Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Annual Digital Championship - Ivan's results

Well, quite a good night for us both actually, but here are my results.


Catface got the top prize (First Place) and Shadowman got the Second Place. Very pleased. Bemused that "Baby Eyes" and "All in Red" crashed and burned, especially when you saw the others that came above it, but it may not have been the done thing to award all 3 spots to one person (he says modestly!). Or, the judge just didn't like them...


The one called "Thinking..." got a commended, which I was pleased with, being my first people based entry. Perhaps it wasn't enough about people, being that the lady was small in the picture - more classically portrait/candid stuff did better. Again, glad that something a bit more out there got recogntition.

As I won the Creative section, my "Catface" image was up for "Digital Image of the Year", along with the other category winners, but it lost out to a great sporting shot. Still, very pleased to be a section winner and be in the top 5 (out of 116).

This may be my last post for a while - broadband plug is pulled today and I give back the old laptop too. However, we'll try to get broadband sorted out in the next few weeks. Until then, keep blogging in my absence.

G - I'll call you after Easter Monday about a beer in town
D - I'll call you at home about when we can see you when you are in the UK.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Sparrow and water droplet

Here is a very simple image but one that appealed to me when I saw it. A simple wire, a water droplet and a bird.

1/200th sec, f6.3, exposure +1, ISO 400, focal length 300mm, RAW, Adobe RGB


Friday, March 23, 2007

Guitar Man and Portrait

These pictures were taken by our wedding photographer, the brilliant Mr Paul Troughton. He does excellent candids and detail shots check out this link for some examples.

I like the expression he has caught of me in both; one clearly away in the moment of playing, and the other a thoughtful look, cropped in an unusual way.

Thoughts? Comments?


When breaking all the rules works

We recently bought a couple of photographic prints by Cambridge professional photographer Richard Heeps. We thought they were striking, dramatic and subtley beautiful. Full of atmosphere and drama.

One of them is below, called Towards Rock Hill, Salton Sea, California 2003.

This one breaks many rules, yet works.
  • The horizon is in the middle of the picture
  • Shooting into the sun
  • Massive blown-out sun reflection on the water
  • Tree in near central position
  • Underexposed

Any more you can think of? Point is, it works. It works really well (the actual print is stunning; much better than this low-res jpeg). Why? Does it work for you?

I think it is very simple, and the central placing of the sea and tree and sun just draws the eye to the amazing sun and tree silhouette, and the sun reflection does also. The underexposure mimicks what your eyes do when you stare into the sun, and there's just enough distant interest to hold your eye.

Brilliant stuff.


Thursday, March 22, 2007


A common trait of humans is seeking perfection. We often find ourselves saying 'If only I did this then it would be perfect'; 'I just need this one more 'thing' and then it will be perfect'. We chase after the impossible. This behaviour drives us towards an 'aggressive' approach to life because sometimes we find ourselves competing for that one 'thing'; that last piece that will bring perfection.

I was thinking about this in the shower this morning. Now that we have entered the digital age of photography, are we trying to achieve perfection in our images? For example, I go out and take a picture of a bird in flight. I go home, upload the photo and have a look at it. I find that it is a good photo but not quite right. The bird is not perfectly positioned, the eye is not as bright as it could be, there is another bird in the photo that is distracting, the sky is not as blue as I would like.

Rather than spending our time and energy on editing a photo to get it as close to perfection as it can be, should we not spend it on enjoying the moment when we depress the shutter button, appreciate the image we have captured.

What do we think about this?


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How did you both do in the Digital Competition?

So, how did you both do in the competition? Any feedback?


Monday, March 19, 2007

Sanderling crop


This is what I meant when I described cropping your middle Sanderling image. It makes more of the procession, I think, puts them on a level bit of ground and eliminates the uninteresting white foreground.

Also, a general comment and pertinent to these; sometimes your images seem to lack contrast "punch". Is this deliberate or do you think they have enough?

What do you think of my crop?




Gareth's entries to the digital championship

Herewith, my entries:

Pictorial: Wheat, at Ratcliffe-on-Soar

Creative: Looking over the ones I love

People: Quiet Time

People: Jon, rehearsing at the lock-up

Pictorial: East Anglian Big Skies

I think Ivan's move to load his entries in the creative category is stunning. There's a good range in his set, which given that the creative section is so subjective, will give him a better chance of success. I'm very pleased with the two photographs I've entered for the pictorial section here, but I fear they'll be lost in the noise. We'll see.

-- gareth

Annual Digital Championship Entries

After much thought, and late night Sunday final Photoshopping, below are my 5 entries for the CCC Annual Digital Championship.

The categories are

People - portraits, groups, studies etc
Pictorial - anything, and usually mostly landscapes
Creative - any photoshop shennanigans you like!
Plants and Animals - does what it says on the tin
Record - straight shot showing something in great detail, no digital manipulation.

I reckon that Pictorial and Plants and Animals will have a lot of entries, and Record is kinda dull, so I have tactically gone for 4 in "Creative" and 1 in "People". Also, I just fancied trying something different - no landscapes! So, I trawled my extensive back catalogue (again) and came up with some interesting entries (I think).

