Wednesday, April 30, 2008


In the fields, about 10 miles to the South of Cambridge, last Saturday afternoon. Looking out of the window at the grey skies now, it's hard to remember the weather only a few days ago.

While it's not the most original shot in the world, I like it for the colour combination (I'm colour blind but the blue/yellow pairing is one which works well for me) and also the play of light across the gentle rolling hills.

Canon 40D/Sigma 10-20 @ 10mm

For Ivan

I know you're just being shy about your real love for horse photos, mate, so here's a few just for you.

The first one was shortlisted for the East of England for the BBC Digital Picture of Britain competition a few years ago. Last year it was totally rejected in a CCC competition...


Last one from me today (and also an attempt to get away from the horsey theme).

A couple of gorgeous sunsets taken from our attic room windows from a few months back. Both use the tephoto 70-300 EF-S IS lens. The image stablisation is great on this lens, as these were taken at the long end of the range, ISO 400, with the shutter speed in the 1/15 - 1/20 range, hand-held.

I really love good sunsets, and these two have brilliant colour and - in the second image - great cloud structure too. I chose to keep the trees in there to provide a base and some anchor for the images, otherwise they become more abstract (certainly the first one would).

Comments welcomed



This is an image I created from several source images. One of the source images is below. The others are a view of Seattle from the Space Needle, a different sky image and a cloud (more on that later).

I am thinking of entering this created image in the "movement" category of the CCC Photographer of the Year, since there's clearly a depiction of a LOT of movement going on. Comments on the image and the process of it's construction welcomed.

The Process:

I'm sure you can work out what I did, but just in case (or if any of you have a slicker method). These are the main elements of the process rather than a logical, step by step walkthrough:

1. Cut out the jet from the original image above.
2. Pasted it onto the ariel view of Seattle
3. Replaced the sky using a blending mode
4. Put a filter over the whole image to redden it up
5. Various layers of motion blur in a variety of directions
6. Blurred the background cityscape too, to further add to the effect
7. Cut out an image of sunlight bursting through clouds to use as the basis for the core explosion
8. Drew various bits of schrapnel with the pen and blurred them out and used motion blur too
9. On various new layers, drew white/light hot-spots (the core of the explosion) then blurred and blended to create the effect
10. Flattened all layers and then some final touching up

I know this doesn't count as photography - and God only knows what Damian will think (er, perceive) of it (joke) - but comments welcomed.



This is a picture I took a few years ago of Barcelona docks. Not an aspect of Barcelona that you normally think of, and they are kind of tucked around the corner from the main city, almost out of sight. However, they are huge, and on this day I was struck by the activity going on there, and by the vast pattern created by all the containers at the docks. I cropped this from a larger image, and wanted to break up the repetitive pattern with the double diagonal lines and also the occasional crane.

I may enter this in the "colour" category in the up-coming CCC Photographer of the year competition. The other categories are "hands", "coastline", "movement" and "weather". I'll soon be posting my proposed entries for the other this space.


Monday, April 28, 2008

To follow the horse theme

Since we are on the theme of horses I thought I would post this image that was shot in January. I really like it because there is a lot of emotion that comes through.

It was taken with my relatively new Canon 50mm f1.4 lens; 250th sec, f13.0, IOS 400, RAW, AdobeRGB. A great lens by the way...well worth the investment.

Photo Stock Market Entry

This is the image that was sold as a stock image on Photographers Direct. Pretty simple. It is an image of the Biodome in Montreal. I visited Montreal a couple of years ago and just before I left there was a call from PD for particular images of Montreal. So I went there (with Sue who was attending a conference) and shot. It's use is for an educational book, about 5000 copies, $100. Low price but it is a start.

Horses and Rope

Here's a shot I took three and a half years ago. The lead horse's head was behind the tape but I photoshopped it out to make it appear that it was peering over. Looking back at this shot now, I've blown the highlights on the nose (it would have been shot in JPG rather than RAW so there may not be much which can be done, unless I did this in post-processing - I need to go back and check).

