Week one, Introduction to Photography

Introduction:

During week one we not only learned about workflow, but we also had an introduction to the basics of both photography and image processing. During this introduction we learned about the exposure triangle the importance of the histogram and how to use it, and the importance of shooting in RAW and why we should only downgrade to JPEG for the use of file transmission and E-Mail.

The exposure triangle:

The exposure triangle is made up of the following three elements, shutter speed, aperture and ISO. In order to get a correct exposure it’s important that we balance these three elements, we can however push certain elements in the triangle to gain certain creative effects, but we need to understand that for every element we push there is a counter reaction.  For example if i want to shoot an image with a deep depth of field, I would select a small aperture for example F16. By choosing F16 however I’ve created a very dark space between the lens iris and the sensor/film. To counter this I either need to use a longer shutter speed and perhaps a tripod or boost my ISO/change film, if handheld. The same applies for the shutter speed and ISO, by manipulating one element you must also change another in order to expose correct. They’re are other ways around this such as the use of filters and digital manipulation, however this is a very basic look into the exposure triangle and how it operates.

The Histogram:

The histogram is a tool that shows us the levels of each colour present in our image, the histogram also works on a number scale, the scale on the histogram works between the numbers of 0 -255. Black or underexposed with no detail is found at the beginning of the scale at 0, burnt out white is found at the other end of the spectrum at 255. In theory any area displaying a number above 1 and below 254 on the histogram should have some amount of retrievable information to be found within it.

The best way to describe the histogram is that it looks like it has the appearance of a graph with a line through it. We can manipulate the ‘levels’ of each colour and the actual exposure of the image by physical grabbing this line and moving it. We can also manipulate the levels of an image by changing the values numerically, for example by changing blue from say 200, to 245 should give you a deeper shade of blue within the image.

This makes the histogram especially useful for making both experimentation and precision changes to both the colours in your image and the exposure of the image itself.

8 BIT or 16 BIT?

16 BITs is the colour channel that I have chosen to shoot my images at for this project, I have done this as a precautionary measure incase I should need to carry out any heavy manipulation of colour during the processing of the images. This also increases the quality of the recorded colours in the files, therefore making the files themselves of a much higher quality. If I’m shooting images for a book or a piece of work such as this, than the maximum quality available should be sought out. An 8 BIT channel, may be useful for when shooting jpeg images or sample images that are not expected to receive much scrutiny from the viewer.

Week one, Introduction to Photography

Supporting Statement, Photography.

Introduction:

Throughout the journal we’ll be looking into and discussing each and every one of 50 images shot for the 10 categories individually, I wanted to write this statement however covering a few basics that  apply to all of the following photographs. I want to do this to show knowledge and understanding, but without having to repeat myself 50 times.

Colour Space:

All of the 50 images that you’ll see in this journal have been shot on two cameras, the 1st being a  Nikon Df, and the second a Sony A77MkII. On both of these cameras the colour space has been set to Adobe RGB (Red Green Blue), this has done to put the images in good stead for editing on Adobe software, ie. Light Room and Photoshop. The images that you’ll see in this digital journal are still set to the colour space of Adobe RGB, however the images in the printed portfolio have been converted to the CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Key ‘Black’) for the purposes of printing.

Resolution:

All of the images shot on both cameras have also been shot at a DPI of 300, this is the standard and recommended setting for most DSLR cameras. The edited pictures for both online and printed use remain at a DPI of 300.

Work Flow:

All images have been through the same workflow process, this process is described in this journal under ‘week one, work flow’.

 

Supporting Statement, Photography.

Lifestyle Photography

Introduction:

This was another genre of photography that I’ve not yet had a go at, so again this was another interesting one for me. I’ve done a few bits that have involved following people around and photographing them at work, or whlst participating in an event, but nothing like this. I decided for my five ‘lifestyle’ images to concentrate on taking pictures of a good freind of mine, just illustrating basically what goes on in his day to day life.

Image 1:

This first image was taken on an elevator in one of the many Rome Metro stations. I quite like the lighting and the depth of field in this image, the reaction of the subject is quite good too.

This image was shot at 1/20th F2 at ISO 125. As you can imagine trying to shoot in a metro station where it’s dark is difficult, however using a large apature for this image wasn’t an issue as I intended for the image to have a shallow depth of field, so that the main focus of the viewer is on the subject rather than the elevator itself. A shutter speed of 1/20th of a second was also used to take this image, this alongside a wide open apature meant that a relitively low ISO of 125 could be used keeping grain low and qaulity and dynamic range high.

