Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Reprocessing Old Images

Howdy Camerfags,

I'm still happily in my half-term time so I figured I would make the most of it by staying up pretty late last night reprocessing old images whilst I watched The Big Bang Theory. Turns out it was a success and I'm far happier with my versions I've now got as opposed to my older ones, I think my taste in photos has changed dramatically over the past few months. I much prefer dark, undersaturated photos with quite a negative atmosphere rather than what I used to which was quite uptempo, happy photos with purple, red, blue and yellow tones!

One of the photos took quite a while to process because I, lazily, only got one type of a certain portrait so I didn't have any others to reference to. I just had one portrait with the model's shoulders in but there were a of hair strands covering her eye which was a massive distraction. At the time, I only really took the photo just incase but I didn't really like the angle - now I love it! So, note to self, always make corrections in camera during the shoot as opposed to 'hoping for the best'. Anyway, it's not all doom and gloom, I think I managed to clean it up nicely I suppose, at least it's not noticeable.

Monday, 13 February 2012

New Blog, Processing Old Images, Half-term

Howdy Camerafags,

I've just recently updated this blog's layout and I really like it, I've changed the background image (you can find the source of it by clicking the little circle button at the top left), I've added social media buttons on the right (you should definitely click those!) and I've adjusted widths and the layout so things look a bit more organised. I'm a tad disheartened by the fact I can't really have a 500px button because the badges that you can get from their website have a white background and I don't seem to be able to change that, so I'm just going to have to stick with the 500px link in the toolbar above.

So, to change the topic to photography, I've been going through some old RAW files to reprocess because I've  been somewhat bored and, to my fortune, I can across quite an oldie. It was a photo I took as part of a high school trip to the Lake District in 2009, the objective wasn't to produce photography or anything, it was in fact a Geography trip, but I was allowed to take my Dad's Nikon D50 back in the day. The trip was actually relatively productive, in terms of art, I got quite a few relatively decent images but I just didn't process them too well. My skills have somewhat advanced in terms of colouring and composition, so I took a stab at an image that used to be popular on my Flickr photostream but I never really liked it, it always looked a bit too - meh. What's your opinion of it now? I'm actually really happy with it. My old version was of an apocalyptic nature, so I tried to replicate that once more only, this time, better. If you want to see a higher quality version, just nip over to my 500px!

I'm, overall, quite happy with how things are going with regards to photography. I feel my skills are developing steadily and I'm at a point in which I feel confident saying, "Hey, I created a great piece of artwork!" but still, at the same time, feel I could improve it a lot, which is all the part of the fun of it really. However, I'm not happy with the fact I haven't got myself out there to get work or anything like that. I'm attempting to set up some really cheap photoshoots to get some experience and, at some point, I'm going to look at being a professional photographer's assistant to get some work experience in the field. If you happen to know anyone who needs someone like that, just comment on this post or contact me in some way, I would really appreciate it. I genuinely just want to know what it's like, I also want to pick up some tips and prepare myself for a long journey of trying to make it into a career because I know it will be difficult.

Anyway, I shall bid you farewell because I have nothing really more to say, I should get some colour film rolls developed soon and I will be doing a day of shooting when I come back after half-term because it's part of my A-level class. Keep in touch!

Au revior,


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Lacking Inspiration for Portraits

Howdy Camerafags,

I'm absolutely running out of inspiration when it comes to photography. It's not that I'm losing interest in it, not at all, but, like in the past, I have suddenly found myself with somewhat of a 'Photographers block'. I was in my study day yesterday at college to get some work done and I have many opportunities to use the studio with various backdrops and lighting equipment, but, when it actually came to it, I couldn't really think of something new to do with the model's I had available. I won't lie, I which I had access to more people, but I can always make do with what I have - just sometimes, it won't be particularly interesting. I didn't really have any props either which was a bit of a pain; I'm not one for props but I think it would have helped a fair bit. I think a lot of it is the fact I don't know a lot of models so I don't have a diverse selection of people to use in my photos.

