Blog posts

Featured Image – Ballet in natural light

Presidents Scholar Carmen Martin Alonso poses for a photoshoot in the student union activity space for the Annual Fundraising Report.

Sometimes there is more light than you think.

This image was shot on a dark afternoon in January, yet I have turned the lights off making the room even gloomier, so why does the picture look bright and fresh?

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

The original image along with the others from this set are on the image library here.

I turned the lights off so that I could balance for the one colour of the ambient light through the windows, if I had left on the fluorescent lights the mood would be ruined by an orange colour cast on the skin of Carmen making the image look ‘muddy’, the wood is also bouncing back orange light, and we have enough orange already.
It reality however it is quite dark in the room, despite it being one of the rarer duel aspects at Imperial.

To compensate and make the image brighter than the gloomy room was in reality, I have used a very wide aperture on a prime lens, along with a high iso. This allows in much more light, but at the cost of a very shallow depth of field, and a tiny bit of grain in the image.

The lens I have used here, a 1.4 35mm prime has a very milky vignetted feel wide open, which is why I have chosen it, as that was the dreamy look that I wanted, and the width to show the environment and the window, a wider lens also gives you a slightly greater depth of field at a wide aperture, which I wanted here for context and to keep the texture of the beautiful floor.

Despite the low light this is a hand held shot as Carmen is moving around and I wanted to move with her. I have allowed enough shutter speed for that, probably slightly more than I needed at 200th of a second. (for most people a 35mm can be handheld down to around a 60th of a second or lower without blur if subject and camera are still)

The image appeared in the Annual Fundrasing Report here, Carmen also featured in the Imperial Heroes social media campaign and exhibition, and her hero image will be exhibited again at this year’s festival.

Do you know you have free access to Lynda courses with your college login?

Here is a video tutorial on low light photography which covers high iso, wide aperture and colour balance on Lynda.com.

Image of the Week – Graduation Fisheye

Professor Alice P. Gast shakes the hand of a Medicine Graduate on the stage at the Royal Albert Hall, while a spectator in a Niqab watches on from the left of the picture.

It’s quite challenging to come up with new angles on this very well covered event…

A fisheye lens has been used here to force an impossible perspective bringing all the elements of the spectator in the box, the grand hall, and the stage together.
The distortion also creates some wonderfully organic flowing ‘leading lines’ in the image, making it very easy for the viewer to be guided as intended.

Professor Alice P. Gast shakes the hand of a Medicine Graduate on the stage at the Royal Albert Hall, while a spectator in a Niqab watches on from the left of the picture. Image copyright Thomas Angus / Imperial College LondonImage © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

The original image along with the others from this set, are on the image library here.

What is a ‘leading line’?

Do you know you have free access to Lynda courses with your college login?

Here is a short video exploring ‘leading lines’ in photography on Lynda.com.

Image of the Week – Faculty shadow corridow

Simon Levey from the Grantham institute takes a phone call while walking along a corridor of light outside the Faculty building.

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

The Imperial Campus is constantly alive with changing reflections and shadows with so many small gaps between closely packed buildings, many with reflective surfaces, some which only occur at specific times of the year and only for a few minutes a day, the light corridor in this image was closed less than 5 minutes after this image was taken…

This image also happens to be a text book example of leading lines, with almost all of the key lines in the image pointing to one thing, the subject. Simon is effectively bang in the middle of 4 giant arrows, and that’s where our eyes will go. This frame was shot loose to make the most of the fluid sea of temporary seasonal reflections on the floor, which could also be useful for copy space or shape cropping in any abstract editorial usage.

The original image along with the others from this set are on the image library here.

What is a ‘leading line’?

Do you know you have free access to Lynda courses with your college login?

Here is a short video exploring ‘leading lines’ in photography on Lynda.com.

Image of the Week – Geology and the rule of thirds

An undergraduate Geologist makes field notes on an Earth Science and Engineering field trip to the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.

