Adventures in medium format

July 15, 2015 in Blog by Helena Bliss

At the begging of June, I managed to get my hands on a Pentacon Six medium format camera – which is exciting because I’ve been wanting to try out medium format photography since I started shooting film again a couple of years back.


As you can see it’s a bit of a beast. It also doesn’t have an inbuilt light metre! Which is a big change from the kind of photography I’m used to. Fortunately I bought a Sekonic Flashmate for no apparent reason years ago and I love a challenge. Let the adventures in medium format photography begin.

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Prime sessions, it’s all about transition

January 4, 2015 in Blog by Helena Bliss

It’s the winter, so cold wet and damp, and I tend not to skate outside that much. This year however, I’ve been heading down to one of the local indoor parks and have been learning to skate transition. Despite having skated for 4 years, I’d never even dropped in before this summer and didn’t know my way around a ramp at all. In an alternative universe I may never have been bitten by the transition bug, but thanks to the magic of boredom (I was fed up of skating the same hill all the time), a few trips to a local outdoor park, and a girls session starting up at Prime I’m now addicted. It’s winter and it really is all about transition.

I’ve got my first couple of lip tricks under my belt, not great but they’re there and I’m now working on my flow. I’ve also met loads of really awesome people, and had the knowledge that even when it’s cold and damp I can still skate to get me through the winter. This counts for a lot. I also have permanent bruises on my hip and back ankle, but that’s just par for the course.

Anyway, I was at Prime this friday just gone and met Paul and Simon. They’re older skaters, more into vert than street, and it was great fun shredding with them both. I even got the camera out and got some pictures. I managed to improve my technique as well, though frustratingly being able to flow on the ramp is just out of reach. It’ll come though.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures.

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My Enchanted year

December 15, 2014 in Blog by Helena Bliss

So it’s the end of 2014 and it feels like a great time to look back at what’s happened, including all the good stuff and not so good stuff. There’s been enough bad stuff that it would be super easy to believe that the past year hasn’t been good. In fact, until last night I might have told you that this year had been horrible and I achieved absolutely nothing.

This would be a lie though, I’ve actually achieved lots, despite having to deal with ongoing health stuff. This turn around came because of Leonie Dawson’s Aamazing Life and Biz Planner, and a coaching session from the incomparable Jani Frank. Now Planning is not something that comes naturally to me, I’m pretty much a force of nature and an agent of chaos, stuff happens and I happen to people, but there’s not much in the way of structure.

Generally it’s fun and I’m good at warping the world to suit my needs – I rarely get what I want, but 9 times out of 10 do get what I need. But it’s no way to run a business, so next year I’m going to be pro-active in setting goals and doing my best to stick to them, and that’s going to get me through the dark times and not burn out in the light.

That’s all in the future though, and all this is just a way of saying to the lovely people at the Bubbling Well and The Forge to hold me accountable because I am going to do as much as I can (without beating myself up if certain goals prove really challenging).

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A Skateboard wedding

October 8, 2014 in Blog by Helena Bliss

I know April and Olly through skateboarding, and when I heard that they were getting married and it was going to be a gloriously DIY skateboard wedding, I knew I had to do their photography. As they were friends and were doing things on a budget I ended up being paid in skateboard wheels (don’t laugh, these are expensive!), but that really was beside the point. I wanted to be a part of their big day and felt extremely lucky to be included. April looked stunning in her dress and Olly so sharp in his suit that a few people almost didn’t recognise him (we are used to all being in tatty skate attire).


April’s dress was amazing, even more so when you know that she made it herself and entirely by hand!

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The Pengelly Cook Book

August 4, 2014 in Blog by Helena Bliss

Living in Cornwall we have access to some very fresh and very tasty things, that might not be so readily available in other parts of the UK (Wild strawberries grow everywhere round here!). Fish is something that’s particularly easy to get hold of, often fresh off the boat.Pengelly’s fish shop in Looe is one such place.

So after a drunken invitation in the pub on friday night, I found myself stood in the kitchen watching the ever so slightly drunk cook work his magic.

And magic it was… When the food was done a pack of ravenous vultures descended, armed with forks to devour the tasty offerings in short order. One member of the tasting team went as far as to lick the plate. Yeah the food was that damn good. I mean look at it… in the pan, radiating deliciousness. Yummy.

