Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Snow White (Apple & Bokeh In Naschmarkt), Vienna

Another pair I had trouble choosing between. Seen large on black the main image wins through, I think - the main apple is much sharper and better isolated in its own little plane of focus (I moved several apples between shots). In the shot below there's an extra stalk and an in focus base of an apple which kind of distract. The bokeh are twice the size too in the main one, thanks to the harder zoom.

It's a night shot - f/4.5 and ISO 400 giving a nice exposure thanks to the market lights. It's a handheld shot, with the IS doing a super job, in my opinion, of keeping the apple sharp; it was taken handheld at 1/15. I only have a handful of (working) lens, and this (24-105mm f/4.0L IS USM) is the only one with IS. As I understand it the version on that lens is a little behind the curve, so new releases will offer an extra one or two stops of "handholdability" - which is remarkable.

If you have the time to see it in lightbox, I'd recommend it, and also a quick look at the one below which offers a nicer blue sky and a little extra detail in the chalk and a girl shopping.

As to the title, I hope it's not too obscure. The apple just had a landmine look to it, hiding sharp amongst the blur, waiting to do someone a mischief, and the bokeh and painterly feel of the bokeh set a kind of fairy tale mood.

I do enjoy the contrast with www.flickr.com/photos/flatworldsedge/5217086663/in/photos... taken a few minutes earlier. Hope everyone is having a super week so far.

See Snow White (Apple & Bokeh In Naschmarkt), Vienna on Flickr.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Alternative Snow White

Generations (Naschmarkt), Vienna

Candid shot from this weekend's trip to Vienna and Bratislava. I saw a family of honey sellers at their stall, the elder of them in fierce technical debate with a customer, with the younger dreamily surveying their wares. I got lucky shooting through the shifting crowds of umbrellas and shoulders. I guess from seeing it to shooting it was all in a second. Usually I dither and frame too much and these opportunities escape me, so I'm very happy to have seized the moment.

It's a night shot, but almost overexposed as I'd been set up (ISO 800, AV-mode @ f/4.5, IS) for shooting in the shadows and the stall was brightly lit with tungsten bulbs. In the end, I'm delighted with the sharpness that's allowed - especially in the older man's face and hair. The bokeh from the wide aperture and blurred of the younger, mirroring figure are a super bonus.

Other than converting to black and white I've tweaked the clarity up slightly and cropped out a little unbalancing bokeh, perhaps a half inch, from the left.

Hope everyone is well and having a great start to the week.

See Generations (Naschmarkt), Vienna on Flickr.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Alternative Boheken Heart

Boheken Heart, Bologna

Boheken Heart, Bologna, originally uploaded by flatworldsedge.

One from September's trip to Bologna, late evening looking along the canals. Some cyan CA from the Canon 50mm f.1,8 which I haven't noticed before; not shooting wide open, but into some pretty harsh sunlight, I suppose.

There's a ghostly haze around the top of the padlocks which I can't identify - perhaps light making a nuisance of itself or maybe a smudge on the lens? Not sure what it is, but I rather like it. Without aiming too boldly for pretension, I was after a shot of all the scratches and stains on the heart, the rust and corrosion on the locks and the brace and the disintegration of the wall on the one side, with the transcendent bokeh on the other by way of juxtaposition. A sort of love arises in unsual places motif, which I rather like. There, pretension over.

Shot at f/2.5 to keep the heart and padlocks both sharp. Wide open it would have been game over for one of the details, and the background is still reasonably insane.

Have a great weekend everyone.

See Boheken Heart, Bologna on Flickr.

Going Nowhere Fast (Unhappy Couple On Scooter), Bologna

I think this one makes a nice juxtaposition to my significantly happier couple on a scooter, shot half an hour earlier; www.flickr.com/photos/flatworldsedge/4986711850/in/photos.... I was going to post it flipped horizontally in collision course with that image, but the "Liberty" text on the scooter was too neat to wreck for so minor a thing a consideration.

There's no small amount of supposition in my titling and tagging of this one. If you're one of the riders and you'd like to set the record straight, so to speak, please drop me a note. The expressions are so comically miserable, though, I can only think this follows some epic argument.

See Going Nowhere Fast (Unhappy Couple On Scooter), Bologna
on Flickr.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Not Interested (Italian Waiters), Venice

I don't usually like posting two shots of a series, but I simply couldn't choose between this one and www.flickr.com/photos/flatworldsedge/5206698402/in/photos.... This one offers the better composition and fewer distractions in the background, but it's a shame you can't see the expression on the chap holding forth to the right.

This is another candid which owes its existence to Blackfoot Scout, my glamorous assistant, who posed in front of these guys so I could shoot them candid over here shoulder. I've found setting the AF to the left or right most point helps - you can focus and get a light reading from the subject whilst pointing at your accomplice, so that when you swing the camera onto your subject you can shoot instantly rather than risk alerting them to your presence.

