Instagram Takeover of the Ffotogallery Platform

I am currently taking over the Ffotogallery Platform Instagram (15 - 23rd July).  I started my photographic journey eight years ago at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, Wales when I enrolled on two evening courses.  Via Ffotogallery I enrolled on two courses: 'Introduction to Photography: Beginner' and subsequently 'Introduction to Photography: Intermediate'.  I enjoyed both courses immensely and have been taking photos ever since.  I was therefore very excited and honoured to be involved with such a project.  Below is a slide show of the travel images I chose for the project (NB: I will add to the slideshow as the week progresses).

Ffotogallery Platform is an online project created to help emerging photographers and lens-based artists make their work accessible to a wider audience, including industry professionals and peers through Ffotogallery's network, and to help create links within the photographic and artistic community.  Selected participants are offered a one week residency on the Ffotogallery Platform Instagram account (@ffotogalleryplatform).  The Platform launched in January 2018 as part of 40:40 Vision, a year long celebration of events, projects and exhibitions to celebrate Ffotogallery's 40th Birthday.  

The online residency involves uploading between 1 - 4 images a day to the Instagram site belonging to Ffotogallery Platform.  I was asked by the organisers to focus on my street and portrait photography as they believed these would translate well to Instagram.  So far the project has been very useful for me.  It has increased my reach and exposure noticeably on my own Instagram account (@Geraint_Rowland_Photography).  In addition it has given me additional experience in the photo selection and curation process.  This is beneficial for both online presentation and future exhibition considerations.  I hope to carry out further Instagram takeovers in the future.    

More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you would like me to be involved with an Instagram takeover please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

LGBT Pride Parade in Lima 2018

A couple of weekend's ago along with a couple of Peruvian photographers I attended the Pride Peru Parade in the downtown district of Lima.  The event was very interesting, with some great opportunities for some street photography and candid portraits.  Due to the low dull light I found the portraits I took worked better in black and white.  Click through the slide show below to view some of the portraits I took at Lima's Pride March:

Amongst my favourite portraits from the Pride Parade in Lima were: a tender moment from this couple as well as this touching goodbye.  A Transexual applying applying lipstick and a fallen angel walking through the streets of downtown Lima.  There were over 3000 people in attendance at the 2018 LGTB Pride March in Lima with no known problems.

More portraits from the Peruvian Pride event can be found on my websiteInstagram, Flickr and Facebook Page.  If you are interested in collaborating on future projects, or would like to purchase a print, please send me an email: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Geraint Rowland Photography on Flickr

I have had a photography account with Flickr.com for almost ten years now and still use the website on a daily basis.  Although the photo sharing website has been overshadow in recent years by the likes of other photo sharing sites such as Facebook and more recently Instagram I still believe it to be of great use for a photographer.  Click through the slideshow below to view my most viewed photos on Flickr:

Benefits of Using Flickr as a Photographer

1.  Exposure & Reach

My photos on Flickr have been viewed almost 15 million times!  My Flickr stream is viewed between 5,000 - 10,000 times daily and I have had over 80,000 views on my highest viewed day.  My most viewed photo on Flickr, 'Time Alone, Meditation at Machu Picchu' has been viewed over 50,000 times.  I tend to upload one photo a day on average and the newly uploaded photo will be seen over 1000 times in the first 24 hours.  This is far higher than my pages on both Facebook and Instagram.  Obviously I have had my Flickr account for much longer and have built up a good following but that is not the only reason for the higher statistics: 

Flickr is also ranked very well by search engines in particular google.  Therefore photos on a Flickr stream can be found via searche engines and not just by looking on Flickr itself.  Just last week I had an enquiry which turned into the sale of two images from my Flickr account which were found via a google search.  To maximise the chance of your photos being ranked by search engines it is important to enter a description of the image and include relevant key word tags.  In addition it is a good idea to geo tag your images by adding a location as Flickr offers the ability to search via location.  

Finally you can publish your photo using a Creative Commons Licence on Flickr. There are various types of creative commons licence but it basically allows others to share your work so long as they credit you and link back to your Flickr photo.  I used this option a lot in the beginning as it was a good way to get exposure, Flickr allows users to search images only containing these licenses.

2.  Storage

If you use the paid for Pro subscription plan on Flickr you get unlimited storage space.  The cost is around $50 a year for this service which I believe is very good value for money.  As a regular traveller with no fixed residency it is reassuring to know that I have a back up online of my favourite images.  In fact I wish I had uploaded more in the past as have lost or misplaced external hard drives before resulting in losing some precious images and memories!  You can download the full size images from your account at any time so long as your subscription is running.

