Posted by: colinhoward | February 2, 2016

Nightime in Venice

I have recently returned to Venice together with some photography friends, taking advantage of cheap fares in January! Venice has to be one of my most favourite places: there is so much to photograph! On this trip I aimed to expand my portfolio of images taken at dusk or at night.

 

Posted by: colinhoward | October 27, 2015

Truro and the new Sony RX100 iv

Having recently acquired a new Sony RX100 “point and shoot” camera, I was anxious to try it out under the difficult lighting conditions of a building interior. We recently visited Truro, the county town of Cornwall, on a bright Autumn morning and armed with the Sony visited the Cathedral, an imposing Victorian Gothic building with plenty of architectural interest. Here a few of the results:

Falmouth-Oct-2015-00149-v1-28-Oct-2015

Falmouth-Oct-2015-00157-v1-28-Oct-2015

Falmouth-Oct-2015-00153-v1-28-Oct-2015

Falmouth-Oct-2015-00164-v1-28-Oct-2015

Falmouth-Oct-2015-00175-v1-28-Oct-2015

The camera is impressive: image stabilisation worked extremely well given that I did not use a tripod, with shutter speeds down as low as 1/15th second hand-held. Contrast, normally a problem within churches on bright sunny days, has been handled well. For me, a big advantage is the electronic viewfinder. I shall certainly be using this much more than other pocket cameras I have had in the past as a back-up to my DLSRs and rangefinders.

Posted by: colinhoward | May 27, 2015

Blackpool Revisited

Blackpool is somewhere that does not immediately come to the top of my travel wish list but recently my wife and I found ourselves in Lytham St Annes attending an enjoyable weekend meeting of the Leica Fellowship, so on a splendidly clear and crisp Sunday morning we ventured north to the report that I had only briefly seen through our car window as a child. I decided to use a film camera loaded with Fomapan 200 black and white film as we wondered around the iconic Blackpool Tower. I increasingly find myself taking a roll of film and heading off to take pictures for the day, restricted to just one roll, one camera and one lens. It is terribly liberating: the “feel” of the winder, the lack of a screen for immediate assessment, plus the slight uncertainly that all may not turn out the way it was planned once the negs are developed. This uncertainty was heightened in this case as I decided to develop the film in Prescysol, a dye-based developer from Monochrome Photography, rather than my usual developer, Rodinal. Here are some of the results:

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower

The north pier from the Tower

The north pier from the Tower

lytham-Blackpool-April-2015-0068-v1-25-May-2015

North Pier from the beach

Homage to comedians

Homage to comedians

Blackpool Promenade

Blackpool Promenade

The negs were somewhat on the thin side but shadow detail seems to have held up well. The Fomapan negs seemed easily scratched so in future I will be more careful post-development!

Posted by: colinhoward | April 12, 2015

Semana Santa in Jerez, Southern Spain

It is 1:30am on Good Friday morning and the square in front of San Miguel church in Jerez is packed and noisy, awaiting one of the major religious processions to start its five hour passage through the city centre and back. Suddenly there is a deep hush – all lights go out and the first of the penitents emerge into the moonlight lit only by candles and shrouded in black capes and hoods. Then follows the two floats (Los Pasos): each is halted whilst a plaintive saeta, sung by a single deep-throated and passionate voice of devotion and passion, rings above  the silent throng. I’m there with my trusty Leica doing my best at ISO 3200 and 50mm lens wide open at f1.4 to capture the moment as best I could:

Penitents lead the procession ...

Penitents lead the procession …

.... all dressed in black.

…. all dressed in black.

The first float (el paso).

The first float (el paso).

The second of the Virgin Mary.

The second of the Virgin Mary.

With numerous smartphones being used as cameras, the darkness is punctuated by bright flashes of blue light.

Onlookers glued to their iPhoes.

Onlookers glued to their iPhones before the start.

I had wanted to do this trip for some years, ever since reading James Michener’s book “Iberia” many years ago. Last year I met Christopher Pollard who lives in Spain – we were unaware we were at the same college in Durham as students until both memories were severely jogged! He put together a programme for around ten of us who are members of the Royal Photographic Society Travel group.

