Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter weather

This year here in Wales UK we have had a more severe than normal December, we had a few inches of snow, now that's early for us, we tend to get it in January or February usually.

The weather however did bring some problems, while the main roads and motorways were kept open well, the side roads were left to their fate. Gritting which had been fairly regular before the snow stopped totally after, for well over a week the roads were packed sheet ice in many of the side streets.
The pavements again were left treacherous.
In the good old days the residents would have cleared their bit of pavement, but not now, you see if you just leave it and somebody slips it's not your problem (an act of God) if you clear the pavement and somebody slips your liable in this stupid blame culture we live in. Result? nobody clears the pavment any more.
My question is where have all the council worked been the last few weeks? why haven't they been out clearing the snow and gritting the side roads.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Just to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The police again

Yep good old South Wales police are at it again, in the appalling weather, loads of accidents what are our brave boys in blue doing?.... stopping motorists for having... shock horror... SNOW on their car roofs.
My god, these dangerous vicious motorists actually driving with snow on their cars? how dare they! I mean what next, the blighters will be driving with wet cars in the rain soon.

Ok I'll stop the sarcasm but come on, this is taking the p**s really, how the hell are we supposed to get it off? I'm going on 6 foot tall but i can't reach the middle of my car roof, how on earth is some aged granny suppoded to stand and clear it.

All I can say is if this is all the work they can find to do at Christmas maybe theres too many of them, time for some cut-backs and money saving I think.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Photoshop CS5 for nature photographers (book review)

This book by Ellen and Josh Anon is rather curiously one of the better photoshop books I have come across, the book is well laid out and has shed loads of information in it.

The title in some ways is misleading really, while the book is aimed at nature photographers and most of the illustrations are of flower/animals etc, the book is not limited to just that, it covers the whole range of photoshop tools very thoroughly.
It's well laid out has loads of helpful illustrations, and covers pretty well everything I could think of.

Would I buy it. Yes it's gone straight to the top of my list.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The photoshop CS5 pocket guide (book review)

By Brie Gnycild, this small book is surprisingly full of information, it covers most of the basics as a sort of mini reference book, I did find the lack of colour illustrations odd but that maybe only on the electronic version I saw rather than the full printed version.
The book is a bit on the basic side if your reasonably advanced.
Would I buy it, no for me it was too basic but for a less experienced user it might be handy.

Photoshop CS5 the missing manual (book review)

By Lisa Snider, one of my less favorite book that I have looked at recently. The book itself is comprehensive enough, and contains a lot of information, I just found it hard work and boring, there's a lot of text if you enjoy a read but not many illustrations compared to some of the other books I have reviewed, it's a good reference book for the shelf.
Would I buy it? No to be honest I didn't like the style.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Adobe stupidity reaches new levels.

Adobe stupidity reaches new levels.
Yes I'm bloody annoyed with Adobe.
As much as I like Photoshop I can't say the same for Adobe, every 18 months or so we get charged nearly twice what those living in the USA pay for the same product. It costs more to ship I hear you say, no it doesn't if your downloading it from their website, not several hundred quid more anyway.
Then theres the recent trend to take out stuff that used to be in it. Oh yes we can download it free and install it ourselves, but some of it is quite complicated to install, and some of it should damn well be in there to start with.
On Friday I needed to scan in some important documents, now I haven't long formatted my main pc after more virus trouble, so I had to re-install my scanner, no problems I have all the disks... well yes a slight problem... photoshop can't see the scanner to import any images. Oh the scanner works fine it just won't talk to photoshop.
I tried downloading the latest drivers and software versions, no difference, after a lot of hassle and time. I eventually found out (thanks DemiLion) that for reasons unknown adobe took out the twain import plug-in. This is a tiny filter in a folder of other filters, it takes up no space really, but without it photoshop won't see any scanner.
How monumentally stupid is that? didn't it occur to anybody at adobe that some photographers/graphic artists just might use a scanner occasionally.

Photoshop CS5 on demand (book review)

Written by Steve Johnson this is an excellent well laid out reference type book, while not specifically teaching you photoshop it does explain everything very clearly and covers a lot of detail and pretty much everything in CS5 you'll need to know.
This is the sort of book you'll reach for to find out how so and so works, like how the pen tool works or whatever, very very useful reference book.
Would I buy it?, yes pretty much an essential book for the shelf, you won't use it every day (especially if your experienced) but when you do need it it'll be bloody handy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Adobe photoshop CS5 for photographers (book review)

This book by Martin Evening is one of the more comprehensive reference type books, it covers a load of stuff, lots of usefull tips with being complicated, perhaps not quite aimed at the beginner it should still be a good option for your first book.
Would I buy it, yes! without hesitation.