During the stage of processing, I lowered the highlits slightly and lifted the shadows, I then added +2 contrast to the image, after this was done the image as ready to be processed from a RAW file to a Tiff.

_MER2685.jpg

File Name:

MERLS0001.JPG

Metadata:

Subway, Dark, Elevator, Leather, Jacket, Thumbs up, Approval, Generic, Bright, Light, Travel, Explore, World, Europe, Holiday

Image 2:

This image was shot whilst on the sleeper train between Munich and Köln, the image shows one of the dorm style rooms that you get on a sleeper train, with the rest of the group already sleeping. It shows the cheap but cheerful sort of lifestyle that we had for a week in order to be able to afford the trip, having a bed for the first time in 3 nights was worth the extra 30 euros!

The image was shot at 1/80th, F3.5 at ISO 4000. 1/80th of a second was the lowest shutter speed that I could use on the moving train and F3.5 is the widest apature that I could drop down to on my 18 – 35 full frame lens. This was still not producing enough light so a high ISO of 4000 was required to get the image exposed correctly.

During processing I lightened the image up sligtly by lifting shadows intensyfying highlights and lifting the exposure compensation by + 1. After this I quickly applied a +1 contrast to bring out tones in the image and increased the white balence by a few kelvins to warm the image up slightly. After this the image was ready for converting from a RAW file to a Tiff.

_MER3650-001.jpg

Filename:

MERLS0002.JPG

Metadata:

Sleeper, Sleep, Train, Carrige, Night, Hoteltrain, Thumbs up, Approval, Holiday, Beds, Bunkbed, Travel, Interail, Trip, Germany, Deutschland

Image 3:

This image was taken after we returned from the Europe trip and visited Kellingley Colliery which is local to me. As we both share an interest in industrial and film photography I thought I’d include this image of Andrew at Kellingley taking a photo of the pit on his Canon EOS 1 film camera.

The image was shot at 1/160th, F4.5, ISO 100. This photo I knew would require the lifting of shadows at a later stage, so I metered off of the pit and the sky and took that shot. I knew that I wanted Andrew and his EOS 1 in focus so I focused on him and shot the image at F4.5 knowing that this would have the subject and the bridge in focus, with the focus drifting toward the pit itself but still keeping the pit in view. I shot the image at ISO 100 as I knew I’d be lifting the shadows during processing, not having a flash with me. Shooting at an ISO of 100, keeps the grain low and stores more information in the pixels allowing for more manipulation of the shadows at a later stage.

During the processing the first thing I did was raise the shadows to look natural, having the exposure on the subject blend in with the as shot exposure of the pit and sky in the background. Usually this would be done with  flash, however I didn’t have one present with me at the time of shooting. once the exposure had been corrected I applied a +2 contrast to add tones to the image and to hide a few areas of grain build up. I then Increased the saturation of the image by +1 before converting the RAW file to a Tiff.

_DSC2948.jpg

Filename:

MERLS0003.JPG

Metadata:

Canon, Film, Camera, EOS-1, Kellingley, Colliery, Pit, Mine, Photographer, Canal, Leather, Jacket, 35mm, Aire, Calder, Navigation

Image 4:

The next two images show Andrew at work after the holiday, and back to his usually lifestyle as a fitter on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. I headed up a couple of weekends to complete my photo story project and took these whilst there. This first one shows the subject in the cleaners cabin near the coal drops.

The image was taken at 1/125th, F1.4 at ISO 1000. This image was taken in rather challenging light, the only light been the rather dim lamp in the cabin, the rest of the yard was in darkness. To counter this I decided to drop my apature as low as possible, which is F1.4 on my 30mm fixed, and to make up the rest of the exposure on my ISO, hence the ISO of 1000, my shutter speed was left at 1/125th for hand held photography.

The image hasn’t been edited too much, I increaced the exposure compensation by +2 and the contrast also by +2 to acheive the below image, the usually RAW to Tiff converstion took place too.

_DSC2284.jpg

Filename:

MERLS0004.JPG

Metadata:

Work, Dark, Coal, Gritty, Hardwork, Shovel, Cleaner, Cupboard, Steam, Shed, Railway, Hi vis, Worker, Nightshift, Late, Night

Image 5:

This final image shows Andrew fitting a lamp to the rear of one  the engines just before clocking off for the night, this image was taken at around 22:00.

