In a follow up to my last post Right Place, Right Time, I thought I would share some more of the images I took of Morecambe bay. Everyone likes a sequel, or is that just me?
Unlike my other posts, I will keep the text to a minimum in order to let my images speak for themself. Before I let you see what I managed to capture that day, I would like to let you know that if you like what you see and would like to use any of these images you can license them via ReClick Photos store page on 500px, here’s the link – https://prime.500px.com/reclickphoto.
I hope you have enjoyed the images as much as I did taking them. Here is the link to my store on 500px again – https://prime.500px.com/reclickphoto where you can purchase licenses for theses images as well as many more.
When it comes to capturing the right image, it can take some planning in advance. Research the best location, consult the weather forecast, decide on which time of the day would be best, arrange to take the proper equipment to the location etc. There is sometimes you find yourself in the right place at the right time, and with a single click you capture an image that would never have been possible no matter how prepared you had been in advance. How can we define this situation? As far as I’m concerned it is sheer and utter luck!
Let’s take a look at one of those moments I experienced at Morecambe Bay.
I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw what I captured. Needless to say I took many more images whilst I was there while the weather conditions were like this. It was a fantastic experience, I wanted to capture everything I possibly could because it was only a matter of time before everything would change. This is the thrill of landscape photography. I had been at Morecambe bay earlier on in the day and the conditions were dull, and overcast, I’m so glad I stopped off again at Morecambe on the way back to Lancaster. It was a prime example of being in the right place at the right time.
What you see above is practically what I took, all I did was to heighten the colour ever so slightly and apply a little gradient to the top and the bottom of the image. That is it.
You cannot anticipate moments like this, so how can we be prepared for an other occasion like this? In truth we can’t. But we can be ready just in case. What I do is when I know that I am going out for the day, I try to make sure that I have my camera with me. Mostly I can’t carry it about with me all the time, but 9 times out of 10 it’s in its carry case in the car ready to go.
Sometimes when it comes to photography, clicking the button on your camera is just the start of a great image. In this edition of Behind the Photograph, I’m going to let you know what the process is behind getting a few of the images in my last post, Blackpool Do We Really Like To Be Beside The Seaside, ready to be shared with you.
The first image I will talk about is the the one featuring the seating located next to The North Pier. Let’s take a look at the image as it was captured:
As you can see, the sun was hiding when I took this photo. It was a lovely warm day, but a little cloudy and it must have went behind a cloud. This is when I am so glad I recently decided to shoot in only raw at all times now. After a few slider adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw, the image came back to life right before my eyes. It never fails to impress me. Now with a proper image to deal with I move on to making it better. By removing the string of lights from the top left hand corner and heightening the saturation levels, the image is much improved.
The best way to see all the changes is to compare the two photographs side by side like the example below.
Let’s take a look at one more image from that days images. Here it is as it was shot:
The idea I had behind this image was to capture the fun and sense of novelty that Blackpool has, hence the jaunty angle! Looking a little closer I could see a few things I could alter in order to make it a much better image.
The main objective here is to emphasise the shapes and lines of the buildings to do this I need to get rid of any distracting elements. Removing the strings of lights, the street lamp is a good start. I then digitally retouch the paintwork to freshen up the appearance of the building in the foreground. To complete the retouching process, I decide to remove the part of the building in the foreground in the top left hand corner of the image. By doing this I believe it shifts all the attention to the tower itself. Now it is complete.
Like with the first images, I will compare the before and after photos beside one another to see the full effect of what has been achieved.
By writing posts like this, it shows you the power of retouching and the work behind making the images that I take ready to be shared with you.
If you have any images like these that you would like to be given the same treatment, then please contact me at email@example.com I would love to help. For more information about ReClick Photo and the services I provide please visit http://www.reclickphoto.co.uk.
Seagulls, fish and chips, sticks of rock in every colour, a stroll along the promenade, what do those words mean to you? For me, it brings back the memories of going to Blackpool every year for a long weekend with my family to see the illuminations. The funny thing was, every year when we got there, all we saw was people we knew. It looked as though most my Ayrshire home town of Kilmarnock had the same idea as we did.
