Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
mbird

Photography ramble

Recommended Posts

Hi All

Just to say a huge thank you to Simon for the organisation and Bruce for the expert guidance. I had an excellent time wandering around snapping things I wouldn't normally even consider photographing, and it was great to put faces to the forum names.

I'm not sure if these pics should go here or in the Broads Pics section, but here goes anyway. Sorry if some of them are a little unusual, but that was what was so good about following Bruce around!

post-264-136713421941_thumb.jpg

post-264-13671342196_thumb.jpg

post-264-136713422234_thumb.jpg

post-264-136713422252_thumb.jpg

post-264-13671342226_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Nice shots Mark! I haven't even got the camera out the bag yet, so what it will give up remains a mystery for now but I'd also like to add my thanks to Bruce to whom I am heavily indebted after Paul was unfortunately taken ill and for a horrible moment everyone appeared to be looking to me for guidance - yikes! :?

I'd also like to add my thanks to Roy (boaters) for kindly dropping myself and Susan back to our home after the pub and to Dennis, the Woodbastwick meet'n'greet cat who provided us a moving subject, albeit a rather unpredictable one!

An apology as well, due to Roy, for lending him an SLR to trial which promptly died! :oops:

I don't know what anyone expected to get out of it but I hope nobody was disappointed and it was, after all, the first time attempting this kind of thing. If there is sufficient interest then we can probably attempt another and if there was any part of this time that we can learn from to make it better next time, or cater more adequately for a certain type of photographer / photography then please feel free to make any points.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Just looking through them now and I am largely underwhelmed with my results. I've posted up the following though because it did create the effect I was after (a step back in time). Unfortunately the process of resampling the shot down to a fraction of its original size (and then re-sharpening) for web use has lost quite a lot of what appealed about the full size pic but it's still worth a look.

2859860737_d33aba1225_o.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Hi Mark some fantastic shots there mate.

Simon i think that black & white shot gives you more credit that you think its hard to get the rite shot in B & W as you don't want it to look to modern if you get me.

from my point of view its a very interesting shot and makes me think a little what the broads was like in those days.

Thanks mate

hope to see some more pics of this photo meet cheers:wave:wave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

It looks to me as if you all had a good time and the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Well, these pictures look good enough to grace any advertising magazines, but I'll leave them on the pages for everyone else to enjoy...I'm fat enough as it is!!

Well done all, some lovely shots, thanks for sharing them!

Regards,

Clive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

There's some really great stuff here guys. Mark, I especially like your architectural ones, particularly the one of Greenwood Cottage. It's beautifully composed, with all the elements in just the right place in the frame. I like the texture study of the post as well, and the one of the famous phone box/thatched roof combination has worked well. Not so sure about the bloke with the big bag on his back though ... I also like your description of following me around as "unusual" :) . I realise that my way of seeing things can be a bit quirky at times, but you seem to have slipped into the same approach pretty naturally!

Simon, I like the shot of the old Broads cruiser - not least 'cos I' shot a very similar one myself! Was the original in B&W in camera, or did you convert it?

Pete, what can I say? Like Mark, a great haul, one good one after another. You've obviously got a very good eye. Apart from Susan with the ice cream (I don't suppose she'll like you any more) I especially like the abstract which Rammy so delicately describes as a "floater". That could make a really nice arty print. The animal ones are great too, especially Dennis the cat against the wheel - a classic "aaaah" animal shot. In fact, they're all good. cheersbar

Keep them coming folks! I'll get some of mine up shortly.

Bruce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Simon, Love the B&W retro look. Might look really good with a little sepia tone (cliched I know, but I like it!) :-D

Pete, love it mate, :clap

Bruce, thanks for the compliments! Like I said, I'm not used to looking for the unusual, but when you do, it's surprising what is around.... :bow

Rammy, the Canoe hire is at Salhouse Broad :Stinky

Jill, My camera is a Canon D350. Its now about 2 years "out-of-date" but I got a really good deal on it at Comet as it was an obsolete model and the last one in the shop. The camera still exceeds my own capabilities, so I'm happy wit h a bargain! :-D

Phew, I think that's everyone!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Guys great photos,I will put mine up as soon as I can.Good time enjoyed it and would like to do it again sometime,maybe in the Winter.Liked the comment from the Lady at Salhouse " What are you looking at ? Are you TWITCHERS " How very dare her ! I mean did we really look like that ???? aah well maybe she did have a point ! Looked more like Papararazzi on Woodbastwick Green lurking around waiting for " that shot". cheersbar:Stinky:Stinky:wave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Ooh, so much has been posted and said since I last caught up with this thread yesterday!