Hope everyone's having a great week.

See Not Interested (Italian Waiters), Venice on Flickr.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

View Of Rhum From Beinn Na Cille, Kingairloch

Another one of the cell/mobile phone pictures from this weekend's hiking. Apologies for the loss of meaningful EXIF data - I'm importing these from my iPhone by email as it is refusing to sync, and for some reason this has stripped the file of the most interesting data.

This was from a really classy non-munro horseshoe just down from the Corran ferry. Whilst the terror-induced ice and snow of the day before (see www.flickr.com/photos/flatworldsedge/5198977853/) ruled out any proper camera kit, I'm reticent that I didn't take the proper stuff on this walk. That said, we were on the hills for 6-7 hours and the last descent was in the gloaming if not the dark. With a proper DSLR, it'd have added at least an hour and maybe tipped things into disaster.

In any event, the iPhone bore up quite well, even if the file doesn't live up to much magnification, especially in the upper reaches of the sky. It does look better pre-upload to Flickr; the first image I've ever had to say that about.

See View Of Rhum From Beinn Na Cille, Kingairloch on Flickr.

Highlands Trail (Creag A' Mhaim), Glen Shiel

Two versions of a shot from the side of the road with the full moon lighting up the ridge bookended by Creag a' Mhaim. My preferred above is a 79 second exposure of three passing cars, though the shorter version (below) is a little moodier.

The peaks are front lit by the full moon, with the car headlights lighting the grass and chevrons. There's a line down the side of the mountain (see note) which appears to have been created across the valley by the headlights. If anyone knows whether that's possible or if there's a strange fold in the slope, I'd be interested.

Looks great on black in lightbox - if you can tolerate the grain, of which there is plenty!

See Highlands Trail (Creag A' Mhaim), Glen Shiel on Flickr.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Highlands Trail Alternative

Aonach Meadhoin, Glen Shiels

Aonach Meadhoin, Glen Shiels, originally uploaded by flatworldsedge.
Two pictures from Saturday. They're cell/mobile phone photos, which I'm always reticent about posting, but I didn't fancy carrying the full package along what was planned to be an epic ridge walk. In the interests of full disclosure I have to say that the summit of Aonach Meadhoin was the only munro of the day. It turns out climbing these beasts out of season requires skill and steely nerves - which I need to work on...

An amazing day nonetheless, with great weather, and the iPhone turns out to be an acceptable companion. It's strange using a phone for pictures after a few hardcore months of SLR. The key challenge is that, on the iPhone at least, composition and exposure are one. Rather composing then judging exposure, you compose and are shown real time how it will choose to expose. Interesting juggling act, and fun to see real time the decisions it is making as it meters for your chosen frame.

Queerly it doesn't like the rule of thirds - the best exposure for landscapes seemed to be pitching the horizon halfway up the frame. Setting it to a third exposes sky or land extremely harshly.

Hope everyone had a great weekend and apologies that I am behind after a few days away. Looking forward to catching up.

See Aonach Meadhoin, Glen Shiels on Flickr.

Aonach Meadhoin Alternative

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Blue (Bury Lake), Rickmansworth

Firstly, thanks to everyone who had a look at and shared their thoughts on www.flickr.com/photos/flatworldsedge/5182134181/in/photos... - I'm thrilled with the Front Page and really appreciate everyone's contributions.

This is a three minute exposure taken an hour or so earlier yesterday evening. It's a shot of Bury Lake in the Rickmansworth Aquadrome, looking across the kayak water polo court (is it called a court if it is water?) towards the sailing club.

Needless to say, the colour is completely different from the previous shot, which I guess is down to three key reasons. Firstly, this is just before streetlamps came on - the darkness is more from the shaded undergrowth and epic mist. Secondly, it's facing a different direction with fewer light sources - not least it is not looking towards London! Finally, and most importantly, this only had a minor cooling tweak to WB, whereas I lied wholesale to the RAW on the previous shot by telling it was shot in the shade (a lie with massive warming implications, obviously!). Or it could have been a million other things I guess; any ideas let me know!

Have a good one all!

See Blue (Bury Lake), Rickmansworth on Flickr.

Cow Nose Detail

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Sodium Cloud Forest, Rickmansworth

Ten minute exposure after sunset today, as the thick fog slowly cleared from the Aquadrome. The fog lingered in the trees, backlit by London's no shortage of sodium streetlights, whilst the bright moon rose high enough to bathe the foreground grass in a soft pearl light. I was startled by the colours on the LCD when it had finished "cooking" - I had been stood in near darkness.

