Photo & Service Reviews

Posted on February 9, 2020 by Admin under Uncategorized

July 2020:

Always chuffed when a client takes the trouble to email letting me know an order has arrived – and even more so when they prove to be delighted with the purchase. In this case, it was a Spitfire print, an air-to-air capture. Thanks to RS of Halifax for such kind words!

The print has arrived this morning.  Thank you very much. I’m really pleased with it. Thank you for a fantastic service too,

RS, Halifax

June 2020

I’m conscious that I don’t yet have a way for you to see reviews of my photographs on this site, or of the service I am able to provide to print buyers. So I thought you might appreciate a link to the 50+ reviews I’ve received on Etsy.
You can find it here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ColinKempPhotography?ref=seller-platform-mcnav#review

I aim to provide the same great level of service whether you buy off this site or via Etsy.

New Listings – Preview Notes: Inukshuk Monument, English Bay, Vancouver

Posted on July 21, 2020 by Admin under big sky, seascape, Sunset, Uncategorized
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Inukshuk monument silhouetted against Vancouver sunset, with sunburst
Inukshuk Sunburst: The Inukshuk – a monument celebrating Inuit culture and practice, standing on the shores of English Bay, Vancouver. A favourite sunset from an all too short visit. Extract from full image in the Sun Sea & Landscape Gallery.

English Bay, Vancouver is the home of the most spectacular sunsets I have seen.  And this photograph of the Inukshuk monument on the shores of the Bay is my favourite from an all too short visit. The main picture here is an extract from that photograph.

The sky was simply beautiful, and still bright enough for me to throw the sculpture into sharp silhouette.  Given I wanted to capture the sunburst, I was lucky to find a grass bank a little way back from the image, allowing me get to the right height to position the sun in the corner of the sculpture.  For those wondering how to create the starred effect, it can be done with special filters, but it can be done (as here) with very careful positioning and a small aperture.

The Inukshuk sculpture is worthy of further mention – the plaque tells us:

“This ancient symbol of the Inuit culture is traditionally used as a landmark and navigational aid and also represents northern hospitality and friendship. Constructed of grey granite by Alvin Kanak of Rankin Inlet, this monument was commissioned by the Government of the Northwest Territories for its Pavilion at EXPO ’86 and later given to the city of Vancouver. In 1987 the Inukshuk was moved to this site and sponsored as a gift to the City by Coast Hotels & Resorts through the Vancouver Legacies program.”

The  Inukshuk is a fabulous addition to the English Bay coast, a great monument to photograph in any light and simply stunning against a Vancouver sunset.  I hope you enjoy the photograph as either a memento of a visit, or to inspire you to visit one day.

The full version of Inukshuk Sunburst is listed in the Sun Sea Landscape gallery, with a variety of standard sizes listed.  However, I am always happy to discuss custom prints for a favourite frame or to fill a particular space in your home or office, just use the Contact page to message me. I’m always happy to discuss whether your requirement will work for a particular photo.

New Listings – Preview Notes: Fleet Head at Sunset

Posted on July 12, 2020 by Admin under big sky, mirrored water, seascape, Sunset, Uncategorized
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New listing from Sun Sea Landscape gallery - sun sets over an Essex creek, under a dramatic sky.
Fleet Head at Sunset – a small tidal creek near Great Wakering under a dramatic sky. Photographic print available in standard and custom sizes.

Careful planning gets you just so far with photography. I knew the sun would set in line with this creek, and I knew the tide would be full. But would I get a sky that would make the picture?

Fleet Head is hidden away behind the village of Great Wakering in Essex, just outside Southend on Sea. It’s a tidal creek, filled from the River Roach. This viewpoint is found a few hundred yards along a bridleway. and is easily missed if you don’t climb the dyke that forms the sea wall here. I was in place well before sunset, but it was only as the sun dipped towards the horizon that the full grandeur of that evening’s sky became apparent – and it was clear planning and luck were in balance!

I like this one so much that I have a framed print in my hall – it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Check the Sun Sea & Landscape gallery for the full picture (the one at the head of the blog is a slight crop).

As with all my pictures, I list a variety of sizes for sale – but if you need a particular size print to fill a favourite frame, or to discuss a custom large print for a prime position in your home or office, just use the Contact page to message me. I’m always happy to discuss whether your requirement will work for a particular photo.

Anatomy of a Custom Sale (I)

Posted on July 7, 2020 by Admin under seascape, Shoeburyness, Thames Estuary, Uncategorized
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Candy Floss sky as the sun lit up the base of the clouds from below the horizon. Special digital download created for client who wanted 120×80 cm canvas.

Had a lovely email conversation with K who had lived in my home town and often visited a beach that features regularly in my collection. It’s a favourite for spot dawn photo opportunities at certain times of year. When K and her family moved out of the area, they wanted a large canvas to remind them of happy times here in Shoeburyness, near Southend.

