A journey of photographic adventure, Two Views was born by two friends having a blast and learning from each other on a photo shoot in the autumn sunshine, asking the question “How can we continue to push our photographic boundaries in terms of technical knowledge, new challenges and creativity and have fun at the same time?” The answer we came up with was to set ourselves a project every two weeks, and then publish the results together. Two Views of the same subject / idea or technical approach. By the end of this year we will have covered 26 subjects and produced at least 50+ awesome photographs, and have learned a huge amount along the way! We’d love your comments, critiques and ideas, and if you want to “play along” too, please do let us have your shots by links in the comments sections! TJ & The Brunette

Monday, 15 July 2013

Blue by The Brunette

I am in the last week of my pregnancy now! So I knew I probably wouldn't be venturing far from home for this one :) Given our Fabulous summer so far I knew there would be a good chance I would find a day with the weather on my side for the shot I had in mind. Living very near Heathrow airport, I originally planned to shoot some airplane vapour trails, and did attempt it one day (see below left) but it just didn't do it for me really! I then remembered my love of lens flare, and that they usually come out blue, so I could potentially have a blue subject - the wonderful summer sky and some funky lens flare too - win win! Lens flare is created as I am sure you know when you photograph a light source directly and the light hits the aberrations in the camera lens, most photographic books will strenuously tell you to avoid it using lens hoods and coatings, but I have always loved the effect. The one thing you must not to do is look directly at the sun through ANY kind of lens, so you do have to be prepared to blindly point and shoot and crop a good deal in editing! Other than cropping, I merely enhanced shadows to turn the side of the house black and into silhouette and saturated the blue of the sky a little more. I am really pleased with the finished shot, both the sky the sharp lens flare and the more nebulous blue circle of it over the house too. And also like TJ  - I have a plane in the top left corner which I hadn't planned to capture! 

Blue by TJ

Sometimes in photography you can stumble across the unexpected without even realising it. In this instance I wasn't actually trying for my "Blue" photo. I was fortunate enough to be at London's Hyde Park to see The Rolling Stones on a gorgeous summers evening, and I was busy snapping away at the various sights with my compact camera. Spotting an aircraft flying over London I decided to try and capture it with one of the speakers and HD screens in the foreground. It was only when I got home and was able to see the picture on a decent size screen that I realised I had got a decent "Blue" photo! If I am guilty of one thing in photography at the moment it is my readiness to fall back on editing to enhance and create photos, so in this instance I have deliberately steered towards a natural scene. The only real editing was to tweak the brightness and contrast to add a slightly more dramatic effect to the photo. For me there is plenty to keep the viewer interested, as it is a photo from an historic occasion, has the plane in the distance and the large and looming screens which were dotted all over the venue.

For my other photos editing had taken a lead role. The blue rose top left was a very tempting photo to go with as in terms of a macro shot I was really pleased with the detail and texture I captured. However I have to concede that it is actually a pink rose turned blue in editing! Top right is another photo from Hyde Park with some beautiful Brazilian dancers attracting a rather large crowd :) I used selective colouring to isolate the blues. The photo at the bottom is one I took using my iphone at Wembley Stadium recently watching The Killers and I used an on board effect to take the photo like that. They were playing a song which meant a lot of the crowd were using their phones as torches and I liked the way the blues were also prominent in a subtle way.

Monday, 8 July 2013

35) Blue

Our next topic is "blue". In December 2011 we covered "red" so we are more than ready to tackle another colour. This subject offers the photographer a huge blank canvas with plenty of choice. The colour blue is all around us in many shapes and forms, and not only that it also encompasses that rather sad emotion which we all feel sometimes. Dare I mention blue also has a rather rude connotation too! There is also the time of day known as the blue hour, which occurs just before sunrise and just after sunset. There is plenty for us to get our teeth into, so why not join us on this topic and send us a blue photo...

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Flame by The Brunette

Having just invested in a chimnea for the garden, I had an easy source of fire to hand for this shot, so you can guess which one of us suggested this topic :) I had never photographed fire before and was going to get a tripod all set up and make a big deal of it all. Then one evening the husband and I were out there toasting marshmallows and I thought "Why not just grab the camera and some lenses and try out a few different exposures and shutter speeds" I did, and was SO pleased with the results! I ended up using a very long focal length lens to allow me to get in close to the action and maximise a small aperture and fast shutter speed. I had so many shots I loved for different reasons, it was hard to choose my favourite, but I love the variety of different flames in the one I choose, the variations in colour and the almost magical / sculptural quality of the flames against the black background. Of the ones in the filmstrip, I nearly choose the second from left as I love the "D" shape created by the rounded edge of the chimnea and a piece of wood, and also the one on the far right capturing sparks from a block of wood. I'd quite like a series of these on a canvas print I think! As for post production - not much at all, a tweak to contrast, to blacken the shadows, and a tiny tad more saturation to bring out the colour range and that's all! Well happy with the results of this one! 