My £19 cable release remains the best piece of kit I have. Long exposures keep surprising me with their interpretation of nighttime scenes. Early winter nights couldn't have come at a better time.

Hope everyone else is having a great week too.

See Sodium Cloud Forest, Rickmansworth on Flickr.

Priced Out Of Lingerie, Milan

Female version of my compulsory fashion pictures from Milan. The chap's version is www.flickr.com/photos/flatworldsedge/49946703.

Lightroom 3 was used for the switch to black and white, and Photoshop may have been employed to make a thematic enhancement to the price tags. As you might expect, this one looks classiest on black background. If I were trying to justify the luxurious price, that is certainly how I'd pitch it.

See Priced Out Of Lingerie, Milan on Flickr.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Mirror Pool (Trafalgar Square), London

Another one from last week's evening in town, in the cold. The original version (see below) looked a little lopsided with just one fountain, so I thought I'd try this reflected version. It's maybe a little over processed in Photoshop 7.0, but as I had it loaded up anyway for the reflection and to skew the lines straight, I thought I might as well take it a little further.

I'm delighted by the detail and symmetry in the very centre of the image which only really comes out in Lightbox so, whilst I feel terrible imposing on people as to how they might want to view it, I'd really recommend firing it up full size by hitting "L". I hope you like it!

Having whinged in several posts about (supposed) Terror regulations in London and the interference of security guards and so forth, I have to say that the Police in Trafalgar Square are fantastic. They were a very nice presence after a few (as yet unposted) nights out and about terrifying myself in fields, woods and towns!

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and look forward to seeing your stuff now I'm home!

See Mirror Pool (Trafalgar Square), London on Flickr.

Venetian Noir, Venice

Venetian Noir, Venice, originally uploaded by flatworldsedge.
Candid night shot from our first evening in Venice. I held off processing the first set of shots for a while as the Canon 50mm f/1.8's AF had been woeful in the rainy darkness and at ISO 800 the noise on the old 300D is pretty significant.

However, converting to black and white the noise comes across as an old film grain and the soft focus perhaps adds to the mood in this case. Hope everyone's having a great start to the week.

See Venetian Noir, Venice on Flickr.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

London Night Bus, Whitehall

First shot from a night series in and around Trafalgar Square. I nearly lost a hand to frostbite taking this; autumn has turned to winter. This is actually a composite - like www.flickr.com/photos/flatworldsedge/5121844152/ - of my favourite takes from the left and right hand sides of the road.

There's a traffic island at the head of Whitehall where you can set up looking down towards Big Ben. As the traffic is often stopped at the lights, there are awkward moments when 10-20 cars are all parked glaring at you, thinking the camera is pointed at them alone. I was worried some MP would leap out of his mistress's Saab to threaten arrest on Terror charges. I spent most of my time therefore avoiding eye-contact, looking over my left shoulder for the buses to come.

Hope everyone is very well and enjoying the end of the week.

See London Night Bus, Whitehall on Flickr.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Golden Fleece, Dorset

Golden Fleece, Dorset, originally uploaded by flatworldsedge.

Just back from a weekend in Dorset at my Grandfather's, and this is the first image to be ready. It cost me a set of sunset pictures over Kimmeridge, but the sight of these sheep under the falling sun demanded a stop and leaping of stile.

They're at the foot of the hill near Steeple, and behind those hills is the Jurassic Coast and all manner of wonder, such as www.flickr.com/photos/flatworldsedge/5092591483/ taken the following evening.

Stands out viewed on black. Hope everyone has had a great weekend.

Update: Explored #106. Many thanks to everyone who has commented, fav'ed and viewed. I massively appreciate the attention and insights offered. Thanks to all! Well worth missing Kimmeridge on this occasion.

See Golden Fleece, Dorset on Flickr.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Yukka After Rain, Wisley

Yukka After Rain, Wisley, originally uploaded by flatworldsedge.

Another shot from late afternoon Saturday at RHS Wisley in Surrey. I liked the slatey colour of this Yukka's leaves and the strange goose-like creature suggested by the long curve and wide nestling droplet.

Hope everyone's having a great week and is well.

See Yukka After Rain, Wisley on Flickr.

Friday, 5 November 2010

World's Edge (Old Harry Rocks), Dorset [Cross Processed]

Last one in a quick set of uploads of experiments. This is a landscape shot from the same series of Purbeck's Old Harry Rocks as World's Edge (Old Harry Rocks), Dorset, treated with a cross processing effect in Lightroom 3.

See World's Edge (Old Harry Rocks), Dorset [Cross Processed] on Flickr.

Crop Rotation (Sunset & Cows), Dorset

I've had this one lurking about for ages as I have agonised endlessly about whether or not, and if so, then how to crop it. I love the massively sweep of glowing cloud, but the cows demand a good close-up too. Below is the portrait crop I think I prefer, but I thought I would post the main picture above in the hope people might add notes to show any preferred crops they might have.