This image as you can see was also taken on shed, the light is extremely scarse in here making photography challenging. The image was shot at 1/100th, F1.4, ISO 6400. Although the image needed to be shot at a wide open apature and high ISO to make up for the exposure whilst hand held at 1/125th, I do still like this image. It has a timeless and gritty feel to it, a feel that captures the environment of the old steam shed well.

This image has only had a +1 contrast added to it, other than that it is straight out of the camera. The image was of course then processed from a RAW file to a Tiff.

_DSC2329.jpg

Filename:

MERLS0005.JPG

Metadata:

Lamp, Oil, Coal, Gritty, Dirt, Hi Vis, Worker, Nightshift, Night, Steam, Engine, Shed, Candid, NYMR, Fitter, Engineer

Lifestyle Photography

Landscape

Introduction:

Landscape photography is something that I’ve always had an interest in, but at the same time something that I’ve never really had the chance to really get into. Now that I have a means of transport it might be something that I take up, as I throughly enjoyed taking all of the following photo’s. If there’s one thing I do need to invest in, it’s filters, I currently own none, but this hasn’t hindered my ability to still take good landscape photographs by using digital manipulation and making the best of my apatures and low ISO capability.

Image 1:

This is the first of three images that I’ll include taken from a trip to Malham, the picture shows the Cove in the background and the River Aire in the foreground. I wanted to get an image of the water running, and looking silky, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to acheie this however without utilizing an ND Filter and a Graduated Tilt Filter. Fortunatley I was able to get over this hurdle by shooting my image at the lowest ISO and smallest apature availible to me.

The image was shot at 1/3 of a second at F18, ISO 50. The apature and ISO have been Selected at what they have been to create a dark environment in which a longer than usual shutter speed can be used to build up tot he correct exposure, thus allowing the intended movement in the water to take place without over exposing the image or using an ND Filter. An apature of F18 isn’t a hinderance here either as we want the full frame to be in focus for this image anyway, and although for some reason my Sony doesn’t like working at ISO 50, technically speaking, this too is beneficial as it creates minimum grain and maximises dynamic range.

During the stage of processing, a digital graduated filter was applied to the sky, to bring out the blue. The Temperature of the image was then boosted by a few degrees Kelvin to bring out the oranges from the setting sun, and finally an aplication of +2 contrast to bring out the tones in the image. The picture was then convereted from a RAW file to a Tiff.

DSC09283_1.jpg

Filename:

MERLD0001.JPG

Metadata:

Landscape, Photography, Long, Exposure, Water, River, Aire, Yorkshire, Malham, Cove, Sunset, Spring, Warm, Colours, Fast, Flowing, Silky

Image 2:

This is probably my favourite of the set, showing the sun just breaking out from behind the clouds and casting rays of light over Malham and the Aire Valley. The river Aire can be seen snaking through the landscape and away into the distance.

The image was taken at 1/13th, F11, ISO 100. The image was shot at F11 to ensure that the entire scene is captured in focus, and ISO of 100 has been used to ensure that I make the most out of my cameras dynamic range, also keeping grain at a minimum and creating a high qaulity image. A shutter speed of 1/13th of a second was used to make up the exposure at my selceted Apature and ISO.

The image wa edited firstly by applying a digital graduated filter, bringing out the detail in the sky, something which would be better done in camera, but as previously mentioned I don’t own a polarising filter or graduated ND. I then put +3 on the contrast slider bringing out tones in the landscape and warmed the image temperature up slightly by a few degrees Kelvin. The image was then converted from a RAW file to a Tiff.

22966345243_e39b78eec2_o.jpg

Filename:

MERLD0002.JPG

Metadata:

Landscape, Photography, Long, Exposure, Water, River, Aire, Yorkshire, Malham, Cove, Sunset, Spring, Warm, Colours, Fast, Flowing, Silky, Sunset, Clouds, Breaking, Limestone

Image 3:

This is the final image from the Malham set that I’ll be putting into the landscape section of this body of work. This image was taken just set back slightly from the edge of the cove, using one of the limestone blocks to lead the eye into the sunset that is revealing itself through the clouds above the Aire Valley.

This image was shot at 1/250th, F6.3 at ISO 250. By this point I’d packed my tripod away, but the sun just breaking out through the clouds with the rocks in the foreground caught my eye, I quicky dialed in a shutter speed that I was happy shooting into the wind with and then chose an apature that would get the whole scene in picture but would keep my ISO below 400. Although the shot was a bit rushed, it’s still one of my favourite from the day, capturing the moment the sun breaks out from behind the cloud.

