Photography Tips #16: 7 Easy Rules of Composition

It’s been a while since I’ve written about photography and it is still one of the biggest parts of my life… so here are some of the things I have learnt over the past 8 years.
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Photography composition takes a beautiful photo and makes it great. It also makes you slow down the snapping and get you to think about the subject and also what you are trying to convey. After all, photography is a form of art, and a great work of art does indeed take time. That is part of the beauty of it.

1) Don’t Restrict Yourself to Landscape.

The only things that should ever be kept landscape is phone pictures and video. Then again these are just unspoken rules, but vines would have looked so much better if people just turned their phone 90 degrees to fill the screen.
Using a Vertical format for a landscape image does something magical to a subject.

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Aberystwyth Jetty, Ceredigion, UK – July 2016, Canon 6D 70-200mm f/2.8
In Landscape photography it is expected that you deliver landscape shots. However, to make your photography have an impact, there needs to be an element of the unexpected.
Additionally, a vertical frame gives you a taller area to deal with the foreground and the background. This really got me with seascapes, especially as sunset as it meant that I could pull down the colours of the sky and pull up the colours of the sea to create this balanced equinox of blue sky, blue sea melded with the sun’s evening display.

2) Lines!

 Lines are hands down my favourite thing to photograph. If you look at works by Rodchenko and the way he use lines in his black and white photographs, you may too be converted to the line life.
ALEXANDER RODCHENKO 1930
Aleksander Rodchenko 1930
Straight lines can be beautiful, but don’t limit yourself there! Try to find a converging point, get lower to the ground and take the risk of getting a bit dusty for a shot. Or just try out several framings for a certain line. Find a line that makes your eyes follow into the depth of your image.
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Adriana, Byward Locks, Ottawa – Canon 6D 50mm f/1.8
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HardKnott Fort, Cumbria, August 2017 – Lumix G7 (standard kit lens)
A good way to start with lines is to find a good building and play around with the lines against the sky or finding the lines within the building itself and take many many photos of different compositions to see for yourself what works best for you. Back in 2011 I did this in a Sainsbury’s Carpark in the UK and found some crazy shapes and lines I didn’t think I could find in a carpark!

3) Patterns & Symmetry

We are drawn to balance. This is what makes patterns and symmetry so powerful in any form of art, whether it is written word, traditional art, photography or even music. Patterns can be found in anything from manmade materials such as fences, buildings and pathways or naturally occurring such as plants, landscape and skylines.

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Llandudno

In this example of the pier in Llandudno the use of leading lines only emphasises the symmetry of the pier. What makes me really happy about this photo is the colour palette of muted blue and grey that balances the symmetrical properties. (Of course this is just an individual opinion and some may not like the balance and colours of this image, but of course art is individual and the artist does indeed know best 90% of the time.

4) Negative Space

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Le Mont Saint Micheal, France – Canon 6D, 18-40mm f/4.0

Negative space can be anything from a plain blue sky to a low aperture mush of colour. It is space that is not filled. We want to focus on a single subject the majority of time so use this to your advantage. Arguably you can use patterns as a negative space element, so long as it does not detract from the main visual, you’re good.

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Lake Windemere, UK – Canon 6D 24-105mm f/4.0
Don’t be afraid to use backgrounds as well like block colours, walls, floor for negative space with a subject. Also filling the frame with the subject/object can also have an effect much the same as negative space.

5) Natural Frames

Let things get in the way once in a while. Sometimes not having a “clear shot” is more interesting. While trawling the internet for examples of frame shots its always pictures of people in doorways and windows and I feel thats not a natural frame. Sure it looks cool and creates a frame in the photo, but it is not the kinda image that challenges the artist to get.

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Blue Planet Aquarium, Ellesmere Port, UK – Canon 6D 50mm f/1.8

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Lake Windemere, UK, Canon 6D 24-105mm f/4.0

6) Focus Focus Focus

Where is the focus at? Are you concentrating on something close up or far away, and if so what levels of depth does your potential subject have? In this instance, take off the auto focus on your lens and really get in tune with what you want to capture.

