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. 

 

Photographic lines

This blog is more about composition, something I don’t talk enough about!  But in framing a photograph the lines of direction, or to put it another way, the direction of force within the image are important, among other things.  It is the leading lines that direct how you read the image, they direct your eyes into the image.  There are of course other visual influences such as colour and lightness and darkness.

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In the above image I used the line of the roof on the left to draw your eye towards the centre of the image and in this case it works.

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The use of lines in this image is quite different, perhaps more subtle.  I have used the line of the roof of a burial vault in the foreground with that of the line of the church gable end roof to frame the shadow of a branch from trees that were behind me.  The church tower at the other end of the building provide a depth of the image, which incidentally was taken at f2.8, not an aperture associated with deep depth of field.  This is where a wide angle lens comes into its own, in this case a 35mm 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.

Escomb Saxon Church

A couple of weeks ago I paid a quick visit to Co Durham and got back to my photographic roots, photographing historical and heritage sites.  In this case Escomb Church near Bishop Auckland.

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Escomb Saxon Church is one of the oldest Anglo-Saxon churches in England, founded in c.670-675, much of the stone came from the nearby Roman Fort at Binchester. On the south wall is a 7th or early 8th Century sundial, and on the north wall is a reused Roman stone with the markings “LEG VI” (Sixth Legion) set upside down. The church was restored in 1875-1880 by RJ Johnson, and in 1965 by Sir Albert Richardson. It is a Grade I listed building.

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The church is one of only three complete Anglo-Saxon churches remaining in England and is well worth a visit, a key is available to gain access to the church.

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

 

 

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

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 

Belfast’s built heritage

This is Cromwell Road in the university district of Belfast.  Now a rather run down district inhabited mainly by students and now more recently by immigrants.  The architecture and style of this particular terrace demonstrates its grand past, a reflection of more prosperous times.  When I consulted a 1901 street directory I noted that the inhabitants were recorded as accountants, engineering chemist, agents and a RIC Sub Inspector.

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Many now converted into flats the interior of the houses will have been subdivided.  I hope that our city planners will have the good sense at least to preserve the facade of the terrace!

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A casual walk around the streets of south Belfast reveal a wealth of material to photograph.  I remember visiting one of these houses over thirty years when I was a social security visitor, good to see the terrace is still standing!

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 for that little detail!

I have been spending a little time in Belfast Cathedral compiling a body of work and on my last visit my attention was drawn to a small detail.  So often when you work to a brief you tend to overlook that little detail.  The lesson therefore is to slow down and take the time to look around properly, in so doing you can be richly rewarded.

Here is one example, the silver cross that sits on the communion table was photographed from behind showing the reflection of the stained glass window on the east wall.  I used a shallow depth of field to throw the background out of focus, but not too much as to render two of the three ‘great lights’ unrecognisable, the third ‘great light’ being hidden by the silver cross.  To emphasise the key subject the background was kept dark.

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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

A little bit of preplanning pays!

My last blog covered an exploratory visit to the Cathedral Church of St Anne’s Belfast for the purpose of deciding how I would undertake a photographic shoot of their choir.  This turned out to be a good move because when I returned the following day I already knew the shots I was going to take, the angle of each shot and the ISO rating that I would use.  

My test shots were shot at 1/80 second at f2.8, so I knew that to obtain better depth of field a slower shutter speed would be required.  I used a tripod mounted D700 fitted with a 14-24mm f2.8 lens and the live shots were taken at f9 with shutter speeds as slow as 1/10 second which required the choir to be very still.  A bit risky using such slow shutter speeds but it worked.  Here are a couple of the shots taken just after their service of evensong.

It was a most enjoyable shoot and the choir sang quite magnificently, thanks are due to the Dean and Chapter who made me most welcome.

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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.  

 

Cathedrals and wide angle lenses

I have been asked to undertake a photographic shoot in St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast and thought it would be wise to make an advance visit to investigate what angles I might take on the day.  For the purpose of taking some test shots I took my lightweight mirrorless camera, the Fujifilm X Pro 1 which was ideal for the purpose, in fact its so good it would be great for the task ahead!

For places like cathedrals wide angle lenses come into their own.  Today I used a 14mm lens which is equivalent to a 21mm on a full frame camera.  The camera was set to 1600iso as I was depending on the ambient light.  The lens was wide open at f2.8 at a 1/60 second and the following were the results.

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Getting into restricted areas for the ariel shots was just fantastic, you get a really different perspective.  The final image is of the Chapel of Unity looking through the glass partition you can see the reflection of the stained glass window from the military chapel on the opposite side the cathedral. 

As always the colour rendition from the X Pro 1 is tremendous.  Very little post production work was required to obtain these test shots.

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.