I take a lot of photographs and you could classify 90% of them as ermmm........ a bit boring. What !! !!! I can see you rubbing your eyes as I type, well yes, well maybe not boring(oh yes they are) but probably a better way of describing them is sensible, correct verticals, realistic colour balance, nothing to frighten the horses or even make anyone get the vapours but they are part and parcel of how I try and scratch something of a living out of this world of photography. We are talking about Image Library shots, records of what is around us and which I post to Libraries for them to seek out buyers and hoover up the dosh for them Now things dribble along, I do a shoot, bring back the keepers, fiffle faffle Lightroom to Photoshop to FTP and there you are online and glistening in their glossy lovliness...but sometimes, sometimes stuff happens and that's where Mr 100% steps up and has a tweak of your sidies.
100%...that's the screen resolution you must do all your final dust/ chromatics/ balance retouching at. If you work in Lightroom or Camera Raw to fix your colour noise problems you'll get a warning message...'Work in 100%....' 100% and now I also do a double take on my files, touched up and corrected and then I'll come back to them the following day for another look over. Now I can see you lolling back into your wingback armchair scoffing at this overt pampering of my image files......well, i just had a large batch rejected, failed..cast aside because one file had a blob of dust on it, so QC failed the lot and I had to wait a month before uploading any more. Okay when I looked the piece of dust was like the scene in Armageddon when they first catch sight of it hurtling towards Bruce Willis...at 25% it really wasn't noticeable..100% and it was 'Yippy cayee, we're going to need a bigger drill' So , if you have aspirations to sell to online libraries fill that screen with 100% of lovliness and flick away with your content aware spotter.
My Father in Law gives me his EOS magazine everytime I get to see him and not being too prejudiced by my one-eyed Nikon affinity I duly read it, cover to cover...hmmmm technology...hmmmm. Apparently we need, nay demand an exponential curve of technological advancement to obtain better images...hmmmm. Alright I don't read every magazine on the high street or online but I get through a fair amount and you could drown in the volume of articles on this menu item, that sensor resolution, this processor speed, buffer rates.... now being someone who has had the real pleasure of taking groups of photographers out for photo sessions and talked to photographic clubs I do understand that there is a need to buy the latest, to hold the shiny precious...and the reverse of this is that I had to reassure one photographer who was coming to a meet that it dosn't matter if everyone else has 'Bigger' cameras...and it dosn't and I'll tell you why.
I get asked, have been asked, have told people how I capture images, my talks are always run through Lightroom so anyone who wants the 'tech' behind the image can see in front of them how it was captured, ISO, f stop, shutter speed...it's all there..the technological background..the camera model, the focal length....hardware , software..technology and there you have it, once you press the shutter release you will end up with magnificent imagery......
Now the question I'm never asked is 'What was your thinking behind this series of images...' thinking, yes that non technological super computer that we all have access to and allows us to think, think about what to shoot, how to capture, how to manipulate, how to present... thinking.
Now mastering the technology is the first thing any photographer should do, don't over specify your equipment, don't try and learn Photoshop in a week, never despair that your intial images are not up to Magnum standards..but once mastered and it may be simply that you shoot high res RAW files at 200iso in aperture priority..for ever...the most important thing from there onwards is to think about what you are shooting and maybe why you are shooting it... the best bit of technology any photographer has is that thing between your ears, a masterpiece of technological advancement and the best bit of kit in your camera bag
Can I drw your attention to some of my latest imagery which are the product of having time on my hands, oh this jet set life style I have at the moment, sitting around in airport louges, sitting on jets, sitting looking out to sea...sitting about thinking about what images I want to create.
Morning all, if you are the one who reads this drivel then you'll know that I brought a battered 300mm Nikon tele offf of that ebay. Outside looks like it's half way through being sand blasted but optically it's a bit of a crispy gem, my oh my so sharp....so any way as, ever I thought about doing something with it that might be a bit of a stretch. So in Gibralatar I had enough light to keep the shutter speed up quite high, set things on manual exposure and took a few series of vertical format shots and let Lightroom and Photoshop do all the hard work for me...like this...
So a few more to get through and as the weather has turned rather grim it looks like today's planned outdoor work is in the bin, so it could be a whole day of file bashing, I have a new gallery for all things Gibraltar here, I'll be filling it up over the next few days so keep your eye's peeled and have a look..
