Spring Weather

With a brief period of sun in spring last week, I managed to get into the garden and take a selection of shots which really capture the season well I believe.

Click here to see the full image range

Currently I am waiting for the latest driver update for the adobe creative suite in order to shoot RAW on my new Cann 77D. Adobe periodically updates its software to include the different RAW formats for new release cameras, roughly every 90 days.

The image feature are the higher quality Jpeg format but I am still pleased with how they have come out.

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Hopefully soon, Adobe will update its software to enable processing of RAW images from canon’s latest camera releases.

Planning a Shoot and Cooking a Curry: Key Ingredients

Several years ago when I was back in my hometown, I was employed at my regular in the neighbouring area of Eastcote, The Black Horse Pub. Or to be exact: Nico’s at The Black Horse. The rustic styled public house is famed for its unique and unusual cuisine on offer: Koroga

What is Koroga?

Translating from Swahili it means ‘to stir’. As a blend of Kenyan and Indian culture, it is a novel experience for many English visitors and regulars; as well as a welcome comfort of home to those who have grown up to appreciate it within the diaspora.

It is very much a social experience, only truly enjoyed with good friends and good beers  (If you ever happen to be in Eastcote, you won’t be disappointed if you stop in).         

But what happens when some of your group for the evening doesn’t stir their share?        

Or that they loose interest in the overall process and leave most of it one or two people?

Well luckily for Nico’s there is always someone on hand to step in and assist should the need arise. But this shouldn’t necessarily be the desired goal.

This is less desirable on a creative project by a large margin.

If you are going to shoot something, whether its a student film or a big budget corporate production, preparation is obviously key. But you can only do so much on your own. Often you will need others to make it the best it can be or to fulfil niche roles.                                    

Doubly important is, understanding the requirements of the project. The mood, tone, feel, composition and many more elements. Each of these needs careful consideration as to what you want to achieve on a project.

Too often I have noticed (especially amongst extra-curricular student projects) a tendency to think about a lot of the technicalities and requirements on the day rather than during the planning phase. Fortunately, Bournemouth University has a calibre of hard working students who want to be as creative as possible.

Whether this a symptom of Media students spending too much time in educational institutions and a lack of experience working in the industry, or a symptom of wider modern society, is not something answerable in the length of this blog post.

However it is something I wish to convey the importance of. Through the unlikely comparison of curry:

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I am by no means a decent cook. However if I were to be, my specialty would have to be curry. When preparing the somewhat successful Mango Chicken Curry (an adaption on a recipe) depicted above, one of the main thoughts in my mind was how sweet would this turn out?

Balancing the different spices with the right amount of mango pulp took multiple attempts of adding both. And then required some cream to even it out. Fortunately my girlfriend has great discerning tastebuds when it comes to spice to balance my preference for sweetness.

Like the tone, mood and composition of a film, a curry has taste, texture and spice. The elements need to be considered carefully and preferably in advance, as too much experimentation in the kitchen could yield too many flavours; whereas a film may end up with ambiguous meanings.

Taking the comparison further, its true to say that when you are a filmmaker or a chef you are dependant on others to digest what you create. The tonality and taste could be met with disapproval or scoffed down greedily. 

That is why it is so important to know: The menu or the client brief, the right ingredients and the best crew for the job, which lens to use and how big the pan needs to be, If the tone for the film is right for the audience or if your customers have special allergy requirements. 

All of these things are best achieved before the day so to speak. Preparation being key.

Current Team Line Up for University Unit

One of the ongoing units at my current place of study (Bournemouth University), titled Client and Audience, has us engaged with exterior clients and a subsequent  brief to create content. It is an opportunity to work on a live brief whilst attending the university and should be carried out as though we were a professional agency of media content creators.17426191_10210659028583864_7673114211096934157_n

We are operating under the mantra of being a professional team with division of labour between senior roles, content creation & web design.  As the image above details we are a team of eight each with our own part to play. All members of the team have so far proved commitment to working hard and to collaborate with one another.

