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Photowalk 63, Gosport Harbour-Front

Harbour View Flats. 23 of 365.I had the car yesterday afternoon, so I thought I'd return to the Gosport side of Portsmouth Harbour, to take some more photographs of the Spinnaker Tower, and maybe the tall flats that are there too.

As it turned out I wasn't really happy of any of the shots across the harbour, but I quite liked a few others, so here they are...

Harbour View Flats.
Harbour View Flats. 23 of 365.

Dominating the skyline on my side of the harbour are the tallest buildings in Gosport, I think they're called Harbour View Towers. I took quite a few different photographs with my Fujifilm S5700 / S700, up close, from a distance, abstracts, etc, but I wasn't very happy with most of them.

Being so tall, obviously there was lots of perspective distortion in the shots I took of the buildings, but I think I wasn't happy with them because of the extreme difference in light. The Sun was shinning directly on the light-coloured walls, making exposure tricky - perhaps I need to return earlier or later in the day.

The above was taken from as far away as I could get without other stuff getting in the way. I was standing at the far end of the board-walk than extends around the Marina. I zoomed in, to flatten the image, reduce destortion, and so that the buildings appeared closer together than they actually were, then braced myself against the wind to try and get a steady shot.

Marina Pier Board-Walk.
Marina Pier Board-Walk

Just a grab shot as I was walking along the board-walk, taken with the camera at hip level as I passed a young family braving the Winter cold.

Atomic Clock, Towards Holy Trinity Church
Atomic Clock, Towards Holy Trinity Church

Another test shot really - its an interesting location, but I need to take a bit more time and work out a better angle.

Thanks for looking, see you on Flickr!

Cheers, Rob.

Photowalk 62 - Brockhurst To Forton

Sheila, Dog Walker, At Fort Brockhurst. 21 of 365.The sky was nice today, so I nipped out for a quick walk while the going was good.

Still with the year-long "Where I Live" photo assignment in mind, I realy wanted a shot of a person...

Sheila, Dog Walker, At Fort Brockhurst.
Sheila, Dog Walker, At Fort Brockhurst. 21 of 365.

Better Big.

To call me a creature of habit is an understatement. If I haven't got the car, and I'm stuck for time, I almost always take the same route.

So there I was, walking along beside Fort Brockhurst's moat, when an old lady walking a dog was coming in the opposite direction. I always smile, say hello, and slow down when I pass people on a Photowalk, in the chance that they'll feel talkative and fancy a chat, which can lead to a photo opportunity. (It helps if you've got your camera out too!)

After a few minutes discussing the different wildlife on offer, I asked to take Sheila's photo and she agreed. Of course then I'm like all over the place, because the sky was bright, the light now harsh, so I'm snapping away, thumbing the exposure compensation button to alter the exposure, not even thinking about composition or the background.

I finally twigged that I needed to expose for the background and dial in a little under-exposure to darken the sky, then use fill-flash to light up Sheilas face. I took some more, with her dog posing too, but I like this one the best, even better when you look at it big.

I had to clone out a car sticking out from Sheila's head, and fix some rubbish on the grass, plus I think I need to crop a little closer to lose the car on the right.

I spent a fair few minutes playing with the Black and White Adjustment Layer in Photoshop, but I'm not completely happy with the result, so I'll play with it some more later.

Forton Lake Folding Bridge, Over Rail.
Forton Lake Folding Bridge, Over Rail.

One for the "curves" assignment on the Fujifilm Finepix S5700 S700 Flickr group.

I had to hang over the rail quite a bit to get this angle, so my camera strap was firmly round my neck!

Six Lampposts, Hardway Relief Road
Six Lamposts, Hardway Relief Road.

Now for one of "Rob's Fujifilm S5700 / S700 Handy Hints"! When you're out shooting, before you taken any shots (and you've gone through your WIFE checklist), change your AF Mode to Area.

Press the menu button, scroll down to AF Mode, press right on the pad, scroll to Area, then press OK. Use the pad to put the Auto-Focus target in the middle, then press OK.

Now, as you compose your photo, instead of focus and recompose, hold your thumb over the menu/ok button, get the framing right, then press menu, menu, menu, and the AF target can then be moved to cover your subject, then press menu again, then the target is locked and you can focus then shoot.

Need to recompose? Just do it, then menu three times, move the target, then menu again and you're good to go. How easy is that! If you change the shooting mode, or the camera turns off, you may have to set up the AF mode again, but it only takes seconds when you've practised a few times.

Oh, I under-exposed one step and shot at f5.6 to darken the sky a little and keep the image sharp. Levels in Photoshop (with b & w layer) to increase contrast).

View From D-Day Memorial, Hardway.
View From D-Day Memorial, Hardway.

B&W adjustment layer, blue-filter, levels in Photoshop, for a grainy look. Thousands of troops left here for Normandy, to liberate France, in 1944.

Thanks for looking, see you on Flickr!

