Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween.

Have a happy Halloween everybody!

Here's a couple of shots for the weekend, ones a shot from the Brecon Beacons Corn-du taken from Pen-y-fan, the others.... well self explanatory really, it's a Halloween shot!

Slow on the uptake!

It's never been said that the British government were quick on the uptake, indeed any slower and they would go backwards. With Prime minister Gordon (personality missing) Brown at the helm it's moving so slowly continental drift has overtaken it.
Now with the death of the highest ranking officer in Afghanistan, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, it's emerged traveling by road in hostile country is dangerous, indeed just about everybody including the Colonel knew that, he even told them so less than a month ago. But to be honest it shouldn't have come as a surprise.
Just over 30 years ago 18 soldiers of the parachute regiment were killed at Warrenpoint in Ireland, they were killed by a roadside bombing, or an IED (improvised explosive devise) the same sort of of ambush used to kill Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe and countless other soldiers in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Even then 30 years ago it was well known that to travel by vehicle in "bandit country" as some parts of Northern Ireland were then called was pure suicide. Yet 30 years later the lessons haven't been learned. Oh the soldiers know it well enough, as do the officers, it's the government's who don't learn, or want to learn.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sea Dog.

Not an old salty seadog, a sea dog! spotted this today when I was out walking with a friends and her dogs, couldn't resist a quick shot of it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hand driers.

Why is it hand driers in public lavatories only work for about eight seconds?
I mean how dry do they think your hands are going to get in that time for heavens sake?, maybe if it was the power of a tornado jet exhaust it might actually dry your hands in that time, but in the real world with all the power of an asthmatic butterfly feebly flapping it's wings eight seconds is about three minutes too short, meaning you end up drying your hands on your hanky or trousers anyway.
Here's an original idea, put paper towels in there instead, yes it'll cost you a few quid but think of the poor butterfly your saving!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Clocks back again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know one of my pet hates is putting the clocks forward and backwards twice a year, as far as i can see it serves no useful function. Farmers no longer milk in the dark, they have brightly lit milking sheds so that reason (once given) isn't valid.
Another popular reason is to cut accidents (which I have disagreed with for years) now at last ROSPA have released figures showing the accident rate goes UP! during the darker evenings, unbelievably around 300 people a year die or are seriously injured simply as a result of putting the clocks back and the darker evenings. How stupid is that waste of life!
For goodness sake get a grip somebody, and drag this country into the twenty first century, lets stop this archaic nonsense at once.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A few from the Brecon beacons.

Here are a few shots from the Brecon Beacons, taken a little while ago admittedly, but still nice to my eye. Theres a special place for me there, over the years i have spent a chunk of my life walking those peaks, and I still love it.
the first shots from the top of Pen-y-fan looking towards Cribin, the second shots looking at Pen-y-fan from Corn-du.


My sons been off school this week, he's been really poorly since last Friday, the antibiotics have started to kick in now so we went for a little walk along the seafront at Port Talbot just to get a little fresh air. The whole place is a disgrace, dog feces everywhere, litter, the broken penguin statues are getting worse every year (why don't they remove the things?) the place has a real couldn't care less attitude.
Yet the council had money to spend on stupid sculptures. Why? Why not clean the place up first. Better still spend the money on something useful, like maybe a doctor for the hospital? there's only one there part time for heaven sake. Oh no, lets spend a fortune on a stupid bloody sculpture that's now covered in graffiti, always a good idea for our local council. General Custer award for forward planning I think.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yet another HDR shot.

Yes I know your getting bored with them now, but heres another all the same, this ones from a single raw image processed in HDR Darkroom (still in beta) here I have gone for the stronger HDR look.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Three cliffs something different.

Heres a slightly different version of 3 cliffs in the gower, most people have the "standard" shot of it, but here I have gone for something a bit off the wall shall we say. Done in photoshop of course.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Today was David my neighbours funeral, it took place at St Catherine's church (near me) and Margam cemetery. I actually found it quite difficult, David was a lovely quiet bloke and a friend, and Margam was my dear Kerrys funeral took place so it stirred up too many memories for me.
Sam was also not feeling very well, it seems he might have flu, maybe even swine flu (the symptoms are fairly similar) and is quite poorly really this evening, adding to my worries.

Keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop.

