Tuesday, 29 June 2010

You don't have to look at the camera

I like the way that the bride is looking at her husband on the left. I did get the standard walking down the aisle pose as well and it is usually a lot easier to get this if you stop them and ask for a pose. So this is what I do. However you cannot beat nature candid photography. I did not pose this - it just happened.

I also didn't pose the photo on the right. Alright the videographer was taking some shots at this point but it doesn't stop me getting a view like this. Sometimes it is better to get this kind of viewpoint rather than have the couple directly at the camera.

Happy snapping

Monday, 28 June 2010

A classic pose

Walking down the aisle is a standard photo for weddings. I generally take a couple of photos in a couple of different positions on the aisle as I like to take a photo like this one as the couple have walked most of the way down the aisle. In this case it means that you can see the whole of the stained glass in the background.

Another almost standard technique is to leave flowers in colour and convert the rest of the photo to monochrome. You can't really do this if there is not much colour in the bouquet but on the right I have used this technique to leave the window in colour. It only takes a minute to do this and it is a fairly easy technique, but if you don't know how to do it then it is really difficult. One click later and this couple also had a completely monochrome version.

Happy snapping.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

What the eye doesn't see

I have not finished working on the photos from Friday's wedding yet but here are two more that I have amended. When I pass over the hundreds of photos to the bride and groom they don't actually get the original photos as they would have far too many to look at. They only need to see the finished products.

I would like them to know about all the amendments but I make far too many changes and it would take far too long to tell them, but at least I can write about these two photos. There are no road markings in either photo and the roads are quite tidy. There are no road markings to say "slow", no pot holes and definitely no litter. On the right there was a sign on the lamppost which was distracting because it was colourful. I suppose it was doing its job by attracting attention, but I didn't want it to do that in my photo. I may have improved the converging verticals but I can't remember now. I would have to go back to the originals myself. In real life the eye compensates for building getting narrower as they ascend but on a photos it doesn't look natural.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Variations on a theme

This is a photo from yesterday. I was taking photos at a wedding in Dalton-in-Furness which is over an hour away from Morecambe. I like to get back with a photo for the evening. I didn't manage to print an enlargement as I didn't have time, but I did print the photo on the right and put them in fridge magnets for the bride and groom and for their parents.

I have managed to work on quite a few of the photos already, but it is an easy choice for this blog if I choose the same photo that is in their magnets. What the couple don't know (but they will once they have read this blog) is that their photo has been taken from the photo on the left. I think I prefer the sepia as the yellow flowers take the focus of attention off the couple. That's my opinion but others may prefer the colour version. It doesn't really matter as they will get both, plus a monchrome and sepia with a white vignette version. You can always tell which photos I like because they get variations on the theme.

Happy snapping

Friday, 25 June 2010

The Slug

This building is called the Wales Millennium Centre. This may be the official title but I have been told that it is known locally as the slug. I recognise it as I have been to Cardiff before, but since then I have mostly seen it because of auditions for Britain's got Talent - or maybe other programmes of a similar vein.

The photos were taken from Roald Dahl Plass. Roald was not born of parents who could not spell Ronald. In fact they were Norwegian, but he was born in Cardiff and that' s how he managed to get this public area named after him.

The obvious difference between the two photos is the orientation. The photo on the left emphasises the foreground structures. The most prominent tower has water running down it and I understand this gets turned off in high winds as nobody can walk near it. On the right the landscape format emphasises the main building. So whether you are a Millennium fan or prefer Roald Dahl then you can hold your camera vertically or horizontally.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Can you tell it is Barry Island?

Last weekend I was staying in Barry. There are photos of Cardiff because I had a look at the National Museum of Wales and went on the open top bus tour. Well here is Barry Island. You may recognise the view on the left as the shelter is fairly distinctive.

Even more distinctive for some viewers is the amusement arcade, especially if they are also viewers of Gavin and Stacey. Now take a look at the sign. The arcade knows it is famous for this reason too. I have done the 'street view' thing and blurred the lady's face even though I don't think she would mind being on my photo. If you know Barry Island then you will know that these the two photos were taken from the same point. All you have to do is turn 180 degrees.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Depth of Field

When you take a photo the light hits a sensor and the detail of focus is related to the ability of the lens to focus an image on this sensor. There are many factors to take into account, The size of the aperture is fairly important. A small aperture means that more of your photo will be in focus, but it is more difficult to get light into the camera. Speed of the shutter and sensitivity of the sensor are other factors, but depth of field, the bit that is in focus, is also dependent on how close your subject is to the camera.

