Migrant Woman

Migrant Mother‘ was the title of a celebrated image made by Dorothea Lange in America in 1935 (or thereabouts)  Lange was appalled by the poverty she found among immigrant people in rural USA.  She said, (Cited on the ‘Photo-quotes’ website)

I am trying here to say something about the despised, the defeated, the alienated. About death and disaster, about the wounded, the crippled, the helpless, the rootless, the dislocated. About finality. About the last ditch.[1]

Migrant Woman - Lange
Migrant Woman – Lange

Challenged by Lange’s words, I set about creating a similar image, among the migrant community of Belfast – with less success, I found, – for some migrant people simply don’t want a camera pointed at them, even after a financial bribe.  I found this old Roma woman begging in Botanic Avenue, and her pose was a reluctant one, to say the least!

Roma Woman in Belfast

Reluctant or not – she’s a pitiful sight.  I hope she spent the money wisely.

[1] http://www.photoquotes.com/ShowQuotes.aspx?id=146&name=Lange,Dorothea

A Different Kind of Pony! #Millisle

My visit to Newcastle, Co. Down last week produced a vintage image – a child on a little miniature pony, being gently led along the beach by the pony owner and the child’s mother – a very traditional sea-side scene.

It reminded me of another Pony on the Beach image I made around 5 years ago, when we lived at Millisle, and the beach was just across the road from our living room.  It was a grainy Black and White image of a traditional ‘trotting pony’ being exercised on the sand, shot on the Nikon F100, on Ilford ISO1600 film.  I looked out the negative and scanned it at 300 DPI, and here’s the result, after just a tweak or two in Photo-shop:-

Pony-Trotting at Millisle
Pony-Trotting at Millisle

I haven’t a clue who the person in the image is!

Newcastle, Co.Down, Saturday 1st August 2015

On Saturday I went to Newcastle for the afternoon to deliver greeting cards to a retail customer, and discovered once again the importance of always carrying a camera!  Apart from the stunning beauty of the Mountains of Mourne, which ‘sweep down to the sea’ at Newcastle – there was a special, and very noisy even taking place as hundred of trucks, lorries and juggernauts roared through the streets as part of the Mourne Truck Run.  I captured images of some of the trucks in Monochrome, on the Nikon F100, and some in colour on the Leica Digital Compact.  The street scenes and landscapes were all on Black and White Film.  The image of the day was this one:-


Captured at 4pm Saturday 1 Aug. Nikon F100 film camera using Ilford HP5 ISO400. ‘Sunny 16 rule’ applies! So camera shutter on 1/400th sec and lens aperture f/16. Developed in Fotospeed for 8mins, 10 mins in fixer 10 mins in wash. Scanned on Epson V500 Photoscanner. In Photoshop, contrast balanced in Levels and slight vignette applied. Continue reading Newcastle, Co.Down, Saturday 1st August 2015

More iPhone Photo-Journalism

Photo-journalism may be nothing more than capturing an instant in time, and preserving it, and in these days of instant digital communications, that may simply involve lifting an iPhone or similar device.  As I passed the end of the Carrickmannon Cross-Roads on Friday morning, I noticed that one of our church members had been out with a sledge hammer – doing a bit of impromptu advertising (probably illegal too! – but then the government here in NI can’t even afford to cut the grass at the roadsides, so its unlikely anyone will care about an extra sign for a week or so)

An image was called for – so out came the iPhone, and I have an instant record, to be used later in a presentation on church work in the area.


And, don’t you think our beautiful, undulating Co. Down countryside is totally beautiful?


Photo manipulation techniques are so much easier these days.  Not only do we have Photoshop. But there is now a host of other programmes and applications to help with manipulation.  The images below were captured on a Leica Compact, and basic post-capture processing carried out in Photoshop, – cropping, balance, contrast etc.  The image was then loaded into Photo-Lab Pro, with the following results:-


Hi-Key Techniques.

This monochrome image of my granddaughter, taken around 4 years ago illustrates the high-key studio technique that was popular at that time, – frequently created in our studio at Dundonald.


I have thousands of images like this, shot in hundreds of baby-shoots, (after all my sales pitch was ‘Bob Shoots Your Kids!) and showing other studio techniques – but unfortunately, in this day and age, posting photo’s of children on the internet is not well received by parents and the authorities – and for good reasons too.

Techies: Nikon D700 Camera, lens at 42mm.  f/11 @ 1/125th sec, on 200ISO, two Elinchrom 500 studio flash units, one as the key-light behind the camera, and one inside a hi-key white backdrop tent.  Modifiers were a softbox on the key-light and a reflector on the back-light  (inside the light-tent).

Here’s the diagram:


Le Vendeur de Vin

No, it’s not Paris, it’s Edinburgh, the Paris of the North!  Back again to 2004, and the Continental Market on the streets of Scotland’s capital.  This French Market Stall is doing what the French seem to do best – export their wine!

The Wine Vendor's Stall
The Wine Vendor’s Stall

Photo-Nerd stuff: Nikon D70 Camera, (6 mp DSLR) f/3.5 @ 1/30th sec on ISO400.  Focal Length 44mm.

Folicularly-enhanced Orangemen!

I couldn’t resist this shot.

Walking away from a parade I noticed this gentleman walking in front of me.  The look (even from behind) is so incongruous, that it was begging for a photograph.  The media and popular perception of members of the Orange Order is as stuffy, staid, conservative, old men.  This man just blows those impressions right out of the water!


Here’s the techie stuff:

Nikon D700, 1/250th sec @ f/2.8 on ISO400.  Lens at 70mm


Belfast Commercial and Family Photographer