Carol Singing

There was a crowd of carol singers in the town today singing along to music played by a few members of the Salvation Army band.

These are some of the photographs I took.

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Beverley Races

This afternoon a couple of us went on a photographic excursion to Beverley Races. I have never been to a horse racing meeting before and didn’t know what to expect so also didn’t have much of a plan for what I might photograph.

I arrived early and had a good scout around to find good vantage points for photographing the races, but also where I might capture a flavour of the atmosphere. It would mean walking around the site a fair bit between the races but to be fair, I could do with the exercise!

I used various lenses and camera settings depending on what I was photographing. When concentrating on the races and the horses I found it easiest to use shutter priority and continuous shooting modes. For other photographs I switched back to single shot mode and either manual or aperture priority.

These are a few of the many photographs I took today.

At one point I found myself talking to a senior man who has been a fan of horse racing all his life and was able to answer some of my questions about what was going on during the afternoon. He is part owner of a race horse and urged me to follow it through the season. Exotic Guest is next running on Saturday in Thirsk, so I shall have to be sure to look up how it gets on.

Location Based Photographs

I’ve been asked to put together some examples of my best location based photographs. I’ve included some new and old favourites from various places that I hope shows the variety and quality of my work in both informal and formal situations.

Most of these photographs were taken discretely with just one or two taken following a nod of acknowledgement from the subject.

David Cooke

David Cooke is a trustee of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS), Chair of their Education Committee and editor of one of their magazines. As a photographer he describes his work as street photography that is made to look more artistic.

He displayed a number of his images at the college and visited this week to talk to us. His images were shot all over the world and while they are not all of street scenes, they are all of people in public places. They mostly have a desaturated or monochrome colour scheme and a fine art feel to the finish.

The images were all displayed as 12 inch square photographs in a rectangular cream mount and dark wood frame in order to ensure uniformity to the collection.

Cooke shoots in Raw and then edits his images in Photoshop and with the Nik Collection of filters. He seems to mainly use glamour glow, Viveza, white neutraliser and paper toner and then a high pass filter to sharpen. He also sometimes includes a texture to the image from his own texture library that he has collated.

I liked a few of the images in the collection and I quite liked the fine art appearance of them too. While some of my classmates didn’t like the heavy editing and thought that it showed that Cooke was a photographer with limited ability, I don’t mind it. A fine art painter will sometimes paint something and then paint over and over it trying to perfect it, taking days, weeks or months to create a piece of art that they are happy with. They may even have started with a snapshot of the the person, animal or thing that they are painting. I think that Cooke has done something similar. He has taken a photograph and then worked on it for a number of days, weeks or months until he has created a piece of fine art that he is happy with.

This is one of the images that I thought was quite nice.

As a collection of images I didn’t think the exhibition was particularly cohesive. Cooke has spent a lot of time creating images that look similar in terms of colouring and shape but apart from having people in them they didn’t really have a theme. And when questioned Cooke admitted that most of the photos were taken on his various holidays. He also admitted that he didn’t go out of his way to take photos or to plan them particularly.

It seems that each photograph was taken in an attempt to earn international photographic awards.

There was some criticism about the labels Cooke has given his photographs. He said that he tried to give simple titles that didn’t persuade the viewer to think anything in particular. I didn’t think much to the titles but happily ignored them and focused on the images themselves.

I found Cooke’s talk quite encouraging. By submitting his edited holiday photos to competitions and exhibitions he has become internationally recognised. Like me, he wasn’t a young person when he started seriously taking photos and in just a few years has become so respected that he is now a trustee of the RPS.

Because I liked the image of Cooke’s that is posted above and because I think the style suits the hot, dusty, African school environment, I thought I would have a go at my own version. The image here is an unedited one that I took on my holiday at a school in Kenya in 2012.

Kibera Kenya 2012 1 153

The image below was cropped and desaturated slightly in Lightroom and then has had the glamour glow added in Nik Colour Efex Pro 4. I used Viveza 2 to lighten the boy’s face and added some texture using Nik Analog Efex Pro 2. Then sharpened it using Nik Sharpener Pro 3.