The image was processed again by using a digital graduated filter to bring out colours and details in the sky that where lost hrough gainng correct exposure of the valley below. The image contrast was then boosted by +3 to bring out tones and details in the landscape, I then boosted the saturation of the image by +1 just to add a little more colour to the picture before finally incresing the image temperature just slightly by a few degrees kelvin to bring out the warmth of the setting sun a little more. After this the image was processed from a RAW file to a Tiff.

DSC09304.jpg

Filename:

MERLD0003.JPG

Metadata:

Landscape, Photography, Long, Exposure, Water, River, Aire, Yorkshire, Malham, Cove, Sunset, Spring, Warm, Colours, Fast, Flowing, Silky, Sunset, Clouds, Breaking, Limestone

Image 4:

The first of two images that I thought I’d included from my recent holiday, this one, is a long exposure of a waterfall taken in Brenner. Brenner is a small town, located on the Italian/Austrian border. The temperature was around -8 degrees here, and the problem of getting snow on the lens was present, it took me a good few attempts to get a clean shot without snow or water on the lens.

The image was shot at 13 seconds, F11, ISO 100. Fortuantley as the evening was getting late and night was just around the corner the lighting here was already quite poor allowing for a nice long exposure without an ND filter. I set the apature to F11 to ensure that the full scene was in focus and to buy me a little more time with the shutter open, creating an even nicer appearence to the flow of water. An ISO of 100 also helped with this, and is also the best ISO for this image, keeping grain low, and qaulity high.

Very little processing was required for this image, I upped the contrast of the image by +1 and then proceeded to warm the image up by a few Kelvins. The image was then ready for converting from a RAW file to a Tiff.

_MER3090.TIF.jpg

Filename:

MERLD0004.JPG

Metadata:

Italy, Austria, Border, Waterfall, Stream, Winter, Feel, Mountains, Brenner, Long, Exposure, Fresh, Water, Silky, Rocks, Conifers

Image 5:

This image shows a vista view of Nice in the south of France, I quite liked the way this imaged was flanked by trees on either side of the image, creating a nice natural frame.

The image was shot at 1/250th, F8, ISO 100. Again, this image was shot at F8 to ensure all in the frame is in good focus and we have a large depth of field, may also be worth mentioning at this point that F8 is also ne of the ‘sweet’ apatures on this lens alongside F4, these two apatures are the ones this particular lens works best at, creating the sharpest images when set to these apatures. The ISO was left at 100 to create a low grain high qaulity image, making the most of the cameras availible dynamic range.

The processing for this image consisted of a graduated filter been applied to the skyline to bring out cloud detail, and a +2 contrast change. The image was then converted from a RAW file to a Tiff.

_MER2440.TIF.jpg

File Name:

MERLD0005.JPG

Metadata:

Nice, France, French, Rivera, Mediterranean, Sea, Beach, Seaside, Town, Urban, Holiday, Resort, Busy, Sun, Warm, Popular

Landscape

Abstract

Introduction:

Abstract photography is yet another area of photography that I’ve never really explored, I don’t suppose I’ve ever really felt a need to up until now, but it’s been interesting looking into what abstract is and having a go for myself.

Image 1.

I quite liked the colours that where availible to me in this shot, when I had abstract in mind I was drawn to the more colourful elements of the genre. This is a pictures showing a red and a yellow Tulip in the garden, nothing more, nothing less, I do like the effect that I’ve used to put an abstract spin on the image though. To do this, I used  a longer shuter speed than what would usually be required and then zoomed in on the object from around 28mm to 50mm. Doing this whilst the camera is exposing creates the effect of speed, and when done on a static object creates the effect shown below.

The method used to create this image has been described above, the exact camera settings are listed here. The image was shot at a 6th of a second at F18, ISO 50. I required a shutter speed of a 6th to give me the exact time I required to allow me to complete the motion of zooming in, an apature as high as F18 and an ISO as low as 50 where required to darken off the image after the prolonged exposure in bright day light.

During the processing of this image I boosted the contrast on the slider by +2 I then converted the file from RAW to a Tiff.

_DSC3516.tif.jpg

File Name:

MERAB0001.JPG

Metadata:

Flower, Tullip, Grass, Garden, Nature, Abstract, Sonic, Speed, Blur, Artistic, Prolonged, Exposure, Colour, Red, Yellow, Green

Image 2:

This image used the same technique as the last to give it that blurred look and to add what looks almost like speed to the image. The picture is in fact a photograph of a bowl full of apples.

