Simple but effective retouching work in Photoshop. If you havn't used layers and blend modes then try this and there are a few sneaky little tips in here as well. IR72 and ND110 filters polished so off out to the great outdoors for some scenic landscape photography.
Plans were for some woodland and landscape imagery to take up most of my time this January but as ever serendipity has swooshed into view and the in camera multi exposure stuff has taken over some what, keen eyed viewers will have noticed there is already a 2014 Galleries page up and running which of course will be added to as the year progresses. I'm also up to date with my processing, a first, so what I shoot will now almost...almost immeadiatley appear on here...yeh right.. so here are some wet pavement stalker images.
Now you may think I've either been on the giggle juice or had a bout of macular degeneration with the next lot but these are the actual colours. The fountain has a light show built underneath it and if you time things right with the multi exposure shots you'll end up with shots like this
Apologies also go out to the Photographer with the tripod who had to put up with me standing in the fountain whilst he went for his killer shot...sorry..you can always 'shop me out. Right lot to do, I'll crack on and I've not even sniffed a coffee yet
Shooting in the Wet
There are cameras and phones out there that are sealed up, can be used down to 5m below the surface, heck my brother in law used to drop his olympus into his pint pot as a party trick...but what if you just have ..well..a camera. Now I was out last night in the rain and at some points in time standing in the dancing water plumes of Piccadilly gardens fountain.. So I have 2 ways of not soaking the old D700. i have an small water proof bag from Ikea that can accomodate the camera and lens and more importantly has a big flap on the top..flap open camera out shot camera back in flap flipped.. okay it dosn't stop all the precipitation so on those occasions when tipple becomes torrent I have a large sandwich bag, a selection of elastic bands...go to live view, camera in the bag and where the opening is put one or two lazzy bands around part of the lens barrel that arn't designed to rotate...so total cost about £3.95 excluding of course the meatballs and coffee you have at Ikea when getting the bag...get your Cagoule on and get out there and shoot in the rain, wet streets shiny pavements, motion, movement...it's all there in the wet. Here's one from last night stood in Piccadilly Fountain whilst the water shot up and the rain trickled down
Just been emailed that I'm on redbubble's front page again...Metrolink http://www.redbubble.com/found?utm_campaign=published_to_found&utm_medium=email&utm_source=RB
Bag of Swag
Well if you don't buy a ticket...there's me being all cynical about competitions and the probability that the advertised prizes may just be some construct on this digital plain that I wander around on and then...I get an email asking me for my shipping address and to brace myself for a bag of swag. Okay it's Christmas , chances are that I won't be seeing anything until the New Year but I can wait... so not sure of what's coming, things were being added... but there was a rather nice 'metrosexual photographer' man bag and a dollop of software so I'll take up position now by the front door with a view to grabbing anything Postie thrusts in my direction. This was all part of the 2013 Worldwide Photowalk that I ran in Manchester back in October and as leader I had the chance to enter the comp for best leader shot...okay no first prize but a top ten finish, przes may just pay for all the time I used on organising and answering emails... worth it though.
Should be out and about doing some more 'creative' stuff this week, looks like there is a chance of it not raining tomorrow and I need some contrasty light to make the next bit work...it may involve multi in camera exposures and ND filters... straight to the 'Marmite ' pile then... I also have in mind some mono work but long and wide open.also back to the slog of uploading to Image libraries again this week...keywords, keywords....lots of search engine friendly keywords. So busy week all in all and I'll post stuff to show you if any new experimental work avoids being sent to the recycle bin..
Okay another Video tutorial, part one of 'Mirroring'...now that might not make sense so I'll show you some mirror images I've done recently...
So from almost real to barking mad..this is the first part where I show you the basic technique and get you started on your own creations. have fun with this and if you do use this technique just give this page a link so other folk can give it a whiz as well.
Okay so you survived that one, lets take it a bit further......
So , check your image size, create a crop as a preset which reduces the height by a half and get stuck in....there are images hidden in those files of yours...go find them.
