Showing posts from October, 2011

Getting a lot Closer

My favourite style of photography is the majestic wide angle, usually panoramic, view, taking in the landscape with big skies, sweeping mountains, and long sandy shoreline.  However I also love getting in close and capturing the detail in a scene whether it is people, landscapes or automobiles.
The following shots were all taken using a telephoto zoom, invariably on my trusty Nikon 80-200mm f2.8, a lens I've owned since 1996 and is a must when packing my camera bag.  I've also used a Nikon 18-105mm f3.5/f5.6 and a Nikon 70mm-300mm f4/f5.6, both good lenses but not up to the same standard (or price) of the 80-200. 
The first shot was taken during the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run International Concours held in Regent Street, London.  The event celebrates a country of vehicle manufacture from the early 20th Century and this particular year the celebrated country was Belgium.  The Band of the Royal Forest St Hubert provided a colourful and tuneful centre piece to the event and…

Picture of the Week: Sunset over Brighton Pier

One from the archive.  Taken in November 2006 just after the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run had finished on Madeira Drive in Brighton. It had been one of the warmest November days for years, 17 degrees, which had brought out record crowds to watch the 110th anniversary of the world's longest running motoring event.



More Speed

For those of us who started in photography before digital cameras came on the scene, high film speeds were usually shunned unless we wanted to use them for a specific purpose.  High speed colour films produced muted colours while the results were grainier than the lower speed emulsions.  Film speeds were rated in ISO (or ASA) numbers, with 50 and 100 being the standard.  400 and above were considered high speed, with 1000 + producing very grainy images and were usually to domain of the arty black and white picture.
In digital photography the ISO number has become the standard measurement of the sensitivity of the image sensor, where a higher number indicates higher sensitivity.  A higher sensitivity allows photographers to take pictures in low light without using flash. However, this gain usually comes at a price: as the light signal is amplified, the noise signal is also amplified, and high ISO images are usually more "noisy" than low ISO images.
The problem for photographers…

Picture of the Week - London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

On Sunday 6 November the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run will start in Hyde Park and finish on Madeira Drive in Brighton.  This event is world's longest running motoring event and celebrates the Emancipation Run that took place on the 14 November 1896.  Over 500 pre 1905 veteran cars take part in the event.

This image was taken at the start line last year and features one of the 18 steam cars that take part.

The Panoramic View

Sometimes a photographic situation calls for the end product to be a panorama, which can be a ratio from 4:1 to 10:1 rather than the standard 4:3 or 3:2 of a regular rectangle image.  There are two methods that can be used to produce a long, thin image.  

The first is taking the original image and cropping the top and bottom to give you the desired effect.  An example of this is the following picture, which was taken in the Netherlands last weekend.  As you can see the sky in the original shot was cropped to give the required panoramic ratio and produce a stronger composition.

The second method is to use Photoshop's Panoramic Merge function, which knits together a set of pictures into one.  I usually take four or five images of a scene, taken in sequence across the scene, and then use the photomerge function to produce one image.  This works very well and the results are usually seamless.  It can be fooled if you have a crowd of people who are moving around, you sometimes find that …

Picture of the Week - Salen Bay, Isle of Mull

This week's choice is an image taken last year on a trip to the Isle of Mull.  Salen is on the north side of the second largest island in the Inner Hebrides and this picture was taken on a still evening in August 2010.  
A choice of a wide angle lens (10-20mm f4), neutral density grad. filter, tripod, small aperture (f22) and slow shutter speed (1/8s) produced this pleasing image.
More pictures from Scotland are available on Flickr

Looking for a Different (wide) Angle

When you visit well know tourist attractions it is very easy to go for the 'picture postcard' view when you pick up your camera to record your time there.  Personally I try to find a different angle (though I do take the tourist shots as well), looking for something out of the ordinary to focus my lens on.  This is where my 10-20mm wide angle zoom comes into it's own.  With this lens you have to get in close and find a different perspective.

Below are some examples taken on the recent trip to China during a visit to the Forbidden City.  I spent a lot of time looking for a different perspective on the very worn tourist trail around the World Heritage site. The situation wasn't helped by the fact the sky was very overcast, caused by the air pollution in Beijing. 

The first image is of the Gate of Supreme Harmony and was taken from a very low angle at the bottom of the carving that led to the doors at the top of the steps.

The Meridian Gate is the main entrance the Forbidden…

Sometimes You Just Get Lucky

The best landscape photographs are invariably planned.  The right location, the right time of day, the right lens, it's all down to planning.  But sometimes luck plays a part as well, which was definitely the case for this picture taken at Lake Garda.  
After a frustrating day for photography as the lake had been covered in mist, we had returned to our apartment to get changed before heading out to Malcesine for dinner.  Suddenly the mist started to lift and the clouds parted.  Luckily I learned very early on in my photographic career the golden rule of keeping my camera ready, but there was still only time to grab five or six frames from the apartment balcony before the light was gone again.  
A magical moment captured and completely unplanned - very lucky indeed.
More pictures from Lake Garda can be found on FLICKR

Shooting The Light Fantastic: FIA GT1 World at Night in Beijing

On our recent trip to China, the FIA GT1 World Championship held a demonstration at the Olympic Park in Beijing.  We had held Rounds 8 and 9 of the World Championship on standard race circuits in Ordos (Inner Mongolia) and Golden Port (Beijing) but this was an opportunity to take the cars into one of the most visited areas of the Chinese capital city and let the locals see the cars in the 'flesh'. 

The cars from Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford, Lamborghini and Nissan wowed the thousands Chinese visitors who came to view the event and clearly demonstrated that a street circuit race could be held here sometime in the future.

While the day light runs were colourful, the event took on a different light when the sun set and the floodlights came on.  The light from the Bird's Nest Stadium and The Water Cube also added an ambience to the event. 
Personally I love taking pictures in these conditions, setting the Nikon Speedlight to rear curtain sync and the camera to a slow shutter spee…