This is extremely valuable to all those involved as we look to find placements in the industry, no matter the specific section. As we complete the brief the focus should be on further developing our professional demeanour and positive work ethic.

 

To The Skies: An effort in Lightroom & Photoshop.

I have been taking advantage of the good weather on the south coast this weekend to experiment within my Adobe Programs; Lightroom and Photoshop. Specifically one of my favourite ‘subjects’ to capture: Clouds in the sky.

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‘Planet in the Clouds’ (T.J.Nicholas, 2017)

Creative Commons License This work, “Planet in the Clouds“, is a derivative of “Ancient Mars” by Ittiz, used under CC-BY-SA-3.0. “Planet in the Clouds” is licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0 by T.J.Nicholas.

This composition was made by taking a photograph of the skies over Bournemouth and then proceeding to run it through Lightroom and Photoshop.

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After experimenting in Lightroom with chiefly the contrast, vibrancy and clarity, the resultant image had a very space-like feel.

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Later in Photoshop this ancient visualisation of our ‘red’ planetary neighbour was added to the composition. To serve as an alien-esque, exo-planet.

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Creative Commons License (‘AncientMars‘ by  ‘Ittiz‘ is Licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

The planet was first transported into my composition then scaled, rotated, faded, blended then finally masked behind a selection of the luminescent cloud wisps. Which resulted in the final image:

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Here are some of the other, less fruitful endeavours, from my sky focused photography:

European Maritime Day: Follow Up Trip

Anyone who may have stumbled onto my site might have previously read the Blog post covering a trip to Pool for Maritime Day, or seen my Portfolio entry of examples of different designs submitted for Poole Maritime Day’s Promotional campaigns.

Subsequently, the initial trip proved to not be enough for what we needed and a second trip was organised where we encountered much more favourable weather and eventually gained the images which would be used in both variants of submission (For Bristol and Southampton Airports: a 1080×1920 Portrait, static Jpeg design and moving image design with various elements. For Exeter, a landscape variant).

Will and Chris made a return, repeating the same combination on the previous trip.

As luck would have it with the weather, we would also gain the photographs utilised in our efforts for the promotional campaign that day. Click Here to see the relevant portfolio.

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(Example of photo utilised for campaign, after being taken through Adobe Creative Suite Software)

There was plenty of material gathered however, which was prepared to be used if the client was unhappy with our current design.

The weather was decent enough that day that we decided to stay a bit longer to get photographs purely for the enjoyment and practise alongside the professional brief.

Canon’s New Releases & Is photography becoming even more accessible?

Canon is due to release two brand new additions to its EOS range in April, the 800D and 77D. The Cameras will be utilising the latest generation of technology Canon incorporates into its DSLR line, as reported by Amateur Photographer.

Continuing their trend of separating devices by customers levels of skill, the 800D will be targeted at beginners and 77D at the enthusiast. Both of which are available to preorder from Canon’s website currently. (Or click the links at the top to go to directly to each cameras page).

I am excited to get my hands on the new 77D, as a means of upgrading from my current 600D without breaking the bank like a 5D Iv or 5DS R might do. Though I do wish to step up from the beginner tier towards the enthusiast range of cameras.

A particular feature of the new releases is the increased level of accessibility within the user interface. Aspects of the cameras shooting styles are clearly explained and detailed on the LCD display. This provides the opportunity for the beginner level of photographer to perhaps get to grips quicker with features more often utilised by the enthusiasts and professionals.

This leads me on to another topic within this post, which is perhaps best summed up by Tony & Chelsea Northrup’s video ‘Are Pro Photographers going extinct?’.

I recommend not only watching but subscribing to the channel. The video covers a great deal of different aspects of the industry and its changing nature.

Particularly the notion that as people have more access to the technology that professionals have, there will be more of an appreciation for the skill that goes into the best photos out there.