Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Black Steel (Winter Tree Silhouette), Lake District

Via Flickr:
Wishing everyone all the best for the New Year to come - hopefully you have fun celebrating its arrival and every success as it starts.

This is a quick black and white tree picture from my day trip to the Lake District on Boxing Day. I saw it winding up to the rugged little Blea Tarn car park, and wandering back down to shoot a couple of frames before setting up at the tarn proper.

I'd recommend this corner of the Lakes especially to day trippers with cameras - it's easy enough to access, but feels authentically remote.

Catching up now.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Flash, Minolta SR-T Super With Demi Tron 200

Via Flickr:
Quick post from the Minolta SR-T Super session, trying my hand at product photography using the Hooded Accomplice's lights and shooting table.

I've been away over Christmas, so am just beginning to catch up now. Hopefully everyone's had a fantastic week whatever you've been up to.

Info for Strobist:

Ambient light from soft box camera right. Snooted YN560ii fired onto background from camera left at 1/32 with Comtrig RT. Second YN560ii fired onto white card beneath translucent shooting table at 1/16 to minimise shadow beneath lens. Lenser MT7 LED flashlight used to add detail and text of Demi Tron flag unit, and LED panel used directly down from camera left to bring up texture on the side of the Demi Tron.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Conversion Chart, Minolta SR-T Super

Via Flickr:
Trying my hand at product photography, shooting with the Hooded Accomplice, and borrowing a lot of his lighting equipment - plus a shooting table.

Product photography seems to be a real worm hole - when you can control every variable of light and geometry, it gives an almost overwhelming a range of possibilities.

I'd like to say that these shots were the result of deep thought about how those variables might be controlled to give some pre-visualised outcome. That would be a lie. In fact, this was the last shot of a session, in which we jokingly realised we hadn't shot the camera from the back. And it happened to broadly work at first attempt, so we tweaked a handful of things.

There's a red and a green version (both separate exposures), and it'd be interesting to know which you preferred - if you've made it through all the above text.

Have a great weekend in any case!

Info for Strobist:

2x Canon 600EX-RT fired by ST-E3-RT, 1x Skyblue Ringflash (catchlight cloned out of viewfinder) and 1x Yonghuo YN-560 both fired as optical optical slave. The Canon's were gelled - one deep red, beneath the semi-translucent shooting table, one CTO, snooted with a Rogue Flashbender, and fired against the backdrop. The YN-560 was camera left, 45 degrees up and 1m back with a diffuser. The ringflash was on camera, 1.5m from the subject. Power settings were; red gelled Canon at 1/8, snooted Canon at 1/16, YN-650 at 1/16, ringflash at 1/32. The green/blue light is from a single LED shone manually through the lens with an ND gel and a colour gel, during the 8 second exposure. Black velvet was piled just out of shot camera left to prevent the red reflecting onto the camera's back.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Super Human (All In Camera Light Painting), London Hyde Park

Via Flickr:
All in camera, as always! This is from my recent Hyde Park trip with Seitrams. Whilst he was shooting some cool shots of the swans and geese, I was messing about zooming mid-exposure. The effect on all the lights of Winter Wonderland was pretty extreme (see above), but it felt like it needed an Akira-esque super power wielding figure to tie it together.

So far as one can tie something like this together.

Packed with technical imperfections - chiefly the overexposure of the static elements in the scene, but that would have been very hard to fix. I'm a big fan of the way the rippled light on the water floats through the middle of scene like psychic energy. And hope you like it too.

Since my last post, ongoing dismay at the lack of input out community is having on up coming Flickr changes/vandalism has led me to set up an account on 500px. I'm still exploring it, but was impressed enough to upgrade my service there and am bit by bit moving my existing images over there. If any of you have an account there, please let me know so I can follow you, etc.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Archipelago #2 (Seaweed & Rockpool), Isle Of Skye

Via Flickr:
Quick post from a session on a rocky Skye beach practising off camera flash shots. The more I try this, the harder I find it to leave home without a strobe and trigger. Clearly the shot's not perfect, but there's a tiny zip of life and drama offered by the flash that I couldn't have conjured any other way.

I hope everyone is having a great week. It's our year end, so I'm only on Flickr in snatches on my commute.

Info for Strobist:

Single Canon 600EX-RT camera left fired low and hard across the rocks from 2m at 1/32. Triggered by RT from ST-E3-RT.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Vector (Katherine Velours), Shrub Hill Common

Via Flickr:
Another quick posting from one of the summer's shoot with h Katherine Velours. Katherine is awesome - check out her portfolio on Purpleport.

There are still heaps of photos I intend to post from our session. This one stood out as overlooked with the end of summer's day glow filtering through the canopy. We could do with a little more light like that this week!

I've been trying out new to processing techniques for portraiture. There's not a tonne done here, but they're new approaches, so any feedback would be appreciated. So I didn't realise you could inverse the effects of everything by hitting Ctrl+I - so the high pass filter becomes a blur, and Gaussian blur becomes a sharpening filter. There's a hint of that in a new layer, brushed in manually on the midtones of her skin which were a little noisy due to my underexposing to keep the bright canopy in check.

