The Concept of Expression / Oli Regan

Following on from when I photographed my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to photograph my close friend, the actor and mental health awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, again, but this time for my photography series: “The Concept of Expression”.

As I look to explore the concept of expression in the subjects I photograph, photographing Oli gave me the chance to explore his personality, regardless of the angle, but more importantly, as body language is a consistent boundary for the subject’s facial expression, photographing Oli again gave me the chance to explore his personality through these photo headshots, as well as his persona, so in this case, because he’s an actor, he puts on a serious face, which makes the photos interesting, considering that being serious really makes him stand out.

The serious impression and the modelling approach that Oli has taken to make sure the photographs I have produced look visually eye-catching are out of this world. Whilst I remember, keep an eye out for Oli on the latest EE advert that’s been on TV recently. You don’t want to miss it. To spot him, wait for Stormzy‘s song: “Big for Your Boots“, taken from his album, Gang Signs & Prayer, to come on after Kevin Bacon finishes with the word: “INCOMING!” and you should see Oli on the left-hand-side of the screen skanking to Stormzy’s record. It’s a bloody good advert and you will not be disappointed.

Below are the photos I’ve produced of my close friend, Oli Regan.

I am pleased with the way these photographs turned out, but I won’t lie to you, naming each photograph based on the expression and emotion is quite hard, and the photography work I produced when I was at Croydon College is living proof that naming each photo based on the expression and emotion is harder than it looks.

What I will need to improve on is angling the camera when I photograph any subject, so that rather than photograph the subject the way I would usually photograph them, I would need to put the camera up higher, but with the camera angled down a little so that there is little to no head-space on the portrait photographs. These photographs I have produced are really good as they capture the expressions and emotions I wanted Oli to make, but I will be making sure to improve on certain photography-based areas I may or may not be so good

These photographs I have produced are really good as they capture the expressions and emotions I wanted Oli to make, but I will be making sure to improve on certain photography-based areas I may or may not be so good at so that this gives me a better chance next time.

Other than that, I am actually pleased with the overall outcome from these photographs.

These photos will be in my E-Folio so please make sure to check my E-Folio as I will be updating the E-Folio as often as I can.

If you like these photographs I have produced of my close friend, the mental health awareness campaigner and actor, Oli Regan, please leave your comments below. I would love to hear your response and if there are any further improvements I can make for next time, please let me know. I am open to criticism as this will help me to improve the photographs I take for next time.

Alex Smithson

DSLR Used: Nikon D3300

Beddington Park / Croydon School of Art / Curiosity / Self-Directed Project / 1.2.2017

Following on from my visit to Dulwich Park, I decided to visit Beddington Park to photograph some of the scenery, and I also photographed some of the gravestones, given the names on some or most of the gravestones consisted of people who may have died a few years earlier, including those that may have died up to more than 100 years ago.

Of course, as I am continuously making sure to improve my photography skills every time I make a photographic collection, I like to make sure I can play around with my Nikon D3300 DSLR‘s camera features, as this can help me to produce a professional collection of photographs, so I made sure when I was at Beddington Park to try and photograph certain areas in and around the graveyard, especially the scenery and also the church.

It was freezing cold, but wasn’t raining when I took these photographs which was a relief for me, as I was able to produce this photographic collection to a much better standard than I expected, but I did make sure to change the ISO throughout producing this photographic collection as I wanted to make sure these photographs were full of clarity and also full of vibrant colour, so that they were presentable and professional enough to be a photographic collection.

As far as my photography skills go, I am pleased to say I have experimented more with the ISO, as this has helped me to produce this photographic collection of Beddington Park to the best standard where possible. I have acknowledge some of these photographs may be slightly darker than they should be, but it’s because I want for you to see how I’ve worked with the landscape, as well as to how I see Beddington Park generally.

Have you been to Beddington Park before? If you have, please let me know, I would love to hear your feedback, and if you haven’t been to Beddington Park before, don’t worry, as this photographic collection I have created of Beddington Park will give you an insight into what Beddington Park, not to mention the hindsight of the landscape.

