So here we are then, just a softbox with a Yongnou 586 fired through some Yongnou triggers, all wireless, D750 and a Nikon 70-200 f4, TTL at 1/3rd power iso 200 and most at f6.7..... just ordinary folk having some fun.
There's only 50 of us who live here in the little village of Kernevez in the Monts d'Arree region of Finistere. But that dosn't stop us having a yearly fete and so besides taking the group photo for the newspaper I thought that maybe a few portraits could be squeezed out of the group.
So here we are then, just a softbox with a Yongnou 586 fired through some Yongnou triggers, all wireless, D750 and a Nikon 70-200 f4, TTL at 1/3rd power iso 200 and most at f6.7..... just ordinary folk having some fun.
Needs must ..after my last 2 health scares I had a choice to make and I decided to accelerate work on the gardens and land rather than photography, well just in case if you see what I mean. Anyhow back out and about with my bag full of cameras and lenses. One lens down as I've 'retired' the 24-85 Nikon I was using for Library images as it really is far too squishy image wise for me, an inherant lack of critical sharpness throughout it's range if I was reviewing for a magazine, so for the moment it's having a breather until I usher it towards the door marked 'Do one....' So out and about and although the weather was a bit mixed down in the Loire Valley I bagged a few images I'm happy with both types, some for the image libraries and the rest with a a leaning towards the creative side of things . So here are a few from the aristocractic crumbliness of Chaumont. In typical French style crumbling plaster and broken windows housing art from around Europe...love it.
Oh these are in camera 3 shot multi exposures using a Nikon D750 with a 20mm Nikon F2.8 and if you can remember an old blog post I did about the rubber eyepiece of the D750 being prone to popping off..... well if you do go through Beaugency and find one on the pavement...well it's mine.
The Lensbaby Velvet F1.6 Macro...well macro is part of the capabilities of this lens. All of the following images are taken at F4 where there is just enough sharpness and depth whilst knocking out the backgrounds with that smooth Velvet blur. These are all hand held natural light shots and with it being a bit breezy I set the focus and then 'rocked' back and forth to try and get the sharpness at the point I wanted. Okay, I could have used a flash and a tripod for the camera but life's too short. Looks like a lot of Orchids are braving the elements locally and blooming so expect some of those to appear soon. Shot with a D750 at iso 200 and I let the camera figure out the shutter speed.
High Iso shooting can be a real pain in the botty what with all that added noise wafting around your image file. Now here is a quick and basic look at noise reduction in Lightroom CC with a few tips chucked in.
First time I've used Camtasia in what is probably 3 years so please excuse the clunky unscripted nature.
January, sick and tired you've been laughing at me...ah the classics..... oh oh oh it's magic, too much Spotifying can have injurious consequences. Well we've all had some weather and here perched on the Monts d'Arree we've had our share and a few other Republics share of rain, almost flooded out by the creeping rise in the water table, up 3 metres and sploshing at the front back door, blew the pump off the Fosse but under enough water to keep 2 pumps a pumping for a week before it could be repaired...hang on...you're probably not here to have your ears bent by the travails of rural living but like Gloria Gaynor well, I will survive (spotify again) and the galvanised bucket of ablutions is once more returned to the barn. Oh yes photography. Well just back from a jaunt to the UK, not much snapping done, one day in the Huelgoat woods doing long exposures...meh...oh and some mashing and flailing about in Photoshop. So my book cover agent mails me and enquiring if at some opportune moment may one remove ones posterior from that galvanised bucket and mash up a few of those images that have been known to frighten the horses as he's sold some and folk are about as interested in what's left as last weeks school dinner boiled cabbage. So here is a selection which may, at some point in their digital lives, be snapped up, have fonts spread all over them in an enticing blend that will help them fly off the shelf or out of Amazons warehouse....or not.
Oh there's a link at the bottom to some new stuff on Getty which most certainly will not frighten any horses.
