Congratulations to rhp on their recent win in the RIBA East Awards 2017 for the Combined Colleges Boat House overlooking the Cam in Cambridge. I really enjoyed photographing the newly completed building last summer and you can see more details about the award and more photographs on Architecture.com
When I give my basic photography CPD sessions about half of the people that attend don't have any form of camera other than the one on their phone. While you can get good results with a phone camera one of the problems is a lack of manual control over the settings. I recommend these phone users get some sort of camera control App to unlock the potential of their phones.
Use of something like the Camera+ App will allow you to make full use of your phone and give you a lot of the functionality of DSLR,
Version 9.1 of the Camera+ App gives you full manual control over,
White balance, including the ability to set the colour temp in K
It also provides useful composition tools like a display grid overlay and horizon level and the latest version allows you to save your files in RAW format to give you the largest scope of adjustment in postproduction.
Use of these manual controls is going to allow you to create much more effective Architectural imagery and provide greater scope for your creativity.
Here are the results of a recent interior shoot featured in Mondo Arc a magazine specialising in lighting and lighting design. These images commissioned by TRILUX were used to illustrate the use of their light fittings during the refurbishment of the National Farmers Union HQ in Warwickshire.
Photographs by Andrew Hatfield
Case study project managed by Too Busy For Words, www.toobusyforwords.co.uk
I have been asked by a couple of people about the best way of photographing fireworks.
The first thing you need to do is get your night photography basics and equipment, right you can see some guidance on night photography lower down the blog.
Once you have the right set up consider how high the fireworks are going to go. The largest commercial fireworks go to about 400m high. The ones in the shot above which are still spectacular but can be brought by the public look to have gone to about 70-100m high. The people running the display may be able to give you an idea of the height they will go to. Ideally you want a bonfire or a crowd at the bottom of the frame and it’s better to get a bit too far away as you can always zoom in a bit. Once you are in the right place focus on something at the same distance as the firework base, then switch to manual focus, you don’t want to be trying to focus during the display.
When you are all set up you need to work out your exposure, and you will need to end up with a shutter speed of sufficient length that you can record the flight of the firework and the starburst in one shutter opening, on the above I used about 3 seconds. If you want to capture multiple burst just use a longer exposure. Before the display set your shutter speed to about 3 seconds, then adjust your aperture and ISO to give you the background look that you want, keep you ISO low to minimise image noise. And you won’t need a very small aperture as you will be focusing near infinity so you will have plenty of depth of field. The above was shot at f/5.6, 3seconds, ISO 100.
Then when the display starts keep shooting and try and get the timing right so that you are opening the shutter between shell launches. Also keep an eye on your exposures during the display because some of the fireworks can create a lot of light and may cause you to over expose. Be ready to select a smaller aperture if things start to look over exposed.
The new Combined Colleges Boat House serving Selwyn College, Churchill College, King’s College and Leys School opened this summer. Designed and project managed by rh partnership of Cambridge the boat house over looking the river Cam was completed for a project value of £2.5 million and replaces the previous dilapidated boat house on the same site. Due to the high risk of flooding in the area all habitable rooms are located on the first floor, accommodation on the first floor comprises a combined rowing gym and individual clubrooms for the individual colleges.
You can read more about the project on the Cambridge News website.
After 200 years the refurbished Woodberry Wetlands near Finsbury Park has opened to the public. The centrepiece of the new nature reserve run by the London Wildlife Trust is the new café is based in the old Coal House. The refurbishment of the coal house and public access work to the reservoir was carried out Bolt & Heeks and official opened by Sir David Attenborough on the 30th April. The scheme was designed by kaner olette Architects and has been submitted by Allen Scott for a 2016 Landscape Institute Award.
Congratulations to kaner olette Architects for their recent win in the 2016 RIBA South East Regional Awards with the Gateway Café at Peacehaven.
Entries for the 2016 RIBA UK awards are now closed, my images have been used for 2 submissions this year, the Peacehaven Big Parks project and the new Crausaz Wordsworth seminar building at Robinson College, Cambridge. The awards will be announced in June 2016. From a photographers perspective the RIBA Awards should be commended as they are one of the few awards that require the photographers consent for the submission of their images.
Big Parks, Peacehaven, Kent
The Gate way Café in Peacehaven, Kent was designed by Kaner Olette architects of Tunbridge Wells and my original commission came from Crofton Design consulting M&E engineers on the project. This Café building has already won a Constructing Excellence Sustainability Award and a category winner in the AJ Retrofit Awards 2015. Big Parks is a visitor Café was forms a gateway to the new Big Parks community park a new recreational space in Peachaven, Kent.
The Crausaz Wordsworth Building, Robinson College, Cambridge
The new dedicated seminar building has been built in the grounds of Robinson College and opened in 2015. The building was designed and the photographs commissioned by rh Partnership of Cambridge and Brighton.
In addition to occasional lecturing on photographic techniques and presenting Architectural photography CPD sessions I will be running several one day courses on DSLR photography over the spring and summer of 2016. The courses will be produced and presented in partnership with Zoe Plummer a Commercial Photographer and Photography Lecturer.