Cheers, Rob.

Photowalk 61 - Gosport Ferry Gardens

Dreamer. 20 of 365.I managed to kill two birds with one stone yesterday, pop down to Gosport Town Centre to the bank, and take some photographs in the Ferry Gardens (or Falklands Memorial Gardens I think they're now called).

For a few minutes the light was really nice, and it gave me an opportunity to scout out some scences and angles for our year long flickr assignment, "Where I Live".

Dreamer. 20 of 365.

This photo should really have been called "Slip of the Finger" or "Blind Luck". I got home and copied the pictures from my Fuji S5700 to my PC, ready for CD and online backup, and as I was going through them I saw this one.

I definitely didn't take it on pupose, all I can think is that as I was walking along trying to get a better angle of the tower, with my camera held low and by my side, I must have pave pressed the shutter button by mistake, and the camera took its own photo!

I edited the image in Photoshop, using the black and white adjustment layer with the red-filter preset. I also played with the levels, trying to get the top right black, and the bottom right white, with a nive variation of shades inbetween. I masked out the top of the lamp post, but it didn't make much difference.

Coming up with photo's like this, through blind luck or otherwise, really make you think about the importance of "capturing the moment", using unusual angles and perspectives, and throwing out all the usual rules.

Spinnaker Tower
Spinaker Tower

Better big.

My little Fujifilm S5700 / S700 did me proud on this shot. For a few minutes really dark clouds were behind the tower, yet bright Sunshine was shining onto it from above me and to the right.

I know my budget bridge camera isn't the sharpest at longer focal lengths, so I stopped down to F5.6 (in aperture priority mode), and kept the ISO down to 64.

The next trick was to look at the scene and understand that if I took it with standard settings the Tower would be "Blown Out" and detail lost. This because the camera would meter the scene, see all the dark clouds, then over-expose it. So I used exposure compensation to knock it down (to the left ion the Fuji's screen) a full stop, (a big notch on the screen) and took a photo. (I also tried a couple of different settings, but this one was the best).

In Photoshop I ran a pass of Noise Ninja because the Finepix's sensor doens't always deal with smooth gadients of a similair tone very well, then tweaked the contrast with a Curves adjustment layer. For the print version I may well use an "un-Noise Ninjered" version.

I want to do another version of this with some foreground interest, to give the tower some scale (it's huge), and maybe with some more dramatic clouds in the background. Unforunately the Sun rises well to the right of the building, but in the evening it can be bathed in beautiful colours, so I'll try that too.

Brick Paving In Sunlight
Brick Paving In Sunlight

I just liked the lines, shapes, and subtle colour differences in the bricks in this one. Post processing was mostly levels.

Well, thanks for looking at these images, please feel free to leave comments below, or click on the photo's to be taken to Flickr to comment on them there.

Cheers, Rob.


Video Book Review: "If We Shadows" By David Bailey

shadows_250pxlsA great photo book, with loads of fantastic photographs, from David Bailey, picked from his best work of the 1980's.

I've knocked up a quick video to give you an idea of what you'd be borrowing / buying, so take a look!

“If We Shadows” by David Bailey is available in the UK from

Or get “If We Shadows” by David Bailey in the USA from

Thanks for watching,

Cheers, Rob.

SCL Photo Podcast 29: David Bailey "If We Shadows" Book Review

SCL PodcastThis week I take a quick look at a collection of '80s photographs from David Bailey.

Subscribe on Itunes. (Will open Itunes, then you need to click on the "subscribe" button.) (Free)

Subscribe with other Podcatchers. (Google Reader, etc) (For Free)

Download / listen to the mp3. (Right-click then "save target as" / "save link as".) (Did I say it was free?)

Download / listen to the LOW BANDWIDTH mp3. (Right-click then "save target as" / "save link as".) (Again, free!)

Show notes:

Featured Posts:

BigStockPhoto Diary 3: Three From Fourteen.

Photowalk 60 - Afternoon walk with Oliver.

1 Picture a day assignment.

if_we_shadowsDavid Bailey "If We Shadows", Book Review

"If We Shadows" by David Bailey is available in the UK from

Or get "If We Shadows" by David Bailey in the USA from

David Bailey PDN mini-site, includes 20 photo's (click on the thumbnails in the gallery to enlarge).

David Bailey at the National Portrait Gallery, with quite a few examples of his work, again click on the thumb-nails to enlarge.

David Bailey Biog on Wikipedia.

David Bailey Olympus UK TV Advert

My Notes:

Wow, at last I'm going to be talking about a book from an English Photographer - that icon of 60's London Cool - David Bailey. The younger listeners may not be familiar with the name, but for anyone over a certain age Bailey's Photographs are part of the definitive record of a time when England ruled the world in terms of fashion, music and popular culture. Still working today, Bailey also has shot films, commercials, and released several photo-books, and today I'll be talking about "If We Shadows", a collection of his work from during the 1980's.

