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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

No More War


Nikon D70 @ 10mm, 1/100 sec, f/4, ISO 200


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If only...


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Monday, February 27, 2006

Buachaille Etive Mor


Nikon D70 @ 10mm, 1/6 sec, f/22, ISO 200


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I see that yesterday's post didn't go down so well, so I offer you a landscape from Glencoe.

The lighting was quite tricky on this one, but a 3 stop grad ND seemed to do the trick. This was actually one of the first scenes that came to mind when I bought by sigma 10-20 and again, I'm very pleased with its performance.

Haven't managed to shoot in a few days and am certainly feeling the itch. Must... get... out...!


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Saturday, February 25, 2006

[Extra]ordinary


Nikon D70 @ 14mm, 1/10 sec, f/4, ISO 200


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"It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary." (David Bailey)

But then again, what is extraordinary is surely subjective: who decides when you've learned to 'see'?

I came across this quote the other day and thought it was interesting enough to share. I've always said that one of the main reasons I enjoy photography so much is the challenge of finding the extra in the ordinary. Whether or not I succeed... well, that's up to you to decide!

Andybro: I'm sure you'll have something to contribute to this matter? ;)


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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Loch na h-Achlaise


Nikon D70 @ 20mm, 1/20 sec, f/16, ISO 200


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If yesterday's post was of the 'experimental' shot, then this is the plain old 'normal' one. I have to admit that this scene looked absolutely stunning through the view finder, but I couldn't seem to capture it exactly how it appeared. But it is my humble attempt nonetheless...

Will catch up with my comments soon... promise!


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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Loch


Nikon D70 @ 38mm, 2 secs, f/14, ISO 200


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Loch na h-Achlaise has just about been photographed to death, but you just can't help yourself going back for more. I tried a different approach with this one and so, if anything, at least it's a bit different.

Was hoping for a quiet day at work to break me in, but unfortunately it wasn't to be! Hence the short and quick update.

Shot in IR and darkened in PS.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Black Rock


Nikon D70 @ 12mm, 1/15 sec, f/16, ISO 200


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Well that's me back from my little weekend away, and I'll be back to work tomorrow. Ah well, it was good while it lasted!

I know I said I was going to Fort William but after a few problems with the accomodation we ended up in Inverness. To cut a long story short - we turned up at the first hotel only to find that it was an absolute shite heap. We tried to cancel our booking but were told that we had to do it through expedia since we had booked through them. They were going to charge us about £100 to cancel and after some arguing we managed to get them to transfer us to a slightly more expensive hotel. The only place they could offer was one in Inverness - about 90 minutes away. We weren't that bothered about the location - we just wanted a nice break somewhere - so off we went. On arrival we were told that expedia hadn't checked availability with the hotel (which seemingly isn't uncommon) and so we could only spend one night there. They then transferred us to a different hotel on the second night where we also stayed for the last night, but in a different room. So 3 nights and 3 different rooms!

It wasn't a disaster by any means though as we quickly discovered that there's not much at all to do in Fort William. Plus, the two hotels we did stay in were very nice, and we ended up in a better room each night.

So, hotel fiasco over, we had a very nice break. The scenery between Fort William and Inverness, as you drive along Loch Ness, is really stunning. That said, I found it incredibly difficult to photograph as the sun was not co-operating with me at all. It was incredibly frustrating being surrounded by spectacular scenery and not being able to capture it. I suppose it was nice just to see it.

The only time I did manage to get a few half decent shots was on the way up, when we passed through Glencoe. I stopped off at a few of my (and everyone elses'!) favourite spots, trying out my new Sigma on the scapes.

This one is the oft photographed Black Rock cottage and I know that it's appeared at least twice on this site already. I tried a different angle for this one and am quite pleased with the results.


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Friday, February 17, 2006

Going away


Nikon D70 @ 20mm, 10 secs, f/8, ISO 200


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Just a super quick update as I'm just about to go away for a long weekend up to Fort William. Hopefully I'll come back with a few nice shots to share.

Next update should be Monday night...


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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

St. Mary's


Nikon D70 @ 10mm, 15 secs, f/4, ISO 200


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I haven't managed to get to a computer for the last couple of days so apologies for the slow update. It would be nice if blogger had some of that software that lets you set up a post and have it automatically published for you at a certain date/time. Anyone out there care to come up with something? :)

Onto the shot... this is the 'obvious' shot of St. Mary's cathedral, with the last post being the 'expermintal' one. Again, taken in the early hours of the morning, with the cathedral being illuminated by the nearby street lights. The full moon was concealed behind the spire to give it a halo effect and you can just see the stars in this smaller version. I was amazed at how bright the moon was actually - just look at its reflection on the slated roof to the left of the spire.