Hope everyone is having a superb end to the weekend!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

CREEtaceous Dinosaur (All In Camera Triceratops Light Painting), London Hyde Park

Via Flickr:
All in camera, as always, this is a light painting from a Monday night trip to Hyde Park with Seitrams. The intention was to shoot Winter Wonderland, but we kind of got distracted light painting around the Serpentine and never made it.

This one is shot along the south edge of the lake, with a low mist fogging up the front element. It was creating a neat gas lamp feel around the edge of the frame, so I let it be. That's the strange blur you see in the top left corner - just streetlight on the misted UV filter.

The triceratops (or juvenile torosaurus,if you subscribe to that particular theory) is all hand drawn with a CREE LED, with a sock diffuser. And yes, you can see my legs and anorak behind its forelegs.

We were shooting in this location for maybe an hour, yet it was only when processing I saw the girl sitting on the nbench to the dinosaur's left... Kind of haunting.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week so far!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Hlavné Námestie Christmas Market, Bratislava

Via Flickr:
Quick shot from Bratislava's main square (Hlavné Námestie). I'd hugely recommend its Christmas market. Cheap flights to Vienna generally stop in Bratislava, and it was whilst killing a couple of hours for our flight home that we discovered Bratislava's market. This year we went back and just stayed in Bratislava, and it's a massive favourite over Vienna.

If you enjoy wearing shirts at weekends and "being seen", then I'd suggest Vienna will suit you better. If, however, you like rough and ready over chic commercial, Bratislava might deliver for you.

The market feels much more local, with a much more local crowd in attendance. Everything is cosier and more compact, cramped, lively, rustic and fun. There's a stage with folk dancing, and angels wearing homemade cardboard wings; cut out of supermarket wine boxes and dressed up in cooking foil. All in, it's much more loveable and authentic feeling than the more visited alternatives.

In terms of the shot, there's some in camera banding or noise top left. The 5D MKiii seems to struggle with lowlight blues and it's a pain to fix!

I hope everyone is well. Busy times both at work and weekends have kept me off Flickr for a week or so. It meant I missed the "black" protest to upcoming changes; something I'd like to have been part of. Having been subjected to the (at times compulsory) beta, I can't express without alternating fits of depression and rage quite how horrific, quite how ridiculous, quite how ill thought out the proposed new UI is. I've seen plenty of Flickr tweaks and updates before and, whilst many seemed irrelevant or imperfect, there were none that genuinely vexed or detracted. There's been some big positives recently, like the excellent Flickr app. This new proposed change is utterly barbaric, diminishing "descriptions" and "comments" to a claustrophobic little side bar that stifles and disincentivises any meaningful interaction. If you haven't signed the petition yet, I'd urge you to do so.

Have a fantastic week in any event.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Purple Reign (Lightning Storm Over Bohinj Jezero), Triglav National Park

Via Flickr:
This was my last shot from my Bohinj storm series, as the storm dropped from the mountains onto the far (Ukanc) end of the lake. You can see the rain in the shadows - it was already getting intense. Stood under a tree by the side of the lake in a lightning storm, I decided that retreat was probably the wisest move. Like all survivors, I'm obviously still left wondering if I should instead have shot on. The two distant forks of lightning in this shot were nothing compared to what followed as I raced back to the village through raking walls of rain, buffeted by thunder.

Then again, I am at least here to tell the tale.

The colour is entirely as shot, per my earlier light painting as the storm closed in (see link in comments).

I did Photoshop out the little island I had been light painting on earlier - without a feature on it, it looked distracting and flat. For the rest if the shot, it would have been easy enough to pump the vibrance and contrast, but I've tried to keep it natural and "as shot". With everything boosted it undermined the surprising colour of the storm.

We're back here in April to shoot some more. Might still be some snow around then.

Hope everyone is having an amazing weekend - catching up through the day.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Newton's Cradle (Jessica Collecting Windfall Apples), Kent

Via Flickr:
Jessica collecting fallen apples in Kent, and speculating about the various animals that have either caused them to fall, or raided them since.

Foxes, we learn, have a lot to answer for in this regard.

Jessica's rather taking over my photostream at the moment, by simple dint of time I have to process shots. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Sabrina (Stranger #29/100), London Brick Lane

Via Flickr:
Whilst my last portrait (#28 Ramon) was all about staking out a background, Sabrina's portrait was unplanned. She was checking her phone at a road crossing, and her amazing swirls of hair and scarf demanded an approach.

She was fantastic to work with and patient whilst I tried to grab a background from what was immediately available. She's from the West Country originally, living in London and investing her Sunday in an exploration of the East of town. Hopefully the street portrait added rather than detracted from the experience - thanks for stopping, Sabrina.

In terms of this shot there's a couple of details worth noting - firstly the giant silver reflector she's holding to tame the direct (though still pretty soft) sunlight. Secondly I made a few mistakes with the background, probably; that purple started off lurid pink, but I tweaked it in Photoshop to match her coat. There's probably more I should have done in and after camera to make it less angular - the hard lines and points are so out of harmony with the soft curls of hair. Oh well... sorry!