Since September I've started shooting everything in RAW. This image is a case in point; the power of the white balance adjustment is so far reaching I don't think I'll go back to jpg soon. It took all the strength in my body to resist the urge to turn the sky bullfrog green! In this instance, I switched the WB to "shade" in LR3, boosting the warmth significantly. It's another shot with my old 18-200mm Sigma which casts Cyan-end CA along any silhouette lines, so I dropped the Aqua saturation to zero, clearly adding a bit more warmth.

Hope everyone is fantastically well and having a great week. Happy Diwali and Fireworks Night to all!

See Crop Rotation (Sunset & Cows), Dorset on Flickr.

Crop Rotation (Sunset & Cows), Dorset - Preferred Crop

This is my favourite crop of Crop Rotation (Sunset & Cows), Dorset posted above and on Flickr.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

In Bocca Al Lupo, Rome

In Bocca Al Lupo, Rome, originally uploaded by flatworldsedge.

First off and most importantly; "Crepi".

This is some very dignified Roman street furniture, depicting the city's patron beast. The background bokeh is the same car as used in Painting By Numbers, Rome - in fact it was whilst taking this shot that I noticed the reflection.

In retrospect I was a bit distracted having seen the next shot, and so this one is probably not perfect. Particularly I'd have gone for a slightly wider DOF to sharpen up the wolf's nose.

Thanks for everyone's recent comments - hope you are well and enjoying a wonderful week.

Update: Explored #292. Many thanks to everyone who has commented, fav'ed and viewed. I massively appreciate the attention and insights offered. Thanks to all! Really pleased the vintage feel came off and people generally enjoyed it.

See In Bocca Al Lupo, Rome on Flickr.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

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 here.

See Madonna Del Carmine Statue, Bologna on Flickr.

World's Edge (Old Harry Rocks), Dorset

So first of all, I promise not to mention UWA lenses in this one. Other than to say this is taken from a razor thin prominence and it would have been lovely to get more of the sea in. The landscape version pushes the sea to the point it flares - a very nice effect. Sacrificing the bottom of the cliffs though, was too great a price to pay.

This is taken at the Isle of Purbeck's superb Old Harry Rocks; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Harry_Rocks.

Fortunately it's another easy one to get back to post-Xmas armed with a non-crop body to go for the wider angle. I reckon I'll try this again pre-dawn for a cool self portrait shot. For now, the figure in the frame is a kind passerby who agreed to take 30 seconds out of her afternoon to go and stand where directed. People prove very agreeable if you ask politely, which is a nice surprise.

See World's Edge (Old Harry Rocks), Dorset on Flickr.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Two Pair (Stocker's Lake Reflections), Rickmansworth

Unlike the tricky and lengthy noise reduction for www.flickr.com/photos/flatworldsedge/5126748478/ in this case I just maxed Lightroom's noise reduction and dropped the clarity. It's a 226 second exposure (F/22 ¦ ISO 100) from one of the bird hides on Stocker's Lake in Rickmansworth Aquadrome.

There were hundreds of ducks floating about in the foreground, but none made sufficient impression against the bright reflected sky over the long exposure. Hope everyone is having a great week!

See Two Pair (Stocker's Lake Reflections), Rickmansworth on Flickr.

The Climb (Inside Asinelli Tower), Bologna

Another improvised tripod shot - this time by jamming the lens through a hole in the wooden floor above the void below. As noted above, the tower has internal floors to separate the 97.2m elevation across 5 or 6 individually housed staircases. It proved a good tripod, even if I realised after the event that my lens release button must have been depressed the whole time!

Bologna's two leaning towers were both being repaired whilst we were there, so my external shots didn't really look as medieval and authentic as I'd hoped. This one ended up being my favourite of a few different angles on them. The towers look great, so hopefully we'll get back there at some point to try something more traditional. Details can be found here; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Towers_of_Bologna.

Nearly posted this as a Cyanotype for Halloween, but, what with being away, the opportunity escaped me and the B&W workings of the shot all proved a little unsatisfactory as they wash out the contrasts between wall and walker. It was interesting to see how B&W made all the walkers appear to be one, but I like the spread of colour across the top too much to make the trade-off. Shot in jpg, so the white balance is a little brutish, but there we go! All part of the fun.

Thanks for everyone's comments and thought on my last picture (another Italian long exposure - www.flickr.com/photos/flatworldsedge/5126748478/). I'm amazed and delighted it made Front Page Explore and am more than a little sheepish that a few days away from Flickr prevented me from properly showing my appreciation. I'm catching up now! Have a good one all.

See The Climb (Inside Asinelli Tower), Bologna on Flickr.