sh'/> The Blog from Kevin Leighton Photography: May 2011
You Are About To Be Redirected To The Blog Page At The Kevin Leighton Photography website

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Colours From A Market - My Sweet Shot Tuesday Link 31/05

I had the pleasure of flying to Newcastle last weekend, the main objective being to see 'Take That' in concert. The evening was everything it was built up to be but that's just the background to this piece.

Coloured Beads
Because of the flight times we had a whole day to kill on the day following the concert, so after taking advice we took ourselves off on the tram to Tynemouth.

When we got off the tram we were confronted by the most amazing Sunday market full of all sorts of new and second-hand goods, so while the ladies in the party took themselves off to see what was what I took out my camera and started looking for some images that I would enjoy looking back on. 

Rail Over The Market

The beads above were on a stall run by the good folk from Bubbly Beads and they were good enough to let me take some shots for a photo story which I'll publish sometime soon


My objective was to find colours, fill the frame and most of all practice manual focus, yes that's right, practice manual focus.

These are some of my favourites. What do you think?


Follow me on:

life with my 3 boybarians

Monday, 30 May 2011

A review of The 3rd Floor Gallery - Cardiff Bay

When the day job takes you to the same location day after day it becomes quite difficult to find something different to do when you decide to take a break outside.

It was both a pleasure and a surprise to come across the Third Floor Gallery tucked away by a busy cross-roads in the heart of Cardiff Bay.

The gallery, called that because it is situated in the 3rd Floor of an old office building, can be accessed only by using the entrance buzzer and being buzzed through the front door.

After tentatively making my way up the stairs was greeted by a lovely lady who offered me a cup of tea and I started to look around what was on show.

The gallery is very airy and quiet with just a hint of traffic noise from below. It is in an excellent location and well suits its purpose.

The website outlines a number of activities going on within the space and via twitter and facebook I saw details of a photographic 'show and tell' event where you were invited to take your own images along to show them off.

The collection showing currently, and through to 12th June is 'The North' by John Bulmer. In brief, it is a selection of images taken in the North of England during the 1960's and 1970's .

The gallery is well worth a visit and I certainly enjoyed the images on display in the current collection. If you are in the area then do drop in and show your support.

See my own growing selection of Cardiff Bay images on my flickr stream.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Reflecting On Looking Forward

I cannot believe what an intense week it has been. Last week I wrote about my photoshoot with Paula which still has me buzzing and I'm sure that it's an event that I won't forget for a long time.

But I have to look forward and that is what I am doing now. This last week I have been working on ...... well I can't actually say yet but it's all to do with me taking a step forward with my photography and I hope to be sharing this with you soon.

It pains me to say it that so much effort has gone into putting some building blocks in place for the future that I've hardly touched my camera in recent days so my pictures this week are taken from a set I took recently when researching locations.

I love images of reflections, they're often not easy to come by so I catch 'em while I can and this one is no exception

My second is this waterfall feature which I think works quite well. My opinion is that if you can get the shutter speed right and capture just the right amount of movement in the water then you can come out with a really good shot.

I hope you like them.


Follow me on:

life with my 3 boybarians

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

My First Portrait Shoot

It was a match made in photographic heaven. On one side there was an aspiring photographer looking for the opportunity to practice his photographic skills and on the other a local business woman who needed a portfolio of pictures to place on her various social media sites. 

She was a good sport and patient enough to let him practice his technique in return for a set of photos she could use at the end of it.

The aspiring photographer was me and the willing subject was Paula White from White Social Media and it was my first opportunity to see if I could really cut it at taking good usable portrait photos.

This is the story of the shoot ......

After an initial meeting to discuss what was required, and deciding not to try to use a studio environment it was agreed that the shots would be taken outside in various locations to take in as many different styles of background as possible.

They would be mostly head and shoulders most with a bokeh background. The style would be a relaxed but professional to demonstrate Paulas personal style.

