Light Numbers

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The essence of understanding photography is understanding light. Stand any object near a window and capture the light falling on it and you will get a great shot.  I love this image where the light is coming through an old window pane, casting criss cross patterns over the medieval stone and hymn stand of St. Gwynog Church, Llanwnog.

The hymn numbers could be for a wedding, funeral, a baptism maybe, but probably it is a Sunday morning service, a regular new day in any city, town or village and we all look forward to those.





The Donohue Collection

Recently, while visiting San Francisco, we took a family trip to Carmel by the Sea. We were mainly there for the wine tasting bars but stumbled across a fabulous Photography gallery in the town, called the Photography West Gallery.  Sometimes, I look through the window and enjoy pictures without entering a gallery, this time however I dared to venture in.

I’m stood looking at an image on the wall thinking, crikey that looks like an Ansel Adams..and it was ! There were lots of them!   The owner happily answered my sceptical questions, such as “How on earth did you get hold of these?” Turns out one of Ansel’s assistants “Phyllis Donohue” passed away and her private collection was brought to the gallery to exhibit.


“Donohue’s primary duties were spotting and print preparation, but she also assisted Ansel in the darkroom. One task assigned to Phyllis was the cataloging of Ansel Adams’ negatives. The most famous negatives had been placed and dated, but there were countless others with no documentation. Phyllis assembled a diary log of all Adams’ travels over the decades, and then assigned dates and locations to every negative.  Over twenty years, Ansel Adams would often give Phyllis a photograph to mark special celebratory events like birthdays and holidays. He also inscribed personal dedications to Phyllis on many of the photographs. She treasured these photographs for their association with what was the happiest working period of her life, and protectively stored twenty-two original photographs for thirty years until her death in the summer of 2018.”

The Donohue Collection.  is currently on shown until February 2019.


Turns out it’s part of their current exhibition  The Donohue Collection.




Rule of Thirds & The 52 Week Challenge

Recently, my very good friend and ace photographer Anthony Fawkes shared a photo challenge for 2019 from Petapixel entitled The 52 Week Challenge 

Week 2 in the list of challenges  is to use existing knowledge of the Rule of Thirds and show motion in a picture.  Lately, I seem to have forgotten all about this popular rule in photography and any picture that happens to have subjects placed at the intersection of virtual horizontal and vertical lines, is a happy accident.

So time to re-learn this technique and a whole lot more about composition before hitting the shutter button.  I like this about challenges. Not only is it a motivation to get out and take photos and learn more useful stuff,  but, by researching I often discover folk out there have a completely different take on the norm and this should improve the overall quality of pictures that I take in the future.

Take for example,  10 Myths about the rule of thirds   an article by the photographer Tavis Leaf Glover available on YouTube.  He would rather ditch the use of Rule of Thirds altogether, as he argues it limits composition in both photography and in painting. He’s got a point!

So, I’m going to do a little more research, get the glass out this weekend and see if I can not only get a decent rule of third image showing motion, but add to it using some of the influences of Tavis’s article.

Let me know what you discover and share any photos you might take on my 52 Week Challenge Facebook page.



This month, my guest blogger is the Writer and Director of short film “The Penny Dropped” – AD Cooper

Just finding somewhere to shoot a night scene was very tricky. It had to be really dark because no one wants to work all night especially on a short film where the budget is tight. Only two suggestions emerged – one was a basement under a community centre in Hanwell over near Ealing while the other was a bunker in Dalston, London E8, that had been used as an air raid shelter in World War 2.  

The bunker recce revealed a dank cavern of solid concrete down a couple of dozen steps. Moisture hung in the torch beams diffusing the light. There was the added bonus that there would no need for any set dressing to make it look grotty, and right outside was a pop-up bakery that exuded distracting wafts of freshly-baked bread all day long. Above all, it was solid dark down there with no light sneaking in anywhere.

The rest of the production team agreed it was ideal for our supernatural shoot. A mass of torches were rounded up to help the crew set up, and stout footwear was vital with the pooled rainwater and years of collected gloop on the concrete floors. 

During shoot days, anything that fell on the floor got soaked and was often ruined. Paper scripts and schedules went quietly limp in a couple of hours due to the damp. And whilst the bunker maintained a steady comfortable temperature, it was easy to forget the scorching late summer weather upstairs.

