Monday, 14 November 2011

365/12 - Day 29 - They're coming...

They're coming... O.K. they're probably not, but if there was to be an invasion of anything wouldn't you want it to be Jelly Babies?

The idea from this came from the BP Petrol station next to my house that was doing a Buy One Get One Free on Jelly Babies. I pretty much thought "what could you do with an army of Jelly Babies" and this is what happened. I set them up on some large white card (as you can see). The light is from the 580exII just out of the top of the shot, with a Sto-Fen diffuser to soften the light. Its a wide angle shot from close up at F4.0 (so that the Jelly babies at the back are out of focus).

This is another of my favourite shots from the series.

Monday, 17 October 2011

365/12 - Day 28 - Not all treasure is Silver and Gold

I've just reached my thirty-first birthday and like it or not it was a quite reflective time. I had a very enjoyable evening out but was sad that (for various reasons) there were absent friends. Its funny how life goes and looking back on these photos I didn't think I'd be where I am today. I had no idea how this would all turn out and no idea what I would be up to.
Photography is a wonderful thing, not only is it challenging, inspiring, enjoyable and therapeutic for the photog but hopefully also for the everyone who views the finished product. Despite the personal challenges of the last few years, there are still many people who are less fortunate than me.

As Captain Jack Sparrow said "Not all treasure is silver and gold mate!". The greatest of life's treasures is Love. It affects us all. Either because we have it, because we don't have it, or because we have it but lose it. That's what this picture means to me the pirate risking his life for the treasure - A metaphor for anyone who risks something for a true love. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't.

So what does this all mean? that I have become too concerned with the past? over melodramatic?

Actually, I have become re-focused and energised for the future. There are only a few photos left in this project... Time to plan the new one!


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

365/12 - Day 27 - Although I walk the darkest path

Another dull and dreary reflection of my mood. I was clearly being far to melodramatic and "artistic". This shot however is at least ingenious.

This is a normal blue golfing umbrella with me standing under it. The light source is a remote triggered 580EX11 (with sto-fen diffuser). It is wrapped around the umbrella support arms using a Gorilla Pod. In a full size well lit version, you can see a glow of light on the grass around my feet.

I seem to remember this took about 20 shots as I had to run up the garden in the dark against the timer.

If you like this (or any of my other posts) please +1 it or share it on Facebook! :) Thanks. David

Friday, 7 October 2011

365/12 - Day 25 - Everyman walks his own path

Its been a while since I've had a spare five minutes to take photos or blog, this is the continuation of my 30 day project. On reflection my mood has changed somewhat from the first photos in this series. I seem to be much more introspective and lonely! A seemingly simple setup requiring absolute control of every technical detail. YES, I know its very dark, thats kinda the point!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

My Community: The Cody Flyer

As part of the Strobist Bootcamp III, I had to photograph a local object of significant importance to the area. I went down to my local air museum - Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST).

Despite living in Farnborough for the last 30 years - I'd never been to FAST before. They have a wide range of memorabilia "From Cody to Concorde". Since the first flight in 1908 Farnborough grew to become a vital aviation town, its very survival owed to these historic facts.

Friday, 29 July 2011

365/12 - Day 23 - Light refreshments

I was given this bottle of Gold Cuvee, sparkling white wine with edible gold flakes, as a leaving present from a project with Royal Mail that I had been working on. The neat thing about this wine is that the 22 carat gold flakes float in the wine and take a good minute or so to settle.... You will see why that's useful in a second. Clearly the interesting thing for me, apart from the emotional sentiment, in all these photos was the lighting. I was modelling and creating a version of reality, shaping the world around with some very simple lighting techniques.

Where as this is still not "true reality", as the flash and umbrella have been placed there, this IS possible in terms of physics, this is not an imaginary PhotoShop world. Having said that I'm also not reporting the real world, I'm creating/visualising an idea or picture in my head in the real world. I'm Telling a story.

Before you read further, see if you can work out where the lights are.

Friday, 22 July 2011

365/12 - Day 21 - When shall we three meet again?

 Trying to be creative, I wanted a single image that I appeared in several time. I set the exposure time 30 seconds and grabbed a torch!

With the camera on a tripod and the torch resting on a light stand I set the shutter release off with a remote. To get the "Triple exposure" in one take I held the same pose whilst counting 9 seconds then covered the torch with my hand, moved to my new position and uncovered it again. I repeated this once more so that in the final shot I would have three images of myself. The light stand meant that I could hold the torch in place and move around it.

There are no flash lights used.