 

7) Make Mistakes

This may seem like a stupid point, but I can not implore how important it is to f*ck up once in a while. If you don’t then how do you know you have grown or improved? There needs to be the balance of amazing yourself at what you can do as well as having the ability to review your work and realise what you can do better or what needs to be improved on.

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Normal Canadian Things I Find Weird #3

And so the saga continues. After being introduced to various aspects of coffee in Europe, see back to my Café and the Continent Post, I thought it may be good to share my thoughts on the Canada Coffee culture as its certainly…. different.
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Normal Canadian Things I Find Weird #3 Canadian Coffee Culture

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So I can not say Briony anymore when it comes to ordering coffee at starbucks as no one can spell it so I go for Molly. Which isn’t always heard right…

Ordering Coffee – The Fast Food Coffee

(Not sure if this is just an anxiously awkward me thing or something others have faced as fearful foreigners.) 

Ordering coffee is a simple transaction. This statement has been challenging to me for a few months of being in Canada. Some uniquely Canadian thing, you can not escape from is the Double Double. What is a Double Double? It happens to be a coffee served with 2 cream and 2 sugar. Logical, if you understand the ordering system in this country. I wondered for a while why people would perpetually give me the funny look when I just wanted coffee.

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What I did not know is that in most places in Canada that do the coffee put the milk or cream and sugar in while they make it for you. This is madness. As someone who is used to getting the coffee and faffing about with sugar packets its completely mind blowing. More words to say at the cashier?! Outrageous. 
However, I understand the reasoning behind the order the sugar and milk; it does save the individual the faffing time… yet it is still a concept I need to get used to. And admittedly it does stop the days where you accidentally pour the sugar in the bin, and the paper into your coffee. This does happen more often than I would like to admit…

Roll Up the Rim Season

I mentioned this briefly in my previous post and I don’t understand the hype behind it. It’s all about the chance of winning – winning a doughnut, a coffee of a Honda Civic on a years lease. As I don’t understand it I asked my Canadian friends their thoughts…

“Roll up the rim is a Canadian classic, a Canadian pass time and overall a gamble to begin your day. Even though the coffee may be anywhere from weak coffee like water to week old cigarette butts juice the gamble of getting another coffee or pastry keeps us going.” – Mirre

I am like the wrong person to ask haha I hate Tim Horton’s! Even when I go and its roll up the rim I still get cold drinks. But I think people like it because it is cheap and good (I guess). And People love Roll up cause its like the chance to win on something you would probably buy anyway. It’s like if tampons came with a prize people would be like – This makes buying these more enjoyable hahaha – Maggie

I tried this phenomenon and did not win anything. Plus the whole concept of rim rolling is confusing and not easy to do if you haven’t heard of it before. Where is this hidden message? How do I unravel the secrets of the cup? One should not overthink these things.

The Rival $1 Coffee

So what I noticed while this whole rolling rim shenanigans is going on, across the road in McDonalds, there is a $1 coffee promotion. Coffee for $1. Thats basically 55p. Why would you go in for a roll lot of disappointment when you can have a large $1 coffee that actually tastes nice? Additionally you can collect the stickers on the cups so when the season is over you have copious amounts of free coffee. Thats a win win situation!

Cafeteria Coffee

I’m not sure if this is just an Algonquin College thing, but it kinda blew my mind. So there is a large variety of flavoured coffee. Not like vanilla lattes and caramel macchiatos… Nay, as in its flavoured coffee beans and that is something I’m not used to seeing regularly. I’m sure it exists elsewhere in the world but not as open as this.

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Some fancy coffee art from Bridgehead

*And finally*

French Vanilla

Why do we not have this back in the UK; and when we can get it, why is it so expensive?! I don’t know exactly what is in french vanilla, except for the vanilla of course, but it is pretty much a hot drink that rivals the godly status of hot chocolate on a cold rainy day. I suggest to anyone who like sweet things to go out of their way to try french vanilla as they will not be disappointed.

