2013 – Yearly Round Up – December

And so to December.OK so not much happened  in December but I did want to learn something new with the time off from work.

I had a look at HDR, High Dynamic Range. HDR is a set of techniques used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than possible using standard digital imaging or photographic techniques. (Thanks Wiki)

According to WikiPedia:

The idea of using several exposures to fix a too-extreme range of luminance was pioneered as early as the 1850s by Gustave Le Gray to render seascapes showing both the sky and the sea. Such rendering was impossible at the time using standard methods, the luminosity range being too extreme. Le Gray used one negative for the sky, and another one with a longer exposure for the sea, and combined the two into one picture in positive.

163 years later I am trying the same thing with my Canon...

Dec 1Dec 2The second photo using a number of textures to add the gritty, burnt feel to this photo. The scratches were added to try to create a used photo look. I could have masked around the windows to look like it was raining outside.

I quite like making HDR photos, look out for more of them in 2014!



2013 – Yearly Round Up – November

November!! Fanfare for no reason!!

Ahem... Bloody helicopters! Just about to get to sleep and one of these bubble bee impersonators decides to buzz the place. Looking around, no... no... damn.. can't find my bazooka.. oh well it will have to be the camera then.

This particular annoyance was being extra annoying as it would just bounce around for a bit, back and fourth, up and down as if a bumble bee was actually at the controls. It was really hard to miss the moon was up at the same time. So grabbing the Canon with my new Sigma dragging my arm down I fired off a number of shots to celebrate the fact I had been woken up again.Nov 2Nov 1From bumble bees at the controls of heavy machinery to seagulls and electricity.

This seagull had obviously not seen the public information films from the 1970's about the dangers of getting to close to electricity pylons. Jimmy the Seagull was flying lazily above the pylon, perhaps looking for a frisbee while being urged on by another female seagull from below...

I took this shot in case he exploded soon after.


2013 – Yearly Round Up – October

Oct 1October... hmm not much happened in this month...

So I had a beer. Then the door bell rang. My lights had arrived! Yay! More beer! Why not both together? OK so you cannot screw a bottle of beer into a light fitting, light bulbs fit so much better so I used them to take this shot of the second beer in my kitchen and then that was drunk too.

Drunk in charge of a camera... is that against the law? Hmmm

Oct 2

The lights came in handy for my second trip to Brighton, again to see Violet Blaze. Of course, it being October, there was no way my face was going to be burnt off this time.

This would have been a good test of my knowledge of using softboxes outside of a kitchen and into a bedroom.

Set up was quick I had one to the right of me and one just to my left to light Violet from the front. While 'the Blaze' was sitting on her bed in something skimpy, I knelt down, supported my elbow on my left knee and felt quite stable.

I kid you not, I commented on this: 'Hmm I am my own tripod' then suddenly realised  what I had said in the context of the situation. Ahem... moving on quickly...


2013 – Yearly Round Up – Sepetember

Sept 1September.. and it was getting cold.

Working in North London I am not far from Camden. Shall me and a fellow photographer take the bus there? No.. lets walk... along the canal.

Some of the surrounding walls of the canal were being repaired so there was a floating walkway along a small section  of the pathway. While wobbling around the floaty deathtrap with near to a grands worth of gear on my back, a couple of heavy joggers started pounding along behind me...

I thought I was about to be trampled by a heard of elephants.

This photo was taken just past the first lock we came to. I do not know if any one lives there but if you are interested then this is the Google Maps location on Grand Union Tow Path.

Sept 2Back home and I bought a tomato. OK not just the one tomato, who the hell walks into a grocers and asks for just one?

Anyway, I wanted it to try the Macro Reverse Ring again and get a close up shot of the water I sprayed on it.

I should have got closer..


Burlesque Memories from 2013

As a break from the normal yearly round up of yearly shots and seeing as this is my 100th post, I decided to do a Burlesque memories from this year. Some of the shots are not strictly from 2013 but may have been additions as I have learned more about Lightroom and Photoshop to produce better pictures.

