Cake were touring the country promoting The Big Lunch. The Big Lunch was started by the Eden Project and is a lovely and very simple idea about getting together with your neighbours and having a lunch! It aims to bring communities together. How many of us know our neighbours? I know I don’t. That’s why I’m organising one where I live. If you would like to take part, you can see the lunches in your area here, or of course, you can start your own!
The amazing 3D street artist Kurt Wenner did the art work for the big lunch; A huge picnic blanket loaded with cakes, flans, sandwiches and more cakes!
I don’t know how Kurt did it, but his artwork was designed to spring into 3D on photographs with the use of a fish eye lens. I was delighted to hear this! I love my fish eye lens, and it was the first time it was specifically requested, a must, for a photography shoot. Yay!
My brief was to take some press shots early in the morning (using my lovely fish eye), and get them sent out to the press asap. Due to this, it mean I had no time to edit the pictures. I could only select the best ones and send them off. No tweaking, no cropping. They had to be perfect straight out of the camera. The challenge was met and my photos were whizzed out over the Internet.
The latter half of the day I changed lenses, so you will see a mixture on lenses on these images.
Everyone was in a great mood and lots of people were happy at my request to pose for photos.
Pretty in pink ( one of my favourite films btw!)
And check out this little star! She need no direction at all – she just walked on up and struck a pose!
I didn’t get this chaps name, but you can find him cycling up and down with his ice cream treats along New Street. He admitted it was a struggle cycling in such heat. I can imagine!
I couldn’t help but notice star in the making, Bobby Dazzler dancing along the square with his band of merry men and women with his new song blaring out from his stereo! He was out on the streets promoting his new football song. Now, I must admit, I can’t abide anything football related at the best of times but I’m slightly biased on this occasion at my friends Julia and Nat from Aquila TV were involved in directing and editing his video. Take a watch of it over on youtube! I think it’ll make you smile
Thank you to Birmingham City Council for giving me access to the balcony area on the Council House! Whoo. Great views! I’m going to try and stitch together some photos to make a big panoramic shot. If it works out I’ll put the results up
Despite me putting on factor 50 in the morning, I still caught the sun. I was rather hoping to go for the pale and erm, interesting look this summer haha.
How much thought do you give to sharpening your photographs?
Why should you sharpen them?
It was only when working at the Birmingham Post & Birmingham Mail newspapers and one of the photojournalists mentioned sharpening photographs, did I realise why and saw the benefits.
When I process my photographs, I usually go through a few stages; I may give the levels a tweak, perhaps crop, occasionally clone out something unwanted, and after doing this I always sharpen my images. The difference is subtle and yet noticeable to a keen eye.
Practically all my photographs that I put on the web are re-sized. When you re-size an image a little quality is lost and the photo can look a little soft around the edges.
I use Adobe Photoshop CS3, but whatever software you use, there should be an option to sharpen your images. However, to sharpen your photos, you have to go to the unsharp tool. Yeah, makes sense! I think this harks back to the days of film and processing images in a dark room or something – but don’t quote me on that!
So, on CS3 I go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask
And I pretty much always stick to the settings below. I find that add a nice amout of sharpness to my photographs but it doesn’t go over the top.
However, have a play around. See what the different settings do and what pleases your eye.
Of course, you may not want to sharpen the whole image, but just a selected area. That’s ok, you can do that too!
There is a sharpen tool which will let you select an area.
It will also give you control over the strength of the sharpness and the size of the area. Again, have a play. If you don’t like it, just undo!
So, that’s how, and why, I sharpen my images. I think there are other ways of doing it, involving layers and masks, but I like to keep it simply and quick and I get good results from this.
The Authority 2.0 Conference is a half day event for police officers, local neighbourhood community managers, councillors, voluntary sector group leaders, members of the public, academics and press – anyone wanting to share and expand their knowledge on social media communications, and how organisations in authority communicate using these platforms.
It was a fascinating and insightful event. One of the highlights for me was a talk by student Jennifer Yang from Beijing about how the police in China use social media and police the Internet. It seems most of the social media tools that we are used to here, and take for granted, such asFacebook and Youtube are not available in China and they have their own social media websites. I found it quite disturbing that the Police in China use animated cartoons that pop up when someone visits a website that they deem illegal.
I was very much looking forward to the Photographer or Terrorist debate. The debate opened with this video.
I have been fortunate in that I haven’t had any negative encounters with the police whilst I have been out and about taking photographs. In fact, the only time I have been spoken to by a police officer was last weekend when I was taking photographs outside of Gatecrasher nightclub in Birmingham. I just happened to be standing next to the police officers whilst I was taking photographs and one of them just casually asked me what I was taking photos of. I think it was just more out of curiosity than them being suspicious of me. I simply explained I was on a photo job for a mobile phone company who booked me for some nightclub shots. Nothing more was said, though I did continue the conversation by explaining that I was going to be on this debate panel and asked them if they had ever stopped a photographer in Birmingham. They just shook their heads, shrugged their shoulders and said it wasn’t something they had done, or were bothered about.
I’ll tell you who does question me the most though. Members of the public.
With counter terrorism posters popping up, it is making the public more suspicious and I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have been approached by someone on the street who think they have the right to questions me; “What are you doing? Why are you taking photographs of xyz? Where are the photographs going to be used?” All of which I am under no obligation to answer and is a bit of a pain. It distracts me from my work, takes up time and even if I answer their questions it’s of more benefit to them than to me.
I felt the debate went well and Chief Inspector Mark Payne and DCI Ian Grundy responded positively to criticisms, agreeing that the way police officers and community support officers approach photographers could be done in a more tactful way and that there was some misunderstanding on occasions about when to use Section 44 of the Terrorism Act. As Christian Payne pointed out, if a terrorist really wanted to scope out an area, there are many other ways for this to be done without them going out with a camera. It is also a very positive move that the West Midlands Police are starting to take more steps in engaging with people via social media and they are making plans to expand on this.
You can watch the full Authority 2.0 conference here, and the Photographer or Terrorist debate begins 2 hours 36 minutes in.
Well done to the Event With Me team for flawlessly streaming the event live online. I believe the live stream attracted nearly 400 viewers!