Print it big!

This past week I have conducted a small experiment with photographs that have featured in my last couple of blogs.  The problem with digital photography is that few images taken ever get printed and Facebook is killing the photographic print.  So I decided to print some myself and to select two printing labs to print the same images for comparison, one local and the other from Stockport.

From the three options my own printer and the locally based printing lab produced similar results, so I was quite pleased that my own printer, a Canon Pro 9500 MkII, was up to the job.  However DS Colour Labs Ltd from Stockport provided an outstanding service at half the price of the locally based print lab and their print quality was simply outstanding.  I definitely recommend them.

Printing the image big is also recommended, in this case I printed 12 x 16 inch prints which rendered fine detail, the following image of the prints does not really do them justice.

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I personally use Fujifilm Satin inkjet printing paper which gives fine results.  I also noted that DS Colour Labs Ltd also used Fujifilm paper.  The prints were printed on Fujifilm Pearl Crystal Archive paper which gave my monochrome prints an almost silver metallic appearance. When selecting images to print those which show good contrast and a good dynamic range look great. I would be happy to settle on this paper but would like to see how colour prints are rendered.

Finally, rather than viewing your photographs on a PC screen try printing them!

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 this to this!

One of the joys for a photographer is to see how their images are used by others.  How will they interpret your images or will they change the message you intended when you made the photograph?  One of the pleasures of working with graphic designers is getting a brief of what they want and then going out to achieve the specific requirement, armed with the knowledge of what they are tasked to achieve.  The following image and location was the subject of a recent blog came about following a brief chat with a designer and now it has been used to promote walking tours featuring CS Lewis:

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This image was interpreted in the following way.  Note how the feel of the image is now projecting a much more dramatic and even sinister mood!  The skills of the photographer and the graphic designer coming together.

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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.

 

 

Getting into wedding mode!

I am not a wedding photographer but occasionally I am asked to undertake wedding shoot, which is definitely not for the faint hearted as you can’t shoot it again if you get it wrong!  As I am due to shoot a wedding in the next few days I have been looking over images of the last wedding I shot earlier in August.

Using CS6 and Lightroom I tried using black and white adjustment layers to hide and reveal colour.  Actually its a trick that I am not very keen on as it has been so over used by so many wedding photographers.  The image was taken with a Nikon D3 fitted with a 85mm f1.4 lens. 

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This image was taken with a Nikon D3 with an 85mm f1.4 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

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?

 

Lanark Way Bonfire

I have found that I am increasingly drawn to more of a documentary or a street style of photography.  Unlike landscape photography where you arrange the elements of the image in a pleasing harmony to create the perfect image, street photography is quite different.

In street photography the compositions are imperfect as people move about and the scenes change extremely quickly.  You get what you can and make the best of what you observe.  What you are really trying to do is to make images that tell a story in that fleeting fraction of a second!

Yesterday I visited Lanark Way to see the bonfire that has been built for the coming Twelfth celebrations.  In photographing this scene I adopted a specific approach.  A distant shot to provide the viewer with the general context, known as the ‘establishment shot’, a medium distance shot showing some of the people involved and finally a close up shot.  Each image has its own role to play and viewed together they should tell a story.

In preparing the images I processed them as monochrome, removing the colour simplifies the image and encourages the viewer to observe the whole image by not be drawn to particular colours.  This is the result.

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This morning a story has appeared in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper about this bonfire for all the wrong reasons!

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 

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

What makes an image speak?

Having just spent two delightful weeks in Turkey I am now reviewing the images I have taken and this one keeps coming back to me as if the character in it is haunting me! Taken in the Izmir bazaar it is to my view a powerful image that sends out a message.  My only consideration was how to process it.

It was taken in raw format and obviously in colour, but I think that a monochrome version of the image is much stronger as the colour in the original photograph was distracting. Here is the photograph:

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Izmir Bazaar

So what is my interpretation of the image?  The image is un-cropped and appears as it came out of the camera.  The blurred lady in the foreground is dressed in western clothes and laden with shopping bags.  Behind is a blind man with hand out begging and behind the beggar is a smiling Muslim mother carrying a child.

There is so much to be read into this photograph.  Recently I heard a photographer say that he doesn’t take pictures but pictures find him.  How true!

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 picture!

This photograph emerged following lunch with a few friends in Cartin’s Mill Restaurant near Richhill Co Armagh.  On the restaurant wall was a monochrome print of this scene and I was challenged to reproduce the photograph.  The photograph below is the result.

The photograph in the restaurant didn’t have any people included, unlike my photograph. As I approached the cannon two young people walked into the shot and I initially didn’t want them in the scene.  However when one of them climbed on to the cannon I saw the opportunity for an interesting shot.  As I raised my camera he was going to leave the scene so I asked him to stay and he kindly obliged.

For me a couple of factors made the image, the unusual pose on the barrel of the cannon and the alignment of the girl, the boy and the statue creating a diagonal line seemed to work.  In post production converting the image to monochrome simplified the image and I liked the result.

The image was taken with a Fujifilm X Pro 1 camera fitted with a 35mm lens set at f8, 1/125.  You will need to visit the restaurant to see which photograph looks best!

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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

 

Does B&W make a difference?

The image featured in this blog was also taken in Donaghadee Co Down on the same shoot as the image in my last blog.  It was an image that I had initially dismissed until I made a monochrome version.

I seldom use Lightroom presets but in this case I used a preset which produces a punchy B@W image, for comparison I will show the original and the conversion and let the reader decide which is best.

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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

 

 

 

 

Perspective in Architecture

One of my photographic interests would be to photograph historic buildings, but perspective was always a problem which forced me to import the image into Photoshop to correct the problem, with the result of spending even more time in front of the computer screen.  A tilt-shift lens would of course remove the issue at the time of taking the image, but tilt-shift lenses are rather expensive.

However Lightroom is a great program which solves the problem in seconds.  Within the Development module the lens correction tool works a treat.  The following is the before and after treatment of Craigavon House, the former home of Northern Ireland’s first prime minister, Sir James Craig, later Lord Craigavon.

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 The improvement is vast and takes just seconds to execute.

The other contributing photographers were Rennie Gribbin of Rennie Gribbin Photography and Thomas Sewell.  Finally thanks are due to the Unionist Centenary Committee for making this exhibition possible.