Quick Shot: Lighthouse in the Sea

Sometimes I do some rather dumb things to get a good photograph.....

Take this lighthouse. It's at the bottom of a towering cliff at a place called Beachy Head (I didn't make that up) and it stuck in the middle of the water. The only way to see it is to walk to the edge of the cliff (without any safety fence) and lean over carefully. Leaning over is further complicated by the fact that it's also gusting 30MPH winds. Did I mention there is no safety fence?

I knew from looking at my iPhone that we were close to the lighthouse, and it wasn't until I leaned over the precarious cliff that I could see it. My toes were inches from the edge, and any give in the cliffs (which have serious erosion issues) and I'm on my way to France. Anyone who walked along the path a few feet away had no idea there was a lighthouse directly below them - the cliff was that extreme.

Anyway, I got two images - one from directly above looking down (a vantage point not usually seen with a lighthouse!) and one from the side with the cliffs in view to offer perspective. Which do you like better?

Taken with the Leica SL and Leica 24-90mm lens.

Looking down at the lighthouse from the top of the cliff. You don't get a sense of how steep it is from where I am standing to the lighthouse from this view.....

.... but this should help. Yeah, that lighthouse has been dwarfed by those cliffs!

Quick Shot: Not So Normal

One thing I really like about film photography is the ability to do some not-so-normal things with it. For instance, unlike with a digital camera, I can combine two different scenes on one negative to create a single image, called a double exposure. In this case, I shot a wooden plank door on one of the colleges in Cambridge, followed by a scene overlooking punts on the river Cam. 

The interesting thing about these shoots is that it's very difficult to pre-visualize the resulting image. In this case I really didn't have high expectations, but the resulting negative is one of my favorites from the roll. I particularly like how the trees in the upper right corner are almost 'segregated' by each wooden plank from the door.

The photographic society Magnum used to require photographers to submit prints showing the borders to prove there was no cropping or funny manipulation. So in a nod to Magnum photographers, I have scanned it so you can see the whole border of the print - no photoshop involved!

Shot with Hasselblad 503CX + 80mm f/2.8 lens on Ilford Delta 100.

Video: Fly with Team Global Stars

I have been busy working with the Cambridgeshire based aerial performance team, the Global Stars, to produce a series of videos highlighting their stunt performances and am excited to finally release the second video. This short movie, titled "Fly with Team Global Stars" gives you an up close and personal view into what it is like to fly as a member of the team. Strap in and get ready to fly! 

Quick Shot: Tower of London Remembers

2014 marks the centennial of the outbreak of World War I, which is a very important anniversary in Europe. One of the many events being held to commemorate this centennial is at the Tower of London, where hundreds of thousands of red poppy flowers are being "planted" in the moat in honor of those who perished during the first world war.

The Tower of London played an important role for the British soldiers during WWI; it served as a recruiting and training site for the thousands of new soldiers conscripted into service. The red poppy flower is a symbol used to honor service members in the UK, much like the yellow ribbon in the US. To celebrate the centennial, almost 900,000 hand painted ceramic poppies will be placed in the moat surrounding the Tower of London. The project, which started earlier this summer, will run through mid-November when the UK celebrates their version of Veterans Day.

I had seen photographs of this display and it was one of the sites I was most intent to photograph in London. Although I usually find black and white images with one color gimmicky, I knew that I wanted this image to be that way to really draw your attention to the abundance of red poppies flowing from the tower. This image was actually a panorama of several images stitched together to create this wide angle perspective on the Tower of London. I actually took this photograph during a rain storm, which gave the clouds a nice dramatic touch.

Be sure to visit the Tower of London Remembers Website If you are interested in learning more about the exhibit or want to purchase a red poppy to be planted in the moat.