This week i was lucky enough to get out and help with a event taking place in Margate over several days and ending with performances at the Theatre Royal in Margate on Friday the 25th and Saturday the 26th July 2014, Red Ladies have arrived !
There was a large group of identically dressed women who converged on Margate town on Wednesday 23rd July. They all made their way around Margate in small groups, stopping off to visit certain locations along the way. I had been assigned the three Ladies pictured here. They stopped off for afternoon tea at Lady Teslas Loose Leaves and Mud Tea Rooms. They sell a vast array of specialist tea leaves and also sell coffee and cakes, well worth a visit.
While the ladies are around the town they stop and perform a series of mysterious, visually arresting interventions before rendezvousing at Margate Theatre Royal to perform their ‘theatrical demonstration’ in five movements.
So if you are in and around Margate this weekend you could see the Red Ladies out and about.
Please click on the post title to see more images….
Yesterday i was in London out and about with my camera, i visited the area of Canary Wharf where one of nine new stations is being built in Europe’s largest infrastructure project to date. The lattice work roof is a real eye catcher and looks very space age in what is a very modern part of London. Crossrail will link London from east to west, with nine new stations and 42 kilometres of new tunnels under the city. Located in the waters of the north dock next to the HSBC tower and close to the residential neighbourhood of Poplar, the development’s new public spaces are conceived as an accessible, welcoming bridge between the two areas. The four levels of retail, roof garden, pavilions and station entrances are unified by a complex timber roof, which wraps around the building like a shell.
If you are interested in the project you can read about it here
When you look at how the project will look i am sure there will be more great images from photographers as the project develops, it really is a stunning piece of architecture.
The Monument stands at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill in the City of London. It was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of the City.
The fire began in a baker’s house in Pudding Lane on Sunday 2nd September 1666 and finally extinguished on Wednesday 5th September, after destroying the greater part of the City. Although there was little loss of life, the fire brought all activity to a halt, having consumed or severely damaged thousands of houses, hundreds of streets, the City’s gates, public buildings, churches and St. Paul’s Cathedral. The only buildings to survive in part were those built of stone, like St. Paul’s and the Guildhall.
As part of the rebuilding, it was decided to erect a permanent memorial of the Great Fire near the place where it began. Sir Christopher Wren, Surveyor General to King Charles II and the architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and his friend and colleague, Dr Robert Hooke, provided a design for a colossal
Doric column in the antique tradition. They drew up plans for a column containing a cantilevered stone staircase of 311 steps leading to a viewing platform. This was surmounted by a drum and a copper urn from which flames emerged, symbolizing the Great Fire. The Monument, as it came to be called, is 61 metres high (202 feet) – the exact distance between it and the site in Pudding Lane where the fire began.
The column was completed in 1677, and in accordance with Wren’s original intention, was at first used as a place for certain experiments of the Royal Society, but vibrations caused by ceaseless traffic proved too great for the success of these experiments and they were discontinued; thereafter the Monument became a place of historic interest, unique of its kind, providing visitors with an opportunity to look across London in all directions from a height of about 160 feet, being the level of the public gallery.
The above was taken from the Monuments website.
I visited London today with a friend and we decided to visit The Monument. Admission was £4 per adult. You enter at the very base of the Monument where you are greeted by a single staircase that spirals up the column in 311 steps.
When we got to the top the view was very nice although i thought spoiled by the steel chicken wire that surrounded you from railing height up. I assume this is here to prevent large objects being thrown such as humans !
I think next time a better time to go would be nearer winter when the evenings get dark earlier and you get to see the city illuminated. Then 311 steps back down !
When i reached the bottom i was handed a certificate for my efforts , made it all worth while !
Time really is flying past, this is my Niece who has just left school and as we are getting very American , she had a school prom to attend. This is a portrait i took after the event.
Three light set up
Key light ( Canon 580exii )
Camera left in a 16″ gridded beauty dish 1/8th power
Fill Light ( Youngnuo 568 exii )
Camera right in 24″ square softbox 1/16th power
Background light ( Canon 430 exii )
Bare gridded speedlite 1/64th power
Seamless grey background and speedlites triggered with the Youngnuo yn622c triggers.
