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  

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Grabbing that colour!

This afternoon I covered a banner parade organised by the local Orange Lodge in Dundonald, formerly a village on the outskirts of east Belfast, but these days now regarded as an extension of east Belfast.  I went armed with just one fixed focal length lens, a 35mm. My set objective was to take as wide a variety of images with this one lens.  I only took one posed image and in total I took 199 exposures and have edited these down to just twelve images.  From this I have selected just one!

ISO 200, f5.6, 1/500th second, 35mm lens

ISO 200, f5.6, 1/500th second, 35mm lens

This image is different from all the others on several counts.  I sought permission to enter the ranks and took the image in between the ranks of marchers, their backs where towards me and I took the image low down kneeling on the road.  I used the white line road marking to lead into the centre of the image and looking up at the banners flying in the wind which provided that splash of colour.  Most people take photographs from the front, I was shooting from the back.  All these factors make the image different from the others.

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Editing Photographs

This past few days I have been very busy covering the Ulster Covenant centenary events in Northern Ireland.  Last Wednesday with a colleague I covered a concert in the Ulster Hall, which was the subject of my previous blog, on Friday I covered a lecture given by Lord Professor Bew in Bangor Abbey and on Saturday I attended the huge procession, which made its way to the Stormont Estate in east Belfast.

I ended up with a huge number of images, on Saturday alone over 1300 raw image files, presenting me with a large editing task.  So how do you cope with editing hundreds and hundreds of images down to a manageable number?

Fortunately programs like Lightroom make the task so much easier.  The first task was to add the metadata information to the images and luckily this just takes a few minutes.  Once this is done the real editing can begin.  On a first sweep any images that are clearly out of focus are immediately deleted.  Then back to the beginning for the second sweep.  Any images that strike me in any way as possible keepers are flagged.

Flagged images are those images which strike me, for example, as having a particular colour saturation that I like, a certain coming together of lines in the composition of the image, a recognisable landmark or feature, a known personality, an amusing depiction or anything else that strikes me.  These images are given a higher rating and its back to the beginning again.

On each sweep the numbers of images reduce and so on this next sweep any images that appear similar are removed and hopefully at this stage a manageable number of images are left.  Here are some of the images that were selected.

William Crawley, Dr John Bew and Lord Professor Paul Bew at Bangor Abbey

At Bangor Abbey I just took around eight or nine images and this was the one I picked so this is straight forward.  However at Stormont Estate on the following Saturday I took 1310 photographs.  By following the steps I described above I reduce this number under 50 which were submitted to the parade organisers.  

Before the parade arrived there were shots to be had, spectators arriving and programme sellers.

Arriving early!

 

The Programme Sellors

There was entertainment for the waiting spectators, here Scottish country dancers perform.

Scottish Country Dancing

At one o’clock the head of the parade arrived and soon reached the top of the processional avenue just below Sir Edward’s Carson’s statue.

The Grand Master is in the centre between the two flags.

It is difficult to imagine the scale of the crowd present.  At the end of the proceedings as the parade left at 4.30pm the end of the parade was still arriving from Belfast.  The following image taken from the platform gives you some idea.  In the distance you will see the parade still entering the gates at the bottom of the processional avenue.

Police were estimating that between 60,000 to 65,000 attended.

This image was taken with a 70-200mm lens set at 70mm, a wider angle lens would have given a wider view, you will notice that the left hand side of the view is excluded.  However I wanted to use a longer lens that would close up the distance so that you could see clearly to the bottom of the avenue.

Two members of the Northern Ireland Assembly carry the banner!

All images were taken on a full frame DSLR camera and are un-cropped, they appear as they were taken in the camera.  

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.

Marking the Ulster Covenant

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Ulster Solome League and Covenant and many events have been planned across Northern Ireland, which will culminate with a major festival in the grounds of Stormont Estate planned for the end of September, to mark this significant centenary.

At the end of June a colourful parade took place in Portadown, when the granddaughter and great grandsone of Lord Craigavon unveiled a commerative memorial in the town centre.  The following pictures tell the story.

