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Rosa Brighid

In January of this year I had chance to work with a new (to me)  model Rosa Brighid. She is based in Plymouth but was in my area and so we arranged to work together. As it was  January a studio location was the best option, so I booked Hallum Mill in Stockport. It turned out to be a very wet day (glad I had chosen to work in the studio) so having collected Rosa Brighid from where she was staying, we headed over the hills to Hallum Mills.

I got to know Rose a bit on the way across and she certainly looked to be going to be a popular model as she outlined the various shoots she had planned during the year.

As I mentioned earlier this was a very wet day so there was not a lot of natural light available to shoot with.  I chose to work with a couple of different lighting setups. The first image (below) was from my first lighting setup were the main lights  were placed behind the model (fitted with a small reflector and a grid). They were setup high and aimed at separate bounce boards which were positioned to the right and left of the camera in front of the model. These bounce boards bounce the light back towards the model and produce an incredibly soft and flattering light.  As can be seen from the image the lights picks up the edges of the body and hair and create a rim light on the body contours and hair. It then hits the bounce boards and scatters and produces a soft front light.

The second image was lit using a continuous tungsten light source “daylight balanced” which means that you can see exactly were the light is falling and for this set the light was positioned to the right hand side of the camera.

It is interesting to see the two different lighting set outputs.

Rosa Brighid white border
Canon 5D MkIII – 1/125 @ f / 10.0 EF 70-200mm F2.8 L
Rosa Brighid lingerie
Canon 5D MkIII – 1/125 @ f / 9.0 EF 70-200mm F2.8 L

The next  image was from a more normal lighting set up where the main light was to the front and off to the right of the camera and fitted with a larger soft box, which again giving a softer light but slight more edgier look.

Rosa Brighid single light to the rhs
Canon 5D MkIII – 1/125 @ f /4.5 EF 70-200mm F2.8 L
Rosa Brighid single light to the rhs I
Canon 5D MkIII – 1/125 @ f / 9.0 EF 70-200mm F2.8 L

The darker more moody images were lit using a lighting setup which consisting a one main light fitted with a strip soft box which also had an egg crate grid attached to control the light spill and make it very directional. Which keeps the light from falling onto the back ground. The result is that  you get dark backgrounds and good light and shadow areas on the contours of the body.

Rosa Brighid facing the light
Canon 5D MkIII – 1/125 @ f / 8.0 EF 70-200mm F2.8 L
Rosa Brighid turning away from the light
Canon 5D MkIII – 1/125 @ f / 9.0 EF 70-200mm F2.8 L
Rosa Brighid seated on the table with a chair
Canon 5D MkIII – 1/125 @ f / 8.0 EF 70-200mm F2.8 L

It turns out the Rosa Brighid is a bit of a climber so here is one to finish with, were we worked with a rope ladder suspended from the ceiling. Again using the strip lighting set up to light the scene.

artistic nude image of model rosa brighid using a rope ladder to hang and make a curved figure shape
Canon 5D MkIII – 1/125 @ f / 10.0 EF 70-200mm F2.8 L

So thanks to Rosa for producing some good poses to go with the lighting.

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Roswell Ivory

I  finally have had some time to start to work on my image backlog after a hectic few months of image making. In April alone I had 5 model shoots and a trip to the Isle of Skye for a weeks break and also a change to work at getting some landscape images.

Roswell Ivory is based in Milton Keynes and had contacted me a couple of times in the past to see if we could arrange a time for us to work together.

But somehow the dates we had available never quite matched up, or I already had a shoot booked when she was in the area.  So it was really good that in February we found a date that we both could do. This fitted into a tour she had organised so it meant that she was able to come up to work with me locally so we could be fairly relaxed with the time and a venue too.

This was a studio shoot as February is a just a little bit too cold for working outside, the studio has some good natural light so most of these image were shot with just the natural light in the studio.

The artist nude figure studies were shot with a single studio light on a simple black ground.

Roswell Ivory is great to work with and as she is also a trained  contortionist and as such she can make so great shapes with here body.

The location had a large mirror so we used this to create a set of legs and shoes images using some of Roswell Ivory vintage lingerie.

So here a few I liked from the session:


A day out in Ribblesdale in the Yorkshire dales

I finally managed to get out to do some landscape photography last Monday when I had a day out in Ribblesdale and surrounding areas with my good friend and professional photographer Ade Mcfade. It was a bright but cloudy day with a strong wind blowing which brought frequent snow showers to locations and turned the mundane into interesting landscapes in a matter of a few minutes.

