Thursday 30 July 2009

Audio August

The waves come rolling in at Holme Beach - Norfolk, UK

The last few months have seen a few new items integrated into the main website, the most important of these being the twitter feed. In August, i hope to launch another section of the website which has the potential to be both fun and useful. It is called AudioBoo.

The blog and twitter are great ways for me to post items that i interest me but these web tools do have drawbacks for communicating large amounts of information. What i am planning to do in August is add audio blogging to the website via AudioBoo, a service that allows you to record up to three minutes of sound via an iPhone and post it onto the Internet. Not only will i be able to describe where I'm taking photographs, you will also be able to hear the sounds too. It will act as a documentary soundtrack for some of the photographs i produce. On other occasions, I'll just talk about a photography subject that's on my mind. The creative possibilities for using sound are just endless.

I think it'll be fun. It'll add some depth to some of the projects i have in mind too. I won't go mad with it but i will try to do at least one or two a month. More news about this next month.

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Misty Mountain Top

The mountains around Llyn Ogwen, North Wales - July 2003

The Architect's Journal website started it all. Up until that point I'd been OK, but as soon as I'd seen the article about the new visitor centre at the top of Mount Snowdon in North Wales, i got the sudden urge to climb a mountain or two, take some photos and get some mountain air. Sadly, I don't think I'll get to visit this year. Financial and work commitments will see to that but a trip in 2010 could be a distinct possibility.

It may come as a bit of a surprise, but my favourite place for photography is North Wales. These past years have seen me concentrate my photography on the lowland areas of the UK, however, it's the mountains, lakes and forests of North Wales that really do appeal to me. Let's not forget the great Welsh castles either. There aren't that many places in Britain where you get to taste the atmosphere of the old world. The various mountain passes and tracks give great access to the national park, so it isn't hard to get off the beaten track, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, to take some dramatic landscape photographs.

Add the history of Wales, and you have something to fire up your imagination and creativity. After all, when the mist comes drifting over the high mountain tops, Snowdonia can still seem like a place of dragons, castles and legends.

Sunday 26 July 2009

Reportage Heaven

If you like reportage photography then the Reportage by Getty Images website is just for you. Stories from all over the world are featured on the website and the standard of photography is just superb - a real visual treat.

Reportage by Getty Images can be found at:-

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Faked Photo?

Fake or authentic? The Falling Soldier by Robert Capa

Robert Capa's iconic image of a republican soldier being killed during fighting in the Spanish civil war has been declared fake by a Spanish newspaper. The image, taken in 1936, is one of Capa's most famous images, but the Barcelona-based newspaper El Periodico claims that the image was not taken near Cerro Muriano in the southern Andalusia region, as has long been claimed, but 30 miles away near the town of Espejo. The paper claims that Capa photographed this soldier in a location where no fighting was taking place.

The first claims that the 'falling soldier' image wasn't an authentic war image, first appeared during the mid 1970's. Since then, various investigations have put forward theories with the most recent actually giving a name, Frederico Borrell Garcia, to the fallen soldier. I think the shot is authentic. I just don't believe that Robert Capa was into faking shots but i could be wrong. Various websites have commented on the story and the iconic importance of the image, but in my opinion this image was never his strongest war photograph anyway. For many photographers, it is his images taken during World War 2 that remain his most defining pieces of work - the Omaha beach D-Day landing photographs especially.

The BBC Viewfinder photoblog gives a great insight into the whole story of the faked photo allegations and the iconic importance of the photograph. The blog can be found HERE

Saturday 18 July 2009

All in the Eyes

U.S. Marine Albert Rivas from San Juan, Puerto Rico and the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade sits outside his tent at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan's Helmand province. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

This photographic portrait caught my eye while going through the excellent images posted on The Big Picture photoblog. The way that David Guttenfelder has used tight focusing to capture the marine is very clever. Like all good portraiture, it's the eyes that capture the viewers attention and tells the story. In an era of 'wondrous' military technology, it's photographs like these that put a human face to the conflict. More images can be found HERE

Over forty years ago, a photographer called Robert Jackson Ellison was taking similar types of portraits of U.S Marines at Khe Sahn, Vietnam. The marines were surrounded by a large North Vietnamese force and the fighting was intense. Robert Jackson Ellison's superb images of the battle fatigued Marines told the whole Khe Sahn story via the exhausted faces of the marines themselves. Sadly, Jackson Ellison was killed when his plane was shot down while taking off from Khe Sahn's runway. He was just 23 years old and had only been in Vietnam for about a month.

