Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Steelworks and beach

On a recent walk I took these shots, been given the HDR treatment (more on that later) I needed the exercise to be honest, and this is a reasonable walk, especially if you go a good way along the beach as well.
HDR. If you read this blog often you'll know I'm partial to HDR (high dynamic range) images, my weapon of choice for the conversion is Dynamic photo hdr, this is partly because it's really easy to use and mostly because it does a fair job of tone mapping an image from a single JPEG (all these for example)
Photomatix is better, but won't do the conversion from a single jpeg, although it will from a single RAW image (or better still 3 or more) Photoshop strangely while easily the most expensive, is hardest and easily the worst at the conversion, yes you can get a good result but it takes a lot of time and effort.
I mentioned in an earlier post I have been experimenting on my own version of HDR, I'm just about there now, although it's more contrast masking than tone mapping, in effect a similar-ish result. Over the next day or so I'll post a result with a Photoshop action for download, so you can try it for yourself. Wayne

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Return to Fractalius

I had another go with this plug-in for Photoshop, to be honest I'm still not convinced the effect is going to be a winner. One of the issues I'm finding is getting the effect you want, there's an element of trial and error, then luck when you get something that works, also the effect isn't terribly predictable, it varies from image to image. Wayne

Monday, April 27, 2009

Forest glade

Here are a few photos of a forest glade, it was the bluebells that caught my eye, the recent rain has really brought them out. Wayne

Doing your first wedding (last part)

Well we have all the photos, we've survived the wedding, now what? Post processing time!
This is where a lot of budding wedding togs go wrong, they either can't do the processing, or they fail to allow enough time to do it properly. Editing a 1000 wedding can take up a lot of time, it depends largely on how well your shot in camera, if you got the composition and exposures right there it'll make life a lot easier later.
My personally preference for the editing is Adobe Lightroom, it's strong point is it's batch processing, if you have 50 shots the same exposure, you simply select all 50 and adjust them all at once. It also has a history palette (like photoshop) so you can undo at any stage, you can add presets like sepia (seen on the left with preview in the photo) You can fix spots or dust bunnies, sharpen, even crop, It's a very versatile bit of kit. What it can't do is the clever stuff like layers or swopping heads, for that you need Photoshop.
Allow yourself plenty of time, it could take anywhere between a few hours and days for an edit, depending on the work needed, and the effects your after.
The final step is renumber your images, if the customer knows you have taken a 1000 pics he'll want them all, bad ones as well, never let on during the wedding how many you have taken, just say lots or something similar. When they are renumbered and he sees then he can't tell if you took 100 or a 1000.
Heres a pic of lightrooms develop layout (it also has libary, slideshow, print and web, layouts)

it's a largish pic so you can see the detail. Wayne

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day went well

Well it all went off OK today with the abseil, nobody got injured, which works for me.
Here's a pic of one of our chaps Steffan after his go, looking relieved, although to be fair he did enjoy it, last time he did this he came down singing we are abseiling (to the Rod Stewart song we are sailing) Having heard Stef singing before I asked one of the guys at the top to cut his rope if he started this time! Fortunately for us all he spared us that.
The other pic has been edited to look a lot like HP5+ developed in microphen and pushed processed, hi-contrasty and grainy (done with Nik silver effects pro) Enjoy. Wayne

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hectic and well dodgy day.

I'm on first aid duty today, and it's going to be dodgy, an all day abseil, "why is it dodgy" you ask? because in the past we have had to airlift casualties to hospital from the same duty.
The problem is it's not the best place in the world to climb in to start with, loose rock, a lot of height, and beginners is a bad combination. Plus today we have the added bonus of heavy rain showers forecast, wet rock is slippery rock. All in all it could be a bad day out for somebody, but I really hope not.
Some pics to lift the mood. Shot on the local mountain by my house when I went for a bit of fresh air last week, mostly on a 50mm lens except for the logs. Wayne

Doing your first wedding part 6 (the pretty pics)

Today we are talking about the group shots, some people start with the big group and work down, the logic here is the guests can then go after having their pics taken and get a drink.
In any event there's pretty much set pics you want to take.
Both families, check before the wedding if both sets of parents are alive and coming to avoid calling for them. Friends and workmates. The bridal party, the best man bridesmaids etc. Then we come to the bride and groom, I find it best to take them off somewhere by themselves if you can, ideally a garden in the venue, or maybe a local park (can have joe public being a pain though) The idea here is to get the pretty pics and give the B+G chance to relax. Here you can shoot lots of images if your digital, get some out of focus backgrounds to lift the couple from them, fill flash if needed on most or all the formal shots is my usual.
Take your time though, and it helps to have an assistant or maybe one of the bridesmaids, they can hold the flowers, or adjust the dress etc while you concentrate on shooting.
When you get back from shooting these shots I'd recommend you do a fake cake cutting, it's easier without loads of others around, and you have the B+G undivided attention. Wayne

We are coming to the end of this series, next time is the evening and post processing the images.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Faux Holga

The Holga is a plastic toy camera, it uses 120 film and has a simple uncorrected lens. It's become something of a cult classic now, it's images recognised by heavy vignetting, over bright saturation, and blurring and colour aberrations, especially at the edges.