Having spotted this candy-floss sky Dawn photograph in both my Etsy shop and here, K contacted me to see if I could help her order a 120×80 cm canvas (about 4 x 3.25 feet). That’s a big canvas and for it to look right, I needed to make sure the picture could be printed at the size she wanted. I have clever ‘upscaling’ software that can increase a the size of a photo without amplifying noise or blur, and after some experimentation concluded that K’s chosen photograph would print well at the required size. After confirming the image would work, and providing a quote, K asked me to go ahead. The next step was to check her chosen provider’s upload requirements and I was then able to create a bespoke digital file in the exact size and format needed – it came in at a little over 50 megabytes, just inside the maximum possible for this provider.

Final stage was for me to create a custom listing in the Client Area of my website where K could arrange payment and download the file.

K has promised me a picture of the hung canvas in due course – I’ll be sure to post it here when it comes. I’m looking forward to seeing it!

Many of my pictures work well at larger sizes, with some ‘normal’ prints up to 36×24 inches listed.  I’m always happy to discuss suitability of special crops or print sizes – message me via the Contact page if you would like to discuss a project. In K’s case, our conversation opened on a Friday, and the file was ready for download by late Sunday evening. I can’t promise to be that quick every time – it depends on my movements and other commitments. But I will always let you know how quickly I will be able to investigate possibilities and come back to you with options.

New Listings – Preview notes: Free Flight

Posted on July 5, 2020 by Admin under Minimalist photographs, Painting with Light, seascape, Thames Estuary, Uncategorized
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Photograph-of-abstract-birds-in-flight-over-water-in evening-light. A-new-listing
Free Flight: Birds in rapid flight over water, abstract image from Painting With Light gallery

Free Flight was captured on the Thames Estuary, around sunset on a November afternoon, the sun was very low in the sky, carrying an evening warmth. A flock of seabirds, feeding along the water’s margin on the beach, took off and circled past me out to sea. I tracked and shot, using a fairly slow 1/15 exposure – enough to blur the water, and capture the sense of birds in rapid flight.

There is something free about this atmospheric photograph that appeals to me – while this one is pure photo, it has an almost painterly feel in the way it captures the movement. I’d love to hear if it works for you.

That painterly feel is what has led me to list this photo in my Painting With Light gallery rather than with my other animal photographs. Click here for the gallery listing of Free Flight (opens in new tab).

Photo competition at Brooke

Posted on April 14, 2019 by Admin under Uncategorized

Photography is a part time occupation for me – the day job is a consultant and occasional interim manager working for charities. At the time of writing, I am doing some work with Brooke Action for Working Horses & Donkeys.
When another team told me they were planning a photo competition as a fundraiser, encouraging people to photograph their own or wild horses, I offered them a choice of my photos for their publicity brochure – and was chuffed when they chose one as the lead image.

The competition opens on 1st May 2019, but here is a quick look at the front of the leaflet – and you can find the picture here on my website in the Cute & Cuddly section.

The official website goes live on 1st May, but the holding page is here : www.thebrooke.org/photo

Entry is £10 and every entry will help Brooke train poor communities in better animal welfare – ensuring the working animals they depend on for their livelihoods live better lives.

Brooke Photo competition leaflet with  lead image by Colin Kemp

Imported blogs – complete with Word Press attempt to reformat from its old home

Posted on March 15, 2018 by Admin under Uncategorized

I will find a moment to reformat these blogs, but in the meantime, please bear with me, and put up with the rather clumsy impo

Post processing story board – from bland to better in 6 steps

Posted on March 22, 2014 by Admin under Aperture 3, black and white, dry grass, improving a bland image, Nik software, post processing, Silver Efex

 

We all aim to get it right ‘in camera’ – to take pictures that will perform well on screen and in print. But sometimes, we don’t quite get it right.  Take this dry grass shot at Wisley… it is flat, and frankly bland.  I was shooting Aperture priority and did not think through the impact of the light coloured foliage – I needed to dial in about a stop of exposure compensation.



 

I use Aperture3 for my post processing work and usually shoot Raw+JPEG.  I was glad of the RAW file on this one – boosting the exposure and contrast brought an immediate improvement.  The image is brighter and with much better definition.  Now it rather defies the dull day on which it was shot.

 



 

But when I framed the shot at the end of an early Spring afternoon at RHS Wisley, I was imagining it in black and white.  Aperture 3 has some B&W tools, so I did a quick, standard conversion with medium contrast to see if it might work – but again I was underwhelmed with the result.  Time to roll out the secret weapon – the Nik Software suite.



 

First I ran the image through Viveza, a delightfully easy plug-in, tweaking brightness, a tad more contrast and pulling in some selective structure on the seed heads.  From there to Silver Efex, a stunning little black and white plug-in with a massive choice of preset options.  Its rare for me not to find one of these providing a great starting point.  In this case, the “Wet Rocks” preset was most pleasing:



A little light tweaking to structure, and adding a very slight ‘coffee’ tonal change almost completed the job.  I thought there was one final change needed – the crop. But after listing the picture & publishing an early version of this post and discussing it on www.facebook.com/sonningcreatives, I decided it would benefit from a flip.  So… the (current?) final version is below!  Do let me know what you think – and I’d love to hear what you think of the changes – what works, what doesn’t for you?