I say that this is the obvious shot with no meaning of contempt - I actually quite like it. The 10mm was essential in this shot to avoid having to include street lights and cars. I usually try to keep my verticals vertical, but in this case I think the convergence of them adds to the imposing and dominating presence of the building. A simple shot, but is it effective?


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Monday, February 13, 2006

Obsessed


Nikon D70 @ 10mm, 341 secs, f/16, ISO 200


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For the last 18 months or so, it's been been abundantly clear that I am 100% completely and utterly obsessed with photography. I'm not sure if I can even explain why. It's like an addiction, with each click of the shutter being a hit. And it doesn't matter how big or how good your last hit was, you're left wanting and needing more. I think I should stop and smell the roses every now and again - take a moment to ackowledge the pictures I've already taken instead of searching for the next one.

But then where's the fun in that?

So, I was driving home in my car and decided to try out a slightly different route to see if it was quicker. After a couple of wrong turns I ended up at St. Mary's cathedral. I remembered my dad mentioning that this was a fairly spectacular place so I thought I'd get out and have a look. It looked promising, so out came the camera and the tripod.

It was a good job that I had my 10-20mm with me as there wasn't much room to get the tall building in. In fact, most of my shots were taken from the road where I combined my photography with taxi dodging. An interesting experience to say the least, and no doubt I gave a few of the drivers a laugh. I had my shots - nothing too spectacular, but worthy of some time spent in PP - and started to head back to the car.

I turned round to look at the cathedral again and thought that I had to get a shot of it from a distance. But, as is often the case in the city, there were just too many distractions in the way, mainly streetlights. I wondered if I'd be able to get the railings in the foreground and that started off my yoga session. It was just as well that I had my uni-loc tripod with me as I had to somehow squeeze my camera in between two of these green electricity boxes you see dotted about the streets. In fact I'm still not sure how I managed to keep them out of the frame.

After about 10 attemps of getting the composition right, I finally settled on this one. It was a challenge as there were so many elements I was trying to fit in and balance - the cathedral, the trees, the railings and the full moon. Trying to get all of these in a composition that worked was incredibly difficult (for me). I'm not sure if the composition will be to everyones' taste, but overall I'm definitely happy with it.

I usually shoot my night shots wide open, but wanted to make sure that I got maximum depth of field. I stopped down to f/16 and worked out that the exposure would need to be 6 minutes. I got out my phone to start timing it and suddenly realised that it was 1.30am. How the hell did that happen?!? And what on earth was I doing out here at this time in the morning, taking a picture of something that was totally inconsequential and meaningless to me?

I needed my hit.

And I got it. When I saw this little guy on the screen I didn't mind that I had lost the last hour. In fact, I rushed home to put it up on my blog.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this one...

(I didn't like the amount of detail that was being lost when resizing this one for my blog, so click here to see a larger version)


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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Welcome


Nikon D70 @ 31mm, 1.6 sec, f/4, ISO 200


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I think the reason I wasn't so keen on my last post was that it was too light and didn't convey that dark and eerie atmosphere that it perhaps could have. So another attempt at that effect, and hopefully a little more successful. Same place, same night.

I've got a nice stretch off work for the next week, so I'm sure I'll be snap happy. Fingers crossed that the weather will be good!


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Friday, February 10, 2006

Grave


Nikon D70 @ 18mm, 4 secs, f/3.5, ISO 200


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Another shot taken from last week's late night session in the fog. This is the same building as this one, but taken from a little further back. I think I'll need to go back with my new sigma lens and see if that opens up some more opportunities.

I think I'll have to come back to this one and decide what I really think of it. It's like when you repeat a word so many times that you forget its meaning. Well, that's happened to me on this shot. Maybe I should just get to my bed...


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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Night and Day


Nikon D70 @ 10mm, 1/800 sec, f/10, ISO 200


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Busy at work again means struggling to keep the blog updated. Having said that, I did manage to have a wander at lunch time and grab this shot! Taken at the Dean Village on the first day in weeks when we've had blue sky (not that you could tell with this shot!).


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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I see you


Nikon D70 @ 10mm, 1/60 sec, f/4, ISO 200


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Do you think he knows I'm taking his photograph?