Friday, December 3, 2010

How to cheat in photoshop (book review)

This book by Steve Caplin is a must read for anybody involved in the business of faking pics or swooping heads around, it teaches the reader a ton of special effects tricks like ageing a person, making them younger, working with selections and the puppet warp tool, loads of other useful stuff too.
Definitely on my Christmas list.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Photoshop CS5 for digital photographers ( book review}

This is Scott kelbys latest version for CS5, the book itself is explained simply and the chapters are nicely laid out making it fairly easy to find stuff, the book covers certain things but also misses out other stuff possibly leaving you stumped if your looking for a certain tool instructions.
It's written in a jokey style which I personally find very irritating, but thats Scotts style.
Would I buy it? yes I probably would, it's got a lot of good stuff in it, I learnt a few things just skimming through to do this report.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Photoshop CS5 for dummies (book review)

I thought with Christmas on the way some book reviews might come in handy for stocking fillers for the photographer in your life. I'm using CS5 but most of these book have versions for the different photoshop versions so substitute as needed.
CS5 for dummies, well personally I don't like the horrid yellow colour for a start, and the slightly jokey style started to grate on me after a while.
The book itself is pretty comprehensive, it gives a lot of detail and should make sense to a beginner or more experienced user, it's not difficult to find the various bit's you might need, but I get the feeling it might be better to read it all through from the beginning (I didn't) Would I buy it? well I'd be very tempted to buy it as a reference book in case I needed to look anything up, but I'm fairly advanced in photoshop, if I was a beginner it would be on my Christmas list I think.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Some more images

Here are a few more recent images.
Thanks for viewing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A few different pics

Here are some different images, the first self portrait is whats called a Dragan style image, it's done with different blend modes and burning and dodging in photoshop.
The second is a lith style image, done using the threshold and selective colour ajustment layers in photoshop, no special software all done in photoshop.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm a celebrity get me the X factor out of here

I'm a celebrity get me the X factor out of here.
Recently I have been watching these "shows" and several things have become obvious.

One you need to have NO talent to be on a talent show.
Take the X factor (please!) the one thing lacking from many of the contestants is any real ability to sing.... a disadvantage for a singer one would assume?. Some of them couldn't carry a tune if it was in a box, as for actually singing... well they are so "flat" they could stun fish.
Wagner for example is beyond a joke, I'm sure he's a nice enough guy, but lets be honest he really can't sing and is never going to be an international singing star, why they have let the poor chap get this far I can only guess, presumably it's to make the other acts look better, trouble is some half decent acts have gone for him to stay in.

Strictly come dancing is another show I have concerns about. Why is Ann Widdecombe still in it, it's called come dancing for heavens sake, Ann couldn't dance her way out of a paper bag, yet every week we are expected to believe that the viewers have voted her back in. I'm sorry I just don't believe it.

Then we come to I'm a celebrity get me out of here, well half of them are not what I'd call celebrities for a start. Then we have
Gillian McKeith a nutritionist for goodness sake, and one who's absolutely terrified of bugs, so what in gods name gave her the idea she could cope in a bug infested jungle.

To me it seems someone somewhere is manipulating things to make good viewing rather than playing it properly, and that wouldn't be a problem.... except the public are encouraged to phone vote, thats money, and that smells fishy to me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A few beach shots

A few shots from yesterdays walk on the beach at Port Talbot, the clouds looks a bit like a massive explosion in the distance.
Enjoy. Wayne


The people at Pixel Genius have announced Photokit sharpener 2 (due out later this year)
Now I have to admit to being a fan of the original PK Sharpener, it's designed by people who actually know about sharpening and photography, they wrote the book on sharpening (literally!) It doesn't get much better than this.

It's designed as a 3 stage sharpening work flow.
Capture sharpening, which simply replaces the softness caused by the anti alias filter on the sensor.
Creative sharpening, where you sharpen certain elements of an image, a rock in the foreground or the eyes in a portrait maybe.
Output sharpening, where the sharpening is tailored to the image size and whether it's for printing or web.