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Photo Fret

Cromer Pier in the sea mist

Reviewing the results of a photographic shoot can be a daunting affair. Even in this digital age you can only really tell what a photograph is like until you have it on the computer screen. Is the focusing spot on? Is the exposure spot on? Some things you just can't see and analyse thoroughly on a small camera viewing screen during a hot, bright day's shooting. Overall, I'm pleased with what I've shot, but i think this will be the last Norfolk shoot for at least a couple of years. I'm looking for pastures new in 2010.

The number of photographs taken during the trip has reduced by around 33% compared to previous years. The biggest factor for this year was weather - bright and sunny with not a cloud in the sky. Perfect you might think...but not me. I've always liked a bit of detail in the sky. It doesn't have to be much, just the odd little fluffy white cloud and a few friends with him. I find that they deliver more balance to an landscape image. Clear blue skies are for postcards and holiday snaps. I like a bit of drama in my sky.

One new phenomenon for my trip was sea fret or mist. The humidity was high which resulted in a number of days spent in a sea fog. It was very atmospheric, as the pier photo illustrates, and the fret would come and go very quickly. It reminded me a bit of that very spooky classic horror film by John Carpenter called The Fog where a sea fog contains a ghostly old sailing ship and it's crew seeking retribution on a seaside town for past sins.

Friday 10 July 2009

Going Mobile

A boat undergoing renovation - Morston Quay, Norfolk, UK

Mobile phones have come on in leaps and bounds since they first came onto the market in the mid 1980's. Back then, a phone was the size of a brick and about as heavy but fortunately technology moved on to create what we now know as the modern smart phone. It's the introduction to the smart phone that's opened my eyes to phone cameras and the potential that mobile web services offer.

During my Norfolk trip, i was pleasantly surprised by the quality of my mobile's camera. I even started using it, via my twitter feed, to post images to the web. Up until recently, I'd regarded mobile phone cameras as mere gimmicks - great for photographing you and your mates down the pub, but not really much good for anything else. That is no longer the case it seems. A recent article online mentioned the huge uptake in use of mobile phone cameras by professional photographers. This is probably due to improvements in phone camera image quality, good software and better WiFi access that can place images online quickly. London's Metropolitan police found this to their cost during the G20 demonstrations as individuals shot and posted images of police actions as they happened.

I use a Nokia 5800 mobile phone that has a camera with a Carl Zeiss lens. The results have been outstanding. I can honestly say that this camera/ autofocus lens combination is superb and capable of capturing most types of images. I've used it to shoot street photography and still-life work like the shot featured above. All i had to do then was use an application called Gravity, via a WiFi internet link, to post images direct to twitter. These images became a separate visual project away from the regular photography with cameras. The interaction and comments by other twitter users made it even more exciting. I'll be doing more in future.

Sunday 5 July 2009

Back to base

USAAF enthusiast at Thorpe Abbotts Museum, Norfolk, UK

By the time you read this, I'll be back from my photography shoot in Norfolk. I hope it will have gone well but you never know. Photography can be a cruel mistress at times. Photography has often been compared to being in a relationship with someone. Art has an intense hold over people. Many cannot literally live without it, the creative bug is just so strong.

I seriously think that this visit will end the Norfolk project for at least a year or two. Saying that, it depends on what i manage to find - Norfolk is a big and diverse county. I'm seriously thinking about putting a retrospective book together of the photographs I've taken over the last four or five years. I'll have to have a good think about that while I'm away shooting but i think it would be a good way of displaying the work online.

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Best of blogs II

Hainford (or Haynford) (All Saints ) Churchyard - Norfolk

At the end of last year, i posted a list of great photography blogs that i subscribe to. Since then, I've come across a few more that are worthy of a look.

Paul Butzi's blog is the figure behind SoFoBoMo and has a rather good photography blog looking at all aspects of photography.

This website has wonderful dreamy images with a summery feel to them. You can get lost in the atmosphere of some of these photographs.

Mrs Deane is the rather unusual name for this photo blog that looks into the world of fine art photography. The blog has features work from all over the world but mainly has a European flavour.

If you love Polaroid photography then you'll love Passport to Trespass which offers loads of Polaroid images in the form of a visual diary.

The daily photography of Andreas Manessinger is a great photography blog that features images from Andreas' travels around Vienna and other places.

One final blog... and it's a goodie. The New York Times Blog called Lens, mixes sound and vision to create excellent multimedia presentations of important stories in the news. Well worth a look.