Sunday, 31 October 2010

An excuse to go back to Paris

This photo was taken on Friday. I had decided that as I was walking around Paris from mid-afternoon I didn't need to carry my tripod with me. Then it went dark and it is always worth carrying a tripod.

I took these photos from flat surfaces and they are very nice. The trouble is that I missed so many other great photos where there was no flat surface. Still, it is an excuse to go back to Paris.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Jean-Luc Godard

There is no photo today as I am on holiday in France. I should get back to England tomorrow as long as the French protestors don't get in the way but I thought I would give this blog a French theme by quoting Jean-Luc Godard. This French film director once said that photography is truth. To put it in context he did go on to say that the cinema is truth twenty-four times per second, but I was thinking of this qoute because I manipulate almost all of my photos and that is one reason why there are no photos today.

Does it matter if a leaf or a whole branch is removed from the photo as seen in Tuesday's blog entry? I don't think so but how can you go on to say that photography is truth? Well the camera does record what is in front of the lens but this information is manipulated by the settings of the camera and by the photographer. One "truth" may be a lovely view but from a slighty different angle the view may not be quite as nice. The truth is that photography is also an art form and is controlled by the photographer. Some photographers have more control than others.

Jean-Luc Godard's full quote is p
hotography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second. He also said that cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world so photography is truth and it is fraud. It is what you make it.

Happy snapping

Friday, 29 October 2010

A Morecambe Sunset

I have moved from Heysham today all the way to Morecambe today. You can always rely on great sunsets even when there is cloud. The difference between the two photos is a matter of minutes, a matter of a few yards and of course portrait and landscape.

These photos were taken fairly near where I live and I often see photographers on the promenade. You can see why. It is hard to get a poor photo at sunset.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Heysham erosion

Yesterday I moved a few yards away from the photos from the previous blog. I have moved a few more yards today and I am standing near the ruins of St Patrick's chapel. I have already shown you the Viking graves on the right but not from this angle. Turn ninety degrees to the left and you get the view on the left.

I have only lived in Morecambe since 2003 but I have seen old photos and people have told me that a lot of erosion has gone on in recent years. In one photo you see an archway which went a few years ago. Even just looking at this photo you can see how quickly the erosion is taking place. I have been told that it is not that long ago that you could walk around the graves. Now the graves form a cliff face and there is quite a large fissure in them. It makes you wonder how long they will be there.

Happy snapping.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Poet Philosopher and Failure

Yesterday you saw the historic church of St Peter's in Heysham. Today I have moved a few dozen yards to take this photo in the graveyard and just look at that background. I know you can't see much so that is your excuse to go and visit the church. While you are there take a look at this headstone.

If you can't make out the inscription on the left I have enlarged it on the right. What sort of person writes and inscription like this? Firstly they have to be rich as these thing aren't cheap and they weren't cheap in 1909. She may have her own reasons to want to be remembered as a failure but the size of this stone and its place in this beautiful graveyard make her look successful.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Spot the difference

I was at this church a few times this year. It is St Peter's in Heysham and it is a grade 1 listed building. It's a great place to take photos and as well as the building and the grounds you also get fine views across Morecambe Bay.

On the left the only thing I have done to the photo is crop it. On the right I have picked up a few leaves and removed the branches of the tree in the foreground. If you take your time you may be able to count the changes. There are quite a few of them so I wouldn't bother. The important point is that amendments like this are very easy to make and this means that the finished product looks the way you want it to look. I don't think it is particularly false. I could have spent the time picking up leaves but I prefer to work on the computer.

Happy snapping

Monday, 25 October 2010

Relief Map Take Two

On the 16th October I asked you to watch this Eric Gill space. I showed you the two photos that I had taken of the whole mural in the Midland Hotel in Morecambe. This time I have joined the two halves together. I didn't stand back and take one photo for a number of reasons. The flash would not have been as good and I would have had more chairs and tables in the way.

I don't think you can see the join. If you can then send me a comment. Both of these photos are in the proportion 6:4. I have had to compress the length a little so that the mural fitted these proportions. I have removed a table sign and an amplifier and on the right, apart from the tighter cropping, I have converted to sepia. I think this highlights the detail and improves on the original.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 24 October 2010

And Finally

And finally I will show you two photos of the bride and groom together. The reception was upstairs but we went to the ground floor for these photos partly to give me more room to take the photos and partly for the better lighting.

We took a series of photos starting with the bride on her own. It didn't take long to get another dozen or so photos and you always know when I like a photo as they get amended to monochrome and sepia and any other number of other variations.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 23 October 2010

And two of the groom

I have shown a few photos of the bride without the groom so here are a couple of the groom. Usually brides take longer to get ready so I go to see the groom first. As you can see on the left, he wasn't quite ready. My first photo was the jacket hung up. He did ask if I wanted to take a photo of the full suit but I was quite happy to take the jacket only as he was already wearing the trousers. I made sure that you could see them in the photo on the left.

This was not a full wedding. It was the evening reception only as they had married in Cuba, hence the cigar on the right. The photo on the left was almost the first that I took and the photo on the right was almost the last. In between these two I did manage to hand over more than 300 photos and it was just the evening reception.