Well after that brief brush with Siberian winds last week we seem to have stumbled into a spell of Indian summeryness. So I took the new to me but battered Nikon 300mm out for a stroll along the Pennine way yesterday and then around Bilberry and Digsley reservoirs before traipsing up to Meltham...it was hot sunny, I'd gone layered up as it was grim here in Manchester but halway thorugh the walk summer returned and that lens...it weighs a lot more than a nifty fifty...anyway good walk, grappled with the 300mm and in the next few hours , will see what the depth of field and sharpness look like. Didn't try out the 2x convertor but maybe of Thursday.
if you look on my new images page you'll see the latest ones from Newcastle/Gateshead. I've given them an a apocalyptic mono tickle..so have a look. Did a montage for flickr with a dinky Sage colour as I just montaged the Sage on the gateshead side of the river...yep I know, no need to explain.... if you missed it here it is.
Not long to Photowalk time and the last couple of places left, well done everyone especially those coming back for a second helping, you were warned...
Instead of all the mini tutorials I did last year (yes I did half kill myself and took no photos either) we have the Digital projector room so we can do a bit of digital and for this year only analogue manipulation techniques...intrigued, well so am I as I havn't checked if it will all work...meh...it will I promise. let us not forget that this is also a competition and there is a socking great amount of prizes on offer as well as me giving out a Lightroom 5 ebook so a fun day and one to test your competitive streak as you jostle with 50 other togs...So I will be on hand to dish out any advice or do impromptu tutorial stuff during the session. I suggest that we all head off to Oxford road as there are some big old bars ideal for a bit of joshing and socialising
Well I'm looking forward to it..should be good.
If I could live off praise I wouldn't be sitting here now typing this pile of old tosh but for some odd reason we need fresh air to live but can't survive on fresh air alone. Now it's nice when stuff sells, okay if I took more 'commercially minded' images I'd probably sell more but if you read the previous post you will now know that I take photos because I like to...shock horror old man takes quirky snaps beacuse he just wants to...red top tabloid stuff I think you'll agree. Now I also mentioned that I can live without a constant stream of praise to boost my already hyper inflated ego I even considered disabling comments so that folk came and just looked and then floated away...hang on I'm on the cusp of rambling...
So approbation, yesterday was a good day, a really good day, Getty sent me an email wanting more images and besides the flappy dither I got into wondering where the chuff I'd put all the old model releases I found uploaded and waved good bye in that 'tear in the eye first day at school' way and look forward to them furthering there fledgling career on Getty images...and then, well for me, a biggie....I got an appreciation..meh shmeh you may well say but it was from Julieanne Kost principal digital imaging eveangelist for Adobe .com. Now this was for one of my behance projects and although the images weren't optioned in the end I think they make a pretty decent set to look at. Check out Julieannes very slick and informative Lightroom and Photoshop videos on Adobe TV
Now then I ran my own image library last year and as a sales tool it was as useful as a Chocolate teapot so I binned it..older viewers will know that one of my business principles is 'Give it 12 months....' but I ended up with thousands of images just sitting about, shooting the breeze and drinking caffeine based beverages on a selection of hard drives..and then I realised that those fine folk on flickr had given us all 1Tb of space to fill...so I will... I started yesterday with some North Wales stuff and more 'quirky stuff' will be shovelled on later today..
Feel free to call by, look and if you really have to..offer some approbation, after all it's the fresh air that feeds us all.
So Imentioned Adobe Exchange and I thought I might as well run up a quick video on how to use it and maybe show you all the flexibility and creative aspects of working with just a few layers...so here we go...I'll start off with a simple mono landscape I shot earlier this summer up in Camusdarach on the North West Scottish coast.
So just a quick one but maybe a help in getting your creativity going. If you do use this and publish just put a link back to this so other folk can benefit...cheers
A very long time ago I trained as an Architectural Photographer on 5 x 4 and 10 x 8 swing tilt cameras. Now I've photographed many a building since , during the early years everything that I shot was Mono, vertically correct and sharp as a pin..that was then. Now I still love architectural shapes and how i would have loved all those years ago, was Photoshop... Because now I want to look at buildings as being part of the image not the central focal point...maybe better to show you what I'm on about...here are some images from Glasgow down on the Clyde.
