Drawing to year’s end

This is the seventieth blog so far this year, now time to slow down and review!  I tend to only publish recently taken photographs, although on the odd occasion I have dipped into the archives, which is useful for judging whether or not your photography has improved.

I have found that I have almost switched from Nikon to the Fuji X Series gear for my casual and fun photography; I now tend to only use Nikon for specific purposes.  Is the SDLR dead?  Well not quite but who knows what the future will hold.

We are now in a Christmas phase, the first two images were taken at Saintfield Christmas Fair at night time.  I love taking images in the dark using available street light.  and the third image is of the interior of All Saints’ Parish Church, Belfast.

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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.  

From light to darkness!

These images were taken at a band parade in Banbridge Co Down for the purpose of testing the Fujifilm X-T1 from conditions of early evening daylight through to late evening street light to see how it would perform.

Obviously as the evening continued I was forced to increase my ISO setting, from 400 to 1600 and then finally to 6400.  How would this effect digital noise in dim light?  I was using a 56mm f1.2 lens, so a fast lens should help considerably.

Later in the evening as it got darker I had to abandon auto focus and switch to manual, the focusing ring on the lens was a delight to use, very smooth!  The images are below together with camera settings.

ISO 400, f4, 1/160

ISO 400, f4, 1/160

ISO 1600, f1.4, 1/60

ISO 1600, f1.4, 1/60

ISO 6400, 32.0, 1/125

ISO 6400, 32.0, 1/125

ISO 6400, f2.0, 1/125

ISO 6400, f2.0, 1/125

ISO 6400, f2.0, 1/100

ISO 6400, f2.0, 1/100

My view: I enjoyed the shooting experience, the slowest shutter speed was 1/60 and good for hand holding the camera.  The only issue to be aware of is manual focusing in low light with a moving target and a wide aperture with shallow DoF!

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

Hungering after film photography

The last time I ran a role of film through a film camera was around 2002 and in recent months I have been threatening to try film photography again.  To date I still haven’t! However I took some nighttime images at a candlelight vigil at Belfast City Hall commemorating the outbreak of The Great War when a friend of mine commenting on the image said you should try black and white.

So I have created an image using Silver Efex Pro using a Kodak Tri X Pro filter to emulate film photography.  Tri X Pro was a 400ASA black and white film which was regarded as a fast film, so I suspect this is what I would have been using for this event.

In the darkroom you would have used dodging and burning to bring up the areas of the photograph that you wanted to enhance, this is what I did using Silver Efex Pro when I lightened the face of the man in uniform.  To enable you to compare I have the original image and the monochrome copy.  I will let you decide whether or not it looks like an image produced from a negative!

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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 

Low light qualities of the X Pro 1

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A quick visit to Howth Pier gave me an opportunity to try out my Fujifilm X Pro 1 at night time.  The image above was taken at Howth when I photographed these fishermen landing their catch.  It was taken at 22.40 using only the available light from the fishing trawler and the lighting on the quayside.

I used a surprisingly low ISO setting, just 640, with my 35mm lens wide open at f1.4.  The 35mm Fujinon lens is a remarkable piece of glass, all the Fuji prime lenses are very fast! Shooting at 1/60 second the camera was handheld.  You cannot really judge the quality from the above photograph which is just 700pixels wide, so below I have selected a 100% crop from the above image so as you can judge for yourself.

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Even at 100% resolution the image is quite smooth with minimal digital noise, I have not used the sharpening tool in preparing these images, even the exposure and contrast settings have been left untouched.

What is there not to like about the X Pro 1?  It is providing a serious challenge to my Nikon gear; anyone what to buy a camera?

 

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

The image tells it’s story!

I took this viewpoint in daylight, which featured a few blogs back, and later decided that I must return at nighttime to take the image from exactly the same viewpoint as before.  This image is the result.  The Harland and Wolff cranes have become an iconic symbol associated with Belfast and can be seen in the skyline from many different parts of the city.  But what does this image convey?