Firstly Mark, I'm definitely with Bruce on this - your compositions are excellent and, sadly, leave mine to shame. The forge, the telephone and the canoe just work. I missed the "post man" completely.

Pete, a perfect illustration of the fact that you don't need an SLR to get good pictures - if the person behind the camera knows what they are doing the results will be always be good. On that subject, note to Jonny, whilst I think Pete already had a fair idea of what he was doing anyway, you might be surprised at what you can do with you and your camera with a few friendly pointers and a little concentration. Oh and Pete, I think the look on my face was probably what was known in the days of film as "a Kodak moment". I think another Kodak moment may be had when I tell Susan that you actually posted that pic of her with the ice cream! Apparently it was surprisingly good ice cream, btw. As others have picked out individual shots I thought I'd point to the dog running along the shore - plus well done on getting any decent pics of Dennis. It had ants in its pants that cat. Lastly the shot of the two houses was something I completely missed. Now you know why it was a good thing that Bruce was there!

Bruce the Broads cruiser shot is straight off the camera. I am too lazy to post process my images, though one of these days I might start. The only thing I have done is to resample it for display on the web as the original was far too big. I have to say the visual impact of the web version was decidedly reduced compared to having the original fill my 19" monitor so I am pleased people still like it.

Jill, my camera is a Sony a200 SLR. Mark, I had a Canon EOS400D at home that weekend as well but I left it behind - pity, or you could have had a fiddle with that to see what changes they have made.

Unfortunately in my earlier days shooting film my (inadvertent) choice of camera systems was Minolta, the biggest of the smaller players (Canon & Nikon made up the majority of the market) and a great innovator. Unfortunately they were so slow to get into digital SLR's that by then they were so far behind it was going to take a fantastic amount of cash to become a serious player again, cash they didn't have, so they binned it! Left me, and many others, with a bunch of lenses that appeared to have no future. Then along came Sony, whose R&D budget is in a different league, and bought up the Minolta camera division and started working towards a line of Sony cameras which would use the Minolta lens mount. I nearly jumped over to Canon but the cost of replacing my lenses prohibited that so I reluctantly opted for one of the new Sony SLR's (albeit the cheapest they make). I think their compacts are amongst the worst around so I hope to god they treat the SLR world with a bit more respect. I think some Canon and Nikon owners regard the sudden arrival in their world of a nasty electronics firm with some contempt and I don't think they are seen as serious camera manufacturers but Sony seem fairly determined to change all that. I backed the Sony horse out of lack of choice, I guess time will tell if it was a good decision. :?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Again, thanks to those who came on the "ramble" for your company on Sunday.

I'm going to put up some of my work from Sunday, but I thought that since Simon made such a magnificent effort last week to post almost a complete book about photographic technique, the least I can do is try to explain why I shot the images as I did, and what (if anything) was going through my tiny mind at the time. For those of you who were there, and following me as I explored, it might at least help explain some of my bizarre behaviour :) It may also supplement the "growing together" ethos of Simon's idea for the day. It's always really helpful to see what other photographers have done in exactly the same light and conditions, and it always highlights how differently each of us sees and thinks. They are not all necessarily very good from a photographic point of view, and you certainly won't like all of them, but they illustrate what I was trying to do to make the best of the conditions and subjects that we had on the day.

Some general info first. All my photos were shot on a Nikon D300. I had 4 lenses with me - 12-24mm, 16-85 mm VR (vibration reduction), 24-60mm f2.8, and 80-400mm VR. They are all variously used in the images that I'll post. I didn't use any filters.

You will see quite a lot of black and white images. I often think in monochrome before pressing the shutter, because I'm aware that a particular subject will work better in mono while I'm setting up the shot (also I'm used to my 5x4" film camera, where I choose to use a single sheet of colour transparency, colour negative or mono film while setting up the shot - this means I have learned to throw a "monochrome switch" in my head). You may disagree with my choice of mono - it is very subjective. I used it a lot on Sunday because Salhouse had a lot of unremitting green, which can become boring; and where I was more interested in shapes, textures and tones than colour, I would previsualise the picture in B&W. I would not switch the camera to B&W capture, because that usually disposes of all the colour info at the shooting stage, and it is far better to retain that colour info to control your own mono conversion (a bit technical, but it involves colour channels). If you're shooting JPEGS and switching the camera to mono at the same that is a lethal combination - the camera's brain is disposing of a great deal of information, and deciding for you how it thinks you might like your picture!

