Looking back over some of the wonderful highlights from 2012, the many varied people and locations all of which made the year a fun and creative experience.
At the beginning of August 2009 I was asked by Cambridgeshire Community Police’s marketing department to photograph portraits for their forthcoming Ad campaign to highlight public awareness and vigilance in the community. All the portraits were taken over the course of a day and were taken of various members of public posed looking at camera from ice cream vendors, community police officers to park wardens and students. The setups were straight forward and all except one used available light. Images and resulting ads are below.
At the begining of the summer of 2009 I was asked by the marketing and communications team of Cambridgeshire Mencap to undertake photography for a new website and to update existing library images. The work involved visiting many of the homes, services and activities of the service users over a period of just under 3 months. With the aim of the photography to capture creative natural and fun images of volunteers, activities and service users.
Work is now complete on the new Cambridgeshire Mencap website and the site is now live. Cambridgeshire Mencap is a charity based in Cambridge, UK and supports local people with learning disabilities. Their important work encompasses supported living, access to community activites and training. They also support parents and carers providing them with information, advice on relevant issues and backup when they need a rest. Undertaking photography work for Mencap was a real joy and great learning experience for me, and gave me a better insight into the lives of those with learning disabilities and the conditions associated with having a learning disability. As well as the parents and people who support and care for them.
Image below of one the huge coal burning furnaces at the Museum was lit using x3 Nikon SB800′s. 2 were placed close to the right and left of the furnace, behind walls. Angled up and zoomed slightly for a narrow throw of light. The 3rd light was placed out of frame through a doorway camera left, this light was again zoomed for a slightly narrow beam of light and aimed down towards the cobbled floor, children and wall opposite. The exposure was around 1/30s to expose for the daylight entering through windows high above. Part 1
The museum is a real gem for a photographer as there lots of character details and shapes.
This simple shot used a single SB800 flash placed low and behind the spanners and a long exposure to capture some ambient daylight on the front of the spanners.
More off camera flash used in this example.
New images for the Cambridge Museum of Technology. No specific brief for these images. The room used at the museum was full of old radios and television sets, unfortunately none were working. The children had fun though despite the lack of interaction in the exhibits. I asked them to pose and they really got on with finding ways to look intersted. I used x2 Nikon SB800′s without modification placed on stands on camera right to provide side and backlight while filling shadows from window behind the exhibits. The use of off camera flash helped also to separate the subjects from the background. I also used 1 SB800 fired into the window side wall to help lift the ambient light. See lighting diagram below, handrawn! More example lighting set ups in Part 2
Every year Cambridge District Council’s Sport Development in conjunction with Living Sport host a sports day for children with disability. I volunteered to take photographs of the event. It was great fun!!! As a photographer based in Cambridge I hope to have more opportunities like this!
Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue service training day – All images where taken for the CAMSAR website and other publicity to illustrate the service in action and their methods of search and rescue . It was a very wet start to the day with continual rain. As I would be working outdoors for the entire shoot I made the protection of the camera and lens a priority by using waterproof bags and covers. The use of waterproof covers for camera and lens can make creating well composed images a real challenge as the lens can fog and the cover obscure the viewfinder or lens. Everyone was in good humour and seemed not to mind being outside in the continual rain. Much of the day was spent following the various training activities culminating in one of the team groups finding a volunteer missing person. I documented the event as it happened and also set up and posed a few key images.
Trained volunteer search technicians are assisted by a central control room providing up to date information from the local constabulary and GPS radio tracking technology.
Volunteers undergo training to track a persons movements.
Lighting for the two person portraits below was provided by off camera flash and the ambient daylight. Two flashes were placed behind and to the right/left of the subject and one overhead of camera position with softbox. Sunlight provided intermittent overhead backlight.
2 month Cambridge Mencap photography commission close to completion. Results and insights posted here soon. Currently completing final images for the new Cambridge Mencap marketing campaign with new leaflets and website.
Lots of portraits taken over two days for the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital’s new nursing recruitment brochure. Great job, loads of fun meeting some very nice people. The brief was quite open with guidance to take approachable, happy portraits with neutral backgrounds. I chose to shoot with available light where possible and fill shadows evenly.
I have posted the examples below and in part 2 to give an idea of how a very simple and relaxed corporate portrait can be taken on location with minimum fuss but with lots of variety. Both examples use the exact same location and a lighting se tup which did not need to be moved. Using this set up enabled a variety of shots to be taken without taking to much time to reset lights and location. This was a necessity as I was confined to just one room.
The first image on the left above was set up as follows:
One Bowens Gemini 500 with wafer softbox positioned on camera right close to subject and with a white reflector on the opposite side to provide fill. A second smaller light a Nikon Sb800 was placed on top of my lighting case low down behind the subject aimed up towards the wall behind. This provided a formal set up but with some separation with the background. The pose and lighting is quite standard but was a good starting point to work from. It also allowed the subject to begin to relax and get an idea how things were looking by seeing the image on the back of the camera.
The set up for the second image was a matter of turning the softbox used in the first image around so that it pointed towards the wall behind the subject, raising the level from a dark grey to almost white, no adjustment to the power output was needed. A second Gemini 500 with umbrella was used as the key light placed on camera left and feather slightly so that light would not fall onto the glass partition immediately on the subjects left side. The pose was adopted by the subject and I only asked her to turn slightly more both left and right.
The third image from the left was changed only by moving the subject to a different part of the room where I could use a glass partition wall as background. Using as my key light the soft available daylight through a window behind camera. I left the softbox in place but rotated it again so that this time it was aimed at the glass wall behind the subject. Even though the ambient daylight level was quite high the background remained flat and dark. I wanted to keep the high key level created by the daylight and so used the softbox to create some fall off behind the subject. The pose this time was set up only by asking the subject to stand and lean on one hand toward the camera. Although the pose felt a little awkward to begin with, this soon changed as we chatted and laughed. The pose begin to take a more intuitive and natural feel.
The fourth image was lit in the same way, except this time I asked the subject to sit (a different portion of the wall behind could be used as background now) again leaning on the table with one hand, the subject adopted a version of this position when she sat down and I could see she was comfortable with it and so I asked her to continue but I refined some the shapes and position of her hands. It is always enjoyable to be photographed when you are not aware of having to think to much about posing, allowing subjects to find an intuitive position always works well and means you can continue to keep a dialog flowing.
In total shooting time for one subject was between 20-30 minutes. There were more variations taken but not included in this example.