Beginning Photography

The musings of a budding photographer

Archive for the ‘My 52 2010’ Category

My 52 – Week 15: Single

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As you know I had a bit of an absense from photography when I hosed my hard drive. I’m now back and togging and the 52 is back on track. I have a few missed weeks to catch up on though, I’ll do so gradually over the coming weeks. But for now, single.

First, I’m including the image from the post below of the solitary swan. in addition, this one

Lightroom 300 preset applied and then a couple of minor tweaks.

Written by James

April 17, 2010 at 8:39 pm

My 52 week 9: Play

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Three images to choose from this week, I’ve tried to learn to play the guitar at various times throughout my life. Never managed it, but I keep dusting it off every now and again for another go. The subject for this week seemed ideal for another try.

All images shot at ISO 400 and approximately 1/2 second exposure at around F5. I was hoping for a nice grainy feel to these images, lighting was provided by a bedside lamp aimed reflected off a white wall

Written by James

March 7, 2010 at 10:06 pm

My 52 – Mechanical

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This weeks 52, and much thinking ensued. The theme was mechanical and all I’ve been able to think of all week is car engine. No no and thrice no. I refuse to photograph my car engine. It’s old, its dirty and the weather is crap. Maybe there is an image under the bonnet but I didn’t fancy going and finding it.

The perfect photo for the week has already been taken, I may edit this post and put it up. I went to the railway museum in York a few weeks back and got a few shots of the innards of one of the old steam trains. Absolutely perfect for the week, but not within the remit.

And then I had a brainwave. Sat on my desk, my powerball. It’s all about mechanical energy, it’s a hand powered gyroscope, and it lights up rather pleasingly. The question was how to capture it. After lots of attempts I came up with these three.


This one is my current favourite primarily due to the reflection

Written by James

February 28, 2010 at 10:17 pm

My 52 – People

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Continuing on with my 52, this weeks project was people and I interpreted that to mean a self-portait. Well, I am a person, it counts.

Focus has to be on the eyes, not easy to achieve when you can’t look through the lens. Not all that easy to achieve when you can come to that, but I did my best. The remote cable release was a god send here.

I’m particularly pleased with the way this turned out, much better than I thought it might. There is a higher resolution image on my redbubble

Written by James

February 22, 2010 at 6:54 pm

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

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

My 52: Week 2 – Poems/Poetry

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This one took some thinking about. The obvious thing was to pick a poem, find an object or concept within and then photograph it. This struck me as completely counterproductive, the goal of the 52 is to inspire creativity.

So then I sat around for 24 hours without a clue what to shoot. After much thinking time I would up with a couple of concepts and the images that resulted are below.


This first image is intended to show a poem in creation, to capture the feeling of a writer working late at night. The poem as it stands was hand written by myself with fountain pen. The table is a wooden dining room table, lit by a bedside lamp shining through a cut glass tumbler filled with a dark spirit to give the light texture and warmth. I held a mirror to reduce the shadow from the pen and used the timer on the camera which was on a tripod. Exposure time was 1 seconds at F9.


In this second image the concept is “poetry in motion”, an 8 second exposure to capture the movement of the second hand on the watch. The diffiulty with this image is avoiding reflections in the watch face, with an 8 second exposure any texture on the reflected surface makes it into the image.

Right now the first image is my favourite for the 52. I am contemplating taking a self portait while writing a poem to see how that works out but that will require some planning, the images here are ready to roll.

Written by James

January 11, 2010 at 12:05 pm