Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

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Mr. Magic Hour strikes again!

In Uncategorized on October 2, 2012 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Norton Cemetary, Sheffield, UK

Isn’t Sheffield brilliant! In cinematography, “Magic Hour” or “Golden Hour” is that time of day when the sun is low in the sky and produces warm tones with low contrast shadows.

Graves Park, Leeshall Wood & Norton Lees Golf Course, Sheffield, UK

These were all taken close to where I live, and I’ve shot these places many times. However, it’s hard to resist given such fantastic conditions.

Carr Wood & Graves Park, Sheffield, UK

Some of these are single shots, adjusted to create silhouettes, and the others are high dynamic range (HDR), processed with Photomatix Pro from 3 exposures. Lots more photos of Sheffield and many other places on my Flickr account.

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I love Barcelona but my ♥ belongs to Sheffield

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2012 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, and the Q-Park ‘Cheesegrater” & St. Paul’s Tower, Sheffield.

The honeymoon is over. No, really, I got married earlier in the summer and we spent our honeymoon in Barcelona. It’s something of a treat for lovers of architecture and the Catalonians are very proud of their artistic heritage. I loved every minute of it; the architecture, the food, the culture, the weather. How could you not love Barcelona?

Part of the Olympic Park, Barcelona, and the new South Street Park, Sheffield.

However, I prefer Sheffield. I ♥ Sheffield. I was not born here but I grew up nearby. I’ve lived in Sheffield since 2003, but I wish I’d moved here earlier.

The Arc de Triomf, Barcelona, and The Cutlers’ Hall, Sheffield.

What’s more, we have a few architectural gems of our own. Here are some high dynamic range (HDR) photos taken in both cities.
welcometosheffield.co.uk

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No such thing as an authentic photograph

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2012 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , ,

“For a creative writer possession of the “truth” is less important than emotional sincerity.” George Orwell (1903 – 1950)

I grew up in a world where professional photography was a distant and unattainable world. Nowadays everyone has a camera. Everyone. And taking pictures has become as much a part of our daily lives as eating our meals and, in my case, sometimes simultaneously.

I was first drawn to high dynamic range (HDR) imaging in 2008 after seeing very striking images online. My own approach is to make authentic looking photographs, that capture more of the detail and colour depth that is seen by the human eye, rather than the limited range represented by “normal” photography.

I always say “there is no such thing as an authentic photograph”, and when I say it I think of the iconic photograph by Yevgeny Khaldei (1917 – 1997), of a Russian soldier raising the Soviet flag on the Reichstag after the invasion of Berlin during the Second World War. The high-contrast black and white photograph has become a benchmark of authenticity, but only because it has been made universally familiar by newspapers. However, neither a still, nor a moving image can ever be more than an impression of the scene.

The original photograph (above), the added smoke (top right) and the final manipulated composite (bottom right).

Without going into too much detail, current information claims that the photograph was manipulated to remove the extra wristwatches (obviously looted) from the Heroes of the Soviet Union, and to add more smoke in the background, making a more dramatic composition. Whatever the manipulation, there is no doubting the veracity, or truthfulness, or as Orwell would say “emotional sincerity”, of the image. The terrifying fragility of the situation in a blasted city still in a state of war is clearly communicated.

Here are the 3 original shots used to create the image above. It was a very bright, windy day and the composite, adjusted and cropped, tone-compressed HDR (using Photomatix Pro) gives an “authentic impression” of the scene.

My own dilemma is informed by my desire to capture what I see as authentically as possible, but no camera nor combination of techniques will ever capture a “true” image.

Lots more of my photography on Flickr.

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New Year and the tyranny of choice

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2012 by Admin Tagged: , , , , ,

Happy New Year. It’s quite natural to be thinking about new opportunities at the beginning of a new year and if anything, working in digital media, the problem is not what to do, but what not to do. The automation possible with desktop computers and the availability of high quality image capture devices means that it is very easy to shoot lots and lots and lots of material. But the real challenge is in post-production and critical choice.

My own tyranny stems from having too many ideas and too many options. Digital photography does not require me to be selective at the capture stage and I can always see more than one composition. Here are 3 shots of the same subject with different composition. Which one to use and how to crop? I’m still unsure which one I prefer.

My major challenge for 2012 is to clear my backlog. I have dozens of small projects, and a few large ones, that I shot on spec but need to find time to edit. And that does not include all the conceived projects that are fully formed in my mind but not even begun in production.

2011 was a bad year, cursed by technical failures, equipment losses and late payments, and much of my own work has been delayed.

Happy New Year and here’s to a more productive and prosperous 2012.

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Through the eye of a duck (this must be the place).

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2011 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Here are some examples from my first test of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. I am using it on an EOS 550D digital SLR and so is equivalent to an 80mm lens on a full-frame 35mm equivalent sensor. It’s known to perform well beyond its price range.

If you click on the close-ups, you will see the 1:1 version at actual size. You can clearly see me and the geese reflected in the turkey’s eye. Below is the full captured frame.

All these images are post-processed with Adobe Photoshop, using the Topaz Adjust plug-in to enhance the perception of detail, and also sharpened a little. However, software cannot add detail although it can increase your perception of it. all the detail is in the original shot and there is no substitute for good lenses.

Larry the Llama

These shots were taken at the rare breeds farm at Graves Park, Sheffield, UK. I think the turkey is the best of the shots and the goose the least good, but all very successful for a grey day and a bit of random shooting with a new lens.

Graves Park, Sheffield, UK
gravesparksheffield.info
Canon Camera
Canon.co.uk
Topaz Adjust
topazlabs.com

p.s. None of these animals are ducks.

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Shooting into the light – Experiments in HDR

In Uncategorized on December 1, 2011 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , ,

I have been experimenting with high dynamic range (HDR) photography since 2008. I first became interested when I was researching for an application for artist-in-residence at The Lowry Theatre, Salford, Manchester, UK. I was searching for reference images on Flickr.com and came across HDR photos and was struck by the increased perception of detail and colour depth.

At first, it was a very frustrating technique to use and it took me a while to get any results that I was in the least satisfied with. Just to make things even harder for myself, here are a few recent examples of my experiments shooting directly into the sun.

I use Photomatix Pro for post-processing 3 exposure bracketed images with +/- 2EV. I mostly shoot hand-held and find that the combination of Canon image-stabilised (IS) lenses and the software correction of Photomatix Pro (usually) compensates for my WobblyCam shooting.

Lots more HDR photography on my Flickr account.

Photomatix Pro is available here:
hdrsoft.com

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Artist In Residence at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, UK

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2011 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


In July and August I will be Artist In Residence at Bank Street Arts, 32-40 Bank Street, Sheffield S1 2DS.

I will be shooting timelapse video with a view to creating a new piece of work as part of my project “The Secret Life of Buildings”. This is a body of video work that is intended to present a portrait of a building that is not necessarily a literal document of it.

The first in this series is “The Eye and The Sky” (2008), which was shot in The HUBS (Sheffield Hallam University’s Students’ Union building).

I will be documenting my progress on a new blog, and will be writing a text about the process. We also hope to have a screening at Bank Street Arts after the residency. I will not be present every day but will be shooting on and off throughout July and August.

thesecretlifeofbuildings.wordpress.com
bankstreetarts.com