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!

bradley-5785

bradley-5762

 

bradley-5790

bradley-5773

bradley-5796

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 

Perspective in Architecture

One of my photographic interests would be to photograph historic buildings, but perspective was always a problem which forced me to import the image into Photoshop to correct the problem, with the result of spending even more time in front of the computer screen.  A tilt-shift lens would of course remove the issue at the time of taking the image, but tilt-shift lenses are rather expensive.

However Lightroom is a great program which solves the problem in seconds.  Within the Development module the lens correction tool works a treat.  The following is the before and after treatment of Craigavon House, the former home of Northern Ireland’s first prime minister, Sir James Craig, later Lord Craigavon.

Craigavon House Craigavon House

 The improvement is vast and takes just seconds to execute.

The other contributing photographers were Rennie Gribbin of Rennie Gribbin Photography and Thomas Sewell.  Finally thanks are due to the Unionist Centenary Committee for making this exhibition possible.

 

An historic location to remember the Ulster Covenant

Hosting a photographic exhibition in a vacant and dilapidated Victorian building with no electricity or facilities could be regarded as an unusual place to host a photographic exhibition covering the celebrations held throughout 2012 to mark the centenary of the Ulster Covenant.  

However Craigavon House; the home of Northern Ireland’s first prime minister, Sir James Craig, later Lord Craigavon, and the site where the Ulster Covenant was planned, made this location ideal for such an exhibition.  If only these walls could speak!  The exhibition included the work of three photographers, myself included, amounting to over seventy images.  The following is a pictorial record of the exhibition:

bradley-2620

bradley-2621

bradley-2628

bradley-2633

bradley-2636

bradley-2672

bradley-2646During the viewing we had a visit from Ruby Brown who served as a nurse in the house providing a link to the past use of the building.  When the Craig family moved out the building became the UVF Hospital at the end of the First World War.

bradley-2684 The granddaughter of Lord Craigavon with Ruby Brown.

bradley-2658

The other contributing photographers were Rennie Gribbin of Rennie Gribbin Photography and Thomas Sewell.  Finally thanks are due to the Unionist Centenary Committee for making this exhibition possible.

 

Craigavon House Staircase

Today I visited Craigavon House, the home of the first prime minister of Northern Ireland, to attend a meeting and I had to opportunity to look around this historic building which is currently in need of restoration.

It was sad to see the building in such bad shape but you could still feel the history and former grandeur of the Craig family home.  In particular I was struck with the staircase which was lit by overhead skylights allowing natural light to flood in.

With no particular purpose in mind I let my eye seek out interesting angles using a 21mm wide angle lens on my Fujifilm X Pro 1 camera.  Unfortunately upstairs is out of bounds due to health and safety,  but I hope at some point I can return to this interesting building.

Craigavon House, Staircase

2500iso, f3.2, 1/125 second


Craigavon House, Staircase

2500iso, f2.8, 1/125 second


Craigavon House, Staircase

1600iso, f2.8, 1/125 second


Craigavon House, Staircase

3200iso, f2.8, 1/160 second

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. 

Concert Photography – the problems!

It will be no surprise that the key problem with concert photography is low light and variable lighting conditions throughout the concert and so this proved to be the case at the Ulster Covenant centenary concert in the Ulster Hal, Belfast on 26 November.

For this type of photography you really do need fast lenses, in my bag were a 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.4.  I also used two zoom lenses; 24-70mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8.  The prime lenses produced the better images on the night.

In camera settings you have three variables; ISO, shutter speed and aperture.  The drill is to shoot with the wide open lens, a shutter speed just fast enough to take the scene, therefore the only variable left is the ISO.  Typically my ISO varied between 800 and 1600 with the occasional higher setting when I had no choice.  The objective being to minimise grain resulting from higher ISO settings.

To get reasonable shots be mobile and move around and it really helps if you know your camera inside out.  Flash of course is completely out of the question as it would be disruptive to both the audience and the performers.

The following are some of the images taken on the night:

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.

Marking the Ulster Covenant

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Ulster Solome League and Covenant and many events have been planned across Northern Ireland, which will culminate with a major festival in the grounds of Stormont Estate planned for the end of September, to mark this significant centenary.

At the end of June a colourful parade took place in Portadown, when the granddaughter and great grandsone of Lord Craigavon unveiled a commerative memorial in the town centre.  The following pictures tell the story.

The Colour Party assemble in front of St Mark’s Parish Church

The Obelisk to the left awaits its unveiling

The Colour Party and Standards are now assembled

The Granddaughter and Great Grandson of Lord Craigavon

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.

Craigavon House

Having lived in Belfast for a major part of my life not far from Craigavon House I must confess that I never visited the house until today.

Craigavon House is steeped in Ulster history, the home of James Craig, later Lord Craigavon, Northern Ireland’s first and longest serving prime minister, the role it played in the Ulster Crisis of 1912 and later its service to the first world war when it was a hospital for injured servicemen.

If ever there was a place that needs to be properly maintained for future generations then Craigavon House is such a place. It is in a dreadful state of disrepair and requires much needed restoration. It is somewhat strange therefore that our leading unionist politicians seem to do so little to support this part of our heritage.

Nevertheless there was a small band of people who still care! One nice surprise was to meet the granddaughter and great grandson of Lord Craigavon.