The flower on the left is fairly close to the lens, This means that there is a small depth of field, Look at the flowers in the background that are out of focus and they are only a metre or so apart. On the right the flowers are not quite as near to the lens. The depth of field is greater and this means that the variation in focus is not as obvious as that on the left.

The moral of this blog is, if you like your subject in focus and the background out of focus then get close up. If you really like this effect then you may prefer longer lenses as depth of field and longer lenses are inversely proportional.

Happy snapping

Happy snapping.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Variations on a theme by Novello

Not far from the National Assembly for Wales is this statue of Ivor Novello. I am afraid that I don't know much about him except that I have heard some of his music. I didn't know at all that he was a playwright or an actor. So there is something to be said for taking a photo of a plaque.

I could have straightened the photo on the left. I could have taken it with better lighting if I had waited for the sun to come out. I could have bought a postcard. However the important thing for me is that it is my photo so I can play around with it and the amendments are mine too. On the right I have straightened it and you may notice that I have done something with the contrast. There are lots of variations possible but I am quite happy with the silhouette. Now imaging working on a portrait of a friend, but the friend has to be willing to pose (sounds better than being a poser).

Happy snapping

Monday, 21 June 2010

Beware tall passengers

I was in Cardiff over the weekend and I do enjoy the open-top bus tours. It is so easy to see a city and look for photographic opportunities. Well my first photos of the trip do not show any landmarks unless you count a low bridge.

On the left you can see stickers on the back of every seat telling passengers to remain seated. The guide also told everyone the same thing and I thought that this was a bit OTT until I saw this bridge. There was another similar bridge and plenty of tree branches that could hit you if you stood up. I would also be wary if I happened to be tall.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Bridges across the Lune

I cycled to Lancaster last Friday and the photo on the right gives you a flavour of how nice it is to do so. The weather was fine and most importantly for cycling, there was only a light breeze. It really was a pleasant experience which meant that I could stop at any time and take a photo or two.

Compare this with the traffic on the Greyhound Bridge. I am sure that cycling is quicker than driving at rush hour and at many other times. I write a political blog and I recently wrote about the local roads. As for these photos, apart from the difference between cycling and driving, you do get to see the Millenium Bridge and the River Lune.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Asiatic lilies

I saw the light falling on this flower and thought it was worth taking a photo. I felt the light was significant but it is a nice flower too. There is no point in converting it to monochrome as colour is important so the only thing I did was to crop it.

I didn't know the name of the flower. I think that I can remember it now but there is no harm in taking a photo of the information card. How often do these go missing in the garden but it is so easy to keep records on the computer. I think I would recognise an asiatic lily now.

Happy snapping

Friday, 18 June 2010

Lancaster from the east and from the west

These photos of Lancaster's Priory Church are taken from the east and from the west. On the left I was on Derwent Road and on the right I was on the cycle path yesterday. It was a lovely warm day and I was quite happy to stop from time to time and take photos.

What I like about both of these photos and particularly the one on the right is the sense of history. The natural ridge which is clearly visible was also seen by the Romans. Their fort followed this boundary. In fact many hospital artifacts were found on the top of this hill so it is presumed that the hospital was here. You can't see the river but the Romans also knew that you can ford the Lune as well as the physical geography that gives a natural defence.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Where to find art

On Tuesday I asked you to name the museum and I told the story about how I was not able to take photos within the building even though it would do no harm to the sculptures. I didn't mind following this instruction as far to many people abuse the freedom to take photos and expensive light-sensitive works of art are being destroyed by flash photography. If you are not sure about this just look at a piece of material that is in your home and is near a window. Compare it with a similar piece of cloth that is not near the window.

Nobody can object to photos of this particular work of art. As you can see on the left it is part of a fountain. It is not affected by flash photography. I didn't use flash but I sometimes find flash helps even in bright sunshine as it fills in the shadows. It makes them less harsh. On the right I picked on one section and increased the contrast. I am sure that this fountain could produce a whole project for someone else. For me I will settle for this one variation.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Modifying reproductions

I like to get a photo of the wedding rings and leave the ring in colour and convert the rest of the photo to monochrome. I don't take close-ups during the ceremony when the couple place the ring on each other's hand but it is nice to reproduce the scene.

