Improving the image!

This photograph was taken from Scrabo Hill while walking along a woodland path.  The quality of the light was quite good and I noticed through a gap in the bushes a house and small lake in the distance beside a cornfield which was isolated by surrounding green fields.  The cornfield immediately caught my eye and the centre of the view seemed brighter as a result.  So here is the image:

ISO 200, 14mm 2.8 lens at f10, 1/125 shutter speed

ISO 200, 14mm 2.8 lens at f10, 1/125 shutter speed

Post production was employed to give the photograph that punch that I remembered when I first noticed the shot.  In Lightroom the exposure, contrast, highlights, whites and blacks settings remain as in the original image.  I did selected the central area of the image and applied +38 on the shadows slider and I also gave the clarity a slight boost.  I also selected the sky area and decreased exposure slightly to balance the rolling fields.  This was the only manipulation of the image.  Finally I cropped the image to a square format, the effect works to draw your attention to the centre of the image and as a result I think it makes the image work!

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.

 

 

 

 

Hanging the Presidential photographic exhibition

Recently I was asked to curate a photographic exhibition in The Clinton Centre in Enniskillen. The exhibition covers the visits of former President Clinton to Enniskillen and it will open to the public to coincide with the G8 Summit.  I had the honour of being asked to oversee its installation an experience which was most enjoyable and is still ongoing.

Installing the Clinton Exhibition in advance of the G8 Sumitt

Liaising with the editor of the Impartial Reporter and a representative from the Clinton Foundation made the task so much easier, leaving us to do the measuring and hanging. Of course there was room for a little bit of fun as the following images will demonstrate.

Installing the Clinton Exhibition in advance of the G8 Sumitt

Installing the Clinton Exhibition in advance of the G8 Sumitt

Installing the Clinton Exhibition in advance of the G8 Sumitt

There was some series work undertaken!  Images, which were nicely mounted, need to flow in sequence to tell a story, they need to be straight, appropriately spaced and complement their neighbouring image and not jar the viewer as they move around the space.

Attention to detail is vital to make optimum use of the available space in order to determine the number of images to be used and the size they will be printed to.  How the lighting falls on the displayed mounts needs to be adjusted.

Installing the Clinton Exhibition in advance of the G8 Sumitt

Installing the Clinton Exhibition in advance of the G8 Sumitt

As a photographer it is good to be involved in curating and installing a photographic exhibition.  Instead of seeing the images through the viewfinder you are looking at the work of others from the other side of the camera and deciding how best to present them for viewing.   It was an honour to be entrusted to install such a prestigious exhibition that is associated with the G8 Summit.  The photographic exhibit will be finished in the next two days when I will run a followup blog. 

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.

Scrabo Tower

The feature photograph for this blog is Scrabo Tower, the tower upon which my site logo is based on.   Scrabo is a significant landmark standing on a scraggy volcanic plug outside Newtownards that can be seen for miles.

Erected in 1857, the Tower was built by local people as a monument to Charles William Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry. The marquis was a local landowner and nobleman with a distinguished military and diplomatic career. He was Lieutenant Colonel of the light Dragoons and fought in 25 major battles, earning the nickname the ‘Fighting Marquis’. He was also Adjutant General to the Duke of Wellington, during the Napoleonic Wars, before becoming diplomat as Envoy Extraordinary in Prussia and Ambassador in Austria.

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24-70mm f2.8 @24mm

The photograph was taken in early evening on 21st April this year.  It is the side lighting which is responsible for highlighting the stone work and the grass giving both that fantastic structure and texture.  It is this that makes the photograph, without the side lighting the image would look quite drab.

Taken in colour the raw file was converted to monochrome in Lightroom.  While the colour image looks good I think monochrome works better in this case.  The two girls walking their dog arrived on the horizon just at the right time.  It often pays for the photographer to have patience and I did wait for someone to appear in the scene thereby providing some perspective.

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.

 

Never give up on a photograph!

The photograph featured in this blog is the ruins of Raphoe Castle in Donegal, it was the Bishop’s Palace and is located just a short distance from Raphoe Cathedral.  It just goes to prove the influence that the Anglican church had in Ulster, especially before its disestablishment in 1870.  The building occupies the high ground overlooking the Cathedral and reflected the legal status of the Church.  The Bishop certainly enjoyed the high life!

The photograph was taken in March 2010 and I remember being disappointed that the sky was so grey and uninteresting and the light flat; so the image has been filed in my computer and never used.  Recently you will have noticed that I have been toying with monochrome and I was pleasantly surprised at this conversion to monochrome.  For comparison I have inserted both images below:

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bradley--2

The monochrome is a distinct improvement on the original colour image and the subject of the image certainly lends itself to creating that moody scene, a characteristic that the colour photograph lacks.  Couldn’t you just imagine Lurch the butler greeting you at the front door!

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.

Monochrome or Colour

For this short blog I have returned to Nendrum Monastic Site, the colour version of this scene has been featured before, but this time I want to compare it with a monochrome conversion.  Here are both versions:

Nendrum Monastic Site

 

Nendrum Monastic Site

The monochrome was created using Silver Efex Pro and a preset selected which makes use of the full dynamic range within the image, hence the fuller detail in the sky.  The problem is that when making monochrome versions I never know which one I like the best, so perhaps you can drop me an email and let me know.  Somehow I think the monochrome has created greater depth, almost a 3D effect.