Now PG make two other products, Photokit and Photokit colour, which I have to confess I hadn't tried before. Well this week I gave them a try, and to be honest I wasn't blown away with either.
Both have a number of effects and options which will make life easier and a little quicker for the busy photographer, that said some of the effects I found far to light, the diffusion effect even on strongest had hardly any effect on my test image, some of the others like the sepia again just looked horrid. Most of the effects could be easily replicated in photoshop.

Are they worth the money? well at around £65 PK sharpner is IMHO is well worth it, it's something I use daily and it does a smashing job.
The others at £32 for Photokit and £65 for the PK colour? Probably not in my opinion, but by all means try them your self and decide then, after all it's your money your spending not mine (I hope)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

One for Sunday

A pic for Sunday, it's not a recent one, I haven't had much time recently to go shooting, but I have re-done a few oldies with the latest version of photoshop which seems to do a better job of aligning the images in a panorama.
This is the salthouse in Rhossilli, taken when I was camping at the beach in the site right by it a few years back. The site was pretty good and I really enjoyed my time there.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

South Wales Police

I have to say over the past few months my opinion of South Wales Police has dropped considerably. To be honest it wasn't very high to start with, they always seemed far more concerned about motoring offences that "real" crime (yes I know speeding is a crime too, but you know what I mean) Now they have reached an all time low.

A few months back a friend of mine was attacked by her ex-husband, he tried to kill here twice, there was a court injunction taken out to stop him doing anything more to my friend. Trouble is when he broke the injunction the police simply didn't want to know, if they came out it took hours (not much good if someones trying to kill you) and most of the time they didn't even bother to come out.
On one occasion she was told to "pull yourself together" by the Sargent she spoke to, very helpful.

It comes as no surprise to see people murdered by their partners with a police response like that, after all if they call the police they get no help, and by the time the police finally arrive (if they come out at all), sometimes days later it's too late.

Today I had to phone them, I spotted a child's bike abandoned on a large river bridge, now it's an odd place to dump it, most people would have thrown it over into the river, it occurred to me that a child may have fallen or jumped off the bridge.
I rang the police expecting them to take it seriously, not quite the response I got. It took two phone calls and a visit to the police station to get them interested. By then it was far too late for any child who has gone in the river.

What has happened to our police force? By and large the ordinary coppers are decent enough blokes just doing their job, but it seems anything other that shoplifting and motoring is out of bounds, and if it sounds like a domestic they don't want to know.

Bring back dear old PC Dixon of Dock Green, the good old fashioned copper, he had his head screwed on properly, he's have been straight around to check out a child's bike on a bridge, he wouldn't have been out chasing motorists for dodgy wiper blades.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A few pics

Funny week.

This weeks been a bit odd if you know what I mean, the weathers been a bit sad so I haven't had much chance to get out shooting.

On Thursday last week I took part in a re-enactment of a Goon show on stage in the little theatre in Neath. The Goon shows were zany radio plays from the 1950's, starring Harry Seacombe, Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers, with Michael Bentine sometimes. The one we did was Robin Hood and his mirry mon (no that's the correct spelling lol)
I must admit I really enjoyed it, I remember listening to the goons on the radio as a child, and being able to take part in a re creation was for me a memorable experience.

Last week I was driving home from a friends house late-ish in the evening, and in the dark and rain passed an idiot walking along the motorway. This moron was actually walking on the carriageway, to be honest he was lucky not to have been killed, what with the dark and poor visibility, what a bloody stupid thing to do.

On the weekend we had the whole stupid daft putting the clocks back again, every year this baffles me, I simply cannot find any advantage to it (and I have looked into it) it doesn't save energy, accidents go up and it's a pain in the arse to alter everything. Why the hell do we do it???

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I'm sorry but I'm going to go off on one here.

Yet another stupid fat bride stuffed into a dress 5 sizes too small, for pity sake what is wrong with these women? surely they can look in a mirror and see how ridiculous they look
Add the fact that this one wasn't just fat she was HUGE!!! she arrived in a drop head VW beetle, and she filled the whole car, it just looked ludicrous, how the hell they got her in I don't know, obese doesn't come close, she looked like she caused a famine somewhere.

I really don't understand why they have to buy a low cut dress that doesn't fit. Ok I suppose there is a shortage of fat bastard tent size wedding dresses, but didn't any of her friends tell her how hideous she looked? Her breasts looked like two badly parked blimps, how the dress took the strain I don't know, it must have been lined with Kevlar or something.

