Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Gemma on the beach

In this shot I was going for an edgier look rather than a straight-forward glamour style picture.

I used a wide aperture to try and draw the eye into the shot and desaturated all of the shot except Gemma's top. Rim lighting was provided by the sun - camera left.

I dialled in the widest aperture on my 70-200 f/2.8 and shot at about 130mm. A little fill flash was provided by a 580EXII and exposure was 1/6400s, ISO200 on my 1DsII.

Hope you like it


Monday, 30 May 2011

Glenn and the guitar

Taken out on location yesterday in the middle of a photo-shoot for an 'up & coming' singer-songwriter, Gemma Aguilar.

Glenn is lit with a Lencarta Safari portable flash kit - aperture is f/11 which allowed me to get a slow enough shutter speed to slightly darken (and intensify) the sky.

1DIII, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 @ f/11, ISO100, 1/200s.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Sywell Reservoir

I was trying to lead the eye through the shot with this one and used a very wide aperture to help with a sense of depth.

1DMKIII, Sigma 85mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4 , 1/2000s, ISO100

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Hannah Headshot

This shot of Hannah was taken in her friend's living room using a speedlite off-camera and shooting through a small softbox, camera-left. I like the head angle and vivid make-up in this one. The use of the softbox has given subtle shadows under the chin - combined with a wide (f/2.8) aperture this gives some depth to shot.

1DsII, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II @ 200mm f/2.8, 1/200sec, ISO200

Friday, 27 May 2011

Subway Taxi Driver Saxophonist

I heard some beautiful music coming from a subway in Manchester and discovered this chap practising his saxophone whilst on a break from taxi-driving.

Focussing was a nightmare in the almost pitch-black conditions and the camera kept latching on to the sax as it had higher contrast that his face.

Canon 1DIII, Sigma 50mm @ f/3.2, 1/125 (so some ambient crept in whilst keeping subject movement to a minimum), ISO 1600 and a little flash.

Thursday, 26 May 2011


At the end of 2008 Limahl had re-joined Kajagoogoo and I was asked to photograph a concert. I never got round to uploading a gallery of the event to my website, but I got some shots I was pleased with. Thought I might use one for today's post.

This was on my old Canon 40D using the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS MKI lens wide open, ISO 500, 1/200 sec handheld. I used a fairly narrow depth of field to maximise shutter speed and focus on the face.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Profile against the sky

A candid shot taken at a BBQ last weekend. I used fill flash to light the face and underexpose the background (sky) to deepen its colour.

Canon 1DIII, Sigma 50mm f/1.4, f/3.5, 1/3200s @ ISO400.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


I lit this with a single softbox above the model camera left, with a black background to take care of any spilled light. Note how the light falls off rapidly from one side of the face to the other, but it does not have a clearly defined shadow edge - had I used a bare flash there would have been a very sharp change from light to dark.

Canon 1DsII @ 1/125s (wireless flash sync speed), 24-105mm @ 24mm, f/5.6, ISO100

Monday, 23 May 2011

A last HDR!

Ok - last one for now - I promise to stay off the HDR's for a while!

Wagon and Horses again, a more extreme HDR using 'Grunge' mode in Photomatix, but making the sky more realistic with highlight smoothing.

1DsII + 12-24mm @ 12mm, f/11. ISO100

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Roker Lighthouse

Another two HDR's and this will be out of my system for a bit!

Canon 1DsII + 12-24 @ 12mm, f/22, ISO100, 5 exposures put into Photomatix

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Wagon and Horses, Beckhampton

I'm in an HDR mood this week!

5 exposures blended, all on the 1DsII, 12-24mm @ 12mm f/11, ISO100.

Two really tricky things about this shot that required some photoshopping. The left hand side had a heavy shadow which I did my best to make disappear and the darkness in the door had some odd colour noise. Painting it black looked wierd so I darkened it & desaturated a litte as well.

Hope you like it,


Friday, 20 May 2011

Souter Lighthouse HDR

I think I might be finally getting the hang of this HDR lark!

This was a series of 5 shots merged in Photomatix. 12mm lens @ f/11 on a 1DsMKII.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

South Shields Coast

I visited South Shields yesterday and took this shot near Souter Lighthouse.