The mage was shot at 1.3 seconds at F13, ISO 50. The image was shot in a slightly darker area than the last hence the slightly longer shutter speed and larger apature, other than this however the technique is identical to the last photo.

As is the processing, just a simply application of +2 contrast and the usual converting from RAW to Tiff format.

_DSC3521.tif.jpg

File Name:

MERAB0002.JPG

Metadata:

Apple, Fruit, Bowl, Kitchen, Prolongned, Exposure, Camera, Trickery, Red, Green, Yellow, Abstract, Speed, Blur, Artistic

Image 4:

This image is a bit different from the others, it doesn’t have any effects or camera tricker applied to it, it’s just a picture of a sculpture that is an abstract peice its self. It reminds me of some sort of plan of the solar system in a way, I just thought it was odd, and certinly will have a viewer making up their own minds about what is depicted here.

The image was shot at 1/60th at F3.5, ISO 400. he image was shot indoors without the aid of a tripo hence the settings, a relitively low shutter speed, higher than usual ISO and an apature of F3.5 which is reasonable wide but still ensuring all is in focus.

The processing of this image included the boosting of highlights, +1 saturations and +2 contrast, the image was then processed to a Tiff from the RAW format it was shot in.

_DSC3525.jpg

File Name:

MERAB0003.JPG

Metadata:

Solar, System, Planets, Sculpture, Colour, Highlight, Red, Green, Blue, White, Steel, Metal, Art, Abstract, Artisitic

Image 4:

This image is one showing a close up of the River Aire, at its source near Malham, the image has been edited in a way that makes the viewer have to really lookat the image to decipher what it actually is. The shutter has again been manipulated here, causing the flow of the water to become silky and adding some motion blur to the image. This is also the only image in this entire book that has been processed as a black and white image, a medium I tend not to shoot unless on film. I do feel that this image works considerable better in Black and White than Colour though.

The image was shot at 1/3 of a second, at F22, ISO 50. The lowest ISO I have availble to me, ISO 50 was used here alongside the highest apature F22 to be able to create a situation where a shutter speed high enough to create the effect I desired could be used. In the end I manged to get a speed of 1/3 of a second which was adequte enough time to get the image I was after.

Processing consisted of rotating the image so that the flow of water is running in an unnatural way from the bottom left of the frame diagionally upwards toward the top right of the frame. This was done to create a sense of unaturalness. The image was then processed black and white and the contrast boosted by +4 on the slider to give off strong black and white tones. After this the image was convereted from a RAW file to a Tiff.

DSC09260.jpg

File Name:

MERAB0004.JPG

Metadata:

Black, White, Monochrome, Water, Stream, Long, Exposure, Malham, River, Aire, Cove, Zoom, Effect, Natural, Nature, Art

Image 5:

This image is another one that I took at Malham, right underneath the Cove itself this time. It shows a tree at an unatural angle looking as though it’s fighting against the Cove to reach the sky.

This image was shot at 1/200th, F5 at ISO 400. The image was hand held and in quite a dark area under the Cove, the Shutter speed is 1/200th for stability in the wind and an apature of F5 to ensure the tree is perfectly in focus, top to bottom but the Cove its self is just out of focus, making the tree the attention of the viewers eye.

This image was processed by applying a cross processed film style filter onto it and by ajusting the contrast by +4, this gives the image an almost holga/lomography style look to it, just without the vingetting, due to it’s contrasty blue appearence.

DSC09272.jpg

File Name:

MERAB0005.JPG

Metadata:

Tree, Branches, Cliff, Cove, Blue, Lomo, Lomography, Effect, Sprawling, Sky, Line, Nature, Natural, Art, Abstract

Abstract

Studio Portraiture

Introduction:

Studio portraiture is something that is totally new to me, I’ve taken portraits of people before, but as a rule only in a working environment. Taking images in a controlled environment should, technically, be easier than taking portraits of people usuing only naturally sourced light, the task still seemed somewhat daunting to me though. Fortunatly a quick look into how studio photography works in lecture and an overview on how to make the most of flash and studio lighting helped boost my confidence, and I felt ready to have a go at shooting studio portraits. Still, as this was my first time doing this sort of shoot, I felt more comfortable shooting my familly, so what you see below will be a list of five familly portraits. I chose a marbled background to add some texture and used a diffused lamp set off to my left to cast a light onto one side of the studio creating a nice soft cast of light across the faces of the subjects. All of the images where shot on a 50mm prime.

