Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Weston Super Mare

It's always nice to get a chance to visit the seaside.









It reminds me of how English holidays used to be, right down to the murky water.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Harvest time in the valley

Last night I went for a short drive round the valley to get some images of the crops before they were harvested, or in a couple of cases while they were being harvested.









It was also a chance to try out a 'standard' 50mm Nikon lens. I have very mixed feelings about this one, and I wonder if Nikon lens quality is actually normally a bit low as standard. The last 50 AFG that I had back at Christmas was nothing better than tolerable, and not a patch on the Sony/Minolta 50 1.4 I use with my Sony outfit despite being close in price. This one is an AFD model, and suffers bad chroma below f4, plus flares a lot when pointed at the sun. After 8 months with Nikon I've come to the conclusion that Minolta/Sony make better 'ordinary' lenses.

First 5 images with the 50 f1.8, last 2 with a Sanyang 85 f1.4 manual lens.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Grand designs, little corners.

I mentioned some grand buildings in the earlier post regarding Tewksbury, and the Abbey certainly lives up to that description , with ornate ceilings and incredibly fine carvings to rival Moghul India. However there's also quiet, cool and dark corners too, just tucked away to maintain their modesty.








Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Another pseudo-Orton effect

Here's a second example of that pseudo Orton effect, again deliberately limited to keep some of the photographic qualities of the picture.

Unprocessed image

Detail layer

Colour layer

Composite image

It's a softer, different look from either using a soft focus filter or a glow effect, and helps overcome the buring desire one can feel with modern cameras and software, to make everything as sharp and finely detailed as absolutely possible.


Monday, 1 August 2016

The pseudo Orton effect

Michael Orton originally developed the effect named after him by sandwiching 2 slides together. Both were over-exposed and one was deliberatey out of focus in order to create an effect like a painting. It was hit & miss, and also time consuming to create, requiring intention and time to get right.

In the digital age it's still possible to work that way, but by the miracle that is modern technology we can also use a single RAW file direct from camera, modifying it to suit. This is the unprocessed image saved as a .jpg file.



I tend to think of the 2 layers required as the 'detail' layer and the 'colour' layer.

The detail layer needs to be over-exposed to replicate the 'thinness of that original transparency, but also sharp and contrasty to create the outlines that one might find with a watercolour. To create this I upped exposure about 1.3 stops, raised contrast and especially clarity, reduced saturation and vibrance.


 The colour layer doesn't really require much detail, but I also didn't want something that was horribly smeary like a child's painting. To create this I worked contrast & clarity in the opposite direction, pus reduced saturation & raised exposure again so that this would sit below the detail layer and just provide soft colours.


And finally they required blending. I used On1 suite Layers program, blending with a multiply setting in order to simulate sandwiching 2 transparencies, with the top detail layer set to roughly 50%.


To me, that looks quite like a painting, yet holds a reasonable amount of detail and balances the colours out nicely in the mid-range in a way that an ordinary photo wouldn't. There's a lot of learning and practice to be had yet, but this is a technique I may use more in the future.

And now for something completely different

Last weekend we escaped to Tewksbury, amongst other places. It's full of ancient buildings (more later) and fascinating people.

I'm not a good street shooter, in that I'm not comfy asking people to pose, let alone shoving a camera into their faces. But I do sometimes 'see' things, and where possible I'll grab them candidly, recording what I observed rather than working them like a model.

If Dumbledore rode a bike.....



This appealed to my sense of humour

All shot using a Sigma 20-35mm zoom, Nikon D610 and developed in Nik Silver Efex

Friday, 15 July 2016

Not quite a local shot

But not far either. Chesterton mill is a place that I'd love to photograph more, but the 40min drive just makes it a little inconvenient: not close enough to just pop out, not far enough to justify a road trip.

When we arrived it was just in time to catch the last failing rays before the clouds covered the setting sun. This was shot from the road just down the hill from where the cars normally park, rather than further into the fields where most seem to work.


Nikon D610 & AIS Nikkor 28mm f3.5 - you can see the slight vignetting from the older lens in the corners of the sky area. Sometimes it holds detail really well, but on this occasion it seemed to struggle a bit, or perhaps the corn was waving a little more than the shutter speed could accommodate.