About Back..

Brian Watson

A former cardiothoracic anaesthetist in Newcastle upon Tyne, I have renewed my interest in photography in retirement, and combine this with an ongoing struggle with web site design: both are splendidly time-consuming.

My main interest is in making pictures with impact, more often achieved by spectacularly lit subjects than by spectacular subjects. Pictures should be sharp and correctly exposed. Mine aren't always, but it's amazing what you can do…

Contact

☏   +44 (0) 191-285-5531

bgw@brianwatsonphoto.co.uk

Facetime

Leave a comment on my Google Group page

To buy a print...

To order a print, click the "Shopping Cart" button in the top right of the page. Confirming that the correct print is selected, and where your postal address is, takes you to PayPal's secure ordering page, where you can order A4 prints. In some cases clicking will take you to fotomoto's web site, where you can order from a wider range of types and sizes of print.

Very small screens like an iPhone's aren't big enough to show the purchase page, so you won't see the shopping cart icon: try again with a larger screen.

Motor Racing

My large collection of historic motor racing photos from the 1960s and 1970s is very popular, as are my Super8 movies (also on YouTube) from the same period, which have had over half a million views, and are available on DVD.

My rallycross movies from the 1960s were shown at the 2017 Autosport Racing Show on the big screen

Motor racing photographs

PLEASE NOTE: The Motor Racing photographs are here for their historical interest, not for their photographic excellence. Most were taken using High Speed Ektachrome which can show some grain if enlarged too far. The original transparencies have been re-photographed using a high quality macro lens, but some can be soft and grainy by today's standards. Please bear this in mind. If required I can send a sectional enlargement at the same ppi as the final print, to give an idea of the quality.

Publications

The Formula One Opus

Many of my historic motor racing photographs are featured in the new definitive book on F1, the Formula One Opus, whose list of contributors includes Louis Klemantaski. Here it is at the launch in India:

Opus F1 book with my pictures
...showing two of my pictures!

Web Site Design

My web site is featured in About.com's page of "Web Design Inspiration" as an example of "how you can build websites that look good and use professional code."


My motor racing photographs have been published in several other books, and in "The Mini Cooper Register" September 2009 and March 2010:

Cesare de Agostini: Bandini
Paolo d'Alessio, Formula 1 Dereck Lawson
Philip Porter Christian Naviaux

My photograph of Jochen Rindt and Bernie Ecclestone appeared in the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed programme.:

Festival of Speed Rindt, Ecclestone

I have a pathetically small number of academic publications.

Privacy

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Copyright

The photographs and movies on this site were all taken by Dr Brian Watson, except for the 1905 motor racing pictures which are from stereo glass plates owned by Michael Watson. Some of the historic motor racing images are now owned by Jarrotts, and on sale there.

All of these are displayed here by kind permission.

Print sharpness

I use digital cameras which, unlike film cameras, produce extremely smooth, grain-free images. Most are made by stitching several images together to produce detailed, high resolution panoramas which can be printed at large sizes and still appear sharp and smooth.

Most of my panoramas are made from several photographs, to produce high resolution images: a few, cropped from single photographs, are included for their interest. For most panoramas, the pixels dimensions are given: for the size you want, you can calculate the ppi by dividing the pixel width by the width of your print in inches. This is a good way to determine how sharp your print will be: a print resolution of 300ppi appears very sharp even on very close inspection. Printing at more than 300ppi would not produce any improvement.

Even at close distances, the detail in a 240ppi print is very similar to that in a 300ppi print.

Viewing distance

Values of less than 200ppi can still appear sharp at normal viewing distances, but may look softer when viewed closely. If it is important that your print doesn't look at all soft from six inches away, you should get in touch about finding which print size will give you at least 240ppi.

Compression

Images in Galleries are compressed so they download at a reasonable speed. Any artefacts you may see will NOT appear in the final print. They are also reduced in resolution: prints will show much more detail, especially for high-resolution panoramas.

Cropping

Some of the images may need to be cropped slightly to print at a "standard" size, because images displayed in my Galleries have proportions that may differ from "standard" photo sizes such as A4, 11x14 inches, etc. Most of the images in the Galleries are cropped to 1,200 x 900 pixels.

Printers

I use a Canon inkjet printer and Canon ChromaLife100+ inks. An A4 printer limits to 210mm (the width of a sheet of A4 paper) the height of horizontal panoramas that I can print myself. Panoramic prints can be up to 670mm wide and up to 210mm high: for panoramas exceeding these dimensions, I use professional printers. Their machines use lasers to expose conventional photographic paper producing smooth, continuous tone images as long-lasting as traditional prints made from film negatives.

Returns

If your print arrives damaged, I will replace it if you send me an e-mail and return the damaged materials. I do not offer refunds.

Queries?

Please feel free to email me with any questions.

Computational photography

My other interests are in using computational photography, including focus-stacking, exposure optimization, or both, and photo-merging to produce high-resolution pictures, particularly panoramas. These techniques need to be used unobtrusively to be successful.

Focus Stacking

Helicon Focus will take a number of photographs of a subject, each one focused on a slightly different plane, and merge them, using the parts that are sharp and ignoring the rest. The end result is a picture with apparently infinite depth of field. Designed in the first place for photomicroscopy, it has many other uses. I have used it for several pictures.

