Front Cover!

Taking a photograph for the front cover of a book was an enjoyable task to undertake, especially when it was in the heart of the beautiful Co Fermanagh countryside.  I learned a few things too!  Left to myself I would have taken a portrait layout for the front cover, but when the image is required to wrap around both front and back covers then obviously landscape is the appropriate format.  It is also good to know where to leave space for the text, with these parameters sussed out the final composure can be framed, as set out below:

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The old Crom Castle was the perfect spot, see The Actions of the Enniskillen Men.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission

Rough Island

A gentle walk last night prompted me to write this short blog about Island Hill, or to be more precise about Rough Island, a small island of approximately 7 acres, which can be accessed via a causeway at low tide just outside Comber.

Rough Island, which sounds like something from Treasure Island, was inhabited up until the early part of the 1900’s. The remains of the old farm cottage and its orchard can still be seen. Farming ceased on the island completely in the 1950s and the island has reverted to  bramble and hawthorn. It is now owned and maintained by Ards Borough Council.

The causeway usually only remains submerged for around an hour at high tide but this can be affected by the weather and the time of year. The walk across the causeway and around the island takes around ¾ of an hour and provides a wonderful views of this part of Strangford Lough.

A couple of photographs taken yesterday:

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 All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.  

Gill’s Almshouses, Carrickfergus

Isn’t it surprising that having visited a place many times and yet there is always something that goes unnoticed.  In my case this was Gill’s Almshouses located in Governor’s Place just across the road from Carrickfergus Castle.

The almshouses were built with finances from the will of Henry Gill in 1842 in the Tudor style from designs by Charles Lanyon.  It was was Gill’s intention that the provision of accommodation for aged men decayed in their circumstances would be made.

They were certainly preferable to the workhouse.

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All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission 

Capturing that special event

The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of The Great War was remembered at Belfast City Hall on the evening of 4 August in line with the national commemorations held throughout the United Kingdom.  It was an occasion that I wanted to capture but the question was how?

It would be dark, so a fast prime lens seemed a good idea.  There would be large numbers of people present so I decided to travel light, using just one lens, a 35mm equivalent f1.4 that would be good for capturing the wide view yet also good for closer shots within the crowd.  Shooting between 10pm and 11pm a higher ISO setting was also a good choice, so I set it camera to auto ISO with a maximum of 3200iso.  I also decided not to use flash, which is useless for distance shots and blasts out closeup shots.

So much for preplanning, the aim was to capture the mood and significance of the evening, the following were the results.  The following images hopefully convey something of the mood.

A lucky shot, I caught someone else's flash!

A lucky shot, I caught someone else’s flash!

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All images taken with a Fujifilm X Pro 1, 23mm f1.4 lens, taken at 1/60 second, a couple at 1/30 second.  Apertures ranged from f1.4 to f2.5.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission 

The photographer’s eye

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The photograph above was taken at Clough Co Down, one of the centres where the Orange Order were parading throughout Northern Ireland on the 12th July.  On the day I surprisingly took very few exposures but this image is one that stuck in my mind.  It’s not a particularly well composed image and it was taken early in the day before the parade started.  So why did I take?

There were several reasons, firstly I noticed the cowboy boots, the lyrics to ‘These Boots Are Made for Walking’ by Nancy Sinatra came to mind!  Another reason for seeing this picture was the fact that nearly everyone else in the scene is standing and the main subject is sitting, so there is a certain juxtaposition.  The fact that the heads of the people standing are cut off help the viewer to concentrate on the main figure.  I lowered my position when making the image so that I was almost at the same level, obviously the person saw me take the image which has not spoiled the photograph.

This image conveys a relaxed atmosphere in anticipation for the parade yet to commence. Probably the dominant feeling was …will it stay dry?  In actual fact it did stay dry until around 5pm!  There is nothing threatening or decisive conveyed by the image, unlike many images of Orange Order parades that you will find in the media.

Photographs are a powerful means for conveying messages and you are really depending on the honesty of the photographer.  In this case Clough was really about a family day out and meeting up with friends.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission 

Lanark Way Bonfire

I have found that I am increasingly drawn to more of a documentary or a street style of photography.  Unlike landscape photography where you arrange the elements of the image in a pleasing harmony to create the perfect image, street photography is quite different.

In street photography the compositions are imperfect as people move about and the scenes change extremely quickly.  You get what you can and make the best of what you observe.  What you are really trying to do is to make images that tell a story in that fleeting fraction of a second!

Yesterday I visited Lanark Way to see the bonfire that has been built for the coming Twelfth celebrations.  In photographing this scene I adopted a specific approach.  A distant shot to provide the viewer with the general context, known as the ‘establishment shot’, a medium distance shot showing some of the people involved and finally a close up shot.  Each image has its own role to play and viewed together they should tell a story.

In preparing the images I processed them as monochrome, removing the colour simplifies the image and encourages the viewer to observe the whole image by not be drawn to particular colours.  This is the result.

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This morning a story has appeared in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper about this bonfire for all the wrong reasons!

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission 

The Somme Remembered

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Yesterday (1 July 2014) was the 98th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and the usual civic remembrance was held within the grounds of Belfast City Hall.  In documenting the event I took 85 exposures and from these I have selected just 13.  In making the selection I took the deliberate decision to exclude politicians and other civic dignitaries because I wanted the Armed Forces on parade to be focus, after all it was their forefathers who paid the supreme price!

Her Majesty’s Forces on parade were drawn from the Royal Irish Regiment and the Irish Guards.  The series of images commences with army personnel assembling, the series continues with the parade to the cenotaph and it concludes with an establishing shot taken through a window from a second floor cafe adjacent to the City Hall.  

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission  

Click on the link below.

http://ulsterphotography.co.uk/?page_id=5207

Red Barn Gallery

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Frankie Quinn pictured above runs and manages the Red Barn Gallery in Rosemary Street, Belfast and currently he is displaying his own photographic collection entitled “The Orange’.

On display are around forty images, all monochrome and 18 inches square, depicting various aspects of the Loyal Order as he recorded them in Belfast, Londonderry, Scarva and Rossnowlagh between 2011 to 2013.

Frankie is from the nationalist community which makes the treatment of his project all the more interesting.  A visit is definitely worth it and I understand the display will be available until the end of July.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission   

 

The world cup and all that!

Here we go again, another world cup and no doubt wall to wall media coverage to bore us completely silly.  You can tell that I am a football fan!  

However walking around Belfast I see that bars and restaurants are getting in to the mood. The photograph below is taken in one of Belfast’s old entries, in this case Pottinger’s Entry which connects Ann Street with High Street in almost a straight line. The principal attraction is the Victorian pub, The Morning Star.

In a city where the flying of flags causes so much controversy I was amused to see The Morning Star public house bedecked in so many national flags to get its customers into the world cup mood.  Spot the Union Flag!

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All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission 

 

Sinclair’s Department Store

Sadly Sinclair’s Department Store closed in 1972, but the building still stands proud. Sinclair’s was once one of Belfast’s most prestigious department stores. The store on Royal Avenue as seen today was built in 1926 in the classical style. By 1935, Sinclair’s was extended with an Art Deco-style addition by Belfast-born architect James Scott, who had previously designed the 1926 building.

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Since January I have taken a great many images of Belfast buildings, in so doing I have been trying to depict them with open space surrounding them to show their locational setting and perspective.  Apart from the images taken at the very beginning all have been taken with a Nikon D700 fitted with a AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G lens.  Having taken well over 500 images with this lens since January I have come to value its qualities.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.