Friday, 29 April 2011

For Those In Peril On The C (Kraken Light Painting), Mill End

All in camera, single exposure lighting painting drawn with one bulb torch, one CREE LED and a 77mm red filter. And a decent pair of wellingtons.

Please do check it out in Lightbox - looks more compelling on black.

It's taken in the middle of the River Colne in Mill End. Light painting in the river is actually far more relaxing than you might imagine. The main worry when light painting in desolate locations at night is the fear that some misguided nutter with a hand axe will ambush you, drawn like a moth to your flailing lamps. This spot is a hundred yards along from any accessible bank, so you are screened by vegetation on all sides, out of sight, with a sizeable moat all around. Defensible.

For light painting, or any nocturnal work, I would highly recommend it. When you don't have a river, I'd suggest an invisible dog. Initially I went with "Siegfried", but have renamed him "Totem" which you can shout with a decent military bark. Simply shout for your imaginary dog now and again, perhaps interspersed with allusions to his ferocity. For example;

"Totem - get back here this minute. If you've killed another fox/moose/commando you'll be sleeping in the kennel tonight, you hyper-aggressive, 200 lb mongrel you." You get the idea.

As regards the title, I'm trying to correct an issue identified by Gregory House MD; "Physics joke, don't hear enough of those."

For Those In Peril On The C, Alternative "Calypso" Version

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Extinction (Star Trails Over Jurassic Coast), Dorset

First of a set from Friday night down at Winspit Cove in Dorset. I almost didn't bother due to a heavy mist and sporadic rain, but after the thirty minute walk down to the sea it had cleared somewhat. The retreating cloud picking up light pollution created a nice contrast to the rising stars in the blue twilight.

I'll be uploading another few images from the same set, all with different outcomes as the twilight blue vanished very quickly and this is the only shot to feature it. The scene was very dark, and even this 723 seconds at f/8.0 and ISO400 didn't bring out anymore than the skies colour and the mist of the sea. Usually I end up desaturated images, but this one needed a boost as well as some fill light and brightness to lift it. I also tweaked the WB so the light pollution came out more pink than its starting orange.

There's a little bit of a blur to the ridgeline from wave surging around the tripod. This is another shot that relied upon my new wellington boots, as I spent most of the shot ankle deep in surf. It was quite worrying, in fact, as the roar of the incoming waves is overwhelming and the darkness conceals their size. As you hear the deafening tide thrashing towards you, you have no idea if this is going to splash your ankles or come plunging over your shoulders to drag you back into the deep.

Viewing on black does lift this one another notch. Hope everyone's had a great few days whilst I've been away and look forward to catching up now I'm back.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Lightning Storm With Reflection, Grand Teton

This shot was taken from the eye of a lightning storm on a late August afternoon in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. We had started a walk around Two Ocean lake to the north of the spot, when growing wind and the ill omen of a writhing snake's nest, convinced us to turn around. It proved a wise decision, with wind rising to a gale, rain turning to hail and lightning bursting from the sky.

On the drive back to the National Park HQ, we into what appeared to be an eye. Pulling up at the river bank, lightning was still flashing to the north, west and south-east.

Free from the wind and rain I got as many photos as possible away. Without tripod and with difficult light in a brief pause I didn't acquit myself as well as the opportunity deserved, but do like this dark image with the lightning reflected in the grey river. It's my first lightning capture and hopefully a picture worth sharing.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Madonna Del Carmine Statue, Bologna

Andrea Ferreri's statue of the Madonna Del Carmine which stands atop a pillar in Bologna's Piazza San Martino. This is late afternoon with a cloudless blue sky, shot through a lovely second-hand Hoya circular polarising filter. This was my first trip with a CPL following a couple of years refusing to buy one for this 62mm filter size lens. A great investment which I should have made sooner.