Avid reader(s) of this fluff had been alerted , by myself, that I was going to whip the Photoshop duster around some errant files and see if the way I shake the woofle dust over things is different from back in the day. Old files, new eyes or maybe the same old tired eyes but with a bit of extra jhuzzing from the latest software...why??... well because they're there and the rain has curtailed my efforts to rake all the leaves into mulch bin...er..things.. As a treat I've been handed a Plymouth Gin and non shall pass my lips until these pesky things have been uploaded and sent off into the web of wonder to be shoulder shrugged at with added head shaking,, Oh Happy New Year, lets hope I've not used up all my Cat lives with this years illness..es... See you on the other side..oh they are all Black and White except one..and all of Manchester , England. or are they?????
There was a record booth on Central Pier that had boxes full of old pub and club 45's, we're talking late 60's early 70's here youngsters, middles punched out so you had to get those odd plastic triskel shaped inserts so they'd play on the old Fidelity mono deck, Now there were those that I'd play all the time but soon tire of, Pop music..meh... then there were those that took a bit of listening to but became a bit more of a favourite, almost as though the hard work of getting into it gave greater rewards...and so we come to the Lensbaby 56mm f1.6...
Stuck it onto the D750 and thought...'WTF have I done' well it was a good..no great deal from Digixo
lovely chunk of metal, totally manual, blurry as a night on the Glenfarclas but tightens up the more aperture you dial into it. But my boats weren't floating, couldn't hear 76 trombones and I was rubbing my chin whilst simultaneously cocking an eyebrow...so let's scroll forward and I'm taking the D750 out with the 'baby velvet locked and loaded, no camera bag, nothing to distract or even rescue me from the tremors of a duff shoot and do you know what ..technique, understanding and image making all started to come together. There's no electronic connection between lens and body so you start to dial the aperture in and you see how the blur dials out , no aperture preview button required and for me the sweet spot occurred at F2.8. The focussing is all manual as well and it's an elbow cocking crank to get it all the way around, but I set things at 8' and moved in and out to get the focus point where I needed it, most of the images I took were quite close but not close enough to use the 1:2 macro capabilities at about 5".... So here you have a lens that gives dreamy fall off at wide apertures, tightens up like normal lens at apertures over F11 and has 1:2 macro capabilities...I'm getting to like it... oh first record I bought from Central Pier record booth with the middle missing Who do you love by Juicy Lucy here are some snaps....
Parc d'Armorique..this is where I live, if I had to try and describe it it's like a mixture between the Lake District, the Peak District and the New Forest but without all the tourists..... and just down the road to the North, West and South are the varied coastlines of Brittany and I've not really photographed much of it, all the work on the farm and being a wee bit ill for the past 6 months has knocked all the things I've planned to do on the head. So, new gear in the bag, Nikon 24-85, 70-200 and 50mm lenses to try out and I've barely given the D750 a chance to stretch it's legs..I'm waffling..anyway here are some snaps from Le Gouffre, where the River Argent runs down to the old Roman Lead mines and only about 6km from home.. So back with the ND filters and tripods over the next few weeks.
Was it only a few blog posts ago that some old cheeser was complaining about his mince pies and how he'd have to get some lenses in that could do all that magical auto focus stuff and save him all that squinting and gurning as things were wrestled into some semblance of focus... yep that was me... I can still do my fair share of squinting and gurning but what if some deal came along...you know one of those where one eyebrow cocks itself, one where the item is reduced for 'One weekend only' one where you suddenly find that 'The Precious' could be yours within 2 working days... no procrastination on this one, drool wiped from card , numbers entered...Merci Monsieur livraison gratuit aussi......and here it is.....now then the iphone 5 camera is having a very bad attack of the hiccups so please excuse the quality of the next 2 snaps
First impressions...feels as solid as a rock, probably lose the lens cap as it slides on and off, need to crank the focus ring around quite some distance, I think the old focus on a point and move in and out might come into play, oh and it has Macro capabilities... all in all I think there might be a fair bit of creative faffery to be extracted from this chunk of metal and glass.....I think we're going to need a bigger bag...