..well for a short while and then it's off to France for a long week, get through Christmas and then off into the hills of Spain.. there is a purpose to all this which hopefully will become clear to me and then you by March next year, it's all very exciting, well for me anyway but first trip out of the way so time to check in and report about some snaps I was taking. Light was great whilst I was there, stayed in Gibraltar but wandered across the border into Spain and the edible delights that La Linea had to offer..got stopped at the border, I know, my dodgy looks gave me away but all they found were lumps of well abused camera gear..er did Almeihda gardens, walked the Med steps which really did almost kill me but had great views from the top of Morroco and the vast tonnage of boats waiting for some business...er Wide angle panoramas, some more famous animal pictures, and lots of odd bits of 'The Rock'..could I live there..no, so claustrophobic and even worse when the Med cruise liners dumped their contents into town. So lots of lens swapping so I'm making a guess that I've got dollops of dust on the later images but that's what your PP software really is there for.
So for me a few day's of smacking these images into shape with the bonus of some images being accepted for book cover publication whilst I was off on my jolly, now to find where I filed the original layered fles... well gives me something to do. here is a selection of things that hopefully will be appearing in a Waterstones near you soon (truth be told all my book cover stuff is for overseas publication so I've yet to walk in to a Waterstones and go all misty eyed at the sight of my images being mashed together with some text)... so here are a few new ones to look at.
As I mentioned yesterday off to Gibraltar tomorrow and if the border crossing is not still stupid, a trip into Spain...27c at the moment..shall I pack some gloves..last time I went I was in t shirt and shorts and all the locals had hats, scarves and gloves..funny old world. So formating cards, charging batteries cleaning glass and maybe a quick swipe of the sensor...maybe. Taking all the gear so booked extra baggage an really looking forward to it, soon as I come back I'll be packing ready to get off to France come back again see out Christmas and off to Spain...ah this jet setting life, actually I really don't like all the sitting about in Terminals but this time I'm going to see what I can do with some mobile shots...talking of which, I was in manchester earlier and for the first time in ages got told off for taking snaps...ahhhh....I was only using my little old nokia...not like the bloke upstairs with his donkey sized Canon outfit!!! If you go to this page you'll be able to download the SIA Pdf on how security should deal with photographers... catch you on the other side in a week or so...
Macro, micro, close-up..I like it and it really is a different world down there at 1:1 ratios. So now I am on my second 105 from Nikon so let me explain why. I got a Nikon 105 VR11 micro a few years ago and for all that close up stuff it was sparkling, if you had that VR running though I found that battery life was not so great but it was when I moved away from macro and use it as a short landscape tele and portrait lens that I didn't see eye to eye with it. Now no matter what I did, and I did do everything possible within the limits of in camera menus, I got pale blue tinged image files, almost as though the nano coatings were causing some kind of PP work on my files. like I'd gone in and desaturated but left the blue in the file...odd..I searched every forum I could and the only conclusion I came up with is that I had a rogue one...so I packed it off to ebay. But now I was one short in my camera bag but most of the stuff I wanted to knock out only needed a 20mm or 50mm but the urge to do macro and portraits was still there. So I looked at 85mm and the older version of the 105 and as readers of this unyielding drivel will remember, I plumped for a 105 micro but not the VR version but in 'new' condition. Do you know what, no watery thin pale blue files doing portrait or short tele landscapes,,,so unless anyone knows different I have to put that VR version down as being a wrong 'un..I have no real understanding why but I'm now back in the Macro fold and loving it. Bag packing as I'm off to Gibraltar..27c if the weather reports are anything to believe, and I'll be taking the 105 with me.
