Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Withdrawal Symptoms.

Autumn Glow, originally uploaded by North Light.

Its that time of year where it's difficult to get out and take photographs, I tend to do the "Day Shift", if there are no residents this starts at about 8.00 am, through to circa 5.00 pm, 5 to 6 days a week. If we have residents this starts at 6.00 am and ends between 4 to 6:00 pm, again 5 to 6 days a week. So my photography in the winter is concentrated into one day a week, with the opportunity to get out on other days if Bev, or a member of Staff cover the office for me.
Well, it feels as if for the last month that the only times I have been out with a camera that its been raining, not even interesting rain, just grey rain!
So I have resorted to working through the back catalogue, and I guess that you will see a few more old images on flickr!
Now the forecast says we are going to get sunshine on ******

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass, originally uploaded by North Light.

This was taken a couple of years ago, using a Canon 20D handheld. I have always liked the photograph, but having re-processed it using Photomatrix, followed by Photoshop, I have to say I am now much happier with the end result.
This really illustrates the benefit of using RAW images, I have been able to re-process the image, using an updated version of Camera Raw with the benefits of more control. The resulting photograph has also benefited from new techniques and programmes that were not available to me when I took the original picture.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Harrow Harbour

Harrow Harbour, originally uploaded by North Light.

Well its Monday again, the sun is trying to shine. Yesterday was another Caithness grey day, rained for most of the day and the light was flat and uninteresting.
So working on old raw files, I continue to be impressed with HDR, the ability to open out images, and increase the apparent dynamic range by processing different exposures from a single raw file is stunning.
I can feel the beginning of a project for the winter evenings!
The photograph of Harrow harbour was taken a couple of years ago on an autumn afternoon, the light had a particularly beautiful quality, the extra processing with HDR software has opened out the shadow detail without introducing too much noise and allowed the production of a very satisfying image.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Clearing Sea Fog

Clearing Sea Fog, originally uploaded by North Light.

A quiet day in the North of Scotland, the sun was shining this morning, but had disappeared by lunch time. Feels as though it is also getting colder, so no photography today. Forecast does not look promising for the weekend either, so my thoughts have roamed to how I started my photographic journey.

I didn't seriously start taking photographs until I was in my late twenties, I only remember two earlier forays into the world of photography, my parents gave me a Kodak Brownie 127 when I was about 8, I think the novelty soon wore off, and it was discarded to the bottom of a draw. In the 1970's my brother bought a Olympus OM-1, this sparked off an interest in cameras, with a mixture of envy and a strong desire to own such a beautiful object.
In the 1980's I purchased my first SLR camera, a Minolta X700, this being the beginning of a passion for photography.

My photography has evolved through the use of lots of film, learning to be self critical and the influence of other photographers. Through the 1980's and 1990's I went to as many photographic exhibitions as I could, the highlights of these exhibitions were Ansel Adams at the Barbican and Sebastiano Salgado at the RPS in Bath. Other photographers that made a lasting impression at this time were Don McCullin, Fay Goodwin, Bill Brandt,, Paul Strand and James Ravilious.

Another important influence was the Guardian Newspaper, during the 1990's when Eamonn McCabe was picture editor of The Guardian. During this period the Guardian consistently raised the quality of photography used in quality British newspapers.
During the 1980's Eamonn produced some of the most iconic sports photography, winning Sports Photographer of the Year four times between1978 and 1984.

As my love for landscape photography has developed I have continued to derive inspiration from the work of photographers, those that immediatly spring to mind are Charlie Waite, David Ward, Colin Prior and Joe Cornish.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Dodging the Waves, Oh and now its Started Raining!

Sunday morning, windy, wet, and the sun shining, oh and I nearly forgot the rainbow.

Harbour Steps.

Harbour Steps., originally uploaded by North Light.

One from Sunday.

The Sun is Out!

Why is it that on days off the sun refuses to come out, and when one is at work out it pops!
One would think that now I am in my fifth decade I would have learnt why, and how to circumnavigate the problem.
Yesterday was a mixture of rain, sun, hail, wind, and i think I even saw some sleet. Oh and I forgot there was a rainbow, Caithness weather I guess. Still a few photographs were achieved.
Used my old 17 - 35 lens for the afternoon shots, I had forgotten that it does not seem to work well on a digital camera, always appears soft. Further experimentation needed, if not happy with the results this will have to go on the replacement list next year!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Waiting to be eaten!

Waiting to be eaten!, originally uploaded by North Light.

It's Saturday morning again, in the hotel office and the weather is damp and grey. We have had the first of the winter weather this week, windy for most of the week, particularly strong on Thursday, horizontal rain, this changed on Friday to much heavier rain, but at least it was vertical!
So, a photograph to remind me of the warm, hazy and lazy (I wish) days of summer.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

It's Going to be a Rough Night

Winter is here!, dark mornings and nights, and the first winter gale on Monday night. Took a series of photographs at Sandside Harbour, from which I have produced some HDR images. I am pleased with the results, whcih have caught the light and the mood well.
Each image is produced by taking a RAW file, using Adobe Camera Raw 5 different exposures have been produced, -2 EV to +2 EV, and then a HDR image is produced with Photomatix Pro, tone mapped in Photomatix, and finally adjustments and sharpening in Adobe Photoshop.
A rather long winded production process, but I am pleased with the results.
These images do show that, in relatively low contrast situations modern digital slr's are capable of recording a wide dynamic range.
This of course also highlights the benefits of using the RAW image format.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Old Sea Wall,

Old Sea Wall,, originally uploaded by North Light.

Sunday morning, weather is grey with the odd hint of blue sky, but the The light is very flat this morning. Have been on the beach with the camera, but no images that I am satisfied with.
So, here is a photograph from last night, I managed to get out just for the last few minutes of daylight, no direct sunlight unfortunatly, but a good opportunity to continu the exploration of HDR. This image was taken using 5 exposures, 1 EV steps, -2 EV to + 2 EV. Because the Nikon D80 will ony auto-bracket 3 exposures this has to be done manually, and with the low light levels this means that the 5 exposures are taken over something in the region of 30 seconds to a minute. This inevitably means that there is movement in the water and clouds. But this image has worked well, and I think is one of my most succesful HDR images yet.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Transom, Crane and Rope.

Transom, Crane and Rope., originally uploaded by North Light.

A grey day in Thurso, been like this most of the week, not inspiring!
So, I thought I would put up some old B & W images, all taken with a Canon D60, my first digital SLR.
Black and White is something I have been neglecting, and looking back on these is something I should be exploring, oh for more time in the day, and a little less rain!