Just a quick line to wish all my followers a happy and healthy new year.
Sorry that I have not been posting lately but 2014 turned into a nightmare year for me. My Dad died in March and that took the wind from my sails and then in July I contracted bacterial pneumonia which led to me spending 5 nights in hospital and 6 weeks off work. They also discovered blood clots in my legs and in my lungs so I am currently taking Warfarin for that and I will have to wear compression stockings daily for the next 2 years.
The remainder of the year has been all about trying to find the energy to get back to work full-time. Sadly, I missed most of the events I was looking forward to including the Silverstone Classic and the Cadwell Park 80th Birthday, not to forget all the re-enactment events that I love. I haven’t been out with my camera since July, but I’m hoping to venture out as soon as the weather gets warmer, just as long as I can get my legs going!
Here’s hoping that 2015 will be a better year for me, and hopefully for you too.
Best Wishes, and Happy New Year!
p.s. Here’s a reminder of one of my better days from last year, back in May at the Leicester and Leicestershire Exhibition, standing alongside my print “Trust Me I’m A Spiv” which was “Highly Commended”
I was pleased to hear at the weekend that my monochrome print “The Long Walk” had been accepted for the Midland Counties Photographic Federation (MCPF) Travelling Portfolio 2011. This is a travelling exhibition of prints from members of all the photographic clubs affiliated to the MCPF, and it visits my own club, Desborough and Rothwell Photographic Society, on 28th October 2011. The exhibition includes a CD recording of the judges comments so I will be interested to hear what they thought of my print (I already know they must have liked it).
I remember quite a lot of work going into this print so I thought it would be interesting to post before and after versions of the image to illustrate the changes. Here’s my original shot of Saltburn Pier taken with my 5D and a 17-35mm zoom at the 17mm end, 1/200 sec @ F/16, ISO 200.
The first thing that hits me comparing the two versions is the considerable crop from the original. Although the sky is quite good, I remember I wanted to maximise the perceived length of the pier so as you can see I cropped most of it out. Looks like I straightened the horizon too (whatever happened to getting it right in the camera? ;o) Then it was a trip over to Photoshop to clone out all the unwanted items from the shot. I wanted the figure to appear totally isolated so it was really important to remove all other traces of life, both from the beach and the pier itself. After that, it was a fairly straight forward conversion to monochrome and the only other thing I did was to add a gradient filter to darken what was left of the sky, and a touch of vignetting to darken the corners a little and add a bit of mood.
My favourite part of this image is the fact that the end of the pier is out of sight and gives the impression of going on forever. I also love the way the horizon line of the pier matches up exactly with the horizon of the sea. This might seem like a lucky break but it actually was my intention when I took the shot.
How could I improve the shot? Well, if I had only framed the shot correctly while taking it, I wouldn’t have needed such a serious crop later on and there would have been a little bit more detail in the finished print as a consequence. Looking back, I also seem to have lost some contrast in the sky during the mono conversion so that is something that could be improved next time around.
To see a gallery of my previous prints accepted into various exhibitions, click here
I was fortunate over the Easter weekend to visit the Usher Gallery in Lincoln. The guest exhibition was called Food Chain and featured the work of documentary photographers Nick May and Ben Holland. The images and accompanying video footage portray the working lives of workers, many of them migrants, in the food production and packaging industries in the south of Lincolnshire.
I got a strong sense of the terrific work ethic of all the workers portrayed, especially from the descriptive notices accompanying each image, and the video footage.
What I got from the photos was a strong sense of the humanity and dignity of the workers, young and old, and their determination to do their utmost to support themselves and their families.
The role of the gangmasters, and that of the big supermarkets was also portrayed very clearly, a real eye-opener. I found the exhibition both disturbing and uplifting at the same, uplifting because of the human spirit that shines clearly through the portraits of the workers despite the long hours, poor conditions and low pay they endure.