Then to add insult to injury she was freaking ORANGE! No not the dress, her body, she had one of the "dodgy" fake tans that look nothing like a suntan, but Tango man comes to mind (or captain beany) Again why? if you want a suntan get a proper one not a stupid coat of orange undercoat. Trouble is in all the photos shes just looks daft, everybody else looks normal and she's the colour of an Oompa-Loompa, bright orange.
I give up with these idiots.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Texture layers

Adding a texture to an image can give an interesting effect, heres one I took recent'y in Cardiff, I have added a texture overlay to give it a "grunge" feel.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spending cuts.

It seems in an effort to cut spending our government (remember they had to join two parties to get in, so we didn't really vote for them) are going to build two new aircraft carriers, great!... well except for one small snag... we won't have any aircraft to fly off them for 10 years.
It seems that the moron who thought of building 2 aircraft carriers didn't bother to check if we had any aircraft to fit on them first!
So when the next war comes our two big tough aircraft carriers will steam off to war and ... well sit there with bugger all else to do. General Custer award for forward planning then. Oh and a great way to SAVE money guys!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Yesterdays wedding.

Yesterday I had another wedding, really it was a favor (sort of) for another photographer, I wont go into detail but he couldn't do it.
I was lucky really I had a nice day, the couple were nice, and the locations were not bad.
While my day was pretty good, you couldn't say the same for the bride, her limo got lost on the way to ther house, in the end the grooms dad and an usher went out searching for it, they managed to find it eventually and the bride arrived only 45 minutes late, then the limo hit a parked van. he didn't stop there though, he also hit the park gates on the way to the photo location.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nik HDR Effx Pro.

Here is my Hmmm " review" of Niks answer to hdr.
Nik HDR EffX Pro, Niks answer to the popularity of HDR, first off I think they missed the boat a little, hdr seems to be on the decrease and there's been a surfeit of hdr programs this year to compete with it.
Secondly it's got "issues" quite big ones it seems, it's got compatibility issues with Itunes, On One software and heavens knows what else (I'm told about some) but as I have neither of those theres other things going on as well.
I did manage eventually to get it to work on another pc (with some difficulty) but I have to say I'm far from impressed. It's painfully slow (on a good spec pc) god help if your on a slow computer. Then while the interface is simple enough getting your pics in the first place isn't, the option in the filters menu (the obvious place) is greyed out untill your image is 32 bit, to load 3 pics you have to use the file/automate/merge to hdr effx pro, then go and make dinner while it does something (crashes photoshop most of the time) if it actually works (and you haven't died of old age) you'll end up with a reasonable hdr.
IMHO Photomatix is quicker, miles and miles better and cheaper (I think) failing that try Dynamic photo hdr, just as simple at Niks offering, vastly quicker (quicker than photomatix) and even cheaper again, and a doddle to get your pics in, just open and drag the images in, how easy is that!
Nik, if you want to capture the HDR market, you really need to sort out the compatability issues, speed the thing up, and make it easier to get pics in. Simple really.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Don't give a child a biscuit!! Warning

Don't give a child a biscuit!! well not if you happen to be a dinner lady in County Fermanagh anyway, one suffered two years of hassle and was told by the school that "could be seen by her actions as grooming a child." all that for giving a relatives child a biscuit.
It's long overdue for some common sense to make a return to the world!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I have mentioned this stupid excuse for a program before but now it's gone too far.
In the past I have them "blow up" poor quality video and produce stunning clear fine detailed images which is rubbish, it just cant be done sorry!. Then there's the fact all their case would get thrown out of court because the crime scene people have been to the suspects house and the crime scene (cross contamination of evidence it's called) so any evidence they have found wouldn't be admissible in court.
But today! it's gone from stupid to ridiculous, today they had an urn thing (hand thrown pot) and put a laser on and got the sound in the room at the time of the murder, the actual speech from the murderer, I kid you not! They claimed it's just like the wax cylinder gramophone. I'm sorry it just can't be done, and even if it could how would they know which bit of the pot to get the sound of the murder from and not what was on telly last night.
IT'S TOTAL CRAP GUYS!!!!! For pity's sake why not stick to what can really be done instead of making so over the top.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Smoking ban in cars.

It seems the Welsh "arse-sembly" government is planning to ban smoking in private cars.
While I'm not a smoker I do have issues with this decision. First off is it only in Wales? surly that's discrimination on grounds of race? it should be nation wide on nothing! Secondly how the hell are they going to police it?. The over stretched police are struggling to cope now, the ban on mobile phones while driving hasn't really been a success, every day you'll see hundreds of people ignoring it, the same with smoking, if the people don't agree they will simply ignore it.
Yet again it's our sad pathetic nanny state trying to look like it's doing something useful to justify it's existence.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Norman Wisdom

Sir Norman Joseph Wisdom OBE. 4 February 1915 – 4 October 2010.

