POSTCODE PROJECT TW8  – UNIT 1 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4

Panning or ‘movement’ if you want to be all ‘art school’ about it. 1.1,1.2,1.3,1.4

Okay… here we go. I’ll admit to this one. I. can. not. do. this.

The object is to blur motion. To make it intentional. In cartoons they illustrate speed by drawing little lines as movement. As photographers, we can capture that. That flowing movement, speed, grace, kinesthesia (oooh)

Most of these photo’s are taken on the Great West Rd,  a throbbing lifeline of a road which intersects Brentford. Opened by King George V and Queen Mary In 1925. Also known as The Golden Mile, The Graeat West Road is famous for it’s Art Deco factories, long since closed and now turned into trendy offices, and for it’s enormous modern, shiny, glass buildings . I live close by, and it never really slows down much.


Unit 1 – 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4

I missed out on a man who glided past me, very smoothly on a skateboard. I didn’t have the nerve to yell after him “Would you mind doing that a few more times, or even lots more times, whilst I take your photo?” Thought I might get locked up or something….

Dozens of photo’s later… this happened. A man cycled past me, very slowly, and sedately. I took the shot, and it is almost there, isn’t it?

I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


And then…. I got one lucky shot. So here goes….


Ta dah! Yay! I got one.

I’m hoping to have a few more for next week 🙂


ps. Below all the the throb and roar of the traffic, pretty much hidden from the road level, you pass over the Grand Union canal. Once itself, a ‘bustling waterway’ supplying Brentford, but also factories and industry all over the country.  It is now almost a pastoral scene of calm and tranquility.  But just as an important part of the story of Brentford.




What the f…..? – part 2 (or back to the drawing board) Unit 1  1.1, 1.2, 1.3

Still struggling with the D.O.F or Depth of Field, I asked my tutor, Ria for some help, and she gave me some exercises to do.  My assignment was to take three objects at distance away from me.  The 1st object at arms length, the 2nd at approx 6ft away, and the 3rd approx 10ft away (apologies to those of you that operate in metric measurements…. am still rather old school, I’m afraid (much to my Italian father’s consternation!)

*Deep breath…..* Ready? Okay….Take a series of photo’s, whilst keeping the focal length at 35mm, and maintaining the same distance from the objects throughout, and making sure that I focus on the same object each time.  Uh oh, here we go with the patting the head and rubbing the tummy at the same time…..  At the same time, making sure to adjust the shutter speed so that the exposure meter shows at zero.

Exposure-Meter (Picture sourced on Google)

The object of the exercise is to see how much the sharpness includes the other two objects as the f.stop changes. Then to take the same series of images but focusing on the middle object.

With all that in mind, I set out to take some shots.  Unfortunately, it was a very cold, dismal day and there was no way I wanted to be outside trying to take photo’s.  😦 Remembering Ria’s advice to take control of the camera, (not the other way around), and to “eliminate all the noise”.  Have control, good lighting, quiet, a selected subject matter, exposure, shutter speed and….Depth of Field.  Right.

Nowhere in my house is really 6 or 10 ft away, with a clear distance…  The conservatory was, therefore, designated my studio.  I tried taking a few handheld shots, but that wasn’t going to work at such slow shutter speeds, so I set up the tripod and a remote control shutter release.  I set up some distinctly flimsy, wobbly dominoes (good ol’ Christmas crackers 😉 )

You can see that the depth of field changes with the settings. The domino (Oh, oh, Domino…. (Van Morrison reference.)  Oops….can’t stop…. It’s an ear worm, in my head going round every time I type domino… Oh, oh, Domino… (Okay, okay….Stopping now.) 🙂 Where was I? Oh yes… The domino nearest the front remains in focus but, as the depth of field changes the dominoes behind become clearer, then out of focus again as the f.stop gets higher.

A wise man called, Zig when asked what to do to take better pictures in poor light, said “If it’s a dull day, with poor light? ….Don’t take photo’s. Do something else.”  I could see my knitting waving at me from the basket by the sofa.  I said it was a grey day, well it turned out to be more 50 shades of grey, even with all the window and roof blinds open, I struggled to get the light right. So I did have to up the ISO in order to get the brightness I needed, so some of the following shots are rather on the grainy side.

The focus here is on the centre cactus.  The first image, taken at f.5.6 shows the central cactus nicely in focus and the foreground and rear cactus more ‘fuzzy’. At f.8 and 11, the foreground and background cactuses are coming into focus, and in the final image the whole thing is more focused.


