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Everything posted by George

  1. Share thingie

    I've found how you share posts. The share buttons for topics are at the bottom of the page. To share individual posts, you click a little thingie top right. Not sure if this displays a photo in Facebook though. Best I can do.
  2. Luminar 2018

    I preordered Luminar 2018 a couple of weeks back, and since then I've been accepted as an affiliate, which, somewhat surprisingly, entitled me to a complementary copy of Luminar 2018. So, I have a free bona fide activation key for one copy of Luminar 2018 to give away. Anyone want it?
  3. Luminar 2018

    Found a good home for the software
  4. Hi Liz

    Glad you could make it. I think the share links all work, so all you should need to do is click the facebook share button under a photo if you want to share it. This is another new board, so no doubt it will need tweaking and fixing up in places.
  5. Hi Liz

  6. Hi Liz

    I've added a few more for you.
  7. Hi Liz

    Much better!
  8. Hi Liz

  9. Hi Liz

    Where are you getting those awful smilies from??? What's wrong with the board smilies???
  10. This winter I'll be on the prowl for the perfect Brora sunrise landscape shot. I'll be showing you what's basically required for landscape photography and setting up a shot. Good landscapes don't happen by accident. Well, they can, but you can't rely on accidents for good photos. I'll be posting all my efforts for you to enjoy, and giving you a few pointers along the way. Keep an eye on the dates of each post. Good landscapes can take months of preparation. This was Brora an hour ago.
  11. 14 - Anatomy of a Landscape

    It happened. This morning it happened. The tide was perfect, the curve of water, the sun rising in exactly the right place, the light, the colours, everything came together. All this work to get this one photo, but it was worth it.
  12. Brora sunrise

    For more info on this, see the Anatomy of a Landscape tutorial in the photography workshop.
  13. Hi Liz

  14. Hi Liz

    Click any image in SmugMug and it opens in it's own little box by itself, then copy and paste the url. That will work for now.
  15. Hi Liz

    Hi Liz, being able to share photos from individual posts seems to be a bit of a problem right now. Not even sure it's possible on this new board. Leave it with me, I'm still looking into it. Smugmug works!
  16. Hi Liz

    No, that's me with the pom poms welcoming you.
  17. Hi Liz

  18. Black and White Aurora

    Black and white photo of Loch Brora, Carroll Rock and the northern lights.
  19. Winter Tree

