David's Blog

Month: July, 2013

The imperfect Portrait (Alternatively: Embrace Your Mistakes 2)


Looking through my hard-drive I found some photographs gathering (theoretical) dust taken in London’s Natural History Museum in January. I love this museum and bully people to go every time I am in London. I have created a Flickr Set for you to look through, but this post is about just the above portrait of my good friend and fellow filmmaker Jonathon Reynolds.

Seeing “Embrace Your Mistakes” was my most viewed post so far I thought I would do a follow up. A far more traditional shot than the “Balem tower” mishap, it still shares many of the same failings:

1. The subjects eyes are out of focus- an amateur mistake, as viewer will go straight to the eyes.

2. I did not use a tripod creating motion Blur (low light).

3. Slight “highlight” on chin and stubble from over use of “sharpen” tool on Photoshop.

4. Not enough headroom, the poor man’s scalp has been chopped off.

However, with all this in mind, I think there are some positives:

1. The colours are great.

2. The bokeh background is nice, (thank you museum and helios!), although, not as nice as this one of the same day.

3. I like his rather blank expression

Every photographer (however amateur) has a image in their mind before they snap away. This perfect platonic image can very rarely be reached and often leads to crying at your screen. For me the genius of Robert Frank (surely one of everyones favourite photographers?), Robert Mapplethorpe and David Hockney, in fact whoever, is that they create an image pure enough that it says something both about themselves and the person in the portrait.

I am not as assured on portraits as I would like, as I am sure you will become aware throughout these Mistakes... posts. If you want to follow my journey of discovery then you can follow my Portrait Flickr Set. If you have a favourite photographer or photograph, or indeed, any tips on how to take a great picture, send them my way.

Silver Wedding Anniversary E-Card.

A few days ago it was my Parent’s silver wedding anniversary. As always i had completely forgotten about it and had nothing to send that would arrive on time. So they had something they could open (be it in email form) I created for them a .mov text animation as an ‘E-card.’ The version you can see above is a shorter ‘de-personalised’ version. I created it using After Effects CS5 and a few sandwiches in-between renders.

If, like me, you have a family or friend’s 25th Wedding anniversary coming up that you have completely forgotten about you’re more than welcome to download and send it to them. I am a live action filmmaker with a strong interest in AE rather than vice versa, however if you’re interested you can see my 2D animated work portfolio here.

Belém Tower (Alternatively: Embrace Your Mistakes)


This picture is of Belem Tower, an impressive building found in Lisbon.

My intention was to do a new photo stitch on a very large scale, I had in mind a rather pretentious (and silly) idea of taking all the pictures from slightly different angles and showing a truly 3D-2D world. What it actually looks like is (as one could expect) a mess.

there are several reasons for this, and as it is always best to learn from ones (or someone else’s) mistakes I shall go through them for you.

1. The pictures are all taken with different lighting conditions.

2. I did not use a tripod

3. If I really wanted to take it from different angles I should of actually taken all angles possible to slowly stitch up. Show one side of a cube you get a square, show two sides that do not connect and you get two squares etc.

4. (Perhaps the most important) I did not think through what I wanted to achieve, I just blindly clicked away.

So with these 4 tips in mind a reader could (and quite probably should) ask: “Why not through away the picture? Why did you keep and PUBLISH it for all to laugh at?” This is for a very simple reason: I like it. Sure it doesn’t work; a tower is appearing out of the sea, all the images are different colours and nothing really matches up. With all this in mind I still think of it as quite a silly, fun picture and one that I can see not just what I wanted to achieve but how I can do so next time.

And so with his in mind I have created a new category called “Embrace Your Mistakes” and a new Flickr Set of the same name. I am going to carry on posting and sharing not just pictures I am proud of but pictures that completely failed in my aims.

So remember this: Anyone can take a good picture of Belém Tower, it takes someone special to create a really bad one.