When Geology and Geometry combine, it’s an image…

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

The cloud over head, the sun and the clear blue sky give a clue to the bizarre day this was, it was hot, clear, cloudy, cold, windy, raining and hailing all in the same morning. But active colourful and contrasty skies make for great images.

There’s a few things going on here to make the image work, first of all the eye will always lurch first to any red in an image (and yellows to a certain degree), classical painters used this to great effect to guide the eye, as do contemporary advertisers. This undergraduates hat is just the right portion of red, perfect, the eye knows where to look.

The hat is also positioned almost exactly on the top third intersection according to the rule of thirds, plus we also have physical leading lines to the same location, it’s almost impossible to look around the image without first looking at the student taking notes.

A wider shot from the morning with Imperial students taking over the bay.

The original image along with the others from this set are on the image library here.

What is the ‘Rule of Thirds’?

Do you know you have free access to Lynda courses with your college login?

Here is a short video exploring ‘the rule of thirds’ in photography on Lynda.com.

Featured Image – High Above Queens Tower

Some images get more usage than others, and this set from a secret location high above the Campus  have certainly seen some action.

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

For a long time I had wanted to get into this location to get this series of shots, so once I had access I was up there like a ferret up a drainpipe. The resulting images have been used extensively, from your  login page on any machine on campus, the cover of the image library, Prospectus cover, Graduation Programme cover, the list goes on…

So what does it look like up here? (notice the absolutely safe tripod arrangement to hold the camera tantalisingly out of the window)

I’ve used a very small aperture for these images to give me a meaty depth of field for front to back focus, this does make for longer exposure times hence the tripod, the night shot for example is a 5 second exposure.

The small aperture also means the light coming through the aperture blades is very sharp causing visible stars in the lamps on the image, for example the red lights on the horizon and the lights on the roof in the foreground, the stars in your image will have more or less spikes depending on how many aperture blades there are in your lens. Using a shallower depth of field would mean these would slowly become more rounded as the blur or “bokeh” increases.

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

The Panorama shot that appears on the Image library homepage, shown below, which was also on display on a 2 metre print at the Heroes exhibition, is shot slightly differently. This is a stitched composite image of a series of photographs and the original is massive.

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

An image from the same location but in the summer as used on the College login pages.

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

These images have also turned up on our print collatoral.

The original image along with the others from this set are on the image library here.

How to shoot in the dark?

Do you know you have free access to Lynda courses with your college login?

Here is a short video exploring shooting at night and in low light on Lynda.com.

Image of the Week – Pietro Spanu

Pietro Spanu, teaching second year students of Applied Molecular Biology in Biological Sciences.

Pietro’s teaching methods are quite unique and have earned him many plaudits teaching up to 140 students at a time. This image is deep in students from foreground to background portraying a real buzz of activity, but the focus is still very much on the enigmatic Pietro in action, thanks to a very shallow depth of field.

Pietro Spanu, teaching second year students of Applied Molecular Biology in Biological Sciences. By Thomas AngusImage © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

The original image along with the others from this set, are on the image library here.

What is a ‘depth of field’?

Do you know you have free access to Lynda courses with your college login?

Here is a short video on photography fundamentals explaining ‘aperture’ and ‘depth of field’ on Lynda.com

The Imperial Heroes Project

The Imperial Heroes project, (originally titled ‘outside in’) was conceived back in 2016.

I am constantly surprised during my travels around the campuses, by not only what is achieved within the walls of Imperial, but what the students (and staff) also manage to achieve outside of them. I wanted to put those world’s together photographically for a project, whilst also showcasing some of the Colleges more striking locations. These original Heroes were featured in an exhibition in the Blythe Gallery in June 2017 at their intended size of 1 metre high prints.

This is an ongoing project, and I welcome all suggestions for future subjects.