Interesting to thing whether I'd take this shot in this way, now. There's a lot of empty space to the right and top of frame, but perhaps there needs to be. I'm not holding this one up as a great image, but I'd be interested to get the Critical Light analysis of it...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

YAC (yet another crop)

OK, yet another version of this photo. I've brightened it a bit and cropped it some more. Frankly I still think I prefer the original, though, but Ivan's idea of cropping the left-hand side has grown on me. What do you guys think? And why?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Photographer's Direct Stock Images

HI all,

I just 'sold' my first image on Photographer's Direct stock image site. This has encouraged me to post more photos on that site ( So if you use that site keep adding more photos. Just another way for us to make a little extra dosh.


Whale and Horse - quick reworkings...

Dear D and C

Without access to my image-editing utility of choice (PS CS), I have quickly tweaked the two images in question to see if there was any "improvement" or enhamcement possible.

Let me know what you think in the usual way...


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The body of a whale

This photograph was taken last year on the Bay of Fundy. Its a humpback whale. It is a simple image but to me there is real sense of power. A very graceful animal but its immense size and solid body creates a sense of awe...for me anyway. The original photo was in colour but there was little of that so I converted it to black and white. Damian

Is email dead?

Hi there,

I recently attended a workshop entitled 'Email Is So Dead' on how, as artists, we should be promoting ourselves. This really applies to those of us interested in selling our work. It was rewarding and I have been busy taking the necessary action.

Essentially, it is all happening on the Internet. If you don't have an internet presence then you are truly missing out. Unfortunately, a website is no longer sufficient; you need a more dynamic presence. This includes posting videos relevant to your work on You Tube , developing an artist page on Facebook for people to join and keep up-to-date with your work, and most importantly a blog. You may have noticed how many artist and other websites have a dedicated blog. Any other sites that showcase your work are worthy too. For example, I post images on a site called which is a site dedicated to promoting the work of Canadian artists, everything from music, to painting, poetry, photography and more.

So, what is the purpose? If you are not interested in selling your work, or gaining entry into galleries, then a website of what you do is obviously fine. Or even no website at all. But, if you are interested in promoting your work so it is easier to sell or exhibit (get people to know who you are), then the purpose is partly to do with barbell economics.

Currently, the barbell is leaning heavily on one side. It is dominated by large corporations that sell crafts and the like, made in China, for cheap. There is no personal connection. You buy the product without ever knowing the creator. On the other end of the barbell are people like me; small artisans selling their work to the local population or, hopefully, beyond. Here, the buyer often meets the creator, the buyer has discussed with the artist what they want, they hear stories about how the craft was created. People love to hear stories; I have often sold a picture because I told the story of how that picture came to be. The inspiration. And they learn of the personal values of the artist: what is important to them, their values on quality, on getting the right product to the customer on time, or even their values on their business and the environment. It is the personal connection, that is totally missing from the large corporations.

Swings and roundabouts So it is predicted that the barbell will balance itself; that small artisans will increase in number as the general public crave for that personal touch.

Your story + Your values = Your Brand

How to get your values and stories across to your customer
That is where the internet comes in. If you have a dynamic presence on the internet, through video, blogs, social networking, people will learn about you; they will hear your stories, understand your values on your work, see what an expert you are, and learn to know what to expect from you.

It all takes time So, in the past few weeks I have been building my internet presence. I now have my own blog as well as this one, I have a Facebook page, I showcase my work on Terminus, and I am slowly turning my website shop into an easier place to shop.

So, email is not dead but it is just a small part of the big world on the internet.

Get blogging...


Saturday, April 19, 2008

$16 lens

Hello all! I figured that I'm overdue for a post. Here's one from a manual Soligor 35-70mm f2.5 lens I grabbed off Ebay for cheap. I was quite surprised at its sharpness and colour (but crappy resistance to flare), so I thought I'd share, and one of our horses agreed to pose. I'm rather pleased at how this composition turned out, though I can't quite put my finger on why. Perhaps it's the shadows?


Iceland - The Blue Lagoon By Night

As mentioned - I was in Iceland for a conference recently and we managed to have a few hours to visit the reknowned Blue Lagoon - a geothermal lake 45 mins from the city.

2 long exposure shots. No tripod to hand so timer and ambient resting places used...

An Icelandic sunset - taken from an observation deck at about 10pm - 10 second exposure, 16mm f20 iso 200

The Blue Lagoon By Night - 16mm f8 5 sec exposure

I will reserve the party shots for facebook....

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Not quite my local neighbourhood, but shot on our regional trunk road when returning from dropping my children off after a week-long stay with us. Quite a melancholic, trippy feel which reflected the weather, the music and my mood.

