Archive for November, 2013


Posted: November 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Thinking about my final images I gave food a quick try today. This was one of the first I completed and probably the best for it’s simplicity.

Kept this one clean and simple without any additional dressing. I also decided to have the serving plate exceed the frame to allow the product more image space. Having looked at a lot of food images over the last few weeks I don’t personally like what I see as food lost on a table, plate, plinth or chopping board etc etc.

I therefore decided to use my 100mm macro, got up close and personal with lighting and metered for an f/32 aperture. With this aperture achieved and the whole product in focus I took several images with the cake on its own, the cream pourer and also with an additional cake fork in the image. I preferred the one with the cream pourer but didn’t like the white background. In came a yellow gel and I gently illuminated the background subtly enough to match the yellowy orange of the cheesecake itself.

I have some brandy snap cheesecake to try in the morning.


Thought I would have a quick go at the “Typology” style to get the ideas flowing. Chose to ask our 7 year old neighbour if his vast collection of Hot Wheel cars could be borrowed. He was fine with that and so I selected 65 cars and headed into the studio. Tried several different angles and reviewed how such models are displayed online to simply go for the side on angle. Next was the direction they all faced and off I started. 65 images later and a few minutes on Photoshop and a basic Typology display of the cars was completed. For the eagle eyed amongst you there are only 64 images used.

All images were taken placed on white perspex and lit with a single key light, on a boom arm, just above the camera.

100mm macro, 1/125th sec, f/9 and ISO 100


A walk around the Marina

Posted: November 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

15 Nov 2013

Had a walk around the marina today in an effort to find inspiration for the picture of a boat with a narrow depth of field. seemed an obvious choice yet it never yielded the required image.

It did however give me a couple of “Danger” signs which could potentially be used under the title of A Dangerous Place. Whilst the sign is the primary focus and focal point of the images I left enough in focus within the image to allow any viewer to make their own mind up as to the extent of the danger being warned about. I took the second image, of the sign against the mesh, as a stark contrast to the openness of the first image. Both signs warning of danger yet both in entirely different locations around the same marina.

All the images were taken using my 24-70mm.

Image 1 details are 70mm, f/2.8, 1/2000th sec and ISO 100.


Image 2 details 70mm, f/2.8, 1/2500th sec and ISO 100


Finally an image of a boat with a narrow depth of field. I took several images around the marina yet didn’t like the results. Though they were all images of boats etc etc non of them appealed to me in any way. The image I will post though came from looking out on the Humber and a random fuel supply boat travelling west. Certainly something different as you can see the boat but I decided to take the image looking down the barrel of a pay to view telescope. I also decided, in that instant, to focus on the alignment sight on the end of the barrel and not the boat. Something different and possibly not what most would expect.

Image details 24mm, f/2.8, 1/2000th sec and ISO 100


Rush Hour

Posted: November 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

Another daily grind of getting into town for a tutorial. The Humber Bridge toll works are just causing havoc since starting with the A63 and associated link roads. Add that to a blustery wet morning and things just become grid locked. Sat in my car, a short distance from the humber bridge, I decided to liberate my camera from the boot and see if a suitable image could be sought. Owing to the rain and wind I was not prepared to stand outside my vehicle so the following image was taken through the front windscreen. Compositionally I liked the flow of the road and traffic flowing away from me with the also stationary bridge traffic cutting across the image in stark contrast. I also felt the rigid upright of the bridge tower and the steel cables added to this. With the rain, wet conditions, dull grey sky and trail of brake lights this quick snap shot says so much about a typical morning commute for so many people.

So 70mm, 1/125th sec, F/10 and ISO 125.


An hour on the ice today at the Hull Ice Arena photographing a semi-professional skater who has no ice portfolio. I have an idea of completing an ice portrait for her after we completed the studio session last week. Today was a quick session for us both to find out what could be achieved. I needed to know what the available lighting was like and therefore the shutter speed limitations along with an ISO capable of leaving me with usable images. For Lea it was to then find parts of her routines which could be caught within my camera parameters. Yes I could push the ISO through the roof but it was my intention to capture the images at the lowest possible for image clarity.