3.  Portfolio

For several years before I got round to setting up a photography website I used my Flickr account as an online portfolio.  After the redesign a couple of years ago the site now displays your images in an aesthetically pleasing way.  You can also organise your images into different albums which can be sent out as individual links.

4.  Inspiration

There are some amazing photographers using Flickr and it is a great place to look for inspiration and ideas.  A good place to start is the Explore section which features a selection of 500 photos daily.  You can also view images with the most popular tags of the day, week or all time.  The Flickr community is also very friendly and keen to advise.  In my early days I reached out to several photographers for help and advice with regards to photographic techniques and post production.

5.  Friendship

Through Flickr I have made several friendships around the World.  In Lima, Peru I met local photographer Mike Joints who taught me about flash photography and where to find the cheapest local beer.  In London I met the talented street photographer Linda Wisdom for some street shooting techniques.  As well as running fantastic street photography workshops in the city she also sells some of my travel prints via her Etsy shop.  Finally I found the extremely skilled anamorphic photographer Shuji Moriwaki who ended up selling me one of his anamorphic lenses and giving me countless advice on how to use it.

          ~                    ~                    ~                    ~                    ~                    ~                    ~

To conclude I highly recommend the use of Flickr as both a photography portfolio, a back up and a social platform.  I will continue to use it on a regular basis, and hopefully with their recent merger with SmugMug things will only continue to improve in the future.  

My Flickr Profile page can be found here, please take a look and feel free to leave some feedback.  More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagram and Facebook Page.  If you are interested in collaborating on future projects, or would like to purchase a print, please send me an email: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Photojournal - Streets of Havana (Photo Essay for the Sixth Issue of Dezine Magazine)

I recently spent a week photographing the streets of Havana, the Capital of Cuba.  It is an amazing city for photography: full of colourful vintage cars, beautiful people who are full of character, and interesting ramshackle architecture.  This blog was published as a photojournal for the online magazine Dezine.  Click through the slideshow below to view my Cuban travel images from the capital:

Cuba is a country located in the Caribbean, south of the US state of Florida, west of Haiti and north of Jamaica.  Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and has over 11 million inhabitants.  Havana is the capital city and leading commercial centre of Cuba.  Below is a description of the photos in the slideshow above in the order they are seen with links to the individual images on my Flickr account:

1.  Havana is full of colourful old classic cars.  Here one causes a splash after a rainfall in front of an Orthodox Russian Church along the seafront.  

2.  The city of Havana attracts over a million tourists annually, subsequently the entrepreneurial locals have figured out ways to cash in such as posing for photographs with the local cigars.

3.  The streets of Havana are full of energy and life.  Here a taxi driver stops to buy some fresh fruit, while a man on his bicycle sells freshly cut flowers.

4.  You hear music everywhere in Havana, here some street musicians play the classic Cuban song, 'Guantanamera'.

5.  Along with classic cars you will find many other forms of transport in Havana including the Horse & Cart which is used an an alternative form of taxi for the locals.

6.  Evidence of Cuban's communist past still exist throughout Havana.  Here a local poses as Che Guevara for the benefit of the tourists.  

7.  Havana is full of beautiful, colourful, old colonial buildings, many of which have fallen into ruin including these along the seafront.

I have written two previous photography blog posts from my trip to Cuba, the first being, 'Street Portraits in Havana, Cuba', and the second, 'Cuba and Cigars'.  More of my travel photography from Havana can be found on my website, my Facebook and my Flickr account.  This photo journal, 'Streets of Havana' can be viewed in full here in the sixth issue of Dezine magazine.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com

Travel Portrait Photography in The Gambia

Last year I spent two months in Senegal, West Africa.  During that time I travelled south to the Cassamance area staying in Ziguinchor.  From Ziguinchor I travelled north to spend a couple of weeks in The Gambia (or the Islamic Republic of The Gambia as it is officially known).  I spent a couple of weeks living in the Serekunda area some 11 km's west of Banjul, the capital of The Gambia.  Click through the slideshow below to view some of the travel portraits I took whilst I was there:  

Travel Portraits in The Gambia

I wrote a previous blog titled, 'Black and White Portraits in the Gambia' of some portraits I took outside of a friend's traditional Gambian home.  This blog contains some of those photos in colour which adds another element to the images especially the first one with the colourful textiles.  The image of the boy in the mud/sand was taken on the shore at the fishing village in Tanji.

