Ruskin Park Squirrel
In June 2016, I ventured down to a small park in London near Denmark Hill station, Ruskin Park (click here for a map view). The park was full of squirrels, at the time I had no idea they would feature in my top 5 photographs from 2016! Armed with my Canon 5D mkiii, Canon 100mm f/2.8 L Macro lens and a bag of tasty nuts, I was ready to make some new friends. Finding a quiet spot was a bit of a challenge as it was a very warm summers day. With a good location found where there seemed to be a good number of squirrels around I started to work. At first, the little rats with tales didn't quite know what to make of me. Once they realised I had food, the squirrels became very friendly. Perhaps too friendly, as one sat on my leg while I was taking a shot of another.
This is my number 5 shot of 2016. Simply for the fun of doing the shoot and the unexpected shots I walked away with. Some extra wildlife shots can be found here on Facebook.
Canon 5D MKIII. Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro. Bag of nuts. I used a macro lens with the hope that I would be able to get close enough to get shots of the animals eating. The macro lens allowed me to fill the frame with the squirrels, bringing full attention their features that can easily be missed.
1/1000 sec shutter at f/5.6. ISO 2000
Hannah's LinkedIn Headshot
Being the partner of a photographer, can't be an easy job. Over the years we have tried to capture a great shot. This, however, has been harder to do than bring a smile to a grumpy old couple at wedding that just simply don't want to be there. But here we have a spectacular image of Hannah, capturing class, sophistication, warmth and a loving smile. Every time I look at this shot I can't help but stare at her eyes.
My number 4 top 5 photographs from 2016 is my partner's LinkedIn photograph. Hannah, thank you for putting up with me.
Canon 5D MKIII, Canon 50mm f/1.4, 2 soft boxes, bunch of flowers. For this shot I have positioned a soft box diagonally opposite from each other. One as a key light for Hannah's face the other behind. The importance of the rear light is to being out some hair but also so soften the light. A single light from the front would create hard sharp edges, which I didn't want here. The rear light takes the edge off the harsh lines creating a smoother and warmer feel to the photograph.
Shooting at f/1.4
The effect of shooting at f/1.4 means the over all softness increases. By asking Hannah to turn her head slightly adds a slight angle, which creates a circle for our eyes to follow. We naturally look at eyes. The focus is on her right eye. The sharpness encourages us to look down to her mouth on the right side. The line of the smile leads us to her left side. We are pulled up to her left eye, as this is out of focus the right eye pulls our attention again.
Exposure: 1/160 sec at f/1.4. ISO 100
Here we see the reaction of the groom as his bride enters the room. These are the shots I love. They can't be faked or replicated, it's a one time event. What i really like about this shot is that we, the viewer, are given a chance to imagine who he is looking at. His focus is off camera, which pulls is in as we fill in the blank. This process helps the viewer to feel how the groom might have felt. I also love the wonderful mix of colours, his blue suit mixes well with the forest green behind him.
For these reasons this shot is my number 3 in my top 5 photographs from 2016.
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 100mm f/2.8. 1/200 sec at f/2.8. ISO 2000. When shooting weddings it is important (among other things) to look at ambient lighting. This room had a type of light that flickered fast enough not to be seen by the naked eye, but a camera does pick this up. Top tip for this is to keep your camera on continuous so you can take 2 or 3 photos for each moment/pose. Or you could invest in the new Canon 5D MK IV, which has an anti-flicker setting.
David Bowie Memorial
2016 has seen the passing of many well known people. David Bowie is one of these people who will be missed. The people of Brixton painted his portrait on the side of a street and laid flowers for many days. A moving scene and a sombre atmosphere held David Bowie’s Memorial in Brixton in virtual silence. Many people where writing messages on the walls around his face and placing personal messages in cards on the ground. There were many photographers here taking a classic straight on shot, I want to offer a different perspective; I did take the classic straight on shot but prefer this one. As I sat there, all I could think about was how terrified I was when I first saw him playing the Prince in the film Labyrinth.
This shot is my number 2 for the top 5 photographs from 2016.
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105mm f/4. 1/80 sec at f/4, 73mm. ISO 2000. The photo here aimed to capture that feeling of passing. The focus is on the flowers with the painting of Bowie slightly out-of-focus. The saturation of colour has been reduced from the painting to bring around a sense of "gone but not forgotten."
Blue Eyed Bride
My number 1 photograph in top 5 photographs from 2016! The image of the bride is something different that might be found in a wedding album. I love the angle here. We are drawn to her eye which focuses outside the frame, creating potential for the viewer to imagine what else is happening. I love the colouring of her eyes and the details of the eye lashes. I also love that this shot was not planned for, both the bride and myself were reacting to a situation.
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 100mm f/2.8L macro. 1/640 sec at f/2.8. ISO 1250. In front of the bride was a huge open window, the slight cloud cover took away the harshness of the direct light.