Monday, 9 December 2013

About Lee Ramsden.: Wind Turbine installment.

About Lee Ramsden.: Wind Turbine installment.: Recently i spent a week rebuilding a wind turbine for a mate. Interesting work scope seeing the guts of these great machines that line ou...

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Friday, 6 December 2013

Defiance: Gravity, Belief and Reality

Defiance - Phil Richardson, Little Gaddesden
Phil Richardson
A composite image from May 2005 at St Peter & St Paul Church, Little Gaddesden.  The subject (me) photographed in a studio (Little Gaddesden village hall) using one softbox on white roll paper (Black would have been easier if i had a roll) and the background in low evening light at the church.

A green paper roll could be used as it is easy to chroma-key against, add black card for shadowing. In Photoshop afterwards apply dodging and burning, using levels to add colour and flatten for outside light.  Personally i prefer to use a desaturated layer to remove some colour.  

The figure has a slightly yellowish tinge and the background more green.  The background has had some selective dodging and flattening applied but little else.  You will need to need to trim the figure and darken the edges, to enhance the shadows further. 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Create a Table for Your Blog

Just copy the code and adjust. If you want a line put a number for thickness next to table border and to change the colour using html 
colours found in Photoshop or online.

<table border="0" cellpadding="5px" style="border-collapse: collapse; margin: auto; text-align: center;">
<th><span style="font-family: Courier New, Courier, monospace;">Header</span></th><th><span style="font-family: Courier New, Courier, monospace;">Header</span></th></tr>
<span style="font-family: Courier New, Courier, monospace;">Cell</span></div>
<span style="font-family: Courier New, Courier, monospace;">Cell</span></div>
<span style="font-family: Courier New, Courier, monospace;">Cell</span></div>
<span style="font-family: Courier New, Courier, monospace;">Cell</span></div>

If you require more cells just copy and paste
<span style="font-family: Courier New, Courier, monospace;">Cell</span></div>
<span style="font-family: Courier New, Courier, monospace;">Cell</span></div>


Create Snow in Photoshop using HDR

Using three building images as the basis of the image, one stop under for the highlights, the correct exposure for the mid-tones and one stop over for the shadows.  A fourth image of the sky from earlier in the afternoon and a little bit of spot colouring for corporate colours.  The snow was created using the selection tool, a layer mask and shaped brush over a graded white and grey background.

8 seconds @ ƒ11
4 seconds @ ƒ11
2 seconds @ ƒ11

How to be Creative with White Balance

Learning how to use White Balance or colour balance on a camera is relatively straightforward. When it is sunny you can set the WB to 'Sunny', when indoors set to 'Tungsten' or 'Incandescent', cloudy conditions use 'Cloudy' and so on.  If you select a WB setting for different light conditions you can produce some creative results.  The custom WB setting will produce even more colours.

White Balance works by adjusting the colours in camera to neutralise the colour cast effects of the gas you are photographing in.  If you were to photograph a grey piece of card with the WB set to Daylight or Sunny, this is the light most of use see everyday, then the following would occur under specific light conditions. Photographing in daylight the card would be grey, tungsten it would be orange, fluorescent tubes produce a greeny-yellow colour, under cloud pale blue and in the shade a mid-blue.  To neutralise the colours you need to remove the colour cast and add the opposite colour in.  With the grey card just select the appropriate WB setting, if indoors with tungsten bulbs use Tungsten and the card will still be grey.

If you can learn what the opposite colours are and how they will react in different light conditions then you produce your own creative effects.  An easy way to learn how to change the colours is by learning their opposites with the primary colours of light and pigment.   With light we use RGB: Red, Green and Blue and pigment CMY: Cyan, Magenta and Yellow.  The opposite colours are as follows:


When you alter the WB settings with the same light conditions then you will alter the colour of the sky, a sunset, snow, water and even skin tone. You are able to make snow bluer by setting the WB to Tungsten, a sunset more orange by using a Cloud or a Shade white balance setting.  Below the WB settings with their natural colour and how they will alter the scene under daylight.

Pale Blue
Mid Blue

Using a sunset to demonstrate the effect of changing the WB settings on an image view the images below.  The camera used was a Canon 650D with a standard profile at ƒ4 on a 50mm lens.
MelenCourses White Balance AWB
AWB - Automatic
MelenCourses White Balance Sunny
MelenCourses White Balance Tungsten
MelenCourses White Balance Fluorescent
MelenCourses White Balance Custom
MelenCourses White Balance Flash
Custom - Pink
MelenCourses White Balance BW Shade
MelenCourses White Balance BW Tungsten
BW Shade
BW Tungsten

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Friday, 22 November 2013

Panasonic GX1: Using the flash and bounced flash

GX1 with flash in the bounce position
One of the great advantages of using mirrorless cameras is their compact size.  You can take them virtually anywhere, holiday, weddings and of course street photography; people take little notice of them compared to a large DSLR.  Adding a large external flash would contradict their main function and using the built in the flash is not always flattering.  In fact I hardly use the flash at all, never on its predecessor the GF1.