All of the above travel portraits were taken with a Canon 5D2 and a 50mm 1.4 prime lens using natural light only.  Some of the images were taken candidly whilst others were posed.  

The Gambia, officially the Republic of The Gambia, is a country in West Africa that is completely surrounded by Senegal except for it's coastline on the Atlantic Ocean.  Despite a third of Gambians living under the poverty line, the people there are extremely friendly and welcoming.  In fact The Gambia is often referred to as the 'Smiling Coast of West Africa'.  I would love to return to the country and travel down the river.

More of my travel photography from West Africa can be found on my website, my Facebook and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

Street Photography in Dakar, Senegal

Last summer I spent a couple of months in Senegal, with the majority of time being spent in the capital Dakar.  It was my second trip to West Africa, my first being seven years previous when I drove from Morocco to Bamako in Mali via the Western Sahara and Mauritania.  Senegal is a great place for street and documentary style photography.  With the population of the Dakar metropolitan area estimated at 2.45 million there is plenty of colourful people to document on the streets.  Click through the slideshow below for some street photos taken in Dakar:

The above street photographs were taken in various locations in and around Dakar, the capital of Senegal.  Dakar is a bustling Atlantic port on the Cap-Vert peninsula, it's traditional Médina quarter is home to the Grande Mosquée, marked by a towering minaret.  The centre has a large number of bustling markets where you can buy pretty much everything.

Other areas of interest include: Le Monument de la Renaissance Africaine which attracts a lot of tourists and locals daily to view this huge controversial monument which overlooks the ocean. Ngor Island, home to one of the best waves in West Africa which was first shown to the world in the first Endless Summer movie.  Another great spot for social & travel photographs is Yoff Beach directly north of the city centre.  

Dakar has a growing photography community with regular street photography events occurring throughout the City.  Some beautiful street, travel and portrait photographs can be found on the Instagram page, 'Senegal Photography'.  The colourful, wide angle street photography of Boubacar Touré Mandémory is beautiful and well worth a look.  

All of my street photographs from Dakar were taken using a Canon 5D Mark 2 and a canon 50mm 1.4 lens.  More of my travel photography from Senegal can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Street Photography Tours in Barcelona

Last summer I spent several months living in Barcelona, Spain, it is a fantastic place for street photography.  Being a small city it is easily explored on foot yet offers a lot of variety for street photographers and photography in general.  With it's beautiful buildings, pretty gothic streets and long white sandy beach the city attracts more than thirty million tourists a year.  That means there are always plenty of opportunities for street photographers in the City.  Click through the slide show below to view some of the street photos I captured whilst in Barcelona:

The different areas of Barcelona offer a multitude of opportunities for street photography.  In Poble-Sec you can find street art, and skateboarders.  The multi cultural area of Raval is a street photographers dream with activity occurring throughout the day and night.  In the Raval area you also have MACBA (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art) which is one of the most famous skate spots in the world.  The pretty winding streets of el Born and the Gothic Quarter can offer some beautiful lighting conditions, perfect for photography.  There are also several squares throughout Barcelona which offer a wealth of photographic potential with their street performers, hustlers and shady characters.  The beach front area can also offer some interesting street photography and the small village of Barceloneta holds regular festivals during the summer. Further afield you have Bunkers del Carmel which offers some fantastic views over Barcelona.  

Regular events throughout the summer offer further photographic options such as the Catalan tradition of human castles.  A castell (Catalan pronunciation: [kəsˈteʎ]) is a human tower built traditionally in festivals at many locations within Catalonia.  In addition, Barcelona has become a major destination for Hen and Stag parties which can produce some bizarre street images and some amusing street portraits.  

If you are interested in a street photography tour of Barcelona please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  Your level of photographic experience is not important, you just need a camera or smart phone and I will take care of the rest.  More of my travel photography from Spain can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account.

Portrait Photography using an Anamorphic Lens

I have written a previous blog about anamorphic photography and my experiences using an anamorphic lens with a DSLR camera.  Upon recently viewing my website statistics I discovered that a large volume of traffic to my website was due to the above blog titled, 'Anamorphic Photography by Geraint Rowland'.  I therefore decided to write an additional blog focussing on my experiences of using an anamorphic lens to take portrait photos.  Click through the slide show below to view some of my anamorphic portrait examples:

The interest in both my blog on anamorphic photography and my page on anamorphic photos themselves was a surprise to begin with.  Search terms most often used on google to find this blog included: 'anamorphic photography', 'geraint rowland', 'anamorphic lens for photography', 'anamorphic photo', and 'anamorphic dslr'.  

