Saturday, 30 April 2011

Can you see the join?

Children are great for portraits. They don't mind having their photo taken and I can take as many as I like. At this age I can even give some direction (but not much).

There is an obvious change to monochrome on the right. Less obviously I have done my usual trick of using a dark piece of material but it is not the length of the room. I use the computer to fill-in the gap. Can you see where it is yet?

Happy snapping

Friday, 29 April 2011

No link with Labour and Lenin

As it is less than a week to our local elections I thought I would choose a political theme for the photography blog and this is one of those occasions when I use the same blog entry for both of my blogs.

It is well over twenty years since a Labour councillor showed me the similarity between the Labour Rose and the silhouette of Lenin. I have always thought that there was a strong resemblance but now that I have worked on the photo of a leaflet I am not convinced. Maybe the Labour Rose has changed over the years but I think I will settle on the notion that there is no connection.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 28 April 2011

A flock of birds of liberty

I am standing for election to Morecambe Town Council and for Lancaster City Council next week. We have been putting leaflets out all year (and last year) but normally the leaflets are produced by us on a Riso printer. We have gone upmarket towards the election and the photo on the left is the background used for one of the leaflets.

All you have to do is increase the brightness and decrease the contrast and add the Bird of Liberty for good measure. All I had to do after this was add a few words on top of the background. On the right I thought it would be interesting to add a flock of birds to Morecambe Bay but this didn't go to the printer.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

A computer-generated lawnmower

I often show the same photo in colour and in monochrome. The two photos place the emphasis on different aspects of the photo. Look to the left and your eye is taken by the green of the grass and the colour in the building. On the right the grass is hardly noticeable and the angles of the building take on a much greater significance.

Even to the trained eye it is almost impossible to see that I have removed the weeds from the lawn. There weren't many but why should the one or two bright colours cause a distraction? Some people may say that I should not manipulate photos as it is not "honest". Well if you think photos are honest, whatever that means, you dismiss the artistic side of photography. I haven't found anyone yet who objected to my use of the computer-generated lawnmower.

I am showing these photos to identify one more aspect of the pre-wedding meeting - to find the places that identify the venue. I know the place where the bride and groom need to stand and so do they.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A simple background

Pre-wedding meetings are also about poses, (see yesterday's blog) and here is pose number one. Basically it is the pose everyone couple takes up if they are having their photo taken. Bodies slightly towards each other and facing the camera.

Even this simple pose needs a background and I do like green bits because they don't distract from the main subjects. Obviously many of the photos at a wedding need to identify the venue but you also need plain backgrounds.

Happy snapping

Monday, 25 April 2011

More on props

Five yards on from yesterday is another prop which brings about natural smiles. The last time i was here one of the groomsmen decided that he should climb to the top. That's fine. Much more important than posing everyone is facial expression.

The photo on the left gives you the setting, on the right with the obvious closer cropping and conversion to monochrome, I have also slightly increased contrast and sharpened a little.

I don't particular look for smiles during the pre-wedding meetings but it is always a nice memory fo the day we went to look at the venue.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Motion Blur

I went to a pre-wedding meeting this week with the usual aims of finding the backgrounds for photos and in particular where we can have the main group photos. Another aim is to talk through the day including the sorts of poses that are possible. This photo is not a typical pose but park equipment is a great prop.

You may not believe this from this photo but I am not particularly concerned with facial expressions. It is nice to take photos with good natural smiles and a conversion with a motion blur helps too.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The confetti shot

There is usually a confetti photograph at weddings and I ask those who are throwing it to make sure they have enough for me to take two photos.

This is a close-up of the second photo and after this we went for a walk around Williamson Park to get photos of all kinds of backgrounds including where they were married, the Ashton Memorial. Immediately after this photo there is the small job of removing the confetti and I ask for the piece they are taking off and I give them back (one from the bride and one from the groom) when they collect their photos.

Happy snapping

Friday, 22 April 2011

Poses and Natural Smiles

The pose on the left is typical and is one of the photos you just have to have at a wedding. In fact everyone gets this photo and that gives me the chance to get photos like that on the right.

The vast majority of wedding photos on the blog and on my website are of the bride and groom only. They are the people that I ask so it is quite exceptional for me to add flower girls or bridesmaids. I couldn't resist publishing this photo and I can't foresee any objections especially when you get natural expressions like these.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Morecambe Bay too

I like to go back for the evening receptions at weddings because I am able to take photos like these as the sun is setting. Every venue has great backgrounds for photos but the big advantage on the Morecambe coast is that you can take photos of Morecambe Bay.

