Where is that fly?

These misty September mornings are a great time to photograph spider’s webs, without having to go any further than your back door.  I also decided to try out a new lens for my Fujifilm X system, the 56 f1.2 portrait lens.  I reverted to manual focus which was buttery smooth and as you can see the system produced lovely clean files requiring little post production on the computer.  These shots were taken at 1/125 second at f5.6 to capture the perfect symmetry of spider’s endeavours.  Isn’t the world wonderfully made?
Bradley-4429
Bradley-4427
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

Rough Island

A gentle walk last night prompted me to write this short blog about Island Hill, or to be more precise about Rough Island, a small island of approximately 7 acres, which can be accessed via a causeway at low tide just outside Comber.

Rough Island, which sounds like something from Treasure Island, was inhabited up until the early part of the 1900’s. The remains of the old farm cottage and its orchard can still be seen. Farming ceased on the island completely in the 1950s and the island has reverted to  bramble and hawthorn. It is now owned and maintained by Ards Borough Council.

The causeway usually only remains submerged for around an hour at high tide but this can be affected by the weather and the time of year. The walk across the causeway and around the island takes around ¾ of an hour and provides a wonderful views of this part of Strangford Lough.

A couple of photographs taken yesterday:

Bradley-5838

Bradley-5839

 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.  

Learning to improve

In the quest to improve my photography, I have learned that it is not about reading endless photography magazines, although informed articles can play a part.  Nor will acquiring all the latest photo gear make you a better photographer, although it too can help.  What is important is to keep taking photographs and to keep experimenting this alone more than anything else will improve your craft.

This blog site is primarily for my own purposes, although I hope you enjoy it.  Writing about recent photo shoots helps sharpen the learning process.  In photography the learning process never stops and being self critical and receiving feedback from others is crucial, so do feel free to criticise, constructively of course!

My recent obsession with Ballintoy has also been part of my quest to improve my image making skills.  Repeat visits also play an important, particularly in learning about light and how it changes and the effect it has on the final image.  So here is another image from Ballintoy!  This time retaining detail from immediately in front of me into the far distance was the objective and maintaining as much detail in texture throughout, including the sky.

bradley-3612

So with less emphasis on photographic gear and the latest gizmo I want to turn the attention to the image itself.  Why do we take a particular image, what are we trying to say, and how have we tried to be creative?  In reality this means learning to see things in a way we have failed to in the past, to notice those things we have always overlooked, maybe because we have taken them for granted!  Perhaps next time experimenting with slow shutter speeds could be fun, we will see.

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.

Reading a photograph

You may have noticed that I really like Ballintoy!  There are so many opportunities for landscape photography there and my often repeated visits always present new challenges. I have learned that staying in the one place for a while improves the chances of getting quality light, and helps developing patience that is necessary for better photography.

Assuming you have great light then we are left to concentrate in looking for mood!  Seeking out colour, angles, shapes and then trying to simplify the composition.  In the image featured in this blog the contrast between the basalt and limestone rock outcrops was interesting, the subtle colour rendered from the wet limestone rock in the foreground against the colour of the sea and the sky provide an overall balance to the image.

If you can read a photograph then I guess it works!  The image below seems to be made up by horizontal layers; rock, sea, rock and sky.  Within these layers the colour hues blend together in balance.  As I see it this is how the image works.  Maybe it reads differently to you!

bradley-3573

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.

 

Staying in the one place!

Recently I seem to be spending a lot of time in Ballintoy on the north Antrim coast, but then it is a wonderful location for photography.  This time I stayed for nearly three days and one thing which interested me was watching how light changed, even how clouds changed in look and how morning light differed from evening light.  Even during mid morning or mid afternoon  some pleasing lighting conditions were produced.

I came equipped with my Nikon DSLR gear and the Fujifilm X Pro 1 and must confess that all my images were taken with the X Pro 1.  The Nikon gear never left the bag, there is a lesson in there somewhere!  One of the joys of photography is learning light and how it effects the image, seeking out colour in the landscape and looking for the right angle.

bradley-3590 bradley-3616 bradley-3624 bradley-3527

bradley-3497

The above images were taken between Thursday and Saturday, week ending 9 November.

