Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Another trip to Sable Island


Just wanted to let you know that on 12th December I am going into the field (Sable Island) until the end of January. So, obviously, I will not be posting until February. Hope to come back with another library of photos.

Last year when I went to Sable I felt some pressure to make sure I got some good images to sell. The result was that I would shoot about 100 photos a day. I still have not gone through all of those images. This time, with the training I have done this year, I hope to take more time to get good images without shooting lots.

Sometimes, when I see something really wonderful like beautiful light and some interesting animal behaviour or whatever, I get really excited and at the same time I become stressed because I am afraid that I will miss these sights. It makes onself aggressive, desperately trying to capture those moments on film. I think it is best to avoid falling into that mode; if you miss the moment then you should enjoy it in memory. There will be many more moments like that. Watch it and then let it go. If you are ready to capture it, then you should take the time to make sure you understand exactly what it is that is making you feel so excited; the light, subject, movement. Look at it and compose it in your mind. Once composed, it takes a second to shoot it.


Thursday, November 23, 2006


Dear All

If any of you are up for this, I would like to see all your interpretations on the theme “self portrait”. This can be anything at all, from a straight shot to a heavily-manipulated digital image. 2 entries per person, more if you are feeling really creative. No grading or marking, just honest critique from the others. Submit a rationale and what you intended with each shot, and a rundown of the technical PS changes made and why.

No deadline, just interested to see what we create.

Ideas for other “Assignments” welcomed – I still like the “one image, three interpretations” assignment…anyone have a picture to submit for that?




Wednesday, November 22, 2006

You wait for months and 3 come along at once...

Hi Ivan, Damian & Gareth,

Hope all are very well. Can't believe it has been about a year!

I don't want to post shots here that I have already put on the Dubai Daily Photo blog, however I'm interested in your opinions in a couple of recent shots. And yes, one of them features a bloke on a camel...

A beat up car in the middle of a deserted wadi. This caught my eye with the sun dropping behind the cliffs.

The obligatory bloke on a camel shot - have I improved with the crop and the composition? Interested in comments on this one...

A panorama of the Burj Al Arab in the tourist shot category.

Honestly guys - I will try to post more, but 1 photo a day is a challenge!

Would love any thoughts.

Cheers and best to all,

G - Bluey.

We are (nearly) one year old

On 25th November, we'll be one year old.

We have expanded 100%, from initially 2 members to 4! Pretty impressive stuff. We've had loads of posts, discussion, disagreements and piss-taking, but all done with good humour and I think we have all learned something...

Let's hope we can get back into it, and make 2007 a great blogging year for Critical Light.



PS this is our first post

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Launch of my photography website (finally)

In the end, I got tired of trying to find time/energy/enthusiasm for writing my own site. So I opted for convenience and, for £40 (£35 annual subscription, £5 up front 2 year payment for domain name), I have gone down the web template route with a purchased domain name. Also, Damian finally niggled me into doing something about this recently – thanks Damo!

Anyway, have a look – you’ll have seen most of the pictures before, but there are some new ones on there. I can  upgrade to larger space/greater features if needed.

The provider I have can also integrate to Paypal, so you never know…

I have, rather grandiosely, called it:




Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Photography and the Art of Seeing

Below is a short section from a book written by a well known photographer, Freeman Patterson. It describes 'seeing' with the eye by letting oneself go. A Miksang friend of mine sent it to me after reading my writings about Miksang on this blog. It helps to describe what Miksang attempts to do. I won't go into it any further, but please read on if you are interested. Damian

Photography and the Art of Seeing

by Freeman Patterson

"On those frosty mornings when I grab my camera and tripod, and head out into the meadow behind my house, I quickly forget about me. I stop thinking about what I'll do with the photographs, or about self-fulfillment, and lose myself in the sheer magic of rainbows in the grass; in the multicolored prisms of back-lighted crystals. I am lost in a world of glittering lights and dancing colors. I experience myself in what I see, and the result is a tremendous exuberance which helps me make the best use of my camera, and which lasts long after the frost has melted."