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

Racine Tanguy
Fourth year, MSci Geology
Caving, international expeditions
Photographed in the Cores Laboratory underneath Earth Science and Engineering
“It was never an epiphany for me that I was going to study science, but rather a slow realisation that I really liked science subjects. I particularly enjoy geology, as this fits really well with my ‘outdoors’ predisposition. During my degree I have been able to visit European countries for both geological field trips and caving trips in equal measure. Princes’ Gardens, just opposite Ethos gym, has strong sentimental value to me. This is where I’ve trained would-be speleologists (cave explorers), teaching vertical caving techniques and how to use the ropes safely, and where I’ve met caving novices who’ve become really good friends. I really like baking in my spare time, so once I spent a couple of days baking hundreds of oat biscuits just before our annual summer expedition. It was really fun to dig into the stash of biscuits on the top of a mountain − more than a 1000km from where they were made!”

 

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

Melissa Lee
Third year, MEng Chemical Engineering
Pole Fitness, competing at a National level for Imperial College London
Photographed at Imperial’s Carbon Capture Plant
“During my childhood I was a gymnast. When I saw the pole fitness performances at my fresher’s fair I saw a parallel between the two sports – both requiring immense strength, grace, stamina and flexibility. I was captivated by the beauty of the pole fitness and signed up on the spot. I now teach weekly classes for Imperial’s Pole and Ariel Society, and can train up to 12 hours a week in the lead up to a competition. Recently, I placed 2nd in the Inter-University Pole Dance Competition – out of over 50 universities across the Great Britain. I am inspired daily by my friends at ICU Pole and Aerial. Whilst we are all pole dancers, we are also aerospace engineers, materials scientists, and mathematicians. Seeing them succeed both in their degree specialisations and in sport is a great motivator that you really can have the best of both worlds.”

 

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

Dave Henson
PhD in Prosthetics Research
Athletics, competing at an International level at the Paralympics
Photographed in the Royal British Legion Centre for Blast Injury Studies
“Finding ways to make things better for Blast victims past, present and future is one of my key drivers. I’ve always been interested in engineering. It’s problem solving at its finest and that’s what I love about my PhD − I’m constantly outside of my comfort zone, learning every day. As for sport, I originally used it to complement my rehabilitation, but then I became good at it! I am now a funded athlete on the UK Sport World Class Performance Programme, have competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, and have captained the British Armed Forces team at the Invictus Games. I love the challenge and discipline that training requires, but equally, the thrill of competition in the summer season is a massive draw. The balance has been tough, particularly with both a PhD and full-time athletics having such heavy time requirements. But by maintaining discipline, and planning my time properly, it has become manageable. I’m constantly inspired by the people I went through rehab with − what they’re doing and how they’re achieving really pushes me to be the best I can be.”

 

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

Carmen Martin Alonso
Third Year, MEng Biomedical Engineering
Ballet, competing at a National level for Imperial College London
Photographed in the Beit Hall of the Students’ Union.
“It’s important to me to become a well-rounded individual. I have always enjoyed dancing and have been practising ballet since the age of seven – it was something that always felt natural to me. Thanks to my President’s Scholarship, I am able to attend weekly lessons at the English National Ballet. My ballet lessons provide a break from hectic student life, which I feel enhances my academic performance. As a Biomedical Engineer, I enjoy the year-long projects that allow us to connect to the real world to tackle the problems of today. Last year the construction of a throwing frame for the Paralympic athlete Ellie Simpson was a real success! Alongside my ballet training and degree, I am also learning Greek, and have been awarded the IROP bursary from MIT-Imperial, for an exchange research programme at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston next Summer.”
>>More from Carmen’s shoot here

 

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

Liem Bui-Le
First year, PhD Chemical Engineering
Olympic weightlifter, competing at international level for Great Britain.
Photographed in Chemical Engineering, South Kensington Campus
“I began weightlifting to improve my strength and conditioning for karate, but I picked it up quickly and enjoyed being able to measure my progress, so I changed sports. I’ve been competing for six years now. I try to train with people better than me, as it’s motivating and helps me see ways of improving my technique. Often major competitions have fallen in the summer, when I’ve had exams or project deadlines, but stressing and rushing my training could result in an injury, so I focus on maintaining my strength and prioritising my university work. Where are you most likely to find me on campus? Probably the Chemical Engineering kitchen, preparing one of the meals that helps me maintain my 5,000 calorie-a-day diet.”