This is portrait #29 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Ramon (Stranger #28/100), London Brick Lane

Via Flickr:
It's been a few months since I last shot for my 100 Strangers Project. I blame Bomvu, who introduced me to Purpleport and as a result turned a few summer weekends of potential streets shots into model shoots.

This Sunday I finally set out to right that wrong, dropping into London for a couple of hours along Brick Lane. Meeting Ramon reminded me just how much I've missed the project.

I'm something of a background hunter - finding a backdrop I think will working, then lurking there until the right stranger appears. It can make you look like a bit of a predator, stood alongside the flow of people, waiting, watching... so thank you Ramon for agreeing to chat and shoot, when I interrupted your assessment of the market's various food choices.

He's a software developer from Barcelona, now living in London with a long suffering follower of Arsenal. Having interrogated me about the possible reasons for the team's anomalous success this year, the conversation turned to future plans. Ramon is planning a cycling trip he described as "buy a bicycle and go East" - it sounds incredible; cycling through Europe, then Central Asia and up into China via the Kashgar pass or similar.

Ramon - No doubt there's a tonne of preparation left, and maybe a few years planning, saving and visa applications, but I hope you have an epic time of it when you set off. Take photos, lots of them.

I'd chosen Ramon for the high contrast gloss of his jacket, and sprinkling of silver in his hair - given the white/black swirl of the street art. The combination seems to have worked, so I'm delighted to be back in the project again.

This is portrait #28 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

"Yesterday I Was A Challenge" (Jessica Sulking), Vintgar

Via Flickr:
Quick post of Jessica sulking at Vintgar Gorge - I think because of our not carrying her, but cannot be certain. "Yesterday I was a challenge," has become one of her all too frequent pronouncements.

I might have overdone the film toning on this shot - any thoughts appreciated.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Flyby (Jessica & Sealion), Ljubljana Zoo

Via Flickr:
I'm posting this one in the hope of some commentary and criticism on the composition. It just seems wrong on many levels; barrel and perspective distortion, with only a gesture towards any of the thirds. And yet, I like it any way.

I did try other crops - for instance, zooming in so that the green glass was edge to edge, but the "as shot" version, for all it's flaws, just came across better.

On a side note - sealion pools in particular seem to be green. The ZSL Whipsnade sealion pool, for instance, is green when seen underwater. Dolphin and whale viewing areas (see shot in comments) tend to be blue.

Hope everyone is having a superb week. Catching up slowly!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Wavelength (All In Camera Lightpainting), Bohinj Jezero

Via Flickr:
This is another lightpainting from a summer in Slovenia. It's all hand drawn in camera with an LED, using a baby sock as a diffuser. The only processing is for the sky.

It was something of a test shot for the shot in the comments. However, the storm that came during the main shot changed the colours dramatically, and by then the composition had changed slightly, so I felt it worth posting on its own.

Hope everyone is having a terrific end to the week.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Mental Arithmetic (Anya Holloway Reading Pythagorean Hodograph Curves), Banksy Tunnel London

Via Flickr:
These shots (plural, as there are two more from the session in the comments!) are from another of the "Alt Maths" series I'm putting together.

They're shot in London's incredible Banksy Tunnel (aka Leake Street) - a 300m long tunnel of constantly evolving street art that runs under London Victoria. As you'll see in the comments, it attracts a crowd of odd characters, so if you're shooting there I'd suggest bringing a sense of humour and your wits to avoid confrontation.

The model is Anya Holloway, who got involved through Purpleport. She's fantastic to work with, and I'd recommend checking our her portfolio on the link above. Meanwhile, for those in the UK not using Purpleport, I recommend it strongly. Great community - much easier to navigate and much more genuine interactions than Model Mayhem.

Sorry for the recent radio silence - Q4 means things are busy! Catching up over the next couple of days.

Info for Strobist:

2x Canon 600EX-RT - master on camera in Lasolite "Ezybox" at ~1/128, slave fired by built in RT in white shoot through umbrella 45 degrees camera left, 2 feet above model, 3m back, at 1/4 power.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

10,000 Mistakes #2 (19 Stop ND Venice Waterfront), Venice

Via Flickr:
This is the second of a series of experiments from last year; shooting with stacked 9 and 10 stop ND filters. That total 19 stop filter increases exposure time by just over 500,000 times, allowing for ten minute exposures in full sunlight.

Whether you'd want to do that is another matter, but I thought it would be interesting to try.

The first post in the series (a colour shot) Iain the comments below.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Archipelago (Jessica & Autumn Leaf Fall), Leeds Castle

Via Flickr:
Another autumnal shot from last year; Jessica surveying scattered leaf fall at Leeds Castle.

Insanely naive as it probably sounds, I've just discovered that you can modify "curves" by colour channel on Photoshop. Having previously only used it on RGB for contrast tweaks, I'm discovering all the neat film effect stuff you can do. If you've only used it en masse across all colour channels, I can't recommend the more sophisticated application enough.

