Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Update July 2011

I am conscious that I am not writing enough here, and by not doing so it indicates that nothing is happening with my photography. This is not the case, so here are a few notes on where I am and what is happening. Mostly groundwork, research and shooting raw images for editing and PP, so nothing to show for the time spent.

13th June, went to Minorca for 2 weeks. The holiday was for the normal amount of rest and relaxation in my favourite boutique hotel. Plans were made beforehand to take my newly acquired netbook so that I could write some of my assignment 4 essay and maybe shoot assignment 5 around the rocky coast with the wild flowers and succulents, and imagine myself as Edward Weston at Point Lobos in California. All plans laid, but 11th June, chest infection starts, 12th June, get antibiotics and spend the first week feeling sorry for myself, albeit in heaven. 2nd week, I did get some writing done and I did shoot enough images for assignment 5.

Returned to UK, still with chest infection. My faith in Amoxicillin destroyed, so another visit to the doctor who sends me for xray. Not feeling like a full shilling at this stage and worried by health events with a friend I decided to reduce my business workload by a considerable margin. So, with time on my hands I am catching up on a whole range of undone chores and looking to proceed asap with the course. In the meantime I have had chance to look at my Alamy account, and what a surprise, a sale, which is nice and an enquiry through Photographers Direct to photograph an altar cloth in St Margaret's church in King's Lynn for a book on ecclesiastical textiles. The publisher requires high res digital images of the whole piece, close ups of parts, something contextual and an image suitable for an exhibition banner that is 2.5m high. I pointed out that the banner requirement was going to be difficult and I will have to shoot some 5x4 and have the transparency scanned on a drum scanner. I am meeting the editor tomorrow at the church to look at the shooting options and get a feel for the publication. On assignment in the past I have often struggled with "the feel" of the whole work and like to spend time asking questions about the project that may appear intrusive to the editorial team. "Just take the photos" you can hear them saying under their breath. My main concern of course is to get it right technically as I can imagine a book as esoteric as this will have a readership who will want to see every stitch and have absolutely perfect colour. We will talk to the church people tomorrow about just how much gear they will let me set up, bearing in mind the church is open to the public. I would like a flat bright light rather than the shafts of light often associated with large church windows as a starting point, but wonder if I will get enough texture. I will take my studio strobes and soft boxes with me as these may be useful to add some side soft light. I will use the D3 to set up the lighting and check exposures for the 5x4, as there will be no time for a second visit if the trannys are poor.

100m from my office is a burger van, selling cups of tea and everything from venison burgers to salad rolls. Its a good excuse for a walk in the fresh air, a cup of tea and a read of the paper. The owner says today "you do photography, don't you". From the conversation that followed I now have Monday set aside, my small studio set up and the prospect of shooting burgers, salads, wraps etc for a new flyer campaign and an A2 laminated menu. I did a test today with a "BLT in a bun" which wasn't as easy as it seemed. A simple white curved base/background is the basic setup as this will allow cutouts. I always underestimate the amount of light needed for the background to burn it out and had to use my old Bowens to blast the back with +2 stops. If not when you go to print the background it is a muddy white and any amount of moving sliders in PS, just messes up the main subject. You also learn that lettuce isn't that green and we need greener for Monday and that Michael Douglas in the classic film "Falling Down" had every right to be angry about the Whammy Burger when it looked nothing like the picture on the wall. Food photography is fascinating and difficult, finding a balance between truthful representation and an appealing product.

2 shoots to do, so, what happened to taking it a bit easier



  1. Sounds like you should take your foot off the pedal more often if the work comes in like that. Well done and I hope the shoots go well.

  2. Great to hear from you Nigel. Hope you are back to form soon. I'm looking forward to seeing you Minorca assignment, which sounds very intriguing. It would be great to see the altar cloth pictures at some time also, if that were possible.

  3. Too true about the "Whammy Burger", love that film!

  4. Thanks for the comments. It is nice to be busy with the photography, and it not all being OCA work. I think when I started the course I ignored too much of my own photography and that was a bad thing.