Satine Di Monte - 11Peter Antoniou 2 Moorita - 03 Miss Jones - 04 Lena Mae 1 Griffin and Jones - 12 Count Adriano Fettucini Constance Peach - 01 Chilli Blush - 02 Anna Lou 2 - blls13 2 - blls02 1 - blpt15 1 - blpt10 Shirley Windmill - 07 Snake Fervour - 10 Scarlett O'Hora - 05-EditAve Iscariot - 03

2013 – Yearly Round Up – August

August 1 August and I found myself wobbling down a river in Windsor and walking for hours around High Elms.Taking a boat trip along the Thames for a while I failed to notice what all the fuss was about when we were a couple of minutes from returning to the dock... oh yeah the massive Windsor Castle in the distance. Best take a shot of that.

After disembarking I strolled up the hill towards the castle I found a long line of people.. must be for the toilets I thought... nope it was an hour long queue for the castle.. another time then. Next year I will return to Windsor and storm the battlements...

High Elms, 250 acres of woodland and meadows to explore in Farnborough. Quick tip here... when you are in the visitors center and the man behind the counter gives you advice about where to cut short your walkabout... LISTEN TO HIM!!!! Don't, like I did, ignore him and spend a few hours wondering when the forestry hell will end.

It ended for me on a golf course. A quick check of the folded map and I plotted a quick route back to the car park... However there are lots of photo opportunities there so I would recommend it to any one who likes trees.. and flowers.


High Elms - 06

2013 – Yearly Round Up – July

July 1June! I was Brighton bound it was Blazing hot and I had a burnt face!Couldn't resist putting as many B's in there as possible. It was the height of summer and I was down at Brighton to do my first model shoot with Violet Blaze.

I got there early and walked around for a while taking shots here and there without any sun cream... yup bit of a burnt face after that. My tortured skin was illuminating most of London long after the sun had gone down, but I got some excellent shots of Violet frolicking around in the sea and showing off in front of a crowd of lads. This candid shot if from just before the shoot.

July 2While Blaze was getting dressed I turned around to take a shot of the beach behind me... it had been a long time since I had been to the sea and wanted to capture the moment.

Hmm bit stoney...


2013 – Yearly Round Up – June

June 1June already! The small things theme continued with The Tiny Tardis Travels and Remembrance of the Hard Disks.Since taking up photography I have moved around more than a marble in a sock. (?) So where I go then so does my Tiny Tardis.

OK its not a BBC sanctioned model, it is a Hornby model of a Police Box. I thought that seeing as I am doing a lot of traveling then I will take this with me and take a shot of it in the location.

I continued to use the Macro Reversing Ring and smashed open an old hard drive of mine to see if there were any intricate bits that were worth taking a look at in a macro fashion. The stylus like object is the read/write head of a hard disk. It is floating on the top of one of the four disk platters.


June 2

2013 – Yearly Round Up – May

May 1May was a good month! It started getting warmer and I returned to the Natural History Museum for the first time ooh ages, then everything started getting smaller.

Over 30 years ago I was at the Natural History Museum with my Primary School. We were given a sheet of paper with sketches of features which could be found around the museum. I remember I was the irritating sprog who found the monkeys around the edge of the walls. I recalled where I was when I spotted them too so I just had to take this shot from the landing above the entrance. This brought back a lot of memories.

May 2Things come in small sizes. Sand for example. I had tried macro work before but turned my hand to using a Macro Reversing ring. This turned my 50-250mm Cannon into a great tool for macro work.

I shot everything, from coins, to gravy granules just to see what they were like really close up. It is a very cheap way of trying macro photography before you decide to splash out on a proper macro lens to do even better shots.

One day I will try that too.