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I am an avid coffee drinker, and these weird Canadian coffee credentials seem to make the experience smoother and more enjoyable so I don’t think I can complain too much!
Thanks for reading and enjoy the nice weather before 6th winter comes!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

Photography Tips #13: Prone to Target

*Little Blog Post on life and photography*

Archery is not my first target sport. You could say that when I was younger I was attacked by paper, so now I shoot it in various ways, but to totally honest I don’t know why I do target sports.

It all began back in the day of the skinny weird teenager me. I was introduced to rifle shooting, firstly by air rifle and later to .22. Every Friday was taken up by shooting tiny targets at 25 yards with a rifle that was more like to do damage by using as a club than as its manufactured use. For the first few years of my shooting life, I was, I admit, convinced the only safe and practical way to shoot a rifle was lying down. Yes, it is a very safe way of shooting and arguably the stabilist way to shoot, but it is not the only way. Proof that I was not a smart child…

From Friday prone shooting, I moved to Monday Sports shooting. By the time I was 17, my parents got me the best gift I could ask for at the time; my very own Ruger 10/22. Nothing flashy, just a .22 sporting rifle perfect for the competitions I endeavoured to compete in. (disclaimer: By this point I did have a Firearms Certificate and been part of the club for around 3 years, so my parents weren’t being irresponsible. If anything they were encouraging me in a sport I was starting to flourish in.)

With my rifle club, there was opportunity to shoot larger calibers at longer distances bi-annually at the NRA shooting ground. These competitions were a bit of fun, nothing serious and a way to be introduced into full bore and the fun side of target shooting. Usually I participate when I’m free but the recent years have seen my time for rifle shooting dwindle, being replaced with archery, photography and just adult life.

Target shooting is a sport that relaxes me. It’s a hobby where you can do as much or as little as you like, for example I know many people who load their own rounds, and I know people who prefer to buy them. I know people who shoot for fun, a way to just socialise, let their stress out and people who are all for competitions. The range of people you get is astounding – different backgrounds, jobs, lives and even nationalities, it’s not just a sport for people burdened with money. (Although it does help sometimes).

Thats about it for my shooting love, looking forward to getting the time to get back into shooting!

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The photo bit that y’all came for…

I’ve reverted back to the 6D for shoots where there is no need for a fast shutter as it is a superior camera. (my own opinion.)

So the shoot was on a relatively overcast day, nothing too white-out grey horror show all photographers fear, but close. Due to the way I was taking pictures however, the sky wasn’t a main feature or focus. Mainly because shooting is a lying down sport.

Another thing about shooting is that it lacks a lot of motion so there isn’t going to be epic running shots or jumps. It’s just lying there, squeezing a trigger and reloading. I also found that people prefer the upper body shots (camera not gun) to whole body shots mainly because it can be awkward. My golden rule of 45 degrees works in this instance too!

Have a great day, thanks for the read and take a look at my things!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

Photography Tips #12: Weddings

I’ve freaked myself out over wedding photography. After honing my instagram feed to inspirational photographers (who obviously use many assistants and lighting apparatus) I am geared up to add Briony-Molly Photography to the inspiring list. Alas – I do not have a plethora of assistants or a comprehensive flash, let alone an ample lighting set. Good start.
However, what I do have is a Canon 6d with a f/1.8 50mm lens and a 7dii with a f/4.0 17-40mm or 25-105mm lens. The 7dii needs a flash regardless of the lighting indoors which is not great, but the 6d can work without flash to very low lighting. Bit of an odd pairing but it works!

As I’ve only ever been to 3 weddings one being family and the others being a plus one to the other half, so I had no idea about weddings from a photographers angle. I think I read wayyy too many posts on how to make the special day magical, how to work the lighting, how to organise the day and it just disorganised me more. If anything it’s furthered my ambition to work with horses more, as a wave of a cap gets their full attention.