Switching the channel to blue, then pulling down the highlights and pushing up the shadows adds warmth to highlights and cools shadows. It's somewhat epic, and will no doubt be massively over used by me in the coming weeks.

Still catching up - hope Tuesday is turning out well for everyone.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Jagged Edge (Autumn Leaves), Virginia Water

Via Flickr:
Something seasonal from the archives - another of those shots that has ended up unfairly quarantined on my iPad for no other reason than general busy-ness.

I hope people can forgive me moving a couple of other shots around in my photostream - I thought there was a little run ending in this one that could make a nice, understated four seasons piece.

We're just back from a week on the Isle of Skye with no internet, so I will be catching up over the next few days. I hope everyone is well an enjoying a great start to November!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Primrose Hill, Sissinghurst Castle

Via Flickr:
Completely non-seasonal, I know, but it's a shot I've been meaning to post for ages. There's a sound argument that it's overexposed in places, but I was messing about with a flash and wanted to push the drama as hard as possible.

Info for Strobist:

There's a single Canon 600EX-RT fired with Comtrig RT trigger, on around 1/32 power - it's placed right behind (pretty much in) the clump of primroses, face left across the camera.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Swanage Coastal Laser Defence Station, Isle Of Purbeck

Via Flickr:
This is my first try at zooming during an exposure - it's a 24mm to 105mm zoom right at the end. Obviously the effect is all in camera. It's one I'll definitely try to use again.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Hard Light (Central Park Zoo Icicles), NYC

Via Flickr:
Hard winter sun on icicles and waterfall in Central Park Children's Zoo. I've got heaps of photos to process from NYC back in February, but this one stuck out on a recent archive tour - with the change in weather I can feel winter just around the corner now.

I thought it might be fun to post something safe and travel after a few weeks of experimental light shots!

Hope everyone is having a fantastic start to the week.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Witchcraft (Katherine Velours Witch With Lightpainting), Shrubhill Common

Via Flickr:
This is an experiment from my second shoot with Katherine Velours.

It's a mix of softbox lit portrait, with blue and red gelled flashlights used to lightpaint in the colours and the spell she's casting.

Unfortunately a second strobe in an umbrella camera left didn't fire on this frame - at once flattening the light on her face, but making for a darker more mysterious atmosphere.

There is some Photoshop here, but only to clean things up - chiefly the blue behind the tree which had badly clipped. There's a crop too. The starburst/fireball/magical energy/etc. is all in camera.

I'm hoping to do more of this hybrid work, mixing the lightpainting with model shoots. Certainly it's a lot harder than I thought, so thanks Katherine for all the patience as we worked things out!

Hope everyone is having a great week.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Beauty & The Beast (In Camera Lightpainting), Terme Topolšica

Via Flickr:
Please see the SOOC version in the comments below - there's some photoshop in the image above - all the lines are 100% in camera, but I did have to remove ghosts of me doing the painting.

This was the first of my recent Slovenia lightpainting series. I'd gone out for a stroll with the camera in the evening, and liked the backlit scene in this park next to the Hotel Vesna where we were staying. The trees are oddly wrapped in knitted garments, and there was a neat central European vibe to the distant building. Especially when I put the camera on the grass amongst the fallen leaves, it had the feel of being outside an archduke's palace, with drifting strains of the ball barely audible over the whisper of the night.

The scene needed something to bring that to life, hence my first lightpainting in a year or so.

Like a couple of others in the series that followed, I wasn't suitably attired - and so, especially with light spill from using a sock as a diffuser on my torch, you'll see below that I made it into shot. Removing me was a nightmare - using source data from a blank "no lightpainting" image taken afterwards, then using the brush tool at varying sizes and opacities to blend in the flare. Not perfect, but good enough to my eye.

I hope everyone's well and having a fantastic weekend.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Bathed In Light (All In Camera Lightpainting), Ukanc

Via Flickr:
This is the view of the Savica river, shot from a bridge three hundred yards or so from where it feeds into Bohinj Lake. It's outrageously, muscle-throbbingly cold even in the middle of summer. Whilst shooting these, I ended up in conversation - for a couple of hours - with an interesting local chap, who briefed me on the state of the economy, politics, environment, etc. in the former Yugoslavia. It was a hugely engaging discussion, but meant I shot fewer runs of this than I meant.

Still, he said the water is so cold as it flows from an underground cave system. Six degrees centigrade was the temperature he believed it to be. Not having a thermometer with me, I can't corroborate the exact number. All I can offer is the fact that wading in it felt like you were being burnt alive - the line blurring between hot and cold, until the nerves registered only "unacceptably extreme".

The light painting is done with a high power LED, with a white baby sock as diffuser, in a zip lock plastic bag. The diffuser was removed to get the starbursts. The trees on the right were lit with a Canon 600 EX-RT flash; 6 full power blasts from just off axis.