On the appointed day we set out and spent five hours in various locations looking to get the right background and atmosphere for the shots. The weather was dry but it was blustery and the light changed from sunny to shade with annoying regularity.

Nearly 200 shots later the shoot was over and it was time to go our separate ways and reflect on the day's work.

The next day we reconvened and agreed on the photos to be discarded. We both had copies of the rest and agreed that we would both build our own favourite portfolio. Paula wanted a set that best reflected the image she needed to portray and I wanted a set which I believed best showed off my own skills.

Strangely enough we were very similar in our choices.

So how did I do? Well I think I did OK, Paula has updated the photos across her sites and her followers thankfully love them.

Now whether I am on Paulas Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or the White Social Media website I see the results of my work starting back at me. It gives me the most incredible feeling to know that I helped to create them and every time I see one I just have to stop and have one more look.

Of course I could never have achieved it without Paula. 

But what do you think? Please check out the full set on Flickr and if you like them leave a comment, if you have any suggestions then I'd be pleased to hear from you.

Thanks Paula.


Follow me on:
twitter at
Facebook at

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Are Social Networking Sites Killing The Photo Album?

Will Social Network Sites Kill The Paper Photo Album? How Safe Are Your Pictures? Will Modern History Be Lost Forever?

Wow - isn't it strange how an discussion on angle of photography and social media that you have never even thought of crops up twice in two days. In this case, I was enduring my daily commute and had my camera with me as I wanted to firm up on an element of its functionality.

This prompted a conversation with the lady opposite who turned out to be a lapsed 35mm photographer who was now entering the digital world. At one point she said to me "You know, these days very few people print their photographs and I'm really worried for history and genealogy". Her point being, to which I readily agreed , was that so many people were posting their pictures on social networking sites rather than printing them that in years to come all that family and local history will be lost forever. 

There'll be no more digging through boxes or albums to show of pictures of old Uncle so and so or to look at the car someone had 30 years ago. That could all be gone.

So I was amazed when this article from the Paisley Daily Express titled 'Social networking sites could be consigning Buddies photo albums to history'
popped into my in box.

It relates a similar story about the so called 'Facebook' generation and quotes Liz McNamara, marketing director for as saying:

“This research reveals the real culture change there has been around the way we use and display our photographs.
“The switch to digital is almost universal and for the Facebook generation, paper pictures and albums are obsolete.”
The report also discusses how backing up images is of little concern to some so there is a far higher possibility that history really will be lost forever.

As someone who can add history to his list of interests I really find this quite scary. I always looked on today as being 'the history of tomorrow' and photography as being the ultimate archivist. It seems that this could no longer be true and it's something I find quite disturbing.

What are your thoughts? Do you print for posterity?


Follow me on:
twitter at
Facebook at

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Photographers and Social Media - Do They Mix?

Tonight by the power of Google I had the great pleasure to visit the web site of Photographer Guillem Lopez. 

Guillem has produced the most powerful photography and you would do well to spend some time appreciating the images on his web-site.

In his latest blog Guillem discusses the extent to which a photographer should engage with social media and  and concludes 
A photographer among many other should take pictures, research locations, contact and deal with clients, learn from other photographers, edit, keyword and caption uncountable images, be good at business, pay your bills and hopefully have some spare time to enjoy your family if you are lucky enough to have one. 
All excellent ways to progress your career and value your home life but I question that social media should be excluded from activities rather, social media should be embraced and added to this list.

If you already have sufficient contacts, clients and exposure to other photographers then you may feel you have no need to widen your circle any further. Indeed, there is only so much work one can take on.

But for many I feel sure that social media outlets are excellent ways to display your talents, make contacts, keep in touch with clients and perhaps weave a little personal social magic into your life as well.

Look at how social media can help you. Decide what messages are you trying to convey and apply the tools accordingly. Yes, social media can suck you in so  make sure you plan what you want to achieve in a session or an amount of time you can afford to dedicate to it in a given day or week and stick to it. Treat social media like any other business tool and I am sure you will reap the benefits.