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Here’s my ideal run of doing wedding photography

Consultation

It may be a Briony-thing but I prefer to meet people before I have a shoot with them. Albeit an hour before with a cuppa and a biscuit, getting to know the subjects and what they want to achieve out of my presence is somewhat imperative.
Say a couple want to have a documentary style or a more alternative style; you need to know this. Some couples may want more black and white. Some may just want the staged family shots. One thing is right out all the things you can do and get them to say what they prefer and want. People love choice. Its worked so far for me…

Be Prepared

Like any photography situation you need to be prepared. But in this case, have spare batteries in pockets and at least two cameras ready to take the candid f/1.8 shots and the more wide angle group shots. With the venue, do the research- visit it if possible to scope out the good natural light and the pretty spots. Maybe even google the venue and weddings to see what others have done – proof of my initial cluenessless.

Lighting changes constantly, so do people so be agile!

Be Bold
Confidence is key. Relatives and alcohol is not a great mix so stand your ground be firm but nice and get people in the shots. Tell people to move and take multiple shots until you are happy. They will thank you later.

Have Fun
Don’t do a Briony and worry yourself over nothing. Getting stressed shows in your work. The more relaxed and fun you are having will reflect in your work when you are in post-production.

Be Yourself
We all have a unique style so don’t try and be someone else. People hire you for you not someone else so if they want a certain twist then thats acceptable but if you physically can not do someone else’s style, don’t do it and be clear to them about that.

Don’t worry, smile, get a coffee on the go and have a chill day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

Varsity 2017

As with most other universities across the U.K. Aberystwyth engages with their rivals Bangor in annual sports-day-esque event known as Varsity. Each Uni bi-annually hosts the competition, seeing the likes of sports and societies alike to put forward their best and brightest to win the beloved silverware. This year Aberystwyth hosted the competition inviting around 50 sports clubs to the Aberystwyth area to compete over a week.
As an avid sports photographer of course I wouldn’t miss this opportunity to run about, or in my case walk briskly, with my camera to get all the sports on my cards.

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Saturday I managed to get solid pictures of American Football, Lacrosse, Rugby and Football. A good mix and an enjoyable selection. This is my personal experience.

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What irritates me most however about Varsity is the the sideline “Banter.” There is a line between a joke and a couple of jeers on the other side and then full out discrimination. Last year Aber was faced with Bangor students throwing carrots and bananas at a rugby player and reports of many racial and homophobic slurs also agitated the Aber sides. This year after being told relentlessly to keep it civil, the banter from Aber has been a lot more tame than last year with British insults like “Bangor uses tea bags twice” replacing the more aggressive attacks.
However the retaliation from Bangor on the sidelines especially from their ladies lacrosse was vile towards the players and spectators, especially shouted through a megaphone.

Personally I heard someone from the other uni telling Aber students to “go kill yourselves” as we are at a sh*t university. A little harsh and non-understanding when the sole cause of our and their varsity kits is to a foundation Stephan Socks after a student who unfortunately did not have the support in mental health issues and tragically took his own life last year. This type of behaviour is more than despicable and personally I expected better than that from Students who are supposedly adults aged 18+. This kind of behaviour I expect from teenagers in high school or online. Disgusted. Not only this but fights broke out both on and off the rugby pitch, to be expected in the sport, but the blood was definitely boiling between the Universities.

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This is why I didn’t compete myself in Archery, as in previous years I’ve felt intimidated in the wrong way. Intimidation in sports is a usual concept, the side is larger than you, better than you; its all the norm in competitions, it’s a normal feeling. Being intimidated by aggression is not. I’d much rather blackout away from the world with my camera to get action shots than be apart of an aggressive crowd or be engaging in an uneasy match.

