Great North Run

As you may know from its humble origins the Great North Run has become one of the biggest events of its type in the world .. this year was the 30th Anniversary of the run and with over 54,000 people entered the numbers, and atmosphere were as big as ever.  We were there covering the event on behalf of one of our magazines.  Despite an amazing run of good weather in previous years this year took a turn for the worse and we ended up needing weather protected kit at all times …. although the junior run on the Saturday was bright and sunny!  At least the kids got some sunshine even if the adults had to put up with getting wet.  The usual mix of celebrity runners were present and of course tens of thousands of run runners in all manner of outfits.  For the most part we shot on the Canon 5D MK2 … our main coverage was for the charity runners and celebrities, but the shortfalls of this camera do some to light when photographing the faster finishing runners.  This is where the autofocus system just isn’t reliable enough for a pro shooting even relatively moderate paced sports.  Bearing in mind we were there all day keeping the kit light was a necessity and a 24-70mm F2.8 lens with a 70-200mm lightweight F4 canon lens were the products of choice.  Still preferring to keep the flash off camera and generally having a little bit more time to get the shots right we used an St-E2 and 580EX 11 to illuminate subjects where necessary.  Here are a few examples of some of the shots below.  Nothing special in technically but they are fit for the purpose they are intended for and hopefully capture some of the characters on the day.

The junior runs provide much fun for the kids and over a distance of 3 miles they are both testing and enjoyable! The fastest in the 9-11 year old category ran this in an impressive 17.08!!
The fastest three women ... Dulce-Fleix, Adere and Barros pictured at the finishing line.
The lovely (and very fast) Nell Mcandrew who finished in a very impressive 1hr 26m this year!
Haile Gebrselassie coming through the finishing line in 59m and 33s .. the first time he's run the event and he was clearly looking back near his best.
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Photoshop Brushes

It’s Monday morning here in the UK and its a week full of opportunity ahead …. this mornings opportunity is to retouch some images for use in a magazine and whilst I don’t have a huge amount of time to post this morning, it reminded me of the importance of Photoshop Brushes in our retouching work.  The pen tool, creating cut outs, and using brushes are some of the most underused techniques adopted by photographers … despite being stock in trade of the graphic design community.  Many clients who come through the door for tuition are at a loss as to how to make the most of these techniques and that renders severe limitations on their creativity.  I’m simply going to start the week off by suggesting a site where you can download some Photoshop brushes.

I’m not going to say anything else.  I just want you to go to the site, download some of them, load them into your brushes palette and use them!  You might be stuck at first coming up with ideas as to how to make them work but keep at it and you will find it relatively easy to start making creative changes to come of your work.  Of course being able to use the pen tool and creating multiple layers will help you to make the most of using brushes in Photoshop however I just want to spark some creativity in those who are perhaps first time users of brushes.  If you’ve used them before and discarded them previously because they didn’t fit into your style then go back and have another go.  Chances are you are now much more competent than you were when you last used them!  Feel free to email me your initial attempts!

http://www.pbrushes.com/category/photoshop-brushes/

Guest Photographer – Mark Tierney: Rock My Dress Shoot

The raised hands and material give a celebratory feel to the shot, and the processing is a little different. It's about giving choice without compromising on quality and style and this image does just that. The composition is simple and shot wider gives a real sense of space to the shot, fully capitalising on the scenery.

Thanks to Mark Tierney for writing this post for the blog: http://www.tierneyphotography.co.uk/ I’ve added comments with a few of the images to explain why these are particular favourites.

This is Joanna having a trash the dress shoot in her red wedding dress, taken at various locations on the Sheffield side of the Peak District.  The first location was shot at the base of the massive dam wall at Derwent Reservoir. This is the reservoir where the famous  http://www.dambusters.org.uk/index.htm Dambusters trained during World War II. As we walking up to the dam a RAF Hercules transport plane flew in between the towers and I had my camera in my bag – aaarrgghh! What a great sight though! The second location was further down the Derwent Valley at the Ladybower overspill hole. The last location was high up on a windswept Baslow Edge. The conditions were perfect with some nice moody clouds over the valley.  I must say Joanna was great to work with and it was quite cold up there and she never complained once. Thanks for being a great model Joanna

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Staying connected …

Good morning. I’m currently writing this post on a WordPress app for the Blackberry 9700. I’m in a hotel room and its a Sunday morning but I’m still fully connected to work should I feel like it. I’ve been labouring these points all week … Through conversations, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and beyond! If you’re not managing your data and your business using the latest technology then you aren’t being efficient. Fact!