I know they’re grainy, and perhaps I could have lowered the camera on the tripod just a tiny bit to get a slightly better composition, but that wasn’t really the point the of exercise. I’ll go back to framing better compositions once I’ve got past the basics, I’m sure. Can’t build a house on wobbly foundations, can you?

I think with this final series of images, some of my favourite objects, it is quite easy to see the difference that changing the f.stop makes. I really feel like it’s beginning to sink in……Finally. 🙂










Depth of Field, Panning and Movement 1.1, 1.2

On a cold and rainy grey day, I met up with Hannah, a fellow level2 student for a some shooting at Kew. Well, when I say met Hannah…. It nearly didn’t happen after a misunderstanding about which ‘Kew’ station we were to meet! (oops…Sorry Hannah)

Ugh. f.8 1/100 14mm ISO1600
A dreary day in TW8


Unit 1 Movement – Panning. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3

Whilst I waited, I thought I’d practice panning…. I am still practising panning. At this point, I’m finding it a bit hard to be anywhere far enough away from the subject to be able to get the shot easily! (Not to mention getting splashed!…) Well, that and the dire weather.  Hey ho! …It’s all part of the fun, I s’pose.  So, for what it’s worth, here are my attempts. I think I do need a bit more practice with this.

Strictly speaking, Kew Gardens is TW9, but since it appears on my page of the A-Z, I am including some photos from my trip to Kew.  When I finally met with (a rather cold and damp) Hannah we spent several, happy, companionable hours snapping among the beautiful Orchids of Thailand Festival.

In the images above, of the water falling, I have reduced the shutter speed, because of the low light level, to allow more light in and also raised the ISO to better capture the water falling. The high ISO does mean some compromise in the quality of the image though.

Below, a little bit of post editing to bring out the contrasts and highlights of the foliage, and the rocks and falling water. I converted to B&W, cropped and adjusted the contrast and highlights to better capture the feeling of the ‘jungle’.




Depth of Field.  1.1, 1.2, 1.3

Another element of photography that I still haven’t quite grasped. I’m trying, believe me! I have actually just completed another, extra exercise in depth of field in the half term hols, so I’ll post when I have a little more time on my hands.  I think though, that I may, just may. be beginning to really see what it means…. don’t hold me to that.. I’ve said it before! 🙂

After an entirely heart-stopping  moment, when I dropped my lens whilst changing it, and completely smashed the UV filter…. Arrrghhh!!!  We carried on anyway, so some of these images may be a little distorted. Although I did go back a few days later and try to re-shoot some of them.  Luckily my lovely Tripod Carrier was able to remove the broken filter and fit a new one (Big Yay! 🙂 )

I know… they’re not perfect. I have a horrid feeling that most of the problem for me is that I just need to go and get my eyes re-tested!  The large leaves show that at f5.6 the veins on the leaf in foreground are clear, with the background being a little fuzzy.  At f.9 slightly more of the middle-ground is in focus, then at f.22 much more of the shot is in focus. I have to say here that the strange ‘streaks’ across the leaves are caused by the cracked UV lens.

The orchids right in the foreground are in focus at f4.5, and the background is out of focus. At f.11 The orchids in the centre of the picture are coming more into focus along with the ones in the foreground. I think there may be a little camera shake due to the camera being handheld at a fairly slow shutter speed. At f.16 even the flowers and foliage in the background are coming into focus. I had to raise the ISO though, the light was beginning to fade as clouds went over the glasshouse.

My thanks to Hannah for all her help and endless patience 🙂 Here’s to another visit soon 🙂

P.s As you can see… this iguana was definitely moving. So was I….EEK!!!  Once I regained my composure, I did take another quick photo just to prove I wasn’t imagining it!



a few entirely gratuitous orchids, flowers and pretty flora photo’s from 2 happy afternoons at Kew Gardens.

The beautiful Palm House.  f.7 1/250 24mm ISO100
The Palm House, Kew Gardens.







‘Elf n’ Safety – Level 1 Photography

NCFE level 1 Photography


Essentially, just like any other profession, Health and Safety Regulations around photography are mainly about common sense.  That, and limiting the amount of hazards as far as practically possible, whilst taking responsibility to ensure one’s own health, safety and welfare, and that of any photo subjects whilst working.

