Sinclair’s Department Store

Sadly Sinclair’s Department Store closed in 1972, but the building still stands proud. Sinclair’s was once one of Belfast’s most prestigious department stores. The store on Royal Avenue as seen today was built in 1926 in the classical style. By 1935, Sinclair’s was extended with an Art Deco-style addition by Belfast-born architect James Scott, who had previously designed the 1926 building.

bradley-6377

Since January I have taken a great many images of Belfast buildings, in so doing I have been trying to depict them with open space surrounding them to show their locational setting and perspective.  Apart from the images taken at the very beginning all have been taken with a Nikon D700 fitted with a AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G lens.  Having taken well over 500 images with this lens since January I have come to value its qualities.

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.  

St Matthias; the iron church

Known locally as “the wee tin church”, St Matthias first opened in 1892 for the local British military garrison and originally the (Anglican) Church of Ireland. Its corrugated iron construction makes it extremely rare and it is one of only eight surviving churches of this type in Ireland. They were manufactured by Harland & Wolff and most were exported.

St Matthias is located on the Glen Road in west Belfast was reconsecrated as a Roman Catholic church in 1970 due to changing demographics.

bradley-6227

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.  

 

 

Donegall St Congregational Church

Over the past number of weeks I have been steadily engaged in photographing various buildings in Belfast.  Today I came across Donegall Street Congregational Church which is worthy of mention.

The original church on this site was completed in 1860, with additions in 1871 on either side by Luke Macassey. There were extensive renovations in 1898 before it was largely destroyed by fire in 1931. Rebuilt in 1932, it was rebuilt yet again by Samuel Stevenson & Sons in 1955 following extensive bomb damage during the Belfast Blitz of World War II.

bradley-6125 bradley-6128

There are numerous examples of older buildings sandwiched modern structures, maybe this is a theme I should run with!

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.  

Tips for a better image

Over the past number of weeks I have spent considerable time photographing buildings in Belfast city centre and I have picked up several tips that make for better image making. These are:

Firstly make use of foreground space.  Open space helps to present the object being photographed in a better setting and provides an attractive platform;

This means going into the city early when traffic is light.  Cars occupying a prominent position are a distraction and they also will date the image in a few years time.  Although sometimes it can’t be avoided;

Pay attention to the sky.  Invariably architectural photography employs the use of a wide angle lens therefore the sky will take up a fair percentage of the frame.  Making use of cloud detail is important to the image being created; and

Lastly the quality of the light is vital.  My friends are tired of me talking about the quality of light, but it really does make the difference.

Below are two photographs taken this morning of Church House.  The building is located near the centre of Belfast at the junction of Fisherwick Place, Great Victoria Street, Howard Street and Grosvenor Road. It was built in 1905, in the Gothic style, and opened by the Duke of Argyll.

bradley-5797 bradley-5799

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.  

 

There is more than meets the eye!

This is a photograph which I took, chiefly because I was intrigued with the jumbled buildings and skyline.  But it was taken while I was engaged in another project and I just happened to be passing this point.  I had virtually dismissed the image as soon as I had taken it.  It was only a few days later when I was reviewing photographs and shared it on Facebook that I realised what I had.

So what can we get out of this image taken in Waring Street Belfast?  The lines of the buildings travel in competing directions making the image a slightly frustrating image.  We can see the juxtaposition of different building styles.  The corner of the Customs House, a find period listed building contrasted with an assortment of 1950s, 1960s and 1970s buildings and in the background more modern buildings including Northern Ireland’s tallest Obel Building at 279 feet tall completed in 2011.

But as my friend pointed out, there is more to this image than meets the eye, in which he found the grotesqueness all the more beautiful.  To the righthand side in the foreground are modern down town residential apartments, while opposite is the Salvation Army Hostel for the homeless.  In short the image captures a cross section of architectural styles, some not so beautiful, as well as a cross section of the social structure in our society.

_ASC5414-Edit

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.  