So the images are part architecture, a bit of texture and reworking the sharpness/blur. For me it's a question of creating an image as opposed to recording a photograph and in many ways imposing a look and maybe my own 'style' ...here's a few more
In this over image saturated world that we inhabit it can be difficult to get acknowledgement for your creative talents, especially if you are shooting things that are' scenes that everyone has to shoot' So experiment, do that thing...you know...put the camera gear down and think about what you want to show people and how you want to present things. If you are working an image file then get in there and play...don't save it but keep working it until you develop a 'look' that you like....important point of course is to remeber how you got there...take notes save a layered psd, create an action and save any adjustment layers as presets...and then you are well on the way to using your photography to create images, not just take photographs
don't think I'm going to ignoring you but some, well most of the places I'm off to just don't have wi-fi and even though I've finally got my infinity BT wi-fi sorted...thank you Mina over in India and your chat based online help there appears to be not a jot of wireless or much else over on the Outer Hebrides So will load Elvis up again and banter off to Uig on friday..450 miles have a kip on the harbour hop on the ferry and zizz across to Harris...yep that simple....ha...so if wifi works at any point I'll keep you up to date in the new images section. As I've already mentioned I'm going to give bracketed exposures a big wallop...I've learnt a new trick which involves LR and CS without things going a bit Barbara Cartland Make-up HDR...I suppose I'd better have a faff in LR5 before I go just to see whats new. So if I don't post then I'm not ignoring you dear reader it's all about the wifi...
Couldn't get out to do three tutorials this week because of the accursed dribbly grey fugg weather.... June it is then when all will be billowy and sunny....yeh right....
So here's a link to the images I've chosen to be featured at Cepic , just follow this link http://www.fotolibra.com/gallery/lightbox/?lightbox_id=17000
and you will see a set of images which are a bit more restrained than my usual fare. Had to think of the market they were being shown to...I didn't want to frighten the horses with some of the waccy baccy stuff I pump out....anyway..middle of June lets see what kind of doors open following this then.
Websites....portfolios...lightboxes..there seems to be an explosion of updated , upgraded, reworked, new pricing structure web presence things out there at the moment I was glad flickr actually did something and on first look I thought ..Wow...but after a few days I find I'm actually yearning for a return to the old interface...okay I don't look at flickr on mobile devices...which , I think, was the raison d'etre to get the decorators in...it's not tempted me to fork out on a Pro account though. Now 500px has got a new 'Portfolio' thingumybob interface thing...as long as you pay.... and then I go and discover that, as I am a fully paid up and card carryying member of that there Adobe CC ...well they have given me a Behance Prosite for free...free...okay as i always tell the kids if they tell you it's free then somewhere along the line you pay...so it must be coming out of my monthly dibs to Adobe... but hey it's a freebie it looks quite nice and clean and it's somewhere else to snag some interest.... what's not to like. have a look...okay not much in at the moment.. http://maxblackphotos.prosite.com but check out Behance as well..big old mixing pot of creatives and some great 'pro' image makers to follow...
resumes during this week, well my kind of normality, shooting with a DSLR and getting stuck into all the projects I've had brewing over the last few months.. But first, catalogue and handouts to get together for my return to the outdoor market flogging pictures thing that I last did 28 years ago.... my regular reader will already know that I used to zip all over the country selling mounts, pictures and frames I used to make and kept doing until I opened my first shop.. but back on the streets and although I have a lot of stock and a part finished display stand, I've nothing that folk can take away ponder and maybe order from...hmmmm the website will probably have to change again , I havn't got any of the big images of Manchester that I'll have on sale
So , after I've gone and picked up Di from the hospital with her shiny new porcelain hip I'll be getting stuck into handout creation...oh and the final talk of this seasons camera club chats...this one is along the lines of 'Don't just sit there....' but with a view to alternative shooting in Blackpool as ever I'm looking forward to it
Back on the artisan/craft fair circuit starting in April so just building up stock as the days flutter by. Got some new big Manchester multi mount images which I'll start putting on here today, they really are mega images and even I've impressed myself, not often I can say that....there will be lots of mounts and stuff as well so plenty to look at, tell you dates and times when things get closer
the keen eyed of you will have noticed that my Photodeck image library has gone off air...yep I give things 12 months and if nothing happens they get the chop, I'll be giving these framed and mounted images a bit longer as this ties in with some life changing plans I'm putting in place..I know enigmatic but nothing finalised except the determination to do something different before I get too old and my get up and go gets up and naffs off... oh and going to be a Grandad again...blimey, they are coming thick and fast now....
