Capturing that special event

The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of The Great War was remembered at Belfast City Hall on the evening of 4 August in line with the national commemorations held throughout the United Kingdom.  It was an occasion that I wanted to capture but the question was how?

It would be dark, so a fast prime lens seemed a good idea.  There would be large numbers of people present so I decided to travel light, using just one lens, a 35mm equivalent f1.4 that would be good for capturing the wide view yet also good for closer shots within the crowd.  Shooting between 10pm and 11pm a higher ISO setting was also a good choice, so I set it camera to auto ISO with a maximum of 3200iso.  I also decided not to use flash, which is useless for distance shots and blasts out closeup shots.

So much for preplanning, the aim was to capture the mood and significance of the evening, the following were the results.  The following images hopefully convey something of the mood.

A lucky shot, I caught someone else's flash!

A lucky shot, I caught someone else’s flash!

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All images taken with a Fujifilm X Pro 1, 23mm f1.4 lens, taken at 1/60 second, a couple at 1/30 second.  Apertures ranged from f1.4 to f2.5.

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 

The photographer’s eye

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The photograph above was taken at Clough Co Down, one of the centres where the Orange Order were parading throughout Northern Ireland on the 12th July.  On the day I surprisingly took very few exposures but this image is one that stuck in my mind.  It’s not a particularly well composed image and it was taken early in the day before the parade started.  So why did I take?

There were several reasons, firstly I noticed the cowboy boots, the lyrics to ‘These Boots Are Made for Walking’ by Nancy Sinatra came to mind!  Another reason for seeing this picture was the fact that nearly everyone else in the scene is standing and the main subject is sitting, so there is a certain juxtaposition.  The fact that the heads of the people standing are cut off help the viewer to concentrate on the main figure.  I lowered my position when making the image so that I was almost at the same level, obviously the person saw me take the image which has not spoiled the photograph.

This image conveys a relaxed atmosphere in anticipation for the parade yet to commence. Probably the dominant feeling was …will it stay dry?  In actual fact it did stay dry until around 5pm!  There is nothing threatening or decisive conveyed by the image, unlike many images of Orange Order parades that you will find in the media.

Photographs are a powerful means for conveying messages and you are really depending on the honesty of the photographer.  In this case Clough was really about a family day out and meeting up with friends.

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 

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 

The Somme Remembered

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Yesterday (1 July 2014) was the 98th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and the usual civic remembrance was held within the grounds of Belfast City Hall.  In documenting the event I took 85 exposures and from these I have selected just 13.  In making the selection I took the deliberate decision to exclude politicians and other civic dignitaries because I wanted the Armed Forces on parade to be focus, after all it was their forefathers who paid the supreme price!

Her Majesty’s Forces on parade were drawn from the Royal Irish Regiment and the Irish Guards.  The series of images commences with army personnel assembling, the series continues with the parade to the cenotaph and it concludes with an establishing shot taken through a window from a second floor cafe adjacent to the 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  

Click on the link below.

http://ulsterphotography.co.uk/?page_id=5207

Red Barn Gallery

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Frankie Quinn pictured above runs and manages the Red Barn Gallery in Rosemary Street, Belfast and currently he is displaying his own photographic collection entitled “The Orange’.

On display are around forty images, all monochrome and 18 inches square, depicting various aspects of the Loyal Order as he recorded them in Belfast, Londonderry, Scarva and Rossnowlagh between 2011 to 2013.

Frankie is from the nationalist community which makes the treatment of his project all the more interesting.  A visit is definitely worth it and I understand the display will be available until the end of July.

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   

 

The world cup and all that!

Here we go again, another world cup and no doubt wall to wall media coverage to bore us completely silly.  You can tell that I am a football fan!  

However walking around Belfast I see that bars and restaurants are getting in to the mood. The photograph below is taken in one of Belfast’s old entries, in this case Pottinger’s Entry which connects Ann Street with High Street in almost a straight line. The principal attraction is the Victorian pub, The Morning Star.

In a city where the flying of flags causes so much controversy I was amused to see The Morning Star public house bedecked in so many national flags to get its customers into the world cup mood.  Spot the Union Flag!

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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:

Izmir Bazaar

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

The shoemaker revisited

I could not resist going back to the shoemaker’s shop again and this time I went inside instead of shooting from the doorway.

You really have to be there to appreciate the space, or should I say lack of it. There is only room for one person in the shop, the shoemaker himself is crouched down in a tiny working area. You cannot see the ceiling or the walls as they are completely covered with stock.

Unfortunately he could not speak English as I would loved to have asked him questions about his shop. As before he was really friendly. The following two images, I hope, convey a true image of the environment!

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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

 

Market day in Foca

Tuesday is market day in Foca which produces a riot of colour and much feverish buying and selling. It’s a great place to bring your camera. Unlike my previous visit to this market, some eighteen months ago, I left my heavy DSLR gear at home and simply brought the Fujifilm X Pro 1 which is so light to carry and more importantly much less conspicuous enabling me to merge into the crowd much more easily.

This begs the question of whether or not to try and take candid photographs. On this occasion I have made a conscious decision to try and interact with who I am photographing in the hope that I will get stronger images.

While I have many images I am going to discuss just one image by asking the question what makes this image? It is not particularly colourful, I could have chosen an image from the fruit market stalls which are a riot of colour. But in this image a sea of repetition, shoes, which even extend beyond this stall into the distance giving the image a depth of field and a leading line of sorts. Finally the point of focus is the stall holder sitting in the rear using his mobile phone.

The stall holder observed me take my time to compose my image and afterward exchanged a smile of approval. In my view it is the repetition, depth of field and leading line and the point of focus that makes the image. What do you think?

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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.

The shoemaker

Always be prepared to look for the unusual, those places or people that have not really kept up with the times.

It is very definitely good to get off the main streets and explore side streets and entries. Walking down a narrow cobbled street I came across this shoemaker’s shop, although at first sight it does not look like a shoemaker’s shop.

Getting inside the shop was also difficult as it was packed with so much stock, however gaining the owner’s attention I was able to get a photograph from outside the door. Inside the shop was very dark so I was depending on light coming in from the doorway.

I wish I had taken more images as he was very friendly and not the least bit shy about having his photograph taken. Maybe I will get another visit to his shop.
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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