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 special autumn light

I am still processing images from my visit to Ballintoy on the Antrim north coast.  The rocks in this image caught the light beautifully bringing out the colour.  It was taken at 10.15 in weak morning sunlight and the figures on the beach add to the scene.

bradley-4266

 All being well I will return to this location soon.

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.

 

Photographic patience

For this blog I have returned to Ballintoy Harbour and the theme is to persevere.  When I left home to travel here it was raining and half way up the M2 it was raining stair rods and I considered returning home.  Thankfully I persisted and arrived at Ballintoy Harbour around 3.30 in glorious sunshine.  The hour before sunset provided some excellent light and I concentrated on a number of seascapes and I was looking forward to what the morning light would bring.

bradley-4139

 

bradley-4148

The following day produced a mixture of rain sun and storm, wonderful for photography.  Staying put in one place can provide a variety of opportunities and no mobile phone connection or email is a decided advantage!

bradley-4316

 

bradley-4428

 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.

 

 

Are you waiting for the right conditions?

A landscape photographer needs to have patience, something I don’t possess for most of the time.  However if you want to get that photograph that is above the average holiday snap then you need to do two things!  Watch the weather forecast and secondly wait for the right conditions.

This is what I did at Spelga Dam in the Mourne Mountains yesterday.  Thursday was the only decent day weather wise in the week and wet weather was to move in over night, which it did.  So the perfect opportunity to make my trip to Spelga and wait for the rain to move in. 

Arriving mid afternoon in what was a lovely sunny afternoon I waited until the sun was about to set when I was rewarded with mist descending, could not be better!  Mist and fog add atmosphere and this was what I was looking for.  The following images were taken between 5pm to 6pm.  The shutter speed of the final images were 0.5 of a second aided with the use of a tripod.

bradley-4059 bradley-4062 bradley-4063 bradley-4064 bradley-4075 bradley-4076 bradley-4081 bradley-4085

Photographs taken in mid afternoon would just not have captured the atmosphere I was after. I did stay overnight in an attempt to get early light in the morning, but the mist completely closed in accompanied with heavy rain.  Was it worth the effort?  

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.

 

Sunset at Ballintoy

Spurred on by the sunset featured in my last blog I decided to make the journey to Ballintoy on the north coast.  This location is rather spectacular, especially if the light is right.  I knew from previous visits that the sun sets over the sea and a projecting headland.
 
Arriving at about 5pm the sky was overcast, nevertheless I decided to wait until sunset.   Surprisingly the overcast sky began to break up revealing the setting sun.  There is no substitute for patience in landscape photography.
 
In trying to find the optimum position to shoot from I pulled a calf muscle while climbing over rocks, which reduced my mobility.  So these images was taken from a bench at the car park, as indeed where most of my images.  Photography is not a painless process in more ways than one! 
 
Shooting straight into the sun does present it’s challenges.  I used a 0.9 hard graduated filter to try to balance the extremes of light.  The biggest problem is lens flair and it was not always possible to avoid it, we just have to live with it I think!
 
bradley-2769 bradley-2770 bradley-2792
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 gift of photography

Many will know that one of my photographic influencers is the Vancouver based photographer David duChemin. His recent blog speaks of the gift of photography.

Last night I received one of those gifts while driving home at sunset when I came across this isolated tree in front of a sunset. Making this image rewarded me as the image maker and I hope that it equally rewards you as the viewer.

In making the image I walked into a field from the roadside to isolate the tree as the main subject allowing the sunset to be the other element in the image. It is the photographer who decides what is in and what is out of the frame, how close to get and how far to step back and what exposure values to key in.

Pictures should tell stories or at least create moods. To a greater or lessor extent we all live in societies where politicians mess up, we need images like this to calm us down!

20130921-065932.jpg
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.