You may not like this fact and you may have plenty of excuses but believe me … Its still fact!

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Data capture for the photographer

Data.  Essentially one of the most important factors in your business.  In fact in any business.  Where the data comes from, what you do with it, how you use, clean it, market to it, are all crucially important – but often overlooked factors.

Do you even have a plan for data capture?  If not then perhaps is now the time to be thinking about it.  Lets take a look at the most obvious group here.  Existing customers … they are the bread and butter of your living, however do you have the ability to send them all an email update at the same time?  If not, then why not?  If you can, then are you able to send them a nice well designed email? Or just some random text?  How often do you keep in touch with them?  Do you have their mobile numbers, landlines, and addresses?  Can you mailshot them all in one go?

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Follow me on Twitter

www.twitter.com/danpearsonmedia

I’ve finally succumbed to the world of twitter.  Yes we have twitter accounts for work and magazine projects and all sorts of things, but until now I have avoided using it.  Despite registering some time ago I have as of this week started to us it.  This is my first announcement of doing so – if you actually care what I’m up to on a day to day basis then feel free to ‘follow me’ 🙂

On another note we are launching a magazine aimed at getting people to live a healthier life.  This magazine is aimed at the North of the UK, however you are free to follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nefitmagazine and you can become a friend on facebook at www.facebook.com/nefitmagazine

This literally is at the planning stage at the moment, and this is the first time we have entertained making people aware of what we are doing before we have actually done it!  Add yourself as a friend, retweet, tweet us, comment, suggested, link .. do as you see fit.  Just because we are focusing on one part of the world doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get your part of the world to think about hitting the gym a bit more and living a little more healthy!!

AUdi A6 2.0 TDI – Broncolor – and apologies for not posting for 5 months!

I came to realise today that it’s 5 months to the day since I actually posted on this particular blog.  For that I sincerely apologise.  I have to say that work has been hectic with a number of complicated projects taking up the majority of not only my work time, but also my free time.  I am however now slightly more on top of things than I was late last year – so hopefully should have some additional time for writing.  We have seen continued demand for one to one and small group photographic tuition which has certainly been interesting.  Our association with Broncolor continues and the mobil kit we use for the majority of our day to day tuition and shoots has proven to be reliable, powerful and exceptionally well built.  In other words continued recommendation from us.  Then again I am a believer in the principle of you get what you pay for.

We continue to put out a number of lifestyle and corporate magazines on the publishing side of our business and we are finally close to seeing one or two projects from the middle of last year come to fruition – however you will probably find out more about these in due course (sorry for all the cloak and dagger stuff – it’s really not that exciting I just like to add a sense of danger lol).  The joys of being continually faced with day to day problems and having to create great results in not a lot of time continues in to 2010 and it appears more work is on the horizon, meaning more opportunities to come up with innovative solutions to daily photographic life!

Today’s been a hectic day .. between viewing houses (A long story to say the least), working on one of our titles and picking a test vehicle up from Audi for road test and photoshoot, I’ve really not had much time to spare!  The Audi was picked up at around 4.30 … with another Audi TT in pursuit of me, we headed for a bite to eat in Newcastle City Centre.  A quick eat/meeting/planning session followed .. and we headed off at 6.30 to shoot a few shots off in one of the multistorey car parks.  We shot for around 15 minutes before having to head back to the offices … where the photo below was quickly processed in Lightroom 2 and then in CS4 before being resized for here.