"Letting go of self is an essential precondition to real seeing. When you let go of yourself, you abandon any preconceptions about the subject matter that might cramp you into photographing in a certain, predetermined way. As long as you are worried about whether or not you will be able to make good pictures, or are concerned about enjoying yourself, you are unlikely either to make the best photographs you can or to experience the joy of photography to the fullest. But when you let go, new conceptions arise from your direct experience of the subject matter, and new ideas and feelings will guide you as you make pictures."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Removing Halos from Sharpened Images

Not sure I follow this on first reading, but I think it looks useful, so I have posted the link to enable me (and any of you) to have a browse and use to remove sharpening halos from your own photos.

Hope it’s useful and understandable



Friday, November 03, 2006

A few pics to end the week...

Well, after all the furore caused by Miksang, this week has been the quietest for a while. Hope the "lively debate" didn't scare anyone off...

Anyhoo, to kick-start things again, I have posted a couple of images to get some discussion going. I'm not even going to hope that these can be seen large-ed up - I have no clue why my posts don't enlarge on clicking, but if anyone else wishes to try an experient, I'll email you the same file and you can post it to see what happens...until then, enjoy in minature.

Sunset in Kejimikujik (Ked-gee-ma-koo-jick) National Park, NS, Canada

This was taken April 2005, while Kate and I were on holiday with Damian and Sue. We spent a couple of days canoeing around the lake and islands, and spent 2 nights camping on our own private island.

It was bloody freezing, although mostly sunny. We had a bit of rain on the 2nd night and found that our tent was not waterproof. Damian and Sue gave us theirs, to allow us soft "City Slickers" to remain dry and comfortable. Going to the loo in the night was like something out of "The Blair Witch Project", but we all survived. I had a bit of a "moment" while we crossed from the mainland to the relative shelter of one of the islands. See, where I'm from (Britain), we can usually see over to the other side of most lakes. This one was frickin huge, and had a sea-like swell on it. V scary. Almost didn't go over, but there was a slight lull in the swell, and we all dashed over, Kate with Sue and me with Damo, for "safety" reasons. Glad we did - we had a great time and I was able to capture this beautiful sunset on the first evening.

St. Margaret's Headland, Kent, UK

And now for something totally different. Grey skies and a photographic challenge of a different sort.

Taken on my birthday, around 6.30 am, February 2004, this image of St. Margaret's Headland in Kent tries to bring out the essence of Britain's coast in the Winter months.

I tried to compose to use the curve of the rocks to lead into the chalk of the cliffside, and was lucky that there was a relatively interesting sky behind. The low light, and my desire for a good DoF, meant that I had to use a tripod to get a sharp image. The resultant 2 second exposure has just nicely blurred the water in the foreground, giving an unplanned, but very nice, effect to the otherwise uninteresting grey sea. The white rock may be a little distracting, taking the eye somewhat away from the interesting rock and seaweed detail on the foreground rocks. This was pre D-SLR days, and my Nikon Coolpix 5400 compact - as is the way with compacts - intrinsically has a greater DoF at a given aperture, so it was easier to get front-to- back sharpness. I think this is a result of the distance from lens to sensor meaning that f8 on a compact is more like f22 on a D-SLR, but the DoF is greater...I read it somewhere, can't remember exactly.

Anyway, comments/questions welcomed as ever.

Have a good weekend all.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Miksang-ed out

Hi all,

After some thought, when I really should be working, I have come to a decision. I have tried to portray a different style of photography that is called Miksang, Tibetan for 'good eye'. However, I seem to be generating frustration and confusion. And now I understand why: it is not about the image, it is about the experience. I cannot submit a Miksang photo and hope others to see what I see.

I am going to join Michael Wood (instigator of the teachings of Miksang) in failing to portray this style of photography to fellow photographers. Oh well...I did try....

But I commend Ivan on trying...perhaps when I am in England again we will go for a little walk with our cameras...


Interesting articles

This is Part 2, but there is a link to Part 1 in the text



Miksang - Level Two - People

In this assignment, we had to find the 'ness' of people...

We did this by splitting our small 4 person class into 2 groups

Each group sat at a table, with each person sitting in front of the other

In a park in Halifax

One person was the photographer and the other just sat there and looked at the camera

The photographer had to capture the moment when the person looking was completely relaxed, not posing or playing with the camera

When the true 'ness' of that person came out for a brief second...

The photographer could only capture this moment, if he/she was 'in the moment' and feeling the other person...

