Apr 102016
 


The Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was in Sheffield on Saturday 9th April to addresses a rally held in Barkerspool. The protest against the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announcement that it will close BIS Sheffield, its biggest office outside London was also addressed by Sheffield Central Labour MP and PPS to Shadow Foreign Secretary, Paul Blomfield representatives from the PCs, UNITE, GMB, NUT unions and Sheffield City Councils Deputy Leader

Dec 222015
 


Santa Clause Saddles up beside the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow

Ricky McConnell (Santa Clause) 52, drew a crowd in Glasgow on Monday December 21 when dressed as Santa he Saddled up beside the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow. The statue which stands in Royal Exchange Square Glasgow usually sporting a traffic cone hat was where the publicity stunt was carried out to raise awareness for ‘Kids Have Rights 2’. According to media reports Ricky was given a fixed-penalty ticket for performing the same stunt in 2014 after firefighters had to be called in to help him down. Apparently he avoided a fixed penaty this year as the cherry picker hired to lift him into place was also used to get him down. Once safely back on solid ground Ricky was taken to one side by a uinformed officer from Police Scotland for a quiet word.

Nov 082015
 



The people of Barnsley were out in force again this year along side Veterans organisations, cadets, military units and families take part in the Remembrance Sunday service in Barnsley South Yorkshire.

 

Nov 062015
 

Its amazing who you run into on a straight forward PR shoot. The man behind the make-up, making his first foray into the world of Panto, is Doncaster born actor Stephen Nicholas from Sky’s Dream Team and Premier League All Stars also Celebrity Most Haunted, Date the Enemy and films including The Damned United, Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, Futbaal: The Price of Dreams, and Goal! The Dream Begins. Simon who now lives in Sheffield will be appearing in Aladdin this year (2015) Panto at Doncaster Little Theatre.

Jul 152015
 

Fuji X-Pro1 and Fuji XF 60mm f2.4 Macro

Today I added the Fuji XF 60mm f2.4 macro lens to the Fuji X-Pro1 XF 18mm f2 & XF 27mm f2.8 in my kit bag. My understanding is the XF 60mm f2.4 is a tad on the slow side when it comes to focusing, especially if compared to the rather more expensive XF 56mm f1.2 but is there away to gain an edge if using the XF 60mm for anything other than Macro work?
I would say yes and the trick is understand the problem and plan ahead. Think what you want to achieve with the camera lens combination. One thing I want to try with the lens is some candid portraits and grab shots without getting too close to a subject. The problem that needs to be overcome with the Fuji is a combination of slow focusing lens and the fact the the Contrast Detection AF (CDAF) employed by the X-Pro1 cant predict where the subject is going to be. I should probably also point out that unlike a DSLRs which use Phase Detection AF (PDAF) you don’t press the shutter halfway down to start the continuous AF. The correct way to use AFC on the X-Pro1 is to aim the camera at the subject with the cross hairs on the bit you want sharp and squeeze the shutter release in a single movement until the camera fires. I figured a small enough aperture with a reasonable DOF would help the focusing but as with all cameras that results in a drop in shutter speed and the possibility of losing the sharpness to camera shake or subject movement. My first instinct was to wind the ISO up but that has two drawbacks first is a drop in image quality second is a danger of over exposure in bright light. Fortunately the X-Pro1 has the option to program an Auto ISO. You get to tell the camera the minimum & maximum ISO you want to use and the minimum shutter speed it should be trying to achieve. What it doesn’t do is stop the camera working if the shutter speed drops too low it just tries to get up there if it can.
After a little fiddling about I settled on a minimum ISO of 800 a maximum of 6400 and a minimum shutter speed of 1/250. With the aperture set to f5.6 and AF set to continuous I roped in some help from my partner and our dog. As you can see from the images I had her throw a dog toy towards me so he would run towards camera chasing it. Each of the four images below is from a different throw of the toy. There were five throws in all and the results are pretty consistent for a slow focusing macro lens. The first throw I failed miserably and got only grass throws 2, 3, 4, 5 resulted in the images below. They have been cropped but still I think they are pretty impressive. You can find the camera settings for each shot in the captions. I have included the Thistle, shot in Macro, and the dog portrait to give a feel for what can expected if you forget to change the setting back to your ‘usual’ ones for situations that are more sedate.


I have to admit It was a glorious sunny day and the results may not be so good in poor lighting conditions but I feel I may just have an edge that maximises my chance of the subject being in focus while minimising the chance of camera shake with a set of camera settings that alow the X-Pro1 and Fuji XF 60mm f2.4 Macro lens to be used quickly and without too much though of anything other than composition.

Mar 142013
 

One of the things I love about my job is the variety. I get access to people, places and experiences I wouldn’t ordinarily see, one such case is Penny Hill Wind Farm located on farm land between junctions 31 and 32 of the M1 motorway close to the village of Ulley. Where i got to watch and photograph wind farm turbines being delivered and erected.  Love them, or hate them, it seems wind farms are now an firm part of the UK’s renewable energy policy. Personally I think in the right light and in the right place these giant “windmills” can be very photogenic and while shooting for one of the local papers I was asked to visit and photograph Penny Hill.

