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Bradley Wiggins Crash Face

Today I found out that all cyclists have a crash face. Here is Bradley Wiggins…

Bradley Wiggins Crash Face

 

It’s quite surreal having a cyclist crash right in front of you, never mind a Tour de France winner, National Road Race Champion, multiple Olympic gold medalist and mod legend! I didn’t know weather to keep shooting or try and help the old boy up. The large metal barriers in my way and the fact he was inside the final 3km (and so would get the same time as the finishers) and thankfully the lack of any injury meant I could keep shooting as he soon clambered back on his bike.

Wiggins Crashes Out

Wiggins Crashes Tour of Britain

Wiggins Crashes Tour of Britain 2012

Wiggins Crashes Tour of Britain 2012-2

Having over cooked the penultimate bend leading out his team mates on the first stage of the 2012 Tour of Britain and taking a bit of a tumble, he was soon back on his feet. Luckily there didn’t appear to be too much damage and Brad was soon off on his way again to ride another day. Just goes to show he’s not afraid to take some risks and make sacrifices for his team mates….nice to see in a champion.

Wiggins Crashes Not Hurt

Safe journey and good luck to you and the rest of your team Mr Wiggins!

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iphone photography

All shot using an iphone 4s and processed with the Instagram app.

iPhone Portrait Photography

iPhone Sunrise Photography

iPhone Street Photography

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My Favourite Lens

There’s one lens in my bag that continues to both frustrate and flirt with me in equal quantities. Just when i think I’ve had enough of it and think about selling it, it goes and serenades me again by producing some great photographs. In some ways it’s the lens i hate to love and love to hate.

Fast Wheel Tokina 11-16image credit

I’ll usually go periods of six months or more without using it then when I get bored of the instant bokeh and kitsch portrait shots of my 50mm I dig it out again and play continuously with it for the next month or so. The lens I am taking about is the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8.

Tokina 11-16 Vatican

I think the reason I keep coming back to this lens is that it is the most challenging I have in my bag. It’s not easy to take good shots with the Tokina, you really have to work for them. The incredibly wide focal length means you really need to compose scenes well. You can’t just point this lens at the horizon and expect a grade A landscape shot. But you can stick it in some crazy, unusual places and get some great pictures…

The Laundry Tokina 11-16image credit

It lends itself to leading lines, to cramped places, to making the ordinary look distorted and interesting. Compared to all the other lenses I’ve used it offers a much more unique perspective on the world, making the boring appear interesting and helping the photographer to tell a unique story. The above shot of a staircase in the Vatican museum is a perfect example of the Tokina doing what it does best – tearing the viewers eyes through the perspective of a scene.

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Been busy

50mm Portrait

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A Portrait of India

portrait of india

portrait of india 2

portrait of india 3

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Every Photo Tells a Pictory

I recently got a photograph published over at Pictory. If you haven’t heard of it Pictory is an online showcase for photographers. The site asks for submissions based on a particular theme, the idea being that all the photographs selected tell their particular take on a common story or theme through one photograph and a short narrative.

Photograph Published in Pictory

The theme for this showcase was “Neighborhood Treasure“. I chose a recent shot i’d taken of Clapham Common – definitely something in my local vicinity that i treasure.

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The Importance of Lighting In Photography

Light is everything in photography. The job of a photographer is to capture light into an still image. As photographers all the time we spend fiddling with white balance, thinking about exposure, tone, contrast is basically all about trying to best capture the light we see that reflects back off our subject.

Looking back over a couple of recent photographs it is immediately apparent that the reason they work as photographs is because the lighting conditions are just right.

Product Photography Lighting

With product photography (indoor studio product photography) the aim of the game is to create your own light. In the studio you have full control to light the subject exactly how you want it in order to get the best shot. This doesn’t mean that you need huge expensive lighting to make great product shots.

Product Photography Lighting

To prove the point this watch photograph was shot using less than $100 worth of lighting kit.  In order to get full control over the lighting I switched off all of the lights in the room. It was already dark outside but i also drew all of the curtains in order to prevent any street light creeping into the shot.

The watch was simply placed on the granite counter top in my kitchen. I shot a Vivitar 285 flash on 1/8th power through a cheap shoot through umbrella positioned above and to the right of the frame. To the left of the frame I had the oven’s extractor fan light switched on which provided some rim light from the left of the frame.

I think the lesson to be learned form a shot like this is that expensive lighting isn’t required to get a good shot. By using what you have at hand (oven extractor light, kitchen worktop etc) and taking full control of the light you can produce great photographs.

If you want to learn learn more about using cheap flash guns like the Vivitar 285 to get expensive lighting results be sure to head over to the home of cheap lighting, David Hobby’s blog strobist.

Natural Lighting

At the opposite end of the scale to studio lighting is natural light. The shot below was taken in a 15th floor hotel room. The early morning light was flooding in through the floor to ceiling windows. As a result there was little for me to think about. All i did was ask the model turn slightly to the left so that their wasn’t too much shadow on the right hand side of her face.

natural lighting photography

Many portrait photographers use reflectors to bounce light onto the subjects face from either the opposite side of the main light source (in this case the left side of the frame) or under the subjects chin, in both cases to prevent excessive shadows. With this shot there was no need as the model was leaning over a white table.

Lucky Lighting

If you’ve read any photography books you’ll have heard all about the golden hours at sunrise/sundown when the sun is low in the sky and produces a nice warm light.