The statue and subject has a pretty interesting background, even for an atheist like me. Regardless of belief, the work, its context and the story behind it is worth a look if you enjoy getting under the surface of such things. More information; and

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Being In The Universe (Witch Light Painting), Dorset

All in camera, single (1208 second) exposure light painting using flashlight/LED torch to draw the lines and create the flare. A little processing on the hem of her skirt to tidy things up, as her legs were slightly too high. The gorse flowers are brought in with three zaps of a Metz AF-48 at (probably slight too) close range. I got a little lucky with the flare, positioning itself just in her gaze.

I've not had as much time recently for light painting, as the plans I have sketched are pretty ambitious and each exposure (a.k.a. roll of the dice) is a twenty minute affair. Since I don't have time/patience for a 365, I thought I'd do a series of light paintings using a witch and AD&D spells as inspiration - drawing a spell name from a hat, then trying to a light painting of the witch casting it.

This was a set of sighting shots to get the witch character sketched, but I really liked the flare and star trails, so I thought I'd post it as a starter to the series.

The witch is wandering on the hill to the west of Corfe Castle. I've got some pictures facing the other way too, for posting at a later date, with the castle. Thanks to everyone who looked at and commented on my last picture - as noted in that one, I've been away, and am catching up with everyone now!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Pumpkin Time (Juvenille Swan At Twilight), Rickmansworth

"Pumpkin Time" is that moment, generally prescribed by your fairy godmother, when your carriage turns into an autumnal squash and your designer frock reverts to rags. Half the swans at the Aquadrome are mottled and brown like this chap at the moment, no doubt having missed the deadline.

I've got heaps of shots like this from twilight wanders around the lakes, so thought I would post one quickly before disappearing for the weekend. There's a touch of (none too subtle) manual HDR to bring out the swan's eye.

I'll be out and about, catching up Sunday. Hope everyone has a wonderful few days in the meantime.


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Sea Dolphin (Long Tail Boats), Thailand [Explored]

Another old shot, which I'd taken for the appealing dolphin carving on the prow of this long tail boat. I'd underexposed it in an attempt to get the sky too, but a "fill light" adjustment in Lightroom 3 has brought the boats back to life.

I must also admit to a half cm of cloning along the left most shoreline to remove an intrusive speedboat that invaded the shot.

The sky is as it was out of the camera; polarising filter and underexposure doing a neat job on this occasion!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Depth Of Fall, Rickmansworth

Quick shot from this evening's walk and having seen everyone's seasonal shots I thought I'd take a couple too. The leaves on the trees are still all green I think, but the early evening sun and shallow DOF field have created some yellow, orange and reds ahead of their time.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Swifts & Tower, Dubrovnik

Swifts & Tower, Dubrovnik, originally uploaded by flatworldsedge.

Taken whilst walking around the town walls in the early evening. Wild packs of swifts hurtle through the sky, cleaning it of insects, burbling with loud delight as they feast. So numerous and enthusiastic, the swifts will certainly be one of my favourite memories from our first visit to Dubrovnik. There are two swifts in this picture; one easier to spot than the other.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Suit & Reflected Arch, Milan

So apparently it's illegal not to return from Milan without a photograph of some high-end couture. Quick shot of a man's bespoke suit in a high end fashion store.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Old Harry & Ribbon Seaweed, Studland Dorset

This taken on the Isle of Purbeck's National Trust shoreline at Studland's Middle Beach. The cliffs in the background, rendered too blurred by focus to appreciate fully in this shot are Old Harry and his wife; well worth appreciating in themselves elsewhere on Flickr.

I took a few shots in the late afternoon sunshine, focusing on the seaweed, the waves and Old Harry in the background. This is my favourite, with the cresting waves blurring into mimics of the distant cliffs. This is another with the Canon 50mm f1.8, with which my love affair continues.