Dear old Norman Wisdom died yesterday at the age of 95. Norman best remembered for his role as Norman Pitkins in films like the Early Bird (1965) in which he stared with the long suffering Mr Gimsdale (Edward Chapman) with numerous films to his credit, he more recently appeared in TV series Last of the summer wine. With many other screen and stage appearences behind him he gained his Knighthood in 2000.
From 2005 onward he suffered declining health, finally he passed away at 6:46 pm on 4 October 2010 at Abbotswood nursing home on the Isle of Man.
God bless Norman, you have given me many a good laugh.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wedding and Waves.

I'm off on a wedding soon, so lets hope the weather stays dry, it's something wedding togs have to cope with, unlike the Ryder cup we can't stop idf it rains.

Heres a pic of some waves at Rhoissilli beach, I'd gone chasing sunsets but there was the usual cloud back on the horizon, so I didn't get a decent sunset, liked this shot anyway.

The world is getting sillier by the day.

Yes I'm afraid the world is getting sillier by the day.
Yesterday the Ryder cup (golf) had to be postponed due to heavy rain, the scary bit is this seemed to come as a surprise to all concerned. What heavy rain in Wales in October?? Wow that must have been so unexpected... well not to anybody who lives in Wales anyway, lets be honest we get a lot of rain in Wales, and October is late-ish in the year. Maybe Autumn in Newport wasn't the best choice of location.
20% of councils haven't got their winter salt stocks in yet. Why? after all winter coming shouldn't catch these people out, everybody knows it coming, even the birds, but our councillors seem oblivious to it. Maybe they are too busy sorting out their expenses claims or something.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sat Nav.

Back in March I wrote I hadn't entered the "sat nav" crowd, well the situation has changed somewhat since then.
I now have 2 sat navs, one sort of works the other doesn't. I'll explain, the one that actually does sometimes work was a gift from a mate, he meant well but sadly bought the cheapest sat nav he could find, for £20 more he could have got a decent one. The one that's dead was given to my brother but has a fault, it was hoped I'd be able to fix it, but to no avail.
Do they work? well yes and no, if you get a good one and your lucky then they can be brilliant! on the other hand if you have a crap one (like me) and your unlucky (yes like me again) then your screwed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pixel Bender.

Pixel Bender is a plug-in for Photoshop (free from Adobe) it's a set of filters essentially, the best one is the Oil paint effect, coupled with a graphic tablet and very very basic artistic skills (and I mean basic) you can easily come up with effects like this. These are all based on "normal" images and just "played" with in Photoshop. You don't even really need a graphics tablet, it just makes it slightly easier.
A word of warning though, it's heavy on memory so the more ram and better graphics you have the better it'll run.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bounce flash, get it right!

Can people please note bounce flash only really works if there's something for it to bounce off, a black ceiling 80 foot up or the sky on an overcast day simply wont work, they are too dark or too far away. And also note a coloured ceiling will reflect coloured light, so if the ceiling is orange don't be too supprised if the subject comes out orange as well.

Public transport in the news.

According to the Daily mail it's a third less stressful to travel by public transport than car.
Motorists face hidden long-term mental health problems, the study also found Dr David Lewis of the Sussex university who coined the raise "road rage" study found.
Greener Journeys ( a group of UK bus companies) launched a campaign to get a billion car journeys shifted to bus (surprise surprise ! ) by 2014.
Well good news and bad news boy and girls of Greener Journeys, the good news is it's keeping you busy... the bad news is your wasting your time. You see for people to switch to bus you need several things, regular, reliable, clean, efficient, and most of all cheap buses. Sadly they are none of these things, they are unreliable, irregular, dirty, inefficient cramped and bloody expensive, as anybody who actually uses them will tell you.
Take my local buses for example, they turn up if and when they feel like (time keeping is nonexistent) some are so full they miss out the estate where I live altogether, meaning another hours wait if your lucky, and that wait in a urine smelling leaky open fronted bus shelter.
The journey to Neath (3 miles) takes about 25 minutes (I can walk it in 40) plus whatever waiting time I spend in the rain, and costs around £4.00 return. The car on the other hand takes about 14 minutes and costs about a £1.00 worth of fuel, it's door to door, I haven't got to spend anything up to 2 hours standing in the rain or bus shelters struggling with my shopping and my frozen food thawing out.
So let me think.... the bus and all the hassle or the car with warmth, comfort speed and money saving... Oh that's a tough one, the car any day.
Greener Journeys, if you really want to make the world a better place (as opposed to making money) here's my suggestion for getting motorists out of their cars and onto your buses.
A. Have a LOT more buses, every route have a 5 minute service, so that's the most I'll spend waiting, and have them running on evenings and weekends too, some people work Saturdays and Sundays you know.
B. Make sure the buses are clean and not over full, if they are put on more buses.
C. Reduce the fares to... oh lets say a £1.00 single and £2.00 return anywhere.
Then and only then will you have a chance at getting us out of our comfy cars and on your buses.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Talking Rubbish!!!