Espaws, the new way to upload images to Getty, Now for a fair few years I've been manfully grappling with Gettys uploading system and gleefully embraced the addition of being able to keyword your own image....as long as the keywords were in the Getty database and no..all that metadata massaged into your imported Raw or DNG files was tossed in the bin. Meh...but now we have ESPAWs...and today I've bum jiggled myself deep into the office chair and set about filling in all the required fields in the required order without really paying much attention to the instructions on the box but hey, best way of learning, make a proper horlicks of it first time, learn from those tear stained mistakes and crack on once more. And what's this..keywords can be overwritten by metadata attached to your file, bulk uploading, bulk keywording, templates to save...my god , I'll never be able to keep up with the image snapping if it gets this easy.... and what's this... no weekly limit on the volume of uploads...I need to reassess targets, bring forward projects, run things up the flagpole, knock things into the back of the net, check which way the wind is blowing..oh and learn how to use this upload portal properly... this is what it all looks like
There are times when you want a shot so badly that, well, you just have to ignore that little flashing flash(?) symbol or sometimes little wavy hand, brace yourself against some solid object, take a slow sniper breath and blat a shot off. But what if you want to take a shot at a crazy low shutter speed to record some movement but then want some sharpness in there as well...I know...get a tripod or as I've done on the beach, make a dinky sandcastle or place your camera on a rock...but what about hand held...with a telephoto in challenging conditions.
Enter stage left the Nikon VR 3 system and with a bit of algorithmic waftines, Photoshop CC and it's Shake reduction filter. So out and about in the rather wonderful Huelgoat woods shooting the woodland in some nice low autumnal sunshine, ended up at the old Roman Lead mines and the River Argent... so walking back along the River path it suddenly struck me that a tripod would be more than useful but that was many a kilometer away in the car. So as I was out giving my new Nikon 70-200 F4 VR 3 a bit of a shakedown well, I thought I'd try to see how far I could push things... so 1st image is shot at F13 145mm on an FX...but at 1/8th of a second hand held...1/8th yep with VR active I wanted moving water but something sharp as a counterpoint.
Almost got away with it but just a touch of movement in the Holly so from Lightroom into Photoshop CC and Filers> shake reduction which looks a lot like the image below. One thing...be patient, this filter takes a bit of time, especially if you are resampling different areas of the image
Looks like they use a lot of edge contrast maths in a kind of Clarity fashion..add too much filter and you do get a breakout of light and dark haloing on the edges but trial and error will give you the experience to sort it out. So here is an enlargement from the bottom of the Holly as a before and after view, I'm sure there is something to be done by using a color selection and turning it into a mask to blend the shake reduced image(?) back into the original file anyhow...handheld at 1/8th and sharpish with a Telephoto..well what's not to like
So first up is an old Freecom 500gb drive which has all kinds of stuff tucked away so I've loaded some into a Lightroom Catalog and set about for a faff. When I look back on some of the processing I did..well..it is to my eyes now quite harsh, in those days the workflow was Bridge to Photoshop and off you go..use all the toys..spank that file until the pixels squeak. Well one things changed for sure and that's workflow.. Lightroom CC to Photoshop CC and saved back to Lightroom for a final once over before exporting...I was a late Lightroom adopter, version 3 I think and these days I never bother with bridge..time eh!! Still having it all on subscription means I'm always up to date...anyway these files are all shot with a Fuji S3 and it's buddy, the Tokina 12-24, delving into the files it wasn't such a bad combo, mind you I now see all the sensor dust...yikes....lumpy!! No wonder Alamy used to refrain from accepting some of the early stuff... so these shots are from Blackpool and Glasgow..mono conversions with my new found skills(?) on Wacom put to the test and its wafty brushing onto masks thingy. I'll be concentrating on the Black and White stuff for the next few posts and as I've just downloaded some screen recording software I'll give you the chance to see what goes on when I'm left on my own with some old hard drives and the whole of Spotify to amuse me.