These courses will be aimed at amateur photographers wanting to lean more about and improve there skills in relation to,
All of the subjects would be covered over a single day through the use of short lectures, practical sessions and group critiques.
Courses will be week days and located in the East Midlands Area.
Groups will around 10-12.
Exact dates, prices and locations to be confirmed.
Central London Architectural and Interior Photography courses are also planned for later in the year.
If you would like to know more or have any comments about possible course content, locations etc. we would love to hear from you.
It has been a while since I have been out to photograph things purely for the pleasure of just seeing and capturing something. When studying photography and working full time as a professional photographer the simple interest in aesthetic photography can be easily lost. Because of this I think it's important to put the work aside though and allow yourself to just be creative.
I particularly like woodland when it's clad in flat overcast light, compressing the dynamic range to something your camera can easily capture. This means the scene you can see will be very similar to the scene you can capture and the dull flat light allows to compose without having to consider blown out highlights and impenetrable shadows. When creating work for purely for aesthetic reasons I often compose and crop for a square format even when shooting digitally, I have always loved this format since I had to master it with my 500cm.
Here is a series of five monochrome images captured at the end of December 2015.
I was recently commissioned to photography a newly refurbished apartment by Interior Designer Sandra Boitel of didiE Art & Decoration, Zurich. The apartment was located in the heart of Mayfair London and unfortunately for me on the 4th Floor with no lift, as I was passing the 3rd floor for the second time loaded down with equipment I promised myself I would go through and rationalise all of my kit. One of the problems with being a professional photographer is that you need to take back up kit or have a work round for most failures. This means you end up taking almost twice as much stuff as you need and on most shoots it is never even unpacked.
Anyway back to the shoot, Sandra the designer wanted to show the affect of her lighting scheme on the interior. This meant using a high proportion of the ambient lighting. Unfortunately for me most of the lighting was provided by vintage Edison type bulbs which produce a very orange light at around 2400K as opposed to the normal 3200K for tungsten lighting, also this type of lighting has quiet a narrow colour spectrum and therefore gives quiet poor colour reproduction. To try and maintain the ambient look I applied local fill flash only and covered the flash heads with ¼ or ½ CTO Orange gels this allowed some of the true colour of the furniture to be brought out without destroying the natural ambient look. It would have been much easier to have added more flash but I think this would have destroyed the natural look Sandra was looking for.
I have been spreading the word in the last couple of weeks, by running a full day Architectural Photography workshop at the University of Northampton, and 2 Architectural Photography CPD sessions at London architectural practices. The CPD session this week at GRID architects in SE1 was particularly well attended with 25 people ranging from enthusiastic DSLR users through to dedicated iPhone Photographers. The CPD session ran through the complete process of capturing an architectural style external and interior images from initial concept through to post production.
Although there was a lot to get through people at all levels took something away from it, here is some of the feedback from the staff at GRID.
"People don’t usually comment on the CPD’s unless they’re really bad which makes it even better that I’ve had positive feedback from a number of people who found it informative and well presented. It’s good to get someone coming in who teaches us something useful, understands our way of thinking, and isn’t trying to sell something to us." Stefan
"The composition part was particularly relevant as it applies to so much of the work we do, not just the photography. Also, our bid presentations always rely heavily on photography to describe both the existing context and proposals so I think the range of material you covered was really good." Andrew
I don't make anything from the CPD sessions, and so I am only able to offer a limited number, but get in touch if you would like the either the 1 hour CPD session on the Theory and Practice of Architectural Photography or the Advanced Architectural Photography talk.
The Rule of thirds and it's use in Architectural photography
Nikon Professional Services
People are quick to complain about poor service these days, but don’t often report good service when they get it, so I just thought I would mention my recent dealings with Nikon Professional Services (NPS).
On a recent shoot my old Nikkor 70-200mm VR1 fell out of my bag about 1 onto a concrete drive. Apart from a slight dink at the base all look good apart from but when I went to use the lens the VR system was a bit sick causing the image to randomly move around in the lens. I wasn’t too worried about this as I normally shoot from a tripod without the VR, but was worried about the focus alignment. It was time to send it back to Nikon for a bit of TLC. this lens has had a hard life having been repaired before when it and a camera body were dropped from a speeding motor bike, but that’s another story.
As I was off for a couple of weeks over Christmas it took the opportunity run my other AF lenses into Nikon London for a quick check and service, armed with my 14-24mm f/2.8 and 24-70mm f/2.8, as well as the ailing 70-200mm I called in on the morning of 22nd Dec. To my surprise I received the service estimates on the afternoon of the 22nd and morning of the 23rd , after accepting these by email both of the shorter zooms were lubricated, had their focus alignments checked and were back with me on the 23rd and 24th of Dec.