To get the unusual perspective I went in close with a 12mm (very wide angle) lens. The shot was an HDR merge of three exposures, each taken on a 1DsII @ f/11. I used continuous shooting to ensure there was minimal cloud movement between the exposures.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Kez on the stairs

Hi all - this was shot up the (somewhat treacherous) staircase in the derelict building used in 12/05/11's shot.

I like the light from the upstairs window and decided to leave plenty of shadow area on this shot, rather than fill with flash. It gives a partial silhuoette. I also like the slightly sneering expression which is further emphasised by adopting a lower shooting position .

1DsII with 35mm f/1.4 @ f/2.8, 1/80s @ ISO 400. Only Post Processing was to convert to black and white.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


I love playing the guitar and I thought I'd take a shot of my guitar for the picture today.

I think a lot of photographers are also guitar players as guitars are frequently used as subjects. I wanted to do something a little different so I went in close with a very wide angle lens to give an unusual perspective.

1DsII, 12-24 @  12mm, f/8, 1/250s @ ISO 400 - lit by flash bounced off white ceiling.

Monday, 16 May 2011


This is our neighbour's cat surveying with suspicion some children whizzing around on scooters.

Shot on a 1DsII + Sigma 85mm f/1.4 at max aperture, 1/2500s @ ISO100 + flash.

I used a large aperture to blur the background and converted all except the eyes to B&W. I finally added a vignette. I think the space to the right of the image makes for a more interesting composition.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Gate and cobwebs

Took this at Sywell. I was trying (a bit like yesterday's shot) to get a feeling of depth and symmetry. I'm more interested in the shapes in this shot so I converted to B&W in Lightroom. I added a slight vignette to offset the slightly distracting white areas in the top corners. It also has the effect of drawing the eye to the centre of the frame where the perspective clues are.

1DIII, Sigma 85mm f/1.4 wide open, 1/400, ISO 100

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Chairs at Cardiff City Stadium

Had an event at Cardiff City Stadium yesterday.

It was interesting and a little eerie being in a huge football stadium with no one else at all!

I took a general snap, but was more interested photographically in the patterns made by the chairs.

I liked the symmetry and colour here. I used a wide aperture to add depth to the shot and enhanced the colours using single image tone-mapping. 1DIII, 35mm @ f/1.4, 1/4000.

Here is a snap of the stadium:

Friday, 13 May 2011

Kayleigh and flowers

Sorry this is much later than usual - blogger was down for editing last night and this morning. You might also get a second post of yesterdays due to a random error with the blog!

A very different shot of Kayleigh from those posted earlier in the blog. Here I was going for a soft and thoughtful feel.

I used a 1DIII + 70-200mm f/2.8 wide open at the short end. I didn't use any flash and exposure was 1/125 @ ISO 100.

Processing in Lightroom I used preset 'colour creative 2' which increases reds and blues, decreases yellows and greens, and finally adds seom split toning.

Kezia in a derelict building

This was from a shoot in March. Kezia knew of a fantastic derelict building which was the subject of an earlier blog post.

For this shot I went in fairly close with a fast, moderately wide-angle lens (35mm) as it gives a more intimate and interesting perspective without being so close it is distorted.

A fairly wide aperture (f/2.8) helped seperate Kez from the surroundings, and lighting was provided by a studio flash gun outside the window to mimic strong sunlight. Camera was 1DsII @ 1/250sec.

I used a split toning preset in Lightroom, tweaked the results and added an exposure grad filter to lighten the bottom section (for some detail in the blacks).

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Duck Portrait

I took this shot while testing the focussing accuracy of a lens. You can tell how thin the plane of focus is - only the eye & beak are sharp.

I loved the rich greens in this shot and the smoothly blurred background.

1DMKIII, Sigma 85mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, 1/3200s, ISO400 with a dash of flash. You can see that the flash has given a highlight in the duck's eye.

Thanks for looking!


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Leaves in sunlight

First - please click through to the full size image - this one needs to be viewed large to appreciate.

