Finding those golden rays

Over the past few days I have been making repeat visits to Island Hill in Co Down, sometimes two or three times in the one day.  I often rephotograph locations that I have been to before and find that it always pays off by helping me to find the “right light”. 

As on my previous visits I left the camera bag behind and just carried the camera fitted with a 35mm prime lens.  On this visit I selected f11 as my chosen aperture and set the infinity symbol inline with f11 on the lens scale, remembering the quotation “f11 and hold her steady”!  The main benefit being that I didn’t have to worry about focusing thereby enabling me to concentrate on composition.

The other thing I have been doing is limiting my exposures to 36, just as if it was a film camera, a discipline I have been observing lately.  From my visit this afternoon I have chosen two images:

Following where the light falls!

Following where the light falls!

Chasing the sunbeams!

Chasing the sunbeams!

Fujifilm X Pro 1 and the Leica rangefinder cameras are just made for this style of photography.

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. 

Travel light photography

For quite a some time now I have been using Fujifilm X system cameras and enjoying the experience, especially the lack of neck strain.  I now seldom use the big and bulky DSLR cameras, except when the occasion demands it.  However for the past couple of weeks I have been using a full frame rangefinder camera, a complete new experience for me. Manual focus and no bells and whistles have brought me back to what photography used to be like.

My recent monochrome images have been produced with this camera.  Being forced to slow down using manual focus might help to improve my photographic eye, I have also being trying out zone focusing and being surprised when my images were sharp!  But what has been most enjoyable is the experience of going out with just one camera and one prime lens.  There is a freedom with this which just lets you concentrate on making that image.

Earlier today I visited Island Hill and the three monochrome images are the result. Yesterday I visited the same location and captured the colour photograph.

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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. 

The black & white print!

I am still in my monochrome phase!  By selecting carefully the right composition it can often be better to render the image in monochrome.  Some people print in monochrome simply because the colour version was weak; this is a terrible reason to choose monochrome!  So what am I trying to achieve?  The following image is Kilmood Parish Church, a five minute drive from where I live:

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What I am looking for in a monochrome image is a good dynamic range from pure black to pure white.  I want lots of detail that will almost produce a 3D image, of course a photograph can only be two dimensional but you can get a 3D look!  In this image I was focusing on the headstone in the foreground, yet with a f4 aperture I was able to achieve good depth of field to the church tower in the background.  The right light does help, weak winter sunlight – a great time to take photographs!

Of course holding a 12 x 16 inch print in your hand is the real test, the computer screen does not do it justice and even less a Facebook posting ;-)

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. 

 

Postcard from Glendalough

Having arrived in Glendalough to attend a wedding, due tomorrow, I am astounded at the endless opportunities for photo locations in this place. I spent the afternoon just wandering around exploring the venue, monastic sites, round towers, rivers and lakes set in the middle of the Wicklow Mountains.   Enjoy the postcard and perhaps you will make a visit to Glendalough.  Photographs taken with just an iPhone camera and processed in phone using the Camera+ App

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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.  

Ballintoy Harbour and Game of Thrones

This week I visited Ballintoy and the harbour that featured as Pyke Harbour in the movie film Game of Thrones.  It is a stunning place to visit, even on a dull overcast day.  

The following link, which will open a new page, shows an image of the harbour as how it appeared in the movie.

Ballintoy Harbour, Co Antrim

Ballintoy Harbour, Co Antrim

Ballintoy Harbour, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland, BT54 6NBAll 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

What is it about sunsets?

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The faintest hint of a sunset brings all sorts of people out with their camera’s to record the spectacular colours and hues of late evening sunlight.  They then wait with baited breath to see how the image has been captured.

However few people properly process the images taken, either they take no action to correct or adjust brightness or contrast or worse still they over do the adjustments to create an image that bears little resemblance to what the scene actually looked like.

The two images featured here in Foca, Turkey were taken a couple of weeks ago during an evening walk after our evening meal and here I merely want to tell you how I processed them!

Both images were processed in Adobe Lightroom 5, which I find to be a just superb, no need to use Photoshop.  Upon importing the images the first thing I do after key wording the images and completing the metadata information is to apply my camera preset to the images.  The preprepared camera presets more accurately display the image colours, provided the camera presets was properly created in the first instance.

My next step is to apply the lens correction profile, we may as well see the image as the camera saw it!  Only then do I go to the basic settings to adjust exposure, contrast highlights and shadows.

In the case of these two images I left the exposure setting along, I could have lightened the dark areas of the image, but its a sunset so its meant to be dark.  I had no over exposed areas so no adjustment to highlights was necessary.  My only significant adjustments were to the clarity adjustment which brings out the texture of the image and to the vibrance setting, but only very slightly as this tool can make the image unrealistic.  The last control was saturation and this was left untouched – believe it or not!

My intention is to create an image and to render it as I remembered the scene.  Both images taken with a Fujifilm X Pro 1 camera, 14mm lens, 200ISO, 1/60 second and a wide aperture.

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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

Square format photography

Just within the past few days I have begun to shoot using a square frame, I have not done this since the days of 120 roll film.  There are differences from the more usual 3:2 frame perspective, equivalent to 35mm frame size.

In terms of composing the frame the first thing that becomes obvious is that the so-called ‘rule of thirds’ convention can be cast aside.  There is something refreshing about this.  The square frame offers a natural balance over that offered by 3:2 format.  There is less room within the square frame than the rectangular one which forces a more simple composition.

The eye moves naturally around the frame in a circular fashion and does not wander to the edges.  By choosing the right image and composition the square format can enhance the image and how it is viewed.

Here is my most recent image, which has not been cropped.  Taken in Belfast Harland and Wolff Shipyard the two cranes, known by the locals as Samson and Goliath, replicate the square format, assisted by the reflection in the pool of water.  If ever a photograph screamed for a square format it is this one.  Apologies for my reflection in the water, I did try to avoid this!

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 I think I will be exploring the square format a little further.

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

 

Strangford in winter?

January is a time when some put their cameras away during the depths of winter.  Yet this month started off with severe storms followed with lots of rain and interspersed with the very occasional sunny day.  Today was one of these occasional sunny days when I visited Strangford town.

On a good summer’s day Strangford is a place to be avoided due to sightseers and busy narrow roads.  But the height of winter is very quiet and if its a nice day its perfect for a few seeking out a few shots.  Winter sun in mid afternoon produces a gentle warming of colours and soft shadows – great for photography.

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Hard to believe that these images were taken in the second half of January.  Images captured with a Fujifilm X Pro 1.4mm f1.4 lens.

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

 

 

Does B&W make a difference?

The image featured in this blog was also taken in Donaghadee Co Down on the same shoot as the image in my last blog.  It was an image that I had initially dismissed until I made a monochrome version.

I seldom use Lightroom presets but in this case I used a preset which produces a punchy B@W image, for comparison I will show the original and the conversion and let the reader decide which is best.

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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