The Winterstoke sun shelter and rock gardens are located on Victoria Parade, Ramsgate, Kent, United Kingdom.
Overlooking the sea, the ornamental gardens were laid out and presented to the Borough of Ramsgate by Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills in 1920 and opened to the public in June 1923 by the Mayor of Ramsgate (Alderman A. W. Larkin). They are maintained by Thanet District Council and were Grade II listed on 4 February 1988. The site is listed on the Ramsgate Society`s Buildings at risk register.
Winterstoke sun shelter, photographed by Benedict Kelly, 2013.
The gardens were designed by the architects Sir John Burnet & Partners, and constructed by Pulham and Son. The main feature of the gardens, is a semi-circular shaped colonnade carved into the pulhamite recess. Inside the shelter, and now lost, were two pieces of sculpture work by Mr. Gilbert Bayes. They represented children playing with the “Ram” of Ramsgate.
On the upper terrace, approached by broad flights of steps, the gardens proper are reached. In the center, and immediately over the shelter, is a circular pool enclosed on the north side by a semi-circular Roman seat.
Above info taken from Wikipedia.
Its a far cry from its former glory, i found a great site that shows images now and then
Took a quick drive down to Minnis Bay, near Birchington today as i just needed to get out with my gear as i have not had much chance lately. Due to the really harsh light i decided a mono image was in order and these old groynes really lend themselves well to that type of image. The conversion was done with Silver Efex Pro 2.
Took the opportunity to do a couple of rock stack images one of which i played around with split toning in Lightroom.
Today was Fathers day here in the UK and this is my dad. This is the first time i have photographed him since i have been doing portraits. He agreed to allow me to take some images and these were some of the results. I used a single speedlite in a 16″ beauty dish to fill the shadows.
I had the beauty dish on the end of a small boom arm which is much more stable when using outside in windy conditions.
The art of photography can really be challenging at times. Trying to get the lighting right , the camera settings and all the technical stuff , let alone having to come up with poses and trying to get emotion into your images. This selfie sums up my continued inability to communicate or connect with my models or even myself !!!
2ft x 2ft Gridded softbox camera right with a 580 ex ii at 1/4 power as Key light
16 inch gridded beauty dish up high on camera axis at 1/32 as fill light
A gridded 430exii on the background at 1/64th power
All strobes fired with Youngnuo 622c Triggers
Here are a few more images from the same session. I am happy that my lighting seems to be going in the right direction , must make effort and get some more willing models , must be patient, to work with lol !
Took a drive out to Reculver tonight to see the sunset and to take some images, what i should have taken was a pair of wellies ! I like the fact that the car park there is free after 18:00 hrs , this time of year its perfect for us photographers to get there in plenty of time for sunset. I made my way up the slope past the towers and down the other side where i made my way down onto the beach. I made my way along the top of the shingle and could see some water coming from somewhere, so i made my way down to investigate. I have never noticed this water outlet before , situated at one end of one of the rock water breaker. Before i knew it , i was walking or wading through small pools of sandy water and my jeans were getting soaked.
When i was getting ready to leave i bumped into another couple of photographers who were a little more prepared than i as they had wellington boots on !! Oh by the way if that was you, Sorry, i was not ignoring you i just had my ear phones in so couldn’t hear you !!
For this image i think it was a three stop solid ND filter i used , just to help smooth out the water slightly not the greatest sunset but i just had to get my gear out, not been out for a while so it was good to get out this evening.
Took a drive out to Kings Wood today just to see the bluebells in full bloom and i was not disappointed as you can see from these few images……
Took this image of MI6, The Secret Intelligence Service building, London,England ,on a recent trip to Tate Britain, which is literally two min walk away. I took my mini tabletop tripod and some filters as i knew i wanted to shoot this location while i was here. The sky on the day was less than interesting and was pretty overcast in general. I took this with the Lee Big Stopper on a twenty second exposure just to smooth out the water really.
Some editind done in lightroom, photoshop and the Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.
Would like to go back a photograph this at sunset , with all the lights on and St George Wharf all illuminated, so will return at some point.