Monday, 11 July 2011

365/12 - Day 20 - Snoopy

This is one of the simplest "lighting" set-ups and at the same time one of the hardest images to create. This is quite simply a 30 second exposure of darkness.
In that darkness I "drew" in the air with a small bulb torch. What did I draw? well at the time I had no idea but this is what the shot came out as.
I'll leave you with that simple thought and a challenge - If you have a dSLR camera... go and find a torch, think of a simple image (Snoopy is not simple!) and try this. Seriously, go, try it...

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

My Community: Adam

My Community: Adam
As part of Strobist Boot Camp III I have put together the following mini-portfolio of images based on a new theme for my blog "My Community".

The assignment this week was to capture a close portrait of a member of my local community in a way that conveyed a meaning and purpose.

Adam Catling is a NHS Emergency Support Care Worker and also helps with the Farnborough volunteer first responders. The team work shifts and depending on the number of calls, may not know when or where their next meal or cuppa is coming from. The volunteer responders attend 999 emergency calls in their local area to give vital first aid response including emergency resuscitation until the ambulance crew arrives.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

365/12 - Day 19 - Jelly Babies

Inspired by a series of images featuring Danbo I wanted to set up a shot featuring Jelly Babies. So, bag of Jelly Babies purchased I set about thinking what to do with them.

the idea:
In case you've never noticed the Jelly Babies actually have individual characters and expressions. Boofuls is always crying, but why? perhaps because one of their friends has had their head bitten off?! (Note: this is the most humane way to eat a Jelly Baby). Now it was to decide which one would loose their head - the only real choice was Brilliant, who was a nice contrasting red to Boofuls' green and he also happens to be the leader of the Jelly Babies. (I'm not making this up)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

365/12 - Day 18 - Hey! I'm gonna get you too!

Lets do today's blog a little differently, I'll put the details after the jump... Before reading further just look at the photo and see if you can work out the lighting, how many light sources and where are they? Hit the Jump for the details - and remember, no cheating ;)

Sunday, 12 June 2011

365/12 - Day 17 - Sometimes I feel like a sad song

There are some days when you don't feel like doing much, we all have them, this was one of those days. Being in quite a serious mood I took this photo to reflect that. I've also always liked this John Denver song and it seemed fitting that the words were exactly what I was thinking. I think the lack of colour helps emphasise the mood.

As for the lighting I had only one light source in this shot and it was definitely off camera - the setting sun. I took three shots in total and this was the second one.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

365/12 - Day 16 - Meet my new Boss

I like this photo on several levels. The first and fondest of these is that it reminds me of the day I started working for my own company. My little desktop widget tells me its been one year nine months and six days since then :) in that time we have grown a small team supporting some of the world's largest companies and have had a very successful first (almost) two years.

The physical set-up for this shot was quite straight forward, I'm sitting on a dining room chair in my dining room about 1.5 feet from the wall.
The lighting was a little more tricky....

Friday, 27 May 2011

365/12 - Day 15 - The world's a bubble

Day 15
This is a bizarre addition to the project. Circumstances directed this one as I'd done some photos of Tory for her boyfriend's Birthday. This naturally led into an idea for my daily photo for Ali. So how did I do this? Well this time its pretty simple, there are two lights here one in an umbrella (not the one I'm holding!) camera left giving fill not key light. The key light is where the fill should be, snooted and firing straight into the middle of the frame - you can see the effect of this much better in the second shot. The reason for this was that the umbrella I'm holding limited lighting options.

Friday, 6 May 2011

When you help others you can't help helping yourself

The Old Boys - 2011
I've just finished my first week at a new client which has actually been extremely good, I've been working from home today and so currently sitting in my garden with the lawn mower working hard behind me (its a robot). Initially I wanted to write this post at the beginning of the week, but I was shattered had lots to do and decided it would be better to reflect on my previous week first.

I've just returned from a week in Lourdes with HCPT - The Pilgrimage Trust and am feeling quite alone as I have not had the privilege this week of having dinner with at least twelve other people. Thanks Old Boys for another brilliant week.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

365/12 - Day 14

I've had some very positive feedback about this photo, one person even thought it should be an advert for lady's shoes, its also a good contender for my favourite in this series. For those of you wondering, those are Tory's legs - not mine!

For the record this was one of those photos where I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to shoot and what it should look like, I'm very pleased it came out like this.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

"This is photography, nobody has to die"

This weekend I was lucky enough to hop over to Boston to catch The Flash Bus. Boston is a beautiful city so I spent a few days looking around there too.

