Photography by Nik Bond

A weekly photography blog to showcase my hobby.

17.02.13, Week 79: Reflections in Bristol

Week 79 - 15.02.13

I travelled back home this week in order to see the surgeon who operated on my knee last year. I reinjured it following a brief return to lacrosse in January, and therefore need to have it looked at. It turns out I have actually destroyed the ACL graft that was put in place in March, and have also managed to tear a different piece of cartilage than I did originally. So I will be having surgery again this year (hopefully this year) at least twice, if not three times, depending upon the severity of the injury, which can only be ascertained once I have an arthroscopy.

After I had been to see the surgeon, I met up with a good friend of mine from secondary school who goes to university at Bristol. We went for brunch in a cafe in Clifton, which was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and cheered me up dramatically after the bad news I had just received. I then walked from there down into the centre of town to get on a train at Temple Meads. On the way I wandered around taking pictures; I thought the opportunity was too good to miss considering how nice the weather was. I ended up at @Bristol which I visited several times with my primary school, but had no concept of its location or proximity to anything else in Bristol. The glass in the picture above is one of the sides of @Bristol.

I’ve taken a very similar picture to this before which was of the reflection of the Arndale Tower in the glass wall of the Urbis Building. As I described in that post, I couldn’t get close enough to the glass to create a neat plane of symmetry which created a gap between the reflection and the real view. I managed it with this shot above, and it actually looks quite a bit better than the first time I tried to create this type of image. That’s not to say that the other image is bad, per se, the effect is just quite different.

The panes of glass in this image create a slightly staggered effect to the shot, much like they do in this image. It breaks down the neatness of the reflection which makes it seem slightly surreal with repeated features, such as the front of the van, appearing as the panes of glass converge. It’s a shame that the foreground of the image is so dull in comparison to the building and sky in the background. It makes the foreground somewhat irrelevant and the pillar seems to intrude on the image. It might have been better to get a bit closer to the building at the back and included less of the foreground.

This Time Last Year

Venetian blinds in soft focus: 19.02.12, Week 27: Blinds.

Metadata

      • Date taken: 15.02.13
      • Aperture: f/5.0
      • Speed: 1/1600 sec
      • ISO: 400
      • Focal length: 48mm

10.02.13, Week 78: The View from Apartment 65 (Part One)

Week 78 - 06.02.13

I haven’t been out much this week; it’s been a slow one. The weather has actually been surprisingly pleasant for a few days, although I’m not sure how much longer that will last. This time of year always produces fantastic sunsets, and if you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know how much I love the sky, clouds, and sunsets (each of those three words are all separate links). As I noted a few weeks ago, I am lucky to live in an apartment building with a fairly uninterrupted view to the West, and therefore get a beautiful view of the sun setting when it’s there to see. Due to the aforementioned pleasant weather there have been a string of beautiful sunsets to admire this week. I knocked up a panorama of four shots using the Microsoft Image Composite Editor, a great free application for those of us who don’t own Photoshop. I then cropped the original panorama down to create a more interesting image.

I have a great appreciation for shots which capture the sun’s rays shining through the clouds, as I have discussed here. I am pleased with doing just that on the horizon of this shot. The moodiness that is created by the darkness of the clouds and how bright the rest of the sky is is striking and gives the image a lot of depth. I also find that the marbled effect of the colours in the clouds further adds to the depth of the image, which is not always the case when taking pictures of sunsets. I think I’ve struck a good balance between showing enough of the darker foreground/bottom of the frame to contrast the rest of the image, but not too much so that it detracts from the rest of the scene. I often find that upon sorting through shots I have perhaps not managed to achieve this as well as I could have. Fortunately, selective cropping was possible for this shot, but it isn’t always appropriate.

This Time Last Year

A cold and damp student home’s blessing in disguise: 12.02.12, Week 26: Droplets.

Metadata

      • Date taken: 06.02.13
      • Aperture: f/5.0
      • Speed: 1/1000 sec
      • ISO: 400
      • Focal length: 70mm

03.02.13, Week 77: Archive 18

Week 77 - 20.12.12

I took this shot at Somerset House on the same day that I took this image for Week 71. I took a friend to an exhibition as a surprise, but I won’t repeat why we were there or what else we did as I described that in the original post. If you’re interested please go ahead and read it at the link in the first sentence.

