Times are busy and for the next few months I have lots of exciting things happening, not least two photography exhibitions that are on for you to see right now.
My photographic documentary and portrait of Andy, ‘The Farrier’ has now been successfully installed in the West Window Wall at the fantastic Cornerstone arts centre in Didcot, South Oxfordshire. It’s part of the yearly Art Weeks arts festival that takes across the county and there are some great artists who have opened the doors to their studios. If you love art, then please take the time to support this great event – it’s incredible just how many artists across a huge range if media, there are. It really does show how strong the art community is in Oxfordshire and it’s great to be a part of it all.
My own show about The Farrier runs until 7th June so if your able to get to see it, you’ve plenty of time to do so. For those of you who saw it at the Vale & Downland Museum in Wantage, there is the chance to see new work from the project.
I’ve also just come from a great day at the Anise gallery in Shad Thames, for the annual Society of Architectural Illustration AGM, ‘soft’ members book launch and the opening of our ‘Drawing on Architecture’ exhibition, which accompanies the book. It is on from the 4th – 25th May 2014. More details can be found here. The book launches on the 13th May to the press and for anyone looking for a great reference book on architectural illustrators in the UK, look no further.
As always, it’s a wonderful day – being amongst such incredible illustrators and artists makes me feel privileged and humbled to be a member of such an illustrious and prestigious society.
For anyone interested in architecture or urban scenes, I would highly recommend a trip to London to catch the exhibition. You can even take a print from the show away with you for a staggeringly reasonable £45 – It’s a real steal.
Up next is the Wallingford Car Rally, which should prove a lot of fun then it’s the London Festival of Architecture in June – lots to do, work to create, deadlines to meet! More on that to follow.
It was with a particularly heavy heart that I finally packaged the Canon 24mm tilt shift lens back into it’s box and sent it on it’s merry way back to LensPimp just over a week ago.
I’m sure you’ll have guessed from the opening sentence that I enjoyed using it. Having employed it on three different shoots during the 7 days I had it, as well as for some personal work, I was amazed at just how many times it turned out to be my go-to lens. Not just for architectural work, but for landscapes too. Initially I was sceptical I would use a lens with such a wide field of view, preferring to stick with my stunning 35mm f1.4 – but use it I definitely did.
(Oh, I should tell you at this point that I’m writing this whilst listening to the brilliant Belle and Sebastian’s ‘The Boy with the Arab Strap’. If you’ve not heard it I strongly suggest you go and do so. It’s one seriously catchy tune!)
I initially went out to give the lens a test-run at St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Church in Wantage – it being the tallest building in the area both inside and out. This was followed up with a job for the National Trust, one for an award winning and top UK Interior Designer and finally, a day photographing the stunning gardens of a leading Garden Designer based near Chipping Norton.
This lens really did earn the £80 hire charge!
Not only was I surprised with how easy it was to use, I was amazed with it’s flexibility, range of movements and standard lens comparable image quality. I was massively impressed by it’s edge to edge sharpness and lack of vignetting, which made using the shift movement to the extremes both creatively enjoyable and possible. The only thing that gave me cause for concern was the slight barrel distortion and a lack of automatic lens correction within Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop – but this really was fairly minor.
Naturally, with a lens this good, I’ve been seriously wrestling with the idea of purchasing it ever since – that may not happen just yet but it has been booked out again for the end of the month (big grin). In my line of photography, I’m sure a purchase will be on the cards at some point.
I took delivery of a rented Canon 24mm TS-E f3.5 L II today after only ordering it at the last minute yesterday afternoon, from Lens Pimp down in Plymouth. I’m not normally so last-minute about the kit I need for a job and had actually ordered the lens from another hire company before going to Sicily last week. However, their’s was unfortunately returned badly damaged and happened to be their only lens of that type.
I’ve had today booked out to complete some post-production work for a project I’m doing for Abingdon Bowls Club as well as get up to date with admin. Thankfully I cleared that by 2pm so couldn’t resist the opportunity to go and play with the new lens, having not used tilt/shift on anything other than large format cameras.
The first thing that struck me was that, despite being familiar and experienced with both large format monorails and field cameras, the lens didn’t behave in quite the same way, giving me some rather unexpected results. The biggest downside with this type of set-up is that only the lens is able to be adjusted – ordinarily the whole camera will have tilt and shift capabilities – not just the lens. Without getting to technical, for architectural photography, this means that you can’t keep the lens plane parallel to the vertical structures of the subject. As a result, this limits significantly the amount of flexibility you have to compose the photograph in the way you’d like, whilst keeping vertical structures looking just that – upright.
As you’d expect, the amount of movement is limited and I’ve already found that using the movements at their extremes (particularly the tilt) results in some areas of soft focus around the periphery of the frame. However, I’m sure I’m going to have some fun with it and get some great results – it might just take some time tomorrow to work out its full set of strengths and weaknesses, before using it on the job come Friday.
That said, I’ve only been out with it for a couple of hours and not tried it out on any interiors or exteriors of buildings – which is the real reason for the hire in the first place.
I’ve just returned from spending a thoroughly interesting and inspiring day at the Society of Architectural Illustrators AGM, held at the Anise Gallery in Thames Shad, London as the guest of the architect, David Birkitt.
Not only was it a great chance to understand what the society is about, its purpose and aims, it was a great chance to get to know like minded artists working across many different media. It was great to also hear Ian Stuart Thomas’ view of Architectural Illustration and its role in creating a successful bid for a building. It got me thinking about where architectural photography fits within this process? Where it does have a clear role to play is in the construction and end product phases but what is less clear is how photography can help illustrate the case for buildings whilst they are still on the drawing board. Unfortunately I had to leave before the group debates got going and so didn’t get the opportunity to put the question to the forum. One for another day perhaps?
It was also great to see Karen Neale’s stunning illustrations from her travels, hear her talk about the process she uses and see how the passion for her work just oozes out of her. Whilst these are pen and watercolour drawings and Karen never picks up the camera to take reference images, there is something in the way in she constructs them, the format used and the way in which Karen’s focal distances shift from illustration to illustration. It seems that photography, or the way in which the camera works and renders perspective has informed her style.