Saturday, January 26, 2013

Inside San Maggiore Giorgio

Venice hey, been a long time since I posted a picture from there. Well my Venice photos have been getting a lot of attention from myself recently. Probably because in the 2 years since it's been that I was there, I look back quite objectively at the pictures and think 'hmmmm, I would do this now', and then I realise that RAW files are not cast in stone and I can tweak them as needs be. I have even been making some slight adjustments to my Burano picture, one of my best known pictures (without trying to sound too disgustingly modest).

So why am I doing all this? Well 2 reasons actually. Firstly, because I bought a book recently on Amazon for a penny. Yes, you read that right, 1p (the delivery charge cost 240% more than the book). Why people try to sell books for penny I have no idea, but at least it means you can get hold of books, that would have been incredibly difficult to find elsewhere. The book I bought was called Charlie Waite's Venice. A book of photographs by one of my favourite photographers, taken in Venice. You probably had guessed that from the title though. The book was first published in 1989 and though there are many great and inspiring pictures in there, what surprised me was the amount of noise (film grain) present in many of the photos. This was obviously more acceptable then, as ISO was controlled by the type of film you selected, not in-camera like on modern DSLR's. It made me realise that most people are nuts if they don't believe that digital photography is an advancement over film. That much noise would just not be acceptable in today's photographs, I believe. Don't get me wrong, I do think film grain adds a fantastic quality to to some pictures, but the amount of noise present in other photographs, takes away from the overall quality.

I am digressing slightly, but the book did inspire to go back to my own pictures of Venice taken in April 2011. The second reason I have been going back to my Venice photos is because I am going to bring out an Ebook (though you can get in standard book form as well!) of Venice. It's the type of photographer's photography book I like; not too much on words and lots of great images (I hope you think anyway). The type of photography book Scott Kelby creates when he returns from certain destinations. I have always wanted to create these types of books as well. You may remember that I released a book (small though it is) last year entitled 'West Berkshire in HDR', so the Venice one will be my second published book.

Today's picture is one I think I originally posted on Flickr a couple of years ago, but I reprocessed it last year. This is the time I have posted the reprocessed version.

Monday, January 21, 2013

From a View to a Cathedral

First of all, I apologise if some people had problems viewing the slideshow I posted yesterday. I had to reload it a couple of times due to those advertising popups that come up, but after all that, I've realised I can't do anything about them and they come up anyway. I think they come up automatically if you have 'third-party content' on your video (which I do on that one with Enya's song), therefore next time I'll try to use something original, so the pop ups don't well, pop up. I guess you'll just have to click them off for now.

Today's picture is another I took of Winchester Cathedral over the Christmas/New Year period. This is looking down from the altar section towards the end of the cathedral. You can see their giant Christmas tree at the far side. Instead of the usual unsharp mask sharpening used in photoshop, I went for the high pass sharpening option. I have used it in pictures before, but never felt that blown away by it, but I think for quite detailed HDR's, it is the way to go. I will write more about sharpening in the near future and why it is not something to drive yourself crazy over.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Reflections of 2012

January I know has been a bit of a quiet month for me on this blog. Amateur photographers all go through periods of more and less activity, and January for me has just been one of those times where I have needed a bit of focus on other elements of life. Needless to say, I have created a slideshow (as promised) of what I consider the best images I posted during 2012.

Slideshows of my images have always been a big ambition of mine for photography. Created well, they can give someone a very quick but big overview of your work, and of course it's another creative element to the presentation of your photography. I have not created many slideshows, due to the fact that presenting them on the web does not give the work a great quality. I create all slideshows in 1080p HD but you only really notice this if you use youtube or another format through an HD TV, as it seems to render them beautifully. I've stated before that I love watching HD photography shows on TV via youtube, and so if you get the opportunity to watch programmes this way, I thoroughly recommend it.

The slideshow you see today is pretty much step-by-step created using Scott Kelby's Adobe Lightroom 4 book, a wonderful addition to using Lightroom should you have it. I especially took on the advice to crop all the images into a square format, to have that more fine art look. Slideshows will be something I create a few more of in the near future and I already have a couple more in the works.

I probably don't say this enough, but thank you for stopping by, I will be back with another image on this blog tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Lights of London

Today's picture was taken between the Christmas and new year period, whilst visiting London with friends (and wife). This was taken in the Tower Bridge area of London, and shows the night lights over the area where the new Shard's building, the new tallest building in Europe lies. I'm not actually sure if it is finished yet (?), but I know you can now visit/work there. This was shot at about ISO 1000, which is less than I thought I would have to (the D700 handles noise and low light very well), but I was helped by being able to rest my camera on the fence down by the river. I also took some low light HDR pictures of Tower Bridge itself, but probably due to the light, the results just weren't good enough. I am still yet to get round to writing up my plans for the year, but one of my main aims is to be a better 'editor', as Scott Kelby would say. If it means posting less frequently then fine, but I won't put up any picture that's just ok or good, I have to really believe in it.

I spoke last week of wanting a new look for this website, and though I tried a few ideas afterwards, it became an absolute disaster. I wasn't happy with the way it insisted on displaying, and therefore I retreated and tried to go back to my old look (at least for now). However, this wasn't playing ball with me either, so I'm sorry, I'm stuck with this kind of makeshift temporary look, until I finally figure out a good new look.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Day

Happy new year to one and all! I am posting this blog rather late today, as have been out walking (without a camera) in the beautiful new year sunshine we have had in England today. This time last year I wrote a blog called 'Ambitions for 2012' and I think I will discuss my plans for the new year on my next blog, which I will post this weekend.

Today's picture is of Winchester Cathedral, taken whilst visiting there last week. This is perhaps a rather standard facing shot of the cathedral, but one that I feel really benefits from the HDR treatment, due to the character and details that make up the cathedral.

Before I get to my plans for the new year this weekend, my priority with this blog lies with giving it a new look and perhaps a new name. I know I only changed it a couple of months ago, but still feel like it is a bit of an 'interim' name for a blog. I'm thinking hard, but want to give it a new, accurate and original name for the future.