Radio Festival 2013 at The Lowry, Salford – In Pictures

The Radio Festival by the Radio Academy is a yearly festival at The Lowry Theatre and Arts Centre in which folk from all over the country with an interest in radio gather to talk, mingle, network, and enjoy socialising.

This year, it was held over October 14-16, with the first two days being the main festival. The first day featured TechCon, which is the technical and engineering side of radio.

The Radio Festival itself has executives, presenters and important people from the radio industry telling stories, tales, being interviewed, and generally providing good fun. Radio people talking radio. We love it.

So, without further ado, here’s a selection of the pictures I took…

Richard Bacon and Alan Yentob, live on BBC Radio Five Live.

RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-042

The Audience on Five Live…RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-040 RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-029

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-028 RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-007

Journalist Fi GloverRadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-027

The Canon 6D really holds up well in low light conditions… RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-025

Host of TechCon, David LloydRadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-004

Presenters of the Radio Festival, Jon Holmes, Fi Glover, Jane Garvey…RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-051

Ashley Tabor in conversation..RadFest-EF135mm f-2L USM-026

Comedy Producer John LloydRadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-047 RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-049

Jon Holmes (Said in a Hugh Dennis Now Show way….)RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-032

BBC Radio One controller Ben CooperRadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-031

Richard Bacon at the top of the hour (getting the applause the radio)RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-036 RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-030

James Cridland..RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-020 RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-019

Charlotte ChurchRadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-017

Again, proving just how good the 6D was at low light..RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-014 RadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-012

Snazzy bow tieRadFest-EF70-200mm f-2.8L USM-009 RadFest-EF24-105mm f-4L IS USM-022

How to photograph two men via a skype conversation. Probably. RadFest-35mm-035 RadFest-35mm-001

And Five Live being filmed for the BBC website.RadFest-35mm-043

Hope you enjoyed these, and that they show what I can do.

4am Project in Manchester

I didn’t think I would be doing the 4am Project this year – frankly, I thought i’d be asleep (for once). I wasn’t, so I did it.

4AM Project - The Avenue, Spinningfields

In case you’re wondering what it is, The 4am Project is a collaborative effort between photographers all over the world to document where they live (or where they choose) at 4am on a given day, usually in April. It’s organised by Karen Strunks, and she said: “Some of the world’s most beautiful photos are taken under the cover of night, but as we’re all tucked up in bed at that time, the moment just passes us by.”

I’ve taken part in it previously, as seen here and here. Recently, when I was at the Daily Post in North Wales, and this was featured in the paper:

This year, I’m living in Manchester, so took my camera for a walk around the area where I live, Prestwich, and the centre of Manchester (well, up and down Deansgate).

It was on Deansgate, at Spinningfields, I encountered a security guard, who told me, despite it being a publicly accessible area – i.e, it was open to the public, but is actually private land, I couldn’t take photographs. I tweeted this of the conversation:

But this is the photograph I took anyway, as he was was shouting ‘you can’t take photographs here’

4AM Project - On Spinningfields

Short and simple, but it was a case of a few steps, and I was ok to take photographs – funnily enough, of a path leading to the Manchester Magistrates’ court. I hung around taking a few more from the street, just to prove to him I could and wouldn’t be deterred by him, and he left.

Elsewhere, I also took this of The Avenue sign, before the security guard could see me. I hope he reads this and thinks to himself ‘they’re not bad.’ To be honest, I hope you think the same.

4AM Project - The Avenue, Spinningfields

I started, however, in Prestwich, where I live. These were taken around the shopping area:

4AM Project - Closed up shops;

The green shoots of recovery?
4AM Project - a bank and... the green shoots of recovery?

And Bury New Road, quieter:
4AM Project - Prestwich Village

I was using my Canon 6D and new 35mm f/1.4 Sigma lens. Superb combo (I need to write about that separately for my club photography) and the high ISO/low light capabilities of the 6D continue to amaze me.

These were the rest of the photographs:

4AM Project - Outside Manchester Cathedral

4AM Project - Manchester central library

4AM Project - St Peter's Square

So, another successful year of the 4am Project. I do enjoy taking photographs at weird times of the morning. It’s fun to be doing something different to most people, I guess.

Until next time…

Snapping A Few Shots On The Streets Of Liverpool

Yesterday I blogged on the way to take a good photo at night. This is my attempt at a bit of street photography in the day. 

So, the other day, I went to Liverpool. It was no more of a different day than most. I went on the train, and I had a day to just wander around (or until I got bored and got the train home).

So, I took my camera, and thought to start with that I’ll us my Canon 24-105 lens. The first shot that I came across was this, and decided to grab it.

