Alvis Leonides Engine Detail

Alvis Leonides Engine Detail

Engine detail photography is something I picked up from my father. He has some amazing engine photographs, mainly of motorbikes but also of bigger things. I photographed this Helicopter engine at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. This is a British air-cooled radial piston aero-engine and came out of a huge Bristol Sycamore HR14 helicopter. Unfortunately I didn’t have my tripod with me and due to the low light it was difficult to get a pin sharp image. The new 50mm f/1.8 lens helped to give a nice blur in the background and the camera was set to ISO 400, but still it really needs a tripod. Using flash on a subject like this would cause a lot more reflections so a longer shutter speed is the only way to go. The good news is that this museum is free and only a ten minute walk away from both Manchester city centre and my flat, so I will be returning as soon as I can find the time.

Dry Stone Wall in the Lake District

Dry Stone Wall in the Lake District

It was a very overcast day in November when this photograph was taken. A famous photographer once referred to these kinds of lighting conditions as “black and white days”. There is very little colour in this wall, but lots of texture in the details. In my opinion it looks a lot better as a black and white photograph. On this trip to the Lake District I stayed in a house near Ullswater, the second largest lake in the national park. I saw some interesting rays of sunlight and ran down to the waterfront to capture the photograph below. When I turned around to walk back to the main road, I saw this dry stone wall. It was much taller than I was, so probably 7 or 8 feet high – they are usually only half that size so it seems a little strange, but I felt it could make for an interesting photo.

Cobbled Street in Manchester

Cobbled Street in Manchester

More specifically this was taken in the Castlefield area of Manchester city centre. These cobble stones are normally grey and dull, but because the sun was setting in the distance there was a beautiful warm light on the street. Fortunately the camera has kept sharpness and details from front to back and it might be a little annoying not to see where this road leads or the details around this street, but my recent photographic trips have been focusing much more on details in an endeavour to get a little more creative with my camera. I will admit I did enhance the saturation of the colour and add the darkened edges that seem very popular at the moment, but as far as I am concerned it is the end result that matters in photography. I could have taken this photograph on 35mm slide film and put a warm up filter on and maybe a vignette out of black card, a similar picture would have probably been produced. To me it is just far easier and quicker to do this in post processing.

Old Blue Door in Castlefield, Manchester

Old Blue Door in Castlefield, Manchester

This is another one of my favourite styles of image to take at the moment, the “grungy urban photo” as I call it. This one is a little different because I wanted to highlight the lovely details of the flakey blue paint on the wooden door. In the original image the brick work was much lighter and the door was not as saturated, but to give the photograph an arty feel I manipulated and enhanced the various colour levels using Photoshop. You are welcome to say I overdid it and the bricks are too dark or the blues are too bright, but right now on my monitor this looks just how I imagined it could look when I took the picture late last week.

The door was found just by the Roman ruins in the Castlefield area of Manchester’s city centre near the Science & Industry Museum and the canal. The doorway leads into one of the arches of a bridge still used today by trains bringing people in and out of the city everyday.