We've just booked for another week in Slovenia next April, and Bohinj will definitely be on the agenda again. This stream will obviously be horrifyingly cold. I'm just hoping the evening will be warm enough that I can cope with the standing around between shots.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Ram's Skull Statue, Arsenale Venice

Via Flickr:
One I've been meaning to post since my March trip to Venice, delayed by life and other shots.

It's perhaps a little mundane, but I really liked how the texture and weathering of the stone looked so convincingly (deliberately or otherwise) like bone.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Light Unleashed (Light Painting), Bohinj Jezero

Via Flickr:
This is one of my favourite light paintings from the series I shot in Slovenia this summer. Unfortunately it was also one in which my Bermuda shorts made an unwanted appearance, thanks to a mix of spilt light from the flashlight and, well, my not having planned properly and worn something darker.

I finally corrected that in Photoshop last night, having tried and failed for a few weeks. You can see the SOOC version in the comments below. It's mostly as you see above, but with a nasty red smudge if clothing right behind the flashlight painting. I always shoot a "blank plate" of a scene I'm light painting, in case I need to correct anything away from the painting itself. Actually correcting detail behind the painting is very difficult, as the haze from the light changes the tone, contrast and brightness of the background in that area.

For this one, I found that the fix worked best by adding a 60% opaque section of the blank plate, erasing the areas that blocked the original in camera lines, then adding a 5% layer of manually brushed in turquoise, selected with the pipette tool from the hazy area on the original light painting. I also pulled the reds down in the "hue" menu. It's not perfect, but it's much better to my eye than the distracting red splotch in the original.

The lines are drawn with a flashlight covered with a white baby sock. The starbursts are just flashes of the torch without the sock, aiming about 45 degrees from the lens to avoid the kind of flare that overwhelms everything else.

I drew it like some kind of summoned magic, but you might equally interpret it as some poor girl being dragged into the lake by a team of bioluminescent starfish.

Hopefully everyone is having a fantastic week.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

LED Astray (All In Camera Light Painting), Bohinj Jezero

Via Flickr:
This is another from my Slovenia lightpaintings. Everything is done in camera, drawing the lines with a flashlight/torch.

I use a tiny baby's sock as a diffuser on the flashlight to control flare and keep the lines clean. One challenge I hadn't anticipated before this trip was the way the light spill from the diffuser could catch your clothing. Normally I light paint in dark clothing as a precaution, but there's a whole series of shots in Slovenia which I shot in Bermuda shorts. This is one of them, and the red/white shorts are just visible. There are other one's which are potentially ruined - so beware if you try this out! I'll be back in dark clothing next time.

In terms of controlling the movement of the torch, I always measure out the figure against my own body. So her face tracks the edge of my face, etc. It works well to minimise retakes due to crossed lines or odd scaling, but it does keep the light close to you, exacerbating the issue with spill from the diffuser outlined above.

The foreground and trees are painting in with strokes of a flashlight through an amber gel. I thought that would give some interesting contrast with the turquoise glare of the campground.

In the background there's a road - I have others from this location with passing cars, but thought it was stronger without the distraction.

There's some incredible fog around today. I wish I could just take a day's holiday to get out into it with a camera, but it's quarter end. That's made catching up with people a little slow - apologies if your one of those I'm behind with. Look forward to seeing your pictures today.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

White Grapes, Dalaman

White Grapes, Dalaman by flatworldsedge
White Grapes, Dalaman, a photo by flatworldsedge on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Another older shot that I very much like, but have never managed to post.

There's a particular brown stalk I kept intending to clone out, but it's proved a more challenging job than I'd hoped. So it remains. Another reminder that one should get things as right as possible in camera, even if it means getting looked at sideways at the market.

There's still some Photoshop at work here - this is a composite of three shots; one for the grapes in focus, then one for each zone of newspaper text.

I can't explain what appeals - the contrasting tones of the grapes and the plastic, the angular curl of the newspaper, the simultaneous feel of decay and yet juiciness. It just seems to work... to my eye. Except for that wretched brown stalk.

Hope everyone is having a great week - thanks for everyone that checked out my light painting and helped it into Explore!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Cave Darkness (Quarry Light Painting & Smoke), Dorset

Via Flickr:
Not the shot I set out to capture, but one I rather like. It's from another series on the Jurassic Coast shot with the assistance of the Hooded Accomplice.

It's largely SOOC, though you'll note a tweak to the WB to bring out the eerie greens of the cave - and, with them, a hint at the "Mines of Moria" vibe that haunted the darker recesses of this abandoned quarry.

Backlighting the pillars demanded no small measure of stumbling about in the darkness and smoke; an endeavour made more unsettling still by the presence of some extinguished candles left by some former visitor on the natural shelves and altars further back.

Hopefully everyone is having a fantastic week. It's the end of quarter here, so my postings are a little sporadic at present. More from Dorset, Slovenia, model shoots and Utah to come anon.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Lightning Strikes Twice (In Camera Light Painting), Bohinj Jezero

Via Flickr:
Light painting in Bohinj Lake, whilst a lightning storms plays across the surrounding peaks of the Triglav National Park. The white balance is as shot - the lightning picking out the distant peaks in a curious purple glow.