The Parroquia de San Miguel procession was for us the climax after spending three days previously following various processions formed from the 40 plus brotherhoods of Jerez. Here is a selection of some of my favourite images: for many of these I used a Fuji X-Pro1 with a fixed 35mm f1.4 prime lens.

Convento Santissima Trinidad.

Convento Santissima Trinidad.

Dawn breaks over the brotherhood from the Capilla de la Yedra, a procession started earlier at 2:00am.

Dawn breaks over the brotherhood from the Capilla de la Yedra, a procession started earlier at 2:00am.

The eyes say it all...

The eyes say it all…

... and again.

… and again.

For some, a rest was called for.

For some, a rest was called for.

And some just need refreshment to keep going.

And some just need refreshment to keep going.

The floats weigh several hundred pounds and are inched along by teams of strong men who have practiced for months.

The physical agony of the burden...

The physical agony of the burden…

All have some sort of shoulder  and neck rest for lifting the floats onto their shoulders.

All have some sort of shoulder and neck rest for lifting the floats onto their shoulders.

Most processions are accompanied by drums and bands.

Most processions are accompanied by drums and bands.

DRummers also take a break every few yards.

Drummers also take a break every few yards.

 

This in my view is street photography at its most difficult: getting a clean composition, good framing and coping with extremes of light and shade are major challenges. One positive, however, is the willingness of everyone to be photographed, although many of course cannot be recognised in their pointed hoods and capes. It was a constant puzzle to me as to how friends and relatives recognised their family and acquaintances, many walking alongside or greeting them at corners or along the way.

These images and more will appear on my website shortly (http://www.colinhoward.co.uk). We also ventured to Cadiz and visited the “White Villages” of Andalusia.

As stated above, the trip was organised under the auspices of the Travel Group of the Royal Photographic Society and led by Christopher Pollard, a long term resident in Spain and who organises specialised small group tours to Iberia and elsewhere in Europe and Morocco.

Posted by: colinhoward | March 29, 2015

Reykjavik

Last week our daughters organised for us to visit Reykjavik in Iceland to see the solar eclipse on Friday 20th March. Despite the rain for much of our visit we were lucky in that the sky cleared on the Friday morning. Too bright obviously to photograph within a picture, I spent some time around the cathedral watching others look through darkened glasses.

Waiting for the eclipse on the morning of Friday 20th March. At just past 9:30am the sun was 97% eclipsed by the moon.

Waiting for the eclipse on the morning of Friday 20th March. At just past 9:30am the sun was 97% eclipsed by the moon.

Eclipse watchers

Eclipse watchers.

Two entrepreneurial youngsters selling fridge magnets.

Two entrepreneurial youngsters selling fridge magnets.

I spent several days walking the streets of Reykjavik, a compact city of around 200,000 people, nearly two thirds of the total Icelandic population. Street art is big in Reykjavik: virtually every bare wall is covered. Otherwise the buildings are covered in brightly coloured corrugated iron sheeting for protection against wind and rain.

A hint of countryside ...

A hint of countryside …

Brightly painted murals decorate every available space.

Brightly painted murals decorate every available space.

A new way of making friends.

A new way of making friends.

View from within the Town Hall

View from within the Town Hall.

The Harpa concert hall and conference centre is an amazing glass-fronted structure on the harbour side, with the public allowed to roam freely around.

Amazing light and reflections in the Harpa.

Amazing light and reflections in the Harpa.

Having fun in the Harpa, with the harbour itself as backdrop.

Having fun in the Harpa, with the harbour itself as backdrop.

The Cathedral dominates the city, built as it is on a small hill. With few high rise buildings, the Cathedral can be seen in all directions for miles.

Reykjavik Cathedral.

Reykjavik Cathedral.

The city from the Cathedral tower.

The city from the Cathedral tower.

Visitors leaving the Cathedral.

Visitors leaving the Cathedral.

Organ practice.

Organ practice.

Finally some pictures of the surrounding countryside.

Pingvellir, the world's oldest Parliament building.

