My Desk and Manchester at Dusk

My Desk and Manchester at Dusk

I’m moving out of my flat in a couple of months so I don’t mind showing you this photo. Taken on Sunday this was a day long experiment taking inspiration from the new Joe McNally book I am reading at the moment called “The Hot Shoe Diaries”, which covers how to get big light from small flashes such as my Nikon SB-800. I wanted a photo of my desk for the record, but showing the great view out of my window over Manchester city centre.

Taken during the day there was too much light coming through the window, so I waited till dusk. In the end I had the camera on a tripod and used my Sigma 10-20mm super wide angle lens (hence the extreme distortion in the window frame). With the flash I had it on rear sync using the 80-20 method of pointing the flash head at the ceiling and bouncing it down to spread the light. I used a small piece of mount board to act as barn doors to keep the flash from reflecting off the window and into the camera’s lens.

All in all I am very pleased with the result but wish the window was a little clearer. There is no Photoshop processing on this apart from a quick resize for this website.

F-16 Fighting Hornet at Takeoff

F-16 Fighting Hornet at Takeoff

I almost didn’t take this photo. We had been at the Farnborough Airshow for three or four hours, stood in the same spot capturing everything that flew by. However, when I saw this Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Hornet taxing out onto the runway I was in two minds whether or not to pick up my camera and takes some photos.

Why? Well, I had already seen such amazing aircraft as the Red Arrows, The Blades, the A380 and many others. To me this was “just another fighter jet”. However, I did end up pointing my camera in its direction and I am very please that I did, because this is one of my favourite aircraft photographs.

Mitsubishi Evolution IX at Malcolm Wilson Rally

Mitsubishi Evolution IX at Malcolm Wilson Rally

When I think of car rallies there are two cars I think of, one being the Subaru Impreza and the second being this car picture above. The Mitsubishi Evo is a fantastic rally car and this one sounded amazing. The noise from the engine really went through me as I stood under some trees in the middle of Whinlatter Forest as the car power-slid around the corner just a few feet away from me. This particular Evo IX was driven by Thomas Naughton with Horace Saville as the co-driver. After doing a little research on the British Trial Drivers Association website, the reason this photo is so sharp is probably because the car was being driven slowly around the corner. The car retired from the rally soon after this photograph was captured because of a broken differential.

Sparkler Pattern

Sparkler Pattern

It has been easily five years or more since I last held a sparkler in my hand. Last Saturday I had a couple of packs of them with me and so tried experimenting with long exposures and painting with light experiments. The above photograph is a self portrait. It is very blurred, but that is due to waving the sparkler around to make the pattern. The images were captured with the camera on the tripod and with a remote shutter release. In this particular shot I tried really hard to keep still, I think it is almost impossible to take an image like this and make the face sharp. The exposure was five seconds on this picture. If you do have a digital camera and have sparklers this type of picture is very easily achieved, even on basic compact cameras. Simply make sure that the camera is supported, on a tripod or table etc. Make sure that you have the flash turned off (in auto or programme modes the shutter speed will then compensate for this). Another setting is to use the self timer to reduce camera shake. Light a sparkler, press the shutter and start drawing crazy shapes in front of the lens. You can even try writing your name (backwards of course).