David "The Strobist" Hobby
David Hobby and Joe McNally were both excellent, keeping a room full of a few hundred photogs happy can't be an easy thing. Their deep understanding of their trade and ability to translate their experiences provided a wealth of information and practical application tips to a wide audience from high school age to full time professional photographers.
Joe "TTL" McNally
Although David and Joe approach lighting from different angles (no pun intended) you can see a consistency between them too, they both use different techniques but with the same ethos. What I mean is although Joe uses the TTL approach whilst David prefers manual, they both work in a relative space, less bothered about the exact values of light they are using and more focused(npi) on the balance of that light.

I can't begin to tell you how much I have learnt on just this one day but it was immense. I have lots of things to go and try now and put into practice. Both Joe and David are clearly superb photogs but are both very down to earth and humble. They both have an experimental view of their work and are willing to push the boundaries and try new things, as David said "This is photography, nobody has to die".

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

365/12 - Day 13

A new challenge for me for Day 13, not just taking a photo of a lit candle but balancing it with other items in the shot. If you don't think that sounds very hard try it! you soon realise that those candles only look so good because the light is coming out of them, a bit of light on the outside and all you get is what looks like a white lump of wax. I really wanted to keep the feeling of this only being lit by candles, i.e. when you look at it I don't want you to notice the flash.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

365/12 - Day 12 - I have to say I love you in a song

"When I first met you I forgot to breath, 
I recognised your eyes, 
you're the girl from my dreams"

- Girl from my dreams by David O'Sullivan

I was singing one of my songs when I had an inspiration for that days photo. A shot of me playing the song.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

365/12 - Day 11 - Growing up is optional

When trying to come up with a different photo every day, you can come up with some crazy crazy ideas. I liked the idea of a jumping/airborne shot, just think about that for a minute, actually try and make a picture in your mind of what you might look like flying through the air in some way, then try and work out how you'd get yourself there, suddenly the worry of how to light the photo isn't such a problem!

Friday, 1 April 2011

365/12 - Day 10 - Music will save the world

Another out-of-the-ordinary photo, sometimes you just have to go with what you've got! This is from a live gig, so the lighting is also "live". I had the 580exII onboard, but on this shot its off. So this really is available light, albeit stage lighting.

Straying away from my normal self obsessed photos, this is from the last ever gig of "Vent" with their Guitarist Richard Ashworth taking the lime light here. Sometimes you need to put the flashes down and just enjoy yourself, it was a brilliant evening with good music and good friends.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

365/12 - Day 9 - Its five o'clock somewhere

So what happens when you're under the discipline of taking one photo every day to send all the way to Uganda to cheer someone up? you inevitably end up somewhere without your camera, lights, reflectors umbrellas, snoots and gels with the knowledge that you are not going to get to them at any sort of godly time to do a new set up....

Sunday, 20 March 2011

365/12 - Day 8 - Looking back

Before you think I'm slightly obsessed with images of myself, please remember these were for somebody else! Believe it or not I actually don't like being in front of the camera. This is another very simple set-up, the photo was taken in my cloakroom as it has a nice red/crimson curtain. The light is from the 580exII bounced onto white tiles camera right, the room is only about 4ft wide so its also bouncing a second time off the tiles on the left. I used my giraffe as a focal place holder then set the timer and ran.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

365/12 - Day 7 - You can lead a horse to water

I wanted to try something a little different, so out came the trusty Lego! This is one of the last uses of my 50mmf/1.4 prime lens before it was stolen.
Because this is quite a small "set" I had to have the lens on f/1.4 do get a feeling of depth of field (Note the out of focus horse and rider in the background). The other challenge for this in true "playing with Lego" style was to get the fountain (A Lego satellite dish) to provide a reflection like water, the easiest way to do this was to fill it with water... However, after about a minute it leaked out so I plugged the whole with some blue-tack and refilled. The lighting for this is a single 580exII being bounced onto a white card (right) and a secondary bounce off a red plastic chopping bored (left). You can see the contrast in colour from white on the right and red on the left.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

a light supper

Just for fun I grabbed this quick snap today. Its a sneaky shot at the end of a shoot for some family pictures. I just had an idea of hiding the flash in a bowl and tried it out, I think I'll try to improve on this theme in the future. I quite like the idea of light coming out of random objects like bowls.

Stobist Info: another two light set up with a bounce umbrella two feet in front and two feet to the left of the camera on 1/4 power. The bowl is hiding a second flash at 1/16th with a Sto-fen diffuser. Both fired from some cheap eBay remote triggers, I would have used three flashes but the third cheap remote was playing up. The shot was taken at ISO 100 1/80th second at f/9 on the 70-200mm IS II.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

365/12 - Day 6 - Too much to drink is barely enough

As I took these photos so long a go I don't know which photo is coming up each day until I look for the photo to upload here. Well, here we are Day 6 and hopefully I look like a depressed drunk person (in the photo that is).  Yes, I am back out in the road by my house and yes that is the same street light, again helping to create a three-light set up.

