Friday, 30 December 2011

More studio stuff

With time on my hands, but no sunshine to lure me outside with the camera, I've been taking 'portraits' of some of my lure collection. The first one is another light painting attempt using black paper as the background. I found 10m rolls of paper in a range of colours in Staples that make good back drops for this sort of stuff.

The second shot was inspired by Eric Weight's use of flash in his recent fairy photos. The composition leaves plenty of space for text. (I have a cunning plan to use it in an article somewhere!)

This third photo used two off camera flashes and umbrellas. The white background is much harder to work with for someone like me who is unused to working like this.

While this kind of stuff is quite interesting to do, I don't think I'm temperamentally suited to the attention to detail that is required. Things like ensuring the surface the lures rest on are clean and free from dust and marks. And I can never be bothered making a note of what lighting set up I used. I think there might have been a sheet of white paper used as a reflector in one of the above photos...

Monday, 26 December 2011

Three photographs of a photograph

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Another look

I took another trip to Liverpool for a second look at the Mitch Epstein show at the Open Eye Gallery before it closed. Naturally I took my camera along with the versatile 28-105 attached. The first time I went I snapped a couple of shots of the tops of litter-bins designed for extinguishing cigarettes. I'm not sure why. There is something about words appearing in photographs that appeals in a Pop Art sort of way. It's akin to my fascination with road signs in the landscape. One of the shots is on the right here.

On my second trip I hadn't intended to use the bins as subject matter again but one caught my eye, then another, and eventually I went looking for them around the Albert Dock. Some sunshine would have improved matters and there's a degree of repetition but as an idea to explore it could prove interesting. The full set can be found here.

One good thing about the 'cultural centre' of Liverpool is that it is full of tourists with cameras. So no matter what you choose to shoot nobody bats an eye. Quite the opposite in fact, as after taking one of the Stub It Out shots a bloke with a camera moved in behind me and took a photo himself.

Saturday, 17 December 2011


I waited in until twelve thirty for a delivery from Amazon before heading out to take the newly acquired lens for a walk round town. By the time I got there (after a detour to the tackle shop) it was getting late. There was plenty going on with Christmassy market stalls set up, but the ISO had to be pushed to borderline levels. If only there was a crop sensor that could match the one in the D3s. Ho hum.

I must say the zoom range is useful for street photography, certainly on the crop sensor. It matches the lenses I used to use in the days of 35mm too, so should I ever take a full frame camera round town it should work equally well.

These next two leave me undecided as to whether the colour version or the black and white conversion works better. It was the colours and the lighting that made me put the camera to my eye, but it's the chap's expression (which materialised during the picture taking) that makes the picture.

So far the lens seems to be a handy piece of kit for the money. It'll certainly come in useful as a travelling light lens for fishing.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The light

Can light make an everyday subject into something interesting? I took delivery of a cheap 'knockabout' lens before lunch so wasted no time attaching it to cameras, not to take test shots of walls or printed charts, but to see what it could do with regarding picture making. It's a 28-105 zoom that cost me £150 secondhand. I didn't expect top quality but I wanted a lens with a versatile range that I could use use on crop or full frame that didn't weigh a ton and had a useful close up facility. A lens I could stick on a camera to take fishing with me when catching fish was the priority rather than taking photos, or to take in the car wherever I go.

As luck would have it the winter sun broke through as I was having lunch. First shot on crop, second a while later on full frame. Two images that are far from superb, but certainly capture two effects of light.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

More commercial stuff

I've been following Pat MacInnes's Flickr and blog for a while. He works for an angling magazine publisher and takes product and editorial shots. He's a technical sort of photographer, whcih I am not, but in my real life I write about fishing and try to sell fishing rods to people, so his techniques do resonate with me.

One thing he recently blogged about was lightpainting against a black background. I could see how I could use that to make for striking adverts, so I cobbled some things together and gave it a try.

This was the result, after a few failures where the light I was using left visible trails.

With a little fiddling around it worked up into a full page ad. I shalln't be running this particular version, but hope to reshoot in future for a new project.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


One from Liverpool the other week, and one from yesterday. Both have interesting aspects but leave me uncertain if they cut the mustard. Which probably means they don't.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Back at the beach

Time to get out with the camera has been non-existent of late, but an e-mail from one of the kiteboarders I have got to know tempted me to the beach after finishing work at lunch. It was a day of high wind blowing in rain squalls. This made for difficult light to photograph the action in but fantastic for everything else. Owing to the rain I only took the 150-500 to the water's edge and was hand-holding at high shutter speeds and ISO values through necessity. So technically the land/sea/skyscapes aren't too hot, but atmospherically they are pleasing.

The action shots worked a little better. Taking endless frame-filling shots of jumps and spray coming off the edge of the board as the boarders speed along gets a bit tedious, so I try to break things up for my own amusement.

When I am at the beach doing the sports photographer schtick I am also quietly working on a loose project working around the kiteboarding theme.