When launched in 1982 (in Hong Kong) it cost a few pounds, now changing hands for up to £50 or so, a fair profit for someone.

Here I have used a digital camera to fake the Holga look with the aid of Photoshop, then added a medium format border to complete the illusion.

Enjoy. Wayne

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mumbles and Fractulas

Heres another pic, this time it's a street in Mumbles,it's had the HDR treatment, and given a dose of Fractulas. I have been having a play with this, and managed to get rid of the "just cut hair" look, now I get more a sort of illustration effect.

Enjoy. Wayne

Friday, April 17, 2009

More HDR

Here are a few more HDR images, too tired to write much I'm afraid, so off to bed now. Enjoy. Wayne

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Back to Bad wolf bay (aka Southerndown)

I took the boys to Southerndown today (bad wolf bay in Dr Who) got a few pics, I liked the lifeguard post, Baywatch eat your heart out!
Enjoy. Wayne

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hillsborough soccer disaster

Today's the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough soccer disaster, 98 people sadly died there, rules were changed to prevent it happening again. Could it ever happen again?
I'm a volunteer first aider, one of my fairly regular duties is a local rugby ground, the rules say 2 first aiders for the first 2000 people, then another 1 for every thousand after that, trouble is our ground only ever have 2 first aider, regardless of crowd numbers.... except when the Health and safety executive do their annual check, then they book 5 of us for that day, fishy or what!

Stressed and tired

Yep! I'm stressed and tired. It's a combination of lots of things, my Mum's had a knee replacement recently and needs a lot of attention, this coupled with having two teenagers home for a fortnight, and all the other stresses and strains of life, is taking it's toll on me. I'm shattered! I'm reaching the point where I really will have to have a break of some sort, or go completely doolally!
Some pics from my walk today, a sheep, well lamb really (yes I did think of mint sauce) and a log. Wayne

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bedford iron works

Here are a few pics of Bedford iron works, set up by John Bedford (1727-1791) in Waun Cimla. Some of the pics have been given the HDR treatment.
The place is fenced off but I managed to gain access for these pics

Swimming and Chillies

I took the boys swimming again today, trouble is I took them to the Afan Lido in Port Talbot, on the grounds it's nearer, cheaper and bigger than the LC2 in Swansea. Mistake! I'd forgotten how bad the place was, half the locker didn't work, the changing rooms were tiny and claustrophobic, and filthy (more later) The pool was ok, although a little chilly.
During our swim they kept making announcements over the tannoy, it sounded like "heeed feeer theee beecch" but partly due to a heavy accent, a rubbish sound system, and the acoustics of a dustbin, it was difficult to tell, I'm told it actually said "head for the beach" trouble is there isn't one, it's a swimming pool, I assume they meant the shallow end, then why not say so?
Why am I bothered, well suppose they needed to tell us something important, we'd never tell what they were ranting on about.
Coming out wasn't a bundle of fun either, the showers were stone cold (great in the winter) and as nobody seemed to be cleaning the changing area it was filthy by then, my cubicle smelt strongly of dog sick, Robs didn't even have a lock on the door. To be honest the place had that run down couldn't care less attitude, and for £10 I expect a little more.

Last time I mentioned chillies, well my mates at the take-away decided to see how tough I was and put some of the Naga chilli in a keema nan for me, only a bit. Wow was it hot, yes it was b****y hot! Wayne

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chillies and Railways

The Naga chili is claimed to be the worlds hottest, it's even recommended that gloves be worn when handling, certainly it's a really bad idea to rub your eye's after handling one, or indeed any "sensitive" body parts.
This one I was shown at my Indian take-away, I was offered a bit, but I like to taste my food not be spontaneously combusted by it! These things are HOT even Aklis (one of the staff) won't eat these things, and the normal staff curry is pretty seriously hot trust me.
The other photo is called "the end of the line" it's one of these little railway halts that should have Bernard Cribbins as station master, sadly if he was he'd have to break into his station, it's boarded up now.
Enjoy. Wayne
Warning if you try to copy the railway image standing on the lines like me is dangerious, I made sure I had somebody trustworthy watching for trains all the time. I also know that the level crossing I was shooting from is closed by hand when trains are coming (so I'd have warning) I wouldn't try this on a busy main line.
Please dont go on or near the lines, it's dangerious.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Doctor Who and Doughnuts!