Update: For a view around the further off cliffs of Old Harry Rocks, see

10,000 Mistakes (Cherry Blossom & Streetlamp), Rickmansworth

In comments a couple of days back Wesbs was kind enough to suggest that I had a knack for "mucking about". Which is what I was doing this evening, leading to this shot, which I'm quite happy with and is somewhat in the style of the great man himself. There are a lot of people on Flickr who have inspired new ideas and approaches, and I thought I'd mention them more in future postings, so this seemed a good place to start. Wesbs already has an outrageous following, deservedly so, and you're far more likely to know him than me! Yet if you don't know his work already, I would hugely recommend it. He's also a thoughtful chap always ready with insight and generous commentary.

As for the mucking about in this shot, the comments show shots along the way to this one. I've been trying to challenge myself a little more in terms of lighting. I found an interesting result spraying water between a streetlight and cherry blossom, noted below. This one was backlit with the streetlamp, with a LED torch through white cloth onto the blossom from below.

In this case I sprayed mist behind the blossom for half of the ten second exposure, giving a neat middle ground. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

SOOC Mister vs. No Mister Test Shots for 10,000 Mistakes

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Moisturise Daily (Statue Outside Palladio's Teatro Olimpico), Vicenza

This is what happens if you don't cow before the cult of pseudo-science and marketing excess that is the cosmetics industry. That said, assuming she's been at the Teatro Olimpico since it was finished in 1585, she's probably weathered better than many of us would.

On an only tenuously related note, I once did some work with a cosmetics company buying in generic moisturiser from China and adding their own labels. All material and transport costs included it ended up on the shelf at a cost just over 56p, sold at £62.50 - 125 times cost. Ever since I have viewed all such potions with great suspicion.

Hope everyone's having a fantastic start to the weekend!

From Wikipedia: The Teatro Olimpico ("Olympic Theatre") is a theatre in Vicenza, northern Italy: constructed in 1580-1585, it is the oldest surviving enclosed theatre in the world. The theatre was the final design by the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, Renaissance, and was not completed until after his death. The trompe-l'œil onstage scenery, designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi, to give the appearance of long streets receding to a distant horizon, was installed in 1585 for the very first performance held in the theatre, and is the oldest surviving stage set still in existence.

The Teatro Olimpico is, along with the Teatro all'antica in Sabbioneta and the Teatro Farnese in Parma, one of only three Renaissance theatres remaining in existence. Both these theatres were based, in large measure, on the Teatro Olimpico.

Since 1994, the Teatro Olimpico, together with other Palladian buildings in and around Vicenza, has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto".

Also hosted on my black and white photography blog.

Colour Version of Moisturise Daily, Vicenza

Friday, 15 April 2011

Painting By Numbers (Vintage Car Reflections), Rome

Neat reflection in a vintage Fiat's trunk/boot spotted on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Rome. I took about fifteen shots of this scene as people wandered by, winning myself some queer looks in the process. Reviewing them with a critical eye, it's amazing how much goes wrong in terms of composition when you're just shooting at wandering strangers. Lesson - next time take thirty!

The harsh sunlight stopped down by the black gloss paint created some cool colours and an almost watercolour like effect which I really like. Well worth suffering the patina of age (visible in this shot all across the sky) for the colour. I was probably a little wide on the aperture with hindsight; the Fiat 1100 might have been nicer if it were as sharp as the number/license plate. Oh well! Live/learn.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Japanese Tourist (Suzuki & Arcades Panning Blur), Bologna

Quick upload before the working day begins. One from back in the autumn, hiding paparazzi style between parked cars and dumpsters, shooting panning blur shooters. Amidst the Vespas and the Lambrettas a brash Suzuki came gunning through the arcaded streets scattering pigeons and pedestrians alike.

Hope everyone's having a great week!

Black & White Version of Japanese Tourist (Suzuki & Arcades Panning Blur), Bologna

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Grazing Horse & Ruins, Capadocia Turkey [Lightroom 3 - Redux]

This is a re-working of a previously posted cellphone image;

As noted in that posting, I am somewhat reticent in posting cellphone pictures. The only thing which makes me queasier is the posting of heavily processed images, like this one! However, as noted elsewhere, I'm really enjoying experiments with Lightroom 3 and I thought I'd share this one with a link to the original for people who were interested in what the software can do "out of the box" and without any real experience in control of it.