This is Helen....


Miksang - after Level One - Colour

This is a shot I took after Level One. Level One broke down our thought processes when seeing such that we only saw pure colour or texture; no lables, no concepts, no judgements. Just colour and texture. Damian

Miksang - Level Two - Sidewalks

In Level 2, we tried to capture the 'ness' of various everyday 'things'

In Miksang, you do not attempt to do anything...

You simply 'open' yourself to seeing without any barriers...

Barriers such as the concepts of photography...

or the labelling of an object as something...

or an opinion on an object, for example whether you like it or not...

In a sense, you are meditating...

Keeping everything still, letting eveything in, and seeing something that resonates with you...

To be honest, without some training, I doubt one could really capture a Miksang photo...


In this assignment, we went out the door and tried to capture the 'ness' of sidewalks....

We walked along sidewalks, looking down, and then stopping when something jumped out at us...

This is one example....

Don't judge it...just look at it. Damian

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"Miksang" it up a bit...


As resident Miksang Expert, is the following image Miksang? I wanted to capture the graphic simplicity of this string of lights, with the attached ribbon blowing in the wind.

Miksang rating out of 10?


Sign of the Times...?


Picture of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben taken some time ago in London (obviously).

I deliberately exposed for a silhouette, and tweaked, cropped and curved in PS.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My tuppence worth

I think this about says it all with regard to Competitions and Judging....


Monday, October 23, 2006

Feedback from last week's Judge...


Following Gareth’s lead (and because I was not there in person last week), I too asked the judge for his critique and rationale for how he graded each image. It’s useful to know, but I fear the way shadows are depicted on the projector is different from how my monitor is set up: not sure how to mitigate for this, other than risking over-lightening images or not submitting images with a lot of shadow elements, for fear of them coming over as lacking in detail. That’s also what happened to my punt image from the first competition.

His comments are below:

“I gave the cornfield second place because of the unusual angle the image was taken from, the super depth of field and the sky. Loved the 2 husks in the foreground. All worked for me.

The forest whilst a good looking picture suffered from exposure problems. Your friend was spot on, I didn't select it because of shadows on the tree trunks being too dark and showing no detail. It's a classic image for a tripod and two exposures which can then be blended in Photoshop. Expose for the shadow area and then expose another shot for the highlights. That's the only reason I rejected it.”



Sunday, October 22, 2006

Old Man in St. Mark's Square - Cloned and Repaired...


As promised, I have tried to remove the table and improve the image per the discussion on previous post.

I still have the working Photoshop file, so I may further refine (I think I see some patterns emerging in my cloning). Combination of cloning, cut and paste and transform/blending of layers used to remove and repair.


Not sure why, but I can't get the bigness to work. Hopefully does this time.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cardington Airship Hangars

Three layers of military defence here: a twenty-first century barbed wire fence stands in front of a WW2 pillbox, guarding the former Royal Airship Works at Cardington, Bedfordshire.

Full-crop image, channel-mixed to monochrome, curves to boost contrast and then split-toned. What do you think? (click for bigness)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Reculver (Kent) Sunset


An end-of-the-week posting from me, just to get our reviewing juices going.

Techy bit: curves, saturation, levels and cropping all tweaked, but little else. A bit of cloning to remove some distracting elements (signs, debris).

Comments, suggestions (and yes, it IS a similar format to others - I was going through a phase; kind of still there, really....).


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Happy camper

I got some feedback from Monday's judge:
Hi Gareth,

Thanks for the email and of course I don't mind giving you some additional
feedback. Firstly, do remember that judging is just one person's opinion. If
you put the same pictures in next week's competition and another judge
arrives they may love the image and give it first place. In many cases
images are subjective and it's down to personal taste.

Horses shots.
I'm not a lover of the wide angle lens used close up on this sort of shot, I
much prefer image 51 of yours


and I would have given that a commended or
highly commended.

Image 405 with the ear of grass is superb

and I do really like that and I
love image 48 of Luke writing a great shot.

I'm not so keen on 313

as the
sun is a little too bright and drags the eye from the silhouette. I do like
the silhouette it's just battling with the sun that causes me a problem.