As I said on Sunday, and for the reasons I gave, I always shoot in RAW, never JPEG. I used Adobe Lightroom 2 to do all the RAW processing and to output the JPEGs to upload to the site. I did not take any of these images into Photoshop. Because of the efficiency of Lightroom none of these has had more than about two minutes spent on them in doing the RAW conversions, setting the black and white points (basically getting the contrast right and fine tuning exposure on the RAW file), doing monochrome conversions with presets that I have set up for different styles of black and white, and then outputting the JPEG, again using presets for different sizes of JPEG (and for example automatically converting from RGB to SRGB, which is best for the web, applying the correct sharpening and adding a watermark, all in a few seconds). I would not go back to the pre-Lightroom days when all this had to be done in Photoshop!

I suspect that some of the above may not make sense, but if you've read Simon's notes you should be OK!

As with everyone's pictures on the site, they are best viewed full size by clicking on them.

So on with the first one. Because I'm doing this in chronological order I'm risking losing half of you by starting with a mono image! Those of who you who were there may have noticed me crouching down with my tripod near the edge of the broad soon after we arrived - and after we had just met and the rest of you were chatting sociably - no doubt wondering "what is that strange bloke doing down there?" The answer is that I wanted to use the log as the foreground for a photo. I aligned myself around it until it pointed into the frame as a "lead in", and then waited for the yacht to line up where I wanted it before making the exposure. It was on ISO 200, 1/40 sec. at f22. I used f22 because I wanted maximum depth of field, and that was why I was using the tripod (given the low shutter speed that came with the small aperture). In terms of composition I placed the yacht on the top third and log in the bottom third, leading the eye into the frame. At least that was the idea - you decide!

I used mono because the colour of the foreground sand is distracting, and takes the eye away from the subjects - the log and the yacht. The light was poor and diffused, which in my view is more suited to mono than colour for this type of subject. In mono the textures and shapes become more important, and the distracting colours are removed.

So, there you go. I'll post more this evening and tomorrow.

Bruce

post-175-13671342285_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
You may disagree with my choice of mono - it is very subjective. I used it a lot on Sunday because Salhouse had a lot of unremitting green, which can become boring; and where I was more interested in shapes, textures and tones than colour, I would previsualise the picture in B&W.

The colours were very flat indeed for much of the afternoon (though didn't things change when the sun came out!) hence why I also opted to try out some black and white. On my part the reasoning was fairly simple (actually my reasoning is usually fairly simple on most things!) which was simply that I did not think I would get anything other than flat, dull images in colour so I started looking for an alternative way of producing something interesting. It was just my luck that that old wooden motor cruiser happened to enter the broad a moment after I started trying it out.

I would not switch the camera to B&W capture, because that usually disposes of all the colour info at the shooting stage, and it is far better to retain that colour info to control your own mono conversion (a bit technical, but it involves colour channels). If you're shooting JPEGS and switching the camera to mono at the same that is a lethal combination - the camera's brain is disposing of a great deal of information, and deciding for you how it thinks you might like your picture!

I think that is probably true to some extent with all ex-camera JPEG's. Shooting RAW is the only way to get around that. I was just experimenting so I decided to give the B&W setting a try out.

I have avoided using RAW in the past for three very simple reasons; time - when I come back from the far east with 2000 images, 2 mins an image to process is not an option, especially when 4 out of 5 will be binned anyway; accuracy - I am colourblind and playing with colour channels is a risky strategy because the results might be hilarious; monitors! I have a workstation with two monitors attached to the same graphics card. The 17" AOC produces dull lifeless images but is good at not blowing out the highlights, the 17" Samsung produces sharper, brighter images but tends to blow out highlight detail. Next to it is another computer with a different graphics card and brand new 19" Iiyama monitor which has a poor working relationship with the its DVI connection to the computer and images are different again when displayed on this. And then there's my Acer laptop with a sharp but less colourful 15" display that produces different results again. In the face of the huge variance between screens and my own poor colour vision I have generally shied away from using RAW because I don't have the tools, physically or technically, to get the best out of it.

That said, both of the main machines are due for a complete rebuild in the next couple of months so I'll add the RAW software for both of my SLR's when I rebuild them and on future walks I'll have a go and see what I can do with the results. I've been reading some interesting stuff about RAW today and it's fair to say my appetite has been whetted! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

OK, here's the next one - colour this time :)

This time one of the things that drew me to the scene was the colour palette - the greens and sand colours. The green boats and grass (and even the green bin); and the colour of the interiors of the boats which toned nicely with the sand. I think that because of all that it works best in colour, because on this occasion the colour adds an interesting element rather than detracting.

