Allotments from the Castle in Salobrena, Andalucia in 2013, now redeveloped.

In This Post 

Seeing Light and Shade 

The Phaidon 55 Series of Monographs

Picture Templates 

This is Worrying, Artistically 

Error Code 403 – Forbidden Access

National Trust Booking Rant

Have BT Mobile Hot Spots Stopped Working for You?


Seeing Light and Shade

It seems some photographers intuitively look and see the effect of light within a picture. But, others look and do not see the light. So, how if you are in the second group, can you teach yourself to see and recognise the light?


There is a difference between looking and seeing in photography, we all look at the light and see it every minute of our waking day. However, looking is not the same as seeing and recognising the photographic possibilities before your camera. Indeed, most experienced photographers will tell you they intuitively recognise the photographic moment; it is part of them. Likewise, with recognising the direction and quality of light is intuitive, a second nature response.

What if you need help?

The question is for those who struggle to see the light or the potential of the light. How do we move to a position where you can enhance your ability? Moreover, you are not doing photography in a vacuum; the wheel has already been invented! Therefore, look at the work of other mono photographers who you find particularly inspiring. The truth is I find myself writing and saying this on a very regular basis, you need inspiration like you need oxygen. To be honest, you have to find your sources of inspiration, which photographers work inspires you and makes an emotional connection with you?


The Right Questions

The French philosopher Voltaire suggests it is a good idea to judge a person by the questions they ask not the answers. However, if you are looking at the work of other photographers ask yourself;

  • what is it about the picture that you find attractive and interesting?
  • why does the picture work for you?

If you have access to the photographer, ask them how they see the light, what was going through their mind when they took the picture?

The Phaidon 55 Series of Monographs

I suggest you might like to look at the Phaidon 55 series of inexpensive (£5.95 + postage) photo monographs to broaden your appreciation of the medium. Each volume of 128 pages focuses on an individual master’s life work and its development. It features 55 of their key works presented chronologically with an accessible introduction and critical commentaries. These tell both the photographer’s story and the story of the world that shaped their views.


I have over twenty of the great little books. There is a relatively small number still available through the Phaidon shop. A search for used online books may throw up other editions currently out of print.


All of these photographers have a website dedicated to their work and a page on Wikipedia. Photographers included in the Phaidon 55 Series

Ralph Meatyard, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Ed Van Der Elskin, Lisette Model, Josef Sudek, Wynne Bullock

James Vanderzee, Werner Bischof, Aaron Siskind, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Shomei Tomatsu, Jacob Riis

Joel Meyerowitz, Gustave Le Gray, W Eugene Smith, Nadar, Mary Ellen Mark, Dorothea Lange

Tina Modotti, Willy Ronis, Walker Evans, Eugene Atget, Eadweard Muybridge

“Inspiration is creative oxygen”

Andy Beel FRPS

Late afternoon at the back of Rotterdam Centraal Station. The Netherlands, November 2017

The Benefits of Shadows with or without Detail, are:


  • The perception of depth
  • A sense of mystery by not revealing all the detail
  • Directing attention through the use of contrast and drama
  • Revealing surface form and texture
  • A suggestion of the time of day
Here are a few tips to help you see the potential effect of light more effectively
  • Look at the direction of the lighting source, lighting from the front reduces contrast by not creating shadows on the subject.
  • Lighting from the side will always exaggerate the texture of the surface because shadows are created.
  • Backlighting will create a silhouette effect and can be very effective with a strongly coloured background. 
  • Try taking pictures at night this will provide a great opportunity to see shadows.
  • Take pictures on a sunny f16 day with a bright blue sky and white clouds and expose for the highlights this will create shadows.
  • Shoot in Raw & Jpeg Mono and temporarily turn up the contrast of your reviews.

Paula – Spanish Flamenco dancer teacher – Capileira, Sierra Nevada. The shot with the greater contrast is stronger for me.

Picture Templates

All photographers and artists have a huge problem because we only repeat the picture styles we already know. What is more, a picture template is repeated way of seeing and taking pictures. Additionally, if you were to do a review of your portfolio you would see repeated choices of subject matter, composition and how you see the light.


One of my very well used picture templates is a light subject matter in front of a dark background, this is a scenario that creates contrast. Besides, within the black-and-white medium contrast is an absolute must. Therefore, working with a light subject on a dark background is a way that I like to work.


For more about how to build new Picture Templates follow the link.


All photographers need to be self-motivated; hence, you need to immerse yourself within your photography and be passionate about it. Either way, you will have great difficulty in forming new picture templates if you cannot energise yourself to do the groundwork. In addition to this, there is much pleasure in researching the foundations of photographers who went before you.

This is Worrying, Artistically

Artificial Intelligence that can remove shadows from pictures

For me, this new advance? falls into the same bucket as HDR. There is a technical way to ruin a good picture with mood created by shadows. By allowing some boffin in a white coat to point Machine Learning at it, to suck the soul out of it. It’s horses for courses, some will view this development as the tweak they have been waiting for. Others like me will never use it in a million years. similarly, you pay your money and take’s a choice, based on what you feel is right for you at the time.


All the tactile and sensory benefits of the presence of shadows I noted above are reduced to nothing with this semi-developed artificial intelligence.

Error Code 403 Forbidden Access

My apologies to those of you who have had a problem with access to the website. Unfortunately, part of the problem was, unknown to me my website admin people were doing an update when the last blog post was issued. This effectively meant the page was not there and a 403 error was generated.

I am told by my admin person Mike that all is now fixed. However. if you still have a problem accessing the website please let me know.


National Trust Booking Rant

You may be aware that a booking is required to visit a National Trust property through the web. I am choosing my words carefully because herein lies the problem. Once you are on your chosen location webpage, you are told to book via the What’s-on page.


The issue is finding the What’s-on page. After a long time of searching the NT website, I could not find a What’s-on page. But my first thought was if you want people to visit and give you money to try to make up your loss in revenue, at least give them a chance to book.


Nevertheless, after the frustration of not finding the What’s-on page, I searched for it, however, not with Google I might add.


The National Trust What’s On page address is


Scroll Down

Now Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the link “What’s On Near you”. Finally, from here you can select venues, dates and times.

A simple straight forward and easy process – NOT. This is a prime example of how to get a website WRONG. Or is it just me?

If I was looking for myself, I would have given up long before I found the answer. The only reason I carried on to the bitter end was I am running a Fujifilm Cameras Users Workshop at Dyrham Park on Tues 29 September 2020. To say nothing of, why not come and join us and share the Fuji love?

Have BT Mobile Hot Spots Stopped Working for You?

With the easing of lockdown, I have been out and about a bit and been trying to use the mobile data from BT Hot Spots. After much frustration and cost, I found out the reason why I have not had a mobile data connection.

BT turned off the BT Mobile app on 30th June 2020 and didn’t tell anyone. How’s that for a communication company?

To get a data connection you need the My BT app and have the data enabled. I had the My BT app but the data part was not turned on because it was working before lockdown through the old app.

This very difficult to find BT Community help page below goes through things in more detail.

Well done BT, cracking customer service.