You would never tell that this was a mock-up if I didn't tell you. I knew when I was taking it that I couldn't even see the ring but I also knew that the relaxed posture would make a nice photo anyway. On the right, as well as the obvious conversion to monochrome, I increased the contrast and made the photo darker. I think it works well but like any photo, it is a matter of personal taste. The wonderful aspect of the digital age is that if you don't like it then you have lost nothing as it is the same photo on the left. You never know, you might really like the photo.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Name that museum

I was in the Louvre a couple of years ago and I noticed that photography was allowed around the sculptures but not around light-sensitive canvas or other materials. Their ruling was that flash photography was banned in certain areas - fair enough. This is an English museum and this is the foyer and I should give marks for recognising the museum. However this is the first and last photographs that I took indoors even though I didn't use flash.

I thought the architecture was quite impressive and this is not the sort of view that you would normally see on a postcard so it was worth taking the photo. Just around the corner I spoke with a guide and I asked about non-flash photography. It seems none is the operative word. I suppose this restriction is better than the number of people I saw using flash around the famous works of art in the Louvre. How long is the Mona Lisa going to last with all the light that strikes it?

Happy snapping

Monday, 14 June 2010

Improving on nature

Apart from the last three blogs, all the other photos have been taken by me and these are no exception. Well they it was easy for me to take as it is the view a few days ago from the back of my house. It is not quite as glamourous as the Matterhorn or the Eiffel Tower but it is helped by the rainbow.

It is no use converting to monochrome. You would still see the rainbow but without the colour you would not be improving the photo. However I did feel that the telephone lines were a distraction so I have taken out the main lines on the right. If this were a really important photo then I could have taken out the other lines but I think you get to see the effect of the clone tool. Look at the sky behind those telephone lines. I prefer the sky in the second photo. Sometimes you can improve on nature.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 13 June 2010

I admit they aren't my photos

Alright, I admit it. For the last three days the photographs have not been mine, but all the others have. A friend asked me if I could do anything with her holiday photos and in return I asked if I could use her photos on this blog. It was a biking holiday to Switzerland, Austria and France and all photos were taken with a mobile phone. I don't know the number of megapixels in the camera and I don't know the quality of the lens but the photos are fine.

In this case the Alps are the background but I prefer the closer cropping, the increased contrast and the conversion to sepia on the right. Maybe the quality from a phone is not the same as from an SLR but it generally doesn't matter if you are making small prints and it really doesn't matter if you like the final result, noise and all.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Another European Landmark

Yesterday's blog showed photos of a man-made European landmark. Here is a natural one. There is no mistaking that you are in Switzerland but did you know that the Matterhorn has four faces to the east, west, north and south?

Again this photo was taken with a mobile phone (I'll explain tomorrow) and again it shows how technology is improving. The photo on the left is a simple cropping along with a slight increase in contrast. On the right I changed it to sepia, primarily because I like sepia but it does make a difference. It may remind you of old Victorian photos or you may think of the changing light under unusual weather conditions.

Happy snapping

Friday, 11 June 2010

The art of noise

This photo was recently taken on a mobile phone and just shows how easy it is to take photos that you may wish to hang on your wall. It is amazing how technology has advanced but there will always be limits to what you can do with your photographic equipment.

Noise is the digital equipment of film grain. It is the speckles of colour that you would see on the right if it wasn't for the conversion to monochrome. However you can see the limitations of the sensor in the way that straight lines become steps.

Some may see this as a technological limitation but others prefer to call it art.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Liverpool Parish Church

This is the Liverpool Parish Church, otherwise known as the Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas and it is just around the corner from the Liver Building. It is no surprise to discover that St Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors and locally it is known as the sailors' church. We are told on the bus tour that there has been a church on this site for over 700 years and the weather vane has been on top of the steeple for 200 years. It is four and a half feet long and made of gilded copper - and who says Scousers are thieves? I should point out that the tour guide asked this question, not me.