Happy snapping

Friday, 22 October 2010

One more of the bridesmaids

As I have been given permission to show photos of the bridesmaids I thought I'd show you this photo today. They were on their way downstairs and the bride wanted to use the stairs as a backdrop. I have a list of photos to take on the wedding day. You can guess a lot of the photo opportunities like the artificial cutting of the cake, but I also like to follow requests and this one worked out very well.

I gave back three version to the bride and groom - colour, monochrome and sepia. I think the monochrome worked well too. I went for the sepia version today but everyone will have their favourite variation and this happens to be mine.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Photo of bridesmaids

This is unusual for one of my photography blogs, but today you see the bridesmaids as well as the bride. Normally I only ask brides and grooms for permission to put them on the blog and gallery, but I wanted to show you these photos because there was a ready-made photo set in the hotel which even included the bunch of grapes.

I like to make changes in photos and I also like nobody to know that I have made changes. I'll give you an example. In the bottom left of these photos you can see a mark on the skirting board on the left, but not on the right. As I tend to give hundreds of photos back to the bride and groom I only have a certain amount of time on each photo. With more time I would have taken out the curtain on the left. It is a distraction from the main subjects. However if this was a photo that was wanted for an enlargement I would happily spend more time working on it.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

As promised...

I promised these photos yesterday so here is the photo of the confetti balloon exploding. The evidence for the cause of the explosion (the stick) is in both of the photos. See if you can find it.

This couple were married abroad and these photos were taken on Saturday. I like to get photos on the blog at once. Some of these photos are now on the gallery page of but I want to tell you that this couple have now received the gold package. This includes a CDRom with over 300 photos of 6"x 4" photos (and it was only an evening reception), two albums with all these photos printed out, a CDRom with 8"x 6" photos and a DVD - and this was on Tuesday!

As well as handing over the photos I also got permission to show you photos of the bridesmaids. I'll show you why I asked tomorrow.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

An exploding confetti balloon

I like natural smiles and they are easy to photograph when confetti is thrown or with speeches. We didn't have confetti thrown by guests on Saturday evening but we did have an exploding confetti balloon as seen in both of these photos.

There was not only confetti inside the balloon but also quite a lot of small balloons. How you set it off is fairly straightforward. You get a long stick with a pin on the end and pop it - at least that's what I think they did during the first dance. I'll show you that photo tomorrow.

Happy snapping

Monday, 18 October 2010

Two of the four versions

I always look for plain walls when I am taking portraits.
Backgrounds are really important to tell you the story of the day but portraits can be really effective without distractions.

If you take one or two steps away from the wall then you don't get the wall in sharp focus and you don't get a harsh shadow. More important to avoid the harsh shadow is direct the flash to the ceiling. You still get a shadow but as the light has moved further and bounced then it is not as harsh. It also mimics where you would expect shadows from the sun or from a light from the ceiling.

The photo on the left is a simple cropping and the conversion on the right is also one click to monochrome. I also amended this photo to sepia with a vignette and I kept the flowers in colour with the rest of the photo in monochrome - but I can only show you two photos on the blog.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 17 October 2010

No need for a sepia suntan

I was taking photos at a wedding reception yesterday evening. They actually married in Cuba and had the suntan to prove it. So I didn't need to convert their photos to sepia and increase contrast to give them a suntan.

The reception was in Barrow-in-Furness and I only got home around 11.30pm so these two photos are the only ones I have looked at. I'll have to wait till tomorrow to see the rest.

Happy snapping

P.S. I have postponed the Eric Gill panorama that I mentioned yesterday but I will show it to you soon.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Watch this Eric Gill space

Last week I showed you a panorama with a view from a garden. It was a great view and the panoramic view helped to appreciate it. A few hours ago I was in the Midland Hotel. I didn't have my tripod so I had to be fairly near my subject and in this case it was the Eric Gill relief map of the Lake District and the north west coast. I had heard this relief was worth £6 million but I really don't know how you could sell it without selling the hotel. I asked the manager and he told me it was priceless. That sounds better than we couldn't sell it.

As for the photographs, my challenge over the next 24 hours is to make the lighting more even, remove distractions and join the two photos together without you knowing that I have done it. Watch this space.

Happy snapping

Friday, 15 October 2010

Natural Smiles

I want to show you this photo, not because it is the same technique as yesterday but because of the natural smiles. Take another look at yesterday's blog and you may like to work out where the natural smiles came from.

Alright time is up. If you are too tall then the black background is not completely behind your head and it is a lot easier for me if you squat a little. This is what happened, hence the smiles. It may be worth doing this anyway.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Creating the studio

As promised, here is my £2.50 studio. The cloth is from the market and the light is from the sun. There is a flash bounced off the ceiling too but that is portable too and comes with the camera.

You can see on the left how easy it is to place a light piece of cloth on top of a picture. I have extended the cloth upwards, downwards and sideways and I have done a little bit of ironing. As I used the same cloth and lighting for all the family you can see how easy it would be to add one photo to another and get the whole of the family in panorama.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Who needs expensive studios?

