This is a simple photograph, of a large fire we had down at my Uncle’s farm in Lincolnshire. It is the different colours and textures that really attracted me to this photo and made me what to put it online. I’m still struggling with the getting the quality I want and not making the website take a long time to load. As it is the small version above doesn’t look very good but the larger preview (when you click the above image) has a lot more detail.
The top half of this image has many interesting areas for me, the top left, lighter area with the thin twigs is lovely and sharp on the original and is a nice contrast to the large log on the right with the texture on the bark. This certainly isn’t a favourite photograph of mine but I love looking at open fires and feel like I rarely get a chance to just sit and watch one.
Stamford is an extraordinary town at the very south eastern point of the county of Lincolnshire. When I first saw the above building it reminded me of something out of an old Indiana Jones film. I wasn’t too far wrong either, because Stamford’s Public Library was featured in a film, The Da Vinci Code to be exact. Unfortunately there wasn’t time to go inside the building, but I found the architecture of the whole town extremely interesting from both a historical and a photographic point of view. This is another rather old photograph, having been taken back in August 2006. The good news is tomorrow I am finally getting another chance to get out there with my camera (by there I mean Manchester and not Stamford).
Tomorrow is Bonfire, Fireworks or Guy Fawkes Night here in the UK. I wanted to share the above image with you as it illustrates my best tip for photographing bonfires and fireworks. I was originally planning to give an in-depth tutorial on firework and fire photography spanning over a number of days but I believe that I am not at the point in my photographic career to start dishing out full blown tutorials. Firework photography is generally about luck. My top tip for tomorrow night if you do go to a firework display with your camera, get some camera support. A tripod is what I recommend, a GorillaPod would also work but a monopod or leaning on your friend will not work. You need your camera fully supported so you can frame the photograph before the fireworks go off, as you see them lighting them you want to click the shutter, but have it on timer mode of a second or two. This means you do not move the camera even a tiny amount when the shutter is open.
Why is this so important? Well, two years ago I attended a firework display, my first with a digital camera. I was using my compact, I had it on auto mode but with the flash turned off (obviously). That evening I took 300 photographs, 299 were deleted and the 1 I kept was blurred (looked alright on the web, but in print was terrible). In contrast, this September I took 300 photographs at a firework competition, 150 were deleted and 12 were sharp and to a high standard – all thanks to using a tripod.
After the bonfire on Saturday night I was keen to get another location photographed in Lincolnshire before travelling back up to Manchester. Located north of Bourne, on the fen edge, Sempringham is a very small hamlet. The Abbey Church of St. Andrew is pictured in my photograph above. This site was the home of Gilbert of Sempringham (Lincolnshire’s Native Saint) and The Gilbertine Monastic Order was founded here in 1131. It was a very cloudy and overcast day when this image was taken, but I did wait for a good half an hour hoping that there would be a small break in the clouds to light up the building. As you can see, my wait paid off and just as we were about to get back in the car the sun shone. There is no detail in the harsh shadows of the grave stones but I don’t mind too much as I managed to capture that golden colour of the Churches brickwork.