Photoshop supports a lot of keyboard shortcuts, these can save a lot of time if your doing a lot of work, a few seconds an image mounts up if your editing a 1000+ pics. For example simply copying an image would involve going to the select menu and choosing all, then the edit menu and choosing copy, or in the shortcuts CTRL+A and CTRL+C literally a second or two. Photoshop has hundreds, some simple some insanely complicated, but a lot of people don't know they can make their own. I for example have several custom shortcuts for things I use all the time in my work flow. F1 makes a duplicate image for me, F2 opens PK sharpener (my choice of sharpening plug-in) and F10 flattens all the layers.
There isn't really a limit to how many you have, the only problem if finding shortcuts that are not already used by photoshop, if they are in use already you have the choice of using it for your custom or leaving it at it's default.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tilt shift.

There was a question on tilt/shift images the other day so here's an image given the effect. the idea is to give a model village effect almost.

True tilt shift lens actually have some real uses in product and architecture photography, being able to correct converging verticals or extending the depth of field by altering the plane of focus.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A few sunsets.

Took my eldest son out shooting for his college project, we were lucky enough to grab a few sunset shots on the way home.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Corned Beef (and Concorde).

This evening I fancied a corned beef sandwich, no big deal, but what a pain it turned out to be.

It's 40 years since man first walked on the moon, in that time Concorde came and went.
Phones went from boxes on the street corner to the Mobile in your pocket with a built in camera and MP3 player.
Computers went from being the size of a large room, to the size of a Mobile phone, with a thousand times the power.
Corned beef cans went from the stupid key on the outside to..... well, the stupid key on the outside!. Yes they haven't really changed have they.
True somebody makes a ring pull version but a lot of stores don't stock that version, so I ended up with the silly key version, and I'll tell you something they are CRAP!
I tried to open it with the key and it just wouldn't turn, all I was doing was bending the bloody thing. Next I tried a can opener, that wouldn't do the job properly because the top lip of the can is so thick, in the end I used a combination of bread knife, pliers and brute force.
In the end I managed to get my sandwich but to be honest 10 minutes of playing silly beggars rather took the edge off it, I nearly gave up and went out for a KFC. Next time I will, and I'll never buy the make corned beef again, not unless it comes with a free chainsaw!

HDR Darkroom the photo.

Here's the screencap of the HDR Darkroom interface. As you can see it's easy and simple to get a variety of different HDR effects, this shot from a single Canon raw took about 10 seconds to process, compare that with photomatix which was around 1 minute 20 seconds and you have a big difference, especially if your processing a lot of images.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sad news.

My dear next door neighbour David Goldstraw passed away this morning. David has had a rough time recently having just recovered from a bypass A few weeks ago he was told he had a very aggressive cancer, and there was nothing they could do for him.
I saw him on Monday and he was in a terrible condition, but still bearing up with fortitude, and even a smile.
David was a pleasure to live next door to, as a neighbour he was no trouble and always ready to help or lend a hand (even with his healh problems) I will always remember our chats and laughs over the garden wall, just writing this brings a tear to my eye.
David you will be sadly missed mate. Wayne

HDR Darkroom.

There's a new kid on the block in the HDR scene, it's called HDR Darkroom, it's still in the testing stage as I write this, but it's got a lot of possibilities.
So whats so special about it? Well for one thing it's very simple to use, secondly it's remarkably quick, even when working with 3 largish raw files, and thirdly it does a pretty realistic conversion. Yes it can do the more extreme looking shots, but it tends to default to a more realistic looking image (not a bad thing in my opinion) I think this could go a long way as long as it's priced right.
I'll do some screencaps tomorrow, I just haven't time tonight.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Morning tide.

I wanted to take a few seascapes, so I visited the beach at Aberavon and shot these this morning, before a late breakfast at Morrisons store (I had to get some shopping anyway) My personal favorite is the last of the three shots show here

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Three cliffs and Pennard castle.

I went for a walk recently to 3 cliffs in the Gower, the weather was a bit mixed but I was lucky enough to have good company.

Here are a few of the photos I took, more to come tomorrow. Wayne

Return to Cardiff.

