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.