Monthly Archives: April 2012
So on a trip away with my good friend Alan to the little village of Trois-Ponts not far from Spa in Belgium around this time last year, we got talking about our love of photography amongst other things and quite possibly unleashed Alans creative side. I felt a similar sense of being overwhelmed when I picked up a DSLR in early 2008, and my whole life seemed to be put on hold as I threw myself at my photography and became obsessed by learning more about everything. The weddings followed and were a massive learning curve in the early days, I still like to think i’m learning now and will always be learning how to improve, teach, become more creative, but back then I was just soaking up the knowledge. I saw a similar response when Alan saw an area of photography that he wanted to target and so began the journey into HDR photography. For those of you who don’t know, which is probably most of you, HDR simply stands for High Dynamic Range and is a process of taking multiple shots of a scene and combining them in software to get an image more like the human eye sees than a camera lens sees. The dynamic range of a camera is limited, meaning that it cannot capture both light and dark areas in a scene, only one or the other. This is basically how silhouettes occur, a bright sky means everything else is underexposed. A HDR image will combine all areas of the scene so that every part is properly exposed, pretty much how we would see it if there was no camera in front of us. The resulting image is quite amazing as it is so sharp and colourful.
I have to give Alan full respect for his realistic and structured approach to learning about this topic to the point he has become somewhat of an expert in the field and has, not only sales from large prints, but also a list of followers desperately picking at his brains trying to extract the necessary info to make their images look the same. Alan took the correct approach of trying to learn the skill rather than copy a pro, as it seems so easy to try and mimic someones work, but it the reality is that you will never get it looking the same, and a lot of the time you are relying on chance or and expensive camera to do some magic for you. People who pick up a camera and call themselves a pro are rarely doing so after 12 months when the realisation, that without the knowledge you will get nowhere, suddenly kicks in. The age of digital photography seems to have made it accessible to everyone, and the power of affordable SLR cameras makes everyone who buys one feel like a photographer. There is a lot to be said for buying the “how to” books and not only reading them, but re-reading them and applying the knowledge to the camera. In my early days I spent as much time in front of my computer researching photography as I did playing with the resulting photos i’d taken of anything that stayed still long enough to be photographed! Taking the time to learn the craft can take you a long way and leave you with a great sense of satisfaction when you can produce images that you genuinely feel proud of. Never forget that the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step!
If photography is your thing then you may want to check out some of Alans work at http://www.hdrmoments.co.uk/ or visit his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hdrmoments.co.uk plus you can also join my UK Photographers group on facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/315485505128243/ to interact with other photographers about pretty much any topic you might want to shoot!
Finally time to catch up on a bit of blogging and the first place for me to start would be the lovely wedding of Kirsty and Adam. Now you know its a good wedding when the speeches bring a tear to my eye, and I hardly even know these guys! Kirsty and Adam’s big day was all you could ask for form a wedding day, everyone was calm, the weather was good (especially considering the rain we’ve had recently!), and everyone looked fantastic! I met Kirsty in the morning whilst the hair and make up was still being done around the house, and this is always one of my favourite parts of the day, the energy and emotion always run high, but on a more discreet level and you can almost watch it build up until the point the cars arrive. Its a part of the day I love to document, as this can take as much planning and attention to detail as the rest of the day, and this was no exception with an army of women running around touching up each others hair and make up whilst trying to sip champagne or drink tea.
The church and wedding service were lovely although if not a little frustrating that I was confined to a balcony and told not to move. I still managed to capture plenty from up there though. After th ceremony we moved onto a local park for some photos and just managed to capture enough before a few grey clouds decided to toy with us.
After the photos we moved on to Gainsborough House Hotel for the reception, and with the meal out of the way the emotional speeches began. The speeches carried a lot more weight considering that the newly married couple were moving out to Australia permanently only a few days after the wedding, and on top of all the happy memories shared, this was also a very sad goodbye.
Kirsty and Adam are a fantastic couple, fun and relaxed and made shooting an absolute pleasure, and I wish them all the best of luck for the new life down under!
It’s fair to say that we’ve had some mixed weather of late, but we can all definitely agree on having a particularly nice and unseasonal March, I myself managed to get sun burnt on my back from spending a day on the allotment without a shirt on. It did seem a little ironic that my back was peeling as I was watching it snow outside, but that’s what we have come to expect with the British weather. During a spell of sunshine in March I went out for a walk to see a place called Moseley Bog that I had heard about but had never been to before even though it was a short walk from my mothers house. It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon with the sun bursting through the trees and I was hoping to get a few nice shots of my better half. I can’t help but feel a bit self concious armed with a big camera and lens when there are dogs running around off their leads, with families and friends following closely behind, and I’m always concious of how it must be making my model feel when walk past and see them posing, but we still managed to get some lovely shots without attracting too much attention.
It was a tough call, but the last image was probably my favourite of the day. I’d like to get out and do it all over again with my new Fuji X100 at the earliest opportunity, oh come on Mr Sunshine!