I went somewhat unprepared for the howling wind on Sunday evening’s wander with a small group of camera club friends to Whitelees Wind Farm. The clue of course was in the title. Had it been called the Whitelees Gentle Breeze Farm I would have been perfectly attired.
We visited the wind firm in the hope of shooting some star shots against the foreground of the imposing wind turbines. However, the heavy evening cloud had other ideas.
We followed the path around the wind farm heading towards the view point. On route we came across the scene above. The solitary tree, the lone hill and the single turbine were visible for some time. Each of the elements of the scene sat nicely on a third but called out for something else to help complete the composition. A further walk and a perfect lead in line appeared in the form of a fence.
Using my tripod was useless and the gusts of wind were too strong for it to stay steady but a helpful gate post gave me something firm to steady my camera on to get the shot.
I don’t regularly shoot landscapes but I am happy with the composition and processing of this one.
You can see more of my work over on flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alantaylorphotography/
Sunday night was the second of my shoots with make up students of their work for their graded units.
This time the theme was Malificent.
Compared with last week’s shoot which was an outdoor shoot mired by good old Scottish weather, this week should have been a lot more straightforward being indoors in the controlled environment of the make up artists lounge.
Of course shooting in someone’s home isn’t quite the same as shooting in the studio. When you have a three light set up, low ceiling and low hanging ceiling light in the middle of the room not to mention furniture – things get a bit tricky. And that’s before you try to fit in the model with a six foot wingspan!
After a bit of head scratching we all worked hard to produce images that did justice to the amazing make up and costume.
The feature wall of the room was a decorated glitter wall which made for a great backdrop to the black costume but created challenging reflections from the lights, so not only did I have to light the model I really had to work to incorporate the reflections and highlights into the composition.
After working through a few options we got a great set of images. Well done to Louise Goldie (model) and Elizabeth Newlands (MUA).
For the photographers amongst you, the image above was shot with two lights. The key light was a softbox high to my right hand side at a forty five degree angle to the model. I asked the model to stand with her feet pointing towards the light and her head and eyes looking up directly to the softbox.
The backlight was a green gelled speeklight high behind the model on my left pointing down at a forty five degree angle.
The lighting on the red glitter wall was just a reflection of the softbox. Therefore I had to frame the model carefully to incorporate the reflection into the composition.
An Easter weekend family outing on Saturday to Summerll Indutrial Museum ( https://culturenl.co.uk/summerlee/) provided a few opportunities for some 3D Anaglyph photography.
With these shots I have tried to make use of post processing in lightroom to bring something a little more dramatic to the images. This is still very much a learning process but I think the oil lantern work best.
And finally. On Sunday evening I had a “Malificent” themed shoot for a Student Make Up Artist’s grade unit. More images to follow but here is a sneak peak of a 3D portrait of model Louise.
Tonight was the night of this week’s big photoshoot. The brief was simple “an outdoor portrait in twilight lighting” for a make up artistry student’s portfolio. And the model? A cave dwelling man eating mutant! What could go wrong?
After packing my kit bag and checking, double checking and triple checking that I have batteries, memory cards, flash triggers and flashes I set of to pick up my assistant for the shoot, David Brown. I did pack my camera didn’t I?
On route to the location a light smear of rain starts to splatter on the wind screen. By the time we get to the secret location of the cave dweller the rain is a full on torrential rain storm.
I parked the car and we began to survey the area for a good shooting location. Luckily we found two great locations within 150 yard walk from the car – ideal and somewhere to shelter all my kit from the rain – perfect.
Scouting work done, the make up artist Susan Hardman and her brave model arrived for the shoot.
As it is such a cold and damp evening we set up a couple of the shots with the model still in his clothes to get the lighting and framing set up. On reviewing them I think they make for some pretty creepy images in their own right.
Of course every man eating monster needs a hug sometimes.
Thanks to Susan Hardman for selecting me as the photographer for this project and thanks to her husband who suffered wind, rain, rocky terrain and rough gravel paths in nothing but a loin cloth – you’re a trooper!