When we got into the hills and up to the snow line, the snow was around 6-8 inches deep, so it was a challenge to keep our feet on some of the slippery limestone pavements. With this sort of weather the scenery changed dramatically from the normal type of images you might expect to capture up there. We spent most of the day stopping at known locations and some unknown which suddenly became interesting and offered photographic opportunities that on a normal day would not be there as the snow turned them to a winter wonderland.

With the snow showers moving in and out all day, there were some good images to be had.  When the cold (a big wind chill factor going on this day from the strong wind) finally got the better of us we moved on to a different location to find what the snow had done to the scenery there.

I started out shooting with my Canon 5DMkIII and either the 70-200mm f2.8 zoom or my wide angle 16-35mm f2.8 zoom lens. These two are my favourite combination for working in the landscape. But I had brought along my 400mm f5.6 which proved very useful for some distance shots of a moody snow covered Pen-y- Ghent. Getting a telephoto view of some landscapes can be beneficial with the telephoto effect of the lens providing a compressing perspective and giving a different view point to the normal.

Shooting with ‘live view’ worked well for most of the images until the camera decided that the batteries had had enough and ‘live view’ stopped working. The camera would take pictures but you didn’t get a display of the image you had taken. So I swapped over to my Fuji mirrorless camera which had my Zeiss 12mm F2.8 on for the day, which allowed the trip to continue. So as the light was starting to fade, we headed off to finish the day at one of the limestone pavements with the famous tree and despite the cold wind, the Fuji performed faultlessly all the time.

While I love working with the Canon DSLR which is solid and weighty (and helped weight down the tripod!) and is usually so reliable,  I did have had a 5DmkII stop working in these type of conditions a few year ago, so perhaps its worth having extra batteries on hand for these type of conditions.

It was good to have the Fuji in a bag ready to take over and I enjoyed using it with the Zeiss lens.  The final three images are from the Fuji.

So a good day out in Ribblesdale and beyond……

a day in the dales -13
A day in the dales -13
a day in the dales -12
A day in the dales -12
a day in the dales -11
A day in the dales -11
A day in the dales -10
A day in the dales -10
a day in the dales -9
A day in the dales -9
a day in the dales -7
A day in the dales -7
a day in the dales -8
A day in the dales -8
a day in the dales -5
A day in the dales -5
a day in the dales -4
A day in the dales -4
a day in the dales -3
A day in the dales -3
a day in the dales -1
A day in the dales -1
a day in the dales -2
A day in the dales -2

A year in review -2014

It is always difficult to review a year (in terms of photography that is) as you always seem to be planning ahead for the next shoot. So perhaps taking the time to review what you have done in the past year is worth doing, at least in the terms of showing some of the images I created over 2014.

I have worked with a number of new models this year. In January, I had the pleaure to meet and work with Lulu Lockhart, this turned out to be the first of 3 shoots we had together during the year, so I guess I liked working with her. Others I had the pleasure of meeting and working with included Natasha-J-Bella, Anna Rose, Faith Obae, Christen Rock and finally Elle Beth.

I also did more location shoots this year with an Urban ballet themed shoot with Kayleigh Lush in Saltaire and a woodland shoot with Faith Obae.

On the FIAP salon trail, it was another good year for my images with two real highlights – the first being a Gold medal at the Feldkrich salon in the Trierenburg Super Salon, which resulted in an invitation to the Gala dinner in Linz in October to collect this. It certainly was a great evening with the chance to met fellow photograhers and enjoy their work and company. Tim Pile and Brian Hopper were also there so it was good to catch up with Tim and meet Brian for the first time, plus other fellow award winners from around the globe.

The second highlight was being lucky enough to be awarded another Medal in the London Salon year.

On a visit to Belfast in mid October for a few days I managed to meet up with Ross McKelver and we found time to do shoot with Christen Rock at Ross’ studio in Belfast (Catch Light Studios).

A visit to Iceland in late September/early October for 10 days of landscape photography with Daniel Bergman – high winds, rain, snow and some fine landscape views to photograph made it well worth the trip. I will certainly look at returning.

On the judging front I enjoyed judging the work entered into the Yorkshire International Salon of Photography, with fellow judges Margaret Salisbury and Ray Brammall – a good choice of weekend – two days before before Christmas!

I finished the year with a publication in Sensual Photography book No3 – so its not been a bad year overall!