Wading out to the little rocky island to light paint, whilst the thunder and lightning bounced around the surrounding hills, was a slightly nervous endeavour, but worth it for the result.

Full write up on Flickr - click the main image to reach.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Shooting The Rapids (Matkov Kot Jezero Stream), Savinjska

Via Flickr:
More from Slovenia's Savinjska region, this is shot in Matkov Kot; the neighbouring valley to Logarska Dolina. It has the feel of a fortuitous wrong turn, rather than a destination in itself. This is the oddly named Jezero stream - "jezero" meaning "lake" - by which we enjoyed a picnic.

I'm a little addicted to shooting at water level currently, and this one is shot with the camera bobbing on the top of the bubbles, spattered with spray from the rapids. I probably shot another twenty images of this view having seen this first sighting shot; all better composed, focused, etc. but none that replicated that same feeling of being immersed, and none with quite the same golden light to catch the flying droplets. The sun moves pretty quickly when it's filtered through so dense a canopy of trees.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Moonraker (Logarska Dolina Moon Beams & Cloud), Slovenia

Via Flickr:
Moon beams raked through the mountain ridge that terminates Slovenia's Logarska Dolina valley. Shooting over a few hours at night, the moon rose from behind the peaks, its light filtered through the thin drifting mist.

The buildings to the left are the fantastic Lenar Tourist Farm where we stayed. I can't recommend it enough; superb people and accomodation in an incredible location. We will be back, Insha'Allah.

Apologies to those with whom I haven't caught up since my return from holiday. I've come back into a busy spell at work, and am slowly slowly catching up with everyone's super work.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Birnam Wood Is Come To Dunsinane (Twilight Silhouette Firs), Logarska Dolina

This is my first posting in a little while thanks to two weeks holiday in Slovenia.

It makes first post on account of its needing practically no processing! Tempting as it would have been to swing the WB and supercharge the saturation, I preferred the slightly understated SOOC look. Just a little cleaning of CA, etc.

It's a view looking north towards Matkov Kot from the entrance to Slovenia's Logarska Dolina valley. If anything it was an afterthought - I was shooting mostly to the left of this frame, for a few minutes at a time and got to thinking these silhouetted fir trees were worth a simple 2D take themselves.

Hope you like it!

I've got heaps to post - 1,797 shots from the Slovenia trip, 4 model shoots to finish processing and then still shots from Venice, NYC and Utah earlier in the year. Look forward to getting them up over the next few weeks.

And also to catching up with what everyone else has been shooting!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Beacon (Koochie Koo With Backlit Smoke), Shrub Hill Common

More from the witch/smoke shoot with Koochie Koo.

Maybe there's a little too much smoke in this one - that slight haze across her face, for instance. However, as it's my first experiment gelling flash I thought I'd share it anyway. I love the combination of the CTO on the key light and the blue in the smoke.

There's not a tonne of processing on it, as I find the 5D mkiii has issues with intense blues. I see it most often with twilight shots, where there's banding in the bright blues - in the RAW file itself. Any tweaks just reinforce it, hence the cautious approach. If other 5D mkiii users see this, or know of a firmware update for it, please do shout me!

Info for Strobist:

2x Canon 600EX-RT - master on camera in Lasolite "Ezybox" at ~1/16, slave fired by built in RT in umbrella 45 degrees camera left, 2 feet above model, 3m back, gelled CTO, at 1/2 power. Backlight is from an LED strip (ungelled) just behind the model camera left, and a 220 lumen Lenser MT7 military flashlight gelled blue about 4m behind the model on the ground. There's a 1.2m silver reflector on a makeshift stand camera right, just off axis.

Lost & Found (Koochie Koo Witch Shoot), Shrub Hill Common

More from the witch/smoke shoot with Koochie Koo.

This one comes from before we started experimenting with hard, gelled backlight. It's a little less crazy as a result, but makes up for that (I think) with a slightly classier overall finish. There's no CTO on the flash in this image, for instance, which I think gives her skin tone an edge over the other, coloured shots.

Info for Strobist:

2x Canon 600EX-RT - master on camera in Lasolite "Ezybox" at ~1/16, slave fired by built in RT in umbrella 45 degrees camera left, 2 feet above model, 3m back, at 1/2 power. Backlight is from an LED strip (ungelled) just behind the model camera left. There's a 1.2m silver reflector on a makeshift stand camera right, just off axis.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Infernal (Koochie Koo With Backlit Smoke), Shrub Hill Common

This is my first upload from my second shoot with the dictionary definition amazing Koochie Koo.

Our first shoot was interrupted by a near literally cataclysmic rain storm. Having been drenched the first time around, we figured we'd go ahead with the second shoot despite stalking rain threatening to turn to thunder. I'm so glad we gave it shot. Certainly there was plenty of rain about, yet setting up in a wooded area for shelter we ended up with great cover from the wind for a series of backlit smoke shots.

