A Portrait in Greenwich

Adventure time again as I traveled to Greenwich at the weekend. Once more did I ride the tamest roller coaster London has to offer. Stepping off at the DLR station of Cutty Sark I walked around to the park in front of the Observatory. Above me, there seemed to be a large group of people lined up on the ridge. Looked like they were watching me as I walked below them.

I waved, not one of them waved back....

Continuing on, I had looked at Google Maps first and found a location called One Tree Vista Point. This sounded like a good place to start so I trudged up the hill, which was quite a steep angle. Once at the top I found that there is a path that could have conveyed me to the top a lot quicker and with less slippage. Still once at the top I had a great view stretching from the Isle of Dogs to the right of me, all the way to the Shard, way off in the distance.

There were two photographers already there snapping away. I took out my Canon 70d which was sporting the 24-105 F4 and waited my turn. I make a point of waiting for other photographers to finish what they are doing After all they may be on assignment and need the time to complete.

Still I managed to snap off a panoramic while I was waiting.

Bit misty...

I headed further down below the One Tree Vista for a shot across to the Observatory. The sun was setting at this point and was creating a golden glow across the lower part of the frame with red and orange tinged clouds.

Red Sky at night... the park may be on fire...

The sun was setting rapidly and I could see the hoards of 'non waving' people descending towards the park gates. I followed then for a bit then broke off towards the Cutty Sark. I had photographed this before when I had started out in Photography and wanted to try again from a different angle.

By the time I got to there it was very dark, so I set up on t he right of the ship and with my tripod set up a couple of long exposures. All the non waving people were now streaming past the ship so a long exposure was needed to blur them out. In homage to the time the ship caught fire I added my own 'ahem' effect..

Opps! Flash was a bit strong.

Feeling guilty about the possibility of digitally burning down a national maritime treasure I walked past Nandos towards the river bank. It was time for another panoramic. This time from the south to the north bank, using the Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 each took eight seconds. I am glad the people on the left of the frame decided to stand still for the duration. I would have been annoyed if they had started to wave at that point.

Perhaps they were stalking me...

While I was taking a few test shots I noticed there was a couple of spots on the lens which needed cleaning. So I whipped out the cleaning cloth and pen to clean up. I steadied the camera and pressed the shutter button. Thinking nothing of I cleaned the lens. I missed the two second display of the shot the camera recorded and did not see it until I got home.

Not my best side....

LITF

Orange faced puppet!

Miss Blush getting ready for her performance

That is a very strange title but all will be come clear!

I managed to catch up with Ginger Blush at her one woman show, Nell Gwynn's History Laid Bare in Croyden. I had not been to Croyden before so as normal I made travel plans that meant I was there a full 30 minutes early. Better to be early than late though.

The very helpful Google Maps showed me where the Spread Eagle pub was in relation to the nearest fast food outlet. There are times I have found I will be concentrating on the event, camera settings and meeting performers that I forget to eat until after. Sometimes this means eating very late when I get home. So this time I eviscerated two cheese burgers before walking to the pub.

Arriving at the location I introduced myself to the promoter and was taken upstairs to meet Miss Blush, who was in a semi state of undress! A quick zip later and we were in the theatre area discussing where I could stand. As a rule I always scout an area out by using Google Images before attending. In this case I had Googled 'Spread Eagle pub interior theatre images' and saw that there would be rows of seats with a central isle.

Whenever possible I do like to talk to the performers about the show and ask if there is anything in particular that they want me to capture. I also like to take back stage shots of them getting ready. The shot to the right was taken close to start of the show.

During the performance I choose to stand next to the Audio/Visual area which would mean I would be behind the audience. I am Lensintheface by name not in nature! I try to be face on if I can as the performer is generally centre stage most of the time projecting forwards so I would get some great facial and action shots. OK I would get the odd audience head or two in the way but that's live theatre for you and I feel does add to the photos.