The colour version isn't bad. The sunlight at this time in the evening gives a warm glow to the photo. You can't see that with the sepia version but the bonus is that you lose the distraction of the colour in the background. Would this couple prefer the colour or the sepia or even a monochrome version? It doesn't matter as they get them all.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Before and after blurring

For me the facial expression is the most important aspect of wedding photography. Blurring techniques may be a nice addition to any photograph but is nothing in comparison to a relaxed pose.

Here we have the venue for the ceremony in the background. With bit of cropping, a change to monochrome and a blurring apart from the hand, we end up with the photo on the right. The main point for me is that you can still see facial expression even with the blurring. I will tell the groom at this point that he is not in focus and this usually means we get a better expression, both before and after blurring.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Different proportions

This was the photo that I took back to the evening reception. You will see that the photo on the left is in the proportion 4:3 and on the right it is 3:2. The reason for this is that I give out fridge magnets which are for the bride and groom and their parents and they are 9cm by 6cm. I also gave them an enlargement which was 8"x 6"/

Take a look at the difference that the proportions makes to the image. Like most things in art and photography, it is down to personal preference. I quite like the fridge magnets and the proportions that go with it but I'll leave the main choice to the bride and groom.

Happy snapping

Monday, 18 April 2011

Almost The Wedding Breakfast

I like this photograph which has been taken just before the bride and groom join their guests for the wedding breakfast. That's a strange name as it was 4.30pm. I like it because it mimics the photograph taken earlier in the day when the bride and her father were waiting to walk down the aisle.

Even if nobody else thinks it is important, I like to have the bride and groom standing in this order for this photo. I don't ask them to stand on any particular side for any other photo apart from this moment. There may be other reasons that dictate which side they stand, like the wind affecting hair and veil but for all the other photos I make no restrictions as to which side they stand.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Yesterday's wedding

This is one of the photos from yesterday's wedding in Lancaster. The reception was in Morecambe and a small diversion took us to this venue for a view of the bay. There aren't many places where you can get a view like this. Fortunately this was only a couple of minutes from the reception.

I often amend photos to monochrome or sepia and on the right I added a vignette to the sepia version. I like the way that these changes make it look like the wedding took place years ago but it really was yesterday.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 16 April 2011

A new angle on lights

I went round to see a friend last week and his son is considering photography as an option for his GCSEs. In the space of thirty minutes we covered exposure and aperture and shutter priorities. He soon picked up the basic workings including manual focus. Mostly we covered the practical aspects of using an SLR.

On the left you realise the need for a fast shutter (unless you are trying to be artistic). If you want to use ambient light you have to use a tripod and timer or remote control. An alternative to a tripod is a floor and that's the photo on the right. Photography helps you to look at things around you. Have you looked at your lights from this angle?

Happy snapping

Friday, 15 April 2011

The same photo

I thought that it would be interesting to show you these photos or I should say this photo from a recent wedding. It is a simple pose but I am a great believer in facial expression being the most important aspect of portraits.

It is the same photo. Obviously there is a closer cropping on the right. I have also increased contrast and decreased brightness and if you look closely you will see that I have also removed a distracting light or two in the background.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Eric Morecambe's question

There are many people who don't like their photos to be taken but you don't usually count children among their number and my grandson is no exception.

The photo on the left is taken in his den. Alright it is a settee that is on its side. The photo on the right is more of a pose in the sense that he is being held. It sounds like a question Eric Morecambe would ask Ernie Wise but can you see where the join is?

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Last two from Saturday

Here are the last two photos from Preston Grasshoppers taken on Saturday. They were taken within a few seconds of each other as I understand that there were two serious injuries on another pitch. Preston's ground is not very far from the Royal Preston Hospital so these injuries must have been serious to call out the air ambulance.

There have been many calls for the Grand National to be banned following the deaths of two horses. This was happening at the same time that I was taking these photos. I don't know what happened to the rugby players but there must be many serious injuries occuring in many sports and nobody is protesting. I can hear the answer "but people choose to play - the horses don't choose to run in the Grand National". Well they are only horses. I heard Ginger McCain say that these horses died doing what they were trained to do. Even if horse racing was a lot safer there would still be some deaths. I wonder why we don't hear calls to ban sports when humans die.

