Month: April 2014

The Need for Enjoyment

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Reflections in Leadenhall Market. Panasonic LX7 compact camera.
Reflections in Leadenhall Market. Panasonic LX7 compact camera.

So, here I am in London with a couple of friends for the day and our sole purpose is to enjoy ourselves taking pictures. But I wasn’t. Not because this isn’t a great city or I wasn’t happy being with my friends, I just wasn’t inspired. I was taking photographs but I wasn’t creating photography. My mojo had gone and I just couldn’t stay enthused.

I was used to this dip happening around early afternoon but today I just hadn’t got into gear and now it was mid afternoon.

What snapped me out of this was finding a puddle in Leadenhall Market. The market itself had been decorated with flags and whilst pretty wasn’t very interesting. It was only when I found a puddle that showed their reflection that I began to feel interested. I ended up slaving over trying to create the image above for around half an hour without much luck.

Ultimately I decided to put away my main cameras and just work with the little Panasonic LX7. This is where everything just clicked into place and I started to create photography. That little camera is a joy to use. I love the control it gives me and the quality is very good. I have since printed some of my shots at A2 and they look super (but more on that at a later date).

After this switch of equipment I started to feel enthused again and everything came together. I even switched back to shooting with my other cameras to vary things and it worked well. This just goes to show the importance of enjoying yourself when taking photographs.

A Note of Thanks

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Canary Wharf in London's Docklands. Panasonic Lumix GM1 with 12-32mm lens. Post processing in Nik SIlver Efex Pro and Nik Analog Efex.
Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands. Panasonic Lumix GM1 with 12-32mm lens. Post processing in Nik SIlver Efex Pro and Nik Analog Efex.

I would like to publish a note of thanks to the security officers at Canary Wharf in London. Yesterday I visited London with a couple of friends as tourists to take pictures. One of our locations was Docklands with the intention of photographing some of the icon architecture including Canary Wharf.

Waiting for our friend outside the Tube Station we were taking some pictures of the buildings when we were approached by a security officer to ask if we had permission. What was nice about this is that the officer took the trouble to look at the pictures we were shooting and then contacted security to allow us to continue. It’s great when officials recognise that not everyone with a camera is a terrorist or pervert and treat people with respect.

Thank you.

Friday image No.017

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Long exposure on Filey Brigg using an Olympus EM5, 9-18mm lens at f/8.0 and 8 stop ND filter
Long exposure on Filey Brigg using an Olympus EM5, 9-18mm lens at f/8.0 and 8 stop ND filter. Click to view larger image.

It’s back to images from my Filey trip for this week’s Friday image. This was shot from Filey brig and is a long exposure taken during the day. It’s a 6 second exposure which I captured on the Olympus EM5. I used a Hi-Tech 8 stop ND filter from their ProStop IRND range (here is the link to a 10 stop on amazon). I have to say that I am really impressed with these filters. They give a blue colour cast to the image but it’s really nice and something that I decided to accentuate in this shot. The image quality is very good and I am going to buy some more of these in different strengths to give me more choice. As I am using them with Micro 43 I only need the 67mm size so they become very affordable.

There is something about a simple image such as this that I find quite relaxing.

Hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

Walking through History

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The dam at Ladybower. Captured on a Panasonic GX1 converted to shoot infrared then processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro and Nik Analog Efex.
The dam at Ladybower. Captured on a Panasonic GX1 converted to shoot infrared then processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro and Nik Analog Efex.

With it being a Bank Holiday in the UK today and for once the weather not being terrible, I went for a walk. I like quite near to the Peak District National Park but for some reason I seldom visit. Today I decided I wanted a good walk in the hills so drove over to Ladybower reservoir which is about 50 minutes from my house.

When I first became interested in photography I remember seeing some old images of the dam at Ladybower and I thought these images were wonderful. The Victorians certainly knew how to engineer wonderful structures but the age of the images also made these more appealing.

I recall visiting the area about 10 years ago in the hope of being able to recreate these wonderful images but it wasn’t to be. Today I was able to create something that I quite liked using my Infrared camera. But it wasn’t until I took the image into Nik Analog Efex and applied a little emotion that the image came to life. Trying to create an image such as the one above was almost impossible for me 10 years ago but today it took minutes.

I wonder what photography will be like in another 10 years.

Friday image No.016

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Sunset on Filey Brigg. Olympus EM5, 9-18mm lens and 0.6 ND graduated filter.
Sunset on Filey Brigg. Olympus EM5, 9-18mm lens and 0.6 ND graduated filter.

This week’s Friday image is another shot from my Filey trip last weekend. Here is the spit of land that juts out into the sea and forms the Filey Brigg. The low setting sun was an amazing transformation from the grey sky of the earlier day.

Have a great weekend.

Playing Around

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Olympus EM5, 9-18mm lens, 8 stop ND filter and post processing in Nik Analog Efex. Click the image to see a larger version.
Olympus EM5, 9-18mm lens, 8 stop ND filter and post processing in Nik Analog Efex. Click the image to see a larger version.

