Monday, September 28, 2009

Running sanderlings

I took this photograph in January 2008 just before leaving Sable Island. I was at the West Spit and crept up to these birds on my stomach so as not to disturb them. I also wanted to be at their level to get a different view. The seals and gull in the background maintain a sense of scale. This photograph reached the semi-finals in the 2008 BBC Wildlife Competition.
Canon EOS 40D, 100-300mm 4.5/5.6 lens, 1/160th sec, f/5.6, ISO 500, focal length 300mm


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Online, web-based photo editing with

Found this via the BBC tech website. It's an online photoshop clone called It's free and no registration required (I think).

Looks and works very like it apparently, although I have not fully tested it (review to follow). Have a try and see what you think. May be useful if away from your PC and Photoshop not available...

It does layers, but not masks, and I can even see how to erase one layer to reveal one underneath, so you can't - it seems - do anything really funky on it. But if your shots are ok and only need a little tweak, it looks pretty good. I'll keep investigating and see their on line help just in case you can do more.

Happy time-wasting!


Monday, September 14, 2009

The issue of sunlight

Here is a technical question for you budding photographers.

The situation: I am slowly crawling along a narrow beach at high tide, occasionally wading, to reach the thousands ofsandpipers and plovers on a narrow stretch of beach. When I get close enough to start shooting, I run into the problem of shooting into the sun. Colours are washed out and there is haze. I can't get to the other side of the beach because I would disturb the birds and they may not return. I am shooting with a 100-400mm zoom lens.

How can I minimise the effects of the sun, such as losing colour saturation, and haze etc. This question is directed at both the camera and post-processing RAW captures.

Any thoughts on that?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rain Sky - 2; the DCL crop

Taking Damian's advice, cropping off the lower black layer...better?


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Birds, and lots of 'em

I recently made three photographic trips. The first was to Evangeline Beach where I photographed thousands of semi-palmated samdpipers and plovers. I will post the other two trips later: the Bay of Fundy and Kejimkujik National Park.

Each year in July thousands of these birds congregate on the Minas Basin to feed on the mudflats. If you go on the fall of high tide the birds are crammed together on small beaches waiting for flats to be exposed so they can binge on those delightful invertebrates. So I went down there to have a look...

I used my Canon EOS 40D and 100-400mm L USM lens.

At the smallest of sounds, or movement or smell the birds take flight.

They have a brown upper and a white lower so in the air they produce wonderful and colourful patterns

Rain sky

Another 3.2MP image taken on the cybershot phone. This time tweaked quite a bit more - I wanted to see if I could make a decent mono image. I think I can. Not much interest in the foreground, and it's a little imbalanced across the image, but the limitations of the colour image (noise) works out to give quite a nice mono grain effect. I used a vignette too to increase the moodiness of the image. Let me know what you think.

Is anyone else planning to post? If not, I shall surf your sites, take screenshots and post for you!!


Friday, September 04, 2009

Dying flowers

Some flowers, now getting near the end of their best period. I liked the murky water and view through the glass. Quite nice, muted colours and shapes.

Sony Cybershot mobile phone, macro mode.


Morning Light on glass

A simple shot, taken because I liked the light and shade on the patterned glass we have in our front porch. The little cybershot has slightly over-exposed the most intense area of light, but has handled the shade part very well, and overall exposure is good considering how tricky this must be to meter. It actually has spot metering, would you believe..!


Clematis Explosion

Last of this summer's crop of clematis flowers. Wonderful colours.

Taken with the cybershot from mobile phone. This time on macro mode, which is actually not too bad - there's a lot of detail in this image, and it's only had a marginal amount of sharpening.

I'd like to enter one or more of the technically better mobile phone shots to a projected image competition at Cambridge Camera Club this year. 3.2MP is more than enough to meet the size requirements for projection, so it's down to me getting a good enough shot from this little beast. What kudos, to get placed with a mobile phone snap, proving the old maxim that it's WHAT you photograph, not what with.


A closer warm welcome

Same place, but closer in. I think this accentuates the elements - the grimy pavement, the vomit on the ground and the smiley face.

Sony Cybershot from mobile phone.


A warm welcome?

A bit like the "Paradise Lost" image recently posted, this one is from a back alley in Cambridge, where often you see homeless folks sleeping. I liked the contrast of the bleak stained brick with the playful face.

Taken with the Sony Cybershot again. It definitely does better in good light, but I think I didn't quite let the (slow) autofocus do it's thing before moving a little. There are better pics than this (next post)


At the horse show

A snapshot taken at a local horse show, where the kids were having races. I liked the poses of the watchers, the man with his hands on his hips, the old woman and youngsters sitting down, the action going on in front of them. I am trying out a more "in the moment" style of photography, perhaps with elements of what Damian does, less thinking more capturing and seeing what it comes out like. A bit like some of the street photography I've been getting into recently.

This was taken on a 3.2MP sony cybershot, which is part of my new Sony Ericsson C510 mobile smartphone. It's not powerful, no manual control, but it is with me all the time, and is ideal for this type of thing. It powers on in seconds, and is easy, immediate. Not a replacement for the SLR, but something separate.

I can manipulate to minimise any artefacts in photoshop - these are very small sensors, so can be quite noisy, but I think this adds to the feel of these captures.

More to follow...