Image found on Google  https _cdn.evbuc.com_images_36748960_89183407241_1_original


Risk Assessment

Be mindful of trip hazards when using tripods, and or lighting stands either outside, or in the studio. If you’re in a public place for example, be aware that the tripod represents a trip hazard to yourself, and also to passers by.  Having tripped over them myself on several occasions now, I realise the importance of this one! NB. Also lookout for traffic, (no matter how good the shot… I’ve been beeped at more than once) cyclists, kerbs (yep…) and people. This awareness should also extend to waterways, and steep slopes. It’s a good job Tripod Carrier is also my lookout, and very practised at catching me when I’m off balance!! (an unfortunate effect of my ill health).

Common sense would dictate that you do not obstruct the pathways. Not just because it is a legal requirement not to do so.

In the studio, use the correct lighting stand for the photographic lighting you are using. Do not over reach/raise the lighting stand, this may cause the stand to tip over.  Lights get hot!! To prevent the risk of burns, either to yourself or your model, remember to use safety gloves when handling hot bulbs, or adjusting ‘barn doors’ for studio lighting.

Make sure there’s room in the studio for everyone to move around safely.

Cables should  be taped securely to the floor with gaffer tape or protected with rubber mats,  or wired upwards so as not to cause a trip hazard.  Make sure cables are properly unwound and not left on a coil. A coiled extension cable can become hot if left wound up whilst in use and then become a potential fire risk.

Photography Backdrops should be taped or weighted down to minimise risk of damage.  It’s very often dark in a studio because of the low light levels. Trip hazards are less obvious in the dark! Pay extra attention to how you move around.

At the end of a studio session, it’s  advisable to allow your lighting rig to cool down properly before moving, after shooting.  All equipment should be safely moved to the edges of the studio.


LegalitiesImage found on Google

Members of the public do not need a permit to take photos in public places. You do not have to ask permission to take people’s photo’s, but it’s probably better that you do. A winning smile, and a compliment go a looong way. 🙂  If you wish to take photographs in a private place and publish them, you’ll need to obtain permission, and a ‘model release’ or consent form. In this day and age, it seems a little obvious to say that if you wish to take photo’s of other peoples children, you must obtain permission from their parent or guardian.

You must be aware that whilst you have rights to take photos, if the police regard you as a terrorist threat (a little unlikely in my middle-aged-Nanna-person) they can stop and search you.

You cannot (and should not..) trespass to take photo’s. If you want to take photo’s on private land, ask permission. If you are friendly, polite and professional, most people will grant permission.

Public Liability Insurance – If you are being paid to take photographs you need to take out public liability insurance, which should cover you for any liability for damage caused to another person or property whilst working.

Post editing

Most photographers, as I now know, spend long periods of time hunched over either, a camera on a tripod, or a computer.  You can limit the potential issues of injury through back strain, by being aware of how you lift, and carry your photography equipment. Don’t overload yourself, and bend at the knees rather than bending your back.  When both editing and writing my blog, I can spend a considerable amount of time at the pc. It’s important to take regular breaks to reduce headaches, and eye strain. Rather like Goldilocks & the Three Bears story, the chair I’m sitting in, right now, dear reader, is perfect for Tripod Carrier, but causes me some discomfort, so getting up and moving around does help. You may be relieved to hear that I have an ergonomically designed wrist, and mouse pad and, a very comfy foot rest. 🙂  Be aware of screen glare, use brightness and contrast settings to reduce flicker.

Common Sense

Cameras are expensive items to replace. Insurance is a good idea, especially if you intend to take photos in an area where you might expect to be robbed (mmm hmm… I know… maybe you think you wouldn’t be?) but if you are taking photo’s whilst away on a trip somewhere abroad, for instance.  Don’t make a big show of your marvellous camera…Try not to ‘advertise’ your very expensive camera, don’t make it obvious. Keep it in a bag that doesn’t advertise its’ value, use a secure strap, and do not leave your camera bag unattended.

Another good reason to be careful whilst shooting, is dropping expensive camera parts. Indeed, last week when shooting at Kew Gardens with a fellow student I dropped my lens!! EEEK! For a heart stopping moment as I picked it up, I feared the worst, but thanks to our Tutor, Zigs’ advice to buy a UV filter to protect the lens, my lens was safe whilst the £6 UV filter was completely smashed… lesson heeded and learned.

This will be my last post on Negative Thoughts Level 1, but please do come and join me on my level 2 journey.

P.s…. Wish me luck… 😉