The longer zoom required some parts from Japan which were going to take a while to arrive. I didn’t have a job that needed the longer zoom for a couple of weeks so that wasn’t a real problem, but I let NPS know when I would need it by. As that date drew near I contacted NPS for an update and as they were still awaiting parts they sent me a loan 70-200 at no cost to cover the intervening period. Unfortunately they were still struggling with parts supply so they have just replaced my 7 year old lens with a 70-200 VR2 lens for the cost the old lens repair.
Very pleased with service, sensible prices and the replacement lens. Thanks to Rob and the other staff at NPS.
This is a quick review of these 2 relatively new Yongnuo products from and interior photographers perspective. This is not meant to be a detailed review of the TX unit and flashes as there are already lots of good reviews about. It’s really to fill in a few gaps and answer some of the questions I had before buying the equipment.
When I started photographing interiors I used Nikon strobes but working in small spaces, shoots can be really hard on flashguns. The stands are constantly knocked over as they are placed behind doors or just as a consequence of having too much kit in a small space. Often flashes are placed on top of doors, inside light fittings, log burners, ovens etc and all these things can quickly lead to irreparable costly damage to your precious strobes. The need to replace a £350 flashgun can make quiet a dent in a day’s fee so these were quickly replaced by a set of Nissin Di622 MK1 flashes. These could be brought for about £100 new or £60 S/H and combined with a set of Yongnuo RF 602 TX RX units have worked well for the past few years. Nissin parts are readily available and broken feet or cases are quickly and cheaply replaced after a quick email to Kenro the importers.
There were a few problems with the Di622 /RF 602 set up though. The main one being that the power of each flash had to be adjusted separately so walking to 4 or 5 flashes dotted around the shoot to adjust the power of each one was a constant pain, particularly when taking bracketed shots. Also the focus of the flash cannot be adjusted when it’s not fitted to the hot shoe of a camera, placing a greater reliance on having the correct modifier, and finally the RF 602 TX unit the RX unit and the flash heads all took different batteries. Meaning 3 different sets of spares had to be taken to each shoot. Finally the Di622 would power down after about 10 mins of inactivity and would often have to be revisited to turn them back on. I was happy with the set up at the time as it offered the best compromise of cost, portability and reliability available at the time but technology continues to develop offering more features at lower cost.
I have now changed over to the Yongnuo YN560-TX Manual Flash Controller and Yongnuo YN560 III Speedlites the controller is about £30 and the flashes about £45 from Amazon.
The build quality of the new kit appears particularly good and big step up from the build quality of the old Yongnuo products and that offered by the Di622’s. The features and benefits of the new set up when compared to my old kit are fairly significant.
Each flash includes its own built in RX unit removing the need for separate RX units, reducing the amount of kit to carry.
The flash and TX controller use the same rechargeable AA batteries.
The controller can be used to remotely adjust the individual power and zoom of up to 6 groups of flashes, each group can contain any number of flashes. Zoom from 24mm – 105mm and power from 1/128 in 1/3rds or full stops. It is simple to set each flash to its individual group. It is not possible to test fire each group individually though so you need to lay out the flashes in a logical manner to make sure you don’t waste time remotely adjusting the wrong flash unit.
One of the most significant advantages of the new units is the adjustable flash frequency. With the old Nissin units you were limited to using a single light pop for each shutter operation. This limited the amount of light you could apply to the scene regardless of the exposure time. So for instance if you wanted an exposure time of say 8 seconds to capture the right level of ambient light and wanted to supplement this with some local fill flash your were limited to a single flash pop. Once the Di622 was up to full power the only option was to use multiple flash heads to increase the local light levels. With the YN 560 combo you can set the frequency and number of flash pops, and so with our 8 second exposure we could set the flash and controller to supply multiple pops in that 8 second exposure. Using the Number and Frequency options we can specify a number of pops or just keep firing at say 10 Hz or for the duration of the shutter opening. Total number is adjustable from 1-40 and the frequency is adjustable from 1-100 Hz. Obviously this flexibility is limited by the flashes recycle time to one flash every 3 seconds when using the internal battery pack, but still offers a vast improvement in the available power available.
The TX unit is also able to fire the Nikon camera via the TX units sync port and accept a signal from a Yongnuo RF 603 TX unit and so a single remote press from the RF 603 can operate the shutter and fire the flashes at the same time.
The standby time and power off time of the strobes are adjustable with a few options including On all of them time, which is a real bonus.
The TX unit and Flash/RX unit both have locking tripod feet where as the old RF 602 units I used did not lock.
I have used the new set up on a couple of shoots so far and it has all worked flawlessly. The TX range is good working though multiple stone walls. Breakages are likely to be more expensive than the Nissin units as I am guessing it is going to be difficult to get Yongnuo spare parts although at £40/unit this is not the end of the world.
A couple of other points that aren’t really relevant to interior photography but worth noting are the TX unit can also work as an IR focus assist light if needed and the Flash units can be run from an external battery pack to reduce the cycle times.
I will try and report back on long term reliability but the build quality of the units and the past reliability of my Yongnou RF 602 1nd 603 kit suggests there may not be much of a problem.