This shot was taken at Kings Weston House in Bristol. Kings Weston House is a grade 1 listed building and was completer in 1917 and was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and was the home of Edward Southwell. During World War 1 the house was converted to a hospital. In 1935 the house was bought by the Bristol Municipal Charities and leased to the education authorities to be used a s a school. It went on to be Bristol Technical College of Architecture which later went on to be Bath University School for Architecture. During the following years the house was used for a verity of functions including a police training centre. The house is now used for conferences, weddings and private events, there is also a cafe which is open to the public and lovely walks around the surrounding estate.
The days are beginning to get longer and the spring flowers are starting to appear. I have a Sigma 105 mm macro lens which I haven’t really used much so I thought I would have a play. This shot was taken on a tabletop with a mottled brown paper backdrop. I used a large octabox, fitted with a grid, camera right and a foam core board as a reflector. The light was provided by two cheap Aperlite speedlights, one in the softbox and one with a Rogue Flashbender grid on the background. I set a custom white balance in camera and did some basic processing on the resulting RAW file. The vignette was created by the lighting and not in post. Other processing was to bring out the vibrancy of the yellow colour of the daffodil.
This is a photo of the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, which sits across the Avon Gorge.The bridge spans 214 meters and is supported by two 26 meter high towers. At high tide, the bridge sits at 76 meters above the water. The bridge opened in 1864 and links Clifton to Leigh woods in North Somerset.
This is a shot looking towards Millennium Square from Pero’s Bridge in Bristol City Centre. The big wheel is only there for a short time and I was able to frame it between the two horns of the bridge. This was taken at pedestrian rush hour but the long exposure has rendered almost all of the people invisible.
I had the opportunity to do some photography in a local gym, I have never done a fitness style shoot before so I was up for the challenge. Although it looked bright in the gym I had to boost my ISO to 1600 to enable me to get any usable levels of ambient light. I added two speedlights to the mix, one with a shoot through umbrella and one in a small Calumet softbox which I used as a rim light. I used a Canon 6d and a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 lens. Looking back at some of the shots showed me areas that can be unproved upon but overall I was pleased with my first attempt at this type of shoot. Shooting in a working gym was quite an experience in its self due to the fact that other gym members were busy with their workouts. I will definitely be having another go at this type of shoot.
This is a photo taken from a recent photo walk with Frui and professional photographer Jimmy Watkins, www.jimmyimage.co.uk. There was a group of six of us and we met at Zero Degrees; our first stop was at the top of a multi-story car park which gave a great view towards the city centre. After some coaching and a few shots it was on to our next location which was at the bottom of Park Street where there were plenty of images to be had if you looked for them. It was a great experience and an enjoyable evening spending time with other photographers.
This is a photo of Corfe Castle in Purbeck,Dorset. This shot was taken just after 0600 as I wanted to try and catch some early morning mist. My day started at 04:45 which gave me time to drive to the village and climb a near by hill for a good vantage point. A good pair of waling boots were in order as the side of the hill was very steep with loose stones on the way up amd it was at this point that I discovered how unfit I really am. After climbing what felt like a mountain and fighting through the gorse bushes, thorns and putting up with the constant bombardment of flies I finally found my spot.
One of the biggest challenges of taking portraits at mid-day is the harsh light that casts dark shadows under the eyes and chin etc. Add to this the high contrast and you can have a challenge on your hands. There are a few ways to overcome this, one could be to use fill flash to reduce the contrast and “Fill” in the shadows. This can be great if you have got the time to set the ambient and flash exposures manually but this can’t always be practical if you are photographing an event and are constantly on the move. TTL flash can be used but I find that it can be a bit unpredictable at times; the flash can be fooled by very light or dark backgrounds. Another method can be the use of a reflector to bounce light into the shadows, this works well and an assistant can be useful here. For this photo I decided to opt for open shade. I placed the subjects in an area of shade but had plenty of sky available to cast light onto the subjects. The benefit I find to this is that I do not need an assistant, you can readily see the effects of the light on the face and it helps to prevent that horrible squinting that you can get from direct sunlight. So what happens if I can’t find open shade? Well I’ll just have to use one of the other methods or get an assistant to hold the diffuser part of my 5 in 1 reflector between the subject and the sun!!!
So what is your preferred method of shooting at mid-day in harsh sunlight? Should we just stick to one method or is it important to have a few different techniques up our sleeves?