Shooting description:

The images where shot at 1/160th, F2.8, ISO 200. I shot the images at F2.8 for two reasons, the first that I wanted to give the background a marbled look and the second because I wanted the subject to stand out and clearly dominate the frame. I made sure that the eyes and face where in focus, then allowing the focus to fade out around the ears and off into the background. This, then captures the looks and emotions on the subjects face. As said in the introduction a light source was used to the right of the subject (my left) to cast a light across the face of the subject giving a nice glow to one side of the face and creating a contrast between both sides of the face. The backing light was simply a mixture of an open window alowing in natural light and a heavilly diffused foward firing flash set up on a tripod, the flash was used litterally just to get some light on the right side of the subjects face and create a slight glint in the eyes. This process was then repeated for the following four portraits.

During the processing stage some work was done just tweaking the highlights ever so slightly on each image so that they looked natural on each indivigual, the images where also cropped where required and a boost of +2 contrast placed on each portrait just to boost the facial shadows and tones. The images where then converted from RAW to Tiff format.

Image 1:

The first image is of my Dad, he’s wearing his work uniform which to me adds a little to the portrait, it shows what he does for a living and that he’s proud of that job.

_MER4296.jpg

File Name:

MERFP0001.JPG

Metadata:

Dad, Family, Drax, Power, Station, Employee, Worker, Blue, Shirt, Portrait, Nikon, Df, 50mm, F1.8D, Studio, Photography, Portraiture

Image 2:

This second photo is taken on the same settings as the first, the subject is my Mum, the same appoach was taken during processing, ensure elements such as white balence reminded the same allowing images to work well together as a set.

_MER4305

Filename:

MERFP0002.JPG

Metadata:

Mum, Mother, Family, Portrait, Studio, Portraiture, Nikon, Df, 50mm, F1.8, Knitted, Cotton, Jumper, Smile, Happy

Image 3:

My sister, again shot and processed in the same way to keep up continuity.

_MER4302

Filename:

MERFP0003.JPG

Metadata:

Sister, Familly, Portrait, Grey, Jumper, Blonde, Hair, Nikon, Df, 50mm, F1.8, Smile, Happy, Flash, Lighting, Studio

Image 4:

Mother and Daughter…

_MER4312

File Name:

MERFP0004.JPG

Metadata:

Mother, Daughter, Familly, Portrait, Portraiture, Studio, Photography, Happy, Smiles, Nikon, Df, 50mm, F1.8, Lihting, Highlights, Flash

Image 5:

And finally, one of my sister, with the familly pet, Terry.

_MER4313

Filename:

MERFP0005.JPG

Metadata:

Sister, Pet, Dog, Animal, Terry, Cute, Family, Portrait, Studio, Photography, Watch, Gold, White, Terrier, Nikon, Df

Studio Portraiture

Still Life Photography

Introduction:

Still life photography was a style of photography that I didn’t think I was familiar with upon first hearing the term, however after a little research it appears that I’ve been creating still life unknowingly for quite some time. I often photograph uninhabited buildings and as part of this also the items that are left behind, I’ll usually rearrange these items into a composition showing the viewer what’s left behind.

I decided initially however that I’d like to do something a little different to this, but still along the theme of ‘the abandoned’ as it’s something that fascinates me personally. After some research I came across the work of Czech artist Jakub Hadrava who placed figurines of ghosts in a dilapidated chapel in the Czech Republic. This was an idea that instantly inspired me, and I decided I’d set to work trying to figure out how I could make my own interpretation of his work. Finding a suitable location was easy for me, abandoned locations are something that I have a constant eye on and a rather extensive catalogue of, I decided I’d use Lawrence Street Methodist Chapel in Liverpool as my back drop. The chapel looks fantastic, it’s a slightly foreign looking design looking more European than most British Churches and is decayed rather beautifully after decades of dereliction. My issues arose however when it came to the figurines themselves, I just couldn’t get them to look Human enough, no matter how hard I tried them simply just looked like columns with sheets draped over them, even with people under the covers they didn’t look as effective as I’d hoped so this idea sadly had to be put to one side.

I still wanted to include Lawrence street chapel in this work however, so I decided that I’d re-think what I could do, and decided that I’d create a series of images showing items in their environments. It’s a similar idea to that of photographing what remains, however the items are not necessarily left overs, some have been added as props in an environment that dipects where these items would usually be found.