Recently being in Blackpool for the first time in many years was a perplexing experience for me. Looking at the seaside resort with an adults perspective through the lens of my childhood memories, provided me with a conflicting viewpoint. It would be extremely naive of me to think that things would have stayed the way they were. We as people are in a constant state of change, and so is the world around us. Change is good, in the most part, but sadly not always.
With my camera in hand I went on an hour long walkabout, wanting to capture images of Blackpool today that correspond with the memories of my childhood. Here is a selection the images taken that day for you to enjoy.
It is only right that I should start with an image of the iconic Blackpool Tower. Whether we were all crammed into the back of my Grandpa’s mini, or packed into the bustling Blackpool train, we as a family always played the first person to see the Blackpool Tower gets 50p game. Needless to say after a considerable amount of false sightings, when the tower eventually came into site and the first eagle-eyed person to see it shouts, “there it is!” it was official, we were now definitely on holiday!
After getting into our Bed and Breakfast we always freshened up, and then took a walk down the sea front. This building, even as a child, has always caught my attention. Only in Blackpool could a building like this be built.
I strongly believe that this is the building that fuelled my constantly growing fascination with Art Deco. It is the rather magnificent former Woolworths building in Blackpool. Many years ago I remember going to a fire sale here, I had heard about them but until then never had the chance to go to one! It was a red letter day for me because on sale were lots and lots of art supplies. That year when coming home my suitcase was packed with paints, pencils, sketchbooks.
Whether it was to see a singer, comedian, or some other act, It was almost guaranteed we would Visit the Winter Gardens. The incentive always being, “if your good we’ll be going to the Pleasure Beach tommorow!”
Like many British seaside resorts, Blackpool is famous for its piers. Thankfully all three piers here have survived and are still being enjoyed today. Sadly they are all showing signs of wear. I hope that they recieve the attention they need. The thought of loosing them saddens me greatly.
Negotiating my way throught the deafening noise radiating from the gaming machines and kids amusements, I eventually get a chance to walk on the original boards of the pier. flanking most of the piers length there is the original seating. Sadly, like other parts of its structure, it is showing signs of wear. Anything located be sea, always suffers greatly, the levels of maintence required from buildings and structures like these need to be greatly higher then others situated inland. Like all things in life, it costs money. This images illustrates such damage, I can only hope something is done before it is too late.
Of all the three piers at Blackpool, the North Pier has always been my favourite. My earliest memory of it was when I was young you had to pay to get onto it. I can still remember people relaxing in their hired deck chairs, listening to the old-fashioned music, and watching couples dancing. It was like stepping back in time. Back then, I believed it still kept a little of the spirit it had when it first opened. It was the embers of a fading part of our social history, sadly now lost. I hope that somewhere it still remains.
To see any pier from the side, it always amazes me how they manage to survive the elements, especially with the harsh winters that we have here in Britain. When you are walking on its wooden boards you don’t realise the structure below, and how complex it has to be to keep what we are walking on stable, and structurally safe. It is this section that is constantly being battered by the sea, and needs the most care.
As a kid I always saw the Metropole and used to think, “one day I will stay there.” Sadly the hotel, like the resort has known better days. When I see the building now it still maintains some of its once grand appearance.
Like a lot of things in Blackpool, even the seating is over-the-top! These are examples of when Blackpool was a booming Victorian seaside resort, for everyone irrespective of their class or social standing.
Enroute to Blackpool all you want to do is get the fist glimpse of the tower, when you are leaving your eyes stays on the tower as it slowly disappears out of sight. It is only appropiate that this image will be the last in this post. This iconic structure is more than a engineering and architectural wonder, it is the embodiement of Blackpool itself.
The seaside resort is part of our British identity. Most people, at some times of their lives, have spend a period of time by the sea. We who live in the south-west of Scotland, the yearly pilgrimage used to play a strong part in our family lives. So the question is, do we really like to be beside the seaside? I think the answer is yes. With all my happy memories of this famous seaside town, I believe it is solely responsible for making me fascinated with the concept and reality of the British seaside resort itself.
