Monday, 31 January 2011

Photos help you to see

I was going to show you the main door to Medical Unit 1 at Lancaster Infirmary from a hundred yards, but if you don't know it from this distance then the other photo wouldn't make much difference. What is interesting about this photo is the relief of the Good Samaritan which is the close-up on the right.

Many will walk through this door and not see what they are walking under. Not only does photography help you to see what is around you, it magnifies it and you have time to take in the details. I have seen so much in this relief that I would not normally see even if I had the time to stop and look.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Morecambe and its microclimate

Morecambe has fine views. You can walk along the prom and take so many excellent photos in the space of a few minutes. You can take the same photos at a different time of day and in a different season. Here are two photos with snow-capped views of the Lake District. It is quite rare for me to include a footpath, road or fence in the frame but it looked quite nice with the light snow.

I am not keen on taking photos in the rain unless I am standing under shelter. We tend to feel better walking in snow, unfortunately the camera isn't too keen. The good news is that Morecambe's microclimate means we usually have really nice weather here.

Happy snapping

Friday, 28 January 2011

Looking for warmer weather

Whether I am at a venue that I have seen or whether it is new to me I look for backgrounds for the bride and groom. It happened to be dark during this pre-wedding meeting but I know we have excellent backgrounds in almost every direction.

This photo could have been taken anywhere but that's not a bad thing. I want backgrounds that are uncluttered as well as those that tell us where we are. On this occasion it was a cold evening. You might be able to tell from the hand positions, but we have ordered some nice weather for the wedding day. At least the sepia version feels a bit warmer.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Looking for poses

Another thing you can do is talk through some of the poses. If you want to see the back of the dress then you have to take the photo from the back. The easy way to do this is to get the bride looking over her shoulder.

By taking photos of the poses in the venues you can also see what is in the background. It may be that you don't see all the detail at the time but you do have the time when you look at the photo.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Looking for backgrounds

At pre-wedding meetings I like to see the backgrounds, in particular look for the site for the main group photos. You can do this mainly by walking around the building but we have chosen the site for this main group on the strength of photos advertising the venue. I am not keen on reinventing the wheel and if there is an example of a good pose or background then I am willing to use it.

We also had a look round indoors. The balusters look nice enough in this photo and the whole staircase was lovely but in general I prefer outdoor backgrounds. It is important to look for places to take the photos but expressions are much more important. On the day I take two photos of everything. As for the pre-wedding meetings one is sufficient and you can still convert one to monochrome or sepia or any number of effects.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

And finally of York

The west towers of York Minster present possibly the best view. There is a large square available to photographers but it is nowhere near large enough to get an undistorted photo. I could have stepped back further but the distortion is obvious on the left. With a few minutes on the computer and some photo manipulation you get the less distorted photo on the right, It is amazaing that the eye accepts distortion without question when we are there. Only by putting it down on paper do we start to recognise that things are a little strange.

Happy snapping.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Obviously York

You are more likely to recognise these views of York than the photos in yesterday's blog. However all I did was turn around and walk a few yards to get this view of Central Hall. It is the building for the degree ceremonies. You could hold concerts there, that is until Boomtown Rats managed to stop them in 1985.

York Minster may be seen from a few different directions but if you go too far back in any direction then the view becomes obscured by other buildings. Well it is huge and it is in the centre of York.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Rules are made to be broken

As well as the city centre, last Wednesday I also visited York University. If you know the university then you will know that the colleges are mostly built around a lake, and very nice it looks too. I was there in the early morning and the sun was just coming up. It was too dark for most photos and I took this one facing the sun. You hear the rules of photography like not taking photos towards the sun and then you practise breaking them.

The problem with shooting into the sun is exposure. Nothing is distinct because the sun is so bright. I got away with it because the sun had not risen fully. On the right I have made the cropping tighter and increased the contrast. In this case I preferred to lose detail on the horizon and this emphasises the detail in the main tree and its reflection.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Two more of York

I like the relief model of York Minster and its surroundings for at least two reasons. The blind can benefit from this work of art. They can feel the map. Secondly anyone can appreciate the map. All too often members of the public are prohibited from interacting with sculptures. I have been given the excuse that they would wear out. I'm sure they would in thousands of years. Weathering would cause much greater damage. The other excuse is that if people touch sculptures in galleries then they will need cleaning.

On the right is the answer to Thursday's question. The ledge belongs to York's Grand Opera House. It must be safe but doesn't it look strange? And that's one reason to take photographs. You see things that you would otherwise miss. I was just looking for interesting aspects of York. Well I found the ledge interesting.

Happy snapping

Friday, 21 January 2011

And the answer is...