Well all the new kit is here , locked and loaded and to coincide with that we have had 75kph winds, large dollops of rain and a general bleughiness....so besides teaching myself how to sculpt wire into insects and animals I've sat nere and been on the rather marvellous Wacom youtube site and learned all I could have done about this piece of kit, the Intuos A4 tablet that acts as a magnet for dust and biscuit crumbs. I've used it for a bit of painting and sketching but never really set it up to run with Photoshop and Lightroom. So for most of it's unboxed life it only really added to the desktop clutter. So now I have pressure sensitivity on retouching, masks, painting and cloning...run it without a dither or jiggle over 2 monitors and...yep ...it really is better than that old mouse. So here's one I did just now
An oldy but that is one of the reasons I wanted to fill up on the Wacom techniques. I have a drawer full of Hard Drives, things snapped over the last 10 years of Digital photography. Well I want to go back and see if what I know now could be applied to old files and how that would affect how the final image would look, I'd also be using up to date software and kit on things produced with an Olympus E-20 and the old Fuji S3 which had a tinpot collection of lenses. Idea is to produce some print books ( for me not any Blurb based production) Feeling a bit mortal after this last years 'Health Scares' and I want to make sure that there are some hard copies before the Interweb melts and everything vanishes. More about the books later.....
Experimentation with blend modes and a touch of Evil. You'd have thought Jimmy Saville would have been wiped off the internet but ..no he lurks..parental controls activated...advisable. Anyhow stack of 10 Jimmies but blended differently. Look away now if easily disturbed.
Right off for a faff with my new lenses...
Bacterial pulmonary lung infection....who'd have thought any good would have come of it! Almost measured up for a wooden overcoat and sent to Valhalla back in June, kept alive by the rather marvellous French Health system and nursed back to some semblance of normality by Diana, ( it appears a few brain cells went west but hey, I've never used all of them anyway...) But there was something odd,not connected to the bacteria, a large squishy lump in my throat, turns out there was a growth on my thyroid. Now here's the thing, although they'd skewered me and taken a sample ( no drugs, held down by a big male nurse, this may feel strange oh and don't swallow....once was enough thank you) they couldn't tell if it was just a benign growth or one of the more chilling variety. Only surgery could tell and if things were bad they'd whip out the lot and a life on pills would beckon. Good news they only took out half , first sighter no cancer but they sent the thing off to the lab and I'll find out begining of December if I'm clear. 2 weeks on and the dressing is off, the stitches have melted it dosn't feel like I have a bus stuck in my throat and life goes on. So hopefully my 'annus quiteillicus' is now behind me.
The only other thing to come to terms with is my old eyes...manual focussing is a bit of a struggle now and I'm trusting auto focus more and more so...I'm looking at adding to my lens kits about and that is taking up some time, well most of my time as I dither and procrastinate about what I need and what I'll use over the coming years...I've got my prime kit..20mm F2.8, 50mm F1.8 and 105 F2.8 but now is maybe the time to have an alternate kit made up of zooms...I know...zooms ....me....zooms...sheesh... I'll keep you posted and do some comparative stuff. One kit for the stock image stuff and one for the 'Fine Art'....fine art...feels like I have something stuck in my throat again... I'll leave you with this image of some old geezer wired and piped up coming around after surgery.
Billy Bob the rather large leather cockroach, my delerium hospital companion from before when things were really bad, didn't have the civility to come in for a visit...and I do miss him!
