Photography Techniques

One of the first jobs I had as a photographer was to photograph works of art for The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery - including prestigious pieces by Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, Ford Madox Brown and John Everett Millais etc.

These would be used for prints, postcards and museum publications. Most of these paintings required the use of a very specialised technique called Cross Polarisation.

It's been many years since I have used this photographic technique, and a job came up recently where I needed to use it again.

I was commissioned by the artist Chris Baker (aka Fangorn), on behalf of Pete Crowther of P.S. Publishing, to photograph ten oil paintings to illustrate a limited edition of Stephen King's Salem's Lot.


Limited edition of Salem's Lot by Stephen King, containing three stand-alone novellas in a special slipcase. 974 copies available, plus 26 deluxe lettered editions. See below.

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The photographic process involves using polarising gels on the light sources as well as filtering the light coming into the camera using a polarising filter. This technique is essential for removing specular reflections off the surface of the artwork, and it is almost impossible to avoid bright white highlights on oil paintings otherwise. Even on matte materials such as pastels, there is a significant loss of saturation unless cross-polarization is employed.

The lighting set up and camera position can be seen in the illustration below:


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Image 1 shows the painting shot with unfiltered
lamps and no filter on the camera lens, revealing 
unacceptable amounts of glare and reflection.

Photography.Cross-polarization


Image 2 is shot with polarizing gels on the 
lamps. There is now a noticeable reduction 
in glare and reflection.

Photography.Cross-polarization


Image 3 has a polarizing filter attached to the 
camera lens as well as gels on the lamps. 
When the lens filter is rotated to the correct orientation 
it removes the remaining glare and highlights.

Photography.Cross-polarization

Publisher Peter Crowther discusses the project with Chris Baker (See below)

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The book is published by: PS Publishing and will be out in October 2015.

For more details click on the link below.

http://www.pspublishing.co.uk

Nerdy stuff:

Camera:   Nikon D800

Lens:   Nikkor 85mm PC Macro

Lighting:   Bowens Flood lights

Tripod:   Manfrotto 058 heavy duty

Polarizing Gels:   Rosco (From Stage Depot)

Polarizing filter:   (Camera) B&W

Photography for 'Uniquely Yours'

Once in a while, a photography commission comes along that’s a little bit different from what I usually do and quite an exciting prospect!

I was commissioned by design group, Modus Creative, on behalf of Worcester BID, to produce photographs for a 216 page coffee table book, highlighting 151 independent businesses within the BID (Business improvement District) area.

The book would be called ‘Uniquely Yours’, a high quality, lifestyle, coffee-table book, designed to promote Worcester as a unique place to shop, eat, play and live.

My first visit was to familiarise myself with the centre of Worcester and, with map in hand, I did a bit of exploring. It didn’t take long to get used to the layout.

I travelled as light as I could with my trusty old Billingham camera bag, a Nikon D800 with 3 lenses, and 2 Nikon SB800 Speedlights. After a few days, I was glad that I’d invested in a lightweight Manfrotto tripod.

The BID area stretches from The Museum and Art Gallery at one end to Worcester County Cricket Club at the other, about a mile, plus the same in the other directions.

I made the most of the hospitality shown to me by the pubs, coffee houses, restaurants and cafés that I visited, and quickly worked out that if I turned up at the right time and asked to photograph a restaurant’s signature dish I would probably end up eating it! Everyone was so friendly and eager to help with the photographic process that the whole project was a complete joy.

On a visit to Worcester Royal Porcelain, I photographed the wonderful Henry Sandon, of Antiques Roadshow fame and ended up chatting to him over a lovely pot of Earl Grey, poured from a porcelain teapot of course!

When I had time to spare, I would go and sit by the river and just chill out for a bit, or walk up to college green and explore the magnificent Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace, and generally taking photographs of different aspects of the City for possible use in the book.

I made 27 visits to Worcester over a five month period, photographing food, interiors, portraits of shop owners and local business men and women, and drank some of the best coffee I have ever tasted, at the many superb coffee shops in Worcester.

The final photograph was for the front cover, and it was decided that we would use the very old and picturesque Friar Street. I stood on top of a very high and shaky ladder for over an hour, waiting for the perfect moment when people were in just the right position.

Thanks go to Guy, Roger, Pippa and Sam at Modus Creative, Adrian Field and Nadja von Dalen from Worcester BID, and Pat Spence who wrote all the lovely words. Also, all the fab business owners who made me feel so welcome, and my amazing Loake brogues for coping so well with all the walking. (See image)

If you’ve never visited Worcester, you’re missing a little gem in the heart of England. Pick up a copy of ‘Uniquely Yours’ from the tourist information office. Don’t forget your camera, and if you need a guided tour…….. ;)

Click on the link to see the online version of the book:

http://worcesterbid.com/brochures/uniquely-yours/i…

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Standard Lamp in Shopping Arcade

Barista Coffee

Ice Cream seller

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