I’ve chosen to post this image as an archive shot mainly because of the reflection on the tiles. I love the way that the arch and the columns are extended in a complete mirror of what is above the floor. However, the best part about it is the fact that the ground is wet. The wetness on the tiles provides the illusion that it is raining in the reflected arch, but dry in the actual arch. It’s quite a grimy and dark image which reflects the dullness of the weather that day. I am, however, quite partial to the darkness of the image, although I know quite a few viewers will not be as enamoured with it. The arch acts as a natural frame for the tree in the background, which becomes the subject of the image as a result. The tree, whilst it does not brighten the image, helps to break up the amount of grey stone that the image contains. I’m sure if I could replicate this shot with a brighter sky, it would probably be more striking, but the murkiness definitely appeals to me.

This Time Last Year

A long exposure in the tram tunnels under Piccadilly Station, Manchester: 05.02.12, Week 25: Under Piccadilly.

Metadata

      • Date taken: 20.12.12
      • Aperture: f/2.8
      • Speed: 1/60 sec
      • ISO: 400
      • Focal length: 24mm

27.01.13, Week 76: Black Wormhole

Week 76 - 25.01.13

I took this shot in the same place as one that I took in an early post of mine: 30.10.11, Week 11: Wormhole. Every time I walk over the bridge between the Arndale shopping centre on the one side and Marks & Spencer and Selfridges on the other my attention is grabbed by the reflections in the glass. I had been desperate to take some pictures that I actually liked all week, particularly as I failed in that respect last week. I therefore took a few minutes out of a shopping trip with a friend to quickly snap the image above. Unlike the experience I had in October 2011, I did not have to wait long for the bridge to be clear as the shopping centre was mostly empty at the time of night that we was there. I can’t believe it was October 2011 when I took that shot; it feels like it was a few weeks ago, not nearly a year and a half.

I can’t remember walking across the bridge at night until the day that I took this image, but the reflection of the lights only heightens the appeal that it has for me. The interplay between light and dark throughout the frame is particularly appealing, as is the way that the varying angles of glass alter the reflections. The fading of light on the wooden floor is a nice aspect of the shot; both it and the light in the glass make it seem as if the viewer is moving out of the dark and into the light. I particularly like the shadows of the supporting wires that run across the panes of glass, it adds another aspect to the image and provides more lines to be altered by the changing angles of the glass. The image might benefit from being a little lighter so that there isn’t as much darkness towards the bottom and right hand side of the frame. However, I quite like the effect that it has in its current state because it emphasises the contrast between light and dark.

This Time Last Year

A beautiful girl on a beautiful beach in Spain. Of all the photos that I have taken, this is my favourite: 29.01.12, Week 24: Archive 3.

Metadata

      • Date taken: 25.01.13
      • Aperture: f/2.8
      • Speed: 1/60 sec
      • ISO: 500
      • Focal length: 24mm

20.01.13, Week 75: Archive 17, A Long Overdew Close-up (Part Two)

Week 75 - 10.01.13

I haven’t managed to take a picture that I was pleased with again this week; in my defence I’ve had two exams, so I’ve been focusing on them rather than my photographic pursuits. I took this shot a couple of hours after the one that I posted last week. As I mentioned in my previous post, it was a horrible day, but that was actually somewhat beneficial in that the bright light might have actually made the droplets sparkle and detract from the image as it is here. The picture was taken in the set aside on the edge of the field that my garden backs onto. This thin strip of land around the perimeter of the field is left fallow in order to promote a habitat for wildlife, and for which the farmer receives subsidies for the loss of productive land. The vegetation is mostly dense and long grass, the blades of which are coarse and heavily textured, as you can see in the close-up shot. I’ve always admired shots of water droplets, but I’ve never managed to take one that’s been worth the time it took to compose. I’m pretty pleased with this one though.

The composition of the image was quite simple: I just bent down and moved about until I found some blades of grass that created a platform across the frame in order to capture as many droplets as possible. Then it was simply a case of deciding how far down the frame I wanted the blade to be positioned. I’m a big fan of narrow depth of field, and in using it here I’ve tried to create a pleasant and soft bokeh to the image. I like the variety of sharpness that the droplets of water have, it adds a good depth to the frame. I’m in two minds about the blades of grass that are in the foreground to the right of the image; I’m not sure whether they intrude upon the image, or add to its depth. In some ways, I think the shot might look quite odd without them in the frame because it would look too flat and manipulated, rather than looking exactly as I found it. I’ve also positioned them within the frame so that they don’t impede on any of the droplets and therefore reduce their detraction from the image. Like most things in photography, it’s a compromise.