Once completed it will consist of six individual wind turbines with a life span of 25 years. At up to 130 Meters from ground to the tip of the blade these massive turbines arrive on site broken down as four tower pieces, a necell, a hub and three blades which, I am told, in optimum weather conditions can be erected into its base in a single day. Its difficult to comprehend just how large these towers are unless you can get right up to them.


One of the four sections that make up wind farm turbines towers arrives by lorry at Penny Hill

Ulley Wind Farm Workers prepare the two massive cranes to lift the first of the four sections that make up the tower into place...13 March 2013.Image © Paul David Drabble (Paul David Drabble)

Despite less than perfect conditions workers prepare two massive cranes to lift the first of  four sections that make up the tower and lower it on to its base.


Making the lorry that brought it onto the site look like a child’s toy the first of the four sections from the turbines tower is lifted swung over the base. Note the workmen in orange ensuring correct positioning of the section before it is finally lowered on to its base


At £95,000 pounds each, three wind farm turbines blades wait to be fitted to the hub before the assembled pieces can be hoisted up and fitted to the nacelle. I was was unable to resist touching them knowing  when I drive past Penny Hill I will be able to look and say. “do you see the center of those blades……”


Penny Hill Wind Farm between junctions 31 and 32 of the M1 motorway close to the village of Ulley. Love them these giant “Windmills” can be photogenic

Ulley Wind Farm One completed Wind Turbine beside a second which is awaiting the its blades and hub to be assembled and hoisted into place. Note the comparative size of the yellow excavator at the foot of the un-finished turbine and the car in the bottom right hand corner for scale..13 March 2013.Image © Paul David Drabble (Paul David Drabble)

One completed Wind Turbine beside a second which is awaiting the its blades and hub to be assembled and hoisted into place. Note the comparative size of the yellow excavator at the foot of the unfinished turbine and the car in the bottom right hand corner for scale.

Nov 132011
 

Local remembrance day parade  which set out from the Royal British Legion in Chapeltown, Sheffield, South Yorkshire marching to the Newton hall for a service of remembrance. From there the  parade, led by community constable PC Peter Booth, made its way to the local war memorial in Chapeltown Park where prayers were led by Vicar Rick Stordy of St Johns Church Chapeltown followed by the laying of poppies and wreaths.

 

Ode of Remembrance
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Kohima Epitaph
When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today

Sep 212011
 

Last couple of weeks have been a strange time consisting of a variety of jobs and the holiday that almost wasn’t. It started quietly enough with images shot on spec of Peter Andre dropping into WH Smiths Meadowhall to sign copies of his two new children’s books “The Happy Birthday Party” and “A New Day at School”. That was followed by a shoot for Atteys Solicitors who had a good news story involving Cupcakes and “The Sweet Taste of Success” then finally a short job on Friday of a Lottery winner from Rotherham who had bought himself a very nice motorbike with some of his winnings.

Then after that with nothing more on the diary the plan was for a weeks caravan holiday at Cleethorpes close to the beach, quiet, relaxed, don’t care about weather, plenty of dog walking and traditional Fish n Chips. Well that was the plan until the phone rang, and rang, and…… well you get the picture (excuse the pun).

The first job was on Saturday shooting the Walkers Hot Crisps tour handing out free hot crisps to members of the public in Sheffield with the help of Celebrity Master Chef 2010 and Holby City/Spooks star Lisa Faulkner. The results included some very nice portraits of Lisa.

The Second Job was Tuesday for St Dunstan’s a charity founded in 1915 to

help blind ex-service men and women lead independent and fulfilling lives.”

Three visually impaired ex-service men had stopped in at Sheffield St Dunstan’s centre on Fullwood road during their epic 372 mile Centre2Centre March the guys are stopping off at all of charities Centres. The last centre will be St Dunstan’s new £12 million rehabilitation and training centre in Llandudno. I hope they make it in time, as part of their challenge is carry the ‘key’ with them to the new Llandudno facility and open the building when they get there. Having met Billy Charlie and Chris I have no doubt that they will especially after the showed me some of the technology they have with them to keep them en route, a driver a car networked smart phones & tablet, mobile internet and Google maps. This was a job well worth travelling back from Cleethorpes to do.

The third Job, its a little miss leading to refer to it as that, was a couple of shifts for the Rotherham Advertiser meaning we had to leave early so I could work Friday and Saturday but that’s just the nature of being a freelance professional News and PR (public relations) photographer

Despite having to cut the holiday short, at both ends, we still managed to enjoy ourselves. I even found time to take some holiday pictures what do you think?

Aug 122011
 

Ever wondered what you can photograph with a Digital SLR and 50mm standard lens in the Dark?

Ever wondered how much use the built in flash is on a Digital SLR?

Yes?