The lighting was dark to medium brightness but Miss Blush did tend to stick to the centre of the stage where the light was more favourable. I was using my Canon 70d with the Canon 24-105 f4 L lens a combination that is working perfectly.

This particular performance, was funny and informative. I found myself at times watching, and listening to the narrative quite a lot. This did not detract from the amount of good photos I managed to capture though. It is good to watch and listen to the performance as you can anticipate the performers next move and capture shots you would otherwise miss.

One such shot was of the orange faced puppet mentioned above. At this stage, the history lesson had moved on to where Nell Gwynn became a mistress of Charles II. I think this is one of the most surreal photos I have taken on a stage. This could be the stuff of nightmares for some but for me the sight of a Charles II puppet with an orange tennis ball for a face singing along to the sound of Donna Summers 'I feel love' had me in stitches.

I feel love - with added vitamin c

The show ended and I had a quick chat with Miss Blush before missing the tram home. While waiting for the the next tram I could hear Italian opera being sung live from a restaurant close by.

To speed up the process I started to cull shots in camera using my normal harsh methodology. Anything with blurry limbs are thrown out completely. This meant that I was able, using Lightroom to adjust for white balance across the whole of the remaining shots, to complete the work before midnight the same day. A mere three hours after the show had ended I had linked the shots to Miss Blush via Dropbox. In keeping with the show, I then had some orange juice.

'Ginger Blush burst on to the burlesque scene as winner of Best UK Newcomer 2010 delighting audiences with her tongue-in-cheek tease.  Praised for giving classic burlesque a contemporary comic twist, Ginger Blush bring lashings of humour, serious sex appeal and a side of slapstick to her award-winning performances.'  http://www.gingerblush.com/

LITF

Adding fuel to the fire

OK the odds of this happening are very small but I wonder if anyone in 7th century China, after watching a firework explode over head, had any idea that centuries later I would be photographing a performer call Red Sarah on stage at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London? Probably not.

The art of pyrotechnics is lost on me. I light the blue touch paper and run. So it was a great surprise to see not one but eight devices being used on stage. I have seen fire performances before but not live sparkling fireworks held above someones face!

Initial Cleanup

I was happy with the original frame seen here but the lighting on the skin caught my eye so I made a mental note to make this the image to edit. I firstly went over the image and cleaned up some of the distractions.

  • There a couple of sparks at the top and around the main grouping that needed taking care of.
  • Some of the highlights of the curtain behind the performer were just a little to bright.
  • A couple of wrinkles on the dress had to come out.
  • Used the clone stamp to add back the addition of one of the pyrotechnics that didn't fire on the night.

Close up of the skin detail.

Additions

This clean frame was duplicated in Lightroom and exported to Topaz Glow. After playing around with the settings I found one that looked liked the skin was translucent enough for the bone structure and veins to be seen. This was saved back to Lightroom and both it and the clean frame were sent kicking and screaming into Photoshop as layers.

I created a black layer mask over the Topaz Layer and named it 'Skin'. I then used a soft white brush and painted back the Topaz level. The effect only really worked on the chest and arm areas. I wanted to leave the face as it was and left the neck mostly intact.

To the left is a 100% close up of the detail. It really did look too much like a cadaver was up on stage if the effect was all over. I added a curves layer to brighten and enhance the area below the waist as this was a little to much in shadow. These two layers were combined to a single frame back to Lightroom.


Selective Blur

I have been playing around with using selective blur on  my edits and this was no exception.

I opened the image in Photoshop made a copy of the layer and added around 40% Gaussian Blur and a Radial Blur. These are the two main effects I have in my work, they complement each other so well in shots like these.

I added a black layer mask on the blur layer and used a large white brush to bring back the layer below. This really anchored the performer to the center of the image, focusing on the head below the sparking firework. I then added a sharpening layer to the face, hair and exposed chest area.


Final Image

Below is a before and after. The selective blurring technique is one I intend to employ a lot for now on to drag the viewers eye to the focus of the image. I also intend to purchase a few more plugins to add to my work flow. I have always been an advocate of using little plugins that can make a massive impact to an image. Well worth the money!


