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GALLERY: THE STREETS OF INDIA
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Several of these photos have appeared on my blog before in various posts, I´ve now put a collection of them into a gallery where they can all be viewed together. All the images were shot on a recent trip to Northern India. Enjoy.

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All images © TomBourdon.co.uk

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    Coming soon – Bi Monthly Newsletter
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    I’ve spent the day contemplating the idea of starting a newsletter, as a way of improving my marketing efforts. Now I’m going to state this up front: this is only going to work if I get enough people to sign up, the time and effort involved in writing the newsletter is just not going to be worth it if no one reads it.

    If you subscriber you’ll receive details of what I’ve been up to as well as forthcoming tours, workshops, and general stuff before they appear here on the blog. I’ll be storing your details in a secret and secure location and promise not be pass them on to any third-party, so don’t worry about that.

    So if your interested in hearing more from me just fill in the form somewhere over there on the right ——-> and I’ll send you out my first one at the beginning of October.

    ================ UPDATED 06 SEPTEMBER 2009 ===================

    Should have mentioned it before but this newsletter is totally 100% Free, no catch.

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      September wallpaper
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      It’s come around quick again but yep its that time of the month when I share one of my images with the world in the form of a desktop wallpaper.

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      This (or should that be next) months wallpaper is an image shot in Varanassi, India on my last visit. In fact thinking about it,  it was shot about a month after I shot last months image of the Taj, so it seems kind of appropriate.

      Instructions for use:

      Click the link below that matches your screen resolution then right click the image and click ‘Set as desktop background’ or ‘Use Image as Desktop Picture” on the Mac.

      Painless no??

      800×600 | 1024×768 | 1280×853 | 1440×900 | 2560×1600

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        Another day, another festival – Tomatina
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        Today’s festival shoot was Tomatina, the great tomato fight held near Valencia, Spain on the last Wednesday of August each year.

        Now the day didn’t go exactly as planned. Valencia is  (or should be) about 5 hours from Barcelona. I had planned to get the bus very early in the morning, shoot the craziness, then come home.

        What actually happened was the bus arrived over 2 and a half hours late which meant I was only able to catch the end of the festivities (which is actually when the better photos are to be had, the streets are ankle deep in tomatoes and people are just splashing around, also there’s more space to move and compose things – so it wasn’t a massive problem).

        I take my shots, not as many as I’d hoped as people soon headed home. Then I wandered back to the bus for the return trip. Some hours later the bus then gets pulled over by the police delaying my arrival home by about an hour as well.

        Needless to say it was a long day.

        So I was still able to get a few nice shots that I thought I’d share with you seeing as so many people liked my Corre foc ones from the weekend.

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          Images of celebration – Corre foc
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          I hadn’t planned to blog today but last night I was out here in Barcelona, shooting a Corre foc (translation: fire run) and wanted to share my images with you.

          This is the second of such celebration I’ve been to and they’re great fun. To find out more and see my images from last years event I’ve got a gallery on my site here.

          Anyway here are the images. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

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            Composition Series – Contrast
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            Now forgive me if I get a bit  conceptual here but I think this is important and interesting too.

            Contrast can take several forms in the creation of an image, the most obvious is contrast of light and that little slider we play with when processing our images (the technical term for this is apparently called ‘chiaroscuro’ Mitchell Kanashkevich explains more in an interesting blog post here). In actual fact this contrast is the relationship between highlights and shadows or light/dark, this contrast falls into the category of shape and form. Other contrasts that come under this category could be soft/hard, blurry /sharp, still/moving …………and the list continues, I think you get the idea.

            But what about contrasts of conception? ‘what are you taking about Tom..?’

            Well take a concept, Ooh I don’t know, ‘Old’, for example, the polar opposite  would be ‘New.’ Now an image that contains the 2 extremes (both something old and something new), well that’s adding a  whole new level of complexity to your image. Something to make the view think about.

            Let me give you an example:

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            Now this image shows a few conceptual contrasts the main one being the old sadhu with the new technology this for me is what makes the image, it makes the viewer wonder, ‘who is he talking to?….. where does he charge it up when the batteries die?…..is it on a contract?…..’

            In actual fact this shot was set up just as a bit of fun an interaction with a very interesting character, and I was fully aware of the contrast whilst shooting.

            More in the Composition Series coming soon

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              Composition Series – Rule of thirds
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              Ok so next in this series I thought I’d cover the so called ‘rule of thirds’.

              Now let me first say that as far as photography goes there are very few actual rules and don’t be tricked into thinking that this is actually one of them. Its not. Its basically no more than a guideline, a pretty good one mind you – but still far from a rule. Its one of the first things that any budding photographer will learn, for good reason as I hope to show.

              Basically imagine a grid what it split into thirds

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              Now what the rule of thirds states suggests is that images look better when important elements are placed at either the one of the 4 connecting points, or along one of the lines. In the image below I puposly placed the young monks head at one of these imaginary points (not exactly, I know but remember it’s not a rule : ) )so his body ran down the imaginary line

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              The crop below shows how the image could look if I place his face in the center of the image. I think you’ll agree that by doing this I have created a more interesting composition.

