Burgh Island and Capture One Pro 8

Burgh Island
Burgh Island showing the causeway to the mainland.

I like the morning – it’s the best time of day for me, I get most work done before lunch. Mornings are also often the best time for landscape photography. The day I photographed Burgh Island I got up a little later than I would have liked, the Sun had already risen but I decided to go anyway. Walking through Thurlestone village about 6am I was a little surprised to see an old guy waiting outside the only pub in the village. We exchanged greetings and I moved on to the cliffs. Two old guys wondering what each other were doing up so early in a tiny village on the Devon coast.

I had been to the location  a couple of times previously so had a good idea of where I was going to shoot and had three spots sorted out. However the light was changing really quickly and by the time I had reached the third location I decided to call it a day, so I was done before 8am.

I should have started out by saying that I don’t consider myself a landscape photographer but I like going out and shooting landscapes when I can – my work is mostly not about landscapes. I kind of always feel that I should be using a 5×4 camera instead of a Canon DSLR when I’m out shooting this kind of stuff. I used  5×4 and 10×8 cameras many years ago for studio work but I don’t think that I could bring myself to carry around a large format camera these days – but you never know, I might go back to one sometime.

So, instead of using large format, my way to bring up the Canon 5D3 to the best it can do is to use Capture One software to process the RAW images. I started using Capture One a few years ago, at the time I wasn’t happy with Adobe Raw Converter which I had been using to process my images. I tried Capture One and saw that it could pull out more detail.

So with this image of Burgh Island I noticed the edge of the shot (the mainland) was a little unsharp. I used the Canon 24-105mm lens – which although a reasonable lens, it has some sharpness fall-off at the edges. This image was taken at f9 – wide open at f4 the lens is pretty bad at the edges. Most people wouldn’t notice in normal use but viewed at 100% the fall-off at f4 is very obvious.

To correct the fall-off I used the Sharpness Fall Off  tool in the Capture One lens correction panel. The screen grabs below show the change in sharpness when using it at 250% compared to 0%. The centre of the image remains unchanged in terms of sharpness. It’s a fairly subtle but noticeable change which in my opinion brings the image from the lens up to a good enough standard.

Image  at roughly 100% with 250% edge sharpness correction.
The extreme right hand edge of the image at roughly 100% with 250% fall off sharpness correction.
Image at roughly 100% with no edge sharpness correction.
The extreme right hand edge of the image at roughly 100% with no fall off sharpness correction.

To be honest in normal life nobody ever notices as images are rarely viewed at 100%, and some don’t care anyway. The important thing for me is that I know I’ve got the best out of whatever lens I have on the camera and using Capture One Pro 8 enables me to do that.

Burgh Island, located just off the Devon coast, is known for its Art Deco hotel which famously inspired Agatha Christie.

Vivienne Westwood at Danson House

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Vivienne Westwood at the Danson House exhibition

Art, I believe, can only be fully appreciated ‘in the flesh’ so to speak. Music and theatre, for instance, are best seen and heard live, not on some digital medium. Paintings, sculptures, even original photographic prints elicit a more emotional response when seen in reality. So it goes for all art forms, and Vivienne Westwood’s creations are no different.

Dress detail
Dress detail

Vivienne Westwood: Cut from the past, covers her work from the punk years through to later pieces influenced by Vivienne’s love for 18th century art. Should these clothes be revered, referred to as ‘art’, just because they are placed in glass cabinets? Maybe, maybe not, but when I saw the exhibition I felt the same kind of response I have when seeing other artworks. Difficult to describe, so I won’t try, it’s only something that you get by being there. Of course it could be that the exhibition brought back memories of when I was younger. I even went to Vivienne’s Worlds End shop in the early 80’s to photograph Philip Sallon; I should have bought a few things from the shop when I was there and hung on to them! If you have any interest in fashion then this is an exhibition that should not be missed.

Dame Vivienne went to see the exhibition for herself last week. Afterwards she did a Q&A session following a talk given by Ian Kelly, who is the co-author of her biography.

The exhibition at Danson House continues until 31st October 2015.

Danson House link is below;

http://www.bexleyheritagetrust.org.uk/dansonhouse/vivienne-westwood/

Vivienne Westwood’s climate revolution website link;

http://www.climaterevolution.co.uk/wp/

When Steve met Stevie

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder at The Lanesborough Hotel, London, December 1994.

 

I noticed earlier this week that CBS aired a tribute to Stevie Wonder and it reminded me of the time I photographed him, so I thought that I would offer my own small tribute.

This year I will have been working in photography for 40 years. I decided that I might do the occasional look back over the years in my blog so I thought that I would start with one of the best moments.

It was December 1994 and I was sitting in the bar of the Lanesborough Hotel in London with a journalist, waiting to see Stevie Wonder. I had been around music photography since 1978 so had my fair share of photographing the famous. One of the first albums I bought was by Stevie Wonder, and his show at the Birmingham Odeon in 1968 was one of the first gigs I went to – so this was a bit more than just another job for me! It was a long wait in the bar,  a couple of hours – so no alcohol!  Eventually we were ushered in to the room and met Stevie – and what a great guy he was. One of the few stars that I have met that seemed genuinely interested in our conversation when we chatted before the interview – me mentioning the ’68 gig and him mimicking my English accent and making the atmosphere light and friendly. There were just the three of us in the room and I shot some photographs while the interview took place. We were there for maybe twenty minutes and then the interview was over.

They say never meet your heroes, but sometimes it’s worth taking the chance.

WInston Churchill, Havengore ceremonial

Churchill boat
The ceremonial guard at the front of the Havengore.