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Monday, February 06, 2006

W I D E


Nikon D70 @ 10mm, 1/4 sec, f/4, ISO 200


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The more observant members of the audience out there may have noticed something new about the site. Yes, that little number 10 representing the focal length in the exif data! I got myself a new Sigma 10-20mm F4.0-5.6 EX DC HSM lens on Saturday. I've been meaning to treat myself for a while, and thought that this lens was too much of a bargain to miss.

My first reaction was probably the most obvious - it is W I D E!

At 10mm it's ridiculously wide. I really got this lens for my landscape shots when 18mm on my kit lens isn't quite wide enough. When used as wide as it can go for shots like this one, it almost becomes a novely lens (I think), but I don't mean that in a bad way. I've hardly had a chance to use it, but I'm already thinking of a lot of new shots that simply wouldn't have been available to me beforehand.

This shot was taken before we went to the Scotland rugby match today. I have to confess that I'm not a huge rugby fan, but what a match to go to for my first time at Murrayfield. The atmosphere was superb and I still can't quite believe that we managed to beat the French. We had seats right next to where the majority of the action was, so we couldn't have asked for anything more.

As for the shots itself... shot as wide as possible, and wide open. I'm amazed at how close the lens can focus, as the pint was no more than a foot away. Managed to get good DOF at this distance, but added a touch of radial blur around the edges.

Hopefully this is the first of many shots taken with this lens that I'll be posting here.


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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Bored


Nikon D70 @ 50mm, 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400


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After an early start on Thursday and not getting home from work til the next day, this is exactly how I felt - bored! So apologies for not updating the site sooner, but it's been a busy few days here.

In other news, the daily exposure came 3rd in the best photo/art/poetry category of the best of blogs awards. Slightly disappointing that the judges punted it down from 2nd place after the popular vote (I'm not bitter, honestly!), but still, the recognition is very nice. The guys over there have put in a tremendous effort to put the awards together and, while it does appear to have been riddled with errors and faults, it has been a great success in showcasing some great blogs. That's what it's really all about anyway, and I certainly appreciate the extra visitors it's thrown my way.

Onto the shot... I've not posted this one here before, but I'm sure some of you will have already seen it. I took it at the same time as this one near the start of last year while I was studying for my exams. This series of shots of my gran is possibly my favourite taken to date!


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Thursday, February 02, 2006

A day in the life of a window latch


Nikon @ 50mm, f/1.8, ISO 200, various shutter speeds


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I almost felt as if I was going back to my roots when taking these shots. It reminded me of the days when I'd be stuck in my old house (being a student, I didn't have anything else to do) and would hunt for something to shoot. I've said this a couple of times before, but I like the challenge of finding the extra in the ordinary... trying to make everyday and otherwise boring subjects appear interesting.

So I took these shots a couple of days ago at lunch time. I hadn't put the 50mm f/1.8 on my camera for a while, and thought it deserved some action. Some subtle light managed to find its way through the clouds outside and past the tenement buildings surrounding my flat. I didn't want to subject you all to 9 consecutive shots of a window latch and frame, so decided to display it as a montage. You can see a slightly larger version here if you're interested.

Extra points for those of you who can guess my favourite shot ;)


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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

St Cuthbert's


Nikon D70 @ 18mm, 5 secs, f/3.5, ISO 200


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The invincibility afforded by having a camera hanging round your neck can lead you to some dodgy places!

This is another shot I took a couple of nights ago when the fog was pretty heavy. I passed by St Cuthbert's church and thought there might be some interesting scenes inside the grounds. It was late at night, dimly lit with poor visibility and I was all on my lonesome. Certainly not the kind of place you want to go to unnecessarily. But I had a camera in my hand so it seemed like a great idea!

I spent about half an hour there. At first I was going at quite a leisurely pace, making sure my exposures and compositions were spot on. But as it started to dawn on me that it probably wasn't the best place for someone with a lot of expensive equipment to be, I started to take my shots a lot faster, almost running between locations! At the point of taking this shot I notice a group of guys that were walking past stop to see what I was doing. Hmm…

TAXI!!!

Of course I took my shot first, but that was the end of my late night graveyard shoot! Best not to hang about to see what the guys were up to, I thought.

When I came to look at this shot on my computer I wondered if blending two exposures would have helped bring out more detail in the foreground. But then I realised that it was the dark and foreboding foreground, contrasted with the unusual ominous glow from the sky and building, that made me like the image in the first place.

So what do you think? Too dark and not enough detail, or just right to convey the eerie atmosphere?