Personal Projects

Photography Course - Portraits
Photography Course Landscapes

Photography Course Documentary
Photography Course Constructed Image
Experimenting with smoke

Paris May 2013 - Paris Memories

How to capture Paris when it's grey and not from the usual angle?

Waiting for the sun to come out helps....

Look for different things?

Or how about a nod to William Eggleston when capturing the grainy existence of a student's bedsit?

Humphrey Spender took photographs of washing lines in Bolton during the 1930's. He went to there on behalf  "of Mass Observation, the "fact-finding body" set up by Charles Madge, Humphrey Jennings and Tom Harrisson to document the lives of ordinary British people."

Photographer Humphrey Spender
I was on a fact finding mission of my own documenting the life of a student abroad!


Getting excited feeding bun to sparrows at Notre Dame.

There are probably more images I could chose from but for me this summed up my visit to Paris, staying with my daughter who was doing her year uni year abroad. In taking the photographs and selecting them I thought about landscape, portrait, human activity, close detail. Different processing, grain, high key, black and white.

Useful link here with regard to publications about high key definition and historical uses of the term...

I think that the high key effect definitely narrows down what you focus on, and in this instance helps narrate the harsh/spartan student lifestyle.

London July 2013 - People Unawares

Wandering about taking advantage of events as they unfolded catching people unawares.

It was fun to watch so many people have fun with a simple hose pipe. I practiced with fast shutter speed to freeze action and slow shutter speed for motion blur. Not convinced I have cracked it yet but it was a start.

Reminded me in some ways of this image....

© Photographer Martin Munkacsi, 1934

I think that using different shutter speeds to freeze or blur motion helps show movement within an image, it adds visual interest and is something I think I will explore within my final portfolio.

Danson Activities

Capturing a group of lads out on the water, trying to capture action as well as concentrating of compositions, filling the frames, implied triangles etc.....

There wasn't much wind about so no real leaning over sails moments.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Hmmmmm not terribly successful...The weather wasn't great and if anything I have learned when shooting landscapes you need the light and time. Not best to go when you are with people who get bored with hanging around, you are on a time limit to be elsewhere and you're still not great with hyper focal length etc.

Most of my photographs of the artwork looked like unattractive grey blobs in a grey boring landscape. Oooops.

But I still experimented with composition, texture, juxtaposition of natural/manmade shapes.

Frames within frames, silhouettes, even if the exposure wasn't brilliant for the statue outside it gave me ideas.

Outside looking in, reflections and distortions.

Abstract patterns geometric shapes against natural in the distance.

 Attempt at landscape.....

Looking at getting sharp focus right into the distance....

I love trees and the different atmosphere that can be created depending on the seasons and the light. Magnum photographer Stuart Franklin has travelled the world capturing their beauty and the "unique place they occupy in man's world",29307,1731606,00.html

Close details.....

Bit of wildlife.....


Playing when the sculpture was fenced off and the green lush grass, wasn't green, wasn't lush and to be honest wasn't even grass!

When the sun did come out I had issues with contrast especially with some of the images. Should think of using multiple exposures but no tripod...

In all not terribly great results as far as the photos themselves was concerned but at least I had some camera time, which I haven't for ages and has highlighted once again my issues with landscape photography. Also gave me the opportunity to continue looking at different ways to tell a narrative, landscape/portrait,  close detail, include people directly and implicitly.

A quick bit of research into some of the essentials for improving landscape photography recommends a tripod, ND filters and graduated ND filters.

Neutral Density (ND) Filters
ND filters enable you to set longer exposure times than your lens will allow on its own by reducing the amount of light passing through the lens; the darker the filter, the longer the exposure time can be.

Graduated Neutral Density Filters (ND grads)
If you're serious about landscape photography, ND grads are essential. When shooting an hour or two either side of sunrise or sunset, the sky will invariably be much brighter than the landscape; expose for the sky and the landscape will be in silhouette; expose for the landscape and the sky will be blown out.

An ND grad is dark at the top and clear at the bottom, enabling you to darken the sky without affecting the landscape.

York and Whitby 2013 July 2013

Never having been to York before I was torn between the usual touristy type photo's you normally take or shooting things differently basically what I ended up with are summer snaps in the end but hopefully I was trying to concentrate on composition, backgrounds and also getting back into the swing of taking pictures!