I knew that the light was good, the shutter speed would be low and the rough direction that I was pointing the camera. But I had no idea of what I'd taken until I got home because I was shooting blind.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Dear All

I am pretty sure I'll try to go for my LRPS in November 2008. There are still open slots and it was one of my goals for 2008. For more information on this entry level RPS distinction, click on the link.

I have also started posting images that are shortlisted for the LRPS panel - which needs to be 10 in total - on my website in a dedicated gallery called LRPS Panel (work in progress).

Ann Miles from the club, herself an FRPS, is helping me pull the panel together, and I also go along to the Club's "Aperture" group, one of whose aims is to help members gain such distinctions. Ann reckons I have 10 images from those currently on my website already, although not neccessarily the ones I have this space, and my website, for updates (I'm sure your rivited...).


If you could have any piece of photographic kit...

...right now, price no option, what would it be, and why??


Critique on an image

Dear All

Interesting article from The Luminous Landscape, where the website author deconstructs an image that particularly resonates for him.

I thought this might be interesting to read, and see how it compares when you think of an image that you particularly like, and keep coming back to. In fact, I'd be interested to see any images - your own or others - that really make you return again and again for a look, and why it holds such a fascination for you.


New Blog Layout

Just fancied a change...can all be changed back if we want..

Friday, April 04, 2008


I have been following some football freestylers this week as part of a movie release. They have some amazing skills with the ball... Some more shots to follow...

Anyway - I'd like to post more here so, here's one to start...

f 5.6 1/2000 60mm and ISO 200

Small adjustments to exposure and contrast in lightroom and converted to b&w.

Would welcome any comments on this candid shot...


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ivan, I forgot to say that after we went our separate ways last night, someone chased after me because they'd forgotten to give you your certificate.

Let's have some more posts guys!

Colin, Bluey, Stasher - where are your posts? All new images considered, and don't forget the assignment/project entitled "My Neighbourhood".


Close, but no cigar...

Dear All

An eventful evening at the CCC Annual Digital Championship. First off, the event was heavily oversubscribed. So, what they do is lose the image you number as 5, then 4 (if need be) to make sure they have about the right number (ca.100) to allow the Judge to review in an evening. So, I lost the image of the woman and the rusty door bolt. That left the Eskimo pic of Abby in "People", and the Bike and Sunset Beach Walkers in "Pictorial".

Eskimo and Bike bombed out. I think he liked Eskimo more than the Bike, but neither got anything.

Sunset Beach Walkers beat off some stiff competition to win!! Fantastic result, as this was the largest section (45 entries?) and had some great entries. I was surprised it won, but I always thought it was a good picture.

The winners of each of the sections - therefore 5 images - go forward for the Digital Image of the Year. It came down to mine and a comedy horse/rider picture guessed it...mine lost out! Apparently it was very close, and mine was described as the "runner up", although no such official accolade exists. Last year, I lost out at the same point to a frickin' sports picture of Rodger Federer, but this is harder to take A comedy horse and rider shot? Not something that could have been composed in advance; it was one of those freaky moments when something funny happened, and the expressions on horse and rider conspire to make a funny, well caught image. It does have bags of appeal and got a laugh from all in the audience, so this no doubt helps too. And the rider was a kid. But, image of the year...hmmm. Still, mustn't grumble. I won the "Creative" section last year, and now "Pictorial" this year. Doubtful I'll enter "Plants and Animals", so that leaves "People" and "Record" for next year!!

Gareth was disgusted with a lot of the judging, and has been all this season (with some notable exceptions). I tend to agree with him - it seems highly random and inconsistent. He said he won't enter any competitions from now on. However, he actually said that if Beachwalkers doesn't get anything, then he wouldn't enter anymore. Well, it did, so he MUST continue. Also, his image (bw) of his kids got a Commended in the People section, again against his predicition of getting nothing.

I am certainly not going to break my back to enter every one, but will keep entering from time to time and will be more regular at the Aperture sub-group meetings, where those going for photographic distinctions and the more experienced can meet to discuss images in a more relaxed setting. I'll give that a go for a while and see where it leads.

Gareth was cracking up at the inherent comedy in me losing to a comedy horse and rider picture. I can see the funny side alright, but my competitive part is quietly seething...