The Colour Party assemble in front of St Mark’s Parish Church

The Obelisk to the left awaits its unveiling

The Colour Party and Standards are now assembled

The Granddaughter and Great Grandson of Lord Craigavon

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.

Providing the wider context!

In my last blog I talked about excluding elements from the photograph as a means of forcing the viewer to want to find out more.  The photograph I used was tightly composed to exclude other details and following my last blog I was asked for more information about the image used and what brought it about.

In this blog I have provided the wider context by including other details in the image and by providing other images from the same shoot.  The first image below was taken just before the image I used in my last blog and immediately much more information is included in the shot.  See below:

Ulster Covenant Anniversary Parade in Banbridge, Co Down, Saturday 30th June 2012

Another way to provide context is to use more than one photograph so that various elements of the occasion are covered.  In this case the head of the parade leading off and the final image of an exhibition in the local hall and a symbolic resigning of the Ulster Covenant.

The parade sets off

Exhibition in the local Orange Hall following the parade.

A useful way to tell a story is to use the picture essay technique, if you found this helpful please do let me know.

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.

What’s in the photograph?

This photograph was taken in Banbridge, but what does it show?  When taking this image I purposely decided to exclude other elements from the photograph.  I could have selected a wider angle to show the background, to include the wider environment and give the viewer a wider perspective, but I clearly didn’t do so.

Sometimes you want the viewer to ask questions and to dig a little further. What is this picture about, who are the marchers and why are they marching?  The picture should make the viewer want to know more about the story behind the photograph.  If it doesn’t do this then the image has not been successful.

Marchers in Banbridge, Co Down, Northern Ireland

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.

Photographing public commerative parades

This year marked the 100th anniversary of the Ulster Covenant when the Ulster population demonstrated their strong desire to remain within the United Kingdom.  To mark this key anniversary there was a combined parade consisting of various groups.  The parade was quite a large one with several feeder parades joining up in Belfast city centre.  How do you photographically cover such an event?

My approach was to look for the unusual, to demonstrate the scale of the event and to include keynote buildings in the frame so that the location point where the photograph was taken would be clearly identifiable.  Shots of children enjoying the spectical and members of the public looking on add to the sense of the occasion and of course known public figures who were participating in the parade.

In deciding what optics to use the choice of a medium zoom (24 – 70mm) would allow me to take wide shots including buildings and I could always move in close to get tight shouts.  I had a 70 – 200mm zoom for the few tight distance shots that I did take.  As in most situations I used my camera on full manual mode, ensuring that I used a moderate shutter speed.

Vintage Vehicle turning into Donegall Street, Belfast

The Parade in Donegall Street, Belfast

A slight pause in the parade.

The above images represent only a small sample of the images captured, they show an Ulster Protestant Volunteer Division.  For the purposes of this blog I excluded the marching bands and Orange Lodges who also participated in this parade.

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.

Black Saturday in Comber, Co Down

Black Preceptories from Belfast held their annual demonstration in Comber Co Down this year and provided the opportunity for some event photography.  For this shoot I decided to station myself in Comber Square rather then move around the town or to visit the demonstration field.

All images were captured using a 70-200mm lens, so most of the shots are quite tight and fill the frame. Only two of the images are cropped the rest are as shot.  The challenge was to look for character shots!  Here the aim was to take tight shots and use selective focus and a narrow depth of field, a task for which a telephoto lens is ideally suited. Please do feel free to leave critical feedback.

Copyright Notice

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.

North Belfast Banner Parade

North Belfast Orange Hall organised a banner parade on Friday 19 August. It is an opportunity to show off banners to the local community. Around seven banners were paraded accompanied by two marching bands.

The weather was very overcast and with shortening day light hours the lighting conditions were not that great. However the following images were captured by using increased ISO setting and with the help of a flash unit.

Afterwards tea and sandwiches were available to all in the hall, where I noticed an unusual banner hanging in the stair well of the hall depicting HMS Belfast, currently moored in the River Thames, London. These old banners are often painted to a much higher standard than new banners.