Your tractor shot 'we plough the fields'

was in fairness a very close call
and I did waver on that. The only thing that pushed my to drop the shot was
the lack of colour in the sky I felt it was a little too bland. I didn't
mind the amount of sky as this added to the scale of the image, it was just
a little flat in colour. You could try adding some black to the blues in
Photoshop (use the select colour feature in the adjustment layers and add
about 80% black to the blues and cyans this would boost the blues that are
present and give the sky a little more depth.

Hope this helps and don't be disheartened you have some great shots in your

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Learning to See



I have posted a link to this essay on the “Luminous Landscape” (my favourite landscape photo site) since it has some reminders to us all about the necessity of “seeing”, pointers about how to see and some nice quotes about the essence of seeing.


Not revolutionary stuff, but a salutary reminder…


Some of the other essays on this site are definitely worth a browse.




PS – Damo (and Sue); thanks very much for the bunny ear hat and card!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sorry Damian - couldn't resist....!!

Actually, I AM looking forward to seeing some of the images D has taken. I'm sure they will be good...must stop taking the piss.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Camera Club tonight

First off: congratulations! Ivan, you got a "second" for Corn Field. Very well deserved.

Unfortunately, the judge dismissed the forest light photograph for similar reasons to the punt image - the shadows on the tree trunks had lost any detail when projected, so he rejected it on that technicality. Annoying and frustrating as the detail's definitely there.

As for my stuff? He just didn't like it. No technical comments whatsoever, he just felt that the main horse was too large in the frame and the tractor one... he just didn't like. No comments at all, he just didn't think it was strong enough.

The winner? A macro of a grasshopper on a reed. A well-executed image for sure, but I'm at a bit of a loss as to where to go from here because there's nothing I'd have changed about either image.

Onwards and upwards!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Miksang: Level 2

Hi there,

I just wanted to let you chaps know that I am in the midst of Level 2 of Miksang. Gareth and Bishop may find this 'double dutch' and Ivan may sigh. For Gareth and Bishop, I can direct you to the website which will tell you all - Ivan, just bear with me.

Anyways, the course runs through to Monday eve. so I will post some images during and after the course.


High Dynamic Range (HDR) images


With Ivan having posted some blended images recently, I thought you might be interested in this blog post I found today about producing HDR images in Photoshop. This guy's technique produces much more "natural" looking results.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Hello again.

I've been gone for a while... Why? Because you're all too damn good! I can't keep up, yet! I've got a new point and shoot Canon A530 which is nice and very flexible and am getting a Sony A100 in Dec (or should I go for the Canon 400D, this is the question?) and I've been busy with the the other blog...

Gareth - I have you on my blog reader and have seen all your new shots - without gushing too much or fawning - brilliant. I love your views. More comments soon.

Ivan & Damian - sorry that I kind of abandoned Critical Light - It's just 'cos I didn't feel I'm in the same league and when we started to really analyse with the ratings it was demoralising, this is what I meant when I originally commented that I was worried it would be too much "work".

Anyways - I will post from time to time and I love what you guys do. If you can point me in the right direction I'd love it.

One thing I want to ask - please invite me to join Critical Light again so I can join as DXBluey instead of bishopsindubai....

Cheers to all.

And do you like my fish?

Kent Sunset

Quick post before I go. Not in tomorrow, but wanted to leave you with something else to ponder and review.

I love this image. Another blended exposure to make sure I got some detail on the foreground plants...

Crop and clone

Something a bit like this:

(better get on with some work, now...!)

Old Man in St Mark's Square, Venice

This image was taken 2 years ago, September 2004, in Venice. I noticed this old chap sitting in an archway, alone (with his thoughts, apparently) and there seemed to be a natural tension/juxtaposition with the teeming crowds of (mostly) tourists. He seemed a million miles away, and I often think he is looking out, remembering how things were in his youth and perhaps feeling so alone inspite of the many people around him.

It was two exposures, as he was in great shadow, and the square was bathed in harsh sunny light. Thankfully, he didn't move in the 2-3 seconds between shots. I blended both exposures in Photoshop, trying to make the scene look as close to that seen with the eye. I need to do a little further work, as the eagle-eyed will see some fringing along the side of the wall he has his back to, delineating the edge of each exposure. I may try and redo it, as I think my skills are better now than 2 years ago when this was done.