Alex Smithson

© The Croydon College Logo & Croydon School of Art Logo are both copyright of Croydon College & Croydon School of Art. Permission has been granted for these logos to be used. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

Dulwich Park / Croydon School of Art / Curiosity / Self-Directed Project / 31.1.2017

Continuing on from my first set of photographs that I took previously at Kelsey Park, I headed to Dulwich Park to photograph the scenery and also some ducks and birds. I saw some Mallards and Parakeets whilst I was there, including some squirrels, though to tell you the truth, some of the squirrels I came across looked bigger than their usual size, so I did make sure to walk very slowly to photograph them and I am pleased with the end result that I have achieved from this photographic collection.

One of the Moor Hens actually came a lot closer than I expected, which was perfect for me as I was able to photograph the Moor Hen with such detail and visual imagery, and because I frequently changed the ISO on my Nikon D3300 DSLR, this allowed me to play about with the light balance, including the saturation of colour and clarity of the photos.

This photographic collection I have documented of Dulwich Park showcases my current knowledge and photography skills, based on the 5 photographers I have researched; Ansel Adams, David Muench, John Shaw, Art Wolfe & Joel Sartore.

I feel that I have managed to produce this nature-based photography collection of Dulwich Park to the best standard where possible, as I have made sure to change the ISO to suit the mood of each photograph, and I have also made sure that my photographs are in full focus and aren’t too overexposed but more or less balanced.

I have deliberately altered the ISO to make some of the photos appear as if they were taken right before the crack of nightfall, because I wanted to explore the concept of nature and its wilderness. Some of the photos I took that were quite dimmed I wanted to try and create my own inspired form of photography based on the BBC TV Programme, Planet Earth, as I remember the camera crew did record video footage using time-lapse but with the camera focusing entirely at the sky with the trees in the distance, which is what I wanted to try and recreate myself but with my own form of nature photography.

I have researched the 5 photographers above as part of my Self-Directed Curiosity Project and I strongly feel that their photography work has informed my creative knowledge including the processes I have developed for this photographic collection of Dulwich Park.

What are your thoughts on this photography collection I have created of Dulwich Park? I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

© The Croydon College Logo & Croydon School of Art Logo are both copyright of Croydon College & Croydon School of Art. Permission has been granted for these logos to be used. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

The Trek to Dungeness: 23.9.2016

On Friday 23rd September 2016, me and my class headed up to Dungeness as part of our course, and considering that the trip was an hour and a half via coach, I can honestly say that Dungeness is actually really peaceful and quiet. Despite the fact that I have heard it is a depressing place, to me, that is a complete understatement, as Dungeness is not a depressing place, even if the huge landscape around it suggests otherwise.

Dungeness is one of the most tranquil landscapes around and is also peaceful, and despite the fact that there is a nuclear plant on site, you can’t miss it even if it’s by a mile. The smell of the sea brings back the memories of childhood, as I forgot what the smell of the sea was like until Friday 23rd September 2016, and the trek to Dungeness couldn’t have come at a perfect time, as it was nice and sunny, the weather was absolutely beautiful and I even got to soak in a bit of the sun.

I can take a lot of good memories away now from this place, as I’ve got a collection of photos here to show you how I documented my trip to Dungeness, and I even ended up with sunburn, but luckily because I had my Apple Watch on, my wrist wasn’t burned at all, though the sunburn made my completely underexposed wrist obvious to see once I took my Apple Watch off when I got home. Usually, sunburn doesn’t go well for me, but I am glad I caught the sun on this trip to Dungeness, as I can say that I enjoyed myself regardless. Believe it or not, I didn’t have enough time to put sun-cream on because I thought it was going to rain on the trip, but luckily the sunburn was only mild as it could have been a lot worse. Still, I loved the trip and I would go back to Dungeness again any day.