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              This rule applies to all types of photography from architechture to portrait and wildlife and its something every photographer should be aware of, as it really does make a difference.

              Apparently the rule of thirds goes way back to ancient Greek times and has been backed up by scientific studies. All I know is that it works and it works well. Not always, however, just check out my galleries and see how I blatantly break the rule to produce some of my best images.
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                Composition Series – Frame within a frame
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                This technique is probably one of the best ways to improve photography, so forget that new lens, or a new body with 11fps, and think more about what’s going on in the frame.

                Having a frame within a frame (if your not sure what I’m talking about check out the examples below, you’ll soon catch up) not only focuses attention on a particular area of an image but also adds physical depth to the shot. It forces the view to look from though one layer into another. This is important because lets not forget what the process of photography is actually doing, its taking a 3 dimensional subject and recording it in a 2 dimensional format.

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                In the example above the internal frame is created by the blue and yellow ribbons and draws more attention to the young monks face than, which is the main point of interest in this shot (for me at least).

                Now the internal frame can be anything, any shape, recognisable or not. Below are a few more examples.

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                Now if your clever, and I know at least some of you are, the frame doesn’t have to join up. For example a frame can be made up by 3 lines of a square and the 4th line is implied.

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                See what I mean?

                So that’s the basics of frames within frames, of course like anything this technique can be over used and become some kind of cliché, but that’s just evidence that it works.

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                  Composition Series – frame format
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                  Continuing on from my previous post on cropping, I think its helpful to look at the shape of a frame and how different formats effects the feel of the final image. Until the digital photography revolution took hold the standard aspect ratio was 3:2 as that was the ratio of the 35mm film frame (36x24mm) other larger formats were, and still are, used (Hey even I had a medium format film camera some years back). Nowadays digital cameras are not limited by the size and shape of film and therefore camera manufactures are producing other formats, particularly 4:3 which fits better onto traditional printing papers.

                  Below is an example that shows the 4:3 ratio in colour aginst the 3:2 ratio

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                  Now different people claim different ratios are ‘better’. Personally I believe it depends on the final usage, and I’m used to and comfortable shooting 3:2, not sure I would be some comfortable shooting either panoramic (1:3 or similar) the square (1:1) ratio. While the panoramic format lends itself naturally to landscape photography, I’m unsure where else it could have a regular use. The crop below looks slightly off balance to me, although I still quite like something about it.

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                  The square ratio is probably the most difficult format to use as most subjects just don’t lend themselves very well to the rigid square shape, most objects are longer in one direction and therefore would be more suitable in a rectangular format. Heres a crop using the 1:1 ratio.

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                  I imagine many photographers who use cameras with a 1:1 ratio will end up cropping most of there images to better suit the shape of the subject.

                  Shooting vertically
                  Of course all cameras, apart from those with a 1:1 ratio, can be shot vertically therefore giving you 2 ratios to explore (ie a 3:2 camera shot vertically gives you a 2:3 ratio, similarly a 4:3 cemera will give a 3:4 ratio). Most portraits are shot vertically as the human form lends itself to that. Also many stock photography shooters will shoot images as verticals as they will fit better on a magazine or a book cover and that’s where the big money is, or was.

                  As you can see from one subject you can achieve many different feels to the final image based solely on the aspect ratio of the camera you’re using. Obviously not everyone, if anyone, has a camera bag full of different format cameras, so I’ll let you off by cropping in Photoshop just this once.

                  End of part 2 of the Composition Series check back next week for part 3.

                  Over and out.

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                    Composition Series – Cropping
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                    Today marks the begining of a new series of blog posts about composition, not sure how many posts I’ll be adding to this series – just see how things pan out. Well first off is the subject of cropping.

                    No matter how you look at it, cropping is a real skill.

                    Its not a new technique and was done long before Photoshop came to life, and is, at least for me, an important part of processing an image. Often when I shoot I think the composition is great, but after a few tweaks in Lightroom (where I do all most all of my editing and processing) I sometimes find that a different crop really enhances an image. Othertimes I shoot with the idea that the final image will need to be in a different format, to the 6×4 that my 1Ds MKII creates.

                    Its important that you don’t get too caught up in the whole cropping during processing malarkey, try to shoot as close to the crop that you want to end up with, don’t just think ‘Oh..I’ll fix it in lightroom’ – that’s just lame and its not helpful to think in such a back to front manner the image must come processing.

                    Below is an image of a young Thai monk standing in colourful ribbons. This is the original uncropped version with 4 shapes superimposed to show 4 different crops. All of would create a nice image (my personal favorite is the panoramic, although not always suitable) not that there was anything wrong with the original, it could nicely be used as a double page spread for a magazine. Its just cropping gives you an extra element to explore to improve the aesthetics of your image.

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                    Let me know what your thoughts are on cropping or what you’d like me to cover in this series.

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