2013 – Yearly Round Up – April

April 1April was a time for wandering around London taking shots of people on the streets. I mean they were walking about on the streets, I didn't knock them down with my backpack first then take a shot of them on the floor... this time.This was my first attempt at street photography. How would I do it? Go up to people and ask? Ask after the shot? No... no I just took the shot and walked away. Being my first attempt I had no idea how people would react to having their photo taken. I would think if asked then they would pose and I would loose the spontaneous 'street' value of the shot.

This Scottish fella, (I assume was Scottish due to the fact he was dressed Scottish, sounded Scottish and could play the bag pipes really well) was performing near Nelson Column and I managed to snap this shot of him. He is either giving someone a thumbs up or in the middle of the socially accepted hand gesture of 'on ya bike'.

April 2 This shot was taken as a panoramic originally on the banks of the Gallions Point Marina in East London. The effect is called a small world and uses the polar coordinates filter in Photoshop to achieve. I should do more of these as they come out very well.


2013 - Yearly Round Up - March

phalicMarch turned out to be London and chucking things around bathrooms.London first... specifically Westminster. Every one take a shot of Big Ben. So I thought I would to. Most shots I have seen are from across Westminster bridge so I decided to take one from a little closer. Its a bit of mad shot taken from ground level but it makes a change from the usual tourist snap.

I noticed some people around me were also pointing cameras up after mine. Either to take a similar shot or to figure out what I was doing.

The honorable mention shot came about by me chucking stuff around in the bathroom. I filled up the basin with water half way and found an apple to use as a 'thing to chuck'. I used the 50mm f1.8 to capture this and only took a single shot... as the resulting splash threw water all over the bathroom floor.


2013 Yearly Round Up - February

And so to February...

This month started out very spooky... I was visiting Barnes Graveyard. Disused and abandoned many years ago the area is in great disrepair and provided me with lots of shots of crumbling gravestones. Myself and a fellow photographer trudged through the area and right in the center was a very large grave. I recommend anyone who wants spooky shots to take a trip there.

Barnes Graveyard - 22

Putney Bridge - 20Soon after I was back near Barnes, this time at Putney Bridge. If you had read my GPS location that day you would have found be actually under Putney Bridge as well. I knew the tide had already gone out and I knew I have about twenty or so minutes before it came rushing back in.

Walking under the bridge was a tad slippy I was rewarded with shots of ducks, river brick-a-bract and other assorted things.. as well as what looked like a bone.

The Honorable mention photo is this one to the right. I was standing on a a spur watching the water rush back in. The way behind me had already been closed off while I took this shot. Two minutes later the area in front had submerged! I was heading for the bus by then....


2013 Yearly Round Up - January

Morning,Jan 2This is the start of 12 posts covering each month of the past year. Two shots will be chosen (and one has already been forced on me) as best and honorable mention.

So we kick off with January with this shot of a very small tree covered in snow. For those of you who were reading this blog at the beginning of the year will remember this post You forgot to mention... where I was trying to photograph snow... while it was still snowing. Everything was covered in snow. There should have been a shot of me covered in snow...

It was in January so everything was still a bit Christmasy so I added some snow in post production. The real 'lets cover everything' snow was falling too fast and looked like rain. The thing that reminds me about this shot was how quiet everything was, all you could hear was the snow falling..

So from a snow covered Earth I turned my lens skyward for the honorable mention photo for January. I have entitled this one 'Bloody hell really???'

The shot was taken with my 50-250mm Canon while sitting on my tripod. For those who are thinking WTF? The large blob in the center of the photo is Jupiter!

Yup, the massive and slightly gusty gas giant in our solar system. The four little blobs at 45degrees to Jupiter around it are the Galilean moons, in order from left to right Ganymede, Io, Europa and Callisto The other two blobs (middle left and top right) are the light from other stars.

This shot has the honorable mention slot as it was a shock that just a ground based camera can look that far... must try a large telescope one day.

Jan 1