Category Archives: Discussion

Love for the Flare

Recently I’ve been loving a bit of camera lens flare action.

“This usually occurs when light enters the camera and hits the sensor or film directly appearing as a polygonal shape – the same shape as the diaphragm of the lens.”

There’s a conflict of views regarding whether a flare ruins or enhances a picture but I’ve found that in the right circumstances a bit of flare can enhance the artistic meaning of a photo. I’ve posted a flare-esq type shot below… cos i have a blog, so why not! See what you think. I personally am loving the flare!

Cheers, Mark

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No Photography round here…

IMG_1808Spent the evening wondering around London’s Canary Wharf today. For those of you from outside the UK, it’s a large business district towards the East of London. It’s almost it’s own town of skyscrapers, set in the middle of East London.

As I passed the first large building in the district two security guards came straight up to me and started telling me that no photography was allowed and that I’d have to get permission from Canary Wharf management. I told them that I didn’t want to take pictures of them or their building and that they would have to physically stop me… so they left it alone. But there were taxis, stations, people, shops, bars, restaurants etc all over the place. I’m fairly sure that constitutes a public place and that anyone is free to photograph in a public place. I don’t really know the in’s and outs of this kind of thing and would love some comments on it to clarify, but I was fairly sure that even the police can’t stop you photographing in the street, let alone building security?

Let me know your thoughts as I’m quite interested.

Cheers

Mark

Don’t forget to take pictures of the kids…

Most photographers I know never take pictures of their kids and family events etc because they spend all day looking through the viewfinder and lugging camera gear around, so on their days off they don’t much fancy it… but then they end up with no pictures of their kids. So, even if it’s a point and shoot, take a camera with you and you may even end up getting something great.

I’ve attached a shot taken yesterday at the beach of my son… I really like it and I’m glad that I took my camera.

Nikon D700, 24-70 2.8

Cheers x

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Is Flickr a good place for professional photographers?

flickr_logo_gamma.gif.v59899.14I spend a fair amount of time looking around at other peoples work, the blogs of other photographers, some very experienced commercial photographers and others just out of college. Some use flickr to show off their best work, some just dump all of their random shots there and some don’t use it at all. Flickr is clearly the biggest online community and sharing site for photography, but not necessarily photographers. Many people just post their shots there for storage purposes, not to show off their creativity. So, this being the case, is it sensible or necesssary for pro photographers to put their work up there?

Flickr is an image and video hosting websiteweb services suite, and online community platform. In addition to being a popular website for users to share personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers as a photo repository.[2] As of June 2009, it claims to host more than 3.6 billion images[3], up from 3 billion in November 2008.[4]” – Wikipedia

I use Flickr and I am a professional photographer. I have a website on which I can showcase over 600 images if I wish (I don’t). I also have a blog, which you’ll have realised by now if you’re reading this! I wouldn’t say that I put much work on flickr that is in my portfolio. So why use Flickr?

Well, one of the things I use Flickr for is to post images that don’t really fit into my portfolio. Stuff that I really like but can’t really use… personal work I guess. I also like the fact that I can get instant feedback from my contacts and people in my groups. They offer advice, criticism and sometimes say nice things, which always helps!

The other reason is that I can use it for inspiration.. looking through other peoples work makes me think about how I can improve mine and it also plugs you into the world of photography… what cameras are people using? what techniques? who likes what?

I posted images on flickr long before I thought of doing it as a job and I guess I don’t really want to stop.

I would love to hear other photographers views on flickr as a tool or just for fun?

Cheers

Mark

Street Portraits

OK, so this is borrowed from the Strobsit’s (David Hobby’s) blog (www.strobist.com). It’s actually something I had planned already, we’re heading down to Brighton next week to shoot some nice clean street portraits… just black and white against nice white seamless… just tape it to the wall and off you go. But this video is really nice and shows how you need to interact with people in order to get them against that white seamless for a few seconds.

We usually make behind the scenes vids for most of our projects, so watch out for something on this soon, once we clear the backlog from all of the other shoots. I’ll try not to copy this though, wanna do something a bit different.

Thanks to Strobist for putting this out there… and thanks to wired.com for the ability to embed this vid.

