A wee dander with Janette and young Jude, around the Titanic Quarter in Belfast on a beautiful afternoon, on Thursday 21st October. I also had with me the Fujifilm X-t4! Permanently moored in the dock there is the old HMS Caroline. This iconic ship has been docked here for 90 years now, used as the training centre for the RNVR.Continue reading HMS Caroline
CAMERA POSITION AND NEWS MANIPULATION
This week in Northern Ireland saw yet another political agenda being promoted and furthered by the skilful use of photography. To say that ‘the camera never lies‘ is no longer true in the age of digital manipulation, but was it ever? The simple shifting of the photographer’s position can change the perspective of the viewer, flatten distance, and be used to make a political point.
In Northern Ireland, the building of a bonfire, and the lighting of the fire on the 11th July is a tradition, long held among certain sections of the Unionist or Loyalist community. It is an expression of loyalist culture. When I was a boy, back the 60s and 70s, little bonfires were made in each street, no more than little piles of planks and scrap. But the local authorities tried to regulate the tradition. The street bonfires left a mess that needed to be cleaned up, and sometimes caused damage to properties. Often the materials that were burned were far from helpful in controlling pollution; tyres were often burned, pouring out toxic smoke into the air. To solve these problems, some councils began to offer grants to buy pallets, which would burn more cleanly, on condition that the street bonfires were replaced with centralised pyres, and pollutants excluded. This led to pyres like this one in Newtownards:
It was this massive bonfire that became the subject of a media scam, fuelled by deceptive photography. Apparently this bonfire in Newtownards was built RIGHT BESIDE THE LOCAL FIRE STATION! An image was produced to prove the point, The media picked up on the story immediately, – radio programmes, a Twitter storm, newspaper articles, with the collective might of the left lining up to demand that the bonfire be dismantled and removed.
On 9th July 2021 I reproduced the photograph which caused the ‘offence’ – an image showing the ‘alleged’ juxtaposition of the pyre and the fire station.
It looks authentic. There’s no Photoshop manipulation, the image is ‘as shot.’ But what has happened is that camera position is flattening the distance between the bonfire and the Fire Station. It is deliberately deceptive, and it set the local news agenda for a whole morning, before some locals pointed out that the distance between the fire and the station is considerable, with a stretch of waste ground and a four lane road between! Still, the Left got a whole morning of free publicity and a chance to pour more odium on the working class loyalist community of the town.
Here’s some more images…
I’ve no idea who Luke is, but his name is on a string of beads, tiny little beads, at Kiltonga Wildlife Reserve near Newtownards. I photographed this with the new 70-300mm Fujifilm lens, with the lens extended to 300mm (420mm on full frame equivalent) and from a distance of just 3 feet. The lens, technically is not a macro lens, but its close focussing is pretty impressive.
Fujifilm X-T4 F=300mm, f/5.6, at 1/60th sec on ISO100, Provia film simulation.
Volvo Mechanical Shovel.
There’s no doubt that an image like this will never be considered ‘beauutiful.’ It’s the inside of the cab of a huge mechanical shovel, the end used in quarries to lift tons of stone and gravel and load it into lorries.
I made the image, along with others, interior and exterior, as part of a commission for a commercial client, so it won’t ever be hanging on anyone’s wall!
Yet beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and photography, unlike some other disciplines is entirely subjective. What one person thinks is attractive and beautiful, will be repulsive to another. When I’d finished the commission, and sent off the completed images, this one still stuck out as interesting, if not exactly pretty. I like the almost ‘three dimensional’ aspect of the image, created by the juxtaposition of the levers and the screen, leading the eye in a convergence toward the starter key. The depth of field that blurs the image of other vehicles outside helps to keep the eye from straying outside the cab.
Fujifilm X-T4, F=55mm, f/5 @ 1/60th on ISO1600.
The Fujifilm X-T4 – A Lot of Praise but One Big Niggle.
I’ve been shooting with Fujifilm X-Series cameras since 2017 when I bought my first Fujifilm X-T2. I was immediately smitten. I’d been a Nikon user all my photographic life, completely loyal to the products of the Japanese giant. I’d begun in the ‘80’s with the FM2, and progressed through the Nikon D2x to the D750. I thought it would ever be so. But when I made my first few images with the Fuji X-T2 I was quickly convinced. It was the photographic equivalent of a Damascus road conversion. Since then I’ve been shooting (professionally and for fun) with the X-T2, X-T30 and X-T3. Everyone of them has been great. But when the X-T2 began to wobble a bit, I decided it was time for a change. I kept the X-T3, sold the X-T2 and X-T30 and with the equity, invested in the new X-T4.
So, what’s special about the X-T4? It’s just a little chunkier than its predecessors, and I’ve encased mine in a leather half-case, more for appearance than practicality, but it’s still an easy camera to hold, much more ‘grippable’ than the X-T2, and that’s important when you are clamouring in and out of vehicles.Continue reading The Fujifilm X-T4 – Commendation & (Mild) Criticism
White Car on White Background?
Like a black cat cowering in a coal bunker, photographing a white car on a white background presents certain difficulties. But then that’s why, when prestige car dealers need photography for their website, they use specialists like me!
This beautiful new BMW 116d sports the new design of the latest One Series, and cuts a dashing figure against its white background…
The key of course, is to slightly underexpose the white car, and overexpose the background by at least two stops. So, ideally the camera should be on a tripod, and the shot bracketed, and later combined in Photoshop. Best practice too is to use a light meter to get the correct exposure on the car.Continue reading White on White
The Circular Polariser
Look at the side of the car. It was photographed in bright November sunlight, so the side of the car, fully exposed to the sunlight, should be overexposed in comparison to the rest of the vehicle. On this image, a circular polariser filter was used n the lens of the camera, eliminating the effect of the UV rays on the highly polished surface of the car.
My filter is made by HOYA. Here’s an extract from their website:Continue reading The Circular Polariser Filter
One of my favourite photo-techniques is the silhouette. This involves exposing for a bright background and leaving the subject in deep shadow.
In Londonderry I made this silhouette of a girl, sitting looking out the window of a cafe. Silhouettes are good for this kind of candid shot, for the identity of the ‘Derry Girl’ remains shrouded in mystery.
Fujifilm X-T30 fitted with a Nikon 35-70mm manual focus lens.
The Lockdown Logs
Dateline: May 28th 2020
Coalport Figurine Chromakey
In the Pod today, playing with a small green screen set-up, to see how the light works best. I’ve set a small Coalport Lady Figurine on a table, with a green-screen background. There’s a D-Lite just behind my right shoulder and natural light coming from the left of the figure. The D-Lite is set low, not to be a key-light, but to simply reduce any shadow cast by the Coalport figure.
I’m using the Fujifilm X-T2, with a Nikon 50mm manual focus lens and the camera set for focus peaking. F=50mm, f/5.6 @ 1/60th sec on ISO200.
Here’s the result:
Here’s the set-up: Continue reading The Lockdown Logs #56
Last night I read an interesting post by Dee Tutor on LinkedIn about Ghosting Techniques, and I thought one or two of you readers might like to make it an interesting project for next week! All you need to do is nip over and read Daria’s blog, find an old and particularly interesting looking graveyard, (now that we’re allowed to visit graveyards again) and have a go!
Try to shoot from the back of the headstones, – to avoid someone being offended that you’ve used their family grave in a photo.
Continue reading Ghosting Techniques