So here are some image from the year:


2014 Edition – Sensual Photography

A website that I post on from time to time and use as a resource is Sensual-photography.eu

If you don’t know it, this is a French based participatory photo gallery based around a single theme of sensual photography and the sensuality of the woman. The images are chosen by the editors Nicole Fily and Francois Rommens so each image is validated by them to ensure that it fits with the theme.

For the last 2 years they have published a limited edition book with images that have been published on the site, and that they selected to make up the book. The 2014 edition will be their third book and as the saying goes: “good things come in threes”!

So in the 2014 edition I was really pleased to find that one of my images had been selected to be included in this 3rd edition from Sensual photography.

I think I was one of only two image makers from the UK members to be accepted this year. It was really pleasing to have had an image selected. The book which is 200 pages in full colour has already sold out too.

At the time of this post I didn’t know which image had been selected but now I know that it was this one of the model Helen Diaz. Shot using a Lensbaby composer.

monochrome portrait of model helen diaz shot with a lens baby

Triggertrap review

When I go out to shoot landscapes I will work with my camera on a tripod and use a remote trigger release to trigger the shutter, as this I have found helps to stop any small movement or vibration that may occur when the shutter is released. I also work with the live view mode so the mirror is locked up to start with.While I was out in Iceland shooting landscapes my remote trigger broke (and yes, it was the expensive Canon one). So I when I got back I was looking around for a good alternative replacement to this.

Searching the net I started to find some good positive reviews of an app called Triggertrap, from a company called:

FB911_TT_logo

The company produces an app called Triggertrap Mobile which is an app that you download to your phone and which leverages the power of your smartphone and adds a metric craptonne (!) of additional features to your camera and it works on either iPhone or Android platform.

To be able to use it, you’ll need a smartphone with the Triggertrap mobile app (and this is free download! from iTunes or Google play). Then you need to buy a Triggertrap Mobile connection kit for your camera. They have got over a dozen different kits, and they say that they have more than 300 different models of cameras covered with these kits. These kits are not expensive either in the £23 range depending on the kit you need.

So what can the Triggertrap app do?

It has a Cable release option which enables you to trigger your camera in any of the following ways:
Simple cable release: tap the button for a picture
Quick release: release button to take the picture
Press and hold: touch to start, release to stop
Press and lock: touch to start, touch to stop
Timed Release: choose your shutter speed
Self timer: photo in 3…2…1

There are Time-lapse modes which gives you the following:

Time-lapse: travel through time,
Time warp: time-lapse with acceleration
Distance lapse: perfect for road trips

Bramping: bulb ramping time-lapse
Star Trail: extreme exposure control
HDR modes:
LE HDR: Long Exposure HDR sets with up to 19 exposures
LE HDR Time lapse: create time lapse with all the details of HDR

Calculators: ND calculator

and finally Sensor modes:
Sound sensor: activated by sound
Vibration sensor: activated by vibration
Motion sensor: activated by motion
Peekaboo: see a face take photo

So as you can see this app has a lot to add to controlling your camera remotely. It is well priced and when I ordered the cables, they were with me within two days of placing my order.

So how do you use it? That is very easy really; you connect your camera and your phone via the cable, you boot up the app and select the mode you want to use and that is it.

TTD3LR-1-2-940x626

(image from the triggertrap website)

I have only just tried out the cable release option and I have to say this worked well; my only issue is you have to hold your phone all the time as I was not over keen on letting it dangle down over a large puddle which is where I was shooting at the time. So here are a few images shot using the app whilst in Belfast.

h&w crane belfast
H&W Crane Belfast
rainbow h&w belfast
Rainbow H&W Belfast
titanic building belfast
Titanic Building Belfast

Car park arrow

car park arrow
Car park arrow
titanic building after the rain
Titanic building after the rain

With all the other options to explore like HDR, movement, triggering etc, or if you want to plunge into new creative realms with your photography and you need a device that can do it “all” then I would recommend you check out the Triggertrap app.

I have only just used one of the modes so far and was impressed with it and will not be looking at an expensive Canon remote any more.

So check out Triggertrap I really don’t  think you would be disappointed.


A day’s visit to Munich.

Exhibitions, Marathons and Olympic Stadiums all in a day’s visit to Munich.

As I wrote in my previous post about attending the Trierenberg super circuit gala dinner, getting there needed some planning as the flights didn’t work out well from the north of England. So after a lot of research by my wife, the best option for us involved a trip to London and then a flight from Gatwick to Munich, which gave us an opportunity to spend a day in Munich.