Happy snapping

Monday, 11 April 2011

Line-out close-up

Here is another photo from Saturday's match at Preston Grasshoppers. I showed you one photo yesterday along with an enlargement and I have done so again.

I was half-tempted to buy a 300mm lens but for most purposes I would not want such a close-up. I have not been to a rugby match for some time but I did enjoy it, so next time I might take the zoom lens that I already own and see how I get on with that.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Standard or zoom lens?

I watched Preston Grasshoppers play Nuneaton yesterday. I have to admit that I like rugby, especially rugby union, but I am not a regular fan. The main reason I went to Preston yesterday was to meet up with an old friend with whom I used to play rugby. He went on to write for Rugby World for many years and he still writes for a golf magazine. He has also had many photos published and always takes his camera to games. Yesterday was no exception and I borrowed his camera with a 300mm lens.

This photos were taken with a 17.5 to 45mm lens and the photo on the right is simply an enlargement. I have always been happy with a zoom up to 45mm. I have lenses up to 150mm but I hardly use them as I prefer to be near to the subject. Even if I am not that close I really don't think there is anything wrong with these photos. My friend knew many of the people at the ground and he spoke with two other photographers both of them, like him had 300mm lenses. The next time I go to a game I may use a zoom lens.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Studios on a shoestring

This is my daughter and grandson (nephew and aunt just in case you wondered). The reason I am showing you is that we had a party last week and it was easy to put up my black piece of material and take photos.

I wanted to show you the photo on the right just to let you know that it is only a piece of cloth that cost a few pounds. As for the studio lighting I turned the flash to the ceiling. This gives the impression that the lighting is from above and it softens shadows tremendously. With a black background you don't see any shadows.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 7 April 2011

George Rodger

On Sunday 27th March I showed you a photo of Glasgow's GoMA, Gallery of Modern Art and on the first floor was a photography exhibition. I recognised some of the photographs as the work of George Rodger and I also took a look at a file giving a lot more information about him. It was good to see the photos that I had recognised. I suppose it is a little like going to a concert and hearing the songs that have been a hit.

If you search for information about George Rodger you will see that he took photos during World War Two, worked for Life Magazine and took photos in Africa, in particular he took photos of the Nuba tribe in the Sudan. I know this is a very brief summary of a very long career but it may be that it was for his photos in the Sudan that he was most famous and it was some of these photographs that I saw in Glasgow. And the most important piece of biography? He went to the same school as me in Manchester.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Ashton Memorial 3

A couple of days ago I showed you this view of the Ashton Memorial. I don't usually take the photo in landscape as the shape of the building lends itself to a portrait orientation. However I wanted to use one of the photos that I took on Sunday and make it fit into the frame on the right.

We don't take many photos at the pre-wedding meeting as the main thing is to discuss where the group photos are to be taken, what the couple want from the day and I can also give advice on the day.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Ashton Memorial 2

Yesterday I showed you the quickest way to get the Ashton Memorial in the background. On the left is my favourite view. Unfortunately the landscape has changed and the overgrown rhododendron bushes were cut down a couple of months ago but it doesn't take much to walk to the other side of the building as seen on the right.

We don't take long to take the photos at the pre-wedding meeting. A few seconds longer at each point gives another photo and weddings are the time to make use of backgrounds like this.

Happy snapping

Monday, 4 April 2011

The Ashton Memorial

Whenever I go on a pre-wedding meeting it is always a new experience for me even if I have been to the venue many times before and I have taken many photos at the Ashton Memorial in Lancaster. I mention three options for photos of the couple and perhaps small groups, and this is the shortest version of a walk around the park as they must have this view with the memorial in the background. It only takes five minutes to get here and then we continue our walk around the park.

The good thing about this scene, apart from it being close to the building, is that there is a natural dip and I am standing up quite normally. Can you imagine if the land was flat I would have to be lying on the floor. In this particular photo I also like the cloud formation and the lighting which is just right on the building and on the bride and groom.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 3 April 2011

City Chanber and Lion

I mentioned Glasgow's City Chambers a few days ago as you could just see the top of the building on the horizon. This is a view taken from the top of a bus. I often take the red bus tour when I am in a city that I don't know well. Just in view at the foot of the cenotaph is the statue of a lion on the right.

I was once a physiotherapist for an American football team in Manchester called the Manchester Heroes. I also worked for the Blackpool Falcons but I have always considered myself a hero (that's a joke). One of the teams we played when I was with the Falcons was called the Glasgow Lions. I wonder how much of the name was due to this statue.

Happy snapping