Spring is a great time of year for taking photos of town and country. I was recently asked to to take a large number of photos of Hertford and Ware in the sunshine, for a brochure promoting social housing in the towns. This was a short notice job, with the client requesting the photos be taken in the sunshine that was forecast in the coming days. Here are some of the images that I produced:
It’s not often that one’s work gets preserved in glass.
I took an enquiry earlier in the month from a client who wanted a photo of Hertford’s iconic war memorial n Parliament Square so that it could be used on a floor-to-ceiling window in an office. The image was to be 1.2m wide by 3m tall – an aspect ratio of 6:15.
Being familiar with the location I knew that the best angle was looking east, so an afternoon shot with the sun in the west was best. A few days later the weather presented an ideal opportunity for the shot, with plenty of sunny intervals. It as just a case of waiting for the ideal opportunity – for the odd grey cloud to pass and commercial vehicles unloading to pull away. Eventually I got the perfect shot and after editing for exposure and cropping to the required aspect ratio I submitted my work.
Every once in a while I like to get out in the evening and take some night shots. I particularly like this shot of a boat on the river near to my home. This was taken on my Nikon D40, a camera I love for it’s simplicity. I often use the D40 when I choose to leave the more expensive kit at home. It’s a highly capable camera despite its entry-level spec.
Needless to say I used a tripod for this shot, with the white balance set to tungsten. I also used a Nikon ML-L3 infrared remote to fire the shutter.
Earlier in the week I photographed a show home at a new development of 13 spacious town houses.
This was my first time photographing interiors, something I’ve been interested in getting in to for some time. I had the run of the show home so there was no pressure and I could take my time choosing the best angle and compositions.
The property was ideal material, being large, finished to a high spec, beautifully presented and with lots of light.
I used a tripod for the vast majority of shots and set the ISO to 100 and aperture to f11. In many of the shots I boosted the EV, in some cases by up to 2 stops.
A handful of shots required a bit of a tweak in Photoshop but the vast majority were fine straight out of the camera.
Overall I was very pleased with the results.
Whilst driving through Essex I was lucky enough to capture this interesting image at Hatfield Heath.
The village cricket pitch is unusual in that it has a public highway running through it!
Having stopped to admire the spectacle of this unconventional confrontation of man vs. machine, I was presented with this scene of a rather racy vehicle dodging the cricket balls.
I’m not sure if the onus is on motorists to time their dash across the pitch appropriately. or on the batsmen to pitch the ball skyward to avoid any broken glass or dented bodywork.
Houghton House is a ruined 17th century mansion just north of Ampthill in Bedfordshire.
The house was built in 1615 for Mary Herbert, Dowager Countess of Pembroke, although she died of smallpox just a few years later in 1625. The property then passed to Thomas Bruce, 1st Earl of Elgin before being acquired in 1738 by John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford. In 1794, his grandson Francis Russell stripped the House of its furnishings and removed the roof. He died seven years later, leaving no heir. The Grade 1 listed building is currently maintained by English Heritage.
Old buildings can make fascinating subjects for the photographer and Houghton House is no exception, with it’s crumbling towers and decayed features. There are lots of shapes and forms that you can use in composition.
Windows and doorways provide useful framing devices.
Earlier in the week I visited Elstree Aerodrome to take some photos for a flying school. It was a beautiful sunny day with plenty of activity on the runway, including helicopters and a turboprop.
Yesterday I photographed the newly refurbished Hertford Museum. For me, this would involve a couple of areas of photography that I was interested in, specifically interiors and close object photography.
The idea was to produce a series of photos that would show both the museum and it’s exhibits.
Having just spent over £1m, the museum was in pristine condition and looking it’s best following the refurbishment that had taken over a year.
The two objects I enjoyed photographing most were the Victorian dolls’ house and the model of Hertford Castle. I was particularly pleased to be able to get right inside the dolls house and show the extraordinary detail.
Many of the exhibits were either behind glass or in perspex display cabinets. However, with careful positioning of the camera and a polarising filter I was able to eliminate most of the glare and reflections.
A gallery of the photos taken at the museum can be found on my website at stevebeeston.co.uk.