Panasonic have developed a unique flash configuration on the GX1.  After pressing the release button  on the back of the camera releasing the flash via its double hinged bracket, 20mm away from the body which helps with red eye but this is not the clever part of the construction.  Panasonic have made the flash tilt upwards and also slightly backwards, so that it can be fired up to a ceiling or on the cameras side into a wall.  The flash power will still need controlling via the flash adjust setting usually from + ⅔ to +1 stops for white surfaces.

Now, i love bouncing the flash, working out the angles and finding suitable areas to reflect the light from to light my subject.  This little flash is perfect and allows me to do this fairly easily with the need to bring extra equipment.  By bouncing the flash on to a wall or ceiling you are able to light your subject with softer light and prevent shadows appearing on the wall behind them.

Back from previous adventures my old 'Lindt Chocolate Santa' demonstrating the effect of ambient light, direct flash, ceiling bounced flash, side wall bounced flash.

GX1 Santa No Flash Ambient Light
GX1: No Flash Ambient Light
GX1 Santa Flash Direct Light
GX1: Direct Flash Light
GX1 Santa Flash Side Bounced Light
GX1: Side Flash Left Bounced
GX1 Santa Flash Bounced Ceiling Light
GX1: Ceiling Flash Bounced

The wider photos show reflective and matt surface react to ambient light, ambient and direct flash, direct flash, ceiling bounced flash, side wall bounced flash left 2m and side wall bounced flash right 1m.  The preference is yours, but by bouncing flash and using some of the ambient you will achieve a warmer more natural looking image.  If you like direct flash, go for it, the best style of light is subjective so chose what you like.

GX1: No Flash Ambient Light
GX1: Ceiling Flash Bounced
GX1: Direct Flash Light
GX1: Direct Flash Ambient Light

GX1: Side Flash Left Bounced

GX1: Side Flash Right Bounced

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Where is MelenCourses?

If you were wondering how to find MelenCourses, we are in Gaddesden Row near Hemel Hempstead.  A characterful 300 year old timber framed barn. A ideal location for photography training.

MelenStudios, Great Barn, Whitehouse Farm, Gaddesden Row, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 6HG

Monday, 4 November 2013

Photography Studio, Hertfordshire: MelenStudios

MelenStudios, Phil Richardson
MelenStudios, Phil Richardson
Amazing large studio, MelenStudios for photographers, art classes,  performance, business and photography training. Located just off the M1, Hertfordshire in a 300 year old barn. A large studio space, with a smaller room, 3x4m with backdrop and product studio area.

Small orchard and garden area, creative natural backgrounds, farm buildings and easy access countryside fields, paths and woodland.


Thursday, 31 October 2013

How do I improve my photography¿

If you are looking to improve your photography or wondering why you are not being found more often, have you really thought about what you do?

What actions have taken to get found, to be noticed?  If you find that you are constantly looking at other photographers online and wishing that your images could be as good or praised then look at what you do when creating an image.

A lot of photographers spend time emulating those whom they determine are successful.  This is one of the reasons why many images produced by photographers are facsimiles.  It is difficult for clients to  see what separates most wedding and portrait photographers, especially those who love a plug in, as they look so similar.  Style over substance often. 

Spending time perusing and submitting images on Flickr, Facebook, Instagram or Pintrest and other online Photo locations may limited sources of influence giving a congruence of pictures.  Limiting our reference can dissipate the variance in images, they may become more polarised in style and subject.  Now it isn't possible to be truly original, to say so is just naive and arrogant, especially as most photographers have always taken influence from other artists and photographers. Surely, an original image is just a development of a previous idea.  The ability to create new ideas ironically comes from having many experiences, being introduced to extant objects. Using many points of origin as inspiration, peoples stories, reading books, watching films, listening to music, observing street life and even staring at galleries.  Just find something!

Chris Faulder
One way of helping you to produce new ideas is to take a day off, go out exploring with the iPhone, look around at interesting events, scenes and subjects.  Go by yourself,  use your imagination to create new ideas for future projects basing them on your own observations, thereby not being influenced by others around you.  Taking routes at tangents to each other, they may deliver something you had not thought of.  If your journey is too planned you may end up looking at what you usually do.   

By taking minimal equipment you will have to be innovative, using objects around you.  At Somerset House Chris Faulder and I had to find a way of diffusing his flash when trying to take a contre jour image in bright sun light.  The concave saucer substituted well enough as both reflector and diffuser.

There is inspiration to be found on Radio 4, and while they are still online listen to Grayson Perry's talks on art, at the Reith Lectures.

Silk Mews, good location in Kennington.

Jacob Epstein on self observation "what one sees and not what one knows about oneself and feels should be there".  Do you assume what something looks like, who someone is or even how you look?

Jacob Epstein
Phil Richardson, Toilet of London Midland Train.