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. 

 

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.

Christmas Party Time

bradley-5465To end the year a photograph from a senior’s Christmas party which just proves that even older people can enjoy a visit from Santa!

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.  

And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Gen 9:15

Ancre Military Cemetery

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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

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.

 

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.

 

Should amateur photographers do wedding photography?

Occasionally friends will ask me to take their wedding photographs.  My standard response on these occasions is to say that I am not a wedding photographer and they might want to investigate what a specialist wedding photographer has to offer as they will provide a more specialised service than I would be able to offer.
 
Having make this point clearly I am sometimes still asked.  The question is should I? Obviously wedding photographers will say that I shouldn’t!  However I take the view that if you explain carefully the approach you will take on the basis of what the couple want then you can safely proceed provided both the couple and the photographer have a clear understanding.
 
Every couple will have their own particular idea of what they want.  The couples I have undertaken wedding photography for seem to prefer a low key approach with emphasis on informality.  It is a pleasure to participate in these occasions on what is an important landmark day for the couple and I suspect that if you provided wedding photography as a business service you would lose this level of intimacy.  
 bradley-6834All 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.