Monday, 15 December 2014

Blist Hill - Monochrome

Blist Hill - Monochrome

Last week, I gave a short lecture tour of three clubs in the Midlands. Whilst up there, I had decided to visit the Blist Hill Victorian Museum, - a favourite location of mine. The people who work there are very friendly and are quite happy to `pose` for you. Although taken in colour, I felt these worked better as monochromes. All taken on a Canon 5D mark III using either a 17-40mm or 24-105mm lens.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks
During the summer, we spent a few days up in the Yorkshire Dales. One of the places we visited for an hour or so one afternoon was Brimham Rocks, which are an amazing collection of weird and wonderful natural rock formations in North Yorkshire.

Because it was the middle of the afternoon, and quite bright, I felt that my Infra Red Converted Canon 30D, would suit the location and lighting conditions best. Fortunately, there were some interesting clouds which helped to add some atmosphere to the images. The interesting nature of infra red, makes grass and the foliage on trees turn white, and the blue in the sky turn dark.
Once the images had been downloaded into Lightroom, adjustment were made to the Raw Images and  they were then opened up into Photoshop. They were then converted to monochrome using `High Structure` in Silver FX. I felt that some of the images would make a good `panel` for one of my camera club talks.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Eastern Region ASA Swimming Championship

Eastern Region ASA Masters Swimming Championship
John Bulpitt, Peter Milsom and myself, obtained passes to photograph at this years Eastern Region ASA Masters Swimming Championships, which was held at Newmarket Leisure Centre on the 4th October. Having photographed at the event a couple of years ago, I knew that there would be some good action, and although the 5D Mark III only has six frames per second, it is excellent for shots taken at high ISO. Even still, the light level was not great, so a lot of the shots were taken at ISO speeds of between 2500 and 5000. Obviously, with any indoor sport or competitive event, flash was out of the question.
We were allowed to photograph `pool side` so could move our positions without any problems. providing that we did not get in the way of the referees or competitors. Most of the shots were taken with the Canon 70-200 F2.8,-all shot wide open, to get the highest shutter speed under the lighting conditions. Some shots were taken with the Canon 50m 1.8 lens, and the wide angle shots, with the Canon 17-40 F4 lens.
Below are some of the shots from the event.

 This gentleman is Donald McFarlane, and was the oldest person swimming that day. He is 85 years old and could do eight lengths of the pool ! I would struggle to do half a length !

These two shots were taken with the 17mm end of the Canon 17-40 lens, standing over the edge of the pool.  

Watching to see the touch the end of the pool before the turn.

Although it is really the action shots that we went for, this one is a slightly more candid image. I felt it has a slightly more `photojournalistic` feel to it. 
The flowing four images are using `pan and blur` with a slow shutter speed to try and get some movement into the shots. Taken with the Canon 70-200 lens, and using shutter priority, I used a shutter speed of 25th of a second.  A great way to fill up the memory card, -unfortunately, the success rate is low, but these ones did not come out too bad.

The 85 year old Donald McFarlane again 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Black Country Museum Again !

Black Country Museum Again !
On Sunday, I went to Smethwick Photographic Society for the Permajet lecturer`s day. Eleven lecturer`s covering a wide range of subject material. A very enjoyable day, and some great photography on show. I decided to stay in the area overnight, and the following morning paid a visit to the Black County Museum in Dudley, -one of my favourite locations for portrait photography.
  Because the BBC had a film crew on site, (recording for a forthcoming reality series), part of the museum was closed. They had started filming at 5.00am, and were filming through most of the day, so access was restricted in certain areas until after lunchtime.  
It was quite noticeable the difference between the people who normally work at the museum, and the `extras` that the BBC were using for the filming. The normal staff who work at the museum wear the correctly styled `outfits` for the period and location. The outfits they wear are quite clean compared to the `extras` ,whose clothes looked as if they had not been washed for a couple of months. It certainly made quite a stark comparison !
I did manage to get one or two quite reasonable shot though. All images taken with a Canon 5D Mark III, and 17mm lens.
This is an HDR shot. Maybe a bit over the top, and not to everyone taste, but for this sort of dereliction shot, I think it works O.K.
This shows two variations of the portrait, -one as a mono conversion, and the other in colour. I think I prefer the mono version, but others may prefer the colour. I have included the `original raw image` to show the post processing. 
Below is the Original `raw image`, -as shot, no alterations. The `noise` was reduced in Lightroom, and it was sharpened with the `clarity` slider before being opened up into Photoshop CS5. Firstly, the image was cropped slightly. Then I took out the reflection in the painting on the wall, and the painting sticking out of the top of the lady`s head. Also the lamp shade in the top of the picture was removed. The bright pink cloth on the edge of the table has been de-saturated, and the loaf and breadboard, which were also on the table have been cloned out. The lady had a very `blood shot eye`, which has been repaired, and the image has also had some contrast added with a Topaz filter .(Topaz Detail) The edges of the background has been heavily `burnt in` to concentrate the centre of interest onto the subject. The mono version was converted using Silver FX software.