May’s Themes

My four themed images for the month of May were Vivid, Large, Architecture and Broken.

Theme – Vivid

I almost immediately thought of colouring pencils! Unfortunately, almost everyone thinks the same so that sets the challenge of how to try and take a shot that’s been done a thousand times.


I decided to bunch the vivid colours and shoot them against a bright background, however I also wanted to be careful that no one point obscured one behind it, therefore I set the colouring pencils in such a way that they were stepped at different heights, to enhance this I also shot them so that they laid diagonally across the image. I shot from directly ahead but lit artificially with one flash from the left which was diffused with a sheet of paper and bounced some light back onto the dark side of the pencil shafts. 

Theme – Large

First thoughts turned to either wildlife or buildings but, given I wasn’t near any elephants or hippos, plus today’s weather I decided I needed to find something indoors. 


Et voila! I was going to get more use out of my lego stormtrooper as well as the colouring pencil from the previous theme! The idea for this just came to me by altering my perspective, I thought that if I don’t have anything easily accessible that was actually large for me, what could be large compared to something on a smaller scale? This was shot on my dining room table on some printer paper for background and my flashgun from one side and a reflector on the opposite side so that the shadows weren’t too harsh. 


Theme – Architecture 

The newest nearest architecture to where I live is a new development called Riverside North in Bedford. This area used to be a surface car park but is right on the side of the river Great Ouse that runs right through the town. I forget sometimes how nice Bedford can be, I find when you live somewhere you sort of lose sight of what it’s like. To that end I find it useful to explore areas with the eyes of a tourist, certainly makes for an enjoyable time. 


So this new development consists of a new Premier Inn, cinema, apartments and several restaurants (which are out of shot in this particular image. This part of the development however was my favourite section when it came to thinking of Architecture.

I saw the black and glass of the Premier Inn and initially tried to get a reflection of the brick and yellow apartments in the windows but there was just no angle that worked properly, so, standing back and looking at the buildings again to reassess, I decided to go wacky and get the fisheye out. This is the result!

So, by using the fisheye I could get a massive amount in the frame and accentuate the bend and perspective of the buildings almost like they were bending toward each other to protect the Vue cinema in the middle! Additionally, the contrast of the dark architecture on the left leads the eye into the sky and above the cinema toward the bright brickwork and yellow balconies on the right. I think it works and had to wait 20 minutes for the right light and for that cloud in the middle to appear and fill the blue expanse.

As a side note, this shot’s a great example of breaking a photography rule about shooting in strong sun, this was shot in the middle of a strong sunny day, I seem to have got away with it too!


Theme – Broken

I happened across a row of old colourful paraffin lamps in a Bedford pub when out looking for other shots and there was just one of them that had a broken glass. The real problem was how not to just take a snap, but take an image. It would have been all too easy to take a front shot of the row of them, all different colours but I needed the focus on the only broken one.


To do this I decided to go in close at a wide aperture to blur the intact lamp and focus on the glass of the other, then a slight crop on the computer and remove the distraction of the colours, again drawing the eye to the broken glass. I nearly did a straight black and white but thought a hint of sepia would suit the image better.