Flame by TJ

This topic provided some interesting challenges, not only did it make me work hard on camera exposure settings, but I also had to get my creative juices working. I knew pretty much straight away that I was going to photograph a candle, but the challenge was how to make it an interesting shot. I came up with the idea of trying replicate a scene from the 19th century when everything would be done by candle light once the daylight hours were over, so I had to gamble on buying a few props and hoping that the idea would work. The candle was an easy thing to source although I was unsure as to just how much light it would give off. I also bought  a flat brass candle holder, although it can't be seen in the final shot. The paper was cream wedding parchment paper, and I just hoped that it would look realistic once it had been printed. For although I also bought an ink quill and ink I knew my handwriting would not be quite up to the task. I chose a script type font and was very pleased with the results. I actually printed off a page from my Beating Bowel Cancer Fundraising Book blog. Getting the right exposure was a real challenge. I tried using the candlelight setting on my camera, adjusting the shutter speed and also using manual settings. It seemed that to get a definitive sharp shot of the burning candle a short exposure worked best, but as you can from the bottom left picture the rest of the photo came out very dim and lifeless. For lighting the room I tried using just the candle light, a torch and the normal room light. In the end I settled for just the lighted candle and a slightly longer exposure as although the flame in the shot might not be as sharp as it could have been, I loved the glow around the flame which adds to the atmosphere of the photo. I did have increase the shadow effect in editing mainly to remove the modern furniture in the background. A challenging topic, but very interesting and enjoyable.

Friday, 14 June 2013

34) Flame

A completely different challenge this time - we have upped the complexity by introducing an unexpected light source to photograph which will come with it's own demands! The topic is Flame, which of course conjures up fire, but also candles, bonfires and anything in between! You can find some inspiration and technical advise here and here. Good luck, lets see if we can come up with some really stunning shots..... :)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Gardens by The Brunette

I had a couple of ideas in mind for this one, but as soon as I laid on my sun bed on one of the fabulous sunny days we have had here in the UK recently and looked upwards, I knew what I was trying to capture. I must admit I have become a real convert to my “outside room” AKA my garden ever since having been on a “glamping” holiday in a yurt in Wales where we spent 99% of our time outside for a week. I just find the nature and birds and wildlife to bring me back to centre and peacefulness. So I am now spending as much time as possible outdoors in the garden at home too. Lying there reading a book and looking up occasionally to see the sun streaming through the beautiful texture of a tree full of green leaves against a blue sky, just makes me happy! What can I say? Photographically I set as low a film speed as I could get away with for quality, with a small aperture and just enough speed to freeze the leaves so they didn’t  move in the wind. I knew I would want to crop in, so it had to be a high quality shot to start with, and I also used a telephoto lens, to get me as close as I could in camera before cropping in editing. Only a tiny tweak to contrast in editing, I find with naturally vibrant colours you have to be very careful to retain the natural look and not play too much in editing else it looks contrived, and I just wanted it to be a simple joyful reflection of a summers day in an English garden – hope you like it!

Gardens by TJ

Having had a break from Two Views I thought photographing gardens in the spring with all the colours would be a simple task... Oops got that wrong for starters! I always wanted to get a photo of something with a personal touch to it rather than take the big stately garden route, although I was considering visit a National Trust property at one stage. I had 2 gardens to choose from, the first being my own tiny garden out the back of my terrace property in Reading, and secondly my mothers more sizeable garden in Maidenhead. Initially I had almost discounted my own garden as I couldn't see how anything there would be interesting to photograph or even be interesting to the viewers out there in blog land! But then I took the advice from a link on the "Gardens" page we posted, and I spent time in the garden both looking hard at what was there and getting a feel as to what I could photograph. The end result is the rose, which is currently in full bloom and has been in my garden for 5 years or so now since I got three rose plants as a present for helping one of mum's friends with a computer problem. I used the macro setting on my camera to get right up into the rose whilst keeping the whole of the flower in bud in shot. The original photo is in my "almost" shots below and you can see what a gorgeous yellow it is. The effect in editing was achieved by using a low brightness and very high contrast setting with the photo being converted to black and white for added effect. In fact the reason why I decided to go with black and white was for garden photography that was probably on the last things expected with all the colours on display at the moment. But for me the contrast between light and dark is beautiful, and on a personal note with my mother winning a bowel cancer battle this week and the anniversary of my father's passing it just seemed right in quite a poignant and emotional period.

The other photos I considered using apart from the rose top left was a shot of the vegetable patch in my mum's back garden top right. This was interesting as I wanted to capture a snapshot of time, with the old shed my dad built over 40 years ago in the background and my mother's unique approach at keeping up dad's vegetable patch including her windmills to keep the pigeons at bay in the foreground. Bottom right the red flowers in mum's garden were lovely, but just too bright and believe me they even look like this to the naked eye! The animals bottom left are tucked away in mum's garden and I love them, but just couldn't get them to quite pose right for me!

Friday, 31 May 2013

33) Gardens

And here we are! The first challenge of 2013 - we thought we would start close to home with Gardens. although of course this can be your own "kingdom and castle" garden, or a formal stately home. It could be a  close up of a beautiful bloom, or a panoramic shot of the whole garden, or anything in between! Here's some inspiration here and here and here as well! Lets see if TJ and The Brunette can remember how to work their cameras... Please join us if you can!!

We're Back!!!

Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging... shocking and a shame but true! Both TJ and I have had a few things on our plate over the last 6 months. Well to be fair plates overflowing is more close to the truth!! BUT as life calms down for both of us, blogging ramps up! I HOPE we have a few followers left out there :)