Over the years I have heard some total crap talked about photography, much of it from people who should know better. Now I'm going to try and lay some of the much talked fallacies to rest once and for all.
Jpeg is as good as Raw. Wrong! jpeg has 256 tonal values per channel, Raw has over 4000, raw also has all the colour information, so if you get the settings wrong in raw you have a lot more chance of correcting it in post process.

Never use auto white balance. Why not? most of the time it does a better job the the user anyway and if you use raw (and you should) it doesn't really matter because you'll have ALL the options later when you edit.

Come off P mode (program/auto) if you want good photos. Again horses for courses, the trick with auto/program modes s to know when you NEED to come off them, switching to shutter or aperture priority doesn't make your pictures better is just alters the control you have over them (which is in program shift anyway)
Yesterday I listened to a photographer with 3 years experience tell a new guy that to make his pics lighter or darker he had to use aperture priority... Err it wont you know, the camera simply alters the shutter speed to suit keeping the exposure the same, you actually need to use exposure compensation to make them lighter or darker (or switch to manual).

Throw the kit lens away and get better glass. While there is a grain of truth in this one in as much as alway buy the best lens you can afford, the kit lens are actually a lot better than most people think, and in most cases stopped down a stop or two there's little to choose between the two.

Save all your photos as .DNG for archival use as you wont be able to open your old camera raw pics in the future. Not true, there's as much chance of being to open a DNG file (adobe digital negative) as there is opening your Canon/Nikon raw file, in fact I suspect the opposite is true, if adobe went bust support for DNG (which isn't that good now) would in all probability end, while lots of companies allow you to open your raw files.
It might be worth backing up with both if you have the space (just in case) but personally I don't.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cody RIP

Life is fragile and tenuous, for some it's long and fruitful, for others tragically short.
The thing to do is to try and leave some sign of your passing along life's path, either something tangible or by touching someones life in a positive way. All too often we pass along it's course and leave nothing to show for it.
Cody, (a friends) dog has passed away, she was a friendy and loving dog, I didn't get to spend much time with her but she touched me all the same, you won't be forgotten Cody.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dawn to dusk 2010

In past years we have covered this event officially, this year however we didn't, but all the same Caroline and myself went along to get some shots for ourselves, the weather wasn't great with showers and we couldn't stay long but we still had fun and got some good pics, here are just a few.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dog day afternoon

No not the 1975 film with Al Pacino but a collection of dog pictures for a change.

Wedding woes.

As some of you know I'm no stranger to wedding photography, but recently I'm noticing changes that affect us photographers.
More and more times I'm finding that when going to photograph the men (groom etc) that theres always several missing right up till practically the start of the service.
If theres 2 togs, one covers the boys and the other the girls, when I'm on my own I nip over the boys first, then over the girls where I'll stay till the bride leaves. The problem now though is theres not really much point in going to the boys any more, because I can't photograph them all because of the missing ones.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Parking spaces and Drivers at fault.always!

Why is so many people just cannot park inside the lines in a parking space, I mean it's not difficult really, if you can't drive you shouldn't have bought a bloody car should you.

Back when we had the snow a driver in Tredegar struck and killed a guy on a sledge on a steep hill, it turns out the driver had no licence so is at fault. My question is should the sledge been on a public road in the first place? I doubt the absence of a bit of paper in the drivers pocket really made any significant difference, but the presence of a sledge (with no real control) on a road almost certainly did make a difference. It's time people started taking resposibility for their own actions if they take a risk.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Terror alert.

It seems that here in the UK we are at the second highest level of terror alert, in other words an attack is more or less imminent.
This raises more questions than it answers
One. What makes the powers that be think somethings going to happen? I mean do they actually know something or did somebody have a bad dream last night and thinks it might mean something.