I have just been playing around with some of my images from the trip to Filey at the weekend. Here is another of the images shot from Filey Brigg. The Brigg is a huge lump of rock extending out into the sea. It’s quite dark, moody and dare I say it, difficult to photograph.

This particular image was shot with an 8 stop graduated filter which gave a 4 second exposure at f/7.1.

I quite like the resulting image but I decided to play around some more with Nik Analog Efex Pro which is where the corroded effect/moody texture comes from. I can’t make up my mind if I like it or not now but thought I would share it.

Sometimes photography is about experimenting.

If you don’t experiment you don’t learn.

If you don’t learn you don’t grow.

If you don’t grow you will never be great.

Infrared on the Brigg

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Filey Brigg in Infrared following convesion in Nik Silver Efex Pro
Filey Brigg in Infrared following convesion in Nik Silver Efex Pro

First off, sorry there was no Friday image this week. With everything else I had on, I just couldn’t fit it in. One of the things I was doing was visiting Filey on the East Coast of England with a friend. We didn’t have great weather but we did manage to capture some interesting shots.

One of the things I was trying out was some Infrared photography but not with my converted camera (although I did use that later). Instead I was experimenting with a 720nm Infrared filter on my Olympus EM5. This was to collect new material for a presentation and forthcoming book about Infrared photography.

Whilst some people will tell you that you can’t shoot infrared with a filter on a modern camera, it’s not true, it’s just that the exposures are quite long. The example you see above was a 36 second exposure at f/7.1 and ISO200. This may seem very long, but look at the positives. If you are wanting to do ultra long exposure black and white photography, a £10 Infrared filter from eBay is much cheaper than a 10 stop ND filter. The IR filter will also give you a much longer exposure in the middle of the day.

For those of you wondering what it looked like prior to conversion in Silver Efex Pro, here it is again. I will also point out that I have set a white balance in the RAW conversion as the image is blood read otherwise.

Image prior to conversion in Nik Silver Efex Pro
Image prior to conversion in Nik Silver Efex Pro

 

Having posted this yesterday I just checked on Amazon to see how much a recognised brand IR filter was and it was £26 for a 52mm Hoya. Here is the link for any one who is interested http://amzn.to/1eBy6Fg

I have no will power

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Whitby, captured on the Sony RX100 with 0.6 ND graduated filter. Post processing in Nik Color Efex and Viveza and a tweak in Photoshop.
Whitby, captured on the Sony RX100 with 0.6 ND graduated filter. Post processing in Nik Color Efex and Viveza and a tweak in Photoshop.

A couple of weeks back I was out with my friend Steve (who is also an Olympus EM5 owner) and we were discussing just how good this camera is. At the time we agreed that we didn’t want for anything so would stop all this chasing around after new kit and just work with what we have. Just two weeks on and I have ordered a Panasonic GM1. I just had a gut feeling that I needed one – I don’t know where the feeling came from but I tend to listen to my hunches.

But hear me out (I need to justify this for my own piece of mind).

I currently have two compact cameras, an LX7 and a Sony RX100. I like and am impressed by both but neither is perfect. Of the two, I would say I am least happy with the Sony and want to replace it. It’s not that I don’t like the Sony it’s that I just don’t love it. My intention with the GM1 is to use it as a replacement compact camera and potentially as my travel camera.

I am hoping that by pairing up the GM1 with some of the great (small) lenses that I already own I can have a great compact kit. I will need to see how well this works before deciding to sell the LX7 (as I do love that camera) but the RX100 is going on eBay.

Watch this space for my future experiences once I get the GM1 – it has just been reported to me as being out of stock.

Nik Color Efex Book Launch

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Nik Color Efex Pro: How to transform your photography
Nik Color Efex Pro: How to transform your photography

I am really pleased to announce that my latest book “Nik Color Efex Pro: How to transform your photography” is now available on Amazon (Link to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk). It has an introductory price for the month of April of just $2.99 (£1.85 in the UK and other countries are similarly priced in their relevant Amazon stores).

The reason I’m so pleased to announce this is that it’s a huge book. It’s 230 pages in A4 format and contains almost 300 illustrations. Months and effort and research have gone into creating this one and I’m really pleased with the results.

If you’re not familiar with Nik Color Efex Pro it is an amazing product. It contains 55 filters that can be applied to enhance your image in an almost unimaginable variety of ways. A lot of Nik software owners seem to shy away from using it because it offers so much choice and flexibility. There is also very little documented on its filters and functionality so this book provides an invaluable reference tool for users.

View book on Amazon.co.uk

View book on Amazon.com

Friday Image No.015

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Olympus EM5. Ambleside, The Lake District.
Olympus EM5. Ambleside, The Lake District.

I have been so busy this past week that I hadn’t realised Friday had come round again. Then I realised that I didn’t have an image to share so I started to look back over my shots from last year. A lot of the folders I have done nothing with. Despite this there are a few images that show some promise but which I overlooked at the time.

Here’s one example shot at dawn at the Marina in Ambleside. The weather didn’t play out quite as we had hoped for and the bank of heavy cloud failed to clear. It’s still quite a pleasant image though.

Have a great weekend.