From light to darkness!

These images were taken at a band parade in Banbridge Co Down for the purpose of testing the Fujifilm X-T1 from conditions of early evening daylight through to late evening street light to see how it would perform.

Obviously as the evening continued I was forced to increase my ISO setting, from 400 to 1600 and then finally to 6400.  How would this effect digital noise in dim light?  I was using a 56mm f1.2 lens, so a fast lens should help considerably.

Later in the evening as it got darker I had to abandon auto focus and switch to manual, the focusing ring on the lens was a delight to use, very smooth!  The images are below together with camera settings.

ISO 400, f4, 1/160

ISO 400, f4, 1/160

ISO 1600, f1.4, 1/60

ISO 1600, f1.4, 1/60

ISO 6400, 32.0, 1/125

ISO 6400, 32.0, 1/125

ISO 6400, f2.0, 1/125

ISO 6400, f2.0, 1/125

ISO 6400, f2.0, 1/100

ISO 6400, f2.0, 1/100

My view: I enjoyed the shooting experience, the slowest shutter speed was 1/60 and good for hand holding the camera.  The only issue to be aware of is manual focusing in low light with a moving target and a wide aperture with shallow DoF!

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

Seductive Red!

Red is a seductive colour, it dominates the image and pulls the eye forcing you to perhaps miss other features in the image.  In the right circumstances it may be appropriate to desaturate the colour or to convert the image to monochrome.  This photograph is one I took of Brunswick Accordion Band from Annalong Co Down and they published it on their Facebook Page as a monochrome image.  It worked and gave me the idea for this blog!

bradley-5938

The monochrome image I my view helps you to see other features more clearly, such as the band members’ feet being bang on the beat; well they are a first class band! Notice how the red tunics have become a grey shade, which I think blends in very well with the sky and the sea in the background. Rather than colours clashing with one another the shades complement each other thereby providing a pleasing balance.

bradley5938mono-

The band are releasing a CD soon, you can look out for that!

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.  

 

Grabbing that colour!

This afternoon I covered a banner parade organised by the local Orange Lodge in Dundonald, formerly a village on the outskirts of east Belfast, but these days now regarded as an extension of east Belfast.  I went armed with just one fixed focal length lens, a 35mm. My set objective was to take as wide a variety of images with this one lens.  I only took one posed image and in total I took 199 exposures and have edited these down to just twelve images.  From this I have selected just one!

ISO 200, f5.6, 1/500th second, 35mm lens

ISO 200, f5.6, 1/500th second, 35mm lens

This image is different from all the others on several counts.  I sought permission to enter the ranks and took the image in between the ranks of marchers, their backs where towards me and I took the image low down kneeling on the road.  I used the white line road marking to lead into the centre of the image and looking up at the banners flying in the wind which provided that splash of colour.  Most people take photographs from the front, I was shooting from the back.  All these factors make the image different from the others.

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

First Publication

This is my 100th blog and it is appropriate that I use it to tell you about my first publication in collaboration with Rennie Gribbin Photography.  We have produced a large format coffee table photo book entitled ‘The Centenary of the Ulster Covenant in one hundred images’ to mark this significant centenary in the history of Northern Ireland.

One of the reasons we decided to produce this publication was to preserve a body of work that we assembled over the course of one year.  We don’t propose to sell it as the unit price would be too expensive, but we did want to see what the work looked like on the printed page, so it will serve as a personal monograph.

cover

For those who would like to see the full body of work we have produced an eBook which can be downloaded from Blurb: http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/367522-the-centenary-of-the-ulster-covenant-in-one-hundred-images-roger-bradley-rennie-gribbin at a more economical price.  Even if you don’t purchase you can preview the first 30 pages of the 108 page publication.

Print it big!

The various events organised to celebrate the Ulster Covenant have kept me busy.  I seem to have taken thousands of photographs and spent endless hours editing in front of a computer screen, so one image began to look much like another.

This led me to print out some of the images on an A3 printer and it is clear that viewing the printed images gives the viewer the much better experience than viewing the same image on screen.  One of the downsides of digital photography is that people seldom print their images and in years to come we will be left with a dearth of archival images.

With the photographic documenting I have been doing my hope is that I will have a body of printed images that will be a permanent record.  Nothing beats a mounted print hanging on a wall!

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.

Editing Photographs

This past few days I have been very busy covering the Ulster Covenant centenary events in Northern Ireland.  Last Wednesday with a colleague I covered a concert in the Ulster Hall, which was the subject of my previous blog, on Friday I covered a lecture given by Lord Professor Bew in Bangor Abbey and on Saturday I attended the huge procession, which made its way to the Stormont Estate in east Belfast.