We were told the moment we got off the coach that we were not allowed to take photos of the nuclear power plant even from the distance we were standing at, as certain parts of Dungeness are closely policed with restrictions to some areas. On the bright side, however, we were allowed to photograph certain areas of Dungeness, considering that some areas were completely restriction-free for photography.

The huge collection of photographs that I took while on the Trek to Dungeness can all be found below:

iPhone 5 (Standard Camera App & Camera+)

Nikon D3300 DSLR (Some Edited for Better Viewing)

Overall, I can honestly say that I loved every second of the Trek to Dungeness and I would go back there any day. It’s absolutely peaceful down there, and they’ve got a café down there too, plus, they even have their own form of transport down there, as they have train carriages down there that you can get on which will take you to a certain part of Dungeness that you prefer.

Have you been down to Dungeness? Please let me know by submitting your feedback in the comments below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Want to Know How I Create My Photos? Read This.

I love photography as much as lot of you do, considering how fascinating the subject of photography really is, but how have I been able to produce my most recent collection of photographs? Well, I can tell you.

For the photos I’ve taken and published on here, I have taken my photographs most recently below ISO-400 and on ISO-400, and I have found my photographs have improved over the course of time, because I’ve been making sure to take my photos at different exposures, as well as adjusting the light balance before I take my photos.

To get photographs similar to mine, these are the settings that I recommend.

ISO-400 or below.

Exposure Bias: 0, -0.7 or -1

Focal Length: 55 mm or more depending on the camera make and camera lens, for example, Nikon or Canon.

Make sure your metering mode is either of Centre Weighted Average, or of a metering mode that will allow you to take your photos with clarity, as you will want to make sure this helps you when you need to focus your camera’s lens on a particular subject, object or item.

Also, one strong recommendation I will make that will most definitely benefit those of you wanting to take the best quality photos is to set your photo size to the NEF/RAW format, because your photos will be much bigger and will also be full of detail.

If this has helped you out, then please let me know, and if I have missed any important details out that should be here regarding photography, please let me know by submitting your feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

The Truth About Summer? It’s Sweet, Serene, Stunning & Gorgeous!

On Wednesday 6th July, I ceased the opportunity to snap a large number of photos of nature’s bloom for the Summer, as there were a large number of flowers that have blossomed, all thanks to the lovely Summer weather we had on Wednesday.

Below are all of the 80 photographs I took in and around the best areas of my garden, and you may just be surprised that maybe half, if not some of them I have changed the exposure on whilst in Shutter Priority mode on my Nikon D3300 DSLR.

Overall, I am very pleased with the way these photos have turned out and I can’t wait to get out more over the course of the Summer break considering I have the extremely huge bag of free time available.

If you enjoyed my large photo set, including this entire article, then please feel free to submit feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

A Splash of Vividness

On the 1st July, I took the opportunity to get some photos of the raindrops after a downpour of rain, as the calm before the storm came and went, and then the calm after the storm came after the storm passed.

I ceased the opportunity to take these photos, as I wanted to create an updated set of photographs, with inspiration from the photos I took last year for the article: “Raindrops on Crystal Clear Glass“.

Below are the photographs in their natural glory, including a photo of the rainbow as the storm from the 1st July passed.

I feel pleased with the overall result I achieved from these photographs, as I was able to change the exposure to make these photos receive the results that I wanted. I am continuously making improvements to my photography skills so I can promise you that there is more to come. I feel quite pleased with the way these photos turned out, though I will make sure to retain an improved set of photographs for my photography collection next time.

If you enjoyed this photography article, please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

The Natural Roots of June

Almost two weeks ago, I took the opportunity when we had the lovely sunny weather to take some photos out in my garden, and for the first time with my Nikon D3300 DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex), I used the Aperture Priority function on all of the photos, which delivered spectacular results that I didn’t achieve as much as I used to before.

Below are all of the 31 photographs I took on the 5th June 2016:

I have picked 5 of the 31 photos at random to receive the black and white treatment and here they are in their full glory.