Outdoor Photography Lighting

With the shot above I just got plain lucky. I make a habit of taking my camera with me everywhere. I was walking to work one morning during the winter when i was struck by how beautiful the park looked with the mist hugging the frosty ground. The timing of my walk was perfect because at that moment the sun began to rise above a cloud casting the most amazing orange glow on the park.

I stopped in my tracks and scrambled to get my camera out before the sun rose above the passing cloud. As i was getting my camera out i looked around for somewhere to get a decent composition. As I moved past a couple of trees to get a nicely framed shot I noticed the jogger approaching, perfect for adding another point of interest for the shot. As I rose the camera to my eye everything came together perfectly (the amount of light peeking over the cloud, the composition and of couple the joggers position in the frame).

Like I said above sometimes you need to get lucky with light. Take this same shot in midday light and it would be headed straight for the recycle bin.

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Lomo Light Seals

After recently getting some experience shooting with a lomo lca i decided to take the plunge and buy one. After watching a few on ebay i placed a few bids and ended up snagging one for £41 which based on others i watched is a great price.

The seller said it hadn’t been used in years and couldn’t guarantee that it worked and also added that the light seals were falling apart. I think this may have scared off quite a few bidders, however having recently replaced the seals on my Olympus XA2 I know this is a minor, simple job to do if that was all that was wrong with it. The fact that the seller had owned it from new (1990), had the instructions and said he’d stored it with the batteries taken out for the last ten years convinced me to take the risk.

Replacing the light seals on the lomo was a relatively simple task. I bought some new light seals from Japan and when they arrived simply followed the instructions here. It is basically just a case of scraping away all of the old gunky decayed seals with a cocktail stick (Using a bit of lighter fluid dabbed on a cotton bud helps this cleaning process). Once cleaned up and dry it is a case of simply sticking the 3 pre cut seals in place. You just need to take your time and ensure the seals are stuck in place straight and untwisted.

Having replaced the seals I was keen to get a roll of film through it in order to see if it worked ok. Well I am glad to report that there are no issues with light leaks and the lca seems to be in fine working order. Here is the first shot out of it…

I intend to use mainly colour slide film with the LCA and get it cross processed. Both of these shots were taken with Agfa Precisa 100 film cross processed at my local Snappy Snaps.

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London Underground Photography

Opened in 1900 Clapham Common Underground Station is one of the few stations that hasn’t received any major modernization in recent years. It is only one of two stations left that has an island platform that serves the lines running in both directions, the other being it’s neighbor Clapham North.

In addition to its shared platform it also has a deep level air raid shelter built underneath it, only one of eight on the entire underground network.

Calpham Common Underground Sign

Calpham Common Underground Sign

Clapham Common Ungerground Station Late At Night

Clapham Common Underground Station Late At Night

Clapham Common Underground Station Rush Hour

Clapham Common Underground Station Rush Hour

Clapham Common Underground Station on a Saturday Night

Clapham Common Underground Station on a Saturday Night

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A Lomo LCA Lesson

I recently attended a photography course with the exceptionally talented Mr Kevin Meredith aka lomokev of flickr fame. The aim of the course was to better learn what it takes to take a good photograph.

While I know (or like to think i know!) much of the standard photography  theory seen in many books (the rule of thirds, choose backgrounds wisely, yadda yadda, yadda) what I hoped to learn was an insight into how a photographer like Kevin approaches his shooting and to hopefully be able to apply some of the same principles to my work.

Day 1 of the two day course kicked off with a talk about what make a good photograph from Kevin. The afternoon was spent shooting a set list of 60 items using just two rolls of film, forcing you to think seriously before firing the shutter. An added bonus for me was that during day one we got to shoot using Lomo LCAs, a camera I have long admired from a distance and read much about (but so far resisted buying).

Lomo LCA

Lomo LCA

Day 2 was spent shooting a series of photographs (using digital cameras) with a self set theme. The idea being to help us build our own style by shooting a set of images with a common theme.

Using a Lomo LCA

I’ve read many times about LCA owners getting very frustrated at getting their films back from being developed only to find most of the shots are blurred. Well I didn’t really find this an issue. Following Kev’s advice i found that paying close attention to the “camera to subject distance” resulted in mainly sharp images. As recommended all of the shots taken on the 0.8m zone focus setting were kept sharp by measuring the distance from camera to subject with a fold out tape measure!

It still amazes me how much thought is required when shooting with such a ‘simple’ camera such as the Lomo LCA or Olympus XA2. With only the focus zone and ISO to set it amazes me how easy it is to get wrong  (common mistakes i make are forgetting to change the ASA when loading a new roll of film or forgetting to load a film all together or choosing the wrong focus zone for a shot).  I could understand why I make these mistakes if i was a lazy digital photographer used to fully automatic cameras, however when shooting digitally (currently about 90% of the time) i tend to shoot in AV or manual modes, making many manual decisions along the way.

I think maybe the cause of my film mishaps is muscle memory from the days when any compact size camera I used to use was a fully automatic digital that I assume small cameras must be fully auto. Film cameras require a different kind of pre shot thought to digital ones.

Lomo Shot

A Low Light Lomo Shot

The thing i liked most about the lomo is that it has a relatively small focussing distance compared to similar cameras such as the Olympus XA2. The minimum focussing distance of the lca is 0.8m, allowing you to really fill the frame when taking head shots or get decent photographs of smaller subjects.

I liked my experience with lomos so much i’ve just bought one off ebay. I managed to pick one up for a good price (£41). It seems in good condition apart from the light seals have completely gone. I intend to fit new seals before putting the first roll of film through it. I’ll post back soon to let you know how i get on with it.

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