Friday, 31 December 2010

Jeté by Enzo Plazzotta

I like sculptures that are in the street rather than in museums. This means you are allowed to touch them (if you can reach them) and you may take photos. I really don't think that photos hurt sculptures when they are indoors but many galleries don't allow any photography. I have written about this restriction on a previous blog and the bottom line is a total ban is acceptable because visitors don't understand the damage that flash lighting does to many of the exhibits.

This statue is called jeté by Enzo Plazzotta and if you didn't know what a jeté was then you do now. If you are looking at the Vauxhall Bridge (see yesterday's blog) then turn around and you will see this statue. The lighting wasn't brilliant and I wasn't particularly happy with the plane just above the statue's head and the clutter in the bottom left of the photo. I did take out the distractions and then I went on to make the silhouette on the right. No need for any support with silhouettes and the weather isn't important.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Photo versus engraving

On the left I have increased the contrast of the modern view of the Vauxhall Bridge. On the right is the engraving which has had its contrast increased.

I don't know about you but it looks so much nicer on the right. Partly it is because there is light coming through the arches of the bridge and partly it is because the trees come out well but it is interesting to compare the photo with the engraving.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Look for the repairs

If you followed yesterday's blog then you will know that this is an engraving of the Vauxhall Bridge. The engraving is outside on the north bank of the Thames and so it is affected by the weather and possibly vandalism. This meant that I had to tidy it up a little because some areas were scratched and worn.

You may be able to tell that I have made some repairs on the left but with the increased contrast on the right you lose sight of the repairs. That's if you saw them in the first place.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Vauxhall Bridge

The view on the left is looking at the Thames from the Tate Britain. It wasn't busy on the day that I went but as you can also see that the weather wasn't brilliant. If you cross the road and walk a little to the right you get the view on the right. It is Vauxhall Bridge and the building behind the bridge is the St George Wharf.

The flats on the wharf may be luxurious but it isn't a particularly famous building. In fact the only reason I am showing it to you is because tomorrow I have the same view from an engraving. Tomorrow's photo is taken from the same place as the photo on the right. I just had to look down to see a lot of information about the history of this bridge and the surrounding area.

Happy snapping

Monday, 27 December 2010

The names of London buildings

On the left the building in the foreground is called Vintners Place. It looks really good in the sunlight with the Thames in front of it. However the building that you might be able to name is 30 St Mary Axe, more commonly known as The Gherkhin. It was built in 2004 and I would get the quiz question right if the answer is The Gherkhin. I don't think I would get the point for its official address.

On the right is London Bridge Tower. Well it is fairly near London Bridge but the first name that comes to mind is The Shard. You can see Southwark Cathedral just in front of The Shard. Cathedral buildings are supposed to dominate the landscape as they do in many other cities but gone are the days when this building looked imposing.

As for the funny names, I suppose it is all part of the marketing. You will know The Gherkin and The Shard, even though the building is far from complete. Did you know about Vintners' Place even though the name has been around for centuries? I think we are heading for a lot more strange names.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 26 December 2010

A view from the Victoria Tower Gardens

I had been to the Tate Modern on the afternoon of Friday 17th December. It was the day before the really heavy snowfall in London but as you can see from the last few photos, it was quite a sunny afternoon. Earlier that morning I had visited the Tate Britain and this was the view from the north bank of the Thames in the Victoria Tower Gardens. You may not be surprised to read that these gardens are next to the Victoria Tower in the Palace of Westminster.

As for the photos, I am not keen on unattached branches and twigs in the picture. In this case I couldn't help including some leaves but the sky was so uniform it was a very simple task to take them out on the computer. i thought the dull sky gaave the photo some atmospher which was helped by decreasing the contrast. Hence the two amendments on the right.

happy snapping

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Well it is the Tate Modern

I know it is Christmas Day but these photos are simply a continuation of the London theme. Yesterday I showed you the self-portrait from the terrace of the Tate Modern.

The photo on the left is a variation with a little more contrast and a little darker. The photo on the right has been amended in a similar way but you may guess that I have increased contrast and made it a lot darker. Well it is a window in the Tate Modern.

Happy snapping

Friday, 24 December 2010

Tate Modern

Yesterday's photos were taken from the cafe terrace that you can see in the bottom left corner of the photo on the left. Lighting is so important in photography and the only reason I am showing the terrace is to put the photo on the right into context.

This is my attempt at a self-portrait. The modern art lines are fluorescent tubes in the cafe and the white circles are on the patio doors. The main picture is, of course, the reflection in the patio door windows.

No, I didn't take any photos in the gallery, but I did see quite a few photos being taken in all the galleries that I visited. We really don't deserve to see some of the fine paintings from around the world and at this rate they won't last much longer.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 23 December 2010

St Paul's and the Thames

This is the view from the Tate Modern. I was in London last week and managed to see quite a few works of art including Lichtenstein's Whaam which is at this very art gallery. I can't say that I appreciate most modern art and some of it I found to be Pollock's (joke).