Below are my selected images - your critique always welcomed.


1. All in Red

2. Baby Eyes

3. Shadowman

4. Catface


5. Thinking...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Self Portrait Assignment

Here is my first posting for the self-portrait assignment.

I attached the camera to a tripod in my bathroom and set the camera for a timed-delay shot. I then continued to shave. I took several shots and this one appealed to me the most. The reason is that I seem to be 'away'; I am shaving but appear to be somewhere else.

1/125 sec, f5,6. exposure bias 0.67, ISO 400, focal length 79mm; RAW, Adobe RGB

Comments welcome


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sanderlings, Sable Island, Canada

Here are three photos of sanderlings on Sable Island

This photo has an appeal to me because the birds look like and are acting like people, walking out to sea. I was going to crop more of the sea but I think the sky above the sea adds to the feeling of vastness.

This photo has an appeal because of the intricacy that is offered by being close to the birds and the details (colour and form) in the wavelets. I also like the shadows of the birds and the single direction of travel.

This photo has an appeal because of the haphazard nature of the birds and their shadows.

The three photos had the same settings:
1/500th, f 8.0, exposure bias +0.67, ISO 200, focal length 300; RAW, Adobe RGB
Most of adjustments were made in Camera RAW.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ephemeral dunes, Sable Island

I was driving toward the beach one day when on the face of a sloping dune I saw this image. It immediately stopped me. I thought twice about pulling out my camera but I am glad I did. This image never re-appeared and the two small dunes vanished soon afterwards.

3 January 2007, 15:00
1/320 sec at f5.6, exposure +1, ISO 100, focal length 210mm
Shot in RAW, Adobe RGB. Most of the tweaks (exposure, shadows, contrast, curves, saturation) were done in Camera RAW. Additional tweaking (curves, saturation) in Photoshop.

Comments welcome


Friday, March 09, 2007

André Kertész


I have started to study photographers/painters that have an 'eye' similar to mine. My starting point are those photographers and painters that were mentioned in the Miksang Level II course. Here is one of them: André Kertész. This chap died in 1989 and I have not yet found a website devoted to him. The website listed, however, shows some of his more famous work.


Everything you ever wanted to know about...

...printing papers, inks, light-fastness. It's all at this site. If it's not here, it's not worth bothering about.


Also, an interesting article on colour management. How do you manage colour and profiling? DO you manage colour and profiling?



Charles Cramer

This is one of my favourite websites. The close-detail type landscapes and detail shots of Charles Cramer are stunning.

Have a browse through the galleries, and be inspired.


National Geographic's "Best Web Resources For Photographers"

Interesting link to National Geographic's "Best Web Resources for Photographers". Check it out.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cats and Thistles

I don’t usually post to complain about something (well, not often), but on Monday night at the 5th Print Competiton at CCC, something really got me annoyed…

Imagine a normal tabby cat, sitting on a rock, taken on an overcast day. Blurry background, nothing special about the cat, the pose or the overall image or scene. Just a regular shot of a cat, in portrait orientation, as if taken for an encyclopedia entry. Straight record shot. Now, imagine a pretty scruffy thistle close up, most of it out of focus (small f-stop) but with a busy background that makes it hard to see the (unspectacular) thistle. Now, imagine you have been taken to a parallel universe in which photographic merit is bestowed upon these types of image. This disruption in the time-space fabric happened last night, localized on the Cambridge Camera Club.

The Cat on A Rock won a “Second Place” grading. The Thistle won (I think) a “Highly Commended” (or perhaps better – I was too stunned to take it all in).

Incredible, unbelieveable, rubbish.

Even one of the “First Places” I had an issue with, although it was quite good. As usual, the best ones did generally get the top slots. I can only imagine that the older demographic of the entrants and the judge bias towards this kind of thing, but – to quote Austin Powers – it’s not my bag, baby.

Disgruntled from Cambridge.

Note: I did not have an entry on this evening, so my “beef” is not for those reasons.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sunset over a dune


Here is a photo from Sable Island. This photo has an impact with me for several reasons. The sky has a lot of mood; hints of yellows, blues, reds and greys that create a stormy feel. The lone bird flying across the sky creates a sense of loneliness and also seems to add to this stormy feel. The dune also has a lot of character particularly because of the different form to the right. Lastly the rays of sun set the time, sunset and emphasise the cloud cover.

Shot on 19 Dec 2006 at 1645; Sable Island, NS, Canada
1/100 sec at f5.6; exposure +1; ISO 200; focal length 85mm; ISO 200

Comments welcome


Lunar Eclipse

Here is a photo of the recent lunar eclipse shot near Antigonish, NS, Canada


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Images from my local market

Hi there,

I am currently shooting photos at my local Farmer's Market with the view to creating a calendar that will mark the move of the market from its current 'historic' location to a new location close to the Halifax waterfront.

Many photos include people, of course. Here are three photos that capture people at the market shot with my new 50mm lens.

Comments welcome


Friday, March 02, 2007

New "Digital Film" on the horizon?

Interesting post appearing on some of the newswires about Sandisk's development of a write-once, read-only cheap memory card that will be like digital film in that it can be used for archive once full.

Read more here