Why take Anamorphic Portraits?

However, in today's image saturated world of social media including Instagram & Facebook many photographers are looking for alternative ways to take photos.  This is especially true with portrait photography with photographers experimenting with different lighting techniques as well as lenses, and the shoot locations themselves.  With so many good photographers in the World today, anamorphic photography can offer an alternative way to take images that can not be replicated post production.  

There is something very unique about a photo taken with an anamorphic lens.  The images have a very particular cinematic quality with a shallow depth of field yet on a wide shot.  The lenses also bend the light in a particular way that can not be replicated due to their oval shape inside. And then there are the unusual horizontal flares that are produced that are often seen in movies especially science fiction.  The amount of flare you can achieve depends on what primary lens you are using, the new advanced lenses are built in a way that tries to prevent any kind of flare from occurring.  

I haven't used my anamorphic lens for several years as it can be a bit of a fiddle both using the lens and then again in post production.  However, with patience and some practice it can produce some excellent and original looking portraits that will stand out from the crowd.  All of the anamorphic photos above were taken with a Canon 5D2 and a Canon 85mm 1.8 lens with a red isco Schneider ultra star HD x1.75 anamorphic lens.

More examples of my anamorphic photography and portrait photography can be found on my website or on my Flickr account.  Or you can view my Instagram account here, I appreciate any follows and comments!  If you are interested in purchasing any of my anamorphic prints or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

Sunsets of Senegal by Geraint Rowland Photography

Last year I spent a couple of months in Senegal where I experienced some beautiful sunsets.  I spent the majority of the time in the capital city of Dakar, but also traveled to Lompoul in the north of the country and Zinguinchor in the southern region.  Along with capturing a lot of travel and street photography style shots I also captured some stunning sunsets especially at Yoff beach close to the Airport in Dakar.  Click through the slide show below to view some sunsets from Senegal:

Senegal, like the rest of West Africa I have visited is fantastic for photography.  With so many people around there is always something interesting and or unusual to capture.  Whilst I was in Dakar they were celebrating the Tabaski Festival.  Tabaski is based on Islamic beliefs and culminates with each family sacrificing a sheep and then eating it.  There are sheep everywhere in Dakar, tied up on the roadsides, being washed in the Ocean or being sold at markets.  Here is a previous blog I wrote on the fascinating beach area of Yoff in Dakar.

In Lompoul in the north there are beautiful remote beaches, interesting fishing towns and a small desert with orange sand dunes where you can camp and take camel rides.  To the south lies Ziguinchor, the second largest city of Senegal lying at the mouth of the Casamance river and largely separated from the rest of the country by The Gambia.

Throughout the country I witnessed some beautiful sunsets.  Sunsets always seem to be amongst my most liked photos.  I think there is something instantly enjoyable about an image of the setting sun, it is something that everyone can relate to.  I especially like sunset images that contain an additional element, be it a person or an animal.  My favourite sunset image I capture in Senegal was of a fisherman feeding his two pet Pelicans at Yoff beach.  I love the composition, the lighting and the added comic nature of these peculiar birds.  Whilst in Senegal was travelling without a tripod so had to rely on taking hand held shots or creating abstract images when I ran out of light.  Here is a blog I wrote with some tips about taking sunset photos.

More of my travel photography from Senegal can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Photo Shoots & Street Art in Lima

I have recently been doing some photo shoots in the Miraflores and Barranco districts of Lima, Peru.  If you are interested in a photo shoot send me an email or contact me via social media.  For part of this session with the Venezuelan Violinist Nataly Suito, I took some photos against the backdrop of some new street art in the Miraflores area.  The colourful art has been painted outside the new Wahios Miraflores Bar on Calle Berlin.  Click through the slide show below to view some of the photo shoot:

In the past I carried out some lifestyle type photo shoots for the clothing brand Sundried when it was first starting out.  I still prefer candid photography including travel and street photography.  However, this type of photography can be fun and challenging, offering new skills to learn as a photographer.  I love street art, graffiti and art in general so combining the two seems very natural.  The artwork is very colourful and includes excellent pieces of Einstein and the Mona Lisa.

The addition of the musical instrument as a prop added another element to the photos especially when using a wide angle lens.  For the images above I used a Canon 5D IV and the excellent Canon EF 16 - 35mm lens.

More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in collaborating on future projects, or would like to purchase a print, please send me an email: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.