Some of the images in this post have been given the ReClick Photo treatment, and will feature in my next blog post so stay tuned!
I hope you have enjoyed this post and if you would like to find out more about ReClick Photo and the work that I do, please visit my website http://www.reclickphoto.co.uk.
It’s time for the next in our Inspired By: series. Today’s post will feature an artwork inspired by the classic 1945 David Lean film, Brief Encounter.
It tells the tale of a pair of married middle aged strangers who meet by happenstance at a railway station. An innocent encounter over a cup of tea in the stations refreshment room leads the two into a whirlwind romance that neither was looking for, but was powerless to resist. Arranging to meet again the following week, they both parted to go back to their mundane suburban lives with their spouses and children.
As their weekly meetings continue they both grow increasingly more in love, quite unaware of the consequences of what such a relationship would have on their families. It isn’t until a chance meeting with one of Laura’s (Celia Johnson) friends that make them both aware of the reality of their situation.
With the fear that they might be caught together again, Alec (Trevor Howard) arranges for them to spend the afternoon at a friends flat. When Alec’s friend Stephen returns home early, Laura, ashamed, leaves via the back stairs onto the street. After walking for hours in the rain, Laura eventually finds a seat on a bench in a local park. With the weight of her situation weighing heavily on her shoulders a policeman walks towards her, and by his manner gives her the impression that he considers her to be a prostitute.
The full reality of what their initial innocent arrangement had now turned into was now apparent to them. Realizing the danger and what it could do to their families, they both come to the decision to part.
With Alec being given the opportunity of a job in Johannesburg, they both arrange to meet one final time at the Railway Station to say goodbye. Their last moments together were interrupted by Laura’s friend Dolly who talks incessantly, and is unaware of what was really going on. Robbed of their chance to say goodbye, Alec’s train arrives and all Alec could do to say goodbye was to squeeze Laura discreetly on the shoulder before leaving the refreshment room. After a few moments, Laura overcome with emotion, dashes out to the platform to try and see Alec for one last time. As she does the express train thunders past, not giving into a fleeting suicidal impulse she gathers herself together before going back into her dull suburban life surrounded by her husband and children.
Directed by David Lean, the film was an adaptation of Noël Coward’s 1936 one-act play Still Life, with the screenplay written by Noël Coward himself. Featuring a stellar cast and a soundtrack in which Piano Concerto No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff is its main musical theme. It is a film which, at its heart, is a story of forbidden love and the delicacy of the human spirit. Although it was made at the end of World War Two, Brief Encounter still enraptures everyone who watch it. Male and male, young and old, it still maintains a timeless and universal appeal.
Recently when I was visiting Lancaster, I had the privilege of visiting Carnforth Railway Station which was the location of Railway Station featured in the 1945 film. Walking up the ramp where Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard ran up on several occasions on to the platform, and to see the magnificent station clock under which the two met, I was thrilled. I love films, especially black and white classics, and to be standing in the location of one of my all time favourite films was a bit of a dream come true. With my camera in hand, I took photographs of everything I saw.
Today’s Inspired By: will feature an image I took that day. Let’s take a look.
To those of you who are familiar with the film this image will appeal to you as much as it does to me. The moment I took this shot I thought that this would make a great project. This is what I want to achieve:
Enhance the image in order to evoke the spirit of the film.
To shift the focus of the image to be on the ramp and the clock.
Whether I am a hopeless romantic at heart or it’s the effect Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 2 thats playing on my mp3 player, I started to think about what life would have been like for Alec and Laura in the years after they last met. Would they have lived out the rest of their lives without a thought about their Brief Encounter?
This is what I imagined.