Today was the first day for a while that i had no plans, so i decided to head into London and visit Tate Britain. I have been wanting to do this since they spent somewhere in the region of £45 million , part of which was for this great new staircase which is proving very popular especially with us photographers.
I packed my gear and headed off for the train, i got the 11:05 high speed train from Ramsgate to St Pancras and from here i went onto the underground. Had to get the southbound Victoria Line towards Brixton and alighted at Pimlico. From here its a very short five minuet walk to the Tate Britain.
I made my way up the stairs to the main entrance, went in and donated the suggested £4 fee. Figured i was going to get at least one decent image and some culture at the same time so the fee was worth it to me. Yo dont actually have to pay anything to enter , there is a large donation box in the center of the entrance hall.
From this level i headed down the staircase into the lower level to get some images from there…….
Had my niece and nephew pop over this week as they wanted a couple of portraits doing so with my spare room completely empty, i had already put in my seamless grey background and set up my three speedlites beforehand. This was the first time i had ever done any of their family portraits before other than just candid snaps. Beau, pictured above, had seen a image i had done a while back of my son which was a real close up head shot with the sides of the face being illuminated by gridded speedlites and a gritty portrait type of processing applied in post. We did this image first and then on to some more traditional head and three quarter length shots.
I liked the image i took of him above in his Karate outfit or Karategi, the Japanese for Karate Training Outfit. As i took it against the grey seamless it was a very quick and simple process to cut him from that and blend him into a image i downloaded from a free wallpaper site. The downside of this is the resolution is pretty low and you would struggle to get a good size print from it. For this reason i must make a effort to shoot some locations purely so as i can use them in future composite images.
Then there was Bella, for this image i set up a Beauty dish as my main light directly in front of Bella and up high, i then added a softbox for fill and placed this again directly in front and below the main light to form a clam shell lighting set up. I took the shot with the camera pointing between the two lights. This gives a nice clean beauty type light with soft shadows. I had Bella hold a hair dryer pointing up to create some movement in her hair.
All the processing was done in lightroom and photoshop . They like the final results so that’s the important thing. I had fun doing it and gained some valuable experience in the process. Having to think on your feet and adapt the lighting on the fly for very different looks. Got lots of other images from the shoot but these are my personal favorites.
I recently purchased some black acrylic, as i wanted to try some commercial photography type images, boy is it harder than you think ! I struggled to get the look i was after at first and trying to control the lights was a bit of a game at first but through trial and error really i found a set up i was happy with.
The acrylic was placed on a black and decker workmate i set up a softbox to camera right, which is a lastolite 24 x 24 inch box. It has two layers of diffusion and i placed a grid to the front of that which really helped with the direction of light. I initially tried without the grid but i was getting spill on the background and did not have a flag i could use in the space i was in so the grid really helped.
I placed the background light on a small table top tripod and angled it up and also added a grid. Took several test shots to get the spot where i wanted it, but thats the trouble with speedlites, no modeling light !
I then added a silver reflector to camera left to bounce some light back into the shot.
If you have ever tried this type of shot yourself you will know how difficult it is to get everything right especially the liquid itself. If you were to take the shot as is the liquid would be very dark as the lights are not angled and directed into the bottle as such so a trick i picked up from Karl Taylor Photography was to cut some card the shape of the bottle and stand it behind at a slight angle so as to catch some of the key light and bounce it back through the bottle. This is probably the most important part of this shot as without it the bottle just doesn’t come alive.
I actually cheated a little by having the camera locked down on a tripod and just placing a white card behind the bottle and taking both images as layers into photoshop cc and using a layer mask to blend them together, same result just without the cutting out of the card !
I still think the image needs another element like a glass half full with some ice cubes in, may have to look at some acrylic ice cubes for this type of image but over all i was happy with the result, any hints tips or constructive critique is always welcome, please feel free to comment.
Took one tulip stem and clamped it, carefully, into my workmate which was about four foot away from a seamless grey background. I used a 16 inch gridded beautydish to high camera right , a silver reflector to camera left and a gridded speedlite on the background to illuminate a small spot behind the flower.
After importing into lightroom i made some basic tonal adjustments to the image in the develop module before taking the image into Photoshop CC . Here i made a selection of the tulip using the quick selection tool and then used refine edge to well refine the edge! I then saved the selection for use in the next step.
