Clifton Suspension Bridge turns 150
This month the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol saw its 150th Birthday. What better way to celebrate than trying to blow it up with a truck load of fireworks!?
Getting anywhere near the bridge was going to be impossible on the night because of the crowds and the obvious explodey things! Google Maps and a drive by the night before made the Bedminster Cricket Club ground, The Clanage) and a 70-200mm lens seem a good option.
Not the clearest of photos but you can just make out the camera is locked down on a tripod as I was taking long exposure shots here to catch the trails of the fireworks. I was a long way out almost a mile according to Google Maps) but it was a clear night and with nobody around to nudge the tripod, I got some good sharp shots.
Every year the Bristol Comedy Garden pitches its massive tent in Queen’s Square and I’m always lucky enough to be there working for the great team that run the event.
This year was the best yet. Here are a few of my photographs from the 5 nights of fantastic comedy. You’ll recognise some of the acts from TV and the ones you don’t, you soon will!
Thank you and good night!
I seem to have a thing for barns in Peterborough! As part of the Hot Rod & American Custom Car show, Hayley was hanging out in an empty barn with a 50’s pinup outfit and matching Corvette.
This was taken with a Canon 24-70mm lens with my back to the open door of the barn. Diffused afternoon sun was being bounced in but in general the barn was pretty gloomy – a great chance to pop up some lights.
There are two lights in this scene. An Elinchrom Quadra in a 28″ Westcott Apollo softbox and a bare hot shoe flash behind Hayley to separate her from the background to give the hint of the sun possibly setting out of frame behind her.
1. The lovely Hayley Sams
2. A classic Corvette
3. An Elinchrom Quadra head in a Westcott Apollo 28″ softbox
4. The Quadra pack on a very low power setting
5. Canon 580EXII speedlight with a slight warming gel atop a Manfrotto Nano stand and trigger with a Skyport.
6. Shoes, models own
7. Bloke with the camera
Big thanks to Darren Skidmore for the BTS shot.
Don’t get hung up on the gear though, this could have easily been shot with a couple of used speedlights and a cheap shoot through umbrella.
I positioned myself so the kicker light was hidden behind Hayley’s head to give her a rim light. If I moved too far, the light crept into shot making the backlit effect over the top.
But with the right framing and some final tweaks in Lightroom (including bumping the saturation up a little and warming the image overall to add to the sunset illusion) it looked like this:
Looking back at the shot a few weeks later, I noticed the overly bright windscreen and the shadow cast by the rear view mirror. It looked too contrived. I could live with the slight reflection of the softbox at the bottom left of the windscreen but the light blasting in from behind bugged me. So into Photoshop I went.
Luckily, at one point I took a shot where I’d set the rear flash not to fire. Using Photoshop’s fantastic panorama tool I was able to very quickly align the two photos and just mask in the naturally lit glass. You can see the frame with the unlit windscreen aligned over the image I want to use.
The layer mask is very simple – the upper layer is hidden except for the windscreen.
Here is the final result. As always any feedback or questions are welcome in the comments below.