    Here's the latest addition to the stock library. By the way, you can now order prints and wall displays from the website.
  20. Street photography is enjoyable, so much so that many professionals shoot street as a hobby. It is also a genre with an endless learning curve. Even if you’re a master with a camera, there is so much to experience in real life that mastering street photography is probably beyond any one person’s capabilities within a single lifetime. Street is all about people and their stories. This is probably why those who venture into street usually find themselves pursuing a lifetime passion that never loses its fire. One problem with street is being overwhelmed by what to shoot. If you wander into a market for example, there is so much life happening that capturing it all is impossible. If you try to capture everything, more than likely you will wander aimlessly through the day and head home with less than pleasing results. You need focus. One way to achieve focus is to pick a specific subject or theme. One day in Paris on a photowalk I chose hands and had an inspiring day. Did I capture the entire market and photograph everything? Nope. Did I enjoy the day and go home well pleased with myself? Oh yes. You may have heard that street is only genuine if you use prime lenses, like a 50mm or a 35mm, and that it’s all about getting close. No it isn’t. Getting close can be a thrill, but it can also get you into trouble. Street is about candid photos, so zooms can be just as perfectly suited to street as any fixed prime. You won’t get pictures like these using a wide angle prime. You may also hear that limiting yourself to a 50mm will improve your photography as it means you have to use your feet to zoom. That may be true with food and interior shoots, but street is more like wildlife and it is all about capturing the moment. If you have a zoom, use it. Try getting a shot like this with a short prime! If you feel you need to employ a 50mm exercise to improve your street photography, stick your zoom on 50mm and try it. If you want to catch more candid moments, use a long zoom if you have one. You don’t see wildlife photographers creeping around with 50mm or 35mm lenses trying to improve their skills. The more distance you have between you and your subject the more naturally they will behave, and this is true in street photography as well. Now, I’m not advocating a change from small compacts and wide angle lenses to telephoto zooms for street, I’m saying there’s a place for both. This was shot at 50mm. Black and white makes for excellent street photos. For some reason, stripping the colour really brings out the life in an image. I now shoot street exclusively in black and white.
  21. There is a bit more to photographing wildlife than simply winding down a car window and poking a camera at something. Yes, this does happen and opportunities do present themselves, but to be truly successful with wildlife there is a bit more to learn. I love photographing wildlife. Each species has its own character, its own unique idiosyncrasies and behaviours. When you spend time with a particular species you gradually get to know them. The more you learn about their behaviour and how they live life, the more you learn to enjoy who they are. Spending time with them and developing a love for them is the key to good wildlife photography. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, let's look at the lives of Mr and Mrs Guts, a pair of herring gulls who visit us every spring to build a nest. A few years back, I forget how many, Mr Guts built a nest on our roof with his missus, behind the chimney. Actually, it’s next doors chimney, but he seemed to spend most of his time on our roof and mooching around in our garden. At first, he was a pain in the butt, and attempts were made to block off the space behind the chimney with wire to deter him. All to no avail – he simply filled up the wire with twigs and grass and then built a cosy little nest on top of it. One neighbour even tried a hose to get rid of him. The years passed, and every spring he would show up with his Mrs, build a nest, and rear 2 or 3 chicks. A few years back, they had a tough time of it. A storm blew their nest apart, and in the morning the chicks were found dead in the front garden. Pretty traumatic stuff for any family. And this is really where the story begins. You see, they didn’t give up. After a couple of days, they set about rebuilding their nest, laid another two eggs, and raised another two chicks. That affected me deeply, and I gave them a hand with food to feed the new family. From that time on we’ve become friends, and I gave him a name – Mr Guts. It wasn’t long until his wife became known as Mrs Guts. Was chatting to the neighbour with the hose about Guts a while back, and turns out he calls him Barney. Barney Guts it is then! He lives here now, just as we do. The other neighbour cleared the wire off the roof so they could have a cosy little nest tucked in behind the chimney. The chicks are noisy little brutes, but they’re welcome here. I really don’t understand folks who buy houses in the Highlands beside the sea in villages with a harbour and complain about seagulls. They move in and just expect all the seagulls to go away? Have you ever seen herring gull photos like these before? Perhaps a seagull in the back garden doesn’t excite you as a photographic opportunity, but it excites me. It took me years to make friends with Mr Guts, and it has paid off with some amazing photos. He's earned his keep. He’s quite a character and I enjoy his company. Perhaps photographing herring gulls isn't what you had in mind. Perhaps you'd rather be photographing real wildlife. Don't take this the wrong way, but if you can't get it together with the birds in your back garden, you're never going to make a wildlife photographer. The back garden is an excellent training ground. You have to spend time with wildlife so they become relaxed around you and your gear, and the back garden is a good place to practice. It's also a good place to practice your technical skills. Once you're comfortable with birds and they are comfortable with you, and you know how to handle your gear, it's time to become a little more adventurous. The same principles apply with wildlife such as seals. I know there are conflicts of interest between fishermen, boats, nets and seals, but hey, I love the little brutes. Perhaps if men only took home enough to feed themselves and keep food on the table and weren’t constantly trying to drain the oceans to get rich so they can have tons of stuff they don’t need, there would be enough for everyone. Here’s a grey seal pup I befriended a few years back. She would come right up to my hand, and then play hide and seek under the rocks. You need to be alert around seals. Some of them can be aggressive and will attack you. This mother let me know that another step closer would not have been wise. I must have been 30ft from her, but they can cover ground quickly when they want so I backed off very gently with a smile. Good mother! Learning to shoot animals takes years. You have to know your gear and you have to understand wildlife, you need to be on their level. There aren’t many who can do it. For example, in this next image the camera is behind my head, not pointing at the seal. Point something at any wild animals and they’re gone. You have to take your time, and earn their trust. You have to know when it's safe and you have to know when to back off. We need a cautionary note to close here. Unfortunately many folks don't understand wildlife or the countryside, and in some cases there are protection laws in force, especially with nesting birds. To be safe, avoid disturbing nesting birds at all costs until you know more about them and understand the laws in place to protect them.
  22. 14 - Anatomy of a Landscape

    It was a gorgeous frosty autumn sunrise in Brora this morning, but there were no good sunrise photos at either of my two scouted locations. Then this happened. This is about as perfect a Brora sunrise as I've ever seen, and it happened by accident on the way home.
  23. 14 - Anatomy of a Landscape