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All this being said I did enjoy my time at Varsity, as amongst the idiots in the crowd there are still humans that are there for their team, there to watch a good game,console with the losing side and celebrate with the victors. This was apparent in both Aber and Bangor sides alike, and I must say that I’m not saying all the spectators from Bangor were out to hurl insults and discriminate. Bangors overall victory in sports is disheartening for Aber, but our victories in Rugby makes us a proud Welsh University.

Shout out to Aber mens LAX and Tarannau for being superstar teams this last season. It’s been a pleasure taking pics for you!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography Tips #11: Capturing a Performance

There is nothing I like more than lying on the floor not having to worry about things. Maybe my nihilist approach to life does have its benefits as the angle from the floor under theatre lights does something magical for me. Living by the 45 degree rule in photography and by application the rest of my life, finding that the 45 degree rule is 3D just opens up to a new corridor of opportunity.

I’ve written a lot about the golden 45 degree rule, having the mid point between profile and portrait that gives the depth of 3D. In show jumping I love using this angle as it gets the height of the jump, the folding of the horse and rider as well as the length of the horse in it’s leap. This applied in non-sport photography in my opinion isn’t as great. Portrait photos you want portrait, or profile traditionally. Most people I’ve worked with prefer the traditional shots I’ve taken. Maybe this is due to them being within my comfort zone and therefore I excel at it. Again I need to listen to my own advice here of practice makes perfect.

Working with the university sports teams opened the door to working with the university societies. Last week I had the pleasure of working with the Nomadic Players, a drama and theatre society. Their choice of performance was A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Being an adaptation from a book, and being a famous cult film directed by Stanley Kubrick, there is alot of room for interpretation of the ‘Ultra Violence.’ The story line consists of alot of violence that was tastefully portrayed and implied by the Nomadic players, pulling the comedic roles and lines in an absurd contrast to the serious.

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Cue my lying on the floor. Luckily, I was able to attend the dress rehearsal and the final performance, the dress rehearsal giving me free reign on where I could go to interact with the actors with my camera and the performance giving the actors free reign of the stage, props and their abilities.

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Although I was still working on the best settings for the constant changing light, you can see the lower angle, it gets the whole body and action as well as the intimidating effect the actors are imposing.

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The lower angle works nicely in the theatre to get the lights behind the actors and create dramatic scenes recapitulating the theatre in a still image.

Lighting is one of the essential components of the arts. Photography has to work around this art platform and utilise what it is given to produce incredible results. The contrast the theatre gives to lighting with the background, ceiling and floor being mainly black, is incredible.

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Onto the photography nitty gritty, tips and tricks and what I’ve learnt from my thespian photography immersion.

Be prepared for sudden light changes from low light to bright light without a seconds notice.

Theatre lights make the scene. So the scene’s will change in lighting rapidly to add effect. In this case there is alot of change of lighting up at the back and low light at the front. Or spot lights on certain points of the stage. To combat this I kept my camera on the Tv (shutter) priority function with an auto ISO setting running up to 6400 and an aperture range of f/1.8-4.0. This allowed me to focus on the shutter speed to change it quickly in these low light/high light situation.

It’s a constantly moving machine. Don’t be afraid to take a lot of shots.

Even when it is quiet, don’t worry about the noise your shutter makes. You’re there to take photos, so take them! Also don’t be afraid of using a continuous shutter in the scenes that get a bit rowdy.

It’s a full body experience.

Theatre is all about body language. Actors exude characters out of every pore. Don’t just focus on their face, as gestures add to the performance and a headshot may lose this vital aspect.

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Theatre is an experiment of emotions. Don’t be afraid to experiment along the way with dynamic edits including high contrast black and white. Although black and white can either make or break an image, and ideally it is the consumer’s opinion that matters the most.

As always, enjoy yourself and don’t get stressed if it isn’t working out. Just take a breather, look over what you’re doing and start again. It’s not the end of the world. You got this.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

Bad Life Decisions: Vegan January

After just a couple of weeks into the vegan January experience I’ve had to call it off. The diet change has made me particularly ill and unfortunately means I can’t continue as I planned.