Views...especially those who have flickr Pro accounts are the subject I think needs some hot air blowing over today. Not for the first time one of my contacts has noticed a huge spike in their views. Now lets have a quick look at flickr,,,until recently it was a bit careworn, scuffed around the edges and was getting sand kicked in it's face from 500px and instagram, so a change at the top, some tweaks to the overall 'experience' and we have 'New flickr'..holy moly cheapskates like me get 1Tb of space to populate whilst those forking out for a 'Pro' acount get more than anyone would ever need...lets just wind things back a bit..... cheapskates like me get 1Tb of storage.... so 1Tb on Amazons cloud costs $97 a month..zipcloud will cost about $25 a month... so it cost's and somehow it has to be paid for.... let's just park that
Facebook makes money by people seeing adverts, instagram is pondering advertising revenue and twitter, apparently worth $12 billion er...has magic pockets that has $10 bills in every time the owners and shareholders put their hands in them...or maybe a Goose that lays special eggs... they seem the most rational explanations or they could be flogging all your personal details to anyone with sackfuls of cash...whatever, so flickr has to generate moolah, dosh, cash... and how on earth in this over saturated internet page viewing world could it do that...maybe by telling advertisers that it's overall viewing figures are rocketing...maybe.. for those who have read a few of my blog posts you may have remembered that I sometimes play tag bingo, put some obscure tags on your images on flickr and see what advertising those cheeky algorhthyms plonk on...wiles away those empty days I can tell you anyway...rambling.. Ah the need to generate dosh to pay for freebie cheapskates like me.. so page views, hits spikes, they all look good when running revenue figures up the flagpole...money ,Huh, what is it good for... so here is a little bit about how flickr now aggregates viewing figures.
I will of course carry on in my cheapskate blissfully ignorant no I can't see any figures because I 'm only on here to flicker my eyelashes at those lovely researchers at Getty images who, fortunately for me have called in 4 times this month to hoick some stuff off in a sack to generate some cash... and for that the only thing on flickr I need to keep an eye on is my flickermail inbox......
PS this has more holes in it than a Gruyere storage facility but please...take from it what you want.
That's what I have because that's really how I want to see things but I know it wouldn't suit everyone. I suppose this really should be titled 'In praise of the Standard lens'. Now if you have a DX sensor for whatever make of camera you probably would have a 35mm as your 'standard' FX shooters can have any iteration of the 50mm..me I love, yes really love my 50mm f1.8 that has been dropped, rained on, blasted by sand, chucked into the camera bag and given a tough old life by me... and always, yes always on manual focus. If we ignore peripheral vision a 'standard lens' is roughly how we see things, I sometimes shoot with both eyes open, one on the viewfinder, my dominant eye, and the other checking to make sure that I'm not missing something that isnt in the camera viewfinder frame...try it. It's great for portraits, street photography and if you take a pano sweep of 3 shots a pretty nifty wide angle, expose for the shadows at low iso and you can cut part of the image file out to get a 'digital telephoto' and the other thing is is that it dosn't scare the horses...wandering around with a compact little lens on the front of your DSLR is less intimidating to those who may becomes street portrait victims. But my other lenses are chosen to do the jobs I want to do, so 20mm f2.8, 50mm 1.8 and 105Micro f2.8...all always in the bag all hard working tough primes. One thing to always look for is sensor dirt, I swap lenses around and chances are you'll suck up some fluff onto your sensor, so after a long day shooting stop right down , defocus and shoot something light, maybe the sky or a piece of paper and see if that sensor needs a scrub, it's what I do and swab away if there are chunks showing. And if you spend a day shooting with one prime or the other you'll see a consistency in your image making that sometimes is lacking if you have been 'tromboning 'around with a telephoto...hey just try it... Some 105 micro shots from yesterday now available on redbubble
So I'm starting to populate redbubble with some more images...nearly up to 1200 on there now and I thought..well lets have a bit of an experiment...time to groan as it involves keywords...but only in a small way...the main thing is I'm not putting any of the new images into themed or specific groups... I want to see if they have a life of their own and can gather an audience out of thin air...okay there will be a modest amount of traffic todalling across from the links I put on here and elsewhere but I am just going to see what, if anything, happens... I know the quickest way to get 'views ' on any image online is to shove them into the 'BLING' groups..you know the ones..flashing bits of glitter and gold with the offer of post i fave 5 thrown into the mix ..I always think they smack of the desperate need to feel your images are loved...hmmm buy a pet if you want to be loved..create some images because you can and you want to... so anyway I'll keep you abreast of what is going on and there are feignt stirrings in redbubbles nethers...it's an experiment...it could end at any time...no one will die...no one will cry just some old bloke wondering about the independent lives that image files have when released into the wild to fend for themselves... I've only had one esspresso, can you tell????
So more from the 'WTF' pile of image making to keep me amused for the rest of the day. The fragrant Mrs max is off on a course..no Prem footie, no Cricket, no Rugby League...I did all the baking yesterday..it's too early for a snifter...mashing images it is then lets have a look through the square window to see what I've tickled about with so far...