Anyway, your valued comments on the image, it's composition, impression and technical aspects are eagerly awaited. I may enter this in the last Projected Image competition (I nearly did for this one coming, but decided to play "safe" with some landscapes).


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lady with Umbrella: tighter crop?


I can see what you were doing, but not an image I can easily connect with as is. It seems more static than your discription, so maybe I don't get it.

I'd crop right down, tighter, eliminating as many distracting elements as possible, and concentrating on the identified dynamic between the subjects. Shame there is so much background clutter - it distracts a bit.

However, a nice observational "life" shot.

Example below (you know how I like to crop...)!



Lady With Umbrella

What is the photo of

A lady smoking in the rain, holding an umbrella in front of Le Banc du Secret

When was the photo taken

10 October 2006, Tuesday 10am

Where was the photo taken

Montreal, downtown

Why was the photo taken

I was standing waiting for the rain to stop and I saw this lady smoking standing in front of the Sculpture. I had tried to photo this sculpture earlier but was not happy with the result. I felt that there was an intimiacy between the lady smoking (animate) and the sculpture (inaminate) and that stopped me and raised my camera. There was also a similarity between the colour of the umbrella and the colour of the flowers in the bed. The action of the lady smoking seemed to emphasise this connection.

Why was this composition chosen

It was chosen to emphasise the connection between the lady and the sculpture. The original photo included a lot more and this was removed through a tight crop to focus the eye on what really matters.

How was the photo taken

Due to the rain, there was little light. I also needed to use my lens at its full focal length.
Raw. Adobe RGB. ISO 1600. 1/60th atf 5.6 85mm focal length.

How was the photo processed

White balance, exposure, brightness, contrast and saturation were adijusted in Camera RAW. In PS, I cropped the image tight and sharpened it.

Your critical comments are welcome.




Monday, October 09, 2006

2nd Projected Image Competition Entries


After much deliberation, my selections for the next Projected Image competition (deadline this evening) are posted below. I have used small, lower res versions for the web.

The first, "Forest Light" I really like, because I think I got the exposure spot on, and captured detail in shadows and highlights. A bit of PS post-processing, but only on curves, levels, a bit of shadow/highlight and some minor cropping. I really conveys to me the peace and beauty of that moment.

The next "Cornfield" is one you'll either love or hate, but I love the textures and detail of the decaying corn husks and the dark brooding stormy sky. I used a 0.6 Grad filter to get the sky detail, and only did some minor PS tweaking (saturation, levels and curves).

Thoughts, as always, welcome...

Gareth - depending on how trying the baby has been during the day, I'll hopefully see you this evening.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Two for the next competition

Here are my two entries for the Projected Image competition, deadline tomorrow. No time to write any notes at the moment - Ivan, did you make a final selection for yours?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Projected Image Portfolio competition


Last-minute Lucy as ever, I've just had a panic to sort out a portfolio of images to submit for tonight's Camera Club deadline. The only rules are that five images must be selected, with a consistent and identifiable theme. I eventually went for this series of shots I took for a mate's band - we had a single halogen spotlight and I was shooting handheld at high ISO so I chose to exploit that in the PP by increasing the contrast even more.

The only frustration with myself that I'm having now is that #4 is landscape, and seems incongruous next to the other four portrait shots.

It's my first entry attempt - I doubt I'll do as well as Ivan's first shot, but here's hoping that I get at least a "commended".

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

First posting

I had a play with some square cropping over the weekend, attempting to reproduce the compositional constraints and strengths of 6x6 medium format, while trying to keep the basics still there. This is my four-year-old daughter, particularly pertinent as I'm expecting a flood of baby photos from Ivan.

Now I want an MF camera...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Flower Meadow Image - Larger file for Review


I have posted a larger version of the image from CCC the other night. Hope you can access it alright.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I got a "First Place" grading in the CCC photo comp!


Well chuffed. One of my images "Flower Meadow in Italian Dolomites" won a "First Place" grading by an East Anglian Panel Judge (not from our Club)! There were 95 images and 5 got such a grading. My other image "Cambridge Punt" was not selected for grading, but very pleased nonetheless! Has whetted my appetite for future competitions and intra club competitions too.

Got a certificate to prove it too...