The joy of photography is that there are endless possibilities!

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.

 

Creating that mood!

I am returning to Nendrum again, a place near to my home where I visit on a regular basis in an attempt to capture something different.  Sometimes the light obliges and on other occasions it frustrates me. My visits usually coincide with early evening when the sun is setting and its position in the sky is behind the site ruins.  Here is an older image which produced pleasing results.

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In this case I am content for the ruins to be almost silhouetted, allowing just a hint of the stone detail to show, as it is really the sky that I am interested in.  No filters were used, but In Lightroom I applied a Fuji Velvia 50 preset which converts the image to resemble a print produced by Fuji Velvia transparency film, beloved by landscape photographers.

Given the historical significance of this site to Ulster’s early christianity I think I have created an appropriate mood with this image.

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.

Ballintoy Coastline Images

This week end I visited Ballintoy on Northern Ireland’s north coast.  It is a spectacular area for photography, but when I arrived I was disappointed with the quality of the light. However it is a beautiful area and I was content to wait for the sun to sink in the sky before taking any images.

The problem I was faced with was shooting into the sun, which rendered part of the scene in silhouette.  The following image illustrates the point!

Ballintoy Coastal Shoot

I used a Lee .09 Hard ND filter to mange the highlights created by the sun, but this also added to the silhouette problem.  On balance I am content to run with the silhouette, particularly if its a moody shot your after.

Now comes the next question!  As the image is almost monochrome anyway would it be better to process it as a monochrome print?  Only one way to find out!

Ballintoy Coastal Shoot

 Which works best?  Perhaps you can give me your opinion!

 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.

Shooting in snow

With the unusually severe snow across the UK last week I thought I would make my way up the Mourne Mountains now that the worst of the snow has subsided to take some snowscape images before it all disappears. There are two problems with taking photographs in snow; the brightness of the snow fools the camera’s built in meter producing under exposed images which render the snow in an ugly grey hue and secondly the snow picks up colour cast from the surrounding light producing a blue tinge.

However these issues are easily dealt with.  In the first instance I keep a keen eye on the camera’s histogram and ensure that I am exposing to the right, but ensuring that I don’t blow out the highlights as it is important to retain the texture of the snow.  I can also use EV compensation if I need to.  This covers the metering issue.  The blue tinge issue is easily dealt with by adjusting the white balance when I am processing the images in Lightroom.

Shooting in snow can produce pleasing results by shooting as the sun sets, the following are some of the images from my Mourne Mountain shoot:

Titanic Signature Building Mourne Mountain Snow Landscapes Titanic Signature Building Titanic Signature Building

Titanic Signature Building

In these images the snow reflects the hue of the light it was picking up and the sky reflects the pink hue from the setting sun.  This is what I was after!

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.

Post production techniques

It is said that it is best to get the photograph right in the camera!  I certainly agree with this approach as relying on your computer to fix your mistakes is nothing less then lazy photography.  But more importantly if you get it right in the camera it means that you have very little to do on the computer when you get home.  Anyway most photographers hate spending hours in front of the computer screen.

While continuing to index my images I came across two images taken in the Mourne Mountains which illustrate the difference that just a little post production work can make to the final image, so here they are:

Mourne Mountains

 

This image has not been processed at all and looking at it in Lightroom I can see that it was  correctly exposed, there are no blown out highlights and no lost detail in the shadows.  However after just a few minor tweaks this is the result:

Mourne Mountain walkThe two images were taken just seconds apart and the difference is plain to see.  So what changes did I make?  I reduced the exposure by 1 fstop, which darkened the sky.  I also added a little contrast, but not very much.  In addition to this all that was done was to adjust highlights and shadows and finally to add clarity.

It has been said that the camera does not see what the eye sees, so the point is to process the image so that the finish produced is what you remembered the scene to be like.

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.

 

Spring has Sprung!

February 28th is officially the last day of winter and to mark the milestone a walk along the shores of Strangford Lough was called for!  It was more like a spring day, clear skies, calm water and a still wind and no one in sight.

I was looking for something unusual to photograph when I came across this fallen tree that had fallen over the water many years ago yet it has continued to grow.  What initially attracted me was the crystal clear water under the shade of the tree with the bottom of the lough bed clearly visible and the spiral type arrangement of the branches at the end of the tree trunk.

So what was I seeking to achieve?  Several things such as to bring out the clarity of the water under the shade of the tree, the texture of the tree trunk, the filtering of the sunlight and to demonstrate the depth of field along the trunk.

How was this achieved?  A wide angle lens (24mm) and a small lens aperture (f11) and no lens filters were used as the shade provided clarity for the water.  Little post production was required as I monitored the histogram when taking the photograph.  In Lightroom a small degree of clarity was added.  Other than this the photograph appears as taken.

bradley-2012A different composition could be used to more powerfully demonstrate the spiral arrangement of the branches, such as:

bradley-2012-2

It was Robert Capa who said “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough”.

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.