With my vacation just a few days away I have a lot to do including sorting out my camera gear. I'm no gear hogger so so it's not like I have to sweat over which combination of lenses and camera bodies to take. For me it's simply my Nikon D7000 my four lenses and the usual bits ad bobs. I've got it off to a fine art now and with a 5KG hand luggage limit and no hold bags coming with me I need to focus on the key items. I may do a follow-up post on tips for travelling light.
An addition to my kit this year will be the Cokin type square filter system. I have a couple of pro circular filters I have used previously and the ND & polarizing ones have been really useful on my trips to Turkey. However the disadvantage of the circular filters is that they have to match the diameter of your lenses which means having several versions of the same type. I have also found that using the ND & ND8 circular filters for long exposures very difficult to in practice because they are so dark I have to focus with them off the camera then screw the filter on the lens - which is a bit tricky.
The Cokin system uses a mount with step down rings so it ca be attached to any lens. The mount has 3 channels and I can stack the filters and use in combination. I will also be able to use the graduated ND filters for the first time to balance out the brightness of the sky and hopefully get a more even exposure.
The good news is that the complete kit system including six filters cost me £15! Okay - I know it's a third-party Chinese knock off and the purists are going to whine on about putting cheap plastic filters in front of good glass, but hey let's get real. I'll be using this kit on boats and jeep safaris and the truth is I do not want to have to nurse my gear. In fact if the kit proves useful I may well leave it in my apartment in Turkey so I do not have to pack next time.
This year I am planning a trip out to Knidos which is a couple of hours drive from my apartment in Marmaris (see map). Knidos is the site of some Greek/Roman ruins and hopefully this early in the season the area will have fewer tourists . I am staying for a night or two in Datca, which is the nearest major town.
This weeks picture continues with the Turkey theme & as usual you can download the image from my gallery here
Why not have a little fun and experiment with taking pictures using the zoom effect. The basic idea is to move the zoom whilst taking a picture and this can give some cool motion effects. You need to get a shutter speed long enoug to move the zoom in or out of course and a steady hand so that the only "blur" is as a result of the zoom and not camera movement.
The image below was taken by shooting upwards into a canopy of trees. I then edited the image in Tobaz B&W effects 2 and aplied a couple of different pre-sets to create a more abstract image.
You can get a FREE digital download on these photograhs or a wall print here
This photograph was taken while I was out on an evening walk just as the sun was going down. I balanced the camera on one of the fence posts by the river to prevent any camera shake. The image was converted to black & white using Topaz B&W effects 2.
A collection of photographs from a lovely day out at Chatsworth House. The house and gardens had not long opened and as it was a cold weekday at the start of the season I had less crowds to contend with than you might get further on in to the main visitor season. On the downside I decided to leave my flash at home which in hindsight was a big mistake. I had not appreciated just how dark some of the rooms would be and I had to push the ISO really hight to get some shots.
With a little time to spare this week and an upturn in the weather I took myself and my D7000 out for the first serious photo walk of the year. Birmingham and the midlands have a fantastic network of canals which are easy to walk and provide some great photo opportunities.
I started my walk from Gast Street Basin in the heart of Birmingham and headed south towards Worcester eventually finishing the walk at Kings Norton for a quick drink before heading back on the train. This picture was taken about half way and I converted it to black & white using the Topaz plug-in.
Later this week I'm visiting one of the England’s most well-known historic houses - Chatsworth. I'm hoping the weather holds out so I can get some nice pictures of the grounds but there will be plenty to see i& photograph inside the house. Check back for a update following my visit.
For a FREE digital download of this picture or a wall print click here
In 2007 I picked up a book o photography in Waterstones book store and came acoss some pictures which looked like they were taken of scale models. I actually took this shot with my Canon compact from Waterstones window immediately after looking through that book so I could try creating the effect myself when I got home.
For this image I have used Topaz Lens effects to narow the focus down to a small band across the image which is what fools the eye into thinking your are looking at a minature version of the world. Once you get that hang of this process you start to see opportunities to take pictures & have fun with this effect. There is a video here which shows how to achieve the effect in Photoshop.
Since 2007 I have taken a whole series of pictures using this effect called "Small Town People".
You can get a free digital download of this picture here
Another weekend is upon us and here in the UK the freezing weather continues. Although I have not ventured out to do much photography I have been busy with other photograhy related work.
This week I have added another page to the website(see the top menu on all pages) called "Stuff For You" - took me ages to think of that!. This is where I will put any tutorials or photograhy information that may be useful to visitors. I've started the ball rolling by uploading a PDF on street photograhy called "Candid Street Photography - The Way I see It". The artical provides some information on my style of street photography which is mainly hosted over at my alternitve blog "The Way I See It". Why not go over and take a look.
I hope to be able to update "Stuff For You" with other resources and information in the coming week so please subscribe to te blog using the link at the top of the page & keep checking back.
Todays photograph is on the street photography theme and was taken in Birmingham in 2011. Remember you can get free digital downloads of all my blog images for your personal use as desktop wallpapers etc or indeed to post and link too in your won blog/web site.
For a FREE digital download or wall print click here
Topaz labs have recently realeased the 2nd incarnation of their B&W conversion programme B&W Effects 2. The original version was much to my liking and available at a considerable discount compared to the gold standard in this category Nik Silver Effex. However for most of us the Topaz product is all we are ever going to need and in my own case (on a now ageing pc platform) runs much smoother.
Topaz B&W effects 2 is currently available at a 30% discount uisng the promo code here. Give the trial version a try and come back with your comments. I hope to do a more detailed review in a following post.
For now here is an original alongside the Lightroom & Topaz edits..
This is the original RAW file from Lightroom & I've just run the "auto tone" option
Conversion to B&W using one of the Lightroom presets
The Topaz conversion with some settings tweeked. Took about five minutes
English country gardens are a great place to build up your portfolio of flower images - assuming you live in England of course. This picture was taken in the Italian garden at Trentham where there so many different flowers and plants that I was spoilt for choice.
For a FREE digital download of this image or a wall print please click here
Taken in Turkey a while back now. I can't remember where we were heading but I always love a day out at sea especially when I grab a cold Efes beer and head to the bow to take in the view.
For a FREE digital download or a wall print take a look here
Any kind of bad weather is great for street photography as folks are so busy rushing about that they pay me no attention as they dash about. The wet pavements also catch the reflections of buildings and lights which creates a nice mood. You can see more of my street photography over at "The Way I see It"
For a FREE digital download or wall print of this image please click here
Taken with a the Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens. I have such fun shooting with this lens and rarely move it off the 10mm setting.
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Art galleries and museums are a magnet to me and great places for inspiration. This wood sculpture of a face was taken in on a day out in Bath last year. The weather is picking up here in the Uk so it's time to start planning for some more photography trips.
For a FREE digital download of this image or a wall print click here
I am just in the process of arranging my next trip out to Turkey which will hopefully be at the end of April or early May. The weather in the UK over the last week has been pretty dismal with a week of snow and now nothing but rain. This photo reminds me why I have to look forward to & apart from the sunshine and downtime I have my photography trips to plan.
For a FREE digital download of this image or for a wall print click here