No I've not been hibernating...
..I'm going through a cyclical process of man flu, colds and chesticle infections that has medical science on the back foot...still here if not in some drug addled state...still managing to sit up and put coherent sentences together like
" Yes some malt whisky in the lemsip would be nice..."
Colds...what are they good for???? All stems from my trip to Spain and Gibraltar...foreign germs coming over here...
So, I'm trying to get this place sorted and more retail based, almost there. We'll be saying tata to my Photodeck site as I put more stuff up on my other Image library site, you can have a browse through all the old stuff on there and buy downloads either as RM or RF licensed...
So as I now have the Adobe creative cloud at my fingertips I thought I'd go through all the very old stuff that proved a challenge in CS3 and CS4...so they may not have seen the light of day but technically I'll consider them as new images and I'll be having a play with layering stuff again, yes I know not everyone's cup of tea but if I don't mash about and do it...who else will???? Here's one from the Black Mountains...
Fuggy flatness in the light department means a day in the workshop and on here today with Radio 6 and then 5Live for the footy.
I take groups and individuals out for training in and around Manchester and one of the things I try and impress on folk is to...slow down ..and do that thing that money can't buy..think....yep think..as a concept it's not too hard to grasp but in practice it can sometimes prove elusive..I'm talking about thinking about your Images..not photos or snaps but images... and in many ways once you've cracked the thinking about image creation rather than posting a succession of photos out on the web you suddenly find that you are developing a style..your leitmotif...the way in which other folk can see 'you' in your images and in this overdosed digital world a personal style is probably the only way your images will stand out..okay I'm no stranger to the 'Twin Imposters' so developing a personal style is not the singular way to fame and fortune, loads of great snappers out there who have an individual take on image creation and have tumbleweed blowing about in their comments boxes but here's part two of this little article...thinking and creating images is the first part the second being...are you creating images so you can accumulate reams of comments and virtual love????or are you drawing something out of yourself..stopping thinking shooting creating; creating personal satisfaction from the image itself rather than the virtual love of 'friends' ?? I'm not saying there is a right or wrong a Black or White side to this but one of the things I always question myself on is why I'm shooting something in a certain way, most times it's for the personal challenge. I like seeing things my way and more often than not the image is in my' head' before I'm out there shooting it..I know I've probably just taken a left turn towards pseuds corner but all I'm trying to put over to you in this blog piece is just to stop, think and question...then get creating the best image you've ever done..and never fear the tumbleweed..........
Not had one of these for a while but as I live on the web (for the moment, things change in 2013) but time for a heads up on who is watching, where they are from and WTF it means if anything....
So I have all this data that piles up in graphs and charts from all my sites and I'll tell you about this place first, well most of the traffic actually comes from online searching, there's me thinking that sticking links to back on here would drive a bit of traffic, hey, wrong again!!! Second in the table is Youtube, yes youtube where I seem to get new followers all the time and some wander across to see what that old fella has been wittering on about and linger for a while. Next up is Google in all it's national incarnations from .de to .ve the data is there and if I could speaka da lingo I'd thank them all individually....bumping along is twitter and propping up the pile is flickr....does anyone still think flickr is a viable and vibrant place for images???? It seems to be yawning it's way to oblivion, for gods sakes Getty do the decent thing and make a land grab now, ah flickr how bright shiny and vibrant you were back in the day...... so about 180 hardy souls bob in here on a daily basis which is okay and I'm hoping to eclipse that next year once the 'local' advertising hit's the streets....
Youtube how I love all that statistical data, charts, graphs demographics you've got the lot and it's time to big up the newest country to pop in for a nosy so as you might expect America is my biggest visitor with 68% blokeys and the dear ladies in at 32% with the majority coming from the 45 to 65 years old age demographic.....yes I'm getting bored with this as well. So who is the smallest country with the least visitors I hear you say through a stifled yawn, well that would be the Azores with one male in his 30's.....so exciting
Last is my Library site where I hardly get a peep from any UK visitors but loads from Japan, Russia, the Americas and Europe...totally different group than those that drop in here....so what does it mean...for me stop looking at the data and get those snaps processed, between 500 to 700 'unique' visitors call through in any 24 hour period across my sites and if I could I'd shake you all by the hand and say 'Thanks for calling by...' which is what I'm now saying to you dear viewer.......