If you enjoyed my first proper set of professional nature photographs in Aperture Priority mode, please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Also, as of today, I am officially 18 Years Old 😉🎉🎊🎁🎂🎇🎆👍💯👌!!!!!!!!!!

Mother Nature’s Blooming Flowers

As today’s weather has been absolutely peaceful, relaxing and also tranquil, I was able to cease the opportunity to take some photos of some of the blooming flowers that were in my garden. I have attempted for the first time with my Nikon D3300 with Aperture Priority, as you’ll notice that much of the photos, apart from the first one, are focused more and are balanced better in terms of white balance, exposure and aperture.

Overall, I loved today’s weather and I hope it continues.

If you like the photos I’ve taken above, please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: March 2016

The first few months of this year sure are flying by like clockwork, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the speed of time. I’ve also been a lot more of a busy bee this month, as I’ve managed to publish more articles this month than the amount I’ve published in the last few months, following the end of 2015. Time does go like a flash nowadays, can you believe it?

To kick off this Monthly Roundup, I will take a look back at the articles I’ve published over the course of this month.

1.3.2016 – To kick March off with a bang, I welcomed all of you back to Mother Nature, with this month being set for some possibly nice weather, despite weather reports that suggested that there would be rain and snow. I also mentioned that I would add a widget that would state the times for each and every week that I would publish my articles, so that I could keep to a specific publishing timetable that would suit me best for when it comes to publishing articles on here.

4.3.2016 – As we had relatively mild but refreshing Spring weather in Croydon on this day, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity during my lunch break to get a large number of photos whilst I had the free time available. I took a large range of photographs with the Camera+ app (recommended), and because there was not a single spot of bad weather on this day too, this day was the perfect opportunity for me to get a large range of photos in before my lunch break came to an end.

5.3.2016 – Last year when I was on the UAL Level 2 Diploma Art & Design Course, I took some photos in and around Croydon, but around certain parts of Croydon that I hadn’t photographed before. I must admit, on the 7th May 2015, I went down to Reeves Corner with a student from my class, though I asked the fellow student from my class if they could come with me because I was worried about going down to Croydon on my own, considering that the Nikon D3300 DSLR I use to take my photos with is quite expensive, and that I was worried about it being stolen, given that what happened down that area with the Reeves Furniture Store being burned down during the riots in 2011 had worried me. On this day, I published the small set of photos that I had taken on the 7th May 2015, with Reeves Corner being the featured place I would use in the article’s Featured Image.

7.3.2016 – Life throws at us what we do or don’t like to experience, but it’s being able to accept who you are that really matters. Whether you have anyone around you who chooses to see you differently because of who you are and how you choose to appear, that doesn’t matter, it’s what comes from your heart and who you are that really matters the most. I wrote this article as a way of wanting to inspire you all.

11.3.2016 – Your life is a sensational and remarkable masterpiece. Why? Because it is. Your life is sensational because you have decided to be you and have decided to forget what other people think of you, and you are also a remarkable masterpiece as well, because not only have you decided to be yourself, but you have also proved that you are 10,000 times better than they will ever be. I also wrote this article as I wanted to inspire all of you to believe in yourself and to always be yourself, no matter what.

13.3.2016 – Security is the major key factor that plays its part in the digital world, but at the same time, we are left with the question that we sometimes ask ourselves or other people, and that is: “Are We Really Safe?“. I wrote this article mainly because I wanted to know whether you felt your security in the digital world was safe, considering I had fallen victim to a “malware and virus attack after some viruses and malware got past my security software, which resulted in me having restore problems, until I was advised to create storage media on one of my USB’s using the Media Creation Tool (provided by Microsoft) which actually helped, as I was able to completely wipe my laptop of any viruses, malware and even any other kind of general virus attacks.”

