-contained, discrete timelapse camera units to capture the whole of the opening day; from the shutters being removed outside the venue, all the way to cleaning and closing up, almost 21 hours later. The video was then edited and placed online, and was used as exclusive launch content for the bar’s social media strategy. It provided an exciting, cost-effective and engaging piece of content for the audience, whilst demonstrating exactly how the space can be used at different times of the day.

After several years lying vacant, a new team has carefully refurbished and renovated this property, designing and fitting it out with care and passion. The fare concentrates on the best of local food and drink, but with a wider European bar and café influence as well. When you consider the well-stocked jukebox, a great selection of cakes, a small but perfectly formed menu, and some seriously good coffee, it’s a perfect daytime destination.  Add a great range of ales from Lancashire and Yorkshire, and an equally solid range of continental beers alongside a good cocktail list, and you’ve got an essential new addition to the Upper Calder Valley’s social circuit.

All timelapse, stills photography and editing by Anti Limited. Music credit: Minotaur Shock – Ocean Swell, courtesy of Melodic Records.

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Brighter than ever: inside Radiance again for 2011

Click or tap the image above to view a fullscreen panoramic 360° view of the scene in your web browser

This is Radiance, a gorgeous lighting and craft boutique in the small market town of Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. Radiance is owned by designer/maker Hannah Nunn: as well as creating her own acclaimed range of lighting, Hannah has a keen eye for the beautiful, showcasing and selling other talented designers’ work too. The result is a truly magical shop, filled with a wide variety of carefully chosen, high-quality craft products.

It’s the third year in a row I’ve worked with Radiance  to carry out a 360° photoshoot: you can view the 2009 version here (in the previous shop unit), and 2010’s version here (interesting to see how much the shop has changed in just one year). I was commissioned to return to Radiance, a year on, to illustrate this evolution, and to create a more comprehensive 360° view of the store, to compliment Radiance’s newly redesigned website. I also captured a series of high quality shop interior and exterior for press and marketing purposes.

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