Friday, 29 July 2011

Off on hols!

Thanks to everyone who is following my blog. I'm off on holidays for a couple of weeks so they'll be no more posts 'til mid August.

For the more eagle-eyed among you there is a hint in the picture about where I'm going for the first week!

In this shot I liked the grain in the wood and the rich colours in the out-of-focus background.

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/6400, ISO 200

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Monday, 25 July 2011


I like to look for repeating patterns - sometimes the subject might appear pedestrian but the shapes it makes are interesting. In this case I filled the screen with a close up of some trolleys. I liked the way the pattern repeats into the distance as it slides out of focus.

To get the effect I used a wide aperture and focussed on the second trolley in. Unfortunately, this also meant that part of a sign lower down was also in focus (as it was the same distance from the lens) so I cropped this out of the shot.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, f/2 @ 35 mm, 1/800, ISO 200, No Flash

Garden visitor

I love goldfinches and I'm delighted that we have had two regularly and sometimes three of them this year. They seem to love the niger seeds.

I don't own any really long lenses so I stretched the 70-200 with the 1.4x extender and cropped heavily for this shot. I was pleased with the sharpness of the results despite the crop!

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/4 @ 280 mm, 1/1000, ISO 400

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Sarah on the beach

With the summer holidays ahead I felt summery beach #photo was needed! Sarah was lit from the sun with a 580EXII flash used to fill in the shadows - especially important given the hat.

I wanted to ensure that Sarah was isolated from the background, but at the same time there was enough depth of field to get her completely in focus. From experience I guessed that f/4 was going to be about right @ 100mm. (I'd have gone f/2.8 for full body, and f/5.6 for a headshot).

One other point - never cut off a model's body in a photo at a joint - in the original shot I cut Sarah off dead-on the knees and it looked awful. I cropped in a little more and it was much improved.

Taken on the amazing Canon 70-200 f/2.8 MKII.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, f/4 @ 100 mm, 1/1250, ISO 100, Flash

Friday, 22 July 2011

Rolling up a cigarette

Candid #photo of man rolling a cigarette. I used a wide aperture to draw the eye to the man and desaturated / added grain to give the appearance of an old photo.

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/2 @ 85 mm, 1/1250, ISO 100, Flash

Thursday, 21 July 2011


This #photo was taken using a 40cm gridded Lencarta Beauty dish on the left hand side and a reflector on the right to just give a tiny amount of shadow detail.

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/7.1 @ 50 mm, 1/125, ISO 100

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Low key portrait

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/7.1 @ 50 mm, 1/125, ISO 100

Clenched Fists

From a studio session today - this #photo really wants to be viewed large - please click through to see it in full glory!

Lighting was from a gridded beauty dish camera left and a reflector camera right. Toned it and added grain in lightroom.

 Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/6.3 @ 50 mm, 1/125, ISO 100

Monday, 18 July 2011

Alone amongst the ripples

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/5 @ 280 mm, 1/200, ISO 400

Buster's Stretch Limo

A candid! I was aiming for a number of things with this shot - I liked the composition - the three main parts of this shot form a pleasing triangle. I wanted to catch the action and show what a handful this man was dealing with!

I reduced the greens a fraction in Lightroom to stop the grass dominating the more subtle colours of the subject.

EXIF: Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/5 @ 280 mm (70-200 with 1.4x), 1/640, ISO 400, Flash

Saturday, 16 July 2011

A more subtle treatment

I'm someone who enjoys a more extreme #HDR look, but it is isn't always appropriate and sometimes a more subtle approach is preferable.

I've re-visited some shots of the Groyne Lighthouse taken last month - still an HDR conversion, but compare to the less subtle shot of the same subject below! Reduced the strength and microcontrast mainly.

EXIF: Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/4 @ 85 mm, 1/800, ISO 100

More extreme HDR!:

Friday, 15 July 2011

Sunset Silhuoette

Took this at minus two stops from the meter reading to underexpose the foreground and bring out the colours in the sunset.

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/4.5 @ 135 mm, 1/8000, ISO 200

Chicken detail

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/5 @ 280 mm, 1/300, ISO 400, Flash

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Return to Souter

A #photo from my trip to Sunderland earlier in the year. I only just got round to processing this one.

 Canon 1DsII, 12mm f/11, ISO 100. HDR of 5 shots

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Gemma Aguilar portrait

#photo @gemma_aguilar - A shot of Gemma from my shoot with her at the end of May. I liked the preponderance of light tones in the image and the simple composition with a summery feel!

