manchester portrait photographs

September 17th, 2010

A few selected photos from a recent portrait and headshot session for Nick in Ancoats and Castlefield in Manchester. Thanks for your patience Nick and sorry about having to push the car! Interestingly it has now fixed itself and no fault can be found! All of the portrait photographs were taken on a Nikon D700 with a Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF-D. Thanks to Manchester’s fabulous soft diffused light (ie wet and overcast!) no external lights were used just the available light and open shade. Comments are always welcome.

testing the Leica S2

August 25th, 2010


I was recently invited to a Leica demo day at the fabulously accommodating Slaughter House studios in Manchester. Long awaited by fans of the red dot the S2 features a massive 30X45 mm sensor with 37.5 mega pixels.  That is 56% larger than a full frame sensor found in high end slrs. So without getting too technical what does £20,000 pounds worth of Leica camera and glass bring to the party?  Well first the first impression is of the feeling of quality.  The S2 is built like some kind of small tank, everything about it is beautifully engineered.  The controls all seem pretty logical and easily laid out.  Most are activated by four buttons around the lcd on the back.  This gives the S2 a nice uncluttered feel.   The autofocus seemed like it would take some getting used to as there is only one large central sensor, which meant focussing and then locking and moving when the subject was off centre.  Manual focus was very good and should be further enhanced when Leica release focus screens with manual focus aids in the near future. I  really like the smooth focus action of all the lenses and the way you just twist the focus barrel to override the autofocus.  Leica had brought along a 35mm a 70mm and a 180mm lens for test and all were superbly engineered and all produced excellent images.  The big news for me is that Leica is producing a whole range of lenses with built in shutters.  This will give the user the option of the built in focal plane shutter for high speed work or the central lens shutter for higher shutter speeds with flash, which makes the camera incredibly versatile.  Well  enough of the technical details here are a few shots from the day.  The model is mainly the lovely Jamie from Nemesis.  In summary the Leica S2 is a fabulous piece of kit, is it worth the price? That really is up to the end customer, if a high end brand wants images of the utmost quality for its advertising and publicity material then the S2 can definitely deliver and should be considered.  Most of the images have had no post-processing.  The more saturated ones have had Aerture’s cross process filter applied to see the effect it has.

Skaters by the Mancunian Way

May 5th, 2010

Walking back to my car on Saturday on the way back from a portrait shoot I happened across this group of skateboarders. I thought I would try out some shots with my fisheye lens as I am always looking for ways to explore its creative possibilities. Here are the results. All except the first shot were taken using a sb900 controlled wirelessly by the D700. Interestingly the exposure on the skaters face seems similar in both first and last shots, even though the first did not use flash, which must say something for the dynamic range of the latest DSLRs as I would not have thought it could of held detail in the shadows when shooting into the sky in a shot like that.

Manchester Sport Relief mile and more motion blur opportunites

March 21st, 2010

As I was in Manchester city centre early this morning on some other business.  I took the opportunity to watch participants in the 2010 Sport Relief Manchester mile. As part of a continuing theme I thought that I would experiment some more with motion blurs.  This time I thought I would freeze the background and the stationary spectators and blur the runners and see what I thought of the effect.

Again for the technically minded, all shots were taken on a Nikon D700, with either a 20mm or a 35mm lens.  Shutter speeds varied between 1/25 and 1/6 of a second.  All shots were hand held although I did use barriers and the like for support. Comments welcome.

Foot plate of the Rocket and others.

February 4th, 2010

Taken on the footplate of the replica Stevenson’s Rocket at the museum of science and industry in Manchester. Taken with a Leica R6 and a 135mm elmarit, once again it only goes to show the quality of the glass. One of a series of shots taken around Manchester

One of a series of shots taken around Manchester, shot whilst wandering around the city. I am always on the look out for a good shot and many of these are the result of always trying to have good camera with me. My current stealth camera of choice is a Leica Minilux. It takes stunning images, but is small enough (just!) to leave in your coat pocket but has a fabulous Leica 40mm fixed prime lens. I have happily made up to 18″ x 12″ enlargements off of photos taken with it. For newbies, or non techies this camera uses film!