Not knowing the place at all I was taking photos of anything and everything that came along. Ideally I would go back and take shots again thinking about the hustle and bustle of the place. Maybe go back in the evening when there was a different vibe.

 Student Rag week...

I have no idea who this little girl was but she was lovely, sadly she moved to get a drink and I didn't have the chance to take anymore of her reading.

What a difference some chips make......

People watching. I played with some filters in processing but think I overcooked it!

It maybe cold but we WILL go into the sea....

It wouldn't be the seaside if it wasn't for the Donkeys ;o) I wasn't setting out for anything beyond photographing where I had been but has given me the option to mess about with different processing in photoshop. I'd like to go back one day, but on my own so I could wander about or sit as I pleased. Happy with them as holiday snaps I wish I had been more adventurous with some, maybe not quite as frenetic as Daido Moriyama but that certainly would give a different insight to York!

I have several other folders from York, apart from lots of steam trains they are much of a muchness to the ones uploaded here. They need editing but "proper" assignment photos took priority. I dare say doing a careful "select" I could find a small portfolio of images that sum up the break that are quite so obvious. This personal exercise has shown that I do need to challenge myself more when shooting "for me", that I really do enjoy taking images of people unaware and it is better to spend time wandering about a place than rushing.

Whitstable August 2013

A similarly mixed day for weather down in Whitstable saw me come away with not much else other than this vibrant opportunistic shot of windmills and the determination to go back again soon :o) I caught the train before but next time will drive so I can take tripod and not have to worry about train times.

They have a festival during the summer so an opportunity to capture a local event I feel.

Chatham Dockyard to be uploaded

Other projects practicing for assignment five can be found on my blog by following the links below

Kew Gardens and Eagle Heights
Cheddington Food Festival

A marketing idea for Jim and Jules. They have agreed to me doing some product shots with their jams/chutneys and little people but time has got in the way so far. Watch this space.

London Abstracts February 2014

Day trip out with art students looking at abstraction. I loved the distortions and reflections and am wondering if and how I can make them work within an assignment.

Aaron Siskind explored abstract impressionism

Edward Weston immediately springs to mind as does Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy.

More contemporary artists are:
Tony Sweet
Alan Babbitt
Wolfgang Tillmans
Carli Hermès
Adam Fuss

Stephen Gill is another photographer I looked briefly at in the past but worth looking at closely due to the his different approach to documenting places

particularly Coexistance

All of these have given me some lines to continue along and opportunities to look out for when shooting for assignment. I'm thinking hidden, distorted truths, reality of what we choose to hide.....On another positive note one of the art teachers has used some of my images in her powerpoint as examples for the students :oD

Camden April 2014

Again trying to capture the feel of a place. Camden has become more commercial and less alternative than it used to be, I mean they still do sell "different" clothing than the mainstream stores but each stall seems to be selling exactly the same items imported from China. I didn't feel inspired. Maybe I need to make that into a project instead? That in trying to be different they have all become the same?

Thamesmead/Abbey Wood April 2014

Continuing to look at neighbourhoods and environments and the contrasts within, I visited Abbey Woods/Thamesmead with my cousin who grew up there, but moved to Buckinghamshire over 20 years ago. She is into scrapbooking and had no images of her childhood home. Good excuse to get out and shoot. The estate itself is concrete blocks, used to film A Clockwork Orange and more recently Misfits. People in the estate feel trapped and most can't wait to move out. Quite a large portion is being knocked down and rebuilt and others are being completely refurbished.

A walkway links the estates to Lesnes Abbey Woods.

It would be useful to find out if you could gain access to the empty blocks to do a similar body of work to Tom Hunter's Holly Street Voids?

Eltham Palace May 2014 - Different Lens

Day out to Eltham Palace a friend lent me a 10-22mm lens to try out. I don't think I fully explored the potential to distort that it has but meant I could capture wider shots than I am used to. It also lets in a lot of light so quite a few of my initial shots were slightly overexposed. A bright sunny day the contrasts  were fairly deep in places. I'd like to play more but had to be happy with today...for the time being. I may smile nicely again ;oD

A bit chocolate boxy perhaps but that was the type of day it was, the lens I was using and what the heck, I just wanted to take "pretty" shots for a change  ;oO. I was amazed at how much more scene you can fit in with a wide angle. I know thats the reason for it but knowing it and shooting it are totally different. It proved to me that you need to pick your lens for the images you want to capture. A few times I saw something but couldn't capture it because my mind was thinking with my 17-55 vision.

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