Beginning Photography

The musings of a budding photographer

Archive for January 2010

The Arch: Colour or not?

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This bridge in York has thrown up yet another dilemma, one that I seem to face on a daily basis. To colour or not to colour. Both are presented here and I would welcome feedback from others.


Written by James

January 31, 2010 at 9:17 pm

The Millenium Bridge

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I didn’t limit myself to photos of people while visiting York yesterday. While at University in York I lived very close to the millenium bridge, and indeed had to cycle over it to get to the University. This was my first visit back to York with a camera and so I parked up near my old house and went to take some pics of it. My favourite shot here is also the most questionable in that I don’t know how to process it. As it is seen here I have left it pretty much as it came out of the camera, but it looks fantastic with a split tone effect. I haven’t applied one because I think I am becoming obsessed with split toning, but if anyone wants to see it please leave a comment and I will put a version up.

Taken for an abstract feel, this image looks great with pretty much any processing. As seen here it is essentially the way it came out of the camera.

This second image is virtually black and white with just a hint of colour to give it a little warmth.

This final image was taken in the hope of getting a silhouette look. In particular I like the cyclist’s converging from either end of the bridge, adding that extra touch.

Written by James

January 30, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Posted in Photography, Photos

My 52: Week 4 – Street

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An interesting task this one, had to get over a few inhibitions. It’s tough taking photos of strangers for the first time. Various problems arose, in particular I found that I wasn’t paying much attention to camera settings due to the desire to get the framing correct. As a result in various dark places I ended up with a low shutter speed and lots of deleted images for out of focus issues. This could be sorted with faster glass or with higher ISO.

All images have been processed, real world colours are a bit dull at this time of year, though I may try some colour versions.

This is my favourite from the day, the only downside being that it is every so slightly out of focus due to 1/50 shutter speed

The only black and white of the day, this old chap stopped at just the right moment and had a great expression. The only issue is that I had to give this a bit of a crop as he was stood a fraction too far away and running might have looked a bit iffy.

This one has had a very slight split toning effect added, I quite like it but would like other opinions on it.

Another with split toning, again suffering the same issue, ever so slightly out of focus due to slow shutter speed.

I think for really strong images of this nature you need a great subject. A street performer or musician would be fantastic. As it is they are nice, but not something to write home about. Far more valuable is the learning experience of shooting people on the move, I now know to be more aware of shutter speed.

Written by James

January 29, 2010 at 11:50 pm


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I dropped the damn thing. Gargh. Fortunately I’ve pretty much gotten away with it. The camera body is fine, tip top 100% fine, no damage at all. The reason for that is that the lens took the impact. The glass is also fine, the only problem is the zoom part of the lens. It’s come ever so slightly loose at the long end (55mm, its an 18-55), it isn’t quite stable. This is only apparent when focusing, half press the shutter for focus and the lens moves a tiny fraction of a degree. An observer probably wouldn’t even notice it and it isn’t enough to affect framing, but looking through the view finder you see it happen and it’s just enough to be annoying.

Image quality is not affected at all, I’ve taken a few test shots today and they came out nice and sharp so I’m not rushing out to buy a new lens to replace it, this will be fine for the forseeable future. A good lesson to learn though, glad it happened now rather than when I’ve invested in some good glass. I was getting the camera off the tripod and to be frank I have no idea how I managed to drop it.

Written by James

January 27, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Posted in Off Topic, Problems

My 52 Week 3: Chopped

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This weeks 52 throws up another wide open subject: Chopped. Plenty of options, from trees to pork.

I tried out a few concepts and a bit of processing, my favourite images while interpreting the theme are all below. The selective colouring image is simply for fun and it’s outside my own rules for my 52 (or it is for this week anyway).

First up, my main candidate for the week, a solitary pea next to a huge blade. I’ve named this “pea in peril”.

Second, a tree stump

And finally a bit of an abstract, this is what remains after the limb of a tree has been removed. Bit of a marmite shot.

And then my playtime began, and I came up with this

The same technique as used for the coins shot a few weeks back, two layers of the same image, convert the top layer to black and white, zoom into 500% or so, add a layer mask and erase the bits you don’t want in the black and white image so the image below shines through.

What did I learn this week? Photos of chopped down trees are BORING. No idea how to make them interesting other than heavy processing.

Written by James

January 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Another sunset, more sculptures

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Not a lot going on over the last couple of days so to keep things ticking over here are a couple more from the sculpture park and one of my favourite sunsets, taken in the recent snows.

Go to a sculpture park to take photos and one of my favourite shots is of a fallen down tree. Go figure.

With the lighting as flat as previously described this was the only way to get an interesting shot, in close and use the angles to create something.

This one doesn’t need much explanation I think. I posted a similar shot a few days ago, must have glossed over this one as it’s a much nicer exposure and better colours.

Written by James

January 19, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Posted in Photography, Photos

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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Today was the day of the talkphotography sculpture park meet. Perfect for me, I can be there in ten minutes from walking out of the door. Unfortunately the light was about as inspiring as a puddle of mud, grey skies, no shadows, dreary lighting…. snore.

But enough of the moaning, to the piccies. First off, the golf balls

These three sit near the entrance and the standard shot is to get 10 yards away and get them all in frame. I went for a different perspective, up close with shallow depth of field.

Next up, a sculture of something

I’m tempted to have another crack at this one, I’m certain there is an image in here somewhere and I don’t think I’ve cracked it with this one. Comments/suggestions most welcome.

And finally, a wooden thingy.

No idea what it is, but I quite like the shot so no worries 😀

Overall another good learning experience. I learned a couple more things that don’t work, and realised that I should have taken shots from a bit further away from most of these scultures. I haven’t yet figured out how to make them pop with processing. Loads more images from the day still unprocessed so expect to see a few more over the coming days.

The best aspect of the day was really getting out there and meeting like minded people, I had a good chat with two or three guys from the forum and I expect we will organise something again soonish.

Written by James

January 17, 2010 at 7:25 pm