Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bay of Fundy

I have just returned from a 5 day trip to the Bay of Fundy assisting with the teaching of a marine mammal class. While out on the boat I took the opportunity to shoot what I could. During the middle of the trip the weather turned foggy so that the last two days were a wash-out. But I got a few nice shots. Here are some...

This is my favourite shot. It is a Greater Shearwater that was following the boat. So I tracked her with my camera. The light coloured foamy water adds to this shot.

I also really like this one too. A white-sided dolphin porpoising alongside the boat. The water was very calm with some nice reflections.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Power to the Fens II: The Ivan crop.

I removed the horizontal cable, removed a few bushes and cropped to nearly square. big improvement - thanks Ivan!

All the best


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Peak Cottage

A quick post from me to get some feedback on.

Taken a couple of years ago in the Peak District. I liked the quality and direction of the light, and wanted to do a panoramic crop, using the line of the stone wall and road to lead to the cottage, bathed in late evening sun.

Comments welcomed.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Power to the Fens

I have been struck by all the power lines disappeaing into the distance in the fens - being so flat it realy accentuates the effect. Having said that, I'm not sure this snap cover that but it was near the car! (can't walk to far at the moment and kind of grabbed me). Any thoughts how it could be improved? (1/12 f11 82mm; ajusted WB and exposure level in Rawshooetr and converted to BW in phtoshop).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Interesting Metrics...and initial goals for the 2007/8 CCC Season

Remember I finished third overall in the 2006/7 projected image competition? Well, I scored 52 points for that third place. I knew Barrie Hatton (Club President) came second and Ann Miles (Programme Secretary and semi-pro photographer) came first, so I totted up their scores (sad, ain't I?) from the results on the CCC webpage...Ann had 104 points and Barrie 82, I was a distant third with 52.

Shows that in order to challenge this season, I do need to have both images scoring at each competition, as both Ann and Barrie regularly did. I ALWAYS had one image that bombed, with no score, and one that did quite well. Still, numerically I am half as good as Ann Miles, so being half of shit-hot is good enough for me (for now)!

This year, it's my goal to achieve at least a 3rd overall again, but with a higher score (realistic goal) or to come 2nd overall (less realistic). I also want to enter some of the print and portfolio competitions too. I'd like to also do well again in the Annual Digital Championship, but will be hard-pushed to improve on winning (and coming second too) in the Creative category. I think I'd like to enter in the Pictorial (i.e. Landscapes) and do well in that - entering the Creative section was a calculated strategy to use my relatively good photoshop skills to good effect in a category I knew would be less intensely fought. This turned out to be a good move, for my ego if nothing else!

I'll have a think about my CCC goals for 2007/8 and put them on the blog; last year, being my first season, I had no idea what to expect, and hoped to place in ONE competition. I did a whole lot better than that, which makes 2007/8 a bit tougher. A bit like Lewis Hamilton in his F1 rookie year...(sort of).


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Quick snaps

Just a couple of recent snaps on my 5D.The first was at Linton Zoo (400mm) and the windfarm was deep in the fens ( I could hear 'dueling banjos' in my head so I wasn't hanging about-24 mm). Not the best pics you'll ever see - I'm still relatively new to digital so I'm experimenting. all converted from raw in Rawshooter, uped the saturation and cropped inPhotoshop. all comments welcome - all the best, A.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Some thoughts on Lightroom

Guys, I've been playing around with Lightroom for the last week or so. Thought you might be interested in my first impressions.

My mate Rich - a semi-pro photographer - is now using it primarily for portfolio management - tagging. The demonstration he gave me as to how he's using it to manage his workflow was excellent, and at some point I can see me going through my 40,000 image library to do the same thing.

But what's really impressed me is the speed of use for post-processing and subsequent final image management. It's very easy to assign levels/curves to an image, tweak until you get something you like and then apply those changes to a whole photo shoot. Furthermore, the mono conversion is absolutely awesome - much more flexible than using the channel mixer. For instance, if you want to do that classic Ansel Adams blue skies-> black thing, in photoshop you'd apply a channel mixer adjustment layer with the channels at (say) r+150, b-50, g+0. Which is fine, but you can get some odd results with faces or brickwork. In Lightroom there are a number of sliders for more specific colours so you can wack the blue right down to make the skies black but tweak all of the other sliders to preserve the tonal range of the rest of the image.

Split/duotoning is similarly powerful. I haven't tried many third-party presents but there are a lot of them out there, too.

But where it saved me literally hours was for post-processing the wedding photos for a shoot I did for a mate a few weeks ago. I set up for or five different presets with wildly different results - straight colour, straight mono, sepia, contrasty mono and weird draganised colour. I just applied each preset to the whole directory one by one, and hit "export" after each. It started exporting in the background and let me get on with setting up the next one, and the next... then I just left my PC alone for 45 mins and it just churned away in the background, saving each of the post-processed versions in a different directory. When it was done, I just burnt the lot to a DVD and gave them to this guy.

The integration with Photoshop is also very nice. You can just right-click on an image that you've part-processed in Lightroom, and it'll export a copy as either a TIFF or a PSD to open in Photoshop. You'd want to do this if you had more specific cloning work to do - there's a spot removal tool which works well but you can't do big clone tool/healing brush work. Also, the curves and conversion is applied to the whole image - there's no layer masking so you'd want to go to PS for that.

The other interesting thing is that it means you don't have to save multiple copies of files at different resolutions. You just keep the master, managed in Lightroom, and generate web-sized versions, full-sized jpegs etc. as you need them. The export feature lets you set these up as templates which makes it all very fast. You can also ask it to use a customised template for how the file is named - date stamping, serial numbering etc., and also to carry over a serial number from the original file - so the RAWs from my camera come off with filenames like CRW_8259.CRW which you can tell Lightroom to automatically convert into something like wedding-20070707-8259.jpg

In short, I'm very impressed.