Sunday, 26 February 2017

Magical Day in February

Decided I should do some "ME" photography rather than my usual Ballet & Jazz shoots, which meant a trip to London, with the intention of visiting a couple of Galleries, and a walk around.

So the trip started with a cycle ride to Meldreth Station, and the 10.11 train to Kings Cross, armed with my Kindle Fire , earphones, camera (Olympus M1 with the magic 12-40 f2.8 lens), flask of coffee and a snack. The Olympus M1 has become my favourite camera of all, with the IS, and other features making it a comprehensive "all rounder".

Bus from Kings Cross, I find they are slow but do have time to look around, and are Bus Pass free of course, travelling to City Wharf Basin, where there are some very interesting (to me) new buildings.

The exhibitions were worth visiting, Caruso St John at Bettsproject,  with a sidetrip to Victoria Miro and was delighted to see that the Alex Harvey Folly "A Gentle Collapsing II" was still installed in the Garden, a beautiful reconstruction of a collapsing Modernist Villa. I have tweaked them a tad for my personal take.

The light was great, sun to give everything life...




Thursday, 9 February 2017

Taking A Hard Look

I note with horror that I have not written anything for ages, maybe as I haven't had much to write about but in truth, there has been quite a lot going on, both personally and in photography, so maybe have to do a bit of catching up.

Plenty of my fellow Cambridge Camera Club  members put a lot of effort into their blogs, both visually and with text, so I will have to do better.

At the moment I am ratifying and clearing my back catalogue, which has thousands of never again needed files, duplicates, web size images, copy folders, and in some cases a Raw & Jpeg file, (I know, crazy, NEVER do that again, Mr H.)

A monster of a task, compounded by them being scattered and backed up in different hard drives, my aim is to have a clean catalogue, and copy that to an offline drive or two, and then fresh work will be backed up, after serious culling, to another drive.

Lightroom is amazing, used properly, with keywording, stars, virtual copies, metadata reading to help handling images.

I use Lightroom Duplicate Finder http://www.lightroom-plugins.com/DupesIndex.phpto find the bulk of the duplicates, though it is a bane to have to go through the results as all copies are shown, and  you have to do some work as well. Also the time of shooting is not limited, so a sequence burst will show all those files as duplicates. However for £8.50 it gives a great start.

Another problem is that the Previews on Lightroom, if not 1-1, can take a while to show fully, a problem even my new Dell has not solved, but I am hoping a smaller catalogue will solve that to some extent.

I did consider making a whole fresh catalog , with "Don't Import Duplicates", which may have to be an option later.

I really want to cull the duds, so I have a clear view forward ( a Virgo, so everything really has to be just so, in my limited capabilities, so I have been using Picasa, which is a free and fast viewer, to do quick deletes, both of folders and files.

After scanning all the drives, a Folder Tree is produced, without needing to look drive by drive, so one can see all the folders of a particular name, across several drives, which is so helpful. Numbers of images are shown too (not XMP data) so a direct comparison can be made. Thus a duplicate folder can be deleted or images moved from one folder to another of your choice.

Previously I have used dates as the start of folder naming, so an Event, Festival or Trip would have a group of folders, rather than one, so now I will use one file name for all the days, as metadata will give me particular dates.

Thus 2017-10-03_London and 2017-10-04 will now be 2017-10-03_04_London, with the folder name being designated at import.

Now I can cull using Lightroom, or via Picasa, which is useful in some cases, if I have generated a lot of images (not so likely now, as most Festivals are not likely to be a feature in the future, but one never knows.

In the most correct way, all file movements and deletions should take place in Lightroom, as the Database will not know of those changes, but in Library menu, Synchronise Folder takes care of that, for an individual folder, or an entire drive. Always put the folders in a "My Pictures" folder, as on main drive, as then one can right click " Synchronise Folder" to do the whole drive, which works a treat.

One thing I have learnt from this exercise is what images have a shelf life, whilst most are relevant just after taking, and so I have been savage with events and the like, unless local, and dumped a lot. That is quite painful in a way, but looking at all my work, I realise a lot of time has been wasted on stuff, apart from paid work,  so the new maxim is to "take" fewer shots, but "make" more images. We shall see how that works as time goes on.