About Red Sarah

This blog post has been possible with the blessing of the performer Red Sarah.

Red Sarah - The Doyenne of Disguise and Mistress of Make-Believe, with an act for all occasions and uncountable skills. From fire performance to crafting and drag-kinging, Red Sarah is the essence of true showbiz. Drawing on her 15 years in the limelight, booking Red is like booking your own piece of stardom itself. Red Sarah is a top billing performer who knows how to steal a show and deliver entertainment like no other. You can learn more about Red Sarah at  www.thefireschool.co.uk and www.redsarah.com

LITF

I can see my house from here...

So it was a very hot day in July and I was stuck for something to do. A quick search on Google for 'high public buildings in London' resulted in fining the One New Change shopping complex opposite St Paul's Cathedral.

Hopped on a tube to St Paul's station where everyone was staring, wondering why I hopped on instead of walking on like everyone else. Once I arrived outside the One New Change building I noticed it was covered in a lot of glass which gave a number of weird reflections, might return sometime to explore a bit more with that.

Moving towards the center I boarded a lift to the top floor. I was greeted with loud music as there was a party going on in a roped off area, turning left I walked past a group of bean bags in front of a large display screen. I assume there was a film showing soon. I wasn't here to have a drink while watching a film so I continued to the edge of the roof.

Wow, that is impressive. To the right you can see one of the large towers of the Barbican Centre, left you can see all the way to the Shard and you cannot miss the imposing structure of St Paul's Cathedral slap bang in the middle.

The sun was hiding behind the clouds so I decided to take some shots of the surrounding are before I tried a panoramic. I got shots of all three buildings above and decided to make a Triptych when I returned home.

This showed me there are taller buildings to checkout later!

The sun had made an appearance once more so I thought it would be time for a panoramic. Whipping out Jerry and and Stubby I fired off a few frames and get a general idea of how I could get some shots. The roof doesn't come to a edge where you can see and possibly drop things on the people below on the street, it has a slope which end a good few yards away from the real edge. This slope was getting in the shot but I wasn't too worried.

So starting from the right started to take frames, in portrait mode for a deeper panoramic, and making sure all the frames overlapped by around 30-40%. Got to the end of the shots to find a couple of people had wandered up to the edge of the railing. Not to worry just take the shot I thought, they may balance the shot out later or I can always crop them out.

St Paul's is watching you....

It turned out that they do balance the photo well and the roof curves around to the right revealing more of the Cathedral than if I had taken a straight on shot. You may have noticed the trees are red instead of green. This was due to the editing process, I think it suits the picture better than if they were green.

I would recommend a trip to this roof top if you are passing by. Make sure it is not raining though!

I was standing just below the brown triangle. Copyright of Google Maps

LITF

Undressed Vampiress...

I am challenging myself to pick a shot from each shoot I do and create a more advanced edit that I would normally do. This will keep my Photoshop skills up and I can learn new techniques as I work.

On the 12th of June I was asked to shoot for the House of Burlesque at the Electric Carousel in Piccadilly. It was a standard shoot of the show with a few shots of the stage and audience thrown in. Images were sorted, edited and delivered the next day. I then looked for which of the shots I would like to edit beyond the standard.

I choose a shot of performer Trixie Kixx. There were a number of things that I wanted to change from the original. I was going for a ‘vampire’ type vibe as an end result. This was taken with my 70d and the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8.

  • The red curtain needed to be removed in favor of the better right hand side of the frame.
  • Skin needed to be smoother and somewhat waxier.
  • Remove distractions.
  • Reduce the overall redness.
  • The lighter and darker parts of the clothing needed to be enhanced.

If the above worked I should be looking at something that may have been shot in a crypt rather than on a stage.