In the early twentieth century Belfast was an industrial powerhouse and the shipyard was a very busy place employing thousands of workers, this continued up until the 1970s but today it is a shadow of its former glory.  Yet the shipyard still survives by diversification.  In this image we see an oil rig being refitted and there is a sense of the old spirit of the Yard being revived, at least in part.

The lighting surrounding the oil rig communicates that activity is going on around the clock and the brightness draws your eye into the image.  The derelict ground in the foreground now ripe for redevelopment shows the contrast.  In bygone days the entire site would have been a hive of activity.  This is how the image works for me – every image should tell a story.

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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

 

Looking back on 2013

So far this month I have not done very much photographically speaking, mostly due to a flu bug and then a persistent cough, which I still have!  However the close of the year is usually when most photographers look back over the year to take stock and assess the images they have made during the year.  I have tried to pick just one image for each of the year and have found it to be a difficult task.  After some deliberations this is my selection:

A cost wet January night

January: a wet night at the Titanic Signature Building

 

February flag protestor at City Hall

February flag protestor at City Hall

 

March - uniforms not in sync!

March – uniforms not in sync!

 

April snow at Spelga Dam

April snow at Spelga Dam

 

May and looking like Spring has arrived

May and looking like Spring has arrived

 

Installing the Clinton Exhibition in advance of the G8 Sumitt

June exhibition for G8, its the shadow that does it!

 

July at Craigavon House

July at Craigavon House

 

August, Lambeg Drum at Dundonald

August, Lambeg Drum at Dundonald

 

September: autumn on the horizon

September: autumn on the horizon

 

October mist at Spelga Dam

October mist at Spelga Dam

 

November at Ballintoy, but not looking like November!

November at Ballintoy, but not looking like November!

 

December with Brunswick Accordion Band

December with Brunswick Accordion Band

 Now looking forward to see what 2014 will bring!

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 Fujifilm X Pro1 and Night Photography

The Eleventh July in Northern Ireland is bonfire night so what better opportunity to take the X Pro 1 out for a test run.  The photographs in this blog were taken in the Clonduff estate in east Belfast.  The camera settings were set to manual, with the exception of the ISO which was set to auto 6400 – so the camera would decide which ISO to use up to a maximum of 6400.  Here are a couple of examples.bradley-1345 bradley-1353

The above images were taken at 11.30pm and that that stage the main bonfire had not been ignited.  The first image was taken at 4000iso, f1.8 nearly wide open, the lens opens to f1.4 and the shutter speed 1/125th, enough to freeze movement.  The debris burning is enough to illuminate the crowd at the bottom of the street, however the flames are burnt out, if you forgive the pun!  I like the couple conversing in the foreground and the smoke adds to the drama of the scene.

In the second image, which was taken at just 400iso, f2 and 1/125th second, this enabled part of the flames to be properly exposed, but the heart of the fire is still burnt out.  The main bonfire is in the background awaiting for midnight lighting and I do like the sign on the right – No more dumpling, bonfire closed!

At full resolution noise is visible in both images, especially the first one, 4000iso does not help.  But having said this I think the level is very acceptable, so I think further night photography will be planned for the Fujifilm X Pro1.

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 Coastline Images

This week end I visited Ballintoy on Northern Ireland’s north coast.  It is a spectacular area for photography, but when I arrived I was disappointed with the quality of the light. However it is a beautiful area and I was content to wait for the sun to sink in the sky before taking any images.

The problem I was faced with was shooting into the sun, which rendered part of the scene in silhouette.  The following image illustrates the point!

Ballintoy Coastal Shoot

I used a Lee .09 Hard ND filter to mange the highlights created by the sun, but this also added to the silhouette problem.  On balance I am content to run with the silhouette, particularly if its a moody shot your after.

Now comes the next question!  As the image is almost monochrome anyway would it be better to process it as a monochrome print?  Only one way to find out!

Ballintoy Coastal Shoot

 Which works best?  Perhaps you can give me your opinion!

 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.