1st Birthday Party

This week I was offered an opportunity to take some photographs at 1st Birthday party. I imagined it was going to be a very noisy affair and was a bit apprehensive about it all but as the children were so small and with a ball pool to keep the children entertained it was a reasonably calm afternoon.

These are just a few of the photos I took that day. All were taken with my 50mm prime lens.


White Balance

I have been struggling to get the correct white balance on some of my photos and others have pointed out that some of them have a colour cast. I clearly haven’t developed an eye for seeing this yet.

It was suggested that to get more accurate colours in my photographs I should use a grey card when I am shooting. Photographic grey cards are simply cards painted a dark 18% matt grey. You either ask your subject to hold it or stand it in front of your subject for a test shot. Then when the photos are in Lightroom, in Develop mode, you can use the White Balance Selector Tool on the grey card to correctly adjust the white balance. Using Sync the settings can be easily copied across to all of the other photographs taken under the same lighting conditions.

To practise this, I took a small piece of grey card and took some test shots around the college. Below are my unedited results alongside my adjusted and sync’d images. There isn’t a lot of difference in some of the images, but there is in others and if I use this method I can rest assured that my white balance will be correct.

If a grey card isn’t available, the white balance selector tool can still be used by clicking it on a grey or neutral tone within the image and checking that the RGB readings at the bottom of the selector tool are equal (or roughly equal at least).

Other colour casts can be adjusted by remembering the acronym: Right Colour Gets Me BY. This reminds us that Red and Cyan are opposites, as are Green and Magenta and Blue and Yellow. So when there is too much red in a photographic image we need to add more cyan to balance it out, similarly with the other colours.

It is worth noting that the correct white balance isn’t always the most artistically appropriate. It is valid and right to make images warmer or cooler or make one of the colours stronger depending on their subject but that is an artistic decision that can be justified by the photographer.

New Year’s Eve Walk

I thought I would share these photos from a lovely walk I had on New Year’s Eve along the Colne Estuary. It was a clear, frosty morning as I walked out with my camera and other than a flock of Brent geese and the noise of the wading birds on the shore line it was very quiet.

Remembrance Poppies

This month I was fortunate enough to visit the Tower of London and see the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation. Most of the 888,246 ceramic poppies, designed by artist Paul Cummins, were in place; each one representing a commonwealth life that was lost during the 1914-1919 Great War.

This centenary commemoration is temporary, and now, just a few days after Armistice Day is already being dismantled. The brevity of the installation reminds us that just as the poppies are removed, so too were these lives removed from our communities.

It is a stunning piece of art, that really helps visitors picture the scale of the loss of life during that war. As you wander around the moat, it is incredibly moving to think that every one of those poppies represents a life cut short and someone that was loved by parents, siblings, wives, children, friends and colleagues. They died that we might have freedom but I also wonder what life would have been like had they lived – would they have become inventors, entrepreneurs, scientists, artists? If they had had children, how would they have influenced our lives?

It was a rainy day when I visited and there were so many people that the Police were needed to direct the crowds, and local tube stations were closed. I looked around two sides of the Tower in the morning and then came back to see the other two sides once it was dark and floodlit and most of the visitors had gone home.

Boat with a Shallow Depth of Field

This has been the most tricky part of my Interpretations assignment that I have tackled so far.

I had thought about photographing one of my nephew’s toy boats but thought that was a bit too much like Slinkachu. I had been told that to photograph a boat with a shallow depth of field from a distance was quite difficult to get right. So never being one to shy away from a challenge I headed for the River Orwell.

I headed first for a marina and after a few practise shots I found just how difficult it was to get the boat in focus and other parts of the image out of focus. All of the boats at the marina were tightly moored along a jetty and I thought the best thing to do would be to find somewhere where there were boats close to the shore as well as boats further out in the river so I moved up the road to Pin Mill.

The tide was in at Pin Mill, but beginning to go out and I managed to get a good range of shots, some with more or less success. I managed to have more success with a longer lens but then couldn’t always get all of the boat in the frame, other times, when the sun came out I couldn’t get the aperture open wide enough to get a very shallow depth of field and standing on a floating jetty to take some photos was a little nauseating.

I narrowed this selection down to my three favourites and asked others which they preferred. It eventually came down to the photo of the man rowing to shore and the shot of the rope tied to the jetty leading back to a blue rowing boat with my friends and family more or less preferring them equally. While the rower is more like the photograph I set out to take I like the colours and composition of the boat tied to the jetty and have chosen to submit that photo instead.