One of the first thing I did was to clean up the image, using the spot healing tool in Photoshop CC 2015 to remove scrapes, blemishes and other pieces that I knew would be trouble and stand out later. On the inside of the coat there looked to be stains of some sort. These turned out to be flower patterns woven into the fabric. I didn't think flowers were very 'vampish' so these were removed.

The next stage was to tidy up the curtain on the left hand side. I used a shot a couple of seconds after this one where there was more of the right hand side showing. I add this as another layer and used a mask to remove the parts of the shot I didn't need. The mask followed the line of Trixie's arm and right leg.

I then decided it would be a good idea.to blend the two layers together to make a background layer and then create a mask of Trixie herself to aid in edits further on. I darkened the Background layer a little to reduce the red glow.

I made a copy of the Trixie layer and used a slight Gaussian effect to blur the skin. Again a mask was used and brushed back the clothing and necklace. This smoothed out the skin and allowed me to also add a brightness layer to brighten the skin and make it stand out from the background.

 

A Trixie layer was exported back to Lightroom and opened in Topaz Glow. I had an idea to enhance the clothing and necklace. Choosing a preset and saved back to Lightroom, opened back into Photoshop and copied to the main project.

The whole of that layer was effected by the Topaz Glow effect so I added a mask and brought back only the areas of the clothing that I required. However this had the effect of making the highlights look like diamonds. It was a nice effect but not what I needed here. So I used and Curves adjustment layer and reversed the effect.

This had the effect of darkening and reddening the detail which fitted the vampish effect I wanted. I darkened the rest of the clothing to make it darker than it's original color.

The final TIFF was saved with ZIP compression to layers so the overall size was around 600mb rather than 1.4gig.

Final adjustments were made in Lightroom were used to sharpen the red highlights of the clothing and headpiece. With slight darkening around the edges of the arms and legs just to blend Trixie in a bit better with the background.

Adjustment brushes were used to lighten and De-saturate the skin where needed. I didn't want the skin to look to undead like but not quite 'alive' if you know what I mean.

Finally I used a custom preset to darken and add a slight blue tint to the background. This needed removing from Trixie again so back whet both the darken and normal images as layers and the the dark parts removed.

The final image is below along with the original for comparison.

 

Before and After... no vampires were harmed in the making of this image.

Trixie Kixx is a Neo burlesque artiste with all the curves and all the moves!

Follow Tixie on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trixiekixx/, Facebook and Instagram.

Thanks to Trixie for allow me to feature her performance in this blog post.

LITF

Break down those barriers...

Another trip out to London this week. Today was the turn of East London to grace with my presence. I found myself on the East London tamest roller coaster, the Docklands Light Railway heading towards Pontoon Dock.

I had already scouted the area using Google maps. The area I was traveling to was right in front of the Thames Barrier. I had seen this in pictures before but not first hand. Walking down the five flights of stairs to road level I then headed south from Pontoon Dock and through the Thames Barrier Park.

Not a very original name I thought, unless occasionally large barriers would get in the way of patrons and then flood them for no reason. Then I would find the name acceptable. Winding my way the families enjoying picnics, strangely bearded youths thinking they can skateboard and the odd flying football I arrived at the edge of the Thames.

I was so disappointed... I thought the barrier was going to be much bigger than I thought. Now there must have been studies of how effective this barrier would be but if the North Sea ever decided to go shopping in Oxford Street I will not think twice about building a raft.

I wasn't going to waste the day so got out Jerry and Stubby and got to work.

The Thames Barrier, if they keep watering it like that it might grow bigger...

There were a lot of seagulls relaxing and drinking by the waters edge. Looked like some of them were on a package holiday from the south coast. You could tell as they were bigger due to them being fed chips all the time.

Walking west along the bank I stopped in front of a small jetty. The bars had a small padlock in front. Looking left and right there was no one in sight but I thought as soon as I step out onto the jetty then the river police would arrive and give me a good kicking. So I stayed where I was and watched as two seagulls faced off against each other, I called them Nick and John. To be honest  if you did swap the faces of two seagulls noone would notice.