If you have photoshop cc and you haven’t already i suggest you download the Adobe Paper Texture Pro from the Exchange its a great free download with lots of textures you can use on your images. This it what i used here. I selected three different textures and applied them to the whole image , you can also change the blend mode for each of the textures. I also desaturated two of the textures so there was only the texture and no colour. I selected the three texture layers and put them into a group. I then added a layer mask to the whole group and loaded my saved selection of the flower onto the mask. This then removed the texture from the flower leaving it visable on only the background.
Hope you like the image and it inspires you to have a go yourself, thanks for looking.
Never really ever think of using just one light especially as a hard light source but on this occasion i had thought of this and the look i was going for , so with that in mind i set about making a homemade light modifier. Its simply a piece of card with several slots in. I attached this to the front of a snooted speedlite . I positioned camera right high up pointing down towards my subject, in such a position to cast the shadows on the subject and the background. I was pleased with this result although i would have liked more shadow on the background but its a trial and error thing to get it positioned correctly.
This was another image from the same shoot, in landscape orientation i managed to get the shadows better defined with the subject looking out into the negative space. This image has a different look and feel as it has a high contrast almost film noir look about it.
Just got back from a short two night London City Break with with my wife. We had a great time just relaxing and shopping, i had no idea you could get so tired on what should have been a break !! We arrived on Monday and made our way to the Hotel i had booked. I used lastminute.com to book what was advertised to be a luxury 4 star Hotel in the Kensington and Chelsea area. Sounded ok so i went ahead and booked it. It was one of them secret hotel deals and when i paid it revealed its identity and location.
Turned out to be Millennium & Copthorne Hotels At Chelsea Football Club , great if you are a Chelsea fan or even a football fan, i am neither ! However as we arrived on a Monday there were no matches to be played and no other major events being held at the stadium during our stay i hoped it would all be quiet and ok.
When we arrived at Fullham Broadway underground station we made our way along fullham road towards the ground. You could see the entrance to the stadium almost immediately.
We walked past the first entrance and made our way to the second entrance where you could see the hotel from the main road. This hotel was separated in to two building , one was the Millennium and the other was the Copthorne Hotel, we ended up staying in the latter , which i think is the older of the two buildings.
We made our way to reception and the check in process was very quick and simple, however i did have to give a debit card to reception for them to charge me a £30 deposit refundable in three to five working days after our stay as long as there was nothing taken !! I am not sure if this was because of the usual clients or if it was that i just looked a bit dodgy !
We were checked in and the deposit taken and we were then given our entry cards to the room. We had requested a double bed as when i paid for the room i was told it would be a double or twin room depending on availability , but in the special comments for the hotel section i asked if it was possible and available the double room was preferred. This they mentioned when we checked in and that they had granted our request.We stayed in room 403 which as you can see from the image is a nice size room with all the basics, en-suite, bed, tea and coffee, smart tv, wardrobe with iron and ironing board etc.The view from the room was not great but i did not expect anything other especially staying on the outskirts of London in February. If you were to stay in the summer the room was also air conditioned.
We decided that we were going to head out onto the underground and head for the Southbank and at some point find somewhere nice to sit and have a meal.
We ended up getting off the underground at St James Park and made our way round in front of Buckingham Palace, from here we made our way down through St James park and out by The Houses Of Parliament.
This is Deb, my wife, she hates her photo being taken but i managed to get her in front of my camera as i had set up a make shift studio in a tiny spare room. The room is only 10 feet long by 9 feet wide, has a built in cupboard taking up some room right next to a inward opening door. So to position the lights where you want them is very difficult and have to kind of work around the limitations of the room.
I set a roll of grey seamless paper as the background as far back against the wall as i could get it, and raised it as high as i could. The lighting was a three light set up.
Due to the confines of my set up i found myself shooting from the landing on the first step of a ladder so i could shoot slightly downwards. Does not help being so short myself !
If you want to see a larger view visit it here on my FLicR account or click the smaller image above to show a larger version
I used lightroom 5 for some basic editing and finished in Photoshop cc. Still learning the lighting set ups and retouching techniques, i welcome your feedback and advise.