This photo, like those of previous blogs were taken from the top of a bus, but this is one that I would single out to take again. I would go back, pick my spot and use a tripod. The reason for this is that I have directed your attention to a very small part of the photo and it does not have the detail that I would like. You lose detail by being on a moving vehicle. You lose detail caused by movement due to holding the camera. On a clear day this is difficult to see except in cases like this. However if you want the photo to be enlarged, if the light is not so good or even if you just want to take the best possible photos then a tripod is for you.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

St George's Hall

I don't think this is the best view of St George's Hall in Liverpool but the photo on the left is one that I took when I got off the bus. I think you can still tell that it is a grade I listed building even from this side and if you like your architecture neo-classical then this is a building for you.

The interesting thing from a photographic point of view is the lighting. On the left we have the late morning and on the right it is the late afternoon. If you have the time and want the best photo that you can take then wait for nice weather and know when the sun will give the best image. It isn't when the sun is directly in front or behind the subject. When sunlight is from the side it adds depth due to the shadows.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A Yellow Duck Marine

I need to go back to Liverpool as there are so many more things that I want to do including taking a trip on the boat that you can see in the Albert Dock. It must be a great way to see the waterfront. It is actually an amphibious WWII landing vehicle and you get to see the city sites too. I glanced at the posters and I think there are quite a few tours, so maybe I need a few days in Liverpool.

The only difference between the photo on the left and the photo on the right is a conversion to monochrome. There is less dominance from the colourful brick buildings and the blue sky. Even with all the colour on the left, he 'Yellow Duck Marine' is much less obvious on the right. In other words the landing craft dominates the scene because of its colour. And I thought it was a play on the title of a Beatles' song.

Happy snapping

Monday, 7 June 2010

Liverpool's Chinatown

Yesterday I told you about my open-top bus tour. I would recommend it to all and I will be learning about other cities in the near future. This is a photo of the arch in Chinatown. You can see the predominant colours are red and green and shortly after this photo was taken we learned that doors are painted in these colours. The red signifies mankind and the green signifies nature.

It was also pointed out that the street signs have their names in English and Chinese. It is interesting to learn that Liverpool has the oldest Chinese community in Europe but not the largest as this title was recently taken by London.

I am sure that you could take a better photo of this arch. and it is quite possible that the gentleman in the photo got a better view. It is a lot easier to take photos when you are not on a moving vehicle. It is even better with a tripod, partly because there is no camera shake and partly because you will have given the compostion a lot more thought.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 6 June 2010

How many Liver birds and what's their gender?

I was in Liverpool on Wednesday and I went on an open-top bus tour. These photos are not the ones that I would choose to take if I had more time. I would prefer not to take photos from a bus but it certainly meant that I saw a lot of the city in a very short space of time. At least the bus was stationary for both of these photos.

The guide was proud to tell us that the clock face was larger than those of Big Ben. We were given quite a few more statistics but the most interesting fact was that there are two Liver birds on the building (you can see both of them on the right) and that one was male and one was female. You can tell which is which because the female is looking out to sea waiting for her loved ones to return. The male is looking towards the city and waiting for the pubs to open.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Poses backgrounds and wishes

Most couples are not used to this pose, but because they aren't used to it then you are more likely to get natural smiles. It took a moment to get this photo but at the pre-wedding meetings I am not greatly concerned with smiles. It is really important on the day to get the best expressions but here I look for the best backgrounds and I look for my instructions as to how the couple want their photos.

We discuss the timing and when and where I am wanted. I make suggestions but the ultimate decisions remain with the couple. The one exception is during the ceremony. I still listen to the couple but we all have to go along with the wishes of the person conducting the ceremony.

Happy snapping

Friday, 4 June 2010

Pre-wedding meeting 2

Another reason for a pre-wedding meeting (see yesterday's blog) is to go through some of the poses. On the left the bride and groom get the idea of showing the back of the dress. I also get to know where to take these photos. Steps are usually a good place to show the back of the wedding dress and the train and the steps on the left will be no exception.

On the right is an alternative pose. I mention a few basic poses so that on the day the couple are aware of what I will be asking them to do. It really doesn't take long to take photos but it is always worth taking theses poses with different backgrounds as expressions change a little from photo to photo. Of course backgrounds change as well so even if expressions are identical the couple will have their preference.

Happy snapping