Cheers

Mark

What I Think of the D3x (Not a review)

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Well… I’m not a camera reviewer, and I don’t claim to totally understand quite what happens to the light once it’s gone through the lens. I could probably learn but I’d be worried about boring people at dinner parties. Just picture it… not only do I turn up with the mother of all cameras and try to capture the guests in 24.5 mega pixel glory whilst they’re eating spaghetti, I then proceed to bore them with information on pixel density and other long words I won’t even pretend to understand. Nope. No more invites for me. Not ever.

I am however, a photographer. And as such, I take a lot of pictures with my camera and therefore know a bit about it and whether or not it’s good. In addition to the D3x, I have used or owned at some point the D3, D700 and D90. I’ve never really used Canons in a professional capacity, just a 300D when I was learning to use an SLR.

The images that come out of the D3x are unbelievable… providing you don’t screw the focus up (and you really do want to be tack sharp at this resolution), the files show you things you can’t even see with your eyes. If you happen to be shooting in a studio, tethered to a mac and a cinema display, just let the file make its way to the computer (more on that later), zoom in to the eyes (or a sharp bit) at 100% and just listen to the art director / stylist / model / tea monkey gasp and say things like “my god, look at that” or “incredible”. It is very impressive. And great if you should in fact want to make a print the size of your house.

What all this actually means if you are a photographer…

Well first of all, it really depends on what sort of photographer you are. If you shoot sports or regularly travel to warzones and then upload your images via satellite, forget it. You’ll still be there long after the invasion is over. The file sizes are really kinda big. If you’re used to working with medium format, this won’t be relevant, but this camera does give you a 50mb RAW file, which is then processed into something like a 140mb TIFF when you chuck it into photoshop. You’ll basically need a powerful computer and a lot of hard disk space. Having said that, I do a lot of work on a macbook pro as I move about and although sometimes it does get a bit painful, it generally holds up fairly well… just don’t run any other apps at the same time! It’s also not a fast camera in terms of FPS. But then, if you’re a pro sports shooter, you won’t have this camera, you’ll have the D3. This ain’t made for sports, it’s made for commercial stuff… fashion, products. The lower ISO range (100-1600) is also a reason you won’t be doing your reportage piece on “Russia’s Nightlife”… 6400 on the D3 / D700 would seem to be a much better option.

The other thing it means is… get a good makeup artist. If you don’t, you’ll spend the rest of your days working in photoshop and you’ll never have the chance to do the commercial jobs that’ll pay for the bloody thing.

That all said, this is a brilliant camera. I combine it with the D700 and I reckon that covers all possibilities. The noise levels are fine up to 1600. It really isn’t built to go over that, I don’t know why Nikon bother saying otherwise. You’ll need very fast memory cards, lots of storage, a fast computer and very good lenses. Like the D3, it is a beast and people will cower when you point it at them, but so what? The images are soooo good. I like it, I like it  lot and if you shoot commercial stuff, so will you.

Cheers, Mark

Having a go with Film

503cxThe problem with photographers of my generation, and I’m the first to agree, is that our digital photography is not based on the theory of shooting with film… it’s based purely in a digital world. And that’s fine. It gets the job done, but would a film background have helped make us better digital photographers?

I have no idea…

…but on the off chance that I’m onto something, I’ve decided to spend a little time in the world of film, developing, scanning and never really being sure if you even got the shot you wanted.

I currently shoot with pro Nikon gear, namely the D3x for commercial stuff and the D700 for gigs, action, documentary and low light stuff. All digital, no danger, no edge. I can shoot 3000 frames in one day on a commercial shoot and just delete the stuff I don’t like. Maybe that’s lazy?

I have a feeling that film will make me think much more about the shot before I click that shutter release. Get the settings right, compose the shot, think about what it means and what I will get back from the lab. And I think that better discipline in that regard will help to improve the digital side of my work, which is what the  client gets.

So, an old Hassie 500cm, a wander round the streets of London, maybe blackfriers on a sunday, or borough market… maybe shooting some personal work on film will help to develop my professional content. We shall see… keep an eye on the blog to find out.

Wish me luck