Here is the answer to my question from Wednesday. On
the left is a view of York Minster, its main entrance, rose window and tower taken from Stonegate. So the answer is York. If you didn't recognise the Minster then the answer is obvious on the right.

Compare the blue plaque with the photo in Wednesday's blog. It is a really easy technique to take out words. It is also fairly easy to add new words and this time last year I gave quite a few examples with David Cameron and his already airbrushed posters.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Two more clues

I'll keep the quiz going with just this blog as I appreciate that if you look back at all the blogs you will find the answer before you get the question.

I am not a surveyor but on the left I noticed the ledge was not quite right. If I noticed it then it must be obvious and it is from quite a famour building in this city. For an easier clue look to the right. The Romans had a strong influence here.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Where's Michael?

I left Lancashire and took these photos today. You
may know the city from these two photos alone, but I'll show you more over the next few days.

The photo on the left is the Guy Fawkes Inn, and on the right is a close-up of the window to the left of the door. I have taken out the name of the city but I'll let you see the original tomorrow.

On Granada we have a presenter called Fred Talbot who keeps the viewers guessing with the question "Where's Fred?" I have told you I am not in Lancashire, I'm not even in Granadaland and as a further clue this isn't London. The question now is where's Michael?

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Real versus virtual?

I visited the Lancaster Maritime Museum on Saturday and a fine museum it is too. I know that I have to go back when I have at least two hours to spare. You can't take photos inside the building but I am happy with that. My one proviso is that I would have liked my own copy of an old photo of Morecambe's Super Swimming Stadium.

It wasn't a great day for taking photos. It was a great day for going into a museum and there were postcards for people to buy in their shop. There are many displays that take some time to fully appreciate. I would suggest that the way forward is for virtual museums. Maybe they are there and I just haven't found them. Maybe virtual museums who take visitors away from the real thing, but my feeling is that virtual museums would lead to much greater participation

Monday, 17 January 2011

More from Lancaster

I didn't have more photos of St George's Quay to hand so I have moved to New Street Lancaster. You may recognise the bank on the left because it featured in a national television advert. I know this because I saw the advert while staying with friends in Wales.

The photo on the left is taken from New Street. I crossed the street to take the photo on the right. The rocking horse is quite famously locally because it advertised a toy shop. The shop has changed hands but as you can see, the horse remains.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 16 January 2011

River Lune and traffic jam

I went to Lancaster yesterday. I had a look around the Maritime Museum which is on St George's Quay and is very close to where I took these photos. I took them because the water level was high. I know that there was some flooding in Cumbria and Lancashire yesterday and there was some margin of safety here but the amount of flowing water was quite dramatic. I'll show you some of the other photos that I took here tomorrow.

You may also notice the traffic jam in the background. This is nothing unusual for this road to Morecambe. It is not rush hour. There was a football match in the afternoon but we can't blame the match for this traffic as it is like this most of the time. Looking across the river doesn't really do justice to the size of the jam. We do need a link road in Morecambe but I won't be holding my breath in the present economic climate.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 15 January 2011

More Pop Art

For my third attempt at pop art I will show you this photo. It is only my third attempt and looks more like a high contrast image which is really easy to achieve. I need to add colours and I have to add line drawings into the photo but this is something I want to develop. Now I have shown you this may be all the incentive I need to work on my pop art.

Happy snapping

Friday, 14 January 2011

We Will Rock You

I was in Manchester last week. As is often the case I just had my compact camera. No SLR, no tripod and no dozens of photos taken. In fact I just took these two. It is good to be able to take photos with a compact and with a flat surface. It is obviously better if you are not a tourist, have plenty of time and can compose the photo exactly as you wish by using a tripod, but these will do.

As for the subject, it happens to be the Palace Theatre where they were showing "We Will Rock You" As it happens this is what I went to see and very good it was too.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Before and After

I was asked if I could do anything with this photo as it was a rare opportunity for five generations to get together. My first thoughts were that the flash reflected in the window could go. My method of choice would have been to use the clone tool and then blend if the transition was not completely smooth. As it happens a simple crop meant that I did not have to do anything. In general it is easier to close the curtain or take a photo at an angle to a reflective surface so you don't get the flash coming back to the camera. I also took out the red eyes. Not a bad change for thirty seconds on the computer.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

More than words

Sometimes a simple change in a photograph can make it look totally different. I have added some words to that rare sight, my photo for two reasons. Firstly it makes the photo stand out. You can do this with any photo and you instantly identify it. Words inside the photo or next to it as in this example both set aside the photo from most that are taken.

I particularly like the photo of a bride and groom looking at the person giving the reading. In the same photo is the reading itself. The problem with this is that it has to be a big enlargement in order to read all the words. My second reason for liking the words with my photo is that in relative terms it makes my photo smaller! You can see which side of the lens I prefer.

