Sunday, 24 May 2009

Taking awesome photos when you don't have an awesomely expensive camera...

Great article on by Karen Walrond about taking great photos without an expensive camera....

By far my most popular photo on Flickr (seen here) was taken on my first-ever trip out with my point-and-shoot.....


Saturday, 23 May 2009

"Spy" Lens for Candid and Street Photography

I love candid photography. Far more than any that is posed. I love street photography for this reason. just catching those gorgeous moments an people in their natural environment being, well, themselves. As soon as you stop to ask people if you can take their photo or they spot a camera pointing at them then that naturalness is completely lost and the photo unobtainable. That is why I love this nifty gadget though I have yet to get one and try it out. I do think calling it a "spy" lens is really misleading. I have no intention of spying on people with it. It just makes you less obvious and the arty, beautifully composed, carefree shot / candid slightly less likely to be ruined by being observed!

Jo Belfield

20 Photographs & 20 Stories

Katherine Elizabeth Lewis and Nik Perring have been collaborating on a compilation of 20 photographs and stories they'e inspired. The book is being sold to raise money for the Alzheimer's society and is to be launched at the Waterside Cafe, Bollington on Sunday May 24th, 7 pm, with authors doing readings, signed framed images for sale, and, of course, the book! The Alzheimer's Society will have a representative there with information about their activities. Canalside Radio is recording the readings, etc., to brobe adcast later. All profits from book and image sales are going to the Alzheimer's Society. More information at

Share: Threading the Needle

Added to the Shutter Sisters One Word project: Share. This was a sharing experience - it is rare we have a ceilidh in the village (I think the last one was 4 years ago at the last festival!) It was an event tremendously enjoyed by the people that attended, we shared dancing, music, laughs and most of all a sense of Community which is what it's creator, the late Dr John Coope, wanted the Festival (and his other arts organisations in our little village) to foster.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Dancers In Light and Dark / Dancers

Tom Hardwidge's blog has got me thinking - how do you know when a photo is good or not? There are some that I think "yes that's exactly it!" but others where I wonder if I have pushed the bounderies a little too hard, gone a bit loopy with the post-processing and I truly have no idea if it's any good or not. These are 2 photos that I feel that way about. They remind me of pen and ink drawings (I was a huge fan of Mervyn Peake's pen and ink drawings when growing up) but I wasn't sure whether I had just gone completly over the top! People liked them when I put them on Flickr - what do you think?

Jo Belfield.

Oh oh OH!

Ok. So I'm a girl. I like pretty things. And shopping. And photography. So what if I could find them all in one place? Would I be in heaven? Yes I certainly think so......

I have just discovered - courtesy of the wonderful Shutter Sisters - that bright, fashionable and girly camera accessories are now available from and (the so fab it's even named after me lol) The Photojojo Store.

So there you go - Camera straps - the smart girl's alternative to shoes....Or that might be pushing it!

Edit: Found the gorgeous camera straps at at last so the link has now been edited to go directly to them!

Freedom on the Street

I have been following with interest, and a fair amount of alarm, the case of Greek photographer Periklis Antoniou, who was arrested after taking a photo on the London Tube. The photograph, albeit of the inside of the carriage with a wide lens, included a 17 year old girl whose father complained about the photograph to the police, despite Antoniou deleting the photographs when confronted by the girl's mother. The photographer was charged with breaching Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, for causing 'public harassment, alarm or distress' to the father arising out of the picture taking. On Monday he was cleared in a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, following due to lack of evidence that the photographer had breached the Act.

Further details can be found on the Amateur Photographer site here.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Love Thursday / Love Becky Waite

I was trying to think of an image for Love Thursday , so I was thinking of things that I have loved recently. One thing that thought of was the amazing sculptures by Becky Waite. They are beautiful colourful concoctions made from discarded plastic bottles and bright, stunning embroidery. I stumbled across them at the truly magical Secret Garden at The White Gallery and grinned with pleasure as my youngest interacted with the shimmering dingle dangles. So I suppose this Thursday's "Love" for me is making art out of what would otherwise be rubbish and love the interaction between kids and art!

The End of the Fair

The recent fair at the Bollington Festival provided me with an unexpected treasure trove of photos. But perhaps the most valuable treasures were the subjects themselves. As it happened I was there as the fair was quietening down, the queues pretty much gone and the stalls starting to pack up. Suddenly I found myself with a handful of willing models who moonlighted as fairground staff.

The images this impromptu photoshoot produced - candid, down to earth, unexpected, slightly skewed by the transformation of gaudy colours to grainy black and white - are some of my recent favourites and I hope to revisit theme sometime in the future to explore it further.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

From the ordinary to the extraordinary......

It took me 33 years to discover that I was a photographer. A happy accident that arose out of a chance encounter with some awesome amateur photography on and the rescuing of my used-for-holidays-only point and shoot from under 2 years worth of clutter in the dresser drawer. I went outside to have a play and take a few creative photos and started on a journey that has absorbed me for the last 10 months. I haven't travelled alone by any means. I have met many fantastic photographers allong the way - some virtually and some in person - some in my village and the surrounding area and some on completely different continents. I am grateful for how talented, supportive, enthusiatic, nurturing and generous with their advice, praise and criticism these people are. I am also grateful for the support of my hubby and kids - who only occasionally get crabby that I take twice as long to walk anywhere now that I am constantly stopping to take a photo or complain about their portraits being taken every five minutes.

I am continually gobsmacked by how the lens can transform the mundane in our world - the buildings we ignore because we're not going there we're going HERE and the flowers, weeds, debris and tiny details that we'd miss if we weren't looking for them. At the minute I am generally quite limited in the geographical area I shoot in. I don't drive and I have to be back home for nursery andd school runs so there isn't a wide area for me to shoot in. So my Canon D450 has become my constant companion. My everyday haunts are then photographed and then photographed some more, and finally when the obvious angles have been done and dusted there is the looking for something else, the looking for the tiny too-easily-missed details, the looking for something extraordinary in the ordinary. I am surprised the little things I find, the things that I would never have noticed if I hadn't been looking for something beyond the bricks and mortar and tarmacadam we pass everyday. Constantly amazed, constantly challenged, sometimes thrilled, sometimes disappointed and certainly always learning.

Jo Belfield