Here is another image from the same set up
USING A BEAUTY DISH WITH SPEEDLITES
Back in October 2013 i purchased a Beauty Dish and since this date i have read lots of information about how to use these light modifiers. I, like many photographers, only use small speedlites and not the usual studio lights. There is very little information about the use of beauty dishes with these type of lights and what there is i found confusing and contradictory. For this reason i thought i would share with you my findings and how i like to use the dish with my current set up and work flow.
THE CAMERA GEAR
HOW I SET UP THE TEST
I had a grey seamless background setup on a stand and positioned the beauty dish on a lightstand 2 feet from the background and the camera was on a tripod which was 6 feet away from the background i used the Youngnuo triggers to fire the speedlites and a ir remote to fire the camera.
Today was my day off work, and where was i ?, back on a train to Stratford !
Myself and a mate and fellow photographer Barry Stewart headed up to Canary Wharf area with our camera. We got the Docklands Light Railway from Stratford to Poplar , on arrival it instantly started to rain so we headed off on foot the short distance to Canary Wharf . The weather really ruined the day but we managed to get a couple of images of Canary Wharf Underground Station.
I also got this image of The Cat and Canary, a traditional English Pub
Today was the first day of the London Tube strike so the underground station was surprisingly deserted. The weather just deteriorated to the point we just decided to head home. Really wish the weather would change for the better getting a little tired of all the wind and rain we having lately, need some real summer weather.
This is one of the first portraits i have done this year, this is due to family problems. I received a flash meter for Christmas and this was also its first real outing ! Still trying to get to grips with it.
I have also been following a couple of photographers who produce some stunning portraits they are Regina Pagles and Nakean Wickliff, their work has inspired me to try and get some portraiture work under my belt this year with a view to getting anywhere near their standard.
This is a two light set up key light was a 580exii in a 16″ inch beauty dish to camera right
Fill light was a 430ex ii in a lastolite softbox to camera left
The room is a small empty bedroom so space was extremely tight and really couldn’t get my lights where I wanted them.
I welcome your comments and constructive critique , lighting tips always welcome as well as post processing techniques etc
Took a trip out to Kearsney Abbey today, when i left home the weather was clearing and essentially not raining, by the time i arrived at Dover it was pouring down again. Sat in the car for a while while to see if the weather would ease, it did but never actually stopped raining ! I decided i had come this far so got out the car got my gear out and headed down towards Kearsney Abbey Waterfall.
As i made my way down to the lake area i noticed how empty the park was , there were only a couple of dog walkers that i could see. I followed the path to stay on solid ground as long as i could but eventually the path ended and i had to cross a small grass area towards the lake. The moment i stepped onto the grass i found myself sinking into the ground, it was that soaked. The lake was almost up to ground level and as a result the water was moving very quickly over the fall..
Got my camera set up on the tripod and attached a circular polarising filter. Set my composition and adjusted the filter, i then set my exposure and took the shot. The water was moving very fast so only needed a relatively short shutter speed to achieve this effect, this on was 1.6 seconds helped by a very small aperture of F/22.
Editing was done in Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC
Made some contrast adjustments with onones photo effects 8 dynamic contrast filter and applied a tilt shift blur in Photoshop CC blur gallery.
While i was on my way down to Ramsgate Harbour today i came across workman who were just opening up the old Ramsgate War Tunnels as the council has plans to open them to the public. They plan to have them open for June 1st 2014 exactly 75 years after the first section was opened in 1939.
Think the plan is for some sort of museum within the tunnels somewhere, watch the report from BBC News
Took a walk down along Ramsgate harbour today and found myself walking around the East Pier towards the Lighthouse, i have only walked around this side of the harbour a couple of times before but after seeing a image taken from this spot from a flickr contact ,Tony Matthews, i decided i wanted to do a mono version of this. The sky was not really playing ball today as it was a little to cloudy. Wanted to get a better sky but some things just cant be planned for. I will have to return again and have another go another day. Thanks to Tony for the inspiration.
Took out the camera for the first time this year , been very busy what with Christmas and the birth of our first grandchild who is sadly suffering some problems and is being looked after by the Staff of Great Ormand Street.