21.3.2016 – From Friday 11th March 2016 to Monday 14th March 2016, I worked on my drawing of the Queen of Pop songstress, Madonna, and this drawing that I worked on was inspired on one of the photos that was taken of Madonna during the Ray of Light era. I can be honest with you all, this was my first proper attempt at drawing someone including their face, considering that a few years ago, I couldn’t draw a face properly unless I used a photo to trace over the original. I published this article as I wanted to showcase to all of you my current drawing skills, given that my drawing skills have advanced in the last few years.

22.3.2016 – Let’s face it, we’ve all had our fair share of bad experiences, whether it would be to do with a fall or whether it would be to do with the consideration of any passenger‘s safety, especially for those who wait at their bus stops to get the next bus that’s due. I wrote this article in light of my recent experience in which a bus driver drove past me and a couple of passengers, even though full indication was given by a fellow passenger for the bus driver to stop at my usual bus stop, which resulted in me having to run to the next bus stop just around the corner, which as you can imagine left me in a seriously foul mood afterwards.

23.3.2016 – As the article had suggested, what was the one true thing that scared you? I outlined that the one true thing that scared me was “death, as I hate the thought ofdying, given that after death, nothing carries on, and not just that, but after death, everything just stops forever.” I did this article as I wanted to know what the one true thing was that genuinely scared you.

24.3.2016 – Back in 2012, I did a piece of creative work in my Art & Design class when I was in Year 9, and I had to create a kind of pop-art piece which would consist of two famous faces, which were of Marshall Mathers (a.k.a. Eminem) and the model, Kate Moss. This of course did require the use of different materials which would help me to produce this piece, but aside that, I also used the Colors! 3D app (available on the Nintendo eShop) to produce some pieces of art work, which does shock me to some extent given how my drawing and design skills were then compared to the drawing and design skills I have now. I also presented some drawings in this article that I created in 2013 and 2014.

25.3.2016 – Equality & Diversity are just two of the main key factors that make up all the societies in this world. Whether it would be to do with a person’s religious background, sexuality or even how someone chooses to look and appear, both key factors should be taken into consideration no matter what society any of us come from. I wrote this article as it’s the kind of subject that is close to my heart, as I always believe that we should be equal and diverse towards one another.

Also on this day, I published another article, but decided to keep the second article short by showing a photo of the lovely weather on this day, as I “wanted to relax a little bit just for a change, considering all of the hard work I’ve been producing for my film and photography course most recently.”

27.3.2016 – I published a moderately tiny article in which I had wished you all a Happy Easter.

29.3.2016 – As I headed down to Charlie’s Rock Shop in Merton on this day, I did notice that the landscape around me was full of tranquility, as everywhere around me was quiet, which was a change considering how busy it can be sometimes, but the landscape around me was peaceful and also refreshing. Despite the fact that the weather couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be sunny or to be pouring down with rain, I decided to get a set of photographs in that I took whilst I was there and while I was on my way back home. I also took some of the photos I selected that were originally in colour and converted a select range of them into black and white.

30.3.2016 – As I kicked my two-week holiday off with a bang, I took the opportunity to draw the Queen of Pop songstress, Madonna, again, but this time in her True Blue era, as I saw that a lot of fans had created pieces of artwork inspired by the True Blue photograph that Herb Ritts took of her back in 1986. This drawing took from the 25th March to the 29th March to complete, and I was absolutely over the moon with the final result that I was able to achieve.

31.3.2016 – I felt absolutely honoured to have been nominated by Brooke (The Utopia Universe) for the Blogger Recognition Award, which is the first award that Mother Nature has received since the start of 2016.

Today, I also paid tribute to the Man of Mighty Humour, Ronnie Corbett, who sadly passed away this morning at the age of 85. He will be greatly missed but will never be forgotten. We will miss you Ronnie Corbett.

To end this month on a really positive, but sad note, I wanted to say thank you so much everyone for making this month a good one, and although we lost Paul Daniels earlier in the month, including hearing the sad news of Ronnie Corbett passing away earlier this morning, I want to say that they shall always be remembered in our hearts forever.

Again, thank you so much for making this month a really good one, and I’ll see you all in April.

Alex Smithson