A dying art?

It’s a sight that may well be disappearing from view, in a way. A newspaper seller is selling a plain, tree, newspaper. I have no data on whether they are declining, or increasing, or staying roughly the same, but it seems like everything is going digital, so less of a call for sellers.

I took the shot at a longish zoom to get the image without interfering, and to test the water of what seemed acceptable in Liverpool. It was fine. The next shot I got a bit closer for.

Man making a sand dog

The man was making a dog out of sand. I dropped some money in his hat, and took a few pictures. I always drop a few coins in a hat if it’s requested when taking photos. It’s polite, and more often than not, they’ll act up for you – that’s not what i’m after, essentially, but it means they may pause for a second to allow you to get the shot you’re after. I grabbed a few, and left, in just a few seconds.

You’ll notice that I’ve processed these to be low on contrast too. They were backlit from the sun, so to keep the detail (the 7D is fantastic for this) I decreased the highlights, brought detail from the shadows, and added a slight vignette. The 24-105 at f4 also seems to lend itself well to this kind of processing.

Now, the sun decided to come out from behind the sky, and at the same time, I decided to stick my fisheye on.

The Sun on Liverpool

Just taking it in the middle of the street looking upwards – nothing special. I aimed to keep the exposure lower to compensate for the sun. I have lowered the contrast in it, and added a darker gradient over the sky to keep the blue of the sky. This is pretty much how I processed the next few shots as well, using the sun as a main light source in camera.

Sing us a song, you're the piano man

This meant I had to get fairly close and point the camera upwards, and the end result works well, I thought. The sky has a vignette around the corners, and a slight grad to keep the blues in the colour and the sky from being blown out, but it was hard to keep it all in without going overly HDR – a look I do not want. The slight flare and distorted buildings work well, in my opinion.

And, my favourite of the day, is this.

Liverpool One

The main Liverpool One centre, with two suns (actually, I’m sure you guessed, one reflected off the metal work). I exposed to keep enough detail in the sky and the shadows – hard, but as we’ve grasped, the 7D can do that. I used a grad over the sky to darken the sky and boost the colour, and I boosted up the shadows to include more detail. The original looks bad, whereas the edited one (without much more than would have been done in the days of film) looks pretty good.

Low ISO is key if you’re manipulating shadows so much, otherwise it is noisy, grainy, and in extreme cases, banding appears. Not pleasant.

Final two for today are quite simple. One right underneath Lime Street station, with a grad, and one really close to a train.

Liverpool Lime Street

Arriva 175 009

I hoped you enjoyed these. Please share around if you did, and click through to the Flickr pages to see the shots large.


The Way To Take A Popular Photo. Possibly.

Photographers the world over are always looking for the ways to take a popular photo that will make them a lot of money.

For amateurs, that would be great – turn a hobby (sometimes a fairly expensive one) into an income.

So, how did I do it? Well, let’s get one thing straight. This hasn’t made me any money. Yet. But, it has been popular on Flickr, compared to my other pictures, and got a few nice comments, which I am proud of.

The Moon over Llandudno

It’s simple. A lot of photographers go out during the day, whereas I go out during the evening. I like to go out under the cover of darkness, whilst the streets are quiet and no light is around, to take long exposures, low depth of field shots, and star trail shots.

I did go out with intent of doing star trails, but the reasons I didn’t was that I didn’t want to go too far, and my intended location had boy racers speeding around Marine Drive in Llandudno, meaning my safety – I need to be in pitch black conditions, and it’s a narrow road – was compromised. So, I went to the gate, and looked for where the moon that night was falling.

It was perfect. The moon reflected on a calm sea over the Llandudno Pier head, and using a standard lens at 24mm (my Canon EF 24-105L f/4 IS) it was all able to be taken in.

I tried a few other types of lens as well, including my Samyang 8mm fisheye (which I love, and i’ll talk about that soon) and my Sigma 10-20mm f3.5, but they didn’t work.

A bit of careful processing, and you get the image at the top of this. I basically used the exposure tool to brighten it a bit, I used the grad tool in Lightroom 4 to alter the white balance of the sky a bit. I also altered the shadows and highlights – taking some highlight away, and adding some detail in the darker areas, and added a slight vignette.

Zoom in a bit, to 70mm, and you get this image as well.

The Pier

What I learnt from this was that you just need to look around you. Well, I didn’t learn it from this, it’s just a lesson in it. If the image you want isn’t accessible, see what else is around. Even if it is, see what else is around – you may be surprised.

The other lesson i’m keen for people to learn. Get in your car. Go for a drive. Or, go for a walk, cycle, whatever, and take your camera. You never know what you’ll see, and how popular it’ll be.