Its 1979, after many years working as a doctor in Johannesburg, Alec is now 71 years old. It has been 5 months since he lost his devoted wife. Now a widower, he is faced with the prospect of living the rest of his life without her. Surrounded by his children, who are all grown up with families of his own and live close by, he is now alone with only his memories to look back on. Whilst sitting at the desk in his study, he unlocks the drawer to the left of him. Opening the drawer towards him, nestled amongst other papers there is a photograph that has been with him nearly all his adult life. Holding it tenderly he looks deeply into it trying desperately to envision the person who he had leave there. With waves of memories flooding back about Laura and the time they shared, he quickly puts the photograph back into the drawer and locks it. For a moment he started to wonder if Laura still thought of him. What if things had been different? Rising from his chair he walks through to the sideboard in the lounge and pours himself a brandy in order to pull himself together. The choice they both made back then was made, and neither time nor thoughts can change it. To bring up the past was of no help or comfort to him. The memories of what happened all those years ago had to stay locked away,like the photograph in his desk. Not just for his family’s sake, but for his.
I have created that photograph.
Would you like to hear about how I achieved it?
Although Colour photography was in existence in the 1940’s, it wasn’t affordable to most people. so by desaturating the image it gives it a more authentic feel. By doing so also refers back to the film itself, which was filmed in black and white.
I wanted to give the image the appearance of being an aged photograph that has not been stored properly, and that has deteriorated with time. Drawing inspiration from some old damaged family photos I distressed the image. Using brushes of different shapes and set at various opacities, I aged the photo. Blurring areas, discolouring other areas etc.
To distress I even more I damaged it digitally. Again with various brushes set at different opacities applied what looks like scores, cracks, water damage etc.
Looking at old images they do not have nice clean straight edges, this image should not have then either. With a white brush set at full opacity I worked on the edges of the photograph, making them uneven and worn.
The cameras of the 1940’s did not have the technology we have now. The term mega-pixel was alien to the photographer of the day. In order to imitate the technology of yesteryear I needed to reduce the clarity of the image. To achieve this I added noise to the image then applied a Gaussian blur.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about Brief Encounter and what I have done with this image. For more information about the film please visit:
I hope you have enjoyed reading today’s post, and if you have images that you would like given the same treatment then please send an email with your image to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our website at www.reclickphoto.co.uk for more information.
To see all the images I took at Carnforth Railway station then you can do so by clicking here to visit our new Flickr Page.
Thanks for reading!
Hugh at ReClick Photo.
P.S. You can catch up with our first Inspired By: post about Alphonse Mucha by clicking here!
Welcome to today’s second post about the iconic Art Deco Midland Hotel Morecambe. I hope you enjoyed looking at the images in my first, The Midland Hotel Revisited – An Exhibition in Monochrome just as much as I did taking them. Here I will share with you the original images as the were shot, and tell you about the behind-the-scenes process behind getting the images ready for posting.
Let’s starts with the first image.
As you can see there are few distracting objects in this image that could do with being addressed. Here is list of the work I carried out:
Removal of the:
Cracks on the render on the boundary walls
Lamp post on the right
Sign post on the left
Birds flying in the sky
Black car on the left
Red and white plastic barrier
Signs at the pillars
Bollard in the middle of the road
2. Desaturated the image then adjusted the various levels including brightness/contrast, curves, sharpness, etc.
Now we have a finished image. Let’s take a look.
Although it is tricky to remove the signpost and street lamp, it is definitely worth the effort. Now you can appreciate the facade in all its glory. Let’s take a look at the next image.
Like the image above, there are few things that could do with being changed in order to make it a better image. let’s take a look at what I did:
Removed of the seagulls
Cropped the image slightly
Retouched the blemished in the render of the wall to the left
Desaturated the image and adjusted various levels including curves, exposure etc.
Let’s take a look at the finished image.
I believe that seeing the image in black and white helps you focus on the hotel itself. The cars are no longer a distraction as their colour has been stripped away. Now we can move on to the image of the hotel’s entrance pillars.
As you can see here the pillars are getting lost within the image. My main objective here is to make sure that they are the main focus. with so many things to do here its hard to know where to start. here are the things I had to do to achieve the finished image:
Removed the private parking signs, and AA sign.
Reinstated the grill running between the pillars.
Removed the orange barrier and retouched the side of the blue car.
