Thursday, 21 January 2021

Having a Professional build my New Web Site


Having a Professional build my New Web Site 

Over the last few weeks I have been working with Rik James of Creative Fabrik to build and relaunch my new web site. My old web site was built for me just over 10 years ago by my good friend David Robinson, and he made a great job of it. Thanks David. Although it was a great web site, both my photography and web design have moved on in that time, so rather than having my existing web site updated, I decided it was time for a completely new site.  

I could have opted for one of the `web site builder packages` like Clikpic, Wix etc. but I decided against that option.  These type of sites are supposedly easy to build using templates, but my IT/ computer skills are very limited, so I decided the easiest option was to have someone who was a professional to build a bespoke web site for me.  

Because I needed the web site to showcase my photography, it needed to look clean, professional, unique and be easy to navigate. It also needed to look good on both a PC /laptop as well as on a Smartphone. 

I have known Rik James of Creative Fabrik for a number of years through table tennis, and I knew that he ran his own IT web building business, so the decision to use him was an easy one to make. 


When I first contacted Rik he suggested that I send him links to four web sites that I liked so he could then get an idea of how I wanted my web site to look. I duly did this and his comments were that although the pictures in these web site were very good, as web sites, only one of them was both PC and Smartphone friendly. What this means is that when viewing a web site on a PC/laptop you are looking at it in a horizontal format. When you look at a web site on a Smartphone you are looking at it in a vertical format. It was important to have a web site that would be both PC and mobile `friendly`. This was something I had not even thought about until Rik explained it to me. 

Because am I paying monthly for Adobe CC and Lightroom, Rik suggested that he could build the web site using Adobe Portfolio. This seemed the sensible option.  

Rik then asked me if  I had a `logo` that I wanted to use for the new web site. I didn`t, so he designed four different logos and sent them through to me to see which one I liked.  Of the four options, I chose the logo where the `O` on Roger is replaced with a camera lens diaphragm. I think it works well. 

I then had to decide what sections/pages I would like. I needed a `Home page`, `About me`, `Galleries`, `Talks`, `Equipment` `Testimonials`, `Blog`, `Links`, and a `Contact page`. 

Also on the Opening `home page` there are links to my Facebook, Instagram and YouTube posts, as well as OMD Digital Solutions and Permajet `logos`  

The `About Me ` section was a just a few paragraphs that explained my approach to photography and how my photography has developed over the years. I needed an image of myself to accompany this section, so I used a more recent shot I had taken with my Olympus camera.

The next section to consider was the Galleries. We decided to have this divided into 24 individual galleries to showcase the range of subject matter that I photograph. 

. From my point of view, choosing which images to include in which gallery proved to be my biggest problem. Initially, I wanted to include far too many images. Whilst I could have had as many images as I would have liked, I decided that each gallery would look best if to be limited to 40 images, with two of the galleries having 50 images. Because Rik was going to use Adobe Portfolio to build the web site, we decided that the best way to display each individual gallery was as a `lightbox`. This enables you to see all the images in each gallery as `thumbnails` displayed in a lightbox format.  If you click into an image it comes up full screen with the image title at the bottom. You can then use either the arrow keys on a PC keyboard to scroll through the images , or use your finger to scroll through the images on a Smartphone. 

Because I enjoy giving talks/presentations to various groups and societies, Rik suggested that it would be a good idea to have a couple of short introduction paragraphs for each talk, and also to display a small selection of images from each talk. This idea worked really well and we divided the `talks` into two sections. The first section of eight talks are more camera club/photographic society orientated. The second seven talks are more natural history, landscape orientated, so are more suitable for RSPB and Wildlife groups, U3A`s, Probus and WI groups.  

I was really pleased with how the talk section has turned out and it has resulted in quite a few new clubs /societies booking me for zoom presentations. 

The next section was  `Equipment`.  Being an Olympus Mentor, it was important that I listed all the camera equipment that I use. I laid out all the Olympus cameras, lenses, flashguns and photographed them. This section also lists things like tripods, hides, landscape filters, and other useful items that I carry in my camera rucksack. 

The `Testimonial` , `Blog` and `Links ` sections were quite easy to formulate. Finally there is a `Contact page` where people can either email me or ring me if they want to book me for a talk or ask me about any of the images.  

I am really pleased with how the new web site has tuned out. It was probably not the cheapest option, but you are paying the extra for someone's expertise.  I would certainly advise anyone who is thinking of having a new web site to give Creative Fabrik a look.

Monday, 11 January 2021

Photographing Dippers at Dovedale - first YouTube Audio Video


Photographing Dippers at Dovedale - first YouTube Audio Video

Having been inspired by Mike Lane FRPS to make a YouTube video, I decided to give it a try. I decided to put together a short video on Photographing Dippers at Dovedale in the Peak District.  Its a mixture of `stills` and `slow motion` video, put together with PTE Studio and the audio overlaid onto it. It was shot on an E-M1 MkIII,  300mm F4 lens + the MC14 converter. The still images are shot hand held, while the video is shot on a tripod. The E-M1 MkIII allows you to shoot in `slow motion` , which is something I had never tried before. 