I loved the way the light played on the surfaces of the leaves at all their different angles on this. The picture was on the computer screen when I was working on it in Lightroom when I accidently hovered over a toned preset, saw the mono image & instantly preferred it to the green version!

1DsII, 135L f/2.0 @ f/2.0, 1/3200, ISO 400.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Female Symmetrical Silhouette

This shot is all about curves, shape and symmetry.

I strongly lit the background with studio flashguns and then removed almost all detail from the subject in lightroom by upping the blacks. A tiny bit of light is allowed to reflect off some parts to give depth.

I then used PhotoShop to clone and reflect the image to make the finished piece.

1DIII, 70-200 f/2.8 @ 70mm, f/14, 1/125s (flash sync).

Hope you like it!


Sunday, 8 May 2011

A gravestone in HDR

A close-up of a gravestone with church in background - blend of two exposures to retain highlight and shadow detail.

I liked the detail on the gravestone here and the warm light on the out of focus church.

In this shot I blended two exposures to keep detail in both light and dark areas of the shot.

There's a limit to the 'dynamic range' of a camera, but by putting it on a tripod, taking shots at different shutter settings you can artificially increase shadow and highlight detail. This detail would otherwise go to white or black and be lost. Photomatix software did the blending (deep compression setting).

1DsII, 35mm lens @ f/2, ISO 100

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Swan at sunset

A swan captured in the golden light of the falling sun.

With this shot I wanted to contrast a sharply focused swan with the gently blurred sunset catching on the ripples. I needed to avoid the swan becoming a silhouette against the back lighting so I used a flash.

Kit was 1D3, 135mm f/2 wide open @ 1/5000s, ISO400. In the past flashguns would not sync at such fast a shutter speed, the 580EXII pulses the flash to allow higher syncing.

A little lightening of the swan was done in Lightroom.

Thanks for looking - any questions, please ask!


Friday, 6 May 2011

Kayleigh in black and white..

More from Wednesday's shoot with Kayleigh - this time black and white!

I liked Kayleigh's pose here, but the colours distracted from the composition so I converted to black and white. Shot was lit from camera left with a diffused ringflash. The diffuser was mostly there so I could reduce the light output of the flash.

Canon 1D3, 70-200 f/2.8 @ 70mm, f/4, 1/125s (safe flash sync speed). Converted to B&W in lightroom - tweaked blacks.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Kayleigh location shoot at night.

A couple of shots of Kayleigh taken last night in total darkness!

This was a challenge to say the least! I loved the bright background and wanted some fairly hard edgy lighting. I used a Lencarta Safari portable flash head for the main light with a 40cm white beauty dish attached. Fill and focusing light was provided by an on-camera 580EXII.

I judged exposure on both shots by 'chimping' (gawping at the lcd) - the first was f/2 the second f/3.2 - both taken on 1DIII + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 @ 1/125s, ISO100.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Castle Ashby Grounds

A symmetrical landscape shot of a path in Castle Ashby Grounds.

This was taken on a 1D3 with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4. Aperture was set to f/2 to enhance the impression of depth by restricting how much was in focus. Exposure was 1/1600, ISO 200 + some fill flash (but mostly because I forgot to switch it off!)

Added the preset 'Direct Positive' in Lightroom to emphasize the greens and increase the contrast.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Cockerel Portrait

A portrait of a cockerel in the afternoon sun.

1DIII and 24-105 @ 105mm f/4 wide open. Polariser to deepen the colours and fill flash to give a sparkle to the eye and lighten shadows. 1/125s @ ISO 200.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Canal bridge at Blisworth

Please view this large! Simulating an old black and white photo in keeping with the surroundings.

With this picture I was trying to imagine a photo of this view from 100 years ago. I converted it to black and white in Lightroom and after tweaking the underside of the bridge with an exposure brush I added some grain.

I took this on the 1DsII with the 35mm f/1.4 @ f/6.3 to give a reasonable depth of field. (1/160s, ISO 200)

Hope you like it!


Sunday, 1 May 2011


The eyes have it...

Tammy lit with a single softbox from above on a 1DsII, 24-105mm @ 105mm, f/8, ISO100 (1/125s - trigger sync). Desaturated slightly in Lightroom.