My Flickr Photostream
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.
Today i received a parcel from amazon, which was a little bit of a surprise as it should not have arrived until Thursday according to their website. You can tell the order was rushed through as they delivered the wrong colour seamless background i ordered !!
The background i got was still grey just the wrong shade, i ordered Storm Grey and received Slate Grey. I think the Slate Grey is a little lighter in colour. Its not a huge problem as with grey seamless you can move the subject away from the background and it will fall to black or you can decide to light it and turn it bright white, put a gel on the lighting and turn it any colour you like.
In the image above i set up the seamless background on a stand and had my son, Ben stand about two to three feet from the background, i set my Key light in a 16″ beauty dish and had that boomed overhead and slightly to camera right, this was mainly due to the tight space i was working in and the boom arm was tight against the wall of my spare room!
I placed a second light behind and facing him set to very low power to help separate him from the background. I then had my wife hold a gold round reflector below and to camera left to provide some warm fill light, this is what you can see has spilled onto the background but i actually like the warm tones it provides.
Still only used the beauty dish a few times and i am still learning how to control the light with it but i do like the light it gives and will continue to learn how to use it as i go. I also have a grid and a diffuser which changes the light again.
As you can see from the above image there is hardly any spill onto the background at all with the honeycomb grid attached, and the image below with the sock attached.
The historic Tartar Frigate is one of the only 18th century flint restaurants in Kent.
I was out with my camera walking along the seafront at Broadstairs, while walking back from the small harbor area i saw this pub in the distance and just thought it looked a nice looking building especially as it is all illuminated in the evening.
Looking at the website if seafood is not your thing then there are alternatives and a brief look at the menu looks very nice, may have to book a visit myself. There is also a list of live music which is played on various nights so if you have never been might be worth a visit or if you have been why not let us know what its like !
The image of the pub was taken on a tripod with the following settings
1 sec exposure
Shot with a canon 5 D mkiii and a Canon 17-40mm F/4.0 L usm at 25mm
Edited in Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6.
Monday evening was Camera Club night at the Isle of Thanet Photographic Society. This week was Studio night and our models for the evening were anything but your usual high fashion models. Some members of the IOTPS brought in some studio equipment to photograph our subjects. Due to the number of members and the fact that radio triggers were required to fire the strobes it was a little difficult to work in a logical way. Another club member decided that we could set up a single speedlite fired through a umbrella outside the main hall.
The following images were all shot in that way.
This is Cut Throat Steve, a great character who used to teach gymnastics while serving in the armed forces, he did several tours of duty in various conflicts around the globe and is currently the proud owner of a recently assembled trike thanks to his fellow club members.
This is Kevin Bolden, a member of The South East 17 division
They were both active members of The Harley-Davidson Riders Club of Great Britain . Thanks to Kevin, Steve and all the members that gave up there time to come and model for us and hope that between our members we were able to provide you with some usable images.
A few days ago i ordered this bracket. It will allow you to connect any speedlite to any Bowens S fit studio light modifier , such as soft boxes, beauty dishes etc. The bracket comes in its own round carry bag and is of a metal construction. The bracket feels like it is well made but time will tell. I have also ordered a Beauty Dish and Light Boom as another light set up i want to try out. Hope to get some images up over the coming days. Just thought i would let you know that this bracket was out there makes it easy to add different modifiers to a standard speedlight.
This weekend saw London Open House 2013 and after trying to get to this for the last two years i was determined to get there this year and well as you can see i made it. I have to say i am glad i did. My first port of call was the Iconic Lloyds of London Building, which until today i had only ever photographed from outside. The inside is just as impressive.
Taken From Lloyds website:-
The internationally-renowned Lloyd’s building was designed by the architect Richard Rogers and took eight years to build. 33,510 cubic meters of concrete, 30,000 square metres of stainless steel cladding and 12,000 square metres of glass were used during the construction.
After this i then headed down to City Hall
If you would like to read more about the building click HERE
55 Baker Street sits on the site of the former Marks and Spencers Headquarters.
The building is split into a series of solidly designed stone-clad blocks and separated by sections of lattice-like glass with triangular forms.
The building will contain 45,800 square metres of offices, 4,200 square metres of retail, 1,500 square metres of leisure and 2,300 square metres of residential.
Typical office floor plans are over 6,000 square metres of space each
I have lots of images to process so hope to add to this post as i edit them or you can see them on my flickr page
Today i decided to do something a little different for me, photographically speaking. The reason for this is that i notice we have a chairman’s challenge this year of a single flower, at my local photography club. As i have never really had a proper go at this i thought i should get some practice in!
The set up was simple , i set my black and decker workmate up and carefully clamped a single flower into it. I then set up a light stand behind and clamped a piece of blue colored card to it to act as the background. I then set up a second light stand to which i attached my Canon 580 EX ii. I fitted the speedlite with my Lumiquest Softbox III. This is a small softbox but in comparison to the single flower was relatively large, this provides a nice soft light source.
The speedlite was set to manual at about 1/16th power and was fired using the fantastic Yongnuo YN-622c radio triggers. I shoot with a Canon 5D MK III and used the EF 24 – 105 F/4.0 IS L USM at F/8.0 for 1/100th sec. I took a number of shots to try out different compositions and lighting positions but i like the results of the above image.
I then started to play a bit with different lenses and flowers and used some macro rings for some real close up images. I then decided to convert some to mono and have to say i really like the mono results , here are some of the images i took.
Well this weekend i was asked to photograph a 50th birthday fancy dress event. I have never photographed a event like this before and found it challenging. It was in a hall with a very low ceiling. It had a stage area a bar area and a well lit area. The lighting conditions were constantly changing and trying to balance ambient with flash was tricky.
Here are a few shots from the evening which i think have come out pretty well.
The event was held at Minster Royal British Legion, thanks to them for holding the event and making it a great evening and the band also performed flawlessly. They are a local band called Happy Daze if you want to find out more they have a facebook fan page.
Any hints or tips on this type of events photography please leave a comment on how you deal with the light and your preferred set up and settings etc. I look forward to hearing what others do. If you want to see all the images from the event then they can be found HERE
Well back at home after a great week away in Santa Ponsa, Mallorca. Shared our week with my old mate Paul Addison and a new mate Maria. We had some great laughs and a certain amount of alcohol may have been consumed really sent me CoCo – Loco !
Lucky for me i have another week to get over it but everyone else will be back to work by tomorrow. I will endeavor to keep the holiday spirit alive for you all, that’s just the kind of mate i am !
The image above was taken with my point and shoot Panasonic Lumix TZ-10, as i didn’t want to lug around my great big slr. However its times like this you really wish you had!
Weather looking so much better today already. Had a good time last night out for a meal a few drinks and a late night walk across the bay.
The only problem was a broken chair on the balcony and it assent ours. Ill say no more!
Today’s plan is beach day so sun bathing snorkelling and swimming .
Arrived at gatwick airport yesterday to find my mate and his girlfriend had booked the same holiday and were joining us for the week. Was a very nice surprise co organised by my wife for the last two months !
We woke to the sound of the biggest thunder storm I have heard in years