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Notes from the borderlands

June 4, 2014 in Blog by Helena Bliss

I have a confession to make… A lot of the time when I write this blog I deliberately hide behind a persona of this happy, joyful, energetic Helena who gets out there and gets things done. Well some of the time I am happy, joyful, energetic Helena able to do stuff for whole days at a time, but right now she’s left the building and life feels pretty damn hollow. See I have to live with major depressive disorder and borderline personality disorder, the exquisitely awful combination of low mood and energy, coupled with the emotional stability of a three year old who’s been awake for three days after she drank all the e numbers and sugar.

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PUATB does competition

May 23, 2014 in Uncategorized by Helena Bliss

First up, it’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog so this is going to be the first of several posts and is actually a couple of months out of date. Oops. This is one of the joys of being neuro atypical… You can be on top of things and feeling positive and then boom, then one bad week messes you up and you feel like you’re starting from zero again (this isn’t true, but it feel like it at the time). So there’s a lot of stuff that has happened that I was intending to talk about but never got round to.

Back at the end of March Plymouth Uni All Terrain Boarders (or PUATB) decided to put on a time trial for the hell of it, mainly because we usually jib about on ramps and freeride. Which is fun, but the ATBA-UK race season has now kicked off and we thought it would be fun to have a go at something different. The idea was to do timed runs and see who could be the fastest… there was nothing at stake other than glory, bragging rights and the donut of victory so we headed to Cann Wood to see who would come out on top. Luckily for us the weather had dried out a bit, though the ground was still sodden from all the rain, this meant that the course we’d decided to use was technically demanding due to it being hard to carry speed, but not actually that fast, perfect for a bit of non-serious competition then.

I’d like to point out that I did take a few pictures at this point, but rolling never looks that exciting.

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More Stories With Pictures

March 25, 2014 in Blog by Helena Bliss

I was recently commissioned to create a picture to go with the first part of a two part piece of flash fiction for Stories With Pictures. It was different to the previous occasion some of my work has appeared there, as the story had been written around the picture I’d submitted, this time I needed to create a picture that fitted around someone else’s narrative rather than one of my own.

I actually came up with an interesting way of editing my photos, which in a moment of true serendipity, fits in with a series of self portraits I want to do. Serendipity is awesome… Doubly so when I can legitimately use it in a sentence. Rather than talking about how I created the image (because it’s totes a trade secret now), I’m going to talk about the why, because I actually think the why is more interesting than the how. Plus you might get inspired to go off and find your own how.

If you haven’t already, now would be a great time to read the story that inspired the picture.

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Spring in Landrake

March 11, 2014 in Blog, Cornwall by Helena Bliss

The winter down here in Cornwall has been brutal, storm after storm has swept in off the Atlantic and have battered the coast and countryside. Landrake is inland and at a high enough elevation that we’ve not experienced the worst of the storms and flooding, but even then the lane to St Erney has been flooded and several trees were blown down in the church yard. The dark days of winter seem like a distant memory now, as over the past few weeks Spring has arrived in all her glory. I’ve been taking advantage of the sunshine to skate, but today I went on a wander in search of spring. It was a lovely walk, the hedges were full of primroses and daffodils and I even met an Ent, though he didn’t tell me his name. The sky was blue, the sun was warm and I got to sun dry my dreads for the first time this year (trust me, this is a big deal… The cold and damp of winter makes drying dreads a real pain in the neck).

This is my favourite picture from today, it required a bit of technique to get it to work properly, but I think it captures spring in the village perfectly.

The rest of the pictures can be seen after the break.

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Stories with pictures

February 26, 2014 in Blog by Helena Bliss

I’m really happy that one of my pictures has been used in the stories with picture project, an online collection of short stories with accompanying pictures. The stories can be inspired by the picture or the picture by the story, either way it’s a really cool and interesting project that’s connecting writers and artists and creating some really great fiction. It was really interesting to submit a picture and to see what story the writer found in it.

The picture that got used was a portrait of my friend Lina, she was going through a rough patch and I snapped a series of photos of her wearing her wedding dress (which she had torn into tatters) and looking both extremely vulnerable and extremely confident.

Head on over to stories with pictures to read the story inspired by my picture, and then read all the others. Finally, if you’re brave enough consider submitting either as an artist or a writer