Month: August 2015

Busy but still plugging away.

It feels like ages since I last posted anything.

I’ve not gone away, I have just been busy with those life things (like work) that get in the way of us doing the things we want to do.

I have also been loosely planning a 50/50 project. 50 images on a 50mm lens in 50 days. I’d like to give this a go but need to have a few ideas in my head and maybe even a note book. Otherwise I will just be taking random shots and not learning from the challenge.

I have also been helping an artist with a long term project of theirs. They studied at St Martins and is still moving forward with a long term project with particular links through differing themes.

This time in the style of ‘film noir’. He had seen my work and asked me to take part.

I am not in a position to show any shots that might make the final selection but I can show you a couple of images taken on location while checking exposures and looking at the background environments.

Sunny!

This is a man made beach in Brent Cross. Situated along the A406, near the M1 and A41. It has a huge shopping centre and the local environment is fairly industrial looking. Not wanting the surrounding area to spoil the aesthetic of the images was a really good exercise in composition.

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This image does not tie in with the overall feel and theme of what was being shot on the day but does link in with my previous noir images. I took the opportunity to make this image while the next shoot was being set up.

I’m normally pretty critical of my own work but I actually really like this photograph.

I think the position the image was taken in, the simplicity, contrast of the main subject against the sand and cleanness of the shadow give it a movie still feel that I like a lot.

However, for me the key element is the tension I feel as a viewer. As the photographer this surprises me but I look at the image and find myself asking what is going on just out of the frame.

This feels like one of my most rewarding photographs I have taken. So based on that, for once I am not going to ask for any critique from you.

I have also visited a couple of exhibitions and popped into a handful of shops.

Tailor Mark Powell has some great portraits on his wall at the moment. They were taken from a photographer local to The Soho area of London.

I have also visited Getty Images and been to The National Portrait Gallery to see Audrey Hepburn portraits of an icon. 

So I haven’t been far. Just busy but still plugging away.

Thanks for visiting.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Book Review #6

Speedlights & Speedlites: Creative Flash Photography at Lightspeed. (Sec Ed). By Lou Jones, Stephen Ostrowski & Bob Keenan. Published by Focal Press.

First off, the disclaimer!

At the time of purchasing this book I knew nothing of the authors. I do not know the authors & I do not personally know anyone that has published books on photographic lighting.

This review is based on my own opinion and no payment has been received.

I was looking for a book on lighting because I was undertaking a film noir project & wanted to learn more about getting the best results from my flash gun. (now guns!).

The title and the rear sleeve suggested to me that this was going to be an instructional book. A very brief look at a couple of pages showed some lighting diagrams, so I assumed this book would be suitable for getting me started.

I was quickly disappointed as I realised the book was not going to meet my expectations.

I think the title is misleading in that I found the images uninspiring and for the most part not particularly creative. However, although the images used may not be considered masterpieces, they do illustrate the authors intensions. Combined this with the lighting diagrams and the overall layout, I can see why some may find this book useful.

The book was a little repetitive in telling the reader to get the flash off camera and stating how convenient ETTL/TTL is to use.

There are a couple of pages on batteries and light modifiers that were interesting but this felt very much like an add on to fill a couple of pages at the end of the book.

I can’t say that I read any groundbreaking tips and hints in this book.

The big question is: Would I recommend it? To be honest, its one of those yes & no answers.

Its not what I would call an essential read and I would suggest asking your library to get a copy rather than buying one.

It certainly wasn’t worth the £23 I paid for it and I’m not sure I would consider it value for money even if it was only £8.

My money would have been better spent if I had put it towards the fee for a one day flash lighting course.

While the authors may well be competent photographers, have a wealth of knowledge & experience, regrettably this is not a book that I will be keeping for future reference.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy JamesB

Blue Moon (& Other things in the sky!)

Not the song but the thing up in the sky that is responsible for tides and stuff like that. The big thing in the sky that mankind has supposedly flown to and had a little stroll on.

I’m not into astrology but I’m told tonights moon is special and is known as a blue moon.

You might have heard of the saying “once in a blue moon” and like me not actually realised that we do have a blue moon!

I’m told it is when we have a full moon twice in one month; very rare!

Those that deal with the public on night shift, nurses, paramedics, police and so on will have had a very special two nights as the full moon reportedly affects peoples behaviour.

I thought I’d try and photograph this second full moon tonight.

I didn’t do too well. Partly because I only have a 200mm lens so the moon looks tiny.

It was however a good opportunity to try something new. What did surprise me was that the better photos were taken on faster shutter speeds. That was not what I expected. Neither did I expect a smaller aperture to make a big difference.

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There is a very obvious lack of detail in this moon although I still like it. Other images were blown out even more and lacking any sharpness. The second image taken with a narrower aperture has slightly more detail

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Now onto the other things in the sky……… As a kid in primary school I would sit for ages looking at the clouds, seeing faces, horses, all sorts of things. My mates and I had good imaginations. This is something I suspect and hope most of us have done at some stage of our life.

When I uploaded my blue moon photos onto my lap top I immediately spotted this head silhouette. Made me smile & reminded me of happy carefree days.

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Thanks for stopping and looking at my photos. Now pop out and look upwards at The Blue moon & other things in the sky.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James