Commuter #734 563A blankly stares out across Times Square, just another number, just another day in the cold soul-less grind of the big city.
Another image from Prague near the hotel we stayed at in the run up to Christmas last – almost a year to the day in fact, as it was during the ‘December snows’ which affected much of Western Europe in late 2010. What a contrast with what we have seen so far of winter 2011! Prague is magical this time of year. I’d certainly wrap up warm if you head out to those wonderful christmas markets, whatever the weather
aka NYC’s mandatory pilgrimage for landscape photographers. A friend asked me on Flickr how I held this still , considering tripods arent allowed and this is a very windy location from which to shoot! I was desperate for ISO 100 so toughed it out in the high winds and -20 C temperature, using RAW to help me in PP. The only way i could get it still was to handhold the camera down flat on the concrete turrets they have there, shield it best I could by hunching over the camera and keeping still. I think its a skill I’ve developed from shooting HDR for 3 years and often being caught short with no tripod! Still, none of my “+2″ exposures worked. I dont have a gorillapod zoom but even the guys there using those were unable to shoot it seemed, the wind was that strong! Tripods were out of the question too.
This is a shot taken by me at a fantastic group meetup in late March, at a private location near Waterloo Train Station in London. The meetup (organised by the eponymous London Strobists) was attended by around 20 amateur and pro photographers, as well as up and coming models and make up artists, all looking to develop their skills and portfolio, and come away with some fantastic photos. In this example, the model has been shot outdoors in full sun, and lit using a Profoto 7b strobe and portable power pack (wow) plus a reflector camera left. using this kit we were able to overpower the sunlight on a very bright day, which was pretty mindblowing in terms of my experiences of applying flash to outdoor photography. This gear isnt cheap though! Contact details for the model etc. can be found on my flickr page. In other news – I’ve given up smoking after 20 years. 10 days nicotine free and counting……….no going back. No way sir.
The morning after I arrived in New York, I couldn’t sleep past 4am due to my UK bodyclock. I was prepared for this and was able to put my pre-fabricated plans into action! I grabbed my camera and tripod before heading out to Time Square to capture the dawn and I hoped, some of those mysterious people types that wander our cities at all hours of the night. I love this time of day – you always find yourself wondering what people are up to – taxi’s full of wide eyed kids heading home from the clubs, crazies in suits waking early to get ahead in the ratrace, street sweepers, newspaper delivery guys and the usual glut of glum looking cab drivers.
The winters quest to get comfortable with ‘unnatural’ light continued a couple of weekends ago, with my inaugural session alongside the Essex Strobist gang from Flickr. What a lovely bunch. A great crew of MUA’s and models turned up to our shoot at a studio called murder mile in Clapton North London, which was full of some pretty amazing setups and some rather ‘intriguing’ lets say, props. More on that to come if I have the courage to post some other shots from the day, but meanwhile, here’s a keeper – the lovely Kyia Rose getting to grips with one of a selection of whips we encountered on the day. Hope you like it. Don’t be afraid to comment!
Model: Kyia Rose, MM#1855960
MUA: Sue Ellen MM#1215901
Strobalism: Strobeam through Octabank Camera left, Speedlite through honeycomb camera right, fired by Pocket WIzards.
An Old Man sells Tuna at Mercato del Capo, Palermo. I love going here year after year when in Sicily, you always notice the same old faces in the market – plying their wares and going about their daily business. I hope these places can stand the onslaught of the supermarkets, they are part of the true soul of our cities. In other news, a rainy weekend in London has me homebound doing chores and catching up with my photos. I have a growing stack of images to upload this year but life just gets in the way of working through them, hence I’m falling further and further behind. So many stories to share – time to get to work…!
I can’t determine if this beautiful building is a government ministry or a hotel. Clocked as we wearily made our way back to the hotel after a long day trudging the tourist trail in Prague. Weekend’s away (particularly in winter) are exhausting when you visit new places! I find we walk for miles and miles, buzzed to see all we can in a very short period of time. Just…can’t….relax
I bought a new lens in January, a Tamron 17-50 2.8. Its a really well reviewed ‘fast wide-mid zoom’ and rounds out my kit very nicely, I hope it will come in handy for both street and travel shooting, as well as being a versatile option when shooting portraits. January likes to keep us brits indoors but I had been scouting some locations on the roads heading out of London, wanting to capture some light trails in the Heathrow area. One sunday was particularly ‘photo friendly’, I could sense a great sunset was coming. So out we went – as the weekend traffic was heading home into West London, I faced the other way, hit the accelerator and sped out West to capture this shot. Traffic tried to get in my way, but eventually we broke through and here was the result.
It seems to be ‘Prague season’ on this site at the moment….it just felt like the right thing to do – get my snow shots up and out there on the interweb whilst we ae still in the depths of winter.
HOWEVER! what excites me much more about this particular shot? Well, its the first time I have processed an image in my life, using a properly calibrated monitor, in this case my beloved Macbook Pro.
