A great evening..

I had the pleasure last night of talking to the Chingford Photographic Society, a really good local club. There was good turnout and I have to say they provided excellent tea and biscuits during the break. I ran through a brief history of my career but mainly focused on showing some of my photographs that I have taken over the years  for YOU magazine, London and PEOPLE magazine, New York. Mostly they were from my portfolio collection and included Sophia Loren, Bryan Ferry, Tont Bennet and a host of others. I really enjoy giving these talks, I’m happy to chat about my experiences and techniques.

Next month I’m talking at the Woodford and Wanstead Photographic Society, it’s my local club, I’m looking forward to another great evening..

Apologies…

I’m sorry that I have not been able to post much lately, bit of a technical problem, my fault I hasten to add nothing to do with WordPress.

I have several things in the pipeline and will be posting them soon, thank you for your patience..

The Cutty Sark..

The Cutty Sark at Greenwich - World © Geoff Wilkinson

The Cutty Sark at Greenwich – World © Geoff Wilkinson/All rights reserved

You may have realised by now that I am keen on thinking, only about pictures I hasten to add, anything else just seems to slip by. So when I decided to photograph The Cutty Sark I really had to put my thinking cap on.  The world famous tea clipper is in dry dock at Greenwich and had been refitted after a terrible fire, my challenge as I saw it was to get her out of dry dock and get her back in the water, just photographically of course. Although the ship in berthed near the river Thames I couldn’t see a satisfactory way of getting the ship and the river in one picture the distance is just too far. Even from the other side of the river using a telephoto lens for compression it just wasn’t right, it wasn’t the picture I had in my mind. I needed a different tack if you’ll pardon the pun.

As I often do when confronted with a large building, bridge or something similar instead of backing off to get it all in I went and stood directly underneath the ship. I often find that gives me a different perspective and in this case it was different and more interesting rather than a straight  on view, however it still wasn’t what I had in mind  though. There had to be a different way.

To one side of the ship I found a water feature, very shallow and not that big but definitely worth exploring. I found that by crouching very low and I mean very low I could almost make the water reach up to the ship, would it work through the camera though. Remember the camera does not see exactly what your eyes see and vice versa, so I just had to make the camera see what I was seeing. I put my Nikon 10\24mm, which I love, zoom lens on my Nikon D7000. At 10mm this gave me equivalent of 15mm on a full frame camera, seriously wide angle territory. By holding the camera very carefully just a few millimetres above the water and  performing some strange acrobatic contortions I was able to get a look at the live view screen. The result is the picture above, just what I had envisaged in my mind the Cutty Sark in water. I would have been happier if I could have go more water on the right hand side of the picture but It wasn’t to be, still I’m very happy with the result

Technical stuff: Nikon D7000 camera in aperture priority with a Nikon 10/24mm zoom at 10mm. The shutter speed was 1/200th of a second with an aperture of f18 (to get a lot of depth of field) The ISO was 200. I shot the original picture in colour, as I usually do, the conversion to black and white was made in Photoshop CS5.5

If you fancy a photography day in Greenwich I am running a workshop later this month, you can find details below.

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Greenwich Photography Workshop/Walk

Sunday June 28th 2015

£75 pp

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Following on from the fun and success of the Carter Lane/Fleet Street photo walk we are moving East for the next. Along the river Thames from central London is Greenwich the destination for the next photo walk/workshop.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is great for photography. From the Cutty Sark the famous tea clipper by the river Thames to the Royal Observatory high on the hill in Greenwich Park. Our day will cover both and everything in between. The first picture opportunity will be from Island Gardens look across the river toward the old Royal Naval College, this was founded in 1873 and with its English Baroque style of architecture and the river in the foreground makes an excellent picture. From there we will walk through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel under the river Thames, an experience in itself and arrive by the Cutty Sark. This is where the picture opportunities really start. Aside from the ship itself and the photography opportunities that it affords, there is of course the river, plus some wonderful architecture to be photographed. Before we leave to head off up the hill there are the gardens of The National Maritime Museum, St Alfege Church and some lovely streets to be explored. We will make our way up though the park to the Royal Observatory where apart from the building itself there are great views across the river to East London and Canary Wharf.

This is a full day workshop meeting and leaving from Wanstead tube station at 10am we will wrap up on location at 4pm. There will opportunities for coffee breaks etc during the day. If you are not Wanstead based it’s not a problem you can join us at Island Gardens or Greenwich.

As usual I will not be there to take pictures, maybe the odd snap, but to give you support with things like composition,  white balance, exposure compensation etc. Of course I’ll chuck in a few ideas as well..

This workshop is limited to just six places.

To book a place on this workshop you can either ‘phone the Gallery on 0208 530 1244 or e.mail me at gtw@dircon.co.uk

I was able to get the picture that I had envisioned all along.

 

 

 

A favourite picture – Glenn Avant

 

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Picture world © Glenn Avant

I have known Glenn for several years, he lives on the London/Essex borders from where he runs his photography business. Although a generalist his love is wedding and portrait photography for which he is well known locally, although having said that he has just returned from photographing a wedding in Scotland so obviously distance is no problem. When you get a moment do check out his website by clicking on the link below.