The advantages of panoramas

Making panoramic prints is one of my main interests. Pictures in my Panoramas Gallery use Zoomify: this breaks down a big picture into many smaller ones, and lets you zoom into the picture by only downloading a small part of the image at a time.

Panoramic pictures can have a far wider field of view than could be produced by a conventional camera lens. Combining several images, even from a compact digital camera, can produce a picture which can rival the resolution of large format film cameras. These stitched images can produce large extremely sharp prints. Large prints from single digital camera images typically lack detail and appear soft. Some of my panoramas have been made successfully from single exposures, but most are made several overlapping photographs to produce a wide (or tall) highly detailed and spectacular picture.

Stitching panoramas

Without stitching software it would be impossible to join up the individual images of a panorama. Perspective would mean that a straight line in one photograph would, in its continuation on an adjacent photograph, not be parallel to the original.

Stitching software

I have found the best to be AutoPano Pro. Control points? Who needs them if the software does it for you perfectly just about every time? Exposing every picture in a panorama identically? AutoPano Pro lets you expose each picture optimally, then blends them while retaining the shadow and highlight detail. Leaning verticals, horizon not straight? Easily corrected!

Gare du Nord
Gare du Nord

Avoiding parallax

You must rotate the camera correctly during a panoramic series, or messy joins are visible and precise merging is impossible. To avoid these parallax effects a panoramic tripod head is essential to rotate the camera about the optical center of the lens between exposures. I use a Nodal Ninja; it is portable, has click stops, and is well made. Max Lyons has written a review of the Nodal Ninja here.

VR panoramas

I use Pano2VR. This takes a 360 x 180 degree panoramas produced by AutoPano Pro, and makes them into QTVR panoramas.

Web site design

My original unique (but no longer used) Gallery design was simple, fast, and worked with any screen resolution: thumbnail images auto-scaled so that all of the thumbnails on a page were always visible without scrolling. There is a tutorial showing how this was done.

The 'mobile-friendly' Gallery design is written with the help of JuiceBox, an excellent professional solution.

Tutorials: Gallery Design

My photographic gallery design for web sites (my own design, no longer used) utilising floating auto-scaling images to fit any screen resolution without scrolling).

Tutorials: Little Planets

I have adapted a common technique for making 'Little Planet' views so that it can be used with selected non-panoramic images. There is a tutorial showing how this is achieved with both types of image. With non-panoramic images this can produce interesting and often unexpected results:

Little Planet
'Little Planet' view of a Red-Hot Poker

Competitions

Numerous competition successes within Newcastle Photographic Society. In addition, the following were while a member:

* 1976/77: 1st Place in Bonsor Colour Slide Competition

* 1980 & 1984: Represented Northern Counties Photographic Federation in Alliance Competition

* 1980/81: Joint 1st place Jessops of Leicester Newcastle 900 Festival

* 1986: Represented Northern Counties Photographic Federation in Colour Slide Competition

* 2011: Semi-finalist, with this photograph in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Passenger
Passenger on Moth

Exhibitions

* 1976, 1977, 1982, 1983 Slides selected for Northern Counties Photographic Federation Portfolio.
Two acceptances for Stockton on Tees International Festival of Colour Photography.

* 2006 Exhibition of framed prints for sale in The Travel Bureau Gosforth

* Two of my QuickTime Virtual Reality panoramas, "Millennium Bridge", and "Swing Bridge" are on BBC Tyne's web site, where there is also a page of my pictures.

Commercial

Three of my QTVR movies were (but no longer are) used to great effect on the Willow Bog Bonsai web site.

* Three of my Lake District movies of views during walks and climbs once appeared in the Lake District Guide.

* My photographs have been used as illustrations in Freeman Hospital's Annual Reports and others.

* My old Super 8 motor racing movies on YouTube have been described as a priceless historical record, and have been viewed over half a million times. They are available on DVD for purchase.

* My old Super 8 motor racing movies are featured on the Vintage Racing League's web site, and many of the sequences from my Targa Florio movie are featured in a film of the history of this famous race.

* My rallycross movies from the 1960s were shown at the 2017 Autosport Racing Show at the NEC in Birmingham on the big screen

* A number of my original 35mm transparencies of motor racing in the '60s and 70s have been purchased by JARROTTS, from whom high quality framed prints may be purchased. They are still displayed here, by kind agreement.

* Many of these photographs are featured in the new definitive book on F1, the Formula One Opus, whose list of contributors includes Louis Klemantaski, and Brian Watson.


Career

After training in medicine and anaesthesia in Newcastle upon Tyne, I worked at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg (the third largest hospital in the world), and Groote Schuur in Cape Town.

Gas man
Hair styles were different...

Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia

Twenty-nine years as a cardiothoracic anaesthetist at Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne were rewarding and satisfying, and led to interests in both programming and the design of treatment protocols, both for the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit.

Intensive Care

I wrote the software for our patient management system:

ITU computer
Not rocket science but it worked, and is still in use (not on an Atari ST!).

This used a computer at the end of each bed and replaced paper charts, ink, Tippex, and calculators, and changed the way we managed patient care. Until recently it was still in daily use, setting records for length of use.

Database programming

Enthusiasm for programming led into (challenging) database programming with FoxPro 2.6, used to monitor activity and outcomes in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit. This was, for a while, a useful management tool.

Thank you!

A big THANK YOU to Lynne who has pointed out my mistakes, and encouraged me to go on, for ages. Without her help my site would not be the way it is now!