However, while in London we used the time to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum and the exhibition of the work of the German photographer Horst. The exhibition is entitled ‘Horst: Photographer of Style’. The German theme of the whole trip started here.

horst_banner

(Image from the V&A website)

This exhibition is well worth a visit as his images are excellent – many in black and white. His mastery of how light falls, composition and his ability to create atmosphere and sensual illusion using light is seen throughout the exhibition. It’s not all his fashion work either – there is a good selection of his other work which is also very strong too. Well worth the visit (the exhibition runs until 4th January 2015).

Then on to the delights of Gatwick airport. I have to say we cleared the security checks very quickly and the Easyjet flight was good too. We had booked a hotel near the airport as it seemed the most sensible option as we were arriving at around 21:00 and if we were delayed getting into Munich, then finding the hotel might be very stressful, after a long day traveling.

The day spent in Munich turned out to be interesting both photographically and culturally. It transpired that the Munich marathon was taking place. We had not really researched what was on in the city apart from a read of an article listing the 10 best things to do in Munich, so we got the chance to watch the early stages of the marathon and it’s runners and then the later stages too.

in the 5000
In the 5000
early leaders munich marathon
Marathon
runing in step
Runing in step

One of the recommendations was to visit the Brandhorst Museum which is a modern art gallery. Again, no research as to what exhibition might have been on, but to my delight they were running a exhibition of Richard Avedon images. The exhibition is entitled: ‘Murals and Portraits’, covering a range of his work starting with three of his large photographic murals made from 1969 – 1971.  These were complimented with his portrait work of some of the most famous people of the 50s onwards including Frances Bacon, Samuel Beckett and Buster Keaton. Another set was entitled: ‘The American West’; again a set of strong portraits of ordinary working Americans.

This was another well curated exhibition and showed a very good range of his other work (some for the first time).

orge
Jorge
viewing-becket
Viewing-Becket

The other location that we had planned to visit was the Olympic Stadium built for the 1972 summer Olympics. Travelling on the Underground to the stadium and BMW museum was very busy and it was only when we got out of the station that we realised that the Stadium was being used for the finish of the marathon. This it turned out was a good thing as there was no admission charge to get in and look round, and it gave you a feel of the atmosphere of the place as the runners were completing their final lap of the stadium track to the finish line. The architecture was also impressive with it’s 70 design still looking modern and futuristic.

bmw musum angle
BMW musum angles
stadium architure
Stadium architure
statuim-interior.jpg
Statuim-interior

So overall a good day in the city of Munich – and I think we will return again for a slightly longer visit.


The Trierenberg Super Circuit gala dinner and awards evening

Part of the introduction on the Trierenberg Super Circuit website states that:

It is the aim of this competition to find out the very best photography from different styles, techniques and genres. The Trierenberg Super Circuit has established as an international benchmark of perfect photography. Not only amateur photographers, but also internationally well-known artists and professionals have been participating.”

And on Monday of this week (13/10/2014) I was among those photographers at the gala dinner and awards evening held at the Design Centre in Linz, Austria. One of my 8 accepted images had been awarded a gold medal for best colourprint image in the  Feldkirch salon. (Expression on red Pointe).

red point angles and shapes
Red point angles and shapes

As medal winner you get an invite to attend the Gala Dinner and awards evening, and as I have known other UK and Irish photographers, (Ron and Maggie Tear and Ciaran Whyte) to name but two, who have attended in the past and talked about the event being impressive, so when the invitation came I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to attend.

I was not disappointed as it was certainly an impressive event, well organised and with a well curated exhibition of a large number of the accepted prints. To have one of your images on display with all the other impressive work and to stand on the stage in front of all those other photographers and creative artists was a good and humbling feeling.

There were a few other UK photographers attending too – Tim Pile and Brian Hooper were two whose work I know.

They were also there to collect medals for their work so it was good to meet up with them and also spend time with photographers from around the world, the furthest being one from Australia and the other from Brazil.

Thanks to Brian Hooper for the the next two images, which are me collecting my medal; and the other guests on our table (myself and Ro, Lotta van Droom and partner, Brian Hooper, Jalal Sazeli and Jack).

Then we have Tim Pile been interviewed on stage.

bph6865
Collection my award
bph6874
Some of the other award winners
tim on camera
Tim on camera

Three photographers who I met at the event and whose work is worth looking at are :

Lotta van Droom (Ireland),

Jalal Sazeli from Singapore, and

Mohammadreza Rezinia from Iran is also an impressive creative and it was good to meet and talk with him about the challenges he faces in creating his work.

Have a look at their websites if you have the time.