In fact I found the views outside much more beautiful than most of the items inside the gallery and if these two photos were enlarged and hung in the gallery then I would have spent more time looking at them than almost everything else. Still, my two blogs on pop art show that I can appreciate some modern art.

As for these photos, the shade puts the emphasis on the buildings on the horizon and the weak winter afternoon rays from the sun gives nice lighting to the scene. If you have to travel then you may be cursing the weather but it is nice to see the snow in photos.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

As seen in Lancashire Life

I had promised photos of London from my trip last week but normal service is temporarily suspended, like most of the transport network since my return, in order to give you the latest photography news. There are some great photo on page 96 of the January edition of Lancashire life with the headline "Lancaster Medical Book Club dinner in Morecambe".

Alright they are my photos and what is more they have given me the credit. The editor has chosen thirteen of the photos with more formal poses but there were plenty that were less formal. I am not bothered which photos he chose as it is just very nice to see my photos in the magazine.

I can now look forward to adding some wording on my website that says my photos have been published in Lancashire Life.

Happy snapping

And here is the link to the Lancashire Life website which includes some of the less formal poses: -

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Pop Art 2

Here is my second attempt at pop art. The dots are a little better but I would like more. I'll have to do some more work on it.

I'm not going to tell you how to change your photos. This blog isn't about technicalities but I hope you get inspiration to work on your own photos. That's why I went to the Tate Modern, Tate Britain, The National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.

I didn't take any photos in the galleries. It is easy enough to buy postcards or books on styles of art. You can see a lot of art on the internet. Just try searching for Lichenstein's Whaam and you will see my inspiration for working on today's and yesterday's photos.

Happy snapping

Monday, 20 December 2010

Pop Art 1

I returned from London on Saturday after spending a few days mostly in art galleries or theatres. I saw a prime example of pop art in the Tate Modern (Lichenstein's Whaam) so I thought I would show you my first attempt at pop art and tomorrow I will show you the second. You will see some photos of London but I'll show you the pop art first.

Pop art should include dots and lines. Well you can see some lines on the right but the dots are not detailed. Now that I have had a close look at Whaam I will have a better idea on how to create my own art. I worked on today's and tomorrow's images before I went to London but that's how you learn, little by little.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 19 December 2010

And Finally

Following on from yesterday's blog, I did take out the shadows when they were most obvious. You can't see any here even with the white background. Well it was a white sheet to start with even if it doesn't look like it now.

On the left I converted to monochrome and on the right sepia. If you saw either of these versions you would have no idea of the original background. You would only know that the background was light and there were no shadows!

Happy snapping

Saturday, 18 December 2010

No shadows on the right

There are many ways of getting rid of shadows and the best and easiest is not to have them in the first place. If you are a miser like me then you don't do it by studio lighting but by dark backgrounds. If you find that your dark background is not dark enough then you can get on the computer and get rid of the shadows. On the left is the photo before manipulation.

An alternative to amending the shadow areas is to give it an arty feel by increasing contrast and making it darker. You won't find any shadows on the right.

Happy snapping

Friday, 17 December 2010

Natural Smiles

If you ask a brother and sister to pose then you may easily find that they stand together. It was nice to see the pose on the left and even nicer to see the pose on the right because you can see at once that the gesture is a joke and the smiles are natural.

I try to keep instructions to a minimum as you can tell they are thinking about the instruction rather than how they look on the photo. When I take wedding photos I do give as few instructions as possible but I do let everyone know when I am taking the photo. The best smiles are either during the set photos when a guest makes a joke or during the informal photos when the smile is natural anyway.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Photograpic Backgrounds

This is the real reason that I was asked to take the portraits. It was for a photo of the two of them together. I used three backgrounds and my preference is for this one but I know it is not everyone's choice, and that's why I like to take a few more photos with a few different poses and use a few different backgrounds.

This is a collapsible background and it isn't as big as the photos may make it appear. I have amended the backgrounds on the computer and printed them out. I actually prefer a £2,50 dark piece of cloth but the image is not quite right!

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The Fridge Magnets

Here are the fridge magnets. Most photos are amended to monochrome and sepia. Occasionally I make further amendments like increasing contrast and changing the brightness. It gives it a more arty feel and that is what I wanted to convey with the main photos that they would see.

it is a very simple technique to make changes like this, well anything is simple if you know how to do it but this is simple and only takes a few clicks on the computer. As for the boxes around the images, well that helped me cut the paper to the right size.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Two portraits

I took some portraits last week of a brother and sister and here they are. I used three backgrounds, a collapsible black background, a collapsible cloudy background and a white sheet. This is the white sheet. You may not be able to recognise it because I converted each photo into monochrome and then into sepia. so the sheet looks like sepia.

It didn't take long to take the photos. We were looking for a photo of the two of them together but it only took a few seconds to take them separately too. It really didn't take long to take the photos and a few days later I handed back a disc and 110 prints as well as two fridge magnets. I'll show you those tomorrow.

