Saturday, June 22, 2013

Time to Go Hard or Go Home

Perhaps it is a little lame to reference a Black Eyed Peas song on this blog, but that sentiment matches how I feel. After a few months of indecision and uncertainty, I have a new plan with my photography to keep me busy and focused.

After only a few posts, I have decided to revert from my decision to use borders. It may seem to make my words a few weeks ago a little hollow, but after using the borders a few times now, I just don't think I like it as much as the pictures without the distractions, such as borders and watermarks. Having blogged recently about my experience of having my work copied and uncredited to myself, I know this new direction of the borderless pictures again opens me up to internet image theft, but I've decided I'm prepared to take that risk now.

The only thing I ever needed was a copyright to put with the pictures. Most top photographers have this, and it ensures that you can blog and post your pictures away, knowing that if anyone was to make any commercial gain from your pictures, you can take action. I am  now registering all my photographs with the UK copyright service. This makes me much more secure about posting them online. Yes some people will still claim pictures as their own, but they could not gain much from it, as eventually they would be found out. I do not say this out of anger, it gives me a great sense of freedom now to post pictures without worrying what someone else might be doing with them.

More importantly though, I need to have a direction to take my photography in general, and as I said in my blog 'Coming Back to what I Know' the focus will continue to be HDR photography. It is simply the type of photography I enjoy creating and I want to find my way into some of the most amazing places in the UK and abroad, to fulfil my love of HDR photography. It's not lost on me that my output this year has in general been quite low, and I'm trying to ask myself why as well.

One of the reasons I think is because posting pictures online seems to be such hard work. There seems like a new social media website to become apart of every week and it is demotivating to decide which images to post on which side, and to follow that up with all the writing that goes with it. I have written on Twitter recently how I dislike the new looks to both Flickr and Google+ and I stick by that. I never had that much of a problem with Flickr in the first place (contrary to popular opinion) but now I find the changes unfocused and an eyesore. There is simply too much going on now when you view Flickr or Google+ and I have no desire to post on these sites.

Therefore, it may surprise you to learn that I am going to focus now on Facebook, where my following is only currently 44 people. The reason I want to focus on Facebook now though, is because the image quality of the photos you present online has vast improved and of course on Facebook is where you will find not only the biggest social media audience, but also my intended audience, non-photographers. I say that because although of course I love discussing photography with my photography friends, I love the reaction non-photographers have to new digital art forms such as HDR, they just really seem to love it. And of course you don't get the cynical anti-HDR attitudes as you do on specialist photography sites.

I have decided for the time being that I am going to post a daily photo everyday on Facebook. Now most of these will have been pictures I have already posted over the last 3 years, but again, the aim is to keep me busy in the photographic media world while also working on new images. If you want to visit my Facebook Photography click the link HERE. You will find another new picture there today!

I will continue with Twitter, and occasionally Google+, simply because despite my grievances, it seems that it is continuing to grow in popularity. I have finished with Flickr though and other social media sites.

So the final part is my own websites......where does that leave them? I have been searching for the answer to a great photographic website this year and continue to be unsure. You may know that as well as this blog, I have 2 photographic websites, HalewoodPhoto and HalewoodPhotographic. With money tight these days, I find now that I cannot afford to keep both, so have to pick a website to go with. I love the functionality I have with HalewoodPhoto (built using SquareSpace), and though I have stated this as my official site for a long time now, there is a reason I am verging to switch focus to HalewoodPhotographic, and that is simply image quality. On the smugmug based HalewoodPhotographic site, the images simply look better then on any other platform you can find on the internet. Now don't get me wrong, I am not a fan of how to create a website using smugmug and it is this difficulty for non-IT literate people that has kept me from focusing on it. But again, the quality of the images speak for themselves, and I am going to try and push through my difficulties with smugmug and make a permanent home out of HalewoodPhotographic. Watch this space anyway, the final decision is still to be made.

That leaves this blog. After thinking about abandoning it, I have decided this will remain my blogging home for now. I won't be posting here everyday like on facebook, but I will post new blogs on here for discussions and new pictures.

The picture below is an HDR picture I took at West Woodhay House in Berkshire (I think) recently. Last weekend it was the West Woodhay House Garden Show, and though I do not know much about the history of the house, I knew it would be a good opportunity to venture down there with my wife and take some pictures of the wonderful landscape there.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Summer by the River

Well it couldn't last really could it? We had a fairly nice spell of weather in England recently (and hey I'm an optimist but I don't think it was quite as nice as everyone makes out, still I don't complain) and sure enough just as we thought we may get a summer this year, it leaves us again. Enough of the cynicism anyway, I'm sure there is plenty of nice weather to come.

It's one of my missions this summer to capture the British countryside in the summer weather, and while that may seem ambitious, I am a sucker for a photograph of a beautiful sunny day. Such as this scene I pictured recently within the grounds of the Newbury Manor Hotel. The river that runs through it is the River Kennet, and a drink to be had alongside this river on a sunny day is not to be missed.

This is a 5 shot HDR picture, crafted in the fairly typical, Lightroom, Photomatox, Photosho process, though like most of my pictures have these days, there is a subtle touch of Topaz Adjust in there as well.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Away From the Rainbow

This may seem like a pretty obvious and easy picture, and being as I walked about 10 steps out the front door, it's not an unfair thing to assume. But rainbows are fleeting things, and knowing this probably would have gone in 2 minutes, I was not going to jump in my car and try to find a more inspiring landscape. I just wanted a picture of that rainbow!

I do need to get out more though. Not been out much taking pictures, not through lack of motivation, just need the time to find a new inspiring location. I want take lots of pictures of the British countryside over the summer time, give them the HDR/arty look, and see how good they are. I have other plans as well, but hopefully you will see some of that soon...

This is an HDR picture taken from 4 different exposures, and layer masked using the original RAW files, hence the car is not ghosted (people often ask me how it is possible to have an HDR picture with moving cars and such, and it's really not that hard). Some more new pictures coming soon.....