Punts are an iconic image of Cambridge. Although many of the colleges own their own punts and several hire companies rent out dozens of them, Trinity College's are that little bit more thanks to their names - each is named after a famous trinity.
Today's blog post is an example of a technique that I like to use whenever I'm photographing live music: slow-sync flash. Unfortunately, the usual rules in the photo pit at gigs is "three songs, no flash", so it's not often that I get to use it. When I do however, it's a great way of showing the movement and excitement of the action on stage.
Slow-sync flash is all about combining a sharp, flash-lit image with a longer exposure that captures the ambient light and motion of the subject. In this case, the flash was balanced with an exposure of 1/15 second, which was enough to get a bit of movement into the picture without letting it get too messy.
Using an SLR for slow-sync flash shots can be a little tricky, because the viewfinder is blacked out while the shutter is open. You quickly learn just how much a subject can move in a fraction of a second when the mirror drops back down and they've moved out of the frame, so anticipating the right moment to shoot is essential.
This picture was taken at an And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead… gig at the Astoria in London.
People inevitably look for meaning in everything they see and this picture's appeal is in the human forms made by the trees in this olive grove.
Technically, it's very simple, shot on a tripod-mounted Canon EOS 1D MkII with a 28-70mm lens. A tripod is invaluable for landscape photography, not only to stabilise the camera when working with small apertures or low light but to slow down the picture taking process. Because it takes time to set up any tripod-mounted photograph, the photographer is forced to think about the picture he or she is about to take in much more detail. You can also give yourself the time to make sure that you get the composition right in one shot by taking notice of all of the details that might get lost in an action shot.
The first image in my Making Pictures series is something you don't often see on my blog - a landscape photograph. I'm one of nature's people photographers, in that I'm drawn towards images that show personalities and relationships, but I'm also fascinated by landscape photography. Photographing landscapes is a very different discipline to photographing people, but it's something I enjoy whenever I have the time to lug my tripod somewhere quiet.
The main image here was taken in 2004, but it's one that I often come back to because it has many of the qualities that I enjoy in a picture. The bold yet cool colours immediately grab you even though they are almost monochromatic and - although the bold line of hills in the centre slashes across the image - there's a still and quiet quality that makes it easy to lose yourself in the picture.
The image was taken in the North West Highlands, near Ullapool, and is the last of a series of pictures that I took from the same spot at sunset. The series shows just how much the light can change in a short space of time. The second image here was taken just twenty minutes earlier and is full of fire as the sun dips towards the horizon. With the sun gone, the colour temperature plummeted and the light went through a series of greys before taking on a rich blue. There's no digital trickery here - the colour is more-or-less exactly as it would appear on daylight-balanced slide film.
Technically, the shot is fairly straightforward: my Canon EOS 1D MkII and a 16-35mm lens mounted on a sturdy tripod, the shutter set to 10 seconds to blur the any ripples in the loch. The only additional touch was the use of one of Lee Filters' neutral density graduated filters to balance the exposure between the loch and the sky.
Up until now, my blog has concentrated on showing my latest work (with the exception of my ongoing series on choosing a wedding photographer). In the spirit of sharing and giving back to the internet, I'm going to start digging into my archives to pick out some of my favourite images.
I hope it won't be too much like primary school "show and tell" sessions, but the idea is to talk a bit about how and why I took a particular image. Perhaps "how and why" is actually the wrong way of looking at it, because the "why" is often more important than the "how". I certainly hope that the series will appeal to everyone who enjoys looking at and discussing images and not just photographers.
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