I'll post the full image later (when I have a copy to hand). I have a new laptop from work (and excellent 8Mb wireless broadband, btw) and not all my images are on there yet.



Monday, September 11, 2006

First Competition Entry


Below, I have posted two images. These are the ones I have selected for the first internal photo competition next week (18th) at the camera club. I have submitted them via email (as tonight is the deadline) since I can't make the camera club - tonight, we're out celebrating our anniversary.

There's no category for the entry; just two images I want to be discussed on club night. Your thoughts - if anyone is out there - are always welcome.



Wednesday, September 06, 2006

One Image, Two Interpretations (re-posted Blog entry)

Note: I have reposted this, as we had a spam comment on the last entry, so I deleted it.

OK Chaps. Here’s the next Blog Assignment. Basically, we each post an image, unadulterated by any form of digital manipulation, straight from the camera. This should be the full uncompressed file.Then, we each take said file away, and do something to it. Interpretation is anything you want, literally. We each have to then present the manipulated image, and just describe what and why you did what you did. I don’t propose to stipulate any precise categories that we need to stick to: just make sure to describe your vision for the image, why you decided to do this, and then tell us how you did it. You can try as many different things are you want, but you must only submit one manipulated image back to the blog.

The person submitting the image can’t manipulate his own during the competition, but scores the other two’s interpretations via the following categories.

Creative Intent: how much did you like the vision that was created for your image?I

mpact: Like our normal category, how did the manipulated image work for you, compared to how the image started?

Delivery: How well was the Creative Intent put into practice? If the Creative Intent and Impact are high, this should be a good score too. However, the intent could be good, but the delivery poor, and so this will reflect that.

Technical skill: How well was the delivery actually done in terms of digital manipulation. For example, delivery could be good, but some specific aspect could have been better, so this can be the place to describe.

Overall: Average of the above, with your closing comments.All scores out of 10, as usual.After the two interpretations are back in, the submitter can then post his interpretation of his own image, which can be scored by the other two if desired, but it is not necessary.The other two entrants (Grant and Damian) each submit one photo as above for scoring by the other two as above.At the end, we compare all our score averages.Let me know what you think, and if you have any additional comments on the proposed format.

My initial image is from a 2003 trip to the USA. It’s of Mono Lake, California. The image has potential, I feel, so over to you chaps.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sable Island at sunset

What is the photo of; Where was the photo taken

Sunset on South Beach, Sable Island

When was the photo taken

8 Jan 2006 16:45

Why was the photo taken

Another incredible sunset on Sable Island. The clouds and the light reflecting in the water caught my eye

Why was this composition chosen

I wanted to get the most from the light reflecting in the water on the beach. I used that stretch of water as the focal point and to guide the eye into the photo. The clouds were stunning so I included more sky than I normally would. The clouds also appear to lead the eye further into the photo.

How was the photo taken

1/40 sec at f5; ISO 100; Focal length 22mm; used IS on the lens to reduce camera blur; shot in RAW

How was the photo processed

Simple processing. Much of it was done in Camera RAW (levles, curves, saturation) and the same were tweaked in PS. Some cropping to remove a little of the sky and some of the beach to the right. I included twice as much sky as beach to get a nice balance. Finally sharpened.

Sable Island at sunset


Monday, August 14, 2006

Portrait Assignment: the scores so far

Here are the average scores for the three portrait entries for Ivan and myself, scored by only Ivan and myself. I have not included Grant because he has not completed the assignment yet and hasn't scored all of the entries. So Grant, it is all up to you....


Impact - 7.7
Composition - 7.5
Light/Colour - 8.0
Technical skill - 7.8
Originality - 7.7

Overall Score - 7.7


Impact - 7.0
Composition - 6.8
Light/Colour - 7.3
Technical skill - 7.0
Originality - 7.0

Overall score - 6.7

So, Dr Lidgard is behind the Critical Eye by one whole point and scores consistently lower in all of the rankings. Ivan' scores are fairly consistent among the rankings with light and colour holding the highest score. Mr Lidgard shows more variation amongst his scores suggesting room for improvement.

Dr Lidgard

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Final Portait Entry

Final one from me.