I'm not the one to define where the boundaries of photographic art, photo journalism and photography blur and blend, do you tell folk that you are a 'fine art photographer' or expect that any reasonably computer and photographically enabled visitor has the ability to place their own definition on your work. In many ways the explosion of images on the internet have allowed us an uninhibited and un-blinkered look at how other folk with cameras take a view of things and start an open or closed conversation using their ability to capture a moment.
Now quite surprisingly out there in the non virtual world are people who are not savvy to the plethora of hardware and software that lies behind the creation of most of today's imagery. Not that they don't care, they don't need to, but most know what they like and certainly know what they don't. In the music industry they used to be the Old Greys, knew what they liked and ....er liked it. Now as my one or two regular readers know I've owned galleries, stood there at trade shows selling images and frames, attempting to provide what is wanted without knowing what was wanted, pre guessing, imposing on the buyer what I want them to buy...and this is where I am now, on the verge of selling to non photographic literates things that I think will have a resonance, be consumer friendly, be something worth owning.
And so the developmental definition of who I am in a photographic sense begins, fine art, experimental, mainstream, odd???? My own definition of how I think I'm perceived, well I'll keep that to myself, how the Old Greys will see me, well that is what I'm about to find out.
Well one from the experimental bin, the photographic earworm is back gnawing away and making me veer about a bit, I can already see the next phase of this type of imagery and so on this dull grey monday I give you...layered panoramas.....add salt to taste
Well that was a particularly painless week of selling off lots of gear. Cash in the bank and new stuff on it's way...
So heading off in a slightly different direction, as I said last time I think the Image Library business is suffering from it's own success, in fact the whole digital image online look at me sharing showing off thing has got to a point where either an Armageddon moment or some other amalgamatory (?) conjoining expiration moment will descend upon us. Still wondering why Getty don't just scoop up flickr instead of all this 'Artist's Pick' tosh and make it work as a cheapo licensing operation, now as I've said before 'pinching' images off the net is so bloody easy these days and even tickling out the watermarks is now just a swish and a click, we've got the Digital Orphans bill rumbling along, good idea if you have a read of this stop43
So not only is there too many images on the net and people pinching them but if you fail to tag, watermark add metadata and generally chase down any referrers coming on you sites who are dodgy (yandex and baiduspider based searches) and of course disable any download options, make images 'small' and low jpeg quality and add on the appropriate licensing options then quite frankly it's just like leaving your front door open with a big Neon sign flashing 'Help Yourselves, the doors open' look after your images, make sure everyone knows they are yours and keep the front door shut and switch off that bloody Neon sign.....
Stuff for Sale
I have some well cared for Nikon Gear for sale. A rather nice Nikon 105VR Micro f2.8 lens, boxed, nikon caps, pouch and manual for £450. A Nikon 80-200 f2,8, Nikon caps, metal hood, leather case and Cullman shoulder carrying bag over here on ebay for £295. And also , if you cut mounts or want to cut mounts a Logan 650 40" mount cutter as new, boxed with a box of Logan blades to get you started again it's on ebay. Quite welcome to come on down and have a try first, unless of course they have been snapped up.
Just clearing the decks as new gear is on the way for next years projects and I've already cleared off my SB800 kit so really need to lighten the load and get these items out to someone who may find a good use for them....
Had a minor panic yesterday as I lost loads of images...well if you put them on a portable HDD and then store them away and then forget that you put them on there to keep them safe.....don't get old, it's bloody annoying at times..anyway found and as I have a different PP process I'll be giving those a mighty slap and tickle today. I look at stuff I 'over' processed from 3 years ago and shake my head, lot of strong images hidden in a smear of outre Photoshop , that was then and this is now as '80's pop Diva's ABC once sang to us...I've also taken a bit of a fancy to square format images again...I can hear my old Bronica weeping gently in my 'Man' cupboard upstairs.
Today must have been the darkest bleakest yackiest start to a day for a long time, even the chickens couldn't be arsed to get pecking this morning, who can blame them, mind you I have a request for some 'Wet Umbrella' shots so should be good for a trip into Manchester later.
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...