After all, cameras only do what you tell them to..







Tuesday, 23 August 2016

World Photography Day with Olympus at Kew Gardens 19th August 2016

Olympus Uk, who seem to be the most pro-active in organising user days, kindly gave 20 of us an opportunity to try lots of gear, with Olympus experts on hand, plus Olympus Ambassador Marcus Clarkson taking us through some of his techniques. A lovely lunch and copious tea and coffee kept us going in the afternoon.

Really enjoyed the day, grey sky gave us even lighting for the specimen flowers, but Architecture out of the question, as blue skies are necessary for external shots. I also realized that like all areas of photography trial and error is needed to get the shots you envisage.

Tried the Olympus Focus Stacking in camera, but without a tripod proved not too succesful, with my sadly shaking hands, but will try again at home..

I used a trial version of Zerene Stacker to put the shots together, and this works quickly, but if the foreground shot is not razor sharp a lot of stack benefit is lost.

A few shots I like are here, and I will definitely go again, with more ideas on what works, flower beds are not too interesting alone, and specimen shots need careful planning as to backgound colour...

The Olympus 12-40, my cracking staple lens, is a good macro choice, if budgets does not permit a 60mm purchase.

I have found the OM1-D is now favourite camera, as people know I have used a whole range of them over the years, but this feels a part of me, and has many advantages over other brands.

















Hope to get more in tune with blogging again, as I have ignored it for so long.


Looking Back For a New Start

One of the things concerning me has been my vast photo library, with duplicates, rubbish and outdated shots strewn across multiple hard drives, so have decided to spend some time deleting, editing some discoveries, and reducing the Lightroom Catalogue to a manageable size.

Prior to Lightroom's introduction it was always do an edit, and then save as something else, so duplicates were made. Culling was always a chore, even with Adobe Bridge, and just didn't happen. My event sets were needed quickly, and then frankly left to their own devices, and the more "Photographic Themes" were scarce. To save Raw Conversion on most of my images I took Jpeg/Raw ( I know, madness now).

Several things have come from the exercise, one being how much rubbish accumulates with duplicates etc, and I can see my main themes have always been with me, Urban, Architecture and Performance. The latter is a time sensitive subject and I probably wasted a lot of time at events, when a different approach would have yielded more, but hey ho, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

So,crunch time in many ways, as my photographic opportunities have become more limited, for various reasons, and I now choose carefully what I like to do. Music is still a major player (sorry about the pun) and I have been lucky enough to be at some fantastic performances, taking and making shots, trying to get beyond a simple record shot.

Locally the Housing Development project is fun, giving some opportunities for a little quirkiness, and involvement with the local community has proved rewarding. Like many places our village is changing a lot and a record of what exists now may be of interest in the future.

Collecting quite a few photo books as I spot bargains, and the latest one Daido Moriyama in Color: Now, and Never Again is huge and a joy to browse, as is Axel Hütte: Fantasmi e Realtà. 

Trading in all my Canon gear now, way too heavy,  and have been trying different setups, ending with Fuji, (low light wide angle) Sony (workhorse A6000 and compact Rx100 II and my main usage, Olympus micro 4/3rd, (Touch Screen, Silent mode for events). Love prime lenses, so have a mixture, the tiny Olympus 45mm is a cracker.   






Saturday, 29 August 2015

Definitely Something Old

As mentioned before, rummaging through my archive, and came up with this set today. Now, not my genre, old cars, but millions are interested in cars, old and new, Jeremy Clarkson has made millions from them, but I wanted to show them, as they illustrate one man's passion, and how our world is very fickle.

In 2005 I visited the Stondon Motor Museum, where literally hundreds of vehicles were displayed, in a very cramped environment, but each one given a secure home.

These are the shots from that visit, taken with a Canon 350D, and I make no apologies for the lack of photographic niceties, just a record of the day, but some beautiful vehicles here.



























































































When I spotted these, I thought, ahhh, a return visit in order, but sadly it closed in April this year