 

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

Alexandra van Randwyck
MSc Petroleum Geoscience
Equestrian (Eventing), competes internationally
“What I love about my degree is the wide variety that it covers, from volcanoes to fossils to ancient river systems. The biggest challenge is that my course is full time 9–5, and my horse lives 1.5 hours from London. Luckily this year we have Wednesday afternoons off which allows me to get back and ride. I started riding when I was 10 at a local riding school, where I helped out at weekends and holidays for two years before managing to persuade my parents to buy me a pony! I now compete internationally on the Dutch Student Riding Squad, and was selected for the World University Championships in 2016, where I finished 4th in the show jumping. Something that might surprise people? I have passed my HGV test and at weekends drive a 7.5ton truck!”

 

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

Karl Zimmerman
PhD Clinical Medicine, staff researcher
Ice Hockey, competes nationally for Imperial College London and with a local team
Photographed in the MRI room of the Clinical Imaging Facility
“I love that I can investigate and push the boundaries of our neuroscience knowledge, whilst seeing first-hand how our research can improve the quality of life for individuals who’ve experienced a brain injury. One of the biggest challenges is the late night commitments required by my sport. Ice hockey is normally played late in the evenings due to public skating and figure skating taking up the earlier time slots at ice rinks. This means that training can start as late as 11pm, and finish in the early hours of the morning when trains aren’t always running. Mornings the next day are hard work – coffee is necessary! This season has been pretty special; I was part of the university team who won a division title at a national competition, which was followed by winning the playoffs with my local team. I also trained with my national team, before winning the London Ice Varsity for the 3rd time in front of 650 people − including my family who just happened to be around!”

 

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

Francesca Cavallo
Third year MEng Electrical and Electronics Engineering
Fencing, competing at a National level
Photographed in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Undergraduate Lab
“I am part of women’s first team at Imperial, and I occasionally participate in competitions on the British circuit. Fencing is a sport that requires lots of thinking, which can be hard after a whole day spent on books. It is also very time consuming, as we are often required to travel around the country for matches and competitions. Being at Imperial, it is quite hard to keep a high standard in your sport because university takes all your energy and time. Therefore, I try to make the most of every training session I attend, even if sometimes it is only once a week. Probably my proudest moment as a sportsperson was getting individual bronze at BUCS in my first year at Imperial. I had just started fencing again after four years, and I managed to achieve such a good result with a few months of hard work; I really proved to myself that with training and confidence I can achieve a lot.”

The original images along with the others from this set are on the image library here.

Enjoy Photography?

Do you know you have free access to Lynda courses with your college login?

Here is an  ‘Introduction to Photography’ video on Lynda.com.

Image of the week – Serene Bungee

A student at RAG week Bungee jumps on campus next to the Queens Tower while serenely smiling at the camera, this is not a doctored image, she is actually flying toward the earth.

Let the action come to you…

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

We wanted some images for a story around the RAG week activities, as part of that I went down to ask people in the queue if they would mind me shooting them on the way down, I prompted them with a few things that might make the image more interested such as ‘have your arms out’ and ‘I’ll be over here’, I also borrowed the RAG branded sweater off one of the other volunteers to brand the image. Then just lay down under the path of the Bungee with a 70-200mm zoom, focus tracking like a madman, while waiting for someone to deliver a great expression.
The shot was framed with the intention of the College homepage, where it could be cropped to a super wide image with the action to one side.

The juxtaposition of the calm relaxed expression and the violent activity make this image. (not unlike being at Imperial) I’d like to see the video of this from the other side as I can see a Go-Pro camera attached to the student’s leg in the image.

Here’s the view from the top…

Image © Thomas Angus / Imperial College London  [Click Image to expand]

The original image along with the others from this set are on the image library here.

Enjoy Photography?

Do you know you have free access to Lynda courses with your college login?

Here is an  ‘Introduction to Photography’ video on Lynda.com.