It's not always easy to appreciate the work that goes into creating an image, so I thought I'd use my 'In the picture' page to illustrate the different techniques and levels of work that go into creating some of my images.
This image of Primark at Monks Cross shopping centre in York is one of my favourite images, but getting it wasn’t simply a case of rocking up with my camera at sunrise and taking a snap.
In fact, it turned out to be much more involved than you would think on first inspection and a lot of work, in total I spent around 8 hours taking and editing this image and I would say that it is because I spent so long on it and the problems I overcame on the way that make it one of my favourites.
 The brief was that the client wanted a shot of the new Primark store at sunrise, with the external lighting on. This in its self didn’t seem a problem, I would just need to be in York on a nice clear morning to get the shot.
What was a problem, however, was that the lights were on an automatic timer and they were switched off between 11pm and 7am and as it was a brand new store there wasn’t anyone available to change the timer.
It was the middle of May, sunrise was about 5am, so I had no chance of getting the shot of the store at sunrise with the lights on in one shot.
The solution was to take a shot of the store illuminated at night and then another at sunrise, then use some Photoshop wizardry to put the two images together. Simple, right?
Well it was simple other than the fact that the two images would have to be taken at the exact same spot and they would have to be taken about seven and a half hours apart. I would have to take the illuminated shots around 10pm and then wait until around 5:30am to get the sunrise shot.
So, I was looking at two options. I could set up my tripod, take the illuminated shot and then hang around for seven and a half hours to get the sunrise shot. Now I would like to think I’m a very patient photographer but this was a bit of a long stretch, even for me.
The other option was to leave, at the very least, my tripod set up in the car park of Monks Cross shopping centre whilst I headed off to the hotel for some Z’s, but I didn’t like the chances of finding it still in place in the morning.
It was watching my kids graffitiing the back of the house with chalk that gave me the inspiration for the solution. The plan was to set up to take the shots of the Primark store with its lights on, then draw chalk circles around the feet of my tripod.
Other chalk brands are available
Doing this meant that I could take my kit with me to the hotel as I went for a quick snooze, then when I came back around 4am I knew exactly where to set my tripod up again, to get the shot of the sun coming up over the building.
                           Magic Circle                                                                                                        Keep it locked
I had to take a few other things into account in order for the two images to marry up nicely. My aperture had to remain the same, as changing this would change the depth of field and the images wouldn’t match. If I changed the point on which I was focusing, this would also change the image and prevent the images from matching up. Finally, if I changed in anyway the setup of the ball head on my tripod I would be pretty much scuppered.
Thankfully I was able to set everything up as before and got this cracking image.


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