Monday 16 December 2013

Happy Christmas

A photographer friend of mine told me about the work of Kevin Best, described as one of the top 12 photographers on Flickr. Take a look, it's worth it. He specialises in sumptuous still lifes in the style of the Old Masters. There's a certain richness and quality to his work, so I was intrigued as to how he'd achieved it. He uses medium format, Pentax I think, but he also knows a lot about lighting which is ultimately what counts.

It gave me an idea for a Christmas still life of my own and I thought I'd investigate the relative qualities of a dslr versus medium format to assess just how much advantage it gives and it's significant.

so here's the first shot on a Canon 5D Mark II

and the next on a Hasselblad H3D-39

The medium format shot is much more colour accurate, has a wider dynamic range - one of the principal advantages of this large sensor, and a beautiful tonal range. The web browser doesn't do it justice but look at the candle and the fir cones. There's more tones and shadow detail evident, plus it handles the highlights so much better.

Capturing the smoke was fun, fortunately I got the better effect on the higher quality shot.

Have a great Christmas!

Ode to Michael Kenna

I took the opportunity recently to visit an exhibition by one of my photographic heroes, Michael Kenna. It was held at The Brindley in Runcorn, near his home town of Widnes. I've admired his work for a long time - it's landscape based, characterised by an abstract simplicity devoid of people so no sense of scale is easily imparted. His work is often minimalist with a very small range of tones. He predominately shoots in black and white, often in the square format, a format I particularly like.

I know you shouldn't photograph other people's work but I do so here to explain a photo I took myself in a Kenna style. I hope he doesn't mind!

One of his major projects has been the photography of Ratcliffe Power Station concentrating on the impressive cooling towers. Whilst going round the exhibition I noticed the light on the distant cooling towers at Fiddler's Ferry and as it had just stopped raining the window was covered in an attractive pattern of rain drops. So I combined the two elements to make my own composition as my ode to Michael Kenna.

Friday 6 December 2013

Awards Season

November is awards season and last month saw me busy again. The big ones for me were the Macclesfield and Wilmslow Business Awards and the Prospects Postgraduate Awards. You might think they are quite staid affairs but quite the opposite is true, so I always like to catch the atmosphere and the guests enjoying themselves.

Of course all the winners receiving their awards, a 'grip and grin' as we call it in the trade!

The comperes, speakers and singers doing an excellent job of holding everything together.

And anything else which catches my eye...

Congratulations to all the winners.

Friday 20 September 2013

Great North Run

It's got to be one of the country's most spectacular events, a half marathon from Newcastle to South Shields. Suspect weather didn't dampen the day as 55,000 runners or so took to the streets.

David Weir (in white) on route to winning the wheelchair race. They are seriously fast.

Billed as the best field to ever grace UK roads, Mo Farah, Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele were the elite of the elite athletes. What a finish with Bekele just holding off a sprinting Farah.

The event would not be complete without the Red Arrows.

Just call 118118...

It would have been easier to cycle!

My dear wife Lindsey, looking far too fresh 500m from the finish.

She was proud to be running on behalf of Parkinsons UK. Do support them if you can to find a cure for this wretched illness.

Saturday 7 September 2013

Last days of film

‘Pomp and Circumstance’ and ‘Jerusalem’ stirred the Albert Hall again at Saturday’s Last Night of the Proms.

Digital computer trickery now makes it relatively easy to produce a layered image like this, but I actually did this one the hard way, using film and entirely in the camera. Combining multiple exposures, transparency projection and the precise alignment of the different elements made it just the sort of challenging composition I really miss.

Saturday 1 June 2013

Sunshine pizza

How do you shoot a sunny garden on a cloudy day? You make one as I did here, positioning numerous lights around this courtyard. The appropriately named Spice PR had commissioned me to photograph the new Earthfire outdoor pizza ovens from their client Grenadier. Private chef Jason Palin, who has cooked in 40 countries (including for A-list stars in Gstaad, no less) brought some Mediterranean flavour to a dull British afternoon, cooking calzone and oven-roast mackerel as well as pizza.

And the best part of the shoot? I got to eat the props.

and behind the scenes, creating sunshine 

Wednesday 13 February 2013

A touch of paradise

It's snowing, so we need warming up with this picture taken on the Greek island of Kefalonia. I like the way the colours change diagonally through this picture, from near black at the top left through bands of different blues and onto the inviting Aegean beach. The fishing boat at the centre looks tiny and insignificant, but it’s essential to the shot as it introduces a sense of scale.

It must be tough for the fishermen, working in Paradise.