What is the photo of - Kate and I

When was the photo taken - Christmas 2004

Where was the photo taken - Our (then) living room

Why was the photo taken - wanted to try to produce an intimate shot, with a studio feel

Why was this composition chosen - wanted something close-in and with a warm personal feel

How was the photo taken - taken at arms-length, settings not sure

How was the photo processed - original image was converted to black and white. Selected a black from my hair (eyedropper tool) and painted in a black background that we could merge into. Dodged the highlights (eyes, shirt) and Burned the mid and shadow tones, to get a more dynamic black and white image. Both original and final are shown to allow assessment.

Original Image

Manipulated Image

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What you should NEVER do with Photoshop...


I came across this montage image while doing some other clean-up work of my overly-full C:drive. I took the picture of the (famous) painting in Chicago, and I put myself in it, watery reflections on the cobbled stones and all. I tried to make myself look a bit oil-painterly, using a filter in Photoshop, and resized and toned to fit in. Clearly, it needs to be more oil-painterly, but I am quite pleased with the reflection work. This was done by copying and pasting another version of me (cut out from another image), rotating it to lie in the right orientation, darkening down with levels, then using the blur and smudge brushes, bending the reflection to follow the contours of the cobbles. Finally, I lowered the opacity and, using a mask, subtly made the reflection fade out naturally. Interesting to get your comments...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Panoramic photography gone Mental! In"Seine", one may say...

A panoramic shot from Kate and I's recent trip to Paris. It's about 8 images stiched together. The lack of a tripod, and my poor technique, has meant that the effect isn't perfect, but I am quite pleased with it's overall look. I can't really get it any better, due to the technical limitations of the source files, but with more care, it could have been great. I put it up here just for interest.

April (!) Portrait Competition Entry

What is the photo of - Maddy (3), daughter of our friends Pauline and Guy.

When was the photo taken - A couple of months ago.

Where was the photo taken - Cafe, Cambridge Botanical Gardens.

Why was the photo taken - I wanted to capture her enjoying the chocolate ice-cream.

Why was this composition chosen - I wanted to get close-in, to avoid distractions. I wanted her face, covered in chocolate, to be the main interest, but to be sure to get the cone in the picture, so the context was clear.

How was the photo taken - Canon 350D, EF-S 17-85 lens, ISO 100, 1/50sec. Focal length unknown (likely 17mm).

How was the photo processed - Basic levels, curves, colour saturation, cropping and unsharp masking.

My lovely new lens...

...has arrived, and the first decent pic I have taken (last evening, between massive thunderstorms) is here. It may not be apparent, but other shots I have taken here, with the 28-135mm lens does not allow for such a good amount of foreground while also including a good amount of background and sky in the same image. Also, nice sharp detail from very close to the distance. Will need to get used to it, but I'm sure it's a winner. The low res picture below does not show the great image quality with the lens.

The shot is from down in the local nature reserve, at the end of our street, by the River Cam.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Guidelines for colour management

Hello there,

Just came across this site which aims to "...clarify issues affecting accurate reproduction and management of digital image files". Thought it would be worth checking out.


Grant, this is the DSLR for you...

If ever you were thinking of taking the DSLR plunge, this is the time, and price, to do it. You can get the 350D and lens for under £500 delivered. There's also the Nikon D50 for under £500, or the Nikon D70 for under £600, but both of these are only 6MP, compared to the 8MP of the 350D.
Now's the time...

Camera Club thoughts

Hi both

With baby coming, my photography will "go dark", as Keifer would say in "24", for a while. However, it's important that it doesn't die. So, I've decided to join the Cambridge Camera Club, who meet every Monday evening, just up the road from me. This will put me amongst, and up against, top quality amateurs (like yourselves), and the regular slot will mean I get out and do some non-baby stuff, as well as develop (if you'll pardon the pun) my photography further. They have photo competitions, guest speakers etc, so hopefully it'll be good fun.

I'll update you after I start, which hopefully will be in September sometime.


My new lens is coming...

Very excited - my new Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens is coming! I've long wanted a proper wide-angle lens, and this EF-S lens is the ideal balance of Canon quality and affordability. Got it for £399.99 (compared to the £550-600 from high street retailers and UK websites) from OneStop-Digital, from Hong Kong. It's en route now.