I suppose I did get a reasonable amount of photos from yesterday, but nothing particularly mind blowing or fresh. I did like the closeup I got of Drew solely because Beth scared him by jabbing the air right near him with a sharp pair of scissors, hell, if they're on the verge of tears, mostly from laughter I suppose, then why not use it? The all in all, this week hasn't been hugely successful in terms of photography, though I did take a few colour film rolls for the first time which I will develop and print soon - quite looking forward to how they turn out! They're out of date which means that, apparently, the colours will look different and, sometimes, better than they would have if they were new film rolls.

Does anyone have any neat ideas for some portraits I could do?

Catch you later when I actually have some interesting photos or a story to tell,


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Manchester Museum, Photo Day

Howdy Camerafags,

Today I have spent the day in a museum in Manchester. To be quite honest with you, I don't know if it's the official museum of the city or if it's just one of the many, I'm guessing it's the latter, all I know is that there were a lot of people which suggests it's quite popular. My favourite part of the entire experience was actually the buildings around it, they looked absolutely brilliant and I rather regret my decision to not pre-plan and bring a few colour films rolls because I think it would have really worked. Most of the buildings near were in good condition and had a lot of really great looking features, for example, a lot of the windows were large and quite vintage. The only issue I really had is the fact I had to accommodate to the really low lighting which means that, when I came up to windows like in this photo, I had to faff around with settings. Back to my initial point, I really love buildings like these, it reminds me a lot of London city life which is something I always love to think about. It also reminds me of a regular flow of photos I see, that are primarily in film, that are of various cities and are quite old photos - just think of Tumblr, really.

I won't lie, the attractions indoors were genuinely quite interesting though, due to my lack of understanding, I couldn't exactly relate to a lot of the information because I hadn't been acquainted with it in the past.

Conclusion, the inside was reasonably boring and the outside was brilliant, what a bizzare journey to a Museum,


Friday, 27 January 2012

Why do I want to be a Photographer?

Howdy Camerafags,

I've wanted to be a photographer for years now; I've never truly thought about it or planned it out, but I knew I wanted my job to involve creating art with my trusty camera and eyes. It's hard to describe really, you just know when someone is your thing really. Sometimes it can football, gaming, stamp-collecting, partying, model painting - sometimes it can be Photography. I've used cameras my entire life, as most people have, but I first picked up a camera, with the intention to create art, when I was about 11 at the beginning of High School. My Dad had been into Photography for years so it sort of rubbed off onto me; I loved seeing his camera, this large DSLR that beeped and snapped, it was rather mesmerising. I was occasionally allowed to use it, but only briefly, it was somewhat heavy and much different to the camera I had previously used in my life. Much different to a disposable camera, light and inexpensive - but this camera was more. I didn't even have a concept of the various settings and capabilities of this black box, the amount of buttons overwhelmed my eyes - what were half of them for? Obviously I know now, they can lock expose, change the camera to MF/AF, change the camera mode, the dial to change the appropriate number, all sorts really.

Shortly after that experience, I set my mind on getting a camera for my birthday, nothing too pricey or adventurous - something simple but mine. I can't even remember what the make was, the camera must be around somewhere, it was some form of Fujipix, a compact camera. It was small, much less advanced than my Dad's camera, but it had all sorts of buttons and I even had a little bag with a miniature tripod, not that I used it at all really. I experimented with all of these aliens settings to familiarise myself, I tried to develop a style, techniques and my ability in certain areas. We'd often go to Martin Mere, my sister, brother and my Dad, my other sister had only recently been born so it would have been a bit of stretch to take her to face the elements, it was always bloody cold. We used to walk through the entire place, completely packed with a plethora of wildlife. Ducks, swans, even bloody peacocks. I wasn't entirely fond of the place, but I could take hundreds of photos all day long with my camera, it was something I had never really done before.

In the passing years up to now, I have tried all sorts really. I've experimented with post-processing techniques in Photoshop, I have used various subject matter which varies from people to buildings. But now, here I am, wanting my final qualification from Uni to be a Masters in Fashion Photography. I've been thinking about Universities I could go to and I've concluded on my top option being London College of Fashion. Oh god, imagine being there, earning my qualifications amongst other aspiring photographers. Being taught by professionals in the industry and expanding my knowledge and understanding within the camera-lovin' part of my brain. It rather makes me quiver with excitement at the prospect of earning money doing fashion shoots with beautiful and distinct models. I really, really want to.