The smoke comes from some little pellets from a company called "Pea Soup" that I'd recommend. I think they're sold as paint-balling supplies. Focusing through it is a nightmare; I dread to think what this would have cost shooting on film.

The superb Darryl J Dennis is providing invaluable assistance wafting the wayward smoke around with a spare reflector.

There's a danger my photostream is going to be completely overrun with shots from this series... Please shout at me if that becomes the case. There's a B&W version in the comments; this one has to be colour to my mind, but I've really enjoyed people's thoughts on the colour/B&W versions when I post alternatives. The feedback is especially appreciated when people disagree, so if you have a second I'd love to know what you think.

Hopefully everyone is having an amazing week.

Info for Strobist:

2x Canon 600EX-RT - master on camera in Lasolite "Ezybox" at ~1/16, slave fired by built in RT in umbrella 45 degrees camera left, 2 feet above model, 3m back, gelled CTO, at 1/2 power. Backlight is from an LED strip (ungelled) just behind the model camera left, and a 220 lumen Lenser MT7 military flashlight gelled red about 4m behind the model on the ground. There's a 1.2m silver reflector on a makeshift stand camera right, just off axis.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Rainfall - Alternate Take (Koochie Koo & Rain Bokeh), Shrub Hill Common

Rainfall (Koochie Koo & Rain Bokeh), Shrub Hill Common

These are another two from last week's rain interrupted "witch" shoot with Koochie Koo. We're picking up the shoot this evening, hoping that this time the weather let's us finish the series with some long exposure stuff of sparklers and spell books.

Choosing between mono and colour was really hard on this pair; the B&W seems much more focused on the bumblebee and rain, whilst the colour version wants to tell a story about the gloomy wood.

Hope everyone is having a super start to the week.

Info for Strobist:

2x Canon 600EX-RT - master on camera in Lastolite "Ezybox", at 1/32, slave at full power in shoot through umbrella, just above model, 3m back, ~60 degrees to camera left "aiming" between model and background, fired by built in RT.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Little Black Book (Raven Lily), St James Park

Another shot from my second shoot with bomvu and the awesome Raven-Lily.

Extra shot from the session in the comments, just to show the richness of colour in the backdrop. Much prefer the B&N here though; just amps up that slightly smiling eye contact.

Hope everyone is looking forward to a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Nonlinear (Emma J Black reading "Nonlinear Dynamics And Chaos" by Steven H. Strogatz), Southbank Skatepark London

This is the second posting from an "alt maths" shoot at the Southbank's skatepark. Emma J Black reading "Nonlinear Dynamics And Chaos" by Steven H. Strogatz.

By way of brief, imprecise answer to interested questions as to the "why" behind the project, it was nominally inspired by "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", and Lisbeth Salander's obsession with Fermat. I thought I'd pick the theme up as a project whilst I learn lighting for some wilder future ideas for which I will need to up my strobe game considerably.

There are also some learnings around DOF/focus. I'm a fan of shallow DOF, yet getting clean focus on the book's details is an interesting challenge. Certainly a good project for moving one's understanding up a level.

This book's quite a read actually. There's a neat section describing Romeo and Juliet's relationship in terms of mathematics. One of those reads where it all starts so sensibly, so clearly, so understandably, and then, on a point, explodes into blinding complexity like a firework in a microwave.

There's a second shot in the comments. With the new design of Flickr, I'm posting the back up images separately, as they quickly get buried in the comments and then hidden.

Hope everyone is well and enjoying an exciting/productive week.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Weapons Grade (Koochie Koo Witch Shoot), Shrub Hill

Although this was just one of the test "calibration" shots as we dialed in the flash settings, it's one of my favourite images from a shoot with the awesome Koochie Koo.

She's another super model met through Purpleport, and I'd recommend a quick check of her portfolio there. High quality shots, with a charismatic sense of humour throughout.

For anyone based in the UK, I'd recommend the whole site in general. It's like a Model Mayhem that actually works!

I've also posted a black and white version in my portfolio there for anyone that's interested - I quite like the new Flickr, but the way it hides the first comments is a nuisance when you're sharing alternative versions, hence putting this one off site - here.

Our shoot was looking to mix long exposure light painting with model work to get some "witch" themed images, with spells and magic being worked. After an hours warm up, however, something snapped in the sky and it blasted down with rain. Pretty much armageddon intensity. Leaving us re-booked for next week.

Info for Strobist:

2x Canon 600EX-RT - master on camera in Lastolite "Ezybox", at the same power as the slave in shoot through umbrella, 90 degrees to camera left, fired by built in RT. I'm afraid I lost the flash setting, but am pretty sure it was 1/32 power.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Eidetic (Emma J Black Reading "Light Scattering By Small Particles"), Southbank Skatepark London

Via Flickr:
This is the first posting in a series I'm shooting with maths textbooks - in this case "Light scatting by small particles" by Hendrik Christoffel "Henk" van de Hulst ForMemRS.