    As suspected, assuming landscape was the only orientation for this shot wasn't correct. Here's a portrait oriented shot of Brora harbour taken yesterday morning. Looks like I'm now going for two perfect sunrise images, one portrait and one landscape.
  24. You often hear folks talking about having the eye in photography, and being able to 'see'. Thing is, there are different eyes for different things. Each lens requires an eye and being able to see with it. Landscape photographers have to develop their wide angled eye and be able to see wide. Portrait lenses require being able to see in a different way. Some photographers develop many eyes and can see through many lenses. When you realise that looking through a camera lens changes how you view the world, this makes sense. A 50mm lens, or a zoom lens at 50mm, most closely resembles how your eye sees the world, so this tends to be a favourite focal length for many as the images are close to how we all view life naturally. When you look through a wide angle lens at 10mm, how you see the world changes dramatically. Learning to see wide takes time. The more you use your lenses, the more comfortable you become at seeing the world with a different eye. I guess most think that telephoto lenses are for zooming in close to wildlife and sports action. This is probably the most useful way to use a telephoto, but it isn’t the only way. A telephoto can completely change the way you see life. My favourite lens is my telephoto zoom. When I’m out for fun, it’s always my long telephoto I take with me. Sure, I shoot a lot of wildlife while out and about with it, but for me the real joy in using a long lens is being able to see into a completely new world. The telephoto world for me isn’t a world of close ups of wildlife, it’s all about gorgeous creamy bokeh. I love the wildlife as well, but that’s simply using your gear to get close. The telephoto eye is so much deeper than just zooming. Backgrounds are crucial to the telephoto eye. Get all the clutter out and compose shots that will produce gorgeous bokeh. When you can see bokeh, that’s when the fun begins. This fern leaf was dangling above a small stream. The sun was shining into the water producing gorgeous colours, but there were also sparkles on the surface which I knew would produce a beautifully creamy bokeh. See, this isn’t a photo of a fern leaf, it’s a photo of light and bokeh. The bokeh doesn’t make the fern leaf, the fern leaf makes the bokeh. You need to be able to see light as well. This leaf was only one of thousands in the sunlit wood, and it took me a few minutes to find it and position myself to catch the light and ensure the bokeh would be pleasing. To develop a telephoto eye, don’t look at what’s in focus, look at what’s out of focus in the background. This image of new life sprouting from a dead tree stump works only because of the light and the bokeh. Sure, the sprout is clearly the subject and it tells the story, but the bokeh and the light is the engine that powers the image. Would this photo bee so pleasing if the background was a mess? I didn’t spend all my time trying to get the bee, I spent all my time looking for the bokeh and then waiting for the bee. Let’s not forget foreground bokeh either. These white flowers would have been easy to frame without any of the ferns, but shooting through the ferns to produce foreground bokeh makes the image for me. I also made sure there was enough background bokeh to keep the image interesting and pleasing. To me the real joy of being able to see with a telephoto eye isn’t simply being able to zoom in close to things, but learning to use the exceptional depth of field that telephotos produce to create gorgeous bokeh.
  25. We've covered enough of the basics for anyone to start taking decent photos. However, this isn't the end of the adventure, but just the start. Once you grasp these basics and master them, there is so much more to explore, such as long exposures and tripod work, night photography, capturing motion blur, capturing fast action and sports, and, of course, post processing. There is a lot of misinformation regarding post processing. Most of it began when film cameras began to be replaced with digital cameras. Film photographers frowned at the new digital stuff, and said it wasn't proper photography. Back in those days there was no such thing as computers and photoshop, so photographers had to get their shots right at the moment of capture or they would waste a lot of time and money developing rubbish photos. Capturing the perfect photo using a film camera was essential. Although film cameras are now all but gone, unfortunately the insinuations levelled at digital camera users about not being proper photographers still linger. Back in the film days, capturing the perfect shot in camera was what photography was all about, but that just simply is no longer the case. Another thing to consider is that digital cameras are computers, and they process RAW images using software inside the camera to turn them into usable images such as jpegs. To claim a digital photograph is 'pure' and straight out of the camera is nonsense, because the camera itself is a computer and that image was processed by software inside the camera. Every single jpg photograph taken by a digital camera has been photoshopped inside the camera, it has been post processed from a RAW image file. Yes, things like composition and exposure still require skill, and they are still an art form, but post processing is most definitely a computerised process, whether done in camera or on a computer using software programmes. Some digital cameras produce outstanding jpgs with gorgeous colours and contrasts, but those images are still produced by software inside the camera. Just about all professional photographers shoot RAW and process their images on their computers using sophisticated and expensive photography software programmes. Some journalists perhaps shoot jpg and send their images by satellite back to their editors, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Which route are you going to take? Which route should you take? Shoot jpgs and let your camera do the post processing? Or shoot RAW and learn to do your own post processing. There is no right or wrong answer to that. If your camera produces gorgeous jpgs, and you have no desire to work on photos on a computer, sure, shoot away and have fun, nothing wrong with that. If you think you might want to wrest control of your post processing away from your camera and do it yourself, then take a deep breath and dive into perhaps the most exhilarating and breathtaking photographic experience of all, the world of post processing. This is a RAW image shot with a professional camera and an expensive lens. Here's what it looked like after I'd spent an amazing hour working on it myself. Sure, I could have just shot a jpg, but look at what I'd have been missing. Bringing photographs like this to life from RAW images is far more exhilarating than simply pressing a shutter button on a camera and cranking out a jpg. Choose your own destiny with your photography, but don't be fooled by all that old film rubbish about pure photos and photoshop being cheating, it is no such thing. Producing images like this with sophisticated software programmes rather than relying on your camera to do your post processing for you is the stuff of dreams.