Kibera Kenya 2012 1 153-Edit

I don’t know that the filters have added much to the photograph. I would have cropped the original in the edit anyway, still portrait though but I’m not sure it needed much more than that. I’d be interested to hear what you think.

KCFM Right Up Your Street

This week I did my final photo shoot for my documentary project with KCFM.  I accompanied Breakfast Show presenter Matt as he approached members of the public for the Right Up Your Street feature.

We met in the Prospect Centre shopping mall with Mel, a member of the Street Team, and a couple of Christmas elves to look for people that Matt could chat with. On this occasion they were particularly looking to talk to people with small children as the Christmas elves, who worked for the Prospect Centre, were giving out vouchers in envelopes that were suited to this demographic.

Matt and Mel usually take photos on their mobile phones that they can then add to the station website so, from me, they were looking for better quality photos that showed the presenter interacting with his listeners.

It was much more relaxed that the other events I have attended with KCFM and I hope that the photographs reflect that. The team were much more aware of my presence and, without me asking, stood in a position where I could photograph them clearly. I think also that having worked with the KCFM team a few times now they were comfortable with me being around and confident that I would get the photos they wanted.

Patrington Christmas Lights

Last night I went with KCFM to another Christmas light switch on event, this time in Patrington.

I have learned from doing the previous events that the presenters will be very active, that the lighting would be poor and that the weather could be poor. I had chatted with the presenters and the street team about what they did last year and what I could expect. I was told that the main street would be closed off, that there would be a few market type stalls, that there wouldn’t be a stage and that Santa would arrive in a fire engine to switch the lights on. Matt who presents the breakfast show and Amy who presents the Late Night Love Affair show would introduce the various activities throughout the evening.

It was a clear and very cold night so I was pleased that I had fully charged my batteries as the cold can cause them to drain much quicker than usual.

We began by visiting several of the shops in Patrington in order to record some clips for a breakfast show feature called ‘Up Your Street’. A few were shy, some were too busy but the staff in Newtons Fish and Chip Shop were very keen to talk to us. They were giving away free chips to any children that took part in the event later in the evening and they were also selling candy floss and had a chocolate fountain that would help them raise money for an ITV Christmas appeal.

We spoke to a few others and made our way back up to the Christmas tree. A small stage had been erected and two players from the Scorpions Ice Hockey team had arrived as had two players from Hull Kingston Rovers. They were here to have their photograph taken and give away signatures to fans.

Just before the event started the KCFM Street Team, began to give away KCFM flags to the children that were gathering. I had been a bit hesitant about photographing the children last time but this time I was determined to be a bit more confident. I approached several families and asked if I could take photos of their children with the flags for use on the Internet – everyone I spoke to was very happy.

It was very dark in the street and the stage was lit from the back by two small spotlights. I set my camera to ISO 3200 and my aperture to f5.6, adjusting my shutter speed to compensate for whether I was looking into the light or not. A photographer from the local Gazette was also taking photos and he commented that I was not using a flash. I am not keen on using a flash and much prefer to make best use of the ambient light around. I had thought about using a tripod, but because of the expected crowd and because I wanted the flexibility to move around quickly I chose to leave it at home.

I tried to capture all the elements of the event including the presenters and street team at work, but also some of the atmosphere of the night. I hadn’t been aware that Rory, the Hull City Mascot would be there but I tried to capture images of him high-fiving the crowd.

The crowd was one of the main issues I faced and a bit of disorganisation on the part of the event organisers. When the children from the junior school get onto the stage to sing a few carols there seemed to be very few people supervising them, the onlookers pushed forward and I was given no choice but to move out of the way. Santa gave every child a present as they came off the stage but again the crowd was too close for me to get any decent photos. I had also asked if I could get a photo of the presenters with the ice hockey and football players but the players left before the end of the event.

These are some of the photos that I took last night.