Happy snapping

Monday, 13 December 2010

Photographic Cropping

Panoramas are useful for long thin subjects like coastlines. This view is Morecambe. There isn't that much interest in the sky and the promenade isn't that much better. You can crop to any shape you like and common proportions are 6:4, 7:5, 8:6 or 10:8. Proportions aren't sizes and I could have written 3:2 for 6:4 but I was thinking of photo sizes in inches. In this case I was thinking in terms of inches when I labelled it 6:2 but 3:1 is exactly the same proportion.

I often think that photographs give you time to consider the view. Lighting helps as well as you don't often walk along Morecambe Prom and consider the wind farms on Caton Moor. This photo also highlight the block of flats. It is a strange anomaly for the coastline but the views from there are terrific.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Record environmental change

On the 28th October I showed you a photo of these Viking graves in Heysham. I didn't show you these views which are not as common as those from the other side of the graves looking towards Morecambe. In the photo on the left you can start to see the way that the land is falling away from the graves. I have been told that you used to be able to walk around them.

There is quite a drop on the other side and you can see part of this difference in height in the photo on the right. More importantly, look at that fissure. It may be rock but rock doesn't last forever. Nothing is being done to protect this area and the historic church of St Peter's is not far away. You probably have many reasons why photographs are taken but you can add another one, to record environmental change.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Choosing a welcome screen

I turned my computer on recently when someone saw my welcome screen. They told me they liked the picture and you can see it on the left. There are some icons covering it but it only affects around a fifth of the screen and there is plenty of space with no detail. That's why I chose it.

The photo on the left is Lanaster Castle and the Priory Church. When I was looking for a photo for the welcome screeen I was looking for photos with a lot of plain space and the photo on the right was also a conternder. I think for me to choose the photo on the right I would have had to create more river and get rid of the bank.

Happy snapping

Friday, 10 December 2010

The eye of the beholder

And finally for the Lancaster City Museum, here is a photo of the main entrance. Again I have corrected the converging verticals as I can't stand further back without getting things in the way like a Christmas tree. This way it looks like I stood further back without any of the distractions.

I started these Christmas lights blogs by saying that monochrome came out well. I think they come out well again but as with any photo, or any form of art for that matter, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Market Square, Lancaster

You saw the Christmas tree yesterday. Today you can see more of Market Square and Lancaster's former town hall now the city museum. It isn't too difficult to imagine this area being a market because there are often stalls in it.

Notice the CCTV. I didn't see it when I took the photo but they are everywhere. I did notice the Christmas tree which is just out of view on the right. I haven't changed these photos greatly. The main changes have been cropping and correction of converging vertialca. I didn't over-correct so they still converge a litte, but this is far more preferable than correcting too much.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Lancaster Christmas Lights

I took these photos a few hours ago. It was quite cold so I think I'll wait for it to warm up a little before I take more photos of Christmas lights. A couple of days ago I was saying how well Christmas lights look in monochrome. This time I felt that colour was better.

You may recognise Lancaster's town hall on the left. The photo was taken from the opposite end of Dalton Square and you can also see the statue of Queen Victoria. On the right the tree is to be found in Market Square. It is very close to the old town hall, now the Lancaster City Museum.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Eric and snow

I took these photos of Eric last week. I like statues as subjects anyway but I think the Lake District mountains in the background look particularly beautiful. Partly this because of the snow and partly because of the lighting/

Flash is really only useful when you are close to the subject but statues don't mind you getting close. I'll have to get up earlier to take the photo on the left so that the sun is falling on Eric. For the photo on the right the time of day doesn't really matter.

Happy snapping

Monday, 6 December 2010

More Christmas Lights

Following on from yesterday's blog, you can see that I have walked a few more yards. This is because I am dedicated to the cause of photography. I am willing to take these extra steps but it isn't the slightly different perspective that I want to show you, it is the difference that is made by changing the colour.

Sepia toning was popular in Victorian times which gave a warm red/brown colour to the photo. It was a method to fix the photo. It seems really strange to use the word fix because all we do now is press print, but we used to need chemicals to make sure that the photo remained a photo after light hit the paper from an enlarger. It sounds like ancient history now but that's what we did. Anyway, all we do now is change the colour by clicking on a variation. On the left is the typical sepia, which I think gives the photo a look of nineteenth century photography. On the right I have used cyan and if sepia is warm then cyan is cool. I am thinking Addams' family even though when I watched the television series it was definitely monochrome.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Christmas Lights

These houses are on the main road between Lancaster and Morecambe. In fact they are close to my house but walking round the corner to the nearest house with Christmas lights is not the reason I took this photo. Alright it is.

They have now been lit well over a week but hey, bonfire night has been and gone. I know it takes some time to put lights up and there are some houses that really go to town with their lights. One house in Morecambe doesn't even have time in the year to take all the lights down and put them up again. The point about the photos is that you need a tripod. I know I like flat surfaces and the use of the camera's timer but it really does help to have a tripod. What surprised me with this photo was how good it looked in monochrome. I didn't expect that with coloured lights.

Happy snapping