Happy snapping

Monday, 10 January 2011

Optical Zoom

I was telling someone a couple of days ago how I could take a photo of a poster and then zoom in so that I could read the fine print. When I first bought my compact with a x10 zoom I joked that I didn't need to buy another newspaper as I could just read someone else's. As a tourist I generally carry my compact, not an SLR and these two photos are no exception. Not only were they taken with a compact but they were also taken on a vehicle. It was a red bus tour and you can just see the rail on the left.

Alright I am not going to sell them to the Paris Opera but the outcome is not bad. I know it could have been better with a better camera and a tripod, and the tripod should be on the ground, not on a bus. The zoom makes up for a lot and the detail of the statue is not bad at all. When you are looking for a new camera make sure you consider the optical zoom because this means you are getting more detail on the sensor. Digital zoom just means you are enlarging the image without greater detail.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Green Ayre Station

This photo was taken a few yards away from yesterday's photo. You can see the Skerton Bridge in the background. I moved a few yards away from the Lune so that some of the bridge was in the background.

I suppose the image is of a work of art, but it was once a working railway crane, and serves as a reminder that this was the site of Green Ayre station which closed in 1966. I did change this photo to sepia as well as the monochrome version that you see on the right. This time I preferred the monochrome.

Happy snapping

Friday, 7 January 2011

Skerton Bridge

This is Skerton Bridge across the river Lune in Lancaster. It is interesting because it is flat. A friend told me that it was the first flat bridge in Europe and so he supposed it was the first flat bridge in the world. I haven't found any supporting evidence.

Even more interesting is that when it was built in the 1780s it replaced a bridge that was further downstream. I went on a guided walking tour and was told that this medieval bridge was roughly where the Millennium footbridge is now. And this makes a lot of sense. Take a look at a road map and see how convoluted the A6 is now. It wouldn't be if it followed this route.

As for the photos, I liked the lighting which is a good reason to take a photo of almost anything, and I also like the sepia version which gives it an older, Victorian look if it wasn't for the block of flats in the background.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Old Lancaster

I came across this old photo of Lancaster recently. I scanned it and I will do some work on it to see how it can be improved, but this is the original. You can see Lancaster Town Hall which was opened in 1909 so there is a start in dating it. The person who owns the photo only had a vague idea of the date. If you can shed any light on the age then please get in touch. In the meantime I will have a go at amending it and I'll let you see the results when I have finished.

It's not just the age of the photo, if you know anything about the buildings that are no longer there then let me know about that too.

Happy snapping

P.S. I looked to connect three sections of this photo today (6th Jan) and there is a slight gap between the sections so you may have to wait to see my amendments.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

More Bare Photos

I visited a friend before Christmas who lives in the flats in Bare, Morecambe, and the view from her flat is fantastic. I only had my compact with me but I will return with my SLR and tripod and take a few more including the views of Morecambe Bay.

These views looking east have an air of Walt Disney about them. They look to me like the start of a film and the camera is going to move gradually towards one of the houses in the foreground. I'll show you photos of the Bay when I take them.

Happy snapping

Monday, 3 January 2011

Bare Photos

If you have the best view in Europe on your doorstep then you may as well make use of it. The view changes with the weather and this view is no exception. I took it a couple of weeks ago when we got our first snow. I was in an area of Morecambe called Bare.

Cross the road and you get this view of Princes Crescent which I took because it was twilight. I also took it because of the lights on the Christmas trees but the lights from the shop dominate the view. The main reason that I took this photo is because there was a wall here to rest the camera. It didn't matter too much for the view of the Lake District but it was darker looking up the street and without a tripod at the time I didn't have much choice.

Happy snapping.

P.S. I am writing this while watching a drama about Morecambe and Wise and there was a view of the Lake District from the Stone Jetty. The sunset, as usual, was fantastic.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

From the Millennium Footbridge

For the last two views of London I have chosen St Paul's from the Millennium Footbridge. I didn't notice any wobbles at all when I took the photo from the middle of the bridge. The photo on the right is taken from the southern end of the bridge near the Tate Modern.

Both photos show the importance of lighting. I have shown you the Tate on Christmas Eve and really the building is not at its best because of the lighting. It also shows you that you just have to turn round in London and you get many great views.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 1 January 2011


Even if some councils are now taking down there Christmas trees, see I still recognise the first of January as part of the Christmas period so I don't mind showing you Carnaby Street with its Christmas decorations on the left. I am not sure about the message coming from Father Christmas's space helmet but it was certainly different.

The photo on the right reminded me of a photo that I took in Paris which can be seen at The pub is called The Glassblower on Glasshouse Street. There must be some history there but it was the architecture that struck me.

Happy snapping