The "S" means it's been developed for reduced AP-S size sensors in DSLRs, hence the 10-22, which, when multiplied by the 1.6x (due to the smaller AP-S sensor) comes in at 16-35 in 35mm format. It's not Image Stabilised (like the 17-85 Damo and I both have), but, as a proper wide angle for landscapes, one should really be using a tripod anyway...
Will update and post when it arrives.


One for Damian


This is another interesting article about being an artist in business. It may provide some useful tips for your photography business.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Portrait Assignment 3 - Portrait of Joseph

This is my third and final posting for the Portrait assigmnent.

What is the photo of
-My nephew Joseph.

When was the photo taken - 25 May 2006 at noon

Where was the photo taken - In the house; Brighton

Why was the photo taken - I had my camera out shooting stuff and he looked right at me, quite close to the camera, in a different sort of way.

Why was this composition chosen - Joseph sort of created the composition since he tilted his head and stared at the camera and was quite close to it. I just waited for the right moment when everything looked good. I liked the way he looked at me, since it was different; the tilt of the head, the stare at the camera. I moved in closer to him and really focused my attention on those melting eyes. He looks quite puppy'ish.

How was the photo taken - 1/60 at f5.6; RAW; focal length 85mm; ISO 100; flash

How was the photo processed - I will get few points here since the very basics were done. Exposure, white balance, curves, saturation were done in Camera RAW. Slight adjustments to these settings were made in PS. And that is it. There is an odd shadow in the lower right of the image. I tried to crop the image to remove it but it really changed the overall composition of the photo; the focus moves away from the eyes when cropped. So I decided to leave it in and hope it is not too distracting.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Morning light

What is the photo of - The bathroom tap and sink in morning sunlight

When was the photo taken - Just the other day, in the morning at around 9'ish I suppose

Where was the photo taken - In my bathroom

Why was the photo taken - I was sat on the toilet (!) and I saw this amazing light come into the bathroom and create this wonderful sight

Why was this composition chosen - I sat there thinking hard about what it was that really struck me. I realised that it wasn't the whole tap but only part of it, and that the real focus was the silhouette of the tap on the white basin. So I moved in real close.

How was the photo taken - f320 at f11. ISO 200. JPEG. 85mm focal length

How was the photo processed - Pretty basic adjustments. Just adjusted the levels and I think I added some sharpening but that is about it.

So I just wanted to share this with you. I really like the photo.

Morning light

Friday, June 23, 2006

Miksang photography

Hi there,

I have recently taken a photographic course called 'Miksang'. Miksang is Tibetan for 'good eye' and the art was introduced by a Buddhist teacher that learnt several art forms including poetry and photography.

The idea is that one enters the world and awaits 'flashes of perception' that reveal the true nature of things. These perceptions are then caught on camera for others to experience. So, normally, when one walks down a road and sees a car or bus or person, your mind immediately labels them as a car, a bus, a person, and then goes on to judge them: I like the car, I don't care about the bus, I don't like the person. In Miksang, one stops the mind from labelling and judging images and simply allows one to see them as they are: for their colour, texture and for the light falling.

So, as one walks down a road, the sight of bright yellow with hues of blue catches your eye: it is the reflection on the side of a yellow car but you train your mind to only see the colours. One then stops and connects with this image that stopped you. You ask yourself what is it that actually stopped me? Was it only the yellow and the reflected blue or was it also the top part of the wheel, the side of the door. Once you have discerned the image, worked out what actually stopped you, you can see the composition in your mind. You then, at the last stage of the process, raise the camera and take the photo. In Miksang, photography is only 10% of the 'art'.

I have four images below that sort of gives you an idea as to what I mean. Comments on this style of photography are welcome but the photos are just examples and are not there to be rated. If you are interested, the website is


The yellow and green contrast 'stopped me ' as I walked past this restaurant in Halifax.

The red colour of this discarded sweet against the grey stone caught my attention.

I walked past a small car park and at the end was an old mattress with these blankets thrown on them. The image immediately held me there for a while. As I walked up I worked out what actually stopped me, framed the image in my mind and then took the photo. It was the combination of the colour, the texture of the blankets and the light falling on the mattress that stopped me.

I walked into a cafe and at the very end was this woman looking at the monitor. Again, this 'perception' stopped me completely. The blue dress, the drab wall colour, the monitors staring out, and the light. Oh, and her hand making the connection with the computer.