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.