Some spoilers for upcoming Dr Who stories. The Dr will meet an earlier version of himself. The Brigadier will help the Dr. The Dr will find he's not the only time lord left. The Dr will get a newer TARDIS, a type 60 (his is a type 40 I'm told) but don't panic, you haven't seen the last of the old type 40 yet. Remember the Masters funeral pyre, you thought that was the end of him, well maybe not.....
Onto today's images, all taken around Swansea marina recently, the doughnuts are the round highlights from my 500 mm mirror lens.
Enjoy. Wayne

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sunset at Port Talbot

I have had a busy time of late, my Mother has had a knee replacement so I'm spending a fair bit of time over there, what with shopping, paying bills and the boys home for half term it's a bit hectic.
Here's a few pics from tonight (Wednesday 8 th April) taken at Port Talbot beach. My youngest son Sam went to the cinema near the beach, I went to collect him and took my camera, while waiting for him to come out I got a few nice shots, well I liked them anyway. Wayne

Jersey marine and selective colour.

Jersey marine in a main road not too far from me, the last few days it's been total chaos due to road works. For reasons best know to themselves the highways people had grass cutting and light bulb replacement on the same day, this meant 4 miles of main road coned off and single lane traffic, how stupid is that. This is the main road from the M4 to Swansea for heavens sake, 45 minutes to cover 6 miles, 8 mph! a horse drawn mail coach could do that, welcome to the twenty first century in Wales!!
Here are a few pics, ones a small waterfall, the others a selective colour (sometimes called colour popping) all the colours except red have been removed in Adobe Lightroom. Wayne

Monday, April 6, 2009

Some more pics

A few more from my recent explore. Wayne

Whats in your bag?

Whats in your bag?? and I'm not talking colostomy here, I'm talking camera bag.
I'm actually referring to the bits and bobs that go with your camera.
I just looked at the goodies in my bag, it's surprising how things mount up, there's a torch, small knife, space blanket, mini first aid kit (few plasters etc) a small clamp (for taking up slack in clothes) some paracord, pencil and paper, bin bag (handy for all sorts of things) waterproof jacket, hand cleaning gell and some tape. And that's my lightweight bag!
To the photos, today another urban explore, a disused factory this time. Enjoy

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Doing your first wedding part 5 (the church)

Now having arrived at the church before the bride (you left after her remember) and found somewhere to park you now need to find the vicar or priest. Ask him/her what you can and can't do in the church, some will allow flash, some won't, some will let you do what you like, some won't let you take any photos during the service (the B+G should have checked this for you beforehand)
Either way it's best to check yourself on the day, you don't want to upset the vicar (I might have the next wedding there!) He could chuck you out remember.
Assuming the normal for many you'll probably find you can't use flash, this is where knowing your camera and having the right kit comes into it's own, switch to a faster lens, up the ISO (remember to put it back after) put the camera on a tripod and carry on, being able to shoot in low light in a tricky church is something that catches out many fledgling wedding togs, that's the mark of the Pro, getting the pics regardless of conditions.
After the vows there's the signing the register, often in the vestry, don't try to photograph the actual signing, wait and set up a proper shot after the official bit, you'll get a better shot and keep the vicar happy! Vestries are often small and tatty, watch out for junk in the background.
The next shots are usually the B+G walking down the aisle, here setting the exposure is critical, you want the B+G sharp and not burned out, but you need the background with enough detail to look like the inside of a church, not the black hole of Calcutta.

In the next part we talk about the "pretty" shots. Wayne

School centenary

Yesterday I went to photograph a school centenary type event, the school in question was 125 years old, they were very helpfull and made us welcome, I won't post the pic here as theres children in it, and I don't have the parents consents to post on the web.
While I was in west Wales I had a little walk and took this shot, I haven't finished playing with it yet, but this is the basic shot. Wayne

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

hyper-inteligent space bears!

No I haven't totally lost the plot (although not far off) I watched a film last night on one of the horror channels, it was about a group of space adventures being hunted down by killer space bears, which look remarkably like brown bears, and curiously the planet looked a lot like the Earth.
Did I learn anything? yes, I learned that to kill space bears you have to shoot them repeatedly with any gun you have handy, and you have to shot them in exactly the same place on each bear (possibly to save money on special effects) I also learned the the "actors" Sorry I mean space adventures can't see bears coming even in daylight, and also couldn't act their way out of a bear suit (yes I am getting sarky!) But the most important lesson was not to watch the horror channel!
On the subject of films there been a few "duff" ones over the years, my top 3 would be, Battle in the north Atlantic 1943, staring none other than Humphrey Bogart, the bear film would probably come next, and my all time CRAP film is.... Air force one, how or why Harrison Ford got talked into that load of old tat is anybodies guess, maybe he needed the money?? It's corney to the ninth power!

Todays pic I'm calling seagull and boat, supprise supprise. Enjoy Wayne