I want to take his face... off. Eyes, nose, skin, teeth. It's coming off.

From here I couldn't walk much further without falling into the Thames so I walked back an decided to make a panoramic of the barrier to the still staring seagulls on the jetty. I took seven shot and used Lightroom 6's new panoramic tool to stitch them together, no need to jump into Photoshop to do it anymore.

Two seagulls in the distance, punching each other.

Jumped back on the East London Roller Coaster and headed to Blackwall. I got off looking for this black wall but found nothing. I watched as a train pulled in and thought if I race to the other end I can take a snap while it leaves the station. I may have mentioned my pack is quite heavy before so jogging along a platform brought an element of danger to the day.

I braced against the platform wall of the station, (which wasn't black) and fired off a few frames as the train left for the next stage of it's mildly entertaining ride. This shot looked so ordinary in the back of the camera so I thought I would boost it a little in Lightroom/Photoshop.

The DLR taken by a DSLR

The East London Roller Coaster would be much more fun if the speed was anything like which this end result portrayed. Phones, tablets and many bags of chips would be ruined by the colossal G-forces this produced.

Fortunately the train back was not going at warp speed so I arrived home without being covered in chips.

LITF

Oh God ruuuuuun!!

It is said that the best camera you can have is the one you have on you. But what if you don't have one on you?

The other day I was walking home and spotted a great picture but I didn't have my camera with me. The scene was a bike in the shadow of open stonework as the sun was going down. I quickly committed to the shot and ran home to pick up the camera and the Stubby.

I got home, dumped the shopping on the kitchen counter, picked up Gerry and Stubby checked battery and threw in a card that was lying around. Ran full pelt back to the spot to find the sun had of course moved on, well technically the Earth had moved but you know what I mean. The Earth orbits at 107,000 km/h so my land based foot speed would not have made much difference, however the orbit had helped a little as the shadow was now in the path of the bike a bit better than before.

The stonework you can see in the photo was on the opposite side so I had to push Stubby through one of the gaps. I tried lower down but this wasn't quite right. I saw the scene from head height initially and luckily there was a gap at the right height also. I fired off a couple of frames to make sure I had the scene I wanted and then slowly walked home.

Checking the shot in the computer I noticed the scene was more yellow than I wanted. TO me the scene was better as you see below. I straightened the angle so the walls were more vertical and adjusted the colours and sharpened a little.

LITF

 

 

Looking back.

One of the things I enjoy most is restoring photos. I do not claim to be the best at it but I try to get a decent result from the source given.

I was contacted by a friend of mine who had a very old shot of her grandparents on their wedding day. The only source was a scanned image in JPEG. Jpeg is a compressed format so I was worried that there were going to be a lot of artifacts present in the file. There didn't seem to be too many when I first inspected the shot.

Just a bit of damage.

As you can see, there are streaks all over as well as dark blotches across the two figures. The line at the top was the first to go along with a lot of work to removed to remove the streaks. A lot more care was taken where you have the streaks across the clothing and hair then there was with the fence and the sky. The priority work for this was to restore the people not the surrounding garden to much.

Once the majority of the clean up work was done I had a version that looked much better than the original but was lacking something. Colour! I have tried a restoration with colour a few times and thought this would be good practice and a great surprise for my friend when she saw it.

Cleaned up and colour added.

I added colour using the 'False Colour' technique. I created a new layer in Photoshop, named it 'Groom Suit' and painted a light blue colour where the suit was at 20% opacity. Set the layer to only allow the colour to show through, tidied up the edging and done as you see above. More layers were added, Bride Suit, Lawn Green, Sky Blue, Brick Work, House Roof, Skin Colour, Whites and Hair. Each layer was separate to allow for easy modification where needed.

Next was framing. I was asked if I could produce around 8 copies. The frame was larger than 6x but as earlier the focus was on the couple not the surrounding area of 1950's Chester so I cropped the image down to the 6x4 ratio.