Pingvellir, the world’s oldest Parliament building.

Gullfoss

Gullfoss.

Geysers at Geysr!

Geysers at Geysr!

A wider selection of images from this trip will be available to view shortly on my Gallery website, http://www.colinhoward.co.uk

 

Posted by: colinhoward | March 6, 2015

Brighton West Pier

Recently I joined my fellow Missenden Photographers on a shoot in Brighton located on the South Coast of England. The resort town had in its Victorian heyday two marvellous piers but sadly the West Pier has suffered a number of fires and other disasters and all that remains at present is a bare skeleton offshore. These photographs illustrate the extent of the decay from my last visit 20 years ago.

Now – 2015

Brighton-Feb-2015-7066-v2-10-Feb-2015

 

Brighton-Feb-2015-7059-v1-9-Feb-2015

and then …1995

 

Brighton-sc483-0016

 

Brighton-sc483-0007

Posted by: colinhoward | February 12, 2015

RPS Travel Group Spring Weekend

The Travel Group of the Royal Photographic Society is holding its Annual Spring Meeting in Ludlow, Shropshire, from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th May 2015. Further details by logging onto the RPS website (http://www.rps.org) and following the links to Events.

Posted by: colinhoward | February 12, 2015

Weston in Monochrome

Increasingly I liberate myself from digital photography: I take one roll of film, one camera and one lens, and go off for the day. I task myself to produce a few interesting prints, being far more selective in what I take and how I compose my images. On this occasion I went to Weston-super-Mare, a British seaside resort along the Somerset coast overlooking the Bristol Channel. The film was a roll of Retro 400S made by Agfa (available from Permajet), developed in Rodinal (1:50) for 20 minutes at 20 degrees. The negatives were scanned and processed in Photoshop.

Here is my selection:

Birnbeck Pier, now closed.

Birnbeck Pier, now closed.

The Grand Pier.

The Grand Pier.

Low tide.

Low tide.

Posted by: colinhoward | February 10, 2015

Puglia

It has been a while since my last blog entry, largely due to my having eye surgery during the first half of 2014, but now I have a number of trips to report on.

In September of last year I joined six fellow photographers on a week-long Light and Land tour of Puglia in Southern Italy led by Peter Hendrie. Based in the two centres of Ginvinazzo and Aberoberro there is much to delight any photographer: boats in harbours, old quaint streets and the iconic “trulli” houses to name but a few. A surprise was that our visit coincided with the religious festival celebrating the Saints Cosma and Damian in Aberobello. This was great trip, enthusiastically led by Peter and with extremely agreeable company, helped of course by lashings of good Italian food and wine. Here are some images of our time there:

Matera - ref 4916

The city of Matera. Taken with a 10 stop ND filter.

 

 

The region is best known for its “Trullis”, single story structures made of local stone with conical roofs.

Dawn breaks over trulls in Aberobello.

Dawn breaks over trulls in Aberobello.

We came across a deserted trull with marvellous colours and textures on the internal walls.

Inside a deserted trull: taken with a fisheye 16mm Nikkor lens.

Inside a deserted trull: taken with a fisheye 16mm Nikkor lens.

A trull amongst the fields: here I used again a slow shutter speed and zoomed in during the exposure.

A trull amongst the files: here I used again a slow shutter speed and zoomed in during the exposure.

Dawn in San Giovinazzo on the Adriatic coast.

Dawn in San Giovinazzo on the Adriatic coast.

Finally one of my favourite images: more can be found on my newly revamped website – go to http://www.colinhoward.co.uk and click through the Gallery pages.

Dusk at Ostuni: a 20 second exposure was just right to capture the light trails as cars circuited around the city centre.

Dusk at Ostuni: a 20 second exposure was just right to capture the light trails as cars circuited around the city centre.

 

 

 

Posted by: colinhoward | February 15, 2014

Year of the Print

I shall be exhibiting at the Year of the Print exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London, from 23rd March to 29th March 2014. For further details see http://www.lightandland.co.uk/photography-tours/view/the-year-of-the-print-exhibition1

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