Lighting was a combination of ambient (the room had natural light from the ceiling) and the 580EXII shot through a brolly.

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/2.2 @ 50 mm, 1/1000, ISO 100

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Duck and the Arachnid

Ok, a quick focus (if you pardon the pun!) on equipment. I took this shot with the amazing Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS L MKII lens with a 1.4x MkII converter fitted. Converters / extenders increase the focal length of the lens, but at the expense of the effective aperture (how much light gets through) and usually some loss in quality.

The 70-200 MKII is staggeringly sharp on its own & really really good with a converter fitted - so good that if we crop-in to the head of the duck we see some detail we might otherwise have missed!

Please do click on this shot for the full effect!

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/5.6 @ 240 mm, 1/400, ISO 200, Flash

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Sunset over a field

Canon 1DIII, 50mm @ f/8

Sunset over Irchester

Apologies - a day late! A three shot HDR to cope with the extremes of exposure between the sky and the foreground. Shooting straight into the sun gave some intentional flare (in the rays coming from the sun), but also nasty green blob. Happily, the healing brush in Photoshop did its thing and I think you'll struggle to work out where the blob might have been!

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/8 @ 50 mm, various shutter speeds, ISO 100

Friday, 8 July 2011

Blaise Hamlet HDR

A fabulous place I discovered earlier in the week - needed the HDR treatment to give detail in the sky at the same time as the buildings.

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/5 @ 35 mm, various shutter speeds, ISO 100

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Radisson Blu Hotel, Stansted

I love this hotel and have stayed here for a number of conferences. I wanted to get a painting-like feel to these shots so I bracketed 5 exposures for each and combined in Photomatix with some fairly extreme settings, I guess it's a marmite thing!

Please click-through and see these large for the full effect!

Both shots were taken on the 1DsII with the 35mm f/1.4 fitted @ f/2

Stacee Gallery and downtime warning

Hi all

Firstly - there's a brand new gallery of Stacey on my website here.

Secondly -  apologies in advance but the Zenfolio servers are going to be down on Friday morning for a while, so my photos won't be visible for a while.


Stacey headshot and selective colour

Hi - firstly a headshot with Stacey looking straight up into a (40cm white) beauty dish with a second light to camera right. Note the circular highlights in the pupils.

EXIF: Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/9 @ 70 mm, 1/250, ISO 100

Secondly, a selective colouring shot - there was very little light at this time of the evening - I added a little fill flash from an on-camera gun.

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/1.4 @ 35 mm, 1/500, ISO 800

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Stacey on the wall of a mansion

Stacey on location lit with two Lencarta Safari guns, one to camera right with beauty dish, one to camera left with reflector.

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/4.5 @ 50 mm, 1/250, ISO 100

Stacey on location + behind the scenes

Here's a shot of Stacey taken on location using portable Lencarta Safari flash guns. As you can see in the shot below, a large beauty dish was the main light, with a smaller beauty dish shot from behind the pillar provided a hair / rim-light. To make sure the rim light was above the exposure of the main light, I simply had it closer to Stacey.

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/5 @ 50 mm, 1/100, ISO 50

Behind the scenes:

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Helen - informal portrait

#portrait: No planning - just a quick snap!  I was close to Helen so although I wanted a thin depth of field to chuck the background out of focus, I wanted enough depth of field to get Helen's head sharp.

I therefore went for f/4, which turned out as intended.

The lighting was dull so I used on camera flash to lift the shot. I'd dialed-in some negative exposure compensation to darken the background - I totally overdid this, so had to offset with a graduated filter in photoshop.

EXIF: Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, f/4 @ 50 mm, 1/2000, ISO 100,

News - Gemma Aguilar's new EP available!

New single available here - cover photo by Phil Hackett Photograpy!


Saturday, 2 July 2011

Candid of man smoking

Captured in Northampton yesterday. Camera on Servo focus - after taking the shot I gazed solidly at the church way behind him to avoid any questions!

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/2.8 @ 200 mm, 1/320, ISO 100

Friday, 1 July 2011

Gull in flight

I really liked the wing position on this shot. The 1D Mark III is notorious both for excellent servo AF and also very inconsistent autofocus. Top tip, put tracking speed on slowest! I took a load of bird in flight shots today with this setting using the 70-200 f/2.8 IS L II with the 1.4x II converter fitted. Correctly focussed shots over 90% of the time!

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, f/5.6 @ 280 mm, 1/1000, ISO 400