Follow me on twitter at

Monday, 9 May 2011

Picture Of A Wall - My Sweet Shot Tuesday 10/05

In my previous post you will have read how I set about road testing my new 50mm prime lens. One of the locations I visited was the Ashton Court Mansion just outside Bristol.

Unbelievably I was fascinated by a brick wall. Not just any old wall but an old Victorian style garden wall with weathered bricks of varying colours.

I took two shots of the wall, both of which I really like. The first one with the yellow flowers draped across it

This shot is just the plain wall. I love the colours and the weathering and if you look closely a small piece of weed is growing from the wall. To me, that kind of weathering adds some real character.

You can see some shots from the rest of my visit on my new Flickr site. Please click here to drop by and if you're on Flickr yourself the it would be great to have you added as a contact.

Follow me on twitter at

Sweet Shot Day

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Trying To Lead Two Lives & A New Arrival

Another week has gone by and my posting rate seems to have collapsed.

Sometimes I think we try to lead two lives. The one we want to live and and the one we 'have to' live. Let's call that 'real life'. Over the last weeks once again real life has kept me under the cosh and my day job has taken me away from home and prevented me from keeping up my photography, my blog and my participation in the blogs of others.

So now I'm back home and once again I'm trying to squeeze the experiences of the photographer / bloggers life, the one where I meet new people and enjoy new experiences, the one I prefer to follow, into real life.

Before I went away I ordered a new lens and thankfully my return to home brought me face to face with my new purchase for the first time.

I had wanted to invest in a 50mm prime lens for some time since I started reading up on prime lenses and portrait photography.

Unfortunately new lenses are well out of my budget so I searched high and low for a second-hand lens but couldn't find an auto focus version anywhere. After much searching and consideration I located a manual lens which I took delivery of on Saturday.

After a false start and an embarrassingly frantic call to the supplier I realised I had to change a setting on my camera to accept a manual lens but after that I was up and running.

There was nothing else I could do but go out and practice.

Firstly I went out to an old stately home estate which had some great backdrops for some practice shots. I love the texture on the old walls and this shot of a trailing plant draped over it. I spent a good hour wandering through the grounds practising with the new lens only occasionally swapping out to my 18-55 when I needed a shorter lens to fit a wide view into.

My second outing was to Bristol Docks, a largely regenerated dockside area with some great modern features. It was a largely windy but mostly sunny day and presented some real opportunities to get some test shots.

I managed to get some, in my opinion, great shots and some which were somewhat out of focus, the reason for which I don't currently understand.

So my second life has managed to mostly emerge over the course of this weekend. I'm hoping that it will stay near the surface and will stay there in the coming weeks.

I do have an exciting photographic event coming up later this week. I hope to be able to bring more news of this soon.

Click here to check out the full 50mm set on Flickr and if you use Flickr yourself then why not link up with me while you're there.

In the meantime, have a great week.

Follow me on twitter at

Monday, 2 May 2011

The North Somerset Show 2011

Playing The SlotsPlaying The One Armed BanditTraction EngineHeavy WeaponsLlamaOn The Parade Ground
Bulls EyeA Nose For A Good PictureTwo Heads Are Better Than OneTractor TyresI Remember TheseTractor

North Somerset Show 2011, a set on Flickr.

Today was THE big day for the annual agricultural show for the county.

Somewhere there must be an unwritten rule that if you want to stop and compose a photo then some will either stand in front of the subject, move it, or has happened today arrange a picnic around your feet without having the courtesy to offer you any.

Anyway I always take my camera along and see what I can come up with I have just uploaded a selection of my favourites to Flickr.

I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

New Blog Page for Social Media

Followers of this blog (thank you followers) are used to seeing mostly photographic posts with other comment from time to time as takes my fancy.

I've decided to create a separate page for Social Media comment as this is an area of interest to me as it may be to you. It's on a separate page so as not to break the photographic continuity.

Please drop in and comment as you see fit. It's an evolving world out there - be a part of it!