Well where did that week go..ah ..processing and uploading...the office chair needs a rest I think .....and I have some ideas for something completely different..... I've got 600mm of Nikkor to put through it's paces...yes 600mm...it looks as battered as I do but the glass, besides a few dust flecks is clear and shiny... I will be out and about with it... also some barking Portrait/studio/person stuff that I have lodged away in my head needs to be brought to life especially as my tortoises are looking at hibernating...(yes tortoises).... besides that I have a lot of macro stuff to do and if I can make this work..telephoto panoramas.......I'll run out of ideas one day...ideas are good, putting them into practice is always the tricky part....
Judgement day beckons on the Worldwide Photowalk images..some good ones on there already and I'm looking forward to the rest appearing soon..yes that would be very, very soon guys...the 14th is looming, you can't win a prize unless you buy a ticket!!
Right I have some book cover images to smack into shape, oh some of my images that are appearing on Audio books appear to have that bit liceneced already so even though I've found them in geographical areas that they shouldn't appear in...well they have...hmmmmm , can't say I'm convinced totally but Mr Amazon in all your .com, .co.uk, .it.de.fr variations...I am watching you..oh yes...
Some stuff off to the publishers for a Yay or nay.
...... at Frodsham camera Club . Really nice venue and a great welcome from one and all. Big thanks to Ian Stanley for the booking and from the club members, their attentiveness and questions from the floor. As I tell everyone...any questions or clarification over all the techniques on show..well just email me and I can explain it all...
So , dare I ask...are there really greenshoots, that flickering stirring of light at the end of the tunnel, the return to the 'bubble'. Just curious as for, not the first time in recent weeks, I've woken up to an inbox of emails from people wanting to buy things, image libraries having sold stuff and other sales based enquiries..pleasant change from Solar panel, Retirement annuity options and short term loan companies that my profile seems to attract. Could almost be 2008/9 all over again...ah...Golden Days.... but I've watched this roller coaster for a long time so I'll chalk this up as a blip....if it keeps going ..well that could be another story.
So I can tell you what I'm doing for the next few weeks and that's uploading and keywording (oh lord he's not on about keywording again..) no just what I've got to do,and as the weather dial seems to be turning towards the cacky part for the next month or so, parking myself in my office and watching the outside turn brown and wintry is quite appealing. Could be time for a dose of wacky 'studio' portraiture as well...we'll see... okay one from the weekend.
..always in the back of my mind that maybe, well just possibly the worst could happen and someone could fall trip over someone's gear or just hurt themselves in the process of taking some photographs...but we all survived and I think the vast majority had a good time. We really were all blown away by the scale of the Victoria baths...what a building and if you nip over to the Manchester Photowalk flickr group you'll see all the different intepretations of it...including some of my finest 'marmite' wtf type of image creations.... I actually managed to shoot some this year which will help as I want to enter the 'Leader' competition..how my interpretation of image making goes down..well, we will have to wait and see but I'm braced for a crash and burn. Spookily I bumped into one of my old colleagues from Photographing Rights of Way and Traffic snapping... they all seem to be doing the same but with clip boards stopwatches and sharp pencils... meh I liked that job but it all ended when the apocalyptic 2008 crash turned up...
Good company during the day and some joshing and socialising later meant it was a very good day. How Gary and I ended up in the Car Park of a Vets at the end of our Taxi home I'll never know but seemed to round of things on the right note...... some images then
Well here we are then, the day has arrived. follow us on #WWPW2013 and #manchester throughout the day if you are a tweeter if not we are over on flickr as well and maybe facebook will bet a look in this time. I don't think I'll be being interviewed on Radio Manchester this year but try and follow us on the aformentioned # thingies.
Okay laptop, camera, lenses, batteries, pen, checklist positive attitude...er.. font of all knowledge...ad hoc tutorials...you see it's too early for the caffeine to have kicked in so here I go....off to Manchester for a Grand Day out.