 

The finished image is available here: 
www.etsy.com/uk/listing/183645730/dried-seedheads-at-wisley-fine-art?

You can find more of my finished work at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SonningCreatives with opportunities to discuss work in progress a www.facebook.com/sonningcreatives

Thank you
Colin Kemp
Sonning Creatives Ltd

So just what does a photographer hang in his own hall?

Posted on November 10, 2013 by Admin under Uncategorized

Don’t you just love decorating the hall?  (Really need an emoticon for ‘heavy irony’ after that statement!)

Kemp’s Kingdom is not especially palatial, but when you add up the doors… reception rooms, loo, kitchen, cupboard under stairs, bedrooms, bathroom, airing cupboard… then they seem to go on for ever. And then there’s all that skirting board, a zillion posts on the bannister (do they have a proper name?) endless skirting board and coving… and those bits of wall & ceiling cunningly located over the stairs that make you balance on the bannister (before you paint it!).

 

And then when you are done, the whole thing looks bare and the fun begins… just what are we going to put on the walls?  EU negotiations, Iran nuclear talks and the US fiscal cliff negotiations all pale into insignificance compared to the debate here.   

This debate has  definitely taken longer than the painting did! 
 
But we have a resolution…  

We are going floral, with a bit of a colour theme.We’ve got three A3 pictures going up in rather snazzy 20×16 frames:
 
the portrait dahlia (top right above), and then two pictures that I hope give you the sense of depth that they do me;
 
 
 
 

 

Dahlia and raindrop

 


and dramatic 12 inch square dahlia print in an 18 inch frame.
 
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/151595502/autumn-in-pastel-westonbirt-arboretum
Autumn in
 

 

And at the head of the stairs an 18×12 inch print of my most popular image (as reckoned both by sales and ‘favourites’ in my Etsy shop) – Autumn in Pastel.  This is the largest I have printed this – and it looks fabulous!  It’s in a 24×18 frame.

 

 

 

 

On balance, I have to say choosing the photos was more fun than choosing or applying the paint in the hall!








Autumn in Pastel and Dahlia with raindrop are available in my Etsy shop.  

http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SonningCreatives

 

The others could be.  Please do let me know what you think.

How not to spend an extra £2,699,970 on a photograph?

Posted on August 17, 2013 by Admin under bargain, expensive, Gursky, Minimalist photographs, Ripples, seascape, Shoeburyness, Sonning Creatives, Thames Estuary, value
Guardian newspaper caption from their article of 11/11/2011:
Andreas Gursky’s Rhine II has set a record for the most expensive 
photograph ever sold.  Photograph: Andreas Gursky/Christie’s

£2,700,000 is a pile of cash.  Translate it into the US$ equivalent and it’s a mind boggling $4.3 million.

 

Quite a lot to spend on a photo – even a photo as big as Andreas Gursky’s Rhein II.  But it sold for that in 2011.  At 140 inches x 80 inches, printed on acrylic glass, it works out at £241 per square inch.

There was lots of press comment at the time (here is the Guardian’s piece: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/nov/11/andreas-gursky-rhine-ii-photograph), some favourable, some less so.  Gursky is reported as envisaging the picture as a bleak reflection on modern existence – but achieves it by removing / photoshopping from the picture any element of that existence.  He is widely regarded as one of the premier art photographers, renowned for large canvases, often with incredible fine detail – but in this case turned that practice on its head, reducing picture elements to a minimum.

Many people have commented on the picture, with a particularly thoughtful, photographer’s eye piece from Josh Dunlop at Expert Photography: http://www.expertphotography.com/the-worlds-most-expensive-photo-what-makes-it-so-great/

Ripples, Thames Estuary, © Sonning Creatives
So why am I talking about this nearly 2 yrs after the sale?  Well its a recent find for me, and it is a find at a time when I am thinking about how to value and promote my own photographs.  I’ve recently been privileged to sell a small number of prints of my minimalist seascape: Ripples, Thames Estuary – taken in a location almost as unprepossessing as Gursky’s Rhein II.  


In my case, the effect was predominantly created by the camera technique, with just some tweaking of contrast and vibrancy in post processing.   Whereas Gursky wanted to strip back to reflect what he sees as a harsh reality, my own hope was to find the hidden beauty in a commonplace scene.  I’d love to hear whether you think I succeeded.

And then we come to value:  just how does one value one’s own work?  I’ve sold A3 prints of this picture at around £30 – and was flattered that someone wanted to display my work.  While any aspiring artist dreams of a big sale, even the most megalomaniac won’t dream of reaching Gursky’s heights.  But do we as artists short change ourselves?  And how do we know?

In the meantime, if you would like to avoid spending an extra £2,699,970 on a photograph to grace your – or a loved one’s – wall pop over to my Etsy site where you can buy Ripples, Thames Estuary at 19×13 inches for £30 – less than 12.5 pence per square inch!  Surely a bargain?

Visit my Etsy page for this image here:  https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/151628610/a4-photo-print-in-16×12-inch-matte