I’ll leave it to Glenn to tell you about his photograph shown above.

“Taken with my 135 f2 Canon lens, mum was getting her daughter ready for a shoot. I saw an opportunity and ended up with a quite nice image.” Always be on the lookout for that shot….Knowing this young lady was nervous for her shoot I fired a few shots before hand, catching her unawares and in a relaxed state and without a care in the world. I think it captures a more natural pleasing image.

Technical stuff: Canon EOS 5D Mk3 with a Canon 135mm F2 lens, the exposure was 1/200th of a second with an aperture of f4, the ISO was 100

To see more of Glenn’s photographs visit his website at www.gaphotographic.co.uk to see his varied galleries including weddings, portraits, events and landscapes.

 

 

A favourite picture – Maxine Lister

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Christopher the baby gorilla. Picture World © Maxine Lister – All rights reserved

I first met Maxine when she spent a day with me on a one to one workshop. Although she was already taking lovely pictures we spent the day fine tuning and honing her skills with the camera. Her passion for wildlife was obvious from the outset as was her dedication to conservation. Maxine has logged thousands of air miles since our first meeting volunteering at various wildlife conservation charities and NGO’s around the world. She now specialises in wildlife photography with a particular focus not surprisingly on conservation issues. Her aim is to help support charities and NGO’s via her photography, website and blog and to make people in general more aware of the natural world and for them to want help save it. You can find out more about Maxine and see more of her pictures at www.maxinelister.co.uk

The photograph at the top of the page is one of Maxines favourites from her trip to the Cameroon, I’ll let her tell you all about it…

CHRISTOPHER

This is one my of my favourite images from my time spent volunteering at Ape Action Africa (AAA) in Cameroon. AAA work to help protect gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates from the bush meat trade that is so prevalent within this country. It is estimated that within ten years there will be no wild gorillas and chimpanzees left in the forest.

Christopher was rescued at just four months of age (he is nine months old in this photo), he was given to an expat couple as a gift and they gave him to Ape Action Africa to look after. It is believed that his mother dropped him whilst fleeing from a farm.

Baby gorillas need round the clock care as they are in danger of becoming ill very easily, the round the clock care happens for around 2 years after that he will be introduced into a gorilla group so that he can the develop his social skills and become as wild a gorillas as he can in a captive environment.

The hope is eventually that the animals within Ape Action Africa will be released back into the forests of Cameroon but finding a safe haven for them is extremely difficult.

CAMERA LENS COMBO:  CANON EOS 650D & SIGMA 120MM – 400MM 5.6 TELEPHOTO LENS

ISO:  1600

SHUTTER SPEED: 1/320

APERTURE:  F/5.6

Sadly this week American photographer Mary Ellen Mark passed away. She was a truly dedicated photographer, portraiture, photojournalism and advertising she tackled them all. Her photographs appeared in all the major magazines, in many books and exhibitions. She often worked with  people who were “away from mainstream society and toward its more interesting, often troubled fringes” as Wikipedia describes her. If you are not familiar with her work do check out her website at Mary Ellen Mark it’s well worth a visit to see her work and learn more about her.

Unexpected sensor dust…

 

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Leica V Lux Type 114 with the lens zoomed out to 400mm. Picture world © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

If you use a DSLR you will probably be familiar with the problem of sensor dust. You will be familiar with the scene, you have just taken the worlds greatest picture, your rush home excited and plug the card into your computer. The picture flashes up on the screen and there it is your masterpiece… ruined by lots of ‘out of focus’ odd shaped dots, you moment of would be famed dashed upon the rocks.

Ok so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but you know what I’m talking about. Dust spots,  irritating but they are a fact of life, when you change lenses on a DSLR if you are not careful and quick the tiny bits of dust that are flying in the air see your sensor exposed and make a beeline for it. Your picture can of course be retouched in Photoshop or the like and a regime of sensor cleaning is sensible and well worth the effort.

However here’s a mystery, and also an answer, how on earth does the dust manage to get on the sensor of a non DSLR. My friend Ivor  was telling me the other day that he had sensor dust on his pictures from a non DSLR, a bridge camera if fact. I hear you ask how on earth…. well when you think about it there is a really simple reason. Bridge cameras and some compacts there is a fairly, in some cases an extremely, powerful zoom. My own Leica V Lux type 114, which I love, zooms from 25mm to 400mm for example. This is a problem for all makes however,  when the camera is switched on the zoom springs into life and extends from the camera body, the more you zoom out to increase the focal length the further the lens extends from the body, got it so far? When you turn the camera off the reverse happens the lens shrinks back to the body, it’s like an optical trombone really. It’s also like a bellows sucking air in and out as the lens extends and retracts, so see what happens, tiny particles of dust are drawn in and settle on the sensor, mystery solved. That’s ‘how dust gets on the sensor of a non DSLR camera.

Every time I turn my camera off I wipe the extended lens barrel with a lint free cloth just to get rid of any troublesome  bits and pieces that might be lying there temped to enter the camera. Its not a perfect solution but its got to help, give it a try..

 

 

 

 

 

VE Weekend

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A couple of weeks ago I paid a visit to the Royal Gunpowder Mills in Waltham Abbey, Essex. The occasion was the  VE  Celebration Weekend and my aim was to photograph the re-enactors taking part in it. As the weekend was about the Victory in Europe day everyone taking part was in WW2 uniform, British, Polish, German and probably a few more countries that I didn’s come across during my visit. Let me say at the outset that everyone involved was taking part in ‘living history’, there were no politics or idealists involved. I saw several signboards saying ‘Our aim is to recreate a small section of the Allied and Axis forces that existed during WW2 and not to promote, in any way, political regimes or ideals’. It really was a ‘living history’ experience, a little like being transported back in time with my camera.

My aim was to photograph some of the people involved rather than big action dramas. Never having been to one of these re-enactments before I was not sure what to expect, how serious were the participants, how authentic would everything be ? I have to say the participants were fantastic, they were more than happy to explain everything in detail and their knowledge of their respective subjects was exhaustive. As for the authenticity and attention to detail I can only say it was amazing, the amount of time, effort and money that had been spent was first class. Best of all from a photographer’s point of view people were very happy to be photographed, it was an excellent opportunity for both portraiture and still life of weapons and equipment.

I decided not to burden myself with too much camera equipment, I took my Leica V Lux type 114 which gave me 24mm to 400mm (35mm equivalent) and my Nikon D7000 with the 10mm to 24mm Nikon zoom. With a camera over each shoulder I felt more than equipped for whatever ‘VE Day’ threw at me. In the end I shot nearly everything on the Leica V Lux, however I am a bit of a sucker for wide angle shots so I am glad I took the Nikon as well. As I usually do I set both cameras to Aperture priority as I like to have control of the depth of field, the ISO was set to 400 as there was light cloud and I wanted to keep the shutter speed up. I shot everything in colour and made the conversion to black and white in Photoshop CS5.5.

Although I was only able to stay for a couple of hours I really enjoyed my time with the re-enactors, as I said everyone was very obliging, if you are looking for a great day out for some photographic inspiration you won’t go far wrong with these guys and girls.

Please remember all pictures and text are my copyright so please don’t use them without my written permission many thanks. So here we go with a selection of the photographs that I took..

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My favourite portrait of the day, I really like this strong close-up. I deliberately framed this tight so that just the eyes show beneath the peak of the cap.

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Soldier of the Polish 3rd Carpathian Division.

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British soldiers on the move..

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I would like to thank all those taking part in the VE Celebration Weekend for their help and co-operation with this post..

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A British pathfinder paratrooper taking part in the re-enactment of 6th Airborne Division at Breville Woods, St Comb, France.

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A wounded soldier is helped to the Medical Officer at the Breville Woods engagement.

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Polish Military Police of the 3rd Carpathian Division.

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Sniper ! Luke is from ‘Field of Fire’ which is a good entry point for re-enactors who are just starting out.

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A jeep with soldiers arrives from the 6th Airborne Division

This selection of portraits below show what can be achieved quite simply, they could have been taken with a simple P & S or even a ‘phone, it’s not about how much the camera costs rather it’s about just taking the time to look.

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this barbed wire is actually string, it fooled me from a distance

L1060618 copyand a few more general pictures..L1060727 copy L1060721 copy

Please remember all pictures and text are my copyright so please don’t use them without my written permission many thanks.

 

 

 

Darren Gatcum is an Essex photographer, I first met him when he attended one of my photography workshops. Although a semi-pro photographer at the moment Darren has gone from strength to strength in a short period of time. He has photographed football, golf, ice hockey and many other sports, plus many music events.

Below is one of his photographs and the story behind it.

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World © Darren Gatcum- All rights reserved

Valiant FC was in the West Essex Sunday Charity Cup Final against CFC Flamengo. I was asked by Valiant FC to photograph the cup final at Thurrock FC’s stadium.

I positioned myself near the goal as that is where the action tends to be in football and I was not disappointed on this occasion.

I like this photo because it captures the action and the determination of the players. You have the number 2 defender from Valiant FC sliding into tackle the striker from Flamengo CFC with the dirt flying up from the ground. The sheer determination of the striker can be seen in his face as he leaps over the number 2 defender.

I was shooting with a Canon 5D3. To fill the frame you need a long lens so I was using a 300mm f/2.8 lens. I used manual mode because I like to have full control over all my camera settings. In order to isolate the players from the background I was shooting at f/2.8 which is the standard aperture for shooting football. To freeze the players I set my shutter speed at 1/1000 which is the minimum shutter speed for shooting football. The match was under stadium lights which were awful. As a result, I had to increase my ISO to 8000 to get the correct exposure. High ISOs are no longer a problem with modern DSLRs.

The final score was 2-2 and the match was decided 7-6 on penalties with Valiant FC coming out the winners.

You can contact Darren via his Twitter account at @DarrenGatcum.