I found an acceptable trade off at 1/250th sec at ISO2000 at f/2.8 but with jump moves there would be some expected blur on at least one moving limb. I subsequently increased the shutter speed to 1/320th and traded a stop of exposure compensation to keep the ISO down and the speed where required. Several moves later and things were coming together. I was happy with the image quality and Lea was happy with the moves but not the smile or pose or leg or arm; you get the idea.

An hour gone and with the public being allowed I used flash to capture a simple image that she wanted which is one of the final poses to a routine. Unable to get on the ice and meter this properly I just went with an educated guess on flash strength and took the shot. A slight reduction on the second attempt and it was in the bag.

We have agreed to give this another go when there is more time to discuss and progress the ideas Lea wishes to cover. Our plan is to meet before this time, discuss what we have captured and how to improve from both sides.

I found that some of the later images taken whilst I was standing on the ice hockey players benches were more aesthetically pleasing. Whilst at the same level as Lea the background was rather intrusive even at f2.8. If she was close enough then yes the empty seats would have sufficient Bokeh so as not to potentially distract the eye. With all the mid “full” images around the 70-100mm focal length the seats became intrusive at times. By elevating myself to look down, even on a shallow angle there was more ice in the image, less of the crash boards and virtually non with seating in view. Composition thus became easier too allowing me to concentrate more on capturing the moves.

I will be speaking to my tutor regarding a “Portrait on ice” as I believe a potential final image of excellence is possible. I am unsure as to what lighting I may be able to use as the arena manager was not in and permissions would be needed. I could however light this style of portrait using two or three speedlights so I’ll see what they say.

This is the final pose/image I have just discussed and one of many that Lea had ideas for. As she was slightly moving into the pose I chose 1/200th, f/2.8, ISO 500 with manual flash at 1/3 power.


Within the interpretations task No.11 is “Things in a pile”. This had me thinking for a couple of days trying to avoid the obvious. Cars, rubbish, rocks, people and the list was quite extensive when I had finished scribbling my ideas down but nothing stood out. Watching a cookery programme on Tv and saw a stack of meat in a bun as one of these mad American challenges and then came the idea……….chocolate, biscuits & cake.

Had a quick scribble for an idea on content and then off to the shops for the building materials.

The creation of the image from this point was simple. Cut and stack the chocolate onto a white perspex board and adjust until happy with the layering, colour, texture and shape. The pile was lit with just a single key light slightly above and pointing down onto the stack. I had this key light on a boom arm to lift it out of the way and give me more freedom in finding the angle I wanted. Nothing worse than having a light stand and modifier in your way when doing product photography. I decided to illuminate the background yellow and used a floor stand mounted light with barn doors and a yellow filter attached to achieve this effect. Got my angle and metered the shot, took a few more but felt it was lacking something. In came a single strawberry to sit on the top. Added as a little bit of fun, with it being the only healthy part of the pile, the image as a whole still lacked something. One brew later and I was back with some syrup. Poured it all over the strawberry and just let it run down the pile taking shots as it all dribbled down the sides. A few minutes later I had several images showing various stages of syrup coverage and dripping. All fantastic I let my kids loose on the pile.

Some brief post processing and I am extremely happy with the result. This will certainly be one of my final six to be submitted.

Technicals – 100mm Macro, f/8, 1/125th and ISO 100.


And the contents of the tower were – Pink & whites, terry’s white orange, cadbury flake, toffee crisp, white chocolate, mint aero, battenberg, cafe curls, rolo bar, wagon wheel, millionaires slice, oreo and one fresh strawberry. All covered in golden syrup.

Hope you like it as much as I do and the kids couldn’t finish it in one sitting.

Had a very informative commissioned shoot this afternoon in the studio today being enlightened to the problems caused by Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. A lady who suffers from this wanted a simple black and white image featuring her and the tag line that sufferers have agreed on.

Sat talking with a cup of tea and she was showing me the way in which this condition allows her to manipulate her body. One of the moves is what can only be described as a reverse prayer position. This looks normal until you actually see the hand are the wrong way around. We tried it out, took the shot and she loved it. Didn’t want to do anymore as she just loved this image so we went with it, popped the tag line on for her and away went one very happy customer.

As the lady was wearing a long sleeved black top I decided to go high key which gave an excellent outline and highlighted her hands. Simple white lettering onto her lower back and the image was complete.

Technicals were 50mm, f/8, 1/125th & ISO 100. I used a single key light for her and a floor light to blow out the background.