Photography

1. Lawrence Street Methodist Chapel, Liverpool

Starting off with Lawrence Street Methodist Chapel, where I originally wanted to do my set  of five’ghosts’ images, it is a real shame I couldn’t get those mannequins to look the part, the vision of them sat amongst the pews still looks great in my head. Anyway, shot one was taken from up on the priests stand looking out over the chapel. I didn’t need to bring any items with me to this one, the bible was still sat up on the lectern and a bottle of Holy water was also found in the basement and placed alongside it.

The lighting for this image is a mixture of three elements, natural light from the windows, plus a torch lighting the lectern with the Bible and Holy water in the foreground, as well as a spotlight used to light paint the rest of the chapel in the background. Both torches were diffused using toilet paper, perhaps not the most professional way of doing things, but it works when you’re on a budget! The light hitting the Bible and Holy water was a harder light than the soft light used in the background, this was intentional with the hope of a harder light in the foreground attracting the eyes. The image was shot at F4 for 30s at ISO 400. Ideally this image would have been shot at a lower ISO and for a longer duration of time, however I don’t yet own a self release timer for my Sony so a compromise had to be made. That said, shooting at ISO 400 although not ideal isn’t too big an issue on my A77MkII, Grain only really begins to become apparent at an excess of ISO 600. An Apature of F4 was chosen as this keeps the background details recognisable although clearly slightly hazy at 16mm (Crop Sensor) but ensures the Bible and Holy water are pin sharp and standing out from the background, meaning the eyes are brought in straight to these items.

Processing as a RAW file, the image was first given a slight crop to ensure the view of the building was as symmetrical as possible, after this the highlights were dropped as the light from outside had began to burn the window detail out ever so slightly. After this the saturation was boosted +1 just liven the image up a little. The image was then saved as a TIFF, and loaded into photo shop where the burn tool was used on words ‘Holy Bible’ just to allow them to stand out a little more, the image was once again saved as a TIFF, and if how you see it now below. Of course for print the Image would have its colour space changed from Adobe RGB to CMYK and be converted to a JPEG file.

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Lawrence Street Methodist Chapel – ISO 400, F4, 30s – RAW, Adobe RGB.

Filename:

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Metadata:

St Lawrence, Methodist, Chapel, Religion, Abandoned, Derelict, Holy, Bible, Water, Night, Long, Exposure, Dilapidated, Liverpool, Merseyside, Urban, City

2. Conisborough Drift Mine

This photograph proved harder to create than it may at first seem, the drift mine is located around half a mile from the nearest parking, which may not sound far but when carrying a bag full of props,camera, lighting and safety equipment soon begins to feel a lot further than it actually is. Access to the mine is a squeeze too, requiring getting on your belly and squeezing in! Once inside conditions are only worse, with the mine being a Victorian drift the passages are tight, the majority of the journey being made crouched down in pitch blackness. I wanted to recreate a typical mining scene by placing my props, a donkey jacket, lamp and tea-pot in one of the brick lined sections of the mine.

Photography proved a challenge in here, shooting in pitch blackness with only the lighting you’ve brought with you can prove a pain and many attempts were made before I was happy I’d created the image I wanted. Two light were used, again, both of them diffused with toilet paper, the first light was used to paint in the lamp jacket and tea-pot, the second was set up in a static position and fired in 3,5 second bursts to light up the working.The second lamp was left in a static position so that shadows would be cast in the working and also so that shadows from the props would be cast on the wall in my opinion adding to the image. The image was shot at ISO200, F5.6 for 30s at 35mm. I shot the image at 35mm with the intention of being able to show the drift working itself but still having my props as the main and central piece that the eye is attracted too. The image was shot at F5.6 again with the intention of making the background slightly hazy but keeping the props sharp, this way background details and the environment can be made out but the centerpiece is still clear. ISO 200 was again chosen over ISO 100 as a substitute to being limited to 30s exposures.

Processing on this image consisted of dropping the highlights and boosting the contrast by +1 as a RAW file, the image was then saved as a TIFF and a high quality JPEG.

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Conisborough Drift Mine, – ISO200, F.5.6, 30s – Adobe RGB, RAW

Filename:

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Metadata:

Conisborough, South, Yorkshire, Drift, Mine, Eccles, Oil, Lamp, Donkey, Jacket, Copper, Kettle, Underground, Long, Exposure, Abandoned, Explore

3. Photographers set up, Home

Following on the theme of objects in their environment I thought I’d create a set up in my front room showing some of my vintage gear that I often shoot with. I’m fortunate enough to live in a house that was constructed in 1938, which helped add to the old school feel of the shoot, the Nikon S-2 Rangfinder camera is, in-fact the most modern item in this photograph. Alongside it is a Gaumont Kalee Projection lens built in 1940.