At the risk of causing an outbreak of yawning, slumping and general shoulder shrugging, I'll say again, 'I take an awful lot of normal images'...as in see, point , shoot, process...upload...off they waft into interwebland, clasping shiny new lunchboxes but in trepidation of having their heads stuffed down the toilet or even worse..their hat debobbled as they jostle about in the great playground of online image libraries. Now then that dosn't stop me having a photographic flex in other directions, you dear reader will have probably put yourself through some form of visual torture tackling some of the Galleries I've posted and without further ado...here is some new stuff. Now these are on the road to somewhere so not fully fledged yet but have a look anyway..tweaked the website a bit as well just to keep it all smelling a bit fresher.
.....like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, a ukulele fave but this is supposed to be about photography and ( wait for it) here comes the link...I have a round eyepiece on the D700..staggering...there must be more, well I'd have one on the D750 but seeing as Mr Nikon under engineered a lot of the outside, all I have is a rectangular one that pops off once the over stuffed camera bag is opened. And continuing this thread where I hold the D750 by it's ankles and give it a botty smack...3, yes only 3 multi exposures available for one file...I'm shaking my head and popping my shoulders at that one, where was I ..Oh yes the D700 with the big round rubber eyepiece, and dear reader the ability to take 10, yes 10 multi exposures per image file, not sure about you but I'm losing the will to live on this one, lets cut to the chase. Old Skool D700 set up to take six in camera multi exposures, tickle of EV and auto gain switched on camera clamped to eye and rotated whilst the operator stands as still as possible, lets skim over the hands , arms elbows and things wafting about,but yes, as still as possible. Now what if we point the lens at Mother Nature and see if anything escapes from the delete pile...here you go then. Oh Eden Project down in Cornwall...
Boom straight into it, cool sunny days, clear nights and misty early mornings until the sun burns it all off. As I made a bit of a horlicks cleaning the D700 sensor (too much fluid)...I locked and loaded the 105micro onto the D750 for a wander amongst the wafting droplets of water on the afore mentioned early autumnal morning.... Red moon tonight and a clear night promised.
Fete du Buerre at St Herbot this afternoon, butter, bread, cider, tractors, music and cider...not forgetting the cider.
There are a few hotspots of street art I've stumbled across in Brittany, not a lot in the rural bits, Brest probably has an immense amount but I've yet to have a wander...but then I walked around Landerneau.
Now LeClerc , the big Supermarket chain has a large Art supply shop in the town and in it's well stocked walls lie a spray can/ street art section...yep it's all there including gloves and handy spray can, carry bags, books and stencil sheets... so here's what it looks like out on the streets of Landerneau
All snapped on an iphone 5 with just a lens correction in LR CC and a wiffle of clarity.
..of the Napoleonic kind. Appears that the old farmstead here in Brittany appears on ye olde Napoleonic maps,,so what's this got to do with photography...well. At the top of my field we have some very ancient Beech and Hazel trees that mark out the edge of our land parcel and which show up on the map of this area. Now as ever I've gone off my long run up and dived straight into the Marmite jar, these may be of limited taste, but as you know that'll never hold me back. So this has been rumbling around in my head so I thought I'd give it a whiz.
So these are multi off camera flash shots of varying colour balances tickled together as a stack of layers in Photoshop CC...I know..who needs to know..camera settings are Flash on manual full power, manual exposure to kill the ambient 20mm Nikkor and D750, Yongnuo 622N-TX and Yongnuo 586 Flash sitting on a Yongnuo transceiver..oh Iso 100 f8 at a 1/90th...someone may need to know. Anyhow I think I'll be using this technique quite a lot this winter as I have a big project in mind,,once I've mastered the one flash I have another to bring into the party and a set of colorful flash ...er...color gels. Could get messy and then there are the LED torches......
So first ones, look at them as experiments and on the road to somewhere rather than the product of a Swiss finishing School , knowing which one is the fish knife and walking with a book on it's head whilst reciting the Lords prayer.
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What's all this then????
An unyeilding torrent of Photo babbel full of unconfirmed facts and manufactured photo drivel.. take from it what you like, it won't change the world but may leave you feeling nauseous...
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