 

Back in the city today and I managed to get down to the river  to get a few shots of the start of the ceremonial event for the anniversary of Winston Churchill’s funeral. I remember watching the funeral on TV when I was young and that kind of thing always sticks in the memory so it was interesting to see a recreation of the event.

The boat which originally carried his coffin, 50 years ago today, retraced the route along the Thames – so I thought that I would go and get a few shots for stock. I know the area really well and had a place in mind to shoot from but as I couldn’t get down there until 45 minutes before the event I thought maybe I might have a struggle with crowds – but only a few tourists were around.  Even when the boat passed the crowd was very light and also not many photographers were near my position – always a good thing! Weather was good, bit of hazy sun and not too cold. The boat moved pretty quickly, much quicker than I expected, and from my position it was all over in a few minutes. I had  quite a few shots in the bag so as the boat moved on I packed up and headed for the station.

The fact that there weren’t big crowds did kind of make me wonder about the relevance of the anniversary for the average person on the street. There’s been a lot of media focus on the anniversary, a lot of stuff on TV,  and for those closely involved it’s obviously an emotional event, but as for the general public – many don’t seem to take much notice.  I found that there’s a few  commemorative things going on including an exhibition at the Science Museum which runs until 2016.

There’s also a General Election coming up in a few months – but whatever any of us might think of Churchill, it would be a shame if the anniversary of the death of a major world statesman were to be hijacked for political reasons. That wouldn’t happen would it?

 

The photograph above taken with a Canon 1D3 with 300mm f4 and 1.4x converter.

The Rochester Dickensian Festival

 

The full length version of the Rochester Christmas Festival video. Filmed on 6th December 2014. I live not too far away and have visited the festivals, both summer and winter since around 1994 when we first took our then 3 year old son to watch the Christmas Festival. I used to think it was a very local event until after speaking to some of the participants I found that many had travelled long distances to take part.

Thank you to all those who gave me their time on the day.

Filmed with a Canon XF100, ungraded and using a custom profile.

Dickens Festival – Trailer

 

Rochester, Kent, is the home of Charles Dickens. About a 30 minute drive from where I live, Rochester is a place I often visit and when our children were young we often took them to  the Dickens Christmas and Summer festivals. The locals ( and those not so local ) dress as characters from Dickens stories and parade through the streets. This year I decided to film the event and talk to some of those involved.

 

Filmed with a Canon XF100, ungraded and using a custom profile.

On the street, Cadillac GWiz

 

2up
Left – Cadillac, Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1981. Right, a Gwiz electric car, Bread Street, London 2014

When I was younger I used to like wandering around the streets of London ( or where ever I might be) with my camera looking for interesting things to photograph, ‘street photography’ as it’s commonly known.

Now I’m doing that again. I’m in the City of London quite often so now I look around for things to shoot when I’m on my way to a job, or scout out a location to go back to later. It’s something I stopped doing for a long time. I was just concentrating on earning money I guess, it’s an easy trap to fall into, but for a while now I have been shooting more stuff just for myself. Anyway here are a couple of shots, old and new. I have been scanning some old work recently and when I saw the little electric GWiz on the way to a job yesterday I remembered my Cadillac shot (Paris 1981) which I had scanned only a few days ago. Cars that are on opposite ends of the spectrum in just about every aspect.

For the technically minded, the Paris shot was done using an Olympus OM -1 with a 35mm f2 lens, the GWiz with a Canon 5D3 and 24 – 105mm lens.

iphone 5×5 : folkestone

[vimeo 107237680 w=500&h=280]

 

I happened to be in Folkestone recently, not on my own, sort of house hunting with my lovely wife. As usual I was distracted by other things and when I saw the old railway line going down to the docks I thought that I would go and have a look at the old station.  House hunting on hold I took out my phone and made this little 5x 5 second movie postcard from Folkestone. Currently the station is a venue for some art installations which are part of the Folkestone Triennial.

The old station at Folkestone docks, now disused, was once the stopping off point for travellers from the UK taking the ferry to France. I remember using it myself, in the days when you could get straight off the train and on to the ferry, before good old Eurotunnel.

Still house hunting – that makes two years now – maybe we’ll find something in another two.

Shot with an iphone 4s, edited in Premier Pro and graded with Speedgrade.

Rainy night Moonwalk

Designer bras on display at the Walk The Walk event
Designer bras on display at the Walk The Walk event

 

Clapham Common, London, on a very windy and rainy evening in May. It was the night of the Moonwalk. The event organised by Walk The Walk, a charity dedicated to raising money for breast cancer causes.

I had heard about the Moonwalk but this was my first time working at the event –  I was there to photograph the celebrities for Walk The Walk. Great guest tent – tent’s the wrong word – more of a marquee/orangery, styled with trees adorned with fairy lights.

Anyway the event is all about bras – and showing off your decorated bra on the walk, and not just for women as men are encouraged to don a bra and join in the walk too. Mannequins wearing bras decorated by designers and celebrities including Aliza Reger and Charlie Dimmock were on display in the guest tent.

So my evening was spent shooting the celebrities and their bras, including Walk The Walk ambassador, Harriet Thorpe. A very upbeat event – also a  friendly bunch of press photographers to work alongside.

Midnight and the walkers were on their way. I drove  my assistant for the night, Lauren, back to Clapham Common tube station – yep, the tube to Elephant and Castle much quicker than car even at that time of night. I sat in the queue of traffic on Clapham High Street and thought about the walkers. A cold night, still a little rain, and I guess unlike the marathon – no streets lined with cheering crowds to help them on their way. That takes some commitment!

For more information about Walk The Walk go to   http://www.walkthewalk.org