I ended up with a huge number of images, on Saturday alone over 1300 raw image files, presenting me with a large editing task.  So how do you cope with editing hundreds and hundreds of images down to a manageable number?

Fortunately programs like Lightroom make the task so much easier.  The first task was to add the metadata information to the images and luckily this just takes a few minutes.  Once this is done the real editing can begin.  On a first sweep any images that are clearly out of focus are immediately deleted.  Then back to the beginning for the second sweep.  Any images that strike me in any way as possible keepers are flagged.

Flagged images are those images which strike me, for example, as having a particular colour saturation that I like, a certain coming together of lines in the composition of the image, a recognisable landmark or feature, a known personality, an amusing depiction or anything else that strikes me.  These images are given a higher rating and its back to the beginning again.

On each sweep the numbers of images reduce and so on this next sweep any images that appear similar are removed and hopefully at this stage a manageable number of images are left.  Here are some of the images that were selected.

William Crawley, Dr John Bew and Lord Professor Paul Bew at Bangor Abbey

At Bangor Abbey I just took around eight or nine images and this was the one I picked so this is straight forward.  However at Stormont Estate on the following Saturday I took 1310 photographs.  By following the steps I described above I reduce this number under 50 which were submitted to the parade organisers.  

Before the parade arrived there were shots to be had, spectators arriving and programme sellers.

Arriving early!

 

The Programme Sellors

There was entertainment for the waiting spectators, here Scottish country dancers perform.

Scottish Country Dancing

At one o’clock the head of the parade arrived and soon reached the top of the processional avenue just below Sir Edward’s Carson’s statue.

The Grand Master is in the centre between the two flags.

It is difficult to imagine the scale of the crowd present.  At the end of the proceedings as the parade left at 4.30pm the end of the parade was still arriving from Belfast.  The following image taken from the platform gives you some idea.  In the distance you will see the parade still entering the gates at the bottom of the processional avenue.

Police were estimating that between 60,000 to 65,000 attended.

This image was taken with a 70-200mm lens set at 70mm, a wider angle lens would have given a wider view, you will notice that the left hand side of the view is excluded.  However I wanted to use a longer lens that would close up the distance so that you could see clearly to the bottom of the avenue.

Two members of the Northern Ireland Assembly carry the banner!

All images were taken on a full frame DSLR camera and are un-cropped, they appear as they were taken in the camera.  

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.

Fill the Frame!

To my mind photographs that fill the frame have more impact!  Because the wider context is not shown the viewer is compelled to ask questions, such as where is this and what is going on?  The famous documentary photographer, Robert Cappa, once said “… if your photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough”.

With this advice in mind here are a couple of images I took recently!

Choice of lens or using your feet to get in closer is the answer!

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.

Photographing public commerative parades

This year marked the 100th anniversary of the Ulster Covenant when the Ulster population demonstrated their strong desire to remain within the United Kingdom.  To mark this key anniversary there was a combined parade consisting of various groups.  The parade was quite a large one with several feeder parades joining up in Belfast city centre.  How do you photographically cover such an event?

My approach was to look for the unusual, to demonstrate the scale of the event and to include keynote buildings in the frame so that the location point where the photograph was taken would be clearly identifiable.  Shots of children enjoying the spectical and members of the public looking on add to the sense of the occasion and of course known public figures who were participating in the parade.

In deciding what optics to use the choice of a medium zoom (24 – 70mm) would allow me to take wide shots including buildings and I could always move in close to get tight shouts.  I had a 70 – 200mm zoom for the few tight distance shots that I did take.  As in most situations I used my camera on full manual mode, ensuring that I used a moderate shutter speed.

Vintage Vehicle turning into Donegall Street, Belfast

The Parade in Donegall Street, Belfast

A slight pause in the parade.

The above images represent only a small sample of the images captured, they show an Ulster Protestant Volunteer Division.  For the purposes of this blog I excluded the marching bands and Orange Lodges who also participated in this parade.

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.

North Belfast Banner Parade

North Belfast Orange Hall organised a banner parade on Friday 19 August. It is an opportunity to show off banners to the local community. Around seven banners were paraded accompanied by two marching bands.

The weather was very overcast and with shortening day light hours the lighting conditions were not that great. However the following images were captured by using increased ISO setting and with the help of a flash unit.

Afterwards tea and sandwiches were available to all in the hall, where I noticed an unusual banner hanging in the stair well of the hall depicting HMS Belfast, currently moored in the River Thames, London. These old banners are often painted to a much higher standard than new banners.