..40 years ago...yes 40 years ago that I dropped out of that Lorry on the M6 at Wednesbury, staggered up the road under the weight of all my worldy possesions gathered together in a US Navy drawstring kit bag and turned up at West Bromwich College of Art to begin my education in all things Photographic.. There was a studio of all manner of folk wiffling about with these strange wood and brass contraptions with what looked like the inner parts to an accordian swaying about in the middle..... and so it all began. Really I suppose it's only these last 5 years that I started taking it all seriously again(intervening years had galleries, picture framing and a crazy spell photographing anything traffic and pedestrian related around Greater Manchester) and it was all started off by entering the 'Britain in Pictures' competition run by the BBC .. you had to enter things through their flickr group...what the chuff is a flickr group I remember thinking so I joined and blow me out of the 100's of thousands of entries I actually got 10 in the top 100 and 2 in the top 10...blimey I thought this is great!! So I ended up, still wet behind my digital ears, being exhibited at the National Media Museum in Bradford...okay they were tucked away in the cafe but..heck... it was all new, shiny and a bit bewildering and I suppose I was hooked from there on.
So here we are, on the verge of another Worldwide photowalk here in Manchester. We are at the Victoria Baths and all its crazy detailed and hopefully photogenic fixtures and fittings..there will be a model, there will be some death defying 'live' demonstrations by me...yep, it'll be alright on the night.....and hopefully 50 photographers will have a good time, meet new people, maybe learn something and possibly in 40 years time look back and remember the moment that photography was worth immersing themselves in.
Hey TFI Friday looks like a day uploading to redbubble once I've stuck down a pile of textures and cut up some bits of material...oops giving it away here's one from my new Glasgow gallery
..oops..you know I actually thought that I had a home for all my Glasgow images on here and due to an age related brain malfunction it actually appears not... so besides putting the finishing touches to this weeks walk and talks I will hammer a gallery out of the pure gold that is my Glasgow based image files... I do have a fair few sprinkled like stardust amonst the full set of hard drives..so be patient..Clyde and City based images will be slapped and tickled out of their RAW slumbers into something approaching presentable...ah...caffeine...saviour in the mornings.. here's one now...
and just when you thought it was safe ...well here comes another one....
As ever I'll be getting a gallery together of all the good ones and it should be up and running by the end of the day.....
...and a big thanks to Diane Seddon at Oaktree as we now have a great model to photograph https://www.facebook.com/mrslauranorrey?fref=ts had a nice chat with her last night and we look set for a great day at the venue...inside as well so this cacky autumnal weather will be held at bay.. I've just had a cancellation so one place has opened up on the walk just go to the worldwide photowalk page and register....servers are down as I speak but be patient. should be a good day for one and all. Great mix of folk coming and levels of experience.
So I have yet another busy day getting the final prep together for the walk, last Photographic club talk of the season at Frodsham where I will be looking at the Urban landscape and from my point of view it's many iterations, so lots of camera technique and the thought behind some recent projects...should be a good night....
I'm all set for a play with the sparkly 105 F2.8 Micro that has been in customs for the past 2 weeks but now released back into captivity..I really have got my eye on some 300mm F2,8's that are on ebay...even with the carriage and customs charges it does work out cheaper than a Europen sourced one...seriously If you are thinking of buying something non EU then here is the checker I used to work out import duty... http://www.dutycalculator.com/
Right back to all those 'sleepers' that are dozing on one of my old (old means about 2009) Freecom hardrives that is stuffed with shots yet to be seen by the public at large..... 2009 and I'm on the Welsh coast in the sunshine.... but oh my the D700 was pretty new then but all those oil specks on the sensor..praise be to content aware spotting.....
..one of the image libraries that sells my images to keep an eye out on sites such as amazon and it's various iterations .de .it .fr and so on to see if publishers are using images licenced for one territory in an area where they havn't coughed up for the fee... so as I was meandering around the web last night and for want of something better to do I started searching..and well I found one of my images in places that, have yet to be officially authorised...or have I? Could be that my agents have ...er...not been quick in informing me that they have been actively selling or it could be something in the licence I'm not aware of...either way missive sent off to my agent for a bit of 'clarification' could be nothing but fingers crossed it's fee paying, trips to Spain, France and Gibralatar coming up over the next couple of months and I've run out of children to sell... Here's a link to one of my book cover images... amazon
Busy working through lots of 'hard drive sleepers'...those images that have been filed (okay I'm using filed in it's loosest sense) so 2009 and 2010 being given a work over by Adobe's finest and slowly but surely uploaded. I'm really keeping the PP to a very basic minimum, clean, straighten and lens corrections is about the sum total as I nudge things past the QC bots that live on image library sites...for me it's the greatest restraint I've shown in image post processing ever.....ever... lordy they could almost be film..... until the next time....
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...