I decided to go in close on the canoes and exclude the sky. The sky was boring, and on those occasions it is often better to leave it out - unless it adds something, don't include it. I always ask myself why I have been drawn to photograph a particular image, and then emphasise that thing, making the image as simple as possible and including as few elements as I actually need. Over-complication usually reduces impact (a bit like cooking). The image would have been much weaker if I had included a line of trees and a bland sky. It also usually makes sense to go in close to the subject, rather than having it small in the middle of the frame with lots of unwanted stuff around it.

This leads me on to another point in my ramble about composition :naughty: When you are composing a photograph, you are selecting a very small part of a very large potential subject (in our case on Sunday the whole of Salhouse Broad), and reducing a huge 3-dimensional reality to a small 2-dimensional rectangular window. It is very easy to point a camera roughly at a subject and think that you will capture a good photograph of it - you probably won't, except by luck, unless you apply your brain and your eyes to it first! It's crucial to cast your eye around the viewfinder. What is in there that you don't want? Is there a sliver of sky? If so, either include a balanced amount of sky or exclude it. Is there a person's foot in the corner, have you cut a duck in half etc? It takes a very short time to check, and becomes instinctive. It's better to take a few seconds to move, zoom or recompose slightly than to notice the problem when you see the photo. You can also see in the viewfinder, if you take your time, how the elements of the photo relate to each other in the frame. The great landscape photographer Ansel Adams said "a good photograph is knowing where to stand." Here I chose the angle I did because from that position the fence and the two boats are all pointing to a "vanishing point' outside the frame to the right, which gives a feeling of balance. I needed some separation between the two canoes - think how the balance would have changed if I had moved further back and the two canoes had merged into one. I also positioned myself to put the front canoe across the bottom left third of the frame - thirds usually give a more balanced feel than putting the subject in the middle.

Finally, I wanted to emphasise the front canoe and subtly de-emphasise the waste bin and the modern boat in the background, both of which in an ideal world would not have been there (I din't think the Cators would like it if I moved their bin :oops:). To do this I shot at f.4.8 to give quite a shallow depth of field with my lens at about 50mm, and focused on the front canoe.

I know I am making this sound complicated, but it's a matter of practice - it took no more than a few seconds to make these decisions and press the shutter. Because of the flat light it was never going to be more than a snapshot. I knew it would be no prize winner, so I was quite happy to shoot quickly and move on rather than spending ages in fine tuning.

Bruce

post-175-13671342286_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Simon, the 2 minutes per image is only for the ones I've selected for use. Lightroom (and its Apple rival Aperture) automatically "processes" all the RAW images while it's downloading them, and displays them in a number of ways that you can choose from - a grid, a filmstrip, or a large image that you can view full screen, 100%, or indeed up to 11-1 (Spinal Tap joke), without doing any work at all. I go away and make a cup of tea when I'm uploading the images, and when I come back they're ready for viewing - it's absolutely no different from uploading JPEGs to your computer and viewing them. (It doesn't create JPEGs as it processes them, but creates an XML sidecar file - you only create JPEGS, PSDs or whatver else you need when you need to export a file for some reason). I then select the ones I'm going to use, using colour labels, star labels or flags, switch on a filter to hide the ones I haven't selected, and then work on the ones I want.

The programmes are workflow tools designed to cut down work for pro photographers, and the whole purpose behind them is speed. I've shot 2 weddings this season with 2,000 RAW images each. If I worked intensively on them (which I usually don't, 'cos fortunately the couple usually go away in honeymoon for a couple of weeks and aren't clamouring for the pics straight away :) ) I could have selected 300 for the web gallery, fine tuned them and had them up on the web within 1 day using Lightroom, with no credit on my part - it's all down to the software. Of course, you probably don't want to buy Lightroom, but it's important to get the message across to people who may be reading this thread that using RAW is no longer slow, as it used to be. Things have really changed in the last couple of years. The degree of control that you have over white balance, exposure and dynamic range means that most people who start using RAW will never turn back.

In your case you did the right thing using your camera in BW mode and shooting JPEGs - unless you've got and want to use image editing software, you just need something you can upload straight from the camera.

Bruce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Another one from soon after our arrival at the Broad. This one is pretty simple - waited for the Vintage Broadsman to get where I wanted it in the frame, having lined up the foreground interest in readiness. I wanted the boat before it reached the centre of the frame, so that it had some room in front (like portraits in profile, boats are often best photographed a little off centre with the extra space in front). Obviously the whole of the boat had to be in the picture (no cut off stern). I also wanted the bows to be just short of having lined up with the side of the fence, so there was a very specific moment when I had to shoot to get it the way I wanted it. I placed the boat roughly on the third from the top of the frame. I had to include the sky this time.