“Madeira Walk was hewn out of chalk. The work began in 1892. This feature built by the road was an artificial waterfall and rustic bridge, with rocks giving the impression of a mountain scene. Later, with the widespread use of electricity, lights which changed to various colours were placed behind the running water. What is not generally known is that the rocks here are totally man-made from a special mix of sand, cement and an unknown ingredient—its trade name was Pulhamite. Madeira Walk cost nearly £60,000 to build, and because of the cost, the waterfall was dubbed ‘the rate-payers’ tears’. “
The passage above was taken from Here
I still remember climbing up and down the rocks along Madeira Walk as a child and i am glad to see this area has been kept very well over the years.
Been a little busy lately so photography has taken a back seat for the time being. This little angel is the reason. My grandaughter born just over a week ago but has had a few complications and has already seen three hospitals in the short time she has been around. She is being very well cared for at St Thomas Hospital London, with Mum and Dad by her side. They say she is improving and we hope this continues till the day we get a phone call to come and collect you all
I would like to wish them all a very Happy Christmas, we will be thinking about you all and looking forward to seeing you very soon, and hope more than anything you come home soon xxx
Woke early this morning for some reason and took the opportunity to get out and photograph a sunrise but as this was last minute decision i just headed to the harbour, due to the amount of cloud not the best of sunrises. However after the recent tidal surge i thought the tide today was quiet low.
Seen this shot on Flickr by a few different photographers and have wanted to get to photograph it myself, so while i was in London yesterday i made a point of aiming for it. This is The Staircase at Heals Department Store Tottenham Court Road London. The store is located almost opposite, Goodge Street Underground station, so is very easy to get to.
On arrival at the store i simply asked the two security staff if it was ok to photograph their wonderful staircase , to which they were very friendly and accommodating.
Having photographed this location i now have a appreciation of just how difficult it is to get the right composition, took several images and have included some of the better ones here.
Another great day out in London today where i managed to get to Natural History Museum. The main hall is a fantastic space. This image was taken with my Canon 5D MKiii with my Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L usm. Shot at F/6.3 at 1/25 sec at ISO 2000.
Been wanting to get this shot for a while now and today i decided was going to be the day i went to try and find the location. I have seen various images taken from this location from some of my online FLickR friends including Glenn Driver, who was kind enough to advise me on the nearest station to it, which is East India on the Docklands Light Railway.
My day started off departing Ramsgate on the High Speed train to London St Pancras from there i went over to Camden Town. This for me was a first and is the most culturally diverse place i think i have ever been. The high street has some amazing shop fronts and of course is the host of the world famous Camden Market where the smells from around the world just completely envelope you.
Think i will have to return to Camden Town for a day out and sample some of the food and partake in some of the many beverage establishments around this very interesting part of London.
From here i departed and made my way on the London Underground to Bank station and had a walk around the heart of the financial city, passing The Royal Exchange, The Gherkin and Lloyd s of London.
Well today summer really has come to an end here in the South East of England. The rain has been torrential all day . I had plans to go out with my camera today but had not planned on a rainy day. So what to photograph on a rainy day?
I just had a look around me and found my wife’s Danbo character on the side. The garden table had a nice puddle formed in the middle so placed Danbo in it, got on my coat and lucky for me i have a roof over my back door so the camera was set up under here with a 70 – 200 lens and i shot from a distance on a tripod. I used a flash mounted inside my Lumiquest III softbox , fired with the fantastic Youngnuo yn622c wireless triggers and i was using ettl as i was hand holding the flash. Think i may have dialed in about one stop of flash exposure compensation and under exposed the ambient light by about a stop and a half.
After a few test shots you kind of figure out the best position to place the flash and i found that lighting from slightly behind Danbo allowing the light to wrap around him and at the same time was back lighting some of the rain drops in the foreground.
There was a little post work here with the mono conversion being done in Niksoft Silver Efex Pro 2. The reflection was also added in post as the original was a little boring. What do you like to photograph on rainy days any ideas thoughts or suggestions ?
With the rain not sure how the fireworks displays are going to cope this evening but i hope it will clear in time for everyone to enjoy them.