Post-edit the nasty cellphone artifacts are still very much in evidence across the border with the sky, but the noise reduction has, I think, done a decent job on the rock and grass. Adding a filter and juicing up the sky has, however, created a fair amount of its own noise. A subtler tweak in that regard wasn't so grainy, but this one was more fun.

Still I hope it's of interest to people considering LR3. This edit took perhaps just five minutes and was done within an hour of installing the software.

See Grazing Horse & Ruins, Capadocia Turkey on Flickr for additional notes and comments.

Monday, 11 April 2011

View Of Rum From Beinn Na Cille, Kingairloch

Thanks to Photopoly for using View of Rum in their article on how to shoot from mobile/cell phones. Check it out here.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Under My Umbrella, Broadgate Circus

Thanks to Jack Booth for featuring Under My Umbrella and the notes about Broadgate Circus' security guards on his blog.

Great blog with some superb work pulled in from a wide network. I'm really flattered to be featured, and would recommend a visit to see the other contributions. Check it out here.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Near Mist (Southbank Bike Riders), London

There are four riders in this shot - two easy to spot, two less easily identifiable. You don't realise just how quick anything goes until you try to shoot it with shutter delay. These images were taken at 1/20s, anything slower and the trails quickly disappeared.

I'm a little disappointed I didn't try to do anything with the DOF, as the pillars and wall do merge somewhat, but with all the colour and the glorious reflective puddle, I thought it was worth posting regardless.

See Near Mist (Southbank Bike Riders), London on Flickr for additional notes and comments.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Sagebrush, Grand Teton

Sagebrush, Grand Teton, originally uploaded by flatworldsedge.

Cellphone shot from last year's honeymoon road trip. The quality suffers slightly in the sagebrush, but the sky and mountain light came out so well I thought I would post it regardless. Quite a bit of PP work - mostly rinse/repeat sharpening and noise reduction.

Great part of the world I would recommend to all and anyone. Hope everyone is having a great week!

See Sagebrush, Grand Teton on Flickr for additional comments and notes.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Secret Garden, Kent

Secret Garden, Kent, originally uploaded by flatworldsedge.

Last month I was lucky to find a second hand 70-200mm lens at an affordable price. Moving to full frame I was really missing the 1.6x at the long end - my main lens (24-105mm) was quite credible at 1.6x, but kind of shot range at 1x. Now, as the season is changing and the flowers are coming out, I spend my weekends lying on my front like a seal, manual focusing, f/4.0, 200mm, etc.

When I changed camera I swore I'd never use live view, but it is so useful in situations like this when micro focusing through a narrow DOF. The 10x live view zoom is amazing for micro-focusing, though it has left me deeply insecure about the accuracy of focusing without using it.

It's strange how the grass screening the front of the lens dissolves into green smoke at the long end. In this case the lens was almost completely concealed by greenery, but it still somehow sees through it all, leaving just a tiny haze.

Not that I'll look a gift donkey in the mouth, but Self Reflection made Explore - despite getting a fraction of the views/favs/comments of other recent post. Everything was worse - ratios, totals, etc. Who knows how the donkey works his magic - but thanks to everyone who's attention helped him make up his mind.

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

See Secret Garden, Kent on Flickr for additional notes and comments.

Self Reflection (Swan On Golden Canal), Harefield

Quick shot from early evening back in the autumn, over in Harefield at the foot of the hill on the Grand Union Canal. Busy times at the moment, so apologies for the slightly sporadic appearances. Thanks to Getty Images who, over the last week, have requested a few of my images - really proud to be part of the collection. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

See Self Reflection (Swan On Golden Canal), Harefield on Flickr for additional notes and comments.