Clarendon Dock, Belfast

Recently, when time allows I’ve enjoyed experimenting in a couple of photographic techniques using natural light and creative off-camera flash.

During a recent trip to Clarendon Dock in Belfast, I combined these two techniques with another experiment I’d wanted to try and that was working in an unplanned way and in a location which was new to me,¬† so I was in a position where each image was being created on the spot, and images captured were totally dependant on the surroundings and available light.

It was a very bright and sunny autumnal mid-afternoon which made for extremely challenging photographic¬† conditions. In terms of natural light it was full sun with no clouds in the sky so the light was very hard in nature and contrasy, causing deep shadows and very bright highlights.¬† As for off-camera flash, this technique requires the natural light to be ‘overpowered’ in favour of a flash being the main illumination so again, full sun was far from ideal.

Despite the very bright conditions for photography, we all had a great afternoon and enjoyed the sun. Here’s a few of the images…


Natural light was used here. No flash and no reflectors. I found an aluminium panel in front of one of the office buildings which made for a great contemporary background.

Natural light only again. Here I deliberately kept the light high-key and focused on Debbie in front, allowing Peter to 'blur' in the background. I asked bebbie to look to her right (over Belfast lough) and took the shot with Peter remaining somber in the background.

Natural light again but Lora this time. The sandstone pillar and steel louver doors complete with flaking paint made a great composition for this portrait.

Here I liked the way the row of concrete pillars on the left allowed light and shadow to fall across the paving abd create depth in the image. Lora's wide stance gave this an urban fashion look.

This was an experiment out in the full and hard direct sunlight. Lora was facing almost directly into the sun which is why I asked her to wear her sunglasses as squinting isn't attractive in a portrait. With such an iconic Belfast backdrop who could resist shooting it?

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