Because we are in lockdown again, I needed something to do to occupy my time !  It was relatively easy to do - certainly a lot easier than I first thought it would be. Its not come out that bad, although I do need a better microphone to improve the audio.  

I asked Mike what he thought and he has made some very constructive and helpful comments. If I implement these tips into the next video , it should be a lot better. 

If you click the link below the photograph , it will take you to the video .

Photographing Dippers at Dovedale - YouTube

Friday, 1 January 2021

Early Morning Frost Pictures -New Years Eve

 Early Morning Frost Pictures -New Years Eve 

On New Years eve, we woke up to quite a sever frost in Colchester.   I am fortunate that although we are currently in Tier 4, we do have some fields within a 10 minute walk of our house, so Alison and I went to find some frosty close up images. These images were all taken on the Olympus E-M1 MkIII, and ether the 60mm F2.8 macro lens, or the 40-150m F4.0/5.6 lens. All pictures hand held using ISO 640. 

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Woodland Birds - First attempt at an Audio Visual


 Woodland Birds - First attempt at an Audio Visual 

Because we are in Tier 4 lockdown in Colchester, I decided I needed a new project. Never having produced an audio visual before, I decided to give it a try using the PTE Studio software that I use for producing camera club talks. The subject I chose was `Woodland Birds`, and I have posted it on YouTube. 

It was surprisingly easy to do, and I found that the Barry Beckham YouTube videos explain the process very easily. 

I think audio visuals can become quite boring if they go on for many minutes, so I have kept this one very short - its only 1min 40secs long. All of the pictures in the show were taken with Olympus cameras, - either the EM1 MkII, or the EM1X, and mostly with the 300mm F4 lens, although two of them were using the 40-150mm F2.8 lens. 

Woodland Birds - A short Audio Visual - YouTube

Here is one of the pictures form the AV 

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Fungi at Arger Fen - Autumn 2020

Fungi at Arger Fen - Autumn 2020 

A few recent images of Fungi taken in Arger Fen Reserve, Suffolk.  All taken with the Olympus E-M1 MkIII , and either the 60mm F2.8 Macro lens or the 40-150mm F2.8 + MC14 Converter (focal length 210mm)  All at ISO 250. On a tripod and mostly shot between apertures of F5.6 - F11. 



This last one was taken using the 9-18mm F4.5-5.6 wide angle zoom to show the fungi in its habitat. 


Friday, 23 October 2020

Photographing Dippers at Dovedale, Peak District

Photographing Dippers at Dovedale, Peak District

Last week we went away for Alison`s 60th birthday for a short breat to the Peak District. This was primarily to get a few landscapes and also to shoot some slow shutter speed shots near Padley Gorge. 

We came home on the Monday, and on the way back we stopped off at Dovedale to try for a Dipper. Arriving at about 9.45am, the car park was reasonably empty which was ideal. We stood a lot better chance of finding an approachable Dipper before the crowds started to arrive. Fortunately we found a Dipper within a short distance of the car park. This is probably the best place to photograph them because it is more open in this spot, and the lighting is better. 

The Dipper obviously had a stretch of the river that it patrolled regularly because it did not venture that far away from this area. Although it did tend to keep towards the other side of the river. 

Using the Olympus E-M1 MkIII and the 300mm F4 lens coupled with the MC14 converter, I could still easily get within range to get some decent shots. All shots taken at ISO 800. Some hand held, and others on a tripod. Shutter speed varied between 1/320sec and 1/15th sec . All shot at F5.6. 

After I had taken a number of shots and felt I had some decent images `safely in the bag`, I experimaented by trying some shots using a slower shutter speed. This was to get some motion blur in the water. The only problem is that you will get a lot of images ruined by the bird `dipping ` up and down constantly. If you persever, you should be able to get one or two that are sharp.  This one was ISO 800. 1/15th sec at F13. Obviously on a tipod. 

For a time it flew up into a tree directly in front on me and sang for about 10mins. 

At one stage it even came on the side of the river where I was standing and I had to back away to get the bird in the frame. In this shot it had caught what looks like a gudgoen. 

After about an hour, more people arrived and it started to become busy. Two couples turned up with their dogs and decided it was good fun to throw sticks into the river for their dogs to retrieve. Once this happened, the Dipper flew away and we decided to call it a day. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Beewolf Wasps

Beewolf Wasps

Last Saturday I went with my good friend Richard Revels to photograph Beewolf wasps at the Pinnacle at Sandy. Not the easiest things to photograph but I managed to get some reasonable shots. 

All taken with the E-M1 MkIII and the 40-150mm F2.8 lens +MC14 converter. ISO 800, and varying shutter speeds between 1/1000thsec and 1/25000th sec, all at F8. They were taken hand held whilst laying down on the sand. Not the easiest photography to do, because as good as the focusing on the Olympus is, its not easy to `lock on` to very small flying insects.  I used a combination of Continual Autofocus, and Pro Capture Low. 

These last two shots are Pantaloon Bees