Moving from 35mm to 50mm!

For the past while I have mostly been taking photographs with a 35mm lens, so much so that I feel very comfortable using this focal length, it seems to suit my documentary style and provides a wide frame within which to arrange the various elements.

Recently I was reminded that Henri Cartier-Bresson invariably photographed with a 50mm lens and that he never cropped photographs.  I decided to take a walk around Belfast’s historic entries with a 50mm Summilux lens and to rely on zone focusing at f8.  “F8 and be there” is attributed to the New York photojournalist Arthur Fellig, although I see that some attribute the quotation to the famous war photojournalist Robert Capa.  This aperture is wide enough to let in sufficient light and small enough to provide adequate depth of field. All I had to worry about was composition!  

As I continue to explore street photography and the rangefinder camera I am finding photography even more enjoyable by just working with one camera body and one prime lens with all the freedom this brings.  However I did find using a 50mm lens a little bit more challenging with its narrower angle of field forcing me to frame more carefully.  On the plus side I did like how the viewfinder on the rangefinder camera allowes you to observe what was entering the leaving the frame.  This added information is really useful.  Also zone focusing does not always produce pin sharp focus at full resolution, something which digital photographers are increasing becoming obsessed with.

Looking back at the famous street photographers who used expensive Leica cameras, they did not capture pixel peeking sharpness!  They instead concentrated on capturing emotion, which is really what photography is about, photographs that tell a story.  In HCB style here are the results of my Belfast entry explorations.

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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. 

CS Lewis sculpture

bradley-5640A new year brings new opportunities and challenges and the possibilities in photography are endless.  I was recently asked if I had an image of the CS Lewis sculpture located in East Belfast, the well known author and Christian apologist and of course an Ulsterman!  I replied that I hadn’t but that I always intended to photograph it but have never got around to so.  I made my first visit on Christmas Eve, I returned on Christmas Day and then yet again on Boxing Day. 

You would be forgiven for asking why so many visits?  Each time I returned the light was different which changed the image.  I kept finding new angles to shoot from and using different lenses also changed the image I saw through the viewfinder.  This is the standard approach taken by any editorial photographer, cover all angles and points of view and you will get the image that the client wants.
 
Clive Staples Lewis
Novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist.
Born: November 29, 1898, Belfast
Died: November 22, 1963, Oxford
Spouse: Joy Davidman (m. 1956–1960)
Plays: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Movies and TV shows: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Books: Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Voyage of the Dawn…
 
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.

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.  

Christmas markets again!

Over the past few days I have visited two Christmas markets, Belfast and Manchester.  Its been a while since I talked about what attracts me to make certain images and my recent visit to two city centre Christmas markets provide a perfect opportunity to do just this. Here are the two images I selected and my reasons for their selection.

Belfast Christmas Market

Belfast Christmas Market

Manchester Christmas Market

Manchester Christmas Market

I took just a few images at each location rather than shooting in all directions.  Both cities were hiving with people and in these situations I find it difficult to simplify what I see through the viewfinder.   In the case of the Belfast market it was the colour which drew my attention.  Red is a strong colour and the scene was naturally framed by the stall itself.

In the second image the couple in the lefthand side foreground drew my attention.  They were isolated in their own space and I was struck by how I could counter balance their vertical stance with the advertising cylinder on the opposite side of the frame.

The other feature common to both images is that ‘the decisive moment’ was captured, in the first image the exchange of money to complete a transaction and in the second the boy letting the girl take a bite from his beef burger.

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer considered to be the father of photojournalism and the master of candid photography.  He coined the phrase ‘the decisive moment’ which he described as follows. “There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative”.

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

Armistice Day 2014 – Belfast City Hall

Several hundred city centre workers paused for a few minutes to remember the armistice at Belfast City Hall in heavy rain.  This more informal and impromptu event is in contrast to the formal and elaborate proceedings held on Remembrance Sunday.

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A wider angle view show the crowd waiting in silence.

The quotation on the cenotaph reads:

“Throughout the long years of struggle which have now so gloriously ended, the men of Ulster have proved how nobly they fight and die.”  George V

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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

All Saints’ Eve

While visiting Hillsborough in Co Down I came across this florist shop at the bottom of the main street and thought it provided a colourful display in the lead up to halloween, sometimes referred to as All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve.  A colleague went in to the shop and asked the shop assistant to pose for me as I dodged traffic in the middle of the road.

Bradley-5012This got me thinking about Halloween!  The feast of All Saints was a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on 1 November, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead and all the faithful departed believers.

The camera settings were simple, Fujifilm X-T1 in manual mode, 400iso, f5.6, 1/125 second.  The camera was fitted with a 23mm f1.4 lens, equivalent to 35mm.

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.

 

Don’t ignore the familiar!

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October already!  Where has the year gone?  The last couple of blogs in September featured historical fragments of the old Belfast and County Down Railway, which closed in 1950.  The last blog centred on buildings in Ballygowan and in wandering around this small village I am struck how as a photographer we tend to ignore what is in our own backyard.

This is what led me to take this photograph, I either walk or drive down this road every day with the result that to me it is just very ordinary.  Taken just a couple of days ago looking down The Brae towards the centre of Ballygowan, the old railway building can be seen in the distance, just to continue the railway theme theme!  The row is terrace housing in the foreground are said to be the oldest buildings in Ballygowan.
 
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

Saintfield’s Market House

Saintfield Market House was built in 1802 by N Price. It is a two-storey three-bay structure. The pediment above the central bay contains a clock. There is a simple square louvred cupola. The building beside the market house was an hotel which was built at the same time.  Now serving as an Orange Hall it was first used as a Courthouse in 1804. The clock in the roof of the building was made by the Saintfield clock maker, Samuel Spratt. The iron gates in the three archways date from 1828.  The two photographs show the Parish Church on one side and the hotel on the other side.

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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 Fruit Shop – Monaghan Town

I don’t often publish photographs from my older files, preferring instead to concentrate on my present day work.  However I came across an image I made back in April 2009 and wondered why I have never processed it before now!

This photography was taken in Monaghan town and to be honest I don’t remember precisely where.  Its a rather quirky fruit shop set in an unusual location, which is probably why I made the image.  If anyone can say if it’s still in business please do let me know. Anyway here it is:

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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