I showed you a photo of a cat on 10th October. It is a family cat and this photo was part of a portrait session for the whole family. The cat gave me permission on the day but I now have permission to show you more photos of the rest of the family.

My studio comprises of a £2.50 piece of dark cloth. This is completely portable and I'll show it to you tomorrow, but today you can see the alternative studio is actually a kitchen wall. I like the way that light reflected off the ceiling gives a whole new view of ordinary backgrounds. I did make a couple of amendments like taking out the light switch but basically the background is as it was taken. On the right I have converted to sepia and added a white vignette. All simple computer techniques so who needs expensive studios?

Happy snapping.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Zoom blur manipulation

This photo was taken when the go-karts were travelling really slowly. I know that panning with a camera is a great skill but I much prefer the definite results on a computer. If you have to follow the object which is moving across the viewfinder then you may end up with an object that is in focus and a background that is blurred but you have to be skillfully and lucky. In fact you couldn't do that with this photo because the objects are travelling towards the camera.

There is an alternative blurring that is caused by using the zoom. Again this is a really skilful manoeuvre and is copied in the photo on the right by manipulating the photo on the computer. For good measure I copied the main colour on the badge and used it to create a border. I think it makes the photo a lot more exciting.

Happy snapping

Monday, 11 October 2010

More on the Beatles

On the 27th May I showed you a tribute to the Beatles which is similar to this photo. I was looking for photographs yesterday so that I could update the pictures on my walls and this is going to be one of them.

If I like a photo I generally give it back to the bride and groom as a colour version along with monochrome and sepia and there may be changes to make it high contrast. I also like vignettes.

On the 27th I showed you two colour versions, the one I took and after I had tidied up the road. This time I have tidied up the road a little more and I have also removed the nearest white line and it is now 10:8 as I am putting up 20" x 16" photos.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The eyes have it

I took some portraits of a family a couple of days ago. I have almost finished working on the photos and I would normally use some of them for blogs. Unfortunately I did not ask them if I could use their photos.

I took individual photos with two or three backgrounds. I took photos of small groups and of course, I took photos of the whole family. I did this twice as they changed from casual to more formal dress. During the quick change I took one or two photos of their cat. I don't think they will mind the cat photos published so here they are. In fact nobody seems to mind their photos being published but I will stick to asking them first.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Here is the panorama

I showed you two of these three photos yesterday and suggested that they could work either as three separate photos or as a panorama. Well here are the two suggestions. It is much easier to print three photos. All you have to do is make sure that the photos are cropped so that they roughly line up with each other. There is a gap so exact lines are not so important.

The panorama needs to be exact. You can't have a horizon that jumps. You will also notice from yesterday that both views have needed a closer cropping. Today there is no shadow from the house. It is possible to have larger panoramas but as you move along the lines of the compass there is a huge difference in exposure depending on the direction of the sun. I may have a go at a 360 degree panorama but it would have to be at night or a cloudy day.

Happy snapping

Friday, 8 October 2010

Create a panorama

I was asked to take photos of this view. You can see from the shadow that a house is behind me and it does have fantastic views. Recently I have been looking at joining up photographs and you can get software to do this but I don't have it. If there is a link between the photos then it makes it easier to join them. Recently I took a photo on the stairs of the Midland Hotel and joining them was really easy.

The photo on the left is the central view. I did take views to the left and the right but the other photo is a zoomed in image from the top right corner of the photo on the left. There is a very simple answer to creating a landscape photo that does justice to the view and that is to print three photos to create a panorama.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 7 October 2010

More from Lancaster Cathedral

These photos were taken looking to the north west. Yesterday we were looking to the south west. Again I like the link between the gargoyle and its view that you can see in the photo on the left.

It is the same photo on the right. You lose the gargoyle link but you do get a magnified view of many of the city's landmarks, the river Lune, Moreambe, Morecambe Bay and the Lake District mountains. Both photos have their good points. So if I get this opportunity then I'll take both photos.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Take the opportunity

This was the type of photo that I was expecting to publish after visiting Lancaster Cathedral a few weeks ago. If you look back you will see that I chose photos of the stained glass windows before these of a gargoyle and the Lancaster Canal.

I saw a photo like this taken from the top of a tower at Notre Dame in Paris and I thought it was interesting to compare a sculpture that is not normally seen this closely with its viewpoint that has changed over 150 years. It's not everyday you get the chance to take photos like this. Go to Paris and you can take photos there any day of the week so it is worth taking opportunities when they come along.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Isn't technology amazing!

As you may have guessed from my blogs, I like to amend photos in order to enhance them. I haven't used blogs to show you how I pick up litter, take the weeds out of lawns or smooth out road repairs. However today I will show you an amendment that reduced the reflection in glasses.

Look carefully on the right and you will see not only the flash from the camera, but also reflections from the road. I spent a couple of minutes to amend the reflection on the right and most of it has gone. I could have spent longer to remove all reflection but at the usual size of prints then this amount of work is fine. If this photo were going to become poster sized then I would spend more than a couple of minutes on it and I would take away all reflection. Even as it stands, isn't technology amazing!

Happy snapping