Until recently I had always dismissed the idea of spending money and effort to calibrate my ‘workspace’ - it seemed over the top. However, I had been getting annoyed at how a shot produced on my computer looked great on my own screen, only to view it elsewhere (another monitor, a print coming back from a lab) and see colours too dark, or too vivid, or a myriad of other problems. I would get the occasional Flickr comment or suchlike that re-inforced this frustration. From early last year, I had started to quite carefully match the colour spaces I work with across all my software/hardware, having read a few books which covered this topic. But that was about it regards calibration and profiles. Anyway, I attended a marvellous convention at the weekend, the SWPP in hammersmith London – its an annual gathering of wedding and event photographers, as well as lots of photography suppliers. I had a really engaging chat with the (very down to earth) guys from Datacolour whilst there. I shared my frustrations whereupon, they showed me some stuff and in short, convinced me in 2 minutes to buy a Spyder Express 3, a piece of hardware/software to calibrate my screen. Its been transformational! Plugged it it, ran the easy to use software, all done in 5 minutes. I’ve been thoroughly impressed so far with the results – I am fairly convinced its going to really the output of my work, both onto the web and in printed form (though print also requires some work on printer profiles, inks etc. to ensure proper colour re-production). The Spyder 3 Express is therefore thoroughly recommended. I’ll really appreciate any comments on the colours and rendition in the shot posted here (and any I post from here on in), bearing in mind they are popping out of my newly super-duper calibrated ’colour machine’. Thanks in advance!
Walking back to our hotel after a long day and night trawling the streets of prague, I managed to convince Barbara to patiently wait for me in the freezing (-20c) cold of prague whilst I set up this shot in the ‘Namesty Republic’ square for three long and shivering exposures. I was surprised Barbara duly obliged, even though she was limping badly after taking a fall on a slippery pavement. She even offered to hold my tripod bag for me – true love right there people! Well, it was the last photo of the night, I’d been a gent all day, and our warm and welcoming Hilton was only 100 metres across the square. I’ve played with the sky a bit in processing the resulting image; there was alot of very fine drizzle in the air, which made the shot look ‘noisy’ -this was accentuated by some of the rather gorgeous night lighting which illuminates the building’s in Prague’s Old Town. A wonderful city by day and by night.
Its going to be busy here in April 2011…personally I’m planning my getaway already as I hate large crowds. This was taken in early December when the snowfall disrupted my tube to work, so I took the scenic route. A bit of a cliche photo but there’s no point it hiding on my computer.
Shopping for a New Years feast at the Mercato il Capo, Palermo. The fishmongers are doing a roaring trade in Pesce Spada (swordfish) and lobster ravioli, along with other sicilian seafood delights.
Wow, what an interior! This is the gothic St Vitus Cathedral, Prague. Very hard to shoot as no tripods allowed and millions of tourists, even at 10am with a fierce blizzard outside. Was fun processing this, I’m not delighted with it but was interested to try a technique I’ve seen practised elsewhere. A beautiful place anyway.
Decembers apparently been the coldest on record in Western Europe. Wow! Leaving London (where the snow never stays for long) I drove to my parent’s home for christmas and was shocked at how much snow was still lying on the ground. Even though it had stopped snowing several days prior, the countryside of England was still carpeted in the stuff – i’ve never seen anything like it (in all my years…grr). Anyway, here’s another prague shot – proper snow business. Some more to come from Central Europe over the next few days and weeks so keep your eyes peeled…merry xmas.
A freezing cold Friday morning in December, braving a blizzard and FF-FREEZING temperatures during a pre-Christmas trip we took to Prague. My first time in the Czech republic too wonderful. This is the 14th century Charles Bridge, probably the cities most famous landmark. Luckily on this morning, the snows had driven away the normal crowds of tourists and hawkers. Perfect!
The winter’s quest to learn studio photography continues…Model: Pozy. Make Up: Sue Ellen. Strobalism: 35mm nikon, F5.6 at 1/60, ISO 250. Nikon CLS to Nikon SB600 in softbox camera left, full power. Bare SB600 a couple of metres to right of model with blue gel, half power. Minimal post processing. Creative Critique welcomed!
Model: JaoStrobalism: Natural Light camera left, reflector camera right (quite a way away from model).Processalism: NEF RAW file into Lightroom 3, Upped the Contrast, WB sliders to the left, finished with split toning and a black vignette. I don’t like the darkness of his earring but I couldnt figure out a fix for that post-shoot.
I always look at our Seychelles photo’s when I need a hit of paradise. I have to pinch myself to remind me I’ve actually been, and this is indeed a place on our crowded and polluted planet earth. I want to return! This is another shot from La Digue, an island in the Seychelles chain where there are no cars, plenty of honeymooners and a sprinking of wonderful local island people. Our week here was an especially happy and contended one.
Technicalism – single jpeg processed in lightroom, with a light dose of Topaz Adjust. Topaz Adjust is a great plugin tool I tend to use to bring out some detail, trying to be subtle whilst adding some pop and interest to my images. Some quick dodging and burning was also applied here, to help bring the shot together.