This scene was shot at ISO 200, F11, for 1/10s at 30mm. I chose to shoot the scene at F11 to ensure that the full image was in clear focus at 30mm, I chose to shoot at 30mm as this is the most zoom that I could acheive in the room with my back to the wall, I wanted some zoom to compress the image and give it a more closer to real life perspective ie. limiting distortion. The image was shot at ISO 200 as opposed to ISO 100 because I couldn’t get my tripod into the room sadly due to limited space, however with a quick boost to ISO 200 I found I could take the shot laid down on some cushions with my breath held at 1/10th of a second. All shot in natural light.

The processing of this image consisted of a small crop, +1 saturation and a slight boost of the image temperature, I didn’t record by exactly how many degrees kelvin but until the image looked correct by eyesight. After this the usually converting of the RAW file to a TIFF took place.

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Filename:

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Metadata:

Nikon, S2, Rangefinder, Camera, Leather, Brown, Back, SB-5, Old, Newspaper, Advert, Retro, Lens, Projection, Brass, Fire, Place

4. Life on the Conveyors, Ferrybridge ‘C’ Power Station

The theme of objects in their environments was complemented through visits to places of industry, in this visit, to Ferrybridge Power Station I was confonted by this lone shovel. To me this presented itself as a sort of absence of presence photograph, an idea that I tend to be drawn to photographically especially in places such as this that have just recently been closed down.

This image was shot at 1/100th, F1.7 at ISO 1600. Conditions in here, as you can imagine weren’t ideal for photography, however I am actually rather pleased with how this photo’s turned out. I knew that I wanted a shallow depth of field anyway, so shooting at F1.7 on my 30mm prime lens wasn’t an issue, and on a body like the Sony A77MKII shooting at ISO 1600, although not ideal, is nothing the camera can’t handle. The image has all the elements I intended to be sharp and infocus, sharp and in focus, and although there is some surface grain I beleive that it is quite complimentary to the image as it was taken in a dark and gritty environment anyway. The grain, if anything adds to this image giving it a gritty texture and feel.

In processing this image had the shadows lifted considerable, to bering out hidding details in the conveyor belts and walls, and then had the contrast boosted by +2 on the slider, just enough to add depth and tones to the shaows and to hide away areas of heavy grain build up. After this, I applied a filter called ‘Ortonish’ to the image and then faded the impact of the filter to around 10%, it’s hardly noticable, but it brigs out the oranges and blues a little more, and just darkens off the edges hiding a the remaining remnants of high grain build up. I don’t usually like to use filters on my images, but in situations like this, I find they do have their place. The image was then convereted from a RAW file to a Tiff.

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Filename:

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Metadata:

Conveyor, Belt, Coal, Preparation, Feeder, Shovel, Grit, Dirt, Dark, Industry, Ferrybridge, ‘C’, Power, Station, Shut, Down

Image 5:

Finally to conclude the still life section is another scene that I simply came across, all I had to do here was a quick tidy up, placing the boots together and hanging the shorts which where on the ground up on the locker. The scene is taken in the Bath House at Maltby Colliery, a now derelict area  that was once one of Britians last remaining deep coal mines. This image really hits home with me, when you interpret what you see before you as not just a pile of personal belongings but a mans entire career and lifestyle, left abandoned…

This image was taken at an 8th, F2.8 ISO 100. I wanted the image to have a shallow depth of field at its edge where the window can be seen to the right. I wanted this as I wanted the viewers main attention to be given to the objects on the bench and the lockers themselves. F2.8 gave me just the right amount of depth to do this with, as you can see the green painted wall on the side of the bath house and the window itself are not in sharp focus. The green wall and windown do add to the composition however hence they are still included. An ISO of 100 was selected to give me maximum qaulity, and the shutter speed of an 8th of a second to make up the exposure at may chosen apature and ISO.

During processing the image had the Contrast boosted by +2 on the slider and was then converted from a RAW file to a Tiff.

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Filename:

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Metadata:

Maltby, Colliery, Pit, Mine, Abandoned, Closed, Down, Industry, Coal, Dirt, Locker, Boots, Books, Leftovers, Personal, Belongings

 

Still Life Photography