Removed the security cameras, and the fun fair from the background.
Retouched the render on the walls and the pavement and slope leading into the car park.
Cropped the image.
Desaturated the image and altered various levels such as exposure, brightness/contrast etc.
A feature like these pillars should be celebrated and now with this retouched image I believe they are. Like the previous image by removing the colour the pillars are now the main focus as the cars are not as much as a distraction as they were. Let’s now turn to the images taken from the rear of the building.
Compared to other images in this post, you will see that there is not much that needs to be altered. But what is done makes a world of difference. Here are the steps I took:
Removed the seagulls from the sky.
Cropped the image.
Desaturated the image and adjust various level such as brightness/contrast, exposure etc.
Now in black and white you appreciate the architectural features of the building even more. let’s take a look at an image take from the other side of this facade.
As you can see with this image, like the one before, it does not need a lot of retouching but with a few small tweeks the image can be greatly improved. Here are the steps I took:
Retouched the pavement, removing some of the blemishes.
Removed the bird in flight.
Cropped the image.
Desaturated the image and adjusted various level such as brightness/contrast, exposure etc.
Out of all the images of the Midland Hotel I took that day, this is my favourite. Now in black and white its architectural features really stand out. Finally we will move on to the last image of the shoot.
Like the previous two images this last one requires little change. What is done, I’m my opinion , make a great difference. This is what I did:
Retouched some on the blemishes on the pavement
Desaturated the image and adjusted various level such as brightness/contrast, exposure etc.
Now you can see the architectural form of this building at its very best. By changing the image to black and white you can see the hotel in all its glory.
From the outset I had decided that I wanted black and white images for this project, as I have mentioned earlier,it accentuates the buildings form plus it echoes the original photos of the hotel when it first opened in the 1930’s. I wanted to show in this post how sometimes taking the photograph is just the start of creating a beautiful image.
Driving into Morecambe along Central Drive, just before we pass the former Promenade Railway Station, I catch the first glimpse of the glorious Midland Hotel. Unlike the last time I was in Morecambe (you can read about it here), I came prepared. The second the car engine stopped, it was as quick as I could grab my camera and walk excitedly the short distance from the car park to the iconic Art Deco landmark. In this post I want to share with you some images that I took that day.
No matter how many times you look at images of this building, nothing prepares you for the impact it has when you are standing outside it in person. It’s bold streamlined shape, the crisp horizontal banding which runs perpendicular to the glazing of the central stair tower, amongst other attributes takes a firm grasp of your attention and sends your imagination reeling wondering what it would be like to stay there.
Spiralling upwards from the white boundary walls these entrance pillars rise up, greeting all who visit the hotel with a bold introduction to what they are about to encounter when they reach the front door and step inside. Although the pillars resemble a stylised seashell, they also echo the impressive spiral staircase located inside the hotel itself.
With its collection of curves, horizontal banding, vertical cylinder shapes, the building can be appreciated more when look it a little to the left or right. You can see and appreciate how all these various planes intersect and combine together to create this iconic building. It is from this angle that you can really appreciate the duo of seahorses positioned aloft the entrance tower.
From the rear of the hotel it is just as impressive as the front. Here it resembles a transatlantic ocean liner, like the Queen Mary, or the Normandie. It’s sweeping convex curves mimick the curve of the beautiful Morecambe Bay coastline.
This is my favourite image from all the photographs I took that day. It shows the buildings curving form at its best. To the left of the image you can see the café which, when you look through the glazing bars, you can get a taste of the restored mural originally designed by Eric Ravilious.
This iconic building makes not attempt to blend into the landscape it was designed and built to be a bold architectural statement, and today it still does. This hotel played a large part in creating the bustling seaside resort of yesteryear and now fully restored, it is at the forefront of the towns regeneration.
All these images have been given the ReClick Photo treatment and if you would like to read all about what I did to prepare them for this post you can do so in todays second blog post: The Midland Hotel Revisited: Behind the Scenes.
I Hope you have enjoyed these images as much as I did taking them. Stay tuned for today’s second post.