To sum up the Gala evening – it is just amazing. The presentation of the images, awards, and company made it a special event, and if you ever get the invite, then GO.


Urban Ballet with Kayleigh Lush

Having finally managed to process some of the urban ballet images from my recent shoot with the dancer  Kayleigh Lush .

I thought it was worth sharing a few of them in my blog.

The idea of the project was to shoot a set of ballet themed images in a urban setting.

First of all I needed a good location, which also needed to be fairly local to me.

That choice of location was Saltaire, which is near Shipley and very local to me.

Because I have been there a number of times I knew that it had some really good locations which we could to shoot ballet against.

Another requirement was a trained ballet dancer, so I contacted Kayleigh Lush.

Now having worked with Kayleigh before , I knew she was capable of producing good ballet poses. Which is what I wanted for this project.

Kayleigh is a trained dancer and works really hard to produce great images, especially dance. So was the ideal choice for this project.

As I mentioned above the choice of location was Saltaire, near Shipley which is a world heritage site and has some interesting buildings to work against.

These include the famous Salts Mill with the Leeds Liverpool Canal running between its buildings.

As well as the impressive  United Reformed Church.  which is just across the canal for the mill builds.

All these building were built by Sir Titus Salt around the 1850s, and I was sure would give good and different building to shoot dance poses against.

On the day the weather was overcast and grey which was good, but to lift Kayleigh out of the background I needed some extra light.

To provided this extra punch of light, I therefore set up a single off camera flash unit fitted with a 19″ McGillicuddy beauty dish . This is my favourite modifier to use with a single off camera flash set up.

Urban ballet Images

As the day progressed the weather turned to light rain, which made working on pointe and landing jumps tricky for Kayleigh.

This therefore required us to make a change to the location, fortunately there was some local woods near by.

Which would provided some shelter from the rain for a while, but still allow us to shoot the projects theme of dance.


Question: How important is the title of an image?

The Question:

A question that came up at a recent lecture I was giving to a camera club was: How important is the title of an image?

Now this made me stop and think for a minute (so a good question).  I know that when I am creating images I don’t have a title in my mind, it is all about focusing on creating that image. I suggest that the titling process begins when I add images into my library.

They have a ‘working title’ which is normally a generic shoot title in combination with a file number. I don’t rely on just numbers and dates alone therefore all the images from that shoot get that generic title.

It is only when I have selected an image and start to process that image that a possible title might appear. It may also come from my thinking while processing the images.

You could say it all depends on what you are going to do with the images. If it is only for your personal portfolio then does a title matter?

My personal opinion is yes, image titles are important.

Images that are going out to be viewed either on my website or on an image posting website should have a title.

Creating a title for your image is all part of the creative process. I know from personal experience that sometimes it is easy to come up with a good title and some times it is very difficult to come up with a good meaningful title.

However this question was in the context of using images in exhibitions/ competitions.

So how important is a title?

My thoughts and experience of entering images into exhibitions is that for most International exhibitions the title makes very little difference.

The reason of this is the volume of images that have been entered makes the judging process a rapid affair. Some times the titles are read out other they appear as texted with the image. It is all about the image making an impact in the short viewing window that the judges have.

It is only in the medal selection process that the judges will most likely see the titles of the selected images.

Exceptions:

There are exceptions to this – for example, the London Salon and possibly the Edinburgh International. (Both print salons) where the judging process is very different. The title of the image is very important for the judging here. Especially in the London salon where it is all about the images being selected that show distinct evidence of artistic feeling and execution, So the title is a very important part of that.

But I suspect that for the majority of the digital salons the title is not seen until the end of the selection process. Certainly looking in salon catalogues you will see that certain authors don’t bother with strong title so you might see Mountain view III , or Window light 4.

At club level

However in club photography circles the title is very important and is usually read out prior to the image being presented for viewing/ judging.

So getting a good title for the image is essential. As in this area the title provides a useful handle for critiquing, reviewing and discussing the work.

Alternate titles may be suggested as this review is undertaken, which may or may not help the author.

To me the role of the image title is and will always be an important factor of image making.

It is perhaps the final part of the artistic creation process. The title once chosen, normally stays with that image or any form of art (whatever it is) for it life.

To choose a strong title should be part of the challenge for any artist no matter what type of art is being produced.

So my answer was that a good strong title is important.

Get the title right and it will be part of the emotional response of the viewer’s experience when they view the image.

These are my views so it would be interesting to read others views.

Below are a selection of images and with my chosen title that have done well at all levels with their titles:


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