For reasons I won't bore you with I ended up in Cardiff again this week, this time it was after dark and wet. What a nightmare! Why don't they have any signposts for the M4?
I'll explain, you see I came into Cardiff not from my usual M4 that I know, but from a little used side road, this brought me in the backside of Cardiff. And backside is the right name for it as well!
Somehow I ended up in some sort of council estate, not a normal one though, one with all the exits to the real world closed off, leaving only one entrance to the madhouse of a maze.
Rough! I'll say! half the houses had wooden windows (boarded up) there were gangs wandering about. The fact I was passing them 2 or 3 times as I drove around looking for the way out didn't help.
There were even "working girls" standing on the street corners dressed like they do in the films.... well maybe dressed isn't quite the right word, I had the heater on in the car and I was chilly, they must have been bloody freezing. I don't suppose the skirts cost much, after all 3 inches of material isn't that expensive.
I seriously considered stopping and asking one prostitute directions out of the place, but while it was safer than asking the gang members, it occurred to me that...
A: she might think M4 was some sort of sexual service.
B: as she only looked about 13 chances were she hadn't found the way out of the estate either yet so she wouldn't know.
In the end I just drove around untill I eventually managed to escape the place, then after a trip around most of the crap bits of Cardiff (and theres a lot) I hit Cardiff bay and the way to the normal world The M4 and home.
Don't go to Cardiff, not now not ever. Leave it to Dr Who and Torchwood, they are the experts... and come to think of it it's killing them off.

Monday, October 5, 2009

recent wedding.

Here are a few from a recent wedding, the weather was a bit dodgy but held off till after the photos anyway.

Jail sentences.

Prison sentences of less than a year should be abolished because they do not work, prison governors will hear at their annual conference later.
The Prison Governors' Association (PGA) is proposing a motion which says short-term sentences do not reform criminals, and contribute to record overcrowding.
Some 65,000 out of 100,348 prisoners sentenced in 2008 were given sentences of 12 months or under (BBC news)
Well that's good news for the scum that go around stealing and mugging old ladies, but not much comfort for the rest of us. So here's a radical suggestion, make all sentences under a year, into 5 years instead! Whether it reforms the gits or not doesn't particularly concern me, but at least it stops them committing more crimes in the community for 5 years.
Here's another thing make a 5 year sentence actually last 5 years, not 2 as seems to be the way things work at the moment. I know of 2 violent murderers who served less that 2 years each, one actually served less than a year total, hardly a deterrent for others is it.
Ahhh but we are short of prison space I hear you say. Easy! There's a glut of old container ships in the south seas that are mothballed due to lack of work, moor these a few miles off shore and convert the containers into cells.
OK they wont be as comfortable as modern cells, and they'll be lacking a few on the modern conveniences the cons are used to (air con, plasma tv's etc etc) but to honest I couldn't care less, after all nobody asked them to go around robbing and mugging did they?

Group shot.

Heres a shot taken recently on a fun day out to Southerndown beach, the beach is used in the TV series Dr Who as "Bad wolf bay" we all had a very nice day out, and we took a load of pics between us.

St Fagans part 3 (the last)

Heres the last of the St Fagans pics for now, I'll be moving on to something different soon.

Enjoy Wayne.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

HDR.and tone mapping.

I have been asked for a bit of information about what I'm doing to my pictures.
A lot of the images I post here are HDR or tone mapped.
HDR stands for high dynamic range, tone mapping is more or less blending the shadows/highlights to "map" out the range of tones in an image.
A true HDR image is 32 bit, but there are not many 32 bit printers around, nor will many monitors properly display 32 bit. So to show them properly we tone map the images, compressing the tones. It's the tone mapping that give the distinctive look, here for example is the same image processed to a 32 bit HDR and then tone mapped two different ways. One method gives an almost normal image with lovely range of tones and detail, the other gives an almost graphic rendering, much more dark and moody.
Which is more accurate? Neither is photographically correct, but the first is a lot closer to how our eye sees a scene. Our eyes have the ability to see a huge dynamic range, far more than the camera can capture.

St Fagans part 2.

Here are some more from St Fagans (near Cardiff) I had some slight difficulty taking two of these.

The inside shots were a pain, first off I had to shoot in between people, and secondly I couldn't use a tripod for fear of tripping some wally up (and getting sued) Secondly I was shooting bracketed exposures, this means taking three shots of the same subject with different exposures and combining them later in photoshop, now it really helps to shoot that on a tripod as it makes lining up the three shots later easier. Shooting three shots hand held, in register with exposures around a second or two is pushing your luck even with a steady hand, luckily (or skillfully) I got away with it.

St Fagans.

Here are some photos taken at St fagans this week, I have processed one as infra-red to get the white leaves and grass.
It's an interesting place to explore, we didn't really have enough time for a full wander as we'd been to Dyffryn gardens first, but I still managed to get a few decent shots.