This Time Last Year

Star trails in the heart of Wiltshire: 22.01.12: Week 23, Star Trails.

Metadata

      • Date taken: 10.01.13
      • Aperture: f/11
      • Speed: 1/60 sec
      • ISO: 640
      • Focal length: 55mm

13.01.13, Week 74: A Long Overdew Close-up (Part One)

Week 74 - 10.01.13

Firstly, sorry for the pun, I couldn’t resist. Upon walking across the gravel outside my house, I noticed there were several silvery patches between the stones. As I looked closer, I realised that they were spider webs onto which the dew had settled. I also realised how long it had been since I’d taken a shot with my close-up filters, so I thought I was a good time to stick them on my camera and set to with composing. I took quite a few shots of different patches of cobweb from different angles. There are two shots of this particular patch that I was quite keen on, but I decided upon the one above as the other focused on the gravel more than the dewy web. The close-up filters work best on a manual lens, so I’ve been using one of my parents’ old Nikkor lenses. My Dad had a Nikon FE which has a split focus display in the viewfinder. My D300 is not equipped with any way to easily discern when something is in focus when using manual focus, so it’s a case of leaning closer and further away from the object and then later deciding which shot is the best.

I also thought the composition of this shot was a bit more interesting than the one I chose it over. I really like the way the dew highlights the lattice effect of the cobweb, something that’s not easily discernible without using some form of magnification. The fact that the gravel falls in and out of focus seemingly randomly adds to the picture as there is a wide variety of textures throughout the frame. The droplets of water make the cobweb invisible and look like they are hanging in mid-air without any other form of support. They almost look like a watery necklace of beads. My biggest gripe with the shot is that I could have perhaps better centred the cobweb. At the moment the focal point is around the bottom and left transection of the lines of the rule of thirds (the bottom left circle in this picture). Whilst this is fine from the point of view that it’s not awkwardly placed, it probably would have been more suitable for this subject to have been placed centrally instead.

This Time Last Year

Ice on the back of a leaf: 15.01.12: Week 22, Ice Ridge. Quite a contrast to the weather this year, as the photo above was taken during one of several days of fog, not the glorious sunshine of last year.

Metadata

      • Date taken: 10.01.13
      • Aperture: f/11
      • Speed: 1/60 sec
      • ISO: 640
      • Focal length: 55mm

06.01.13, Week 73: Archive 16

Week 73 - 02.10.10

Not the best form starting the new year with an archive image, but that’s the way it is, I’m afraid. Unfortunately, this week has disappeared with the end of the Christmas period, and New Year. I have also had to start revising for my exams at the end of the month. Hopefully this will be the last set of January exams I will have to take, which is a very exciting prospect. I took the picture above when I first came to university in Manchester, so I thought it would be an apt picture to post as I am now nearing the end of my studies. The time has flown by and I am both excited and apprehensive about making the transition from academic life to the ‘real’ world. The factory is the same as the one I went to with my flatmate back in August, although, obviously this is the side of the factory that has been renovated. I have been interested in the building ever since I took this picture.

I like the beautiful blue sky, the light on the building, and the wisps of white cloud. However, my favourite part of this image is actually the reflection of the sky in the windows of the unlit building to the right of the frame. The light in the windows exaggerates the negative space around them. I also like the way the light fades from left to right on the rows of bricks. I always fells that the chimney looks out of place with the rest of the factory as it’s so tall and thin in comparison to the rest of the buildings. I wish we still built buildings out of bricks; the Georgian’s and Victorians definitely had their aesthetics sussed. I think the portrait orientation of the frame really makes the image, as it allows a direct comparison between the light part of the frame on the left and the dark part on the right. The only part of the composition that does bother me is the point at which the light and dark areas meet. It’s in the no man’s land between a third and a half of the way into the frame. It’s a shame, because otherwise I really like the image.

This Time Last Year

The view into a fire: 08.01.12: Week 21, Ashes.

Metadata

      • Date taken: 02.10.10
      • Aperture: f/2.8
      • Speed: 1/3200 sec
      • ISO: 200
      • Focal length: 35mm
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