Wednesday, October 28, 2009

John Simpson, quad biker

John Simpson is 77. He’s a farmer in Malham in the Yorkshire Dales. He drives a quad bike.

Anna asked if our kids could have a ride in his trailer. Along with his dog Nell, we all climbed in his trailer and barged across two boggy fields.

It was brilliant fun. John Simpson was incredibly kind to us. He was every bit as respectful as you would expect from a man his age. It was a pleasure to take his photograph.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Take better indoor photographs with a digital camera

Or an idiot's guide to using flash indoors (you don't actually have to be an idiot to use this guide).

This brief guide is for users of a Canon 450D, though it applies to all digital slr cameras*, plus others which allow a degree of manual use.

Aim: To take photo of people indoors with background lighting visible.
Things you need to do: Change ISO, change to slower shutter speed (Tv).

ISO goes from 100 (for bright conditions) to 1600 (for really dark conditions).
To change ISO: Hold down <iso>button and move main dial (ISO will change on main screen)
Try 400 indoors, change to 500 if background is still too dark in your photograph.
Anything from 800 and above and photo will get too grainy - you would only use these speeds if NOT using flash.

Set to <tv>on mode dial.
Move main dial for faster/slower shutter speed.
1/125th sec is standard flash speed.
Anything faster than 1/200th second is too fast for the flash to work.
Anything slower than 1/60th second means image could be blurred if you are not really steady with your hands.
Tip: to keep extra steady at 1/30th second, breathe out as you press button to take photo.

Try: 1/80th second and ISO 400.

Alternative quick technique (if you have not got time to think):

Set to
(for Program)
Set ISO to 400
Press the <flash symbol="">

*NOTE: Slr means single lens reflex. It's kind of a proper camera where you can (usually) remove the lens.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Paradise lost

LEGG UP: Blackpool Council's Head of Enterprise & Employment Peter Legg tells it like it is.

Spent the evening in Blackpool at a kind of social event for creative types last week. It was in the Paradise Room of the Pleasure Beach – parking £5 for up to 12 hours.

Creative Lancashire (other regional organisations available) is, to put it briefly, is a Lancashire County Council-funded group which assists creative companies in the region in their business dealings.

As a photographer, that means I can be part of the process. It’s still a bit fuzzy in my head as to how this organisation works or how it quantifies its success but Gemma could not have been more helpful to me and persuaded me to take part in two upcoming events.

This was the first. I am slightly skeptical of these organisations (an appointment with Business Link in my early freelance journalism days was largely useless) but the theme Chasing The Public Pound looked interesting so along I trotted.

There were several photographers at the Sizzle event, validating my own appearance, and it was eye-opening.

My journalistic and photographic background has been largely editorial, so to see such a network of support for small businesses on a regional level was impressive. I had no idea these networks existed.

I’m not really one for PR networking and schmoozing – in fact I hate using the word schmoozing, it’s offensive to me – but being able to meet people from similar and complementary industries was rewarding.

As I aim to market my photography in a more focused fashion over the coming months, I will be taking in a whole range of events, courses and seminars – and includes an appointment with Yusuf from Business Link. Can’t wait.

IN TRIPLICATE: North Western Universities Purchasing Consortium's Mike Haslin, Think Say Do's Iain Leslie and 2am's Peter Stubbs at Sizzle Blackpool