Eight framed shots as requested.

In the end I printed and framed eight shots as requested and delivered the following week.

LITF

When in York... ignore the tourist sites...

So there I was finally getting off the train at York station. An hour and a half late, tired, hungry and annoyed that I had missed the sun that evening.

It has been a long time since I had the opportunity to visit York and I remember wanting to take a lot of photos next time I went. I was up on business for my day job, this wasn't a social visit... or so I thought.

Ghostly goings on....

I was there for two days and after checking in at the hotel I decided to take shots of the hotel room. Wasn't that interesting until I picked up a towel from the bathroom.

Hmmm I thought lets play around with this.

I had my tripod with me so I set up my Canon 70D and fired off a shot with a 2 second delay of the bathroom using my 10-20mm wide angle lens 'Stubby'.

I then carefully moved into the bathroom with the towel, hit the timer and threw it over my head.

Whipping out my laptop I threw the two frames into Lightroom, made a few adjustments opened them as layers in Photoshop and masked out my arms and legs.

Punching through a few effects and the usual radial filter added to this spooky shot.

York was built on the River Ouse. For a while now I have wanted to use Stubby to take a long exposure on a river that wasn't the Thames. The shot below was taken at Wellington Row just past the bike sheds. There is a little flight of stairs leading up to the back door of the bike sheds. I set up the tripod and selected bracketed exposure settings in the camera.

The result was stunning. Stubby can be really sharp and you can also see some stars that were caught in the exposure. The bright light behind the center building was the moon. If this had been in the shot then it may not have been as good as the light from the moon would have over powered the shot.

Love the way the water now looks like glass.

Smooooth Oooouse....

Bit rainy...

Further south from the Ouse there is Station Road. Just as it passes underneath the city wall. From there I could see York Minster in the distance and thought the line of the road stretching out before me was a nice run up that would track the eye.

However once I was editing in Lightroom I noticed that my eye was drawn more towards the car in the foreground. I decided to make that the focus of the shot and subsequently de-focus everything else.

I used a cold blue palette for this shot. It had been raining before hand so I wanted to keep that look. I selectively blurred out most of the background till just before the roof of the car.

I then used, believe it or not, a stock picture of leather skin to form the rain. The picture was manipulated in Photoshop and finally motion blurred at a slight angle to create the rain.

I had nearly finished when I noticed I had left the number plate of the car visible in the shot. A few minutes of cloning sorted that!

Fully Fashioned Point Heel, red metallic seam.

Earlier in the week I had arranged to meet Yvette from Burlesque Nylons in Harrogate. It was a thirty minute train ride from York and my evening was clear so yeah lets go!

We met outside the station and we went to a bar called the Blues Bar in Montpellier Parade.

We talked about photography, burlesque and product shots. I suggested we try a few shots now! This would be my second shoot in pub, the last was the Bedford, Balham in June of this year.

The bar wasn't crowded so Yvette quickly changed and modeled the 'Fully Fashioned Point Heel, red metallic seam' for me on the stairs right next to the main doorway.

I didn't use Stubby for this as it would have been too wide a shot. I would have got Yvette, the bar and most of Harrogate if I had used that.

This shot was taken using the Canon 50mm f1.8.

So to summarize, when visiting one of the oldest cities in England, there is no need to take photos that everyone else does, pretend your a ghost, stand next to a river, ignore the background for a strangers car and borrow a friends feet for the evening.

LITF

Same time same place

Map by the Google chaps.

October already and my thoughts travel to the future... where is my hover board Zemeckis?

Banishing thoughts of flying skateboards I return screaming to the topic of this blog post. Future Ideas! So here we go:

Same time same place - Weekly

This project means I select a place in London and at the same time each week I take a shot in the same direction. At the end of the project I would have built up 52 shots documenting how the area changed in a year.

The area selected would have to have noticeable changes, not from week to week but at least in how it looks. Perhaps a spot in a public park would be good as the seasons would change the landscape.

