Drawing to year’s end

This is the seventieth blog so far this year, now time to slow down and review!  I tend to only publish recently taken photographs, although on the odd occasion I have dipped into the archives, which is useful for judging whether or not your photography has improved.

I have found that I have almost switched from Nikon to the Fuji X Series gear for my casual and fun photography; I now tend to only use Nikon for specific purposes.  Is the SDLR dead?  Well not quite but who knows what the future will hold.

We are now in a Christmas phase, the first two images were taken at Saintfield Christmas Fair at night time.  I love taking images in the dark using available street light.  and the third image is of the interior of All Saints’ Parish Church, Belfast.

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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.  

Christmas markets again!

Over the past few days I have visited two Christmas markets, Belfast and Manchester.  Its been a while since I talked about what attracts me to make certain images and my recent visit to two city centre Christmas markets provide a perfect opportunity to do just this. Here are the two images I selected and my reasons for their selection.

Belfast Christmas Market

Belfast Christmas Market

Manchester Christmas Market

Manchester Christmas Market

I took just a few images at each location rather than shooting in all directions.  Both cities were hiving with people and in these situations I find it difficult to simplify what I see through the viewfinder.   In the case of the Belfast market it was the colour which drew my attention.  Red is a strong colour and the scene was naturally framed by the stall itself.

In the second image the couple in the lefthand side foreground drew my attention.  They were isolated in their own space and I was struck by how I could counter balance their vertical stance with the advertising cylinder on the opposite side of the frame.

The other feature common to both images is that ‘the decisive moment’ was captured, in the first image the exchange of money to complete a transaction and in the second the boy letting the girl take a bite from his beef burger.

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer considered to be the father of photojournalism and the master of candid photography.  He coined the phrase ‘the decisive moment’ which he described as follows. “There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative”.

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

Armistice Day 2014 – Belfast City Hall

Several hundred city centre workers paused for a few minutes to remember the armistice at Belfast City Hall in heavy rain.  This more informal and impromptu event is in contrast to the formal and elaborate proceedings held on Remembrance Sunday.

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A wider angle view show the crowd waiting in silence.

The quotation on the cenotaph reads:

“Throughout the long years of struggle which have now so gloriously ended, the men of Ulster have proved how nobly they fight and die.”  George V

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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

November brings remembrance!

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November 1st, All Saints Day, seems to be an appropriate day for my first blog of the month which features the memorial garden of remembrance situated at the city end of the Newtownards Road, Belfast.

During the second world war Belfast was the twelfth most heavily bombed British city with a tonnage of 440 high explosive bombs dropped over two raids.  Originally Belfast was believed to be out of range from German bombers, but the ship building and aircraft factories were the key attraction.

Reconnaissance flights had given the Luftwaffe very detailed photographs of what factories were where within the city. They also showed where the 22 anti-aircraft guns were and analysis showed that 16 were heavy AA guns while 6 were classed as light. As a comparison, 100 AA guns defended Liverpool. The Luftwaffe concluded that Belfast “was the most poorly defended city in the UK”.

My late father was on duty on both night raids and I am glad that I took the trouble to record his memories of that time.

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.

All Saints’ Eve

While visiting Hillsborough in Co Down I came across this florist shop at the bottom of the main street and thought it provided a colourful display in the lead up to halloween, sometimes referred to as All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve.  A colleague went in to the shop and asked the shop assistant to pose for me as I dodged traffic in the middle of the road.

Bradley-5012This got me thinking about Halloween!  The feast of All Saints was a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on 1 November, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead and all the faithful departed believers.

The camera settings were simple, Fujifilm X-T1 in manual mode, 400iso, f5.6, 1/125 second.  The camera was fitted with a 23mm f1.4 lens, equivalent to 35mm.

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.

 

Don’t ignore the familiar!

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October already!  Where has the year gone?  The last couple of blogs in September featured historical fragments of the old Belfast and County Down Railway, which closed in 1950.  The last blog centred on buildings in Ballygowan and in wandering around this small village I am struck how as a photographer we tend to ignore what is in our own backyard.

This is what led me to take this photograph, I either walk or drive down this road every day with the result that to me it is just very ordinary.  Taken just a couple of days ago looking down The Brae towards the centre of Ballygowan, the old railway building can be seen in the distance, just to continue the railway theme theme!  The row is terrace housing in the foreground are said to be the oldest buildings in Ballygowan.
 
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.

 

Railway links to Ballygowan

Following my last blog about the Belfast County Down Railway I began to take an interest in the vestiges that remain of the railway link to Ballygowan.  Ballygowan is a small town that is not on any main arterial road route, it has essentially become a commuter town serving Belfast.  As a result it has remained a small town and has only relatively recently started to expand.

Despite that fact that the railway line closed in 1950 there is still evidence around pointing to its past connection with the Belfast County Down Railway.  The following photographs point to this past.  All the locations photographed are within a one minute walk from each other.  Having lived here for the past twenty seven years I often think how wonderful it would be to have the railway link restored.  However this will never happen!

The only station building left standing, this was the goods shed I believe.

The only station building left standing, this was the goods shed I believe.

In the foreground the original Telephone Exchange, bedind is the Post Office, the site of the Railway Station.

In the foreground the original Telephone Exchange, bedind is the Post Office, the site of the Railway Station.

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Railway Terrace, the clue is in the name!

The Old Railway Hotel, note the mounting stone and ring for tying you horse!

The Old Railway Hotel, note the mounting stone and ring for tying you horse!

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 

Belfast County Down Railway

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As I get older I am very conscious of change and am saddened by the lack of interest in preserving our past.  Far too often grand old buildings are torn down with little thought or regard.
 
I often drive along the Ballyhenry Road just outside Comber Co Down where there is a visual reminder of the past; railway lines crossing the narrow road where evidence of the railway is long gone.  It deserved a photograph as the original track side building survives although now modified as a dwelling house.
 
Unfortunately I have been unable to locate an image of what it originally looked like as it would have been interesting to make the comparison. However I did find a reference to it from Comber Historical Society which reads as follows:
 
‘The third level crossing was ‘Henryville’ on the Ballyhenry Road staffed by Andy Bennett, and then in the late 1940s by Mr Patrick McIlreavy. This cottage is also still in use and much modified – in fact the very railway lines are still to be seen in the road beside it to this day. A preservation order might well be considered before a resurfacing or re-alignment plan would have them buried from view forever!’
 
It’s been well over sixty years since trains ran on this line making their way to Donaghadee via Newtownards!
 
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 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

Saintfield’s Market House

Saintfield Market House was built in 1802 by N Price. It is a two-storey three-bay structure. The pediment above the central bay contains a clock. There is a simple square louvred cupola. The building beside the market house was an hotel which was built at the same time.  Now serving as an Orange Hall it was first used as a Courthouse in 1804. The clock in the roof of the building was made by the Saintfield clock maker, Samuel Spratt. The iron gates in the three archways date from 1828.  The two photographs show the Parish Church on one side and the hotel on the other side.

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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