It's shot at the Southbank's incredible skatepark - a London icon currently under threat of redevelopment. If you're equally horrified at the thought that an inspired piece of urban reclamation is going to be bulldozed for yet another tessellated row of veneer-tabled coffee shops, please sign the petition against its destruction here.

The model is Emma J Black, met through Purpleport. If you have a second, her portfolio is pretty intense, and worth checking out here (NSFW). She's fantastic to work with, and more pictures from our shoot will be coming shortly.

There's a more professional crop of this image - rotated a little, cutting out some of the distractions like the dayglo green paint splash to the left - but it simply isn't as charismatic. Likewise, the crazy colour cast on Emma's arm is left in.

Hope everyone is well and enjoying a fantastic weekend.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Dryad (Irina Sosnova), London

Via Flickr:
First image from a series shot with Irina Sosnova in a crowded, humid, 32C St James Park yesterday evening. Irina is awesome, and this image is just a shadow of her proper work which you can find here.

Shooting flash without CTO gel into the setting sun left the colour version a little tricky to balance to my satisfaction. There's a version in the comments below; the bokeh behind her are a little nicer with that burnished glow of sunlight, and the foreground branch is a little more interesting. That said, I like the way the B&W really focuses the scene on Irina.

As always, your thoughts on the colour vs the B&W would be of great interest to me, and much appreciated if you have a second to share them.

Info for strobist:

2x Canon 600EX-RT fired by ST-E3-RT. the first is at 1/4 under a white shoot through umbrella on the ground, 45 degrees to camera right and 3m from model. Perhaps that one is slightly too powerful. The second is at 1/8 on a light stand just above her head height, 45 degrees to camera left, 2m from Irina. A 1.2m silver reflector, anchored to a tree behind me with sellotape, is bringing a little of the sunlight in from behind camera right.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week so far - catching up now.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Brushfire (Backlit Reedbed At Sunset), Dalaman

Via Flickr:
A quick post as I continue to pursue, belatedly, a New Year's resolution to post more marginal shots that I like - even if they might not be revolutionary in terms of content.

This one is in Dalaman, Turkey - somewhere where relatives have a holiday home, which we'd like to go back to, yet current flight prices are so outrageous we've been exploring other places instead.

Low DOF backlighting like this always looks pretty cool; some other examples in the comments.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic start to the weekend.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Going To The Snow (Going To The Sun With Snow Action), Glacier National Park Montana

Via Flickr:
A few weeks back I tweeted about an amazing looking free "instant snow" action shared on Gavin Hoey on his fantastic website. It's an ace site well worth checking out for resources and advice.

Since then I've been playing about Photoshop actions, and thought I'd share one of the more pleasing results. It's very largely down to Gavin's snow action.

It's pleasing though, as it comes from an after thought holiday snap fire off as we got in the car to drive up the "Going to the sun" road on a miserable, rainy day. The colour original was woeful, yet it made a neat black and white shot a couple of years ago. This version kind of updates it to fuller potential. Shooting nowadays feels like it is as much about catching "source material" as it is about getting great results in camera.

Whilst we strive for the latter, missing out on the former leaves some great images on the figurative table.

Hope everyone is having an amazing week and surviving the heat (if in the UK).

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Raven, London

Raven, London by flatworldsedge
Raven, London, a photo by flatworldsedge on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Another quick posting from last week's Monday evening shoot with Raven-Lily and bomvu.

Black and white version in the comments below.

Info for Strobist:

2x Canon 600EX-RT - master on camera in Lastolite "Ezybox", 2 stops below slave in shoot through umbrella 45 degrees to camera right on 1/32 fired by built in RT. 1.2m silver reflector camera left.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Evening Read (Backlit Summer Portrait), London

Via Flickr:
Quick first posting from a second Monday shooting with Raven-Lily and bomvu in St James Park.

Colin and Raven had an amazing backlit shot from the first session, so this was my attempt to plagiarise. As TS Eliot wrote, "Great poets steal".

I've left most of the flare in the shot, just removing a very dense set of rainbow circles floating to the left of Raven's face. Kind of cool, but distracting. The WB in this version is as shot - even though it was fun shifting it to the outrageously warm and seeing the image dissolve into a golden haze, I thought this slightly subtler presentation was ultimately the more intriguing.

Thanks to Raven and Colin for another great session shooting together.

Info for strobist:

2x Canon 600EX-RT fired by ST-E3-RT. the first is at 1/16 under a white shoot through umbrella on the grass, 45 degrees to camera left and 1.5m from model. The second is resting on a book, 90 degrees to camera left, 5m from Raven at 1/32 power. A 1.2m silver reflector behind her is bringing in a little extra light from a patch of sun another 4m to camera right.

Hope everyone is having an ace week so far.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Raven Light (Raven-Lily B&W), London

Via Flickr:
First posting from a fantastic early evening shoot with Raven-Lily and bomvu on Monday night.

Colour versions in the comments.

Raven jumped in last minute to cover a cancelled shoot, and we had great fun meandering up from Victoria to Piccadilly, juggling stands, umbrellas and all sorts of esoteric paraