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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : close to home

johnriley1uk's latest blog : cool activities on the streets of manchester

Close to Home

2 Sep 2020 5:28PM  
Views : 94
Unique : 81

Since Covid 19 there has been little choice but to shoot images close to home. It’s the reverse of our usual problem, that we’ve been everywhere there is to go locally and the net has to be cast wider and wider every time we look for somewhere new. On the other hand, have we really been everywhere locally? Sometimes we overlook places, missing what is right under our noses as we look far afield. But back to the point, and within a stone’s throw from home there are plenty of things to phoptograph. Here are some of my favourites, and by now they could be getting pretty familiar to those who read my lens reviews.

Always something different at Astley Colliery Museum

Damhouse, a piece of Historic Tyldesley

Martin Mere, a little further afield but great for longer lenses

Bridgewater Canal at Worsley

Arley Hall, a perennial favourite

Tyldesley Cemetery

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dudler’s latest blog : a spot of trouble…


A spot of trouble…

2 Sep 2020 8:32AM  
Views : 66
Unique : 54


Spot meters – who needs ‘em? And because they are useful tools, providing you understand exposure really well, and are useful for certain difficult situations, people use the spot metering in their DSLRs.
Here are three boring images, SOOC JPG files. The top one used my Alpha 7R III’s multi-area mode.

The one below took a spot reading from the sky. And the shot at the bottom took the reading from the gutter outside my bedroom window (no expense spared to get imaginative shots of glamorous locations for THIS blog!)

Now, for some specific purposes, you might want to use the spot readings, but for most purposes, they are utter rubbish. The problem is that a spot reading takes the exposure from a very limited area of the frame, usually marked in the viewfinder.


If what is in that spot is bright (lie the sky) the camera will expose to render it as a midtone. That’s a problem if you wanted the bright area to appear bright in the finished image… Similarly, if the spot is over a dark area (like the gutter), this will be a midtone, and highlights will be blown.

It can sometimes (but not very often) be useful to use spot metering and exposure lock (as I did for these shots). But the best way to use it is in Manual model, taking the exposure from the area that you want, and consciously adjusting the exposure to get the tonal values that you want.

With any auto mode and varied tones in your subject, spot metering will change the exposure as you change the composition. That’s really not a great idea.

Program mode and spot metering? Well, if this is something that you think is OK, I suggest you look up ‘moonsault’ on YouTube, and consider whether you’d be happy with your children giving that a go when they’re having a tussle with a friend in the playground. Every TV broadcast of professional wrestling includes the advice ‘Don’t try this at home, at school, or anywhere else’ – and that’s my advice on spot metering!


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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : a most important accessory

johnriley1uk's latest blog : cool activities on the streets of manchester

A Most Important Accessory

1 Sep 2020 3:46PM  
Views : 98
Unique : 83

Sometimes I see this accessory being misued as it sits reversed on a lens, quite useless for its intended function, and yet the photographer still leaves themselves burdened by its presence. This item I speak of is the humble Lenshood. This does two vital things. First it excludes stray and unwanted light from the front of the lens, reducing flare and increasing contrast. It’s true that modern lenses have very superior coating technology and in some cases the hood makes virtually no difference in this respect, but in other cases it makes a very definite difference. Second, it is usually plastic, which gives a little under impact, so if the front of the lens hits some other object it will act as a shock absorber and protect the lens from damage. Metal hoods don’t have any flexibility so don’t help, but do look as though they are wonderful bits of engineering. Sometimes, in a functional sense, plastic is best.

So here’s a homage to lenshoods, may they always sit proudly on the front of our lenses!







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dudler’s latest blog : they/them



1 Sep 2020 8:12AM  
Views : 44
Unique : 35


As a male photographer who takes a lot of images of female nudes, it would be very easy to conform to a quite laddish view of how images should look. Alternatively, one could take a very prudish view that any nude image is offensive, or that only the female gaze should scrutinise the female body.

Clearly, there’s an economic motive for anyone who is good-looking to become a model: I think that one phrase that describes it well is ‘exploiting one’s erotic capital’ – and to a large extent I’m happy with the idea that someone should trade on their looks. The exclusions come if it’s damaging to the individual, or to others… But the same is true of any other way of earning a living: the idea of a brilliant physics graduate going to work in the finance industry makes me a little uneasy.

This musing is brought on by having spent part of yesterday taking pictures of someone who describes themself in different ways from what you (and the Word spellchecker) might expect. The personal pronouns they use are they/them. What they will shoot with you depends on your own orientation, and you may be thinking they might be hard to work with.

Well… I reckon that if you are of a laddish persuasion, you might not hit it off: I had no problems, and I have some delightful results. Things I’ve written before about respect and trust come into this, as well as a willingness to be non-judgmental about others and their lifestyles. And that, of course, applied in two directions.

The model in question has left the most popular model-photographer website because it wasn’t generating work of the type they wanted (and still want). They are entirely happy to work with male heterosexual photographers, but it is not their natural territory.

I am writing in a very stumbling way about this – partly because I am thinking and working stuff out as I go, and partly because I want to avoid giving offence to anyone. You don’t have to like it (for any given ‘it’), but you probably need to accept that someone else may do so, and that that’s OK.

Though if there are any lads on an unreconstructed type out there… You’re not at the top of my list of people to avoid offending. But you’re big tough blokes, so you can take it, can’t you?


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dudler’s latest blog : apprehension


31 Aug 2020 10:05AM  
Views : 36
Unique : 33

I’m taking pictures today, so this will be short. Working with a model outside the mainstream – you’ll probably see images tomorrow.

It’s the first time I’ve set up my ‘home studio fully: muslin over the bay window, black cloth background and lights on stands with softboxes, beauty dish and so on. Mostly set up last night, to reduce stress today.
I know what I’m going to do – intense portraits of lovely eyes, arty nudes. But it has been a while.

Wish me luck!

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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : models – kier

johnriley1uk's latest blog : cool activities on the streets of manchester

Models – Kier

31 Aug 2020 12:49AM  
Views : 81
Unique : 66

The pictures today are from a shoot that I did along with NeilWigan. Kier was booked as a nude model, but we also wanted to do some clothed shots. The session went extremely well and Kier was a super model who posed just as we asked and did a terrific job. I can’t show you the nude shots here as there’s no way to label a blog as “adult”, but I can show you the rest of the images that I particularly liked. We spent some time with dramatic lighting, which I tend to prefer to flooding the subject with light.

Here’s a small selection of images from the session.










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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : shirtless in atherton

johnriley1uk's latest blog : cool activities on the streets of manchester

Shirtless in Atherton

30 Aug 2020 1:39PM  
Views : 84
Unique : 73

From a shoot at the ADAPS studio, shots of men without shirts, not excatly a subject that I would normally do, being much happier with ladies without shirts, or with for that matter. However, it’s important to push the limits of the photography within our comfort zone to at the very least slightly outside that zone.

And on to the photos:







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dudler’s latest blog : just in case


Just in case

30 Aug 2020 9:46AM  
Views : 58
Unique : 47


I wrote about fill-flash and other techniques for sorting out excessive shadows yesterday, and consequently, packed a flashgun for a family visit to a National Trust property, Baddesley Clinton in the afternoon, intending a couple of portraits of unwilling relatives. Did I use it? Of course not.

I also packed my 14mm lens, which I did use, along with my usual kit (lenses from 16mm to 85mm, spare body, the odd filter, batteries and cards), which only came into play when my daughter filled the card in her camera.

I was – as usual – grossly overequipped. But then, I have always taken comfort from the way that Rolls Royce used to specify the power output of car engines as ‘adequate’ – I like the idea of being able to cope with anything.

Photographically, I’m pretty sure that one of many roots is an article by Ron Spillman in Photography magazine, circa 1969, when he wrote about going on a cruise as a photographic tutor, alongside a Nikon-sponsored professional called Richard Tucker, who towed a wheeled case behind him, with all his kit, from fisheye to 500mm lens…

It wasn’t a long walk, and a Hadley bag carried most of the kit: it gave me a better workout than 3,500 steps might suggest. But there are times when I’ve taken extra gear and felt that it’s held me back. There’s no point in carrying an extra bag if you don’t feel able to put it down and get the kit out, as can happen in a crowded tourist spot.

Maybe it’s time to consider what we need on a given day. Sometimes the kitchen sink will be worth taking. Other times, spare cards and batteries may be enough.


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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : who photographs the photographers?

johnriley1uk's latest blog : cool activities on the streets of manchester

Who Photographs the Photographers?

25 Aug 2020 12:16AM  
Views : 219
Unique : 159

A variation on Who Watches the Watchers I suppose, but who does photograph us photographers. Do we exist? Just think of all those family photos where everybody is represented except that one invisible person, the one pressing the shutter. So I thought I would see how often I have turned the tables and photographed photographers. Sometimes I have even shot self-portraits and I’m including a couple of those, not because of any personal vanity but just becasue I’m not letting myself get away with being totally invisible in this blog entry.

The pictures:

















One of those shots was a cheat, not being a real camera, but I liked it anyway.

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dave_henderson’s latest blog : compositing….

dave_henderson's latest blog : compositing....


29 Aug 2020 7:15AM  
Views : 86
Unique : 60

Been a while since I’ve shared a blog or two. A few years ago I started to produce composite images, mainly of dried vegetables and locusts etc. I did dabble in more complicated stuff but lost interest. After looking though some of the old stuff I’ve decided to reignite this area of interest. With technology getting more advanced and the powerful image editing applications now available for use away from the desktop I’ve been trying to come up to speed using the qualities of different applications. I still have a bit of a learning curve ahead and hope to get better.
This is a five image “first attempt’.


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