Two. If it's intelligence based (and on past events that means nothing is going to be right, remember they shot a Brazilian electrician after "intelligence" said he was a bomber, and they also told us Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction) then they presumably know who is going to do it, so why not just arrest them now and save all the messing about. After all it's a bit tricky to arrest a suicide bomber after the fact on account of him/her not actually being in one piece.

Personally (and call me suspicious) I think it's more lightly a load of old nonsense. You see you need to keep the public in fear if you want to get them to accept draconian laws that in "peace" time they never would. That means two things, one you have to make them think they are in danger if they don't have the laws, and worse sometimes you may need to make something happen to convince them they are in danger.
This either means letting the baddies do something to reinforce the "we told you so" attitude, or if it doesn't look like they are going to actually doing it themselves. Maybe those conspiracy theories are closer to the mark than we thought.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Flying dog!

I just had to share this picture with you. Holly the flying dog (hums superman theme) While she looks like she's flying she actually running and jumping (like you never guessed that) what you cant see is the ball she's chasing.
The pic is taken by a friend and fellow photographer Caroline.


Heres a recent shot taken on my rather old and battered Nikon compact. The cameras seriously in need of a replacement now, while the picture quality isn't bad (for 4 mp) it just isn't up to todays standard, plus it's got battery "issues" it just eats them, a full set of duracell only lasts a few shots, which just isn't right.
This pic was taken of my local-ish take-a-way.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Today I'm 57, and couriously I don't feel any older than I did yesterday when I was 56....odd isn't it.

Fake tans and the sea.

I have a bit of a thing about fake suntans, a proper real tan looks fine, but sadly the fake ones look well.... orange if I'm honest. You see it's all too common for brides these days to have a fake tan but they always seem to go for the extreme look, the "I've been Tangoed" look, and it's rubbish.
First it looks orange and simply not real, secondly and more importantly they stand out from everybody else at the wedding, yes I know thats the idea but the wedding dress already does that, so why make yourself look like Coco the clown as well. It also looks horrible in the photos.

That brings us nicely to todays pic, the docks at Port Talbot taken from the margam sidings side.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I went waterfall shooting the other day with 3 friends, these are a few of the shots I got.

Editing time.

This week I have been pretty busy editing some photograph's, and what I'm finding is just what a pain it is to edit other peoples images.
You see it works like this. 500 of my pictures will take me an hour or so to edit, there's not that much to do with say a wedding. I try to get it right in camera as much as possible which means I'm just "tweaking" the images, a bit lighter or darker maybe, a bit of sharpening, etc etc.
Now with another photographer I can literally spend 2 or 3 days doing the same number of images, mainly because the colours and exposures will vary so much from shot to shot. It baffles me that with a modern hi-tech state of the art digital camera just how bad some peoples pictures can be, but then owning a camera and knowing how to use it are two different things. Why for example when shooting under artificial light (already orange) would you set your camera to shade setting (adding yellow) isn't it bloody yellow enough for you already! then they will shoot on jpeg instead of raw so the option of easily changing it later is gone.
Why do I bother.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The sun.

The Sun, no not the newspaper of the same name but the star we see in the sky. Around 4.5 billion years old it's about half way through it's life. That's bad news for us here on planet earth, you see in about another 5 billion years the sun will become a red giant, and that's going to expand it over us destroying all life on earth (assuming there's any left by then anyway) So in a few billion years it'll be time to start looking for new real estate somewhere else, or investing in some fireproof clothes for everybody.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Aberystwyth (mid Wales)

Here are a few pics from Aberystwyth taken a few days ago
I didn't have a lot of time there but got quite a few pics, I'll post some more soon.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Some recent pics

Heres a couple of recent images including the "flying" lady.... ok shes not really flying I know but she is in mid air so it sort of counts.

Motorway nonsense.