I want to become a photographer because it's what I'm good at, I'm good at learning from my mistakes and I know I could become a brilliant professional with the right amount of work. I'm absolutely convinced I could succeed in University if I put my mind to it. My motivation would be unstoppable and my love for the art would be constant.

Why do you want to pursue a particular career?

Saturday, 21 January 2012

A Step in the Right Direction

Hey Camerafags,

I felt like I needed to get a fresh start on this blog, a lot of my posts were either too short or showcased sub-par photos that I'm not particular proud of. So instead, I'm going to begin my blog with a reasonably lengthy post to explain a few things and to ensure I don't do what I did last time, it just didn't look great in my opinion; I think I need to establish a few routine things on this blog like, for example, always posting at least one photo per post. I also need to customise my blog to the point in which people actually want to look at it because it gives them an eyegasm.

I'll scrap most of the trivial details for another page, originally titled "About Me", so I'll just cut to the chase on who I actually am. I'm Calvin, I'm a 16 year old photography student who is currently studying photography as one of their A-levels at college. I've had an utmost passion for this art since I was about 11 and I have been aspiring to have it as my career ever since. I would like to say my specialty is portraits because I plan to go to London's University of Fashion and get a BA followed by an MA.

I have my work on numerous websites but my primary ones are Facebook, 500px, Blogger and Twitter, these things will always be linked on my posts so I would love it if you were to check them out. I particularly highly recommend 500px because of it's skillful community and it's sleek layout, so if I were to advise you to do something, I would say you should sign up there, follow me and then message me with your uploaded photos so I can take a look at them - part of the fun of being a photographer is seeing other people's work aside from my own.

So to begin with, I'll include a photo, which will be a regular trend, and then tell you a bit about what I did and the things I like and do not like about it, constructive self-assessment of course. In this photo, I used the available college studio. The lighting setup was real simple, I just used a strobe through a softbox to diffuse the light; I still wanted a dramatic lighting, to compliment the negative and desperate atmosphere of the photo, so I placed it towards the left so some shadows would be created on the model's face. I'm particularly happy with this because, during post-processing, I started out making quite a washed out black and white photo, but then I increased the saturation a tad to create a washed out colour photo, a style which I quite like, I think it works well with this sort of depressive photo. I'm also particularly happy with this because, due to the position of the light, there are predominant reflections in the model's eye's which is what I aimed for because that is her best feature. To draw even more attention to this, I made the background less distracting by being plain but still complimenting the colour scheme of the photo.

The only real downfall, not to sound up my own arse, is the fact that I shot at 18mm which means there is distortion due to it being a wide-angle lens. This has led to a slightly distorted image, though I don't think it shows up as much as it does in other images; I do have access to lens profiles to fix camera distortion, but, at the time, it didn't seem to work to well. Conclusion, I should use a different bloody lens. Problem is, my Nikon D3100 doesn't have an in-built motor which means my 50mm will be manual. This tends to propose a problem because I normally use the 50mm when I'm in low-light which leads to a really shallow DOF which, in turns, means I have to entirely rely on the precision of my eyesight to tell if the focus point is right. On the other hand, in a studio, I shouldn't use a low F-stop really, so this shouldn't actually be a problem. I'll remember that next time. Self-assessment there, brill.

This photo is an example of the distortion I was referring to, I don't really think it ruins the photo, I think it adds quite an abstract element to it. Though I will try the lens profiles to compare how it looks with and without distortion. But all in all, I really like this one. Opinions?

After closer inspection, I have realised that these photos in the post are of somewhat painfully low quality. If you would like to see high quality versions, which I hope you would, then just check out my 500px photostream and tell me what you think, you can give me your opinion in an email, on facebook, Twitter, a comment on 500px or a comment on this blog post. All the relevant links are on the "Contact" page of this blog, check it out! I would greatly appreciate it if you filled in the below widget with regards to your email. I've recently added it and I'm curious to see how it works.

Toodles for now, that's it really,