 

More photographic lines!

My blog entitled Lines in Hamilton Street discussed the forces produced by lines in the image.  Today I took this image of the Customs House in Belfast which is also characterised by directional lines, but in addition to this the open space adds further impact to the image.

There are several ways to read this image; the white converging lines in the foreground draw your eye into the building which takes centre stage.  The building itself is also sandwiched by a grey foreground and an equally grey sky providing a horizontal presentation of the building which also itself has a horizontal format and thereby producing a balance within the image.

I had to wait quite a while for parked cars to clear the front of the building and to ensure that no pedestrians were cluttering the foreground.  Patience can sometimes pay!

bradley-5353

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.  

That wet look!

This blog is intended to be an observation!  Over the last few days I have been trying to get into Belfast city centre to take photographs and my plans have been thwarted by the inclement weather which we have all been enduring.

However today I grabbed the opportunity in between rain showers to get the camera into action.  In actual fact the rain has assisted me; have you ever noticed that taking photographs immediately following a rain shower that the air seems fresher and the wet ground and its reflective surface actually adds quality to the image you are taking?  I noticed this before when undertaking night photography when the city lights reflect off the ground adding to the visual experience.

The two photographs were taken today and illustrate that wet look.  Just a useful tip to keep in mind.

bradley-5169

Robinson & Cleaver Building


bradley-5190

Belfast 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.  

 

 

Lines in Hamilton Street

Continuing with square photography!  This photograph is of the corner of Joy Street and Hamilton Street Belfast; a Georgian terrace in the Markets Area, originally built in the 1830s, which was restored in 1988.  In this blog I merely wish to discuss the merits of the image as I see it, which also explains why I framed it as I did.

The image is un-cropped, I set my camera to shoot a 1:1 ratio.  The square format does provide a natural balance, but what attracted me to arrange the elements as I did were the lines within the image.  This was the key attraction.  There are two competing forces produced by the lines in the image.

Firstly a vertical force produced by the arrangement of the corner keystones in the building which forces your eye upwards.  Secondly the horizontal lines produced by the windows disappearing down the street drawing your eye in that direction.  The two diagonal lines created by the edge of the roof also produce a point at the top of the keystones.

Lines in a photograph give it energy and a force that creates a more interesting image.

bradley-3826

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!

bradley-3844

 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

 

Architectural Photography

I am about to start a new project on architectural photography as soon as our weather gives me a break.  But it has allowed me a little time to consider some of the technical requirements that will need to be considered and it is this that I thought I would share.

In looking over my images on file I came across two examples, one of the inside of a church and the second an external shot of a derelict house.  The main issue to consider is one of perspective.  Wide angle lenses are great for architecture, but the perspective needs to be corrected to avoid leaning walls and pillars, anything that is vertical!

My first example is All Saints Parish Church in Belfast.  In the first image you will notice that the pillars and arches are leaning slightly outwards, a very simple action within Lightroom corrects this with the click of the mouse as can be seen in the second image.

bradley-0313

bradley-0313-2

Built in the 1890s the inside of All Saints is a jewel that is located in a drab area of Belfast. They don’t build churches this way anymore!  

My second example required more than just the click of the mouse, in this case the image was exported into Photoshop where both perspective and stretch commands were used to correct the verticals.  This sad bricked up house was isolated standing all alone.  The before and after images shown below.

bradley-1951 bradley-

What gear will I be using?  It goes with out saying that a tripod will be the first item to go in to the car.  With architectural photography small apertures will be selected to ensure a deep depth of field so that all features of the building photographed will be sharp.  Therefore slower shutter speeds with be required along with a low ISO setting, typically 200, so I can’t risk not using a tripod! 

As for the camera, the batteries are charged for the Fujifilm X Pro 1 fitted with the 14mm f1.4 lens.  This combination along with a Giottos MH630 carbon tripod will make walking with a light load to carry so much more pleasurable.  Lets hope for a break in the weather with nice disused light!

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