This is the first of a number of images which will be used to illustrate a road test on the new Audi A6 2.0 TDIe.  Yes, I know it’s not the most exciting of vehicles to be road testing, but it is economical!  That’s something that can’t be said for the Audi R8 Spyder that’s heading our way sometime next month. I have to say I was distressed on picking this one up though as we got the vehicle in my least favourite colour to photo – black.  Glad I’m not having to do all the photography on it 🙂

Audi A6 2.0 TDIe photographed in Newcastle - Broncolor Mobil heads, ring flash and overhead lighting. Processed in Lightroom and CS4

I’m going to have to come back to you with some more comments and posts in the next week or so, as once more I’m having to dash off.

Broncolor Mobil in high winds!

 

With the wind blowing from behind, and the setting sun placed right behind Lisas head to give some rim light, I then used 2 mobil heads high on stands to illuminate Lisa's face.  One of my favourite shots ... it looks warm but trust it me it was anything but! :-)
With the wind blowing from behind, and the setting sun placed right behind Lisas head to give some rim light, I then used 2 Broncolor Mobil heads high on stands to illuminate Lisa's face. One of my favourite shots ... it looks warm but trust it me it was anything but! 🙂

 

I had the second part of a portfolio shoot for a local singer the other evening.  As we were working to a tight schedule there wasn’t much of a chance to re-arrange so despite the very high winds we headed out on location.  For this shoot we decided to only take the Bron Mobil kit as the compact heads, and ringflash make it stable and easy to use despite the tricky conditions. For the purposes of this shoot we used no softboxes for exactly the same reason, and with a sandbag or two your lighting stands can be easily tethered down.  Anyway here are a few sample shots from the shoot.  These images haven’t been processed in Photoshop but have simply been run through Lightroom, resized at the time of exporting and sent to the client and uploaded here

 

A burst of flash from the ringlash with a setting sun to the far left.  Converted in Lightroom to mono with a strong contrast curve.
A burst of flash from the Broncolor ringlash C with a setting sun to the far left. Converted in Lightroom to mono with a strong contrast curve.

 

The frame before the one above - this time left as a colour shot
The frame before the one above - this time left as a colour shot

 

2 heads, set to 80/20 both to the left of Lisa, with the second lower power head being used to just slightly fill the shadows.  This was last light and one of the infal few shots of the session.
2 Broncolor Mobil heads, set to 80/20 both to the left of Lisa, with the second lower power head being used to just slightly fill the shadows. This was last light and one of the infal few shots of the session.

 

Single Bron Mobil head to left of camera.  Same position as the shot above but I moved to the right 90 degrees to bring more of the sunset into the frame.
Single Bron Mobil head to left of camera. Same position as the shot above but I moved to the right 90 degrees to bring more of the sunset into the frame.

 

A simlp[e shot of Lisa sat in the back of my car between shots.  Shot with the sun behind and 2 Bron Mobil heads.  I'll just finish this one off slightly in Photoshop to make it jump off the page!
A simple shot of Lisa sat in the back of my car between shots. Shot with the sun behind and 2 Bron Mobil heads. I'll just finish this one off slightly in Photoshop to make it jump off the page!

Weird Weather & Newcaslte Quayside

baltic-crop-800-pix
The Baltic Gallery in Newcastle is instantly recognisable to locals. As such images like this make great works of art to be sold in local galleries.

The weather looked good late afternoon so I decided to plan a trip to Newcastle as I needed a couple of shots for upcoming articles.  Also it was a chance to use the 5D MK2 on such a project for the first time.  So child and partner in car we set off to the Metro centre where I would be dropping them off for shopping purposes!

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Family – The Best Medicine

Molly shot with softbox to right and grid to left.
Molly shot with softbox to right and grid to left.

Without moaning too much it’s fair to sat that I have been exceptionally busy of late.  I’ve had quite a few articles to write for other magazines, a fair bit of tuition work, the usual work load of shoots, not to mention a couple of publishing contracts with magazines about to go to press.

Although this looks like a selective colour it isn't.  It's a custom lightroom preset I use which still retained the colour in this shot.
Although this looks like a selective colour it isn't. It's a custom lightroom preset I use which still retained the colour in this shot.

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