I’ve been making a concerted effort this past week or two to get out with my camera as often as is reasonably practicable.
This morning I could have seen it far enough when I woke up and felt the cold biting at my toes but I got up and looking out the curtains I thought they sky looked hopeful for some nice morning light.
By 7:5 I was sitting in the observation hide on Cathkin Marsh under a flat grey sky without the slightest bit of interesting lighting or shadow.
The poor lighting forced me to crank up the ISO on my Nikon D600 to get any usable shutter speeds with my Sigma 150-60mm sports lens.
I persevered for an hour or so but came away with little for my efforts, just this Canadian Goose playing peek-a-boo in the long grasses.
It’s quite amazing just how much the marsh changes from week to week, a real difference in the length of the grasses today and not a sign of the frog spawn in the ponds that I photographed last week.
Now getting prepared for a pretty interesting shoot tomorrow evening, an outdoor model shoot for a make up artist’s graded unit on prosthetic horror make up…should be good.
Back to the daily theme today. My incomplete theme from Wednesday was “architecture” and today I had time to get out on my lunch hour in an effort to fulfil the brief.
I was spurred on by a fabulous lecture by Simon Butterworth at Queen’s Park Camera Club last night, in particular his architecture series of skyscraper images. You can find more of his project at his website http://www.simonbutterworthphotography.com
Simon was very generous with his photographic knowledge and brought home the importance of working on projects to produce a coherent set of images rather than just having a collection of individual shots.
But, back to the theme…Glasgow presents lots of architecture opportunities and where better to start than the Lighthouse (www.thelighthouse.co.uk), home to the MacIntosh Centre.
I made my way breathlessly up the helical staircase to the viewing area at the top of the old water tower to capture some panoramic shots of Glasgow city centre, and capture a full vista of Glasgow architecture.
Making my way back down the stair case I shot up wards to get some interesting abstract shots but I was shooting hand held at ISO 6400, so perhaps another visit with a tripod is required. Having said that, one of these shots is my favourite of the day:
I managed to satisfy my brief for the day entirely within the Lighthouse and got a few interesting shots of architects card models which introduced a twist to achieving the theme.
Remember that to see the 3D anaglyph at the end you’ll need to pop on a pair of red/cyan glasses.
Charged my camera batteries and formatted my memory cards in anticipation of another lunch hour of photography. However a lengthy lunch time meeting put that idea to rest. So today’s challenge theme of “Architecture” is on hold.
But I do have a new image to share today. An abstract flower triptych.
A few weeks ago photographer Steve McGonnell was the speaker at Queen’s Park Camera, where I am currently serving as president (www.qpcc.co.uk). Steve showed a large selection of his flower photography. It’s something that I hadn’t really tried for myself. So the following weekend I picked up a bunch of supermarket flowers and had a go at some table top flower photographer.
I didn’t really want to go for a straightforward record shot of the flower, I wanted to create something a little more abstract. I set about shooting a few images using extension tubes on my 24-70mm lens to get me in close to the petals with a really narrow depth of field.
I processed the and combined them to produce this triptych:
I desaturated the image and am satisfied with the delicate tones that I’ve achieved. There are a few blown out highlights which would usually lead me to reject an image but in this case I think they work in the context of the image.
I also wanted to try something a bit more experimental and took another flower from the bouquet and planned the shot. This time I wanted to show the whole flower head and that therefore required a backdrop. To make the photograph interesting the backdrop would have to compliment the colours of the flower…but I don’t have hundreds of backdrops, so what should I do? I could have used used coloured gels on a flash gun to light a white backdrop – but I had another idea – use my laptop screen as a background.
I set up a variety of coloured layers in photoshop and flicked between the layers between each shot until I got one I thought worked.
I’m pretty happy with the results – what do you think?
Hopefully I’ll get that architecture shot tomorrow…
If you can’t wait until tomorrow, you can see more of my photography on flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alantaylorphotography/