Dawn till Dusk

This project would mean I would stay in one place from dawn to dusk. Preferably this would be done around now in Autumn rather than long summer days.

I would like to capture the sun as it rises from the horizon, to where it sets. I know my wide angle lens would not be enough for me to lock the camera off on a tripod for the duration and snap a photo each hour. I would have to move it slightly so the whole sequence would be captured. Bit of maths to work that one out I think.

Necrotic Perennial

I have noticed that these project are all time based. Anyway this idea is I buy a flower… and let it die, taking a shot each day. Of the projects so far, this is the easiest to do and would not cost much in time or money. It would also be better than using a piece of fruit and watching it rot.

Pub Signs

Ok I know you are wondering ‘this is an excuse to go to the pub’ and you would be right… however I recall this is something my father used to do when his hobby was photography. I don’t recall why but I do remember traveling to London, walking around watching him take shot of pub signs.

It would be very interesting to do over 40 years later, until I found out there are nearly 7000 pubs in London….

It would mean an awful lot of walking around.

I will have to think of something else… let me know if you think of anything yourselves.

LITF

Mark my words.

When I first started in photography all my shots had a watermark on them. It didn't cover a large portion of the photo and was slightly faded as to not distract from the content.

Recently there have been a couple of occasions where I have found my photos on social media sites and normal websites without the requested credit links or even just my name.

I do ask everyone who uses my shots that they have a credit attached to the content, whether its a post on Facebook or part of a performers portfolio. a working, click-able hyper link back to my web page is sufficient.

Those whom I have contacted have corrected the oversight when requested but it is not something I should be asking. From now on I have decided to reinstate by watermark on all my photos.

It is small and unobtrusive so wont get in way of the content. There are other ways to protect my copyright, I have the original files with date stamps and metadata plus I can always embed more information with a stenography program. I will try that and blog about it.

Below is a picture I took at Madam Jo Jo's recently. You can see the watermark at the bottom right hand corner.

LITF

Betsie Bon Bon - Folly Mixtures

Back to the Bear basics

Since taking up photography I have had contact with a number of fellow snappers. Each have been helpful and willing to impart advice when asked. I hope that I have been able to do the same.

On to this afternoon. While looking through a number of older shots to see which I could mash together in a composition, I noticed a post on Facebook from Elspeth Van Der Hole. She was having trouble opening .NEF raw files from her D800. The files were not being recognised by Photoshop CS6/CC or Lightroom 5. Even a DNG  converter turned its nose up at it and walked off.

I fired off a message to Elspeth who I had recently contacted about her Youtube video discussing how photographers are increasingly told 'sorry there is no money for photographers right now blah blah blah do it for free etc etc'. I offered to take a look at the an example file for her, this would show if the error was the files or an installation fault. Elspeth uses a Mac while I use a PC, two different computers but the programs are the same so this would be a good test.

Elspeth sent me a drop box link of a .NEF file, one of her dog, Bear. After downloading it I threw it into Photoshop CC.

My first thought after seeing this was 'corrupted file'. No matter, I thought as I tied the file to a house brick and flung it screaming into the bowels of Lightroom 5.

The 'corrupted file' idea was now dancing around the back of my head whirling twin emergency flares. This problem reminded me of a time when I was asked to fix an import problem from a Nikon camera where I work. I suggested that instead of using the supplied transfer software, they instead could try copying the files from the card to the hard disk and see if they can be opened from there.

This was the same problem for Elspeth too!  Can you tell she was happy with the result?

If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. - Mr Spock

The quote sort of fits the post...

The moral of this story is, as the title of the post suggests, back to the Bear basics. I don't use any third party copying program. I would if it did something spectacular beyond copying files for me. I leave all that up to Lightroom 5 to drag them off the SDHC card.

Check out Elspeths work at http://elspethvanderhole.com/

I was glad to help out a fellow photographer!

LITF

Bear - Copyright Bear and Elspeth Van Der Hole