Trying not to fry my Fish!

I've recently been setting up my fish tank with a few more fish and giving them something to do. I thought I'd grab a quick shot and came up with this.  This was taken from about 7ft away with the Canon 70-200 F/2.8 IS II at f/6.3. The trick on this was the lighting as you can see from the setup shot one flash is in the AwesomeBox(TM) and the other has a sto-fen diffuser.
The second flash is balanced precariously on the AwesomeBox(TM) this is pretty dangerous for my wallet and the fish! The capacitor in one of those flash units holds a good couple of hundred volts.  The light HAD to come from the top of the tank to avoid glare on the glass, one of the common problems when lighting a tank (I mean normally, for fish and plants etc) is that the light at the top of the water is a lot brighter than when it gets to the bottom. (Just think of the ocean, the sunlight doesn't go all the way to the sea bed). I ran out of time with this and hope to get a better shot with more of the fish in soon.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

365/12 - Day 5

This is definitely one of my favourites from the project. I just had this image in my mind of sitting reading a book in the garden as if it was just as cosy as the living room. So I took my coffee table and leather chair into the garden and set up this shot. As with many of the photos this was a night shoot, which always makes my neighbours a bit twitchy. The quote was found on the internet after taking the photo.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

365/12 - Day 4

Day Four used another "Voice Activated Carbon-Based Shutter Release" aka Sarah Hicks. This is the gate outside Craig and Sarah's (now old) house. The lighting on this was pretty straightforward. One snooted strobe illuminating the bush in the background as it was just out of reach of the key light. The key is a strobe just on the left of the gate (I think it might even have been gorrilla-pod'ed to the gate). The focal plane needed to be about a foot here directly above the gate, to ensure I was all in focus. Although I jumped about one hundred times, I think this is jump number two - Note to self: learn when to quit.

Monday, 7 March 2011


Simon - Braving the rain at midnight.
I was asked to support a youth "stop AIDS" campaign by Dance4life. They were holding a photography campaign and wanted some photos for promotional material. The brief "A selection of photos to inspire people to think about what 'dance' means to them and how they could use dance to communicate a message" A bit vague, so I just started taking photos to find what would come out of it.

365/12 - Day 3

Another liberal use of the street lighting and off camera flash :)

I don't know about you but when I make these images sometimes I have an idea, sometimes I have no idea, sometimes I have a theme, sometimes I have an image in my head that I want to make. Day Three was the latter.
The more astute of you will have noticed this is another Guitar shot, I promise there is only one more featuring a Guitar and its not mine.

By Day Three I was starting to get adventurous, in this photo I wanted it to look like I was walking. The obvious solution is to walk but then on a such a wide shot and so late at night how do I make sure that I'm in the focal plane when I take the photo and of course how do I take the photo?!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

365/12 - Day 2

I have some pretty mean looking gates near my house, so I ventured just passed the end of my drive and set up this shot. If you take a look at the shadows on the floor there are two lights to the left of the shot, both street lights. The trusty bounced white umbrella closed down a lot is just out of shot camera right I decided not to gel the flash as I liked the contrast from the orange street light. I don't know why, I just did. The highlights on the small gate directly behind me are also from the same umbrella. However, the larger gate to the right is lit with a 580exII stopped down a little and snooted with the AwesomeSnoot(TM). This was needed as the right side of the shot was just black otherwise. I would have preferred those house lights to be off (they were when I started... I probably woke them up) but I don't like removing things in the post processing - so they stayed. This took more set up time, more test shots and more "posing" than Day 1 a theme that only gets worse from here on in.

Friday, 4 March 2011

365/12 - Day 1

Just under two years ago, I started reading David Hobby a.k.a Strobist, who in turn had me stumble upon a 365 project by Dustin Diaz.

My girlfriend at the time was going away for a month to Uganda and on the first day she was away I set about occupying myself with a bit of Photography so that I could send her a photo each day. I really didn't have a clue what I was doing but I set about it with the Lighting 101 tutorials whirling around my head.

I sat and stared at the room, nothing. But the I realised staring back at me was Gerald the Giraffe, from Africa.... There was my idea, a nice shot of the two of us, well lit.


I'm not quite sure where this will end up going, but I'd like to post some of my photos here and a few stories of how I came to take them, what they're for etc...
I'd really appreciate comments and thoughts.