However in my time of vegan meals I’ve discovered a few things that has made me come to respect the vegan community a bit more.

  • 1 – It’s very difficult in today’s society

So looking round Tesco for affordable vegan meals took twice the time as a usual shop. The things you don’t usually think about containing animal produce somehow does contain it as a preservative or as a flavouring. Flapjacks for instance, that’s just oats and syrup right? Wrong. It has condensed milk and milk based flavouring. It doesn’t need to be that convoluted!

  • 2 – It’s not cheap

As a student on an exceedingly tight budget I like to try and make the pennies go as far as possible. The budget stuff however contains again the unnecessarily animal ingredients that are under 1%. You can’t get away from it unless you make everything yourself from scratch. This again means buying separate fresh ingredients that are perishable and usually more expensive. True it is healthier for you but costly on a tight student budget.

  • 3 – It’s a lot more effort

Due to the nature of buying separate food this leads on nicely to my next point. Preparation and Effort for meals is extended. Instant food is for the carnivore and now the vegetarian, but vegans are still in the dark with a selection of cheap microwave meals or oven easy meals. Quorn have come out with a new Vegan range, but again this still leads to extra prep.

  • 4 – Restaurants

Being a Vegetarian gives you limitations at restaurants. Being Vegan leaves you with maybe one choice of salad, but then that can’t be guaranteed as vegan as it doesn’t have the V approval. Or the Chef can’t guarantee the lack of animal ingredients. But go to a Vegan friendly restaurant and the prices shoot up. It’s either a lettuce leaf for an okay price or a meal for a month of rent.


Some bad things I noticed with the Vegan Diet

  • Taking Vitamins and Minerals

If you aren’t doing the diet properly properly and not measuring out the proteins, carbs and fibre properly vitamin and mineral tablets won’t help you. Without the right intake of all these your body is going to start to disagree with you. I’m sure there are many people out there who are okay with this diet but my body disagrees completely.

  • Drastic weight loss

I’m not the skinniest or the fattest of people, but I noticed a deterioration after a week. I feel less energised and less motivated. I have definitely noticed weight loss even without weighing myself as my once right fitting jeans are too big.

  • More snacking

I am not a snacking person but with this diet I am not satisfied with my meals and find myself eating more snack food throughout the day. I’m not okay with this.


Health Benefits?

Personally i didn’t notice any. If anything it’s made my RA a bit worse, I feel less motivated and good about myself and constantly drained. I think it’s time to get back to the chicken stock soup and get my health back up to speed.

 

Thanks for reading and have a good day!

Business Business

Its December meaning that the rush of Christmas has suddenly become that of a reality. Work load has picked up both in and out of uni and the Christmas spirit has graced its presence.
But amongst the chaos of meals, presents and chaotic shopping, the season gives us magical lights, the cold weather a frosty glow and the crisp cold air that leaves your breath hanging for a few seconds. With the nights getting longer, the weather worsening, you would think it would be best to take it easy, relax with some trashy TV or over a cup of hot chocolate. Alas, the work load increases, the rush and bustle of holiday shoppers storm work places and the demand for everything ascends to the height only Christmas can bring.

For me, as a photographer I get a flurry of bookings from Christmas meals, portraits and commissioned landscape work. Also many queries of prints and digital purchase. While this is fantastic news to me, validating my self-made business and increasing my audience and talent, it does also mean I have to weave some magic into creating a play hard, work harder routine. If this wasn’t the only issue, also finding the time for outdoor shoots with nice weather become as particular challenge.

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Even with the rush and extra work in all areas, the longer nights and shorter days hold more colour and joy than any other time in the darker months. The days start in explosions of violets, pinks and crisp blues and end in fiery flames and clouds of starlings. The nights hold millions of tiny stars decorating, trees, lamp posts and winding streets, illuminating the flushed faces of people going home.

