Sometimes I don’t feel like I have much to blog about unless I’ve managed to take photos of something I’ve made, or I’ve been on holiday (more Japan to follow), but looking through my photos from the past month, I realised it wasn’t all dull.

Alfie and I got posing… IMG_2081

…and then he tried out a new comfy sleeping position.IMG_2124

I started working in a really pretty village… IMG_2113

…complete with a nice place to admire the view while I’m studying in my lunch break…IMG_2137

…and I spent much of my first few weeks laughing at this magazine cover in the village shop.IMG_2112

I learnt that I am no longer a country person, after having a terrible reaction to an insect bite and taking my first ever trip to the hospital. The foot still looks a bit weird, but no longer hurts, but I learnt the important lesson to always make sure your toenails are nicely painted.IMG_2119

Ben got a guitar for his birthday, and I took this photo from the shop window while he was choosing.IMG_2105

I tidied up my fabric stash (this is not all of it), and vowed not to buy any more until I found time to sew it! IMG_2127

I took the opportunity to instagram a delicious pulled pork bun from Verano Lounge in Hove. I then hoovered it up in about three seconds. IMG_2139

And finally, our attention was drawn to the presence of a scooter in our street. IMG_2133

Foire du Midi

Once a year, when most people have packed up and gone on holiday for two months over the summer, Brussels closes a quarter of the ring road around the centre of the city and sets up a gigantic fun fair. I think it’s because nobody is protesting around the European Quarter and they don’t want us to get bored. Contrary to popular belief, boring is the one thing Brussels is not.

I say they close off the road, but that’s not strictly true. There are still cars booting it across the fair at various intersections, and the trains clatter overhead. 

Ferret roulette was noticeably absent this year, although there was a carousel with real horses and a massive beach ball with a child inside. There was also a kind of G-force simulator which looked quite fun. I’m a bit of a scaredy cat though so I didn’t actually try any rides out. 

Nor, it seems, did I take pictures of the interesting ones. Mostly I took pictures of the fascinating people, although I’m still a bit shy when it comes to street photography and a lot of the people looked scary. Note to self: man up! 

See – scary! If it hadn’t been for the calming qualities of the snails, I would have feared for my life.

This dog waited patiently while his owner tried to win a telly. There was also the possibility of winning a fridge-freezer, although it was unclear whether this would be delivered to you at a later date, or whether you had to drag it home on the tram.
We’re planning to go back after dark at some point. I think my stealth sneaky spy cam might come into its own in the black of night. Or, more likely, people will be so drunk they won’t notice me taking pictures.
I think the annual pilgrimage to the inner city fair is one of the things that we will miss when we leave.

First Praktica Film

I’d bought a Lomography scanner to try and put my negatives onto the computer, but I can’t get the flipping thing to work properly, so instead I have scanned all of the pictures in. On the whole I’m pretty pleased with the results – these are my favourite eight pictures, but there are other ones which are acceptable. Given my reservations as to whether I’d put the film in correctly (and taken it out correctly for that matter), and whether I was actually using the light meter properly, I’m quite chuffed.

I’ve edited the colours a little, and cropped a bit, but generally they’re not too changed. I think using a black and white film could have better results.

How do other people get their prints into the computer? Why doesn’t my Lomography scanner work properly? Why doesn’t the cat look nice in any of the pictures I took of him to use the film up?

Nikon Coolpix P330

While I dearly love my Praktica L, I was missing the ease of having a compact camera to carry round in my handbag and whip out should anything interesting happen. Something for those occasions when the iPhone just won’t cut it. 
The sales are on, and I didn’t fancy staying in my office one lunchtime so I headed off to Media Markt and came away with a Nikon Coolpix P330. It wasn’t as cheap as I might have liked, but it looks like it’s come from East Germany, which I approve of. Ben approved of the actual picture taking abilities of it, and I took a nice sneaky snake spy picture of a woman in the shop with full zoom and it wasn’t blurry, so away we went!
The white version is smooth like a Star Wars storm trooper, but the texture of this one is rough, like life behind the iron curtain. Another nice feature is a pop up flash on the top, which I think could also be used for interrogating your victims.
I considered giving my new camera a solid German name, but it doesn’t look like it would approve of that kind of thing.

Praktica L

In 1974, When my dad turned 21, he was given a second hand Praktica L camera. Growing up, I’ve seen so many images which this camera took that I was thrilled when it was passed on to me this Christmas. For the past 20 years or so, it’s only really been used occasionally – I received a compact camera sometime around my eighth birthday, and we used that from then on. It was easier to load, and less bulky to take out with us. I’m really looking forward to getting it out of retirement!
This model was produced in Dresden, East Germany between 1969 and 1975, although the final camera in the L series was produced in 1989. It really feels like you’re holding a piece of history in your hands when you pick this up – it’s blocky and heavy and just feels old.
The film is now loaded, I’ve worked out how to use the analogue light meter which my mum tracked down in a second hand camera shop in Brighton, and I think I’m ready to go. I’m trying really hard not to take a whole roll of my cat, so this weekend I’m going to head out into the city and see what takes my fancy. I haven’t used a non-digital camera for years, so I hope I’m not too out of practice. I’m looking forward to the challenge of just taking one shot of something and making it count.
Aside from anything else, I’m looking forward to being able to carry on this camera’s story within my family. It has really strong links in my memory with my mum, but its also great to have something which gives me a link to my dad, who I don’t see very often, a souvenir of sorts.