The bunker’s only negative was that it wasn’t sound proof, and many shots were halted by the arrival and departure of lorries collecting and delivering skips, rubbish and more. Still the shoot was a success even if the schedule went AWOL, and post production is well underway.  

A D Cooper  Writer & director

In Post (3)

The Penny Dropped” is in Post Production. My Low and High resolution images are with the Producers and the first images are carefully being released. For me, the shoot was such an adrenalin rush. At first, eager anticipation, thoughts and ideas, then the crazy day getting the shots down, and now waiting to see the final Production images and the film itself.  Whilst as always I go on to the next assignment, the next lighting, the next microphone shot.. for me each shoot is “In Post”.


In Post (2)

Production on “The Penny Dropped” is in full swing.  We have Lights, We have Sound, We have Action!

Director of Photography (DOP) Candida Richardson and Sound Recordist Mark Andrews are concentrated on the unfolding scenes.  Above ground, skips are being dropped, deliveries made, disturbing the shoot, Alice our Director calls “Cut!”

The light is low.  I’m on manual focus, manual settings and searching for composition, shadows, and acting expression.  It’s going well, Candida changes to handheld on an 80mm, the actresses perform out of their skin…Alice is happy..”Scene Complete!”


In Post

Just over a week ago, I was invited to be Film Stills Photographer on Hurcheon Films latest short film  The Penny Dropped.  Produced by A D Cooper and Stephen Croson, written and directed by A D Cooper, this supernatural short was shot in an old WWII Bunker in Dalston and features Abigail Thaw “Endeavour” and Phillippa Peak “Home Fires”.

Imagine entering a world where once, folk sought refuge from bombings, which is now a dank, dark, dripping canvas awaiting the next set of creatives to turn their ideas into a modern viewing experience.

I find an old piece of cardboard, a plastic chair, a small table and with my trusted Maglite begin the process of arranging my kit.  I think today my 50mm fixed lenses is going to be the lens of choice.  Now, if someone would just walk into that film light..


The Dressmaker

There is a little used function on my DSLR and it is called VIDEO.  When my wife Chris Walker said she wanted to get her old sewing machine out and make herself a dress, I thought it would be an interesting topic for a short video and I might learn a new skill in the process.

Here was my chance to try out Amateur Photographer (06.02.16) magazine’s “Tripod Tricks”, in which it attempted to explain how you can use a cheap tripod to produce high quality looking footage. They highlighted techniques such as The Crane Shot, The Stabilised Shot, The Low Angle Tracking shot and The Slider Shot. You won’t see all these successfully achieved in the final edit as I struggled with panning and focussing, (no auto focus on an 1100D) but happily the machine and The Dressmaker take centre stage..

I love to get your feedback on my video, so please complete the Comment form below, many thanks!

A Perfect Voice anticipated

For once I find myself with a minor ailment and ordered to rest.  Now I have my head around the idea, I wander along to the local library in search of the book I can read from cover to cover in one day and do nothing else.

They say Madame Bovary is the perfect novel. It’s impact on writing style unquestioned.  And so I settle down to immerse myself, test match cricket playing gently in the background.  This notion of resting and doing nothing but read, whilst sounding idyllic.. I’m fidgety .. My photos from the Maidstone Fringe Festival have been released, I could do with circulating them. 

Here’s one.. Father and daughter singing in harmony at The Devil’s Interval workshop..  

Got to be a unique moment for them  ..

Ok they may be amateurs but they can sing. This group of “ordinary” people coming together in song and harmony.. Their voices glorious yet unheard outside of the Bower House Venue.. And so to the as yet unheard voice (by me)  of Flaubert..will it be a perfect voice?


Praising the Original

I’m waiting on a couple of photo shoots to be released and in the meantime find myself toying with various effects in Lightroom/photoshop.

It’s never been easier to see at a touch of a button the immediate effect of putting on a vignette, bringing out shadows or increasing contrast. I may be wrong but I do find that I dance across the buttons choosing the f sharp of Lightroom or the c flat of photoshop but end up sticking with the original version as shot. To me that is success. What do you think ?

First off here is the original ( ef-s18-55mm f/3.5-5.6ISII) shot at 49mm, f5.6 iso1600 ! 1/60 sec

Do you think anything is added as a result of changing the effects..

Classic black and white beloved of film makers.. Or..

This is the cinematic effect.. I always check how it would look but very rarely do I actually use it. I’m happy if the original stands the test, after all the challenge is to get the shot right first time..