Motorway nonsense ! I have been traveling a lot on the motorways recently, and the M4 in Wales is a disgrace, the road works in the Newport area have been going on for months (probably longer that 6 months in fact)
Large sections of the M4 are 50 mph, yet the whole reason motorways were built in the first place was to speed up traffic flow around the country especially on long distance runs.
Now call me suspicious but the sheer number of "average" speed cameras on these stretches despite the lack of any obvious work going on makes me wonder just why it's taking
A. so long to fix whatever is supposed to be wrong, and
B. just how are they going to fix it with nobody actually working on it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

James Bulger

On the 16 March 1990 two year old James Bulger was murdered by the then 10 year old Robert Thompson, and Jon Venables. Since then the former has been fairly quiet, Jon Venables on the other hand has been in the news more recently. On 21 June 2010, Venables was charged with possession and distribution of indecent images of children.
Today the papers carry a story claiming gangland bosses have put a £100.000 price on his head, whether this is true or not is irrelevant really, the fact remains that the crime and subsequent event had led to a lot of bad feeling with the general public.
I think the biggest issue with the whole thing is the protection Venables and Thompson have recieved at taxpayers expense, fair enough when they were younger, but the now adults should face justice like anybody else, not have secret identities to protect them.
So much for equality in this country, if your a child murderer you'll get "special" treatment.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Speed cameras

On the tv news this morning was the news that speed cameras (the so called safety cameras) are apparently not cutting the death toll.

Surprise surprise! there are several reasons for that. One is probably the fact that speeding motorists only actually slow down past the camera (just stand near any one and watch the brake lights come on) and travel at their normal speed everywhere else.

Secondly the cameras are placed to raise revenue rather than placed where the accidents really happen.
Take Swansea for example, the cameras are clustered around the council estates, none in the Gower despite there being several fatal crashes every year, yet where I used to live there were 4 cameras within a few hundred yards when to my certain knowledge there had only been one fatal accident in 20 years, but of course that was a council estate.
The same as theres none in the Brecon beacons national park area, again lots of accidents, so many in fact theres signs warning how many bikers were killed there, yet no cameras.

One with a cynical mind might be tempted to suggest they are placed to "catch" the most people rather than where the roads are most dangerous.

And before you start saying thats just sour grapes from being caught, you'd be wrong, the last time I was "done for speeding" was when I was 18 (nearly 40 years ago) and that was the old fashioned way with a real copper by the side of the road, and fair do I was speeding at the time.

Speed cameras do nothing for real world road safety, they also don't stop bad driving, a far bigger cause of accidents than just speed alone (our motorways are some of the safest roads around yet the fastest) all they do is burden the allready "ripped off" motorist even more.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chevrolet and rain

Here are two photos of a "Chevy" I spotted a while back in of all places Tescos car park, I assume it was on it's way to a classic car show.

Rain, well the last few days it's been extremely wet here, pouring down in fact, so much so several local places have had flooding.
I'm pretty safe from flooding where I am, I'm raised up on a slope so any serious water will run away before it gets deep enough to get into my house, indeed if my house ever floods the people lower down will be well under water.
One courious fact despite the heavy rain for days we still have a hosepipe ban, not that many will be using them. I wonder if the ban applies to the fire brigade???

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Square-ified! (or thats what I call it)

Something a little different this weekend, some images I have made... well square-ish for want of a better discripition.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mobile phones again!

Yes I'm going to moan about mobile phones yet again, those who follow this blog will know I haven't had much luck with my mobile phones in the past.
You see first of all the signals pretty crap here in Wales. Yesterday was about the first time in months I actually had a proper conversation whilst moving without getting cut off part way through.
Then there's the phones themselves, I want a mobile phone to make calls while I'm out and about, I don't need Internet access on a 2 inch screen, I don't need an MP3 player, I don't even really need a camera (I usually have a proper one with me) The phone now is trying to hard to be everything to everyone, but failing at it's original function of actually being any good at making phone calls.
Then theres the issue of do we really want to be in constant touch? To be brutally honest I'm getting fed up with being on constant call to anybody who wants to call me, even driving home is a pain in the arse with a barrage of calls and messages making you stop to answer or read them.
Yes they are bloody handy in an emergency but the rest of the time time they can be a right royal pain!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

World cup fever

Well world cup fever is over for another year, and what have we learned?
Well we learned that those stupid horn things should be banned.
Mars bars really don't sell so well with the English flag on them.
That England can't win the world cup no matter how much the publicity machine says they will before the game.
That the team manager is always at fault even though he's not actually playing football on the day. And that an octopus proved about the best judge of who was going to win, and he received death threats for heavens sake!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

ACDsee pro 3 longer term review

Well I have been using it for a week or so now and I'm not sure whether it's an improvement or not. You see I like the new interface, and I like the non distructive editing, but I'm not fussed on it creating duplicates of everything, and the batch functions seen a lot less sensible to use, indeed I have hardly managed to get it to bacth properly at all, rotate doesn't seem to have any proper effect, once you open the pics in the editor it turns them back the way they were!
Not really impressed so far.