Bruce

post-175-136713423143_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Very impressive. I'll see how I get on with the RAW software which came with the camera when I get a chance. Time was certainly an element in my reluctance to use RAW and obviously that need not be so. That said, I'm not really sure how to get round the issue of having three different monitors providing three differing outputs of on screen image.

Anyway, I've gathered some of my effort together - I really don't like the effect that re-sampling down for web use has but there's not much choice!

2863457838_c7b0616ca0_o.jpg

2863458024_c1ed7fa7e1_o.jpg

2862624807_950e2e3fa4_o.jpg

2863458394_f162ff80ae_o.jpg

2863458758_8c3d3c081d_o.jpg

2862625563_8f0e1d2e23_o.jpg

2863459316_b69cbd0698_o.jpg

2863459672_f75409ac37_o.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that you have explained the reasoning behind certain things, Bruce, it becomes quite obvious that the "training" of the eye is far more important than having the latest whiz-bang camera! I did wonder what you were photographing the Vintage Broadsman for (personal taste I know, but I think it's hideous!), but with the composition of the canoes in the foreground it makes a really interesting subject. Not detracting from Petes photo of the same boat in any way, which is a perfectly good picture in its' own right, but it is clear what a few seconds thought to the composition can add to a photo.

I may be wrong, but it seems the key to it is learning to view the subject through a rectangle, just as you would see the finished subject, and trying to ignore the peripheral information we see with our eyes. Tricky one....could take some time :lol:

Simon, just a thought but are you using WIndows Vista? If so, you can download a plugin for it (not sure where I got mine from, but I think I searched Microsofts knowledge base) to view RAW files within windows. This way you can simply download fro mthe camera, quickly discard any pics that aren't acceptable, and the just convert the ones you want to with a batch process in Photoshop, or as I use, Paintshop Pro Photo X2. Thus the whole convertion process becomes pretty much automatic.

Keep 'em comin Bruce, I'm intreagued to see some of your abstracts :clap

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Looks like it was well worth the effort judging by the pictures on here so far.

One thing I would add, and Bruce has raised the subject is the RAW format.

You never know when one of your pictures may be worth entering into a competition some time.

Now I was going to enter some a while ago BUT the entries needed to be in RAW format only.

So if you can shoot in that mode - and memory is getting larger and cheaper - it is worth doing - JUST IN Case !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Lots more interesting stuff since I last stopped by!

I like the photos Simon. A nice shot of the church, but my favourites are the phone box/thatched roof combo and the coot with reflection and ripples - a very well seen photo.

Mark, I agree about the Vintage Broadsman being hideous!

I also strongly agree with your point about learning to view the subject through a rectangle - in fact quite a few photographers do exactly that, with a cardboard slide mount or similar piece of card. Many large format photographers, myself included, use a Linhof viewfinder, which is an optical device which you look through to frame the image, showing 5x4 proportions, and with a zoom ring which you turn to set different focal lengths for standard large format lenses. It's not just being lazy - it means that by the time you open your backpack you know where to put the tripod and which of your (fixed focal length) lenses to get out of the bag - but it also means you have pretty clear idea of what you want to shoot and why, before you touch the camera. A piece of cardboard is pretty good though - and the real point is that we need to learn to previsualise a two dimensional window cut out of what is in front of us.

Here is my first abstract - as you know, I suggested we use the ripples in the broad with the blue sky reflections to create an abstract image. I basically just moved the lens around in the area which had the blue reflections until I found a pleasing composition, and then fired. The execution was easy! 400mm lens at f5.6.

post-175-136713423153_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

And another very simple abstract one, near the gate at the top of the hill where we all stopped to chat (again! the social side of the day was great). I wanted to get one of the grasses to stand out from the rest, so got really close and waited for the wind to drop long enough. I set a suitable aperture to blur the background (in fact it was f14, but at 85mm used close up this does not produce much depth of field at all - a really wide aperture like 2.8 or 5.6 would have lost the background into a grey mass). I knew it would be B&W when I shot it, because I was interested in shapes and tones rather than colour, and the colour would have been cruddy brown and green!). I added a very slight tone when doing the B&W conversion, which is an individual aesthetic choice.

post-175-136713423168_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

For details of our Guidelines, please take a look at the Terms of Use here.