I was really chuffed to be asked by the Diagnostic Centre in Colchester to provide some images for their walls in the new centre. This evening was the official opening so I took along my dad as my wing man. He looked so smart in his suit, thanks for coming with me dad. Another moment and memory to treasure.
There is a thing which slowly happens over time which I was kind of aware of but haven’t really done enough about it. As a working Photographer all to often I am focused on what my clients want, what packages, ideas and concepts I can offer up and although I can get creative with these projects I rarely take the time to just play anymore with my own stuff. When I say play I mean to play with my camera to have fun and not to focus on the end result but more concentrate on the process, to experiment without limits and rules of expectation and responsibility of a paid job. It’s like any job when you do it for work over time you tend to do less of it in your own time, which I don’t want to happen as there were times when I would go everywhere with my camera to document, play, and experiment with and I love some of those old images I took of friends, family, random stuff like puddles and piers. I think some of it is because I take pictures as a job, some of it is about having my phone and sometimes using that instead and some of it is just about not really bothering. If I was really honest I think there is also an element of opening Pandoras box, there is a fear that if I start doing crazy wild stuff people might not respect me or take me seriously anymore I will just be seen as that mad old cat lady that takes pics of crazy shit. The thing is this nagging feeling is not going away there is something in me that wants to go there and as the years pass the feeling gets stronger.
So there are times when I take pictures of stuff in my own time but am reluctant to share for fear of ridicule I suppose, I am not sure why I should really care what people think as they don’t have to look at my images its a free country after all. In light of these thoughts I am sharing this image which I recently took in the studio, I have decided to ‘go there’.
I have my own ideas behind the concept of this image mostly around oppression, violence towards women, online bullying and the pressure from our media for women to look a certain way yaaay I hear you cheer all fun stuff! It is stuff that I feel strongly about, there is a huge pressure on young women and also young men to look and live up to a certain unachievable vision. We now have kids in their 20’s having botox and fillers, kids full of anxiety and afraid to be themselves for fear of rejection its utter madness destructive and out of control, I see it in the kids close to me but also in young people I take pictures of. I’ll stop ranting…it’s up to you as the viewer to make your own mind up about what if anything this image conjures up.
Spending so much time in my studio it’s a refreshing change to go and shoot outside. The beach is a great place to head with young children you don’t need many props just let them have fun and explore as long as it’s not too cold or chucking it down with rain it’s perfect for getting natural shots. Take a look at my site The Family Photographer to find out more.
Okay so I have become hooked on a new distraction, making Cinemagraphs!
I love this effect of using video and creating layers in Photoshop to keep some of the image as a moving image but make the rest of the image static.It makes for a cool selfie don’t you think?
A few shots from a recent shoot for Weston Homes Business Centre, Colchester, Essex. It’s a great building with lots of space for businesses from hotdesks to large open offices.
The three main issues for me were 1) How do I photograph welding and metal grinding without making myself blind?? 2) Would the welding damage my camera sensor? 3) What settings would I need the camera on to get the dramatic shots I am after?
Looking online I couldn’t find too much clear info on taking shots of Welding, there were lots of conflicting views but the strong message was protect your eyes looking directly at the welding would cause damage to your sight. From what I could find out it seemed that my camera sensor would be okay, so shooting remotely seemed like the best option. I often use tethered shooting for shots in my studio but hadn’t had experience of using software to control the camera setting from my laptop. My Canon 5DmkIII came with a disc which I have never used as I just thought it was mostly stuff which I didn’t need but it provides a utility to shoot remotely. So after a little rummaging about in my messy cupboard I found the box which still had the disc in and loaded it onto my laptop.
I won’t go into detail about using the EOS Utility 2 as it is very self explanatory, if you have got a canon camera its well worth having a play with. In a nutshell it means I could set my camera up on a tripod in front of the welding (not too close as I didn’t want my camera to get damaged by any flying hot sparks) use a tether lead one end which plugs into the camera and the other has a USB to plug into the laptop and I can control most of the camera settings on my laptop and keep my eyes safe behind a partition and take the pics by viewing what my camera sees on my laptop screen.
I needed to find a light source to experiment with and decided Sparklers would do the job. Tesco sells small party Sparklers in it’s party section so I thought that would give me a good idea on a smaller scale. So the night before the shoot I took some time to set my camera up on a tripod, plug in the tether lead and start up the EOS Utility2 on my laptop before lighting the Sparklers.
The first image above was when I began shooting before the sparkler had really got going. I set my camera to 1/5th of a second F11 and decided to put the ISO on 500, I was going to have the ISO adjust automatically so I had once less thing to worry about but soon realised the camera automatically bumped it up high and I ended up with noisy images.
The second image I tried a radial filter only because I have never used it and wondered what results it would give me but felt the glow was two strong in the middle of the image I liked how it softened the background but not right for the shot I had in my mind.
The third image was using a adjustable gradient filter to darken the image and I was also thinking it might provide some protection for my lens eek!
So a few hours later I felt happy, having used the remote EOS Utility 2 I found I could focus in on what I wanted to using my laptop screen, I could control my speed, aperture and ISO from my laptop and I could do this from a few metres away with my back to the camera!
On the day of the shoot I started with taking my shots with my camera set up on a tripod using my 24-70mm lens with an adjustable gradient filter on which I twisted a few stops to darken the scene. I set my camera to 1/5th of a second F11 and would adjust if I needed to once I had taken few shots. I shot the first round of images and stopped to see what we had which was useful as my client and the Welder could also look which helped them to understand what we needed to adjust to get the composition right. It did feel a bit like magic taking pics from my laptop and I was surprised at how well it worked.
The downside of shooting this way means you cannot move around your subject and you can’t zoom in and out or change the camera angle, you have to stop to adjust the camera. I also found there is a few second delay on the images uploading so I wanted to shoot a zillion shots whist all the action was happening but you do have to go by the speed of your camera, the tether and your laptop uploading the images. Here are a couple of shots taken on the day…