Take a look at this little fellow. We found him in the middle of the patio at 21:40 on summer night in South Yorkshire. Now he isn’t the type of creature you meet around here on a regular basis so I thought he was worth a photograph if only to document what he is. Caught on a wide open patio suddenly lit by a bright outside light with our dog and my partner staring at him from on high had me worried that the the little blighter would have legged it by the time I got back. No time for messing with flash guns and lens swaps I grabbed my digital SLR camera with 50mm f1.8 Nikon lens already fitted and got back outside at the double. He was still there so I grabbed a quick record shot from above looking directly down then decided to use the “get on the subjects level approach.

A small reptile found on the Patio and photographed on a DSLR with 50mm Standard lens and built in flash August 2011 Image © Paul David Drabble

Laying down I used Autofocus to focus on the head and edged forward until the lens reached the closest point of focus. The D700 was already set to 640 ISO and Aperture Priority so I popped up the built in flash checked the viewfinder info,1/60 at F4, and fired off a single frame. I expected the little guy scarper but he didn’t. Now worried the the flash and/or stress of the situation may cause him some permanent damage I decided two frames were enough and we left we left him alone in the dark to go about his business.

Shot original in Nikon Electronic Format(NEF)The first Image was interpolated and croped from this original framing August 2011 Images © Paul David Drabble

Photographers Technical Stuff

Camera Nikon D700 with 12.1 mega-pixel full frame CMOS Sensor

Lens Nikon F1.8 “Standard” Lens

Built in Flash

File Format NEF

ISO 640

Shutter 1/60th of a Second

Apperture F4.0

Aperture Priority

Single Autofocus

The resulting image was still a very small reptile in the centre of a rather large frame so I decided a little cropping and post production interpolation was need. The NEF file was opened on the PC and at this stage I made adjustments to highlights/shadows added a little sharpening and interpolated the image from The D700 best quality of 12.1 Mega-Pixel (4256 X 2832 pixels) to a 25.1 Mega-pixel ( 6144 X 4088 pixels).

Once open the image was cropped, without constrained proportions, resulting in an photograph of approximately 3 X 2 inches at 300 ppi. Wanting a larger end result I interpolated that up in size again. Using Bicubic Smoother setting I made the longest edge 10 inches. That left the final tightly cropped image as a 10 x 6.5 inches 300ppi photograph or 3000 X 1959 pixels.

I may have just over done the size increase but the image was never going to be a “National Geographic” pin sharp, full page, quality picture anyway. Considering the situation and equipment, a 50mm standard lens lit by the pop up camera flash in the dark I don t think is too bad.

If anyone can Identify just what this little guy is I would love to know.

Can any one tell me exactly what he is? please feel free to comment below August 2011 Images © Paul David Drabble

Please comment below

 

 

Jul 182011
 

They say Britain is a nation of dog lovers, they also say never work with children or animals. Have you ever tried photographing your pet pooch only to be disappointed by the results. Here (in no particular order) are a handful of photography tips to help you achieve better results when you’re photographing mans best friend.

  1. First rule of all portrait photography is focus on the eyes. Most dogs have long snouts, so if you focus on the nose the eyes can be out of focus.
  2. Most humans are tall compared to a dog, so get down and shoot from their eye level see the world as they do.
  3. Have a hyperactive dog who just cant stay still? Use a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement when they are running and jumping.
  4. For the older or more sedate natured dog, try a wider aperture setting. This will help reduce distractions by throwing the background out of focus. Don’t forget “most dogs have long snouts”  if the aperture setting is too wide  your best friend could end up with a burred nose.
  5. Some dogs are natural posers, you can get good shots just by getting them to sit while holding their attention with a treat or toy. For most distraction is the key give them something to do or play with  that you know they love then you work around them.
  6. Don’t always work alone and do a little planning. Get another member of the family to hold your hound while you move some distance away. On a preprepared signal get your helper to let your pet pooch go and you grab some great action shots as the dog comes charging towards you. If your auto focus is slow or you dont have follow focus try pre focusing the camera on a fixed spot you the dog will run through and fire the shutter as they cross the focus point.
  7. Sticking with the theme of helpers why photograph your dog in isolation? Get someone you love and who the dog is relaxed with to interact and capture that on camera.
  8. Make it fun! Photography may be fun for you but most dogs are not the type who will happily perform on command for the camera. Make things fun for your pet and it will show up in your photographs through the dogs body language.
  9. Watch,  not the one on your wrist! Watch with your eyes. Your dog is genetically 80% wolf, so while walking with your dog and camera take time to watch and learn its instinctive behaviour and try to capture a more subtle side of  your pets character in your photography.
  10. Know your dog. Good photography can often come from to knowing your subject and being able to predict what’s going to happen.
  11. Sometimes all you need to make a photograph really work for you is a caption!

Right at the start I mentioned they say “never work with children or animals” well here is another tip – many of those tips work with kids too.

Have your own top tips for dog photography?

Feel free to add them below.

Want to give your dog an outdoor portrait session give me call

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