Bailey was born in Leytonstone in 1936, but spent his childhood in the East Ham, in the heart of London's East End, hammered by the German bombers during World War 2, he didn't do academically well at school, probably due to undiagnosed dyslexia, Bailey was a copy boy in the London Offices of the Yorkshire Post Newspaper until his call up for National Service in 1956. While he served with the Royal Air Force in Singapore in 1957 Bailey bought a Rolleiflex Film camera, and his love affair with photography began.

After returning to the UK in '58 Bailey became a Photographic Assistant with David Ollins, then moved on John French's studio, where after a brief stint he went on to be contracted as a fashion photographer for Vogue Magazine, and the rest is history.

If you check the show notes for this weeks podcast, show 29 I've put plenty of links to sites featuring examples of Baileys work, there's his bio on WIkipedia, and a youtube clip of one of his old Olympus TV adverts from the 1980's.

Back to the book. Available in Hard and Soft Cover versions, as usual I got my copy from my local library. Featuring 200 duo-tone Black and White Plates, its beautifully made, and most of the Photographs are full page, just how I like it. After an introduction by George Melley, we're straight into an intriguing mix of mostly portraits with the occasional landscape and disturbing still-life thrown in.

The portraits include the rich and famous - Jack Nicholson, Glenda Jackson, Ansel Adams, Karl Largerfeld, and Arthur C Clarke to name but a few. There's various fashion models, and Bailey includes lots of pictures of his Wife, Catherine, and some include his children too.

This isn't a just celebrity vehicle though, we see work from Peru taken in the early '80's, and the odd smattering of landscapes and the afore-mentioned still lives.

On picking up and flicking through you'll at first be mesmerized by the crisp, clean, contrasty portraits, but then you'll realise that most of the photographs on facing pages are in some way related to each other. Some links are obvious, such as Bob Geldof opposite a cross, some aesthetic, some sensual or erotic like the photograph of Catherine Bailey, taken through a window as if we are spying on her, as she reclines seductively, then the opposite image is of Catherine with a new baby.

I'll say straight away that I really like this book, and I'm loathe to return, as I must, to the library. Maybe it's something to do with that every time I pick it up and look through it, I notice something different, maybe in a photograph and perhaps in the relationship between the different photographs.

This isn't a book for kids - there's several nudes, and you definitely get a sense of Baileys eroticism, unhindered by political correctness, in some of the photographs it does seem like we're peering into a very private world.

Favourite shots? I'd have to go with Catherine Bailey photographed through the Window, or the photograph of Johnny Rotten, but I'll leave the rest for you to decide at when you pick up your copy.

True, some of the images, are of their time, but this is a great collection of Baileys work, a fabulous addition to anyone's book collection, and it's on my Amazon wish list, so that I can have my own copy pretty soon.

So, "If We Shadows" by David Bailey - highly recommended and a must read.

Photo Assignment For February - "The Third Dimension"

I'm announcing this one a little early, just to allow everyone to have a real good think about what they might shoot. It'll be the usual rules, submit 2 new photographs over the month, on the theme "The Third Dimension".

Just for fun, no prizes I'm afraid, I'll put the submission thread up in about a week and a half, and we'll run it until the end February.

Long Term Assignment - "Where I Live"

When I was thinking about my photographic resolutions for 2009, one of the challenges I set myself was to photograph all the Churches in Gosport, but as I've thought about it over the last few weeks, I thought it might be a good idea if we all had a common challenge that could take us the whole year to complete.

My suggestion is that everyone sets themselves the goal of taking twelve photographs, that somehow relate to the phrase "Where I Live". It could be landmarks, the town hall, libraries, parks, roads, people, shops, etc, anything you like. But there is one catch - it must be your best work. So what I'll do is start a new thread on the Flickr forum, and the idea is that by the end of the year everyone has 12 photographs that they can be proud of, specifically about where you live. You may want to do one a month, or maybe you'll get several great shots at once and upload them together. As the seasons change you may re-visit an original location, and decide you've got a better photo, so you'll delete the first photo.

As I'm saying this maybe you've already got some ideas about which locations to shoot - but remember, we've got the whole year, so scout the scene, think about when the light might be best, take test shots, then go for it.

This will be quite unusual, as I said, because I really want it to be your best work - and you may find that as you progress through the year you may reject some of your earlier images and shoot new ones. I'd like to be in a position next January, 2010 where we've got a ton of great images, and we'll put together a photo-book, that we'll upload to one of the worldwide printing sites, so everyone can order a copy and have it delivered locally.

Technique challenges (No Time Limit):

No Sky Landscapes

Fill The Frame!

Dawn / Dusk shots

A Landscape Style Shot With Strong Foreground Interest

Remember to email me your photos if you'd like to me work on them for the Photo Workbench.

To contact me, just click on the link near the top of the page under the big picture.

Thanks for listening, see you on Flickr!

Join the Flickr Group!

Cheers, Rob.