My personal favourite thing about any art, over all the materials is light. Light gives everything character and realism. So this time of year brings me immense joy with the extra lights framing doorways and highlighting of buildings and trees.

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Night photography is a little more challenging than in the day time, the issue of course being the lack of light. In order to counteract this you’ll need a slower shutter. This however does pick up slight movement and can cause blur. If you heighten your ISO you can have a faster shutter, but be aware than the higher the ISO the more noise you’ll get in an image also comprising the crispness of the images, mainly in the darker colours. This can be fixed to an extent in editing software like Lightroom, but its always good to get the image right from the taking of it than relying on software. To achieve best results use a tripod/monopod with a longer shutter and a lower ISO. This is just personal opinion of course and preference varies from photographer to photographer of course.

Again its trial and error, just as long as you enjoy yourself.

Thanks for reading and have a great Holiday Season!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

Photography Tips #10: Fish Tank

I can not explain how much I love aquariums. Any size aquarium from the large sea life centres to smaller coastal centres and all those in between. My better half took me the Blue Planet Aquarium near Chester for me ageing another year and it was the best day out.

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Of course I took my camera along with me like I do on any day out and again I was faced with new experiences and challenges other days don’t necessarily bring.

The main thing about aquariums is the fact that most of the exhibits are glass and water. Both of these are a pain to work with due to distortion and refraction, curved glass and water being the main culprits of this. Having never played around with refraction photography before even with just a wine glass with water, the aquarium did seem like a jump in the deep end (pardon the pun).

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Standard example of refraction and the distortion that occurs

To reduce the distortion and refraction it is imperative to get flush (perpendicular) to the glass and on level with the subject. In other articles, it has been suggested to get a rubber lens hood to stop having light distort the image from the sides so the image is as clean it can be without being in the water with the fishy subjects.

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Another difficulty with water is focusing. Due to the depth of water between glass and subject, focusing on automatic can take a longer time than usual and not generally focusing on what you intend to photograph. Meanwhile manual may not be quick enough due to the subject of fish being quite speedy. After experimenting with both autofocus on AIservo and on manual, sticking with auto and having patience paid off.

I don’t know whether its the sports photographer in me being impatient and wanting to get all the action possible, but this slower paced photography is a lot more relaxing and satisfying. Especially if you love aquariums as much as me.
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The light in the aquarium varies mainly with bluey tones, its another challenge for the colour balance. I didn’t quite manage to get this right so in editing I ran some of the images through a black and white filter and adjusted it to do with light rather than the colour.

Again its trial and error, just as long as you enjoy yourself.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

 

Photography Tips #8: Golden Landscapes

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Gold Beach stretches along the Normandy coast line, famously harbouring Port Winston in the Second World War and also of course being a British Landing Beach for D-Day. I love these beaches not just because of their incredible history, but also of their eerie stillness, flatness and their failure to not shine golden in the sun, all year round.

In these series of photos I was focusing on using a 16×9 ratio instead of the traditional as shot crop to emphasise the colour bands of sun, sand, sea, hills and town. Fortune seems to shine upon me like the sun when I visit this particular beach giving me the beautiful light for my landscapes. The beach’s remains of the mulberry temporary harbour gives a brutalistic shipwreck to the traditionally french coastline, scattering the sea and the beaches with the memory of the conflict 70 years ago.

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As all landscape photography I usually pump up my aperture to a minimum of f/8.0 and try and keep my ISO shut down to 100 and adjusting the shutter to around 1/250 or higher. The above shot is set at f/9.0, ISO 100 and shutter of 1/400.

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f/11.0 ISO 100 shutter 1/400

With using the 16×9 ratio, it gives a cinema effect of the film or that of a postcard you may receive from an aunt or uncle on their travels. As I personally read a photo from left to right it also gives the effect that the photo is bigger than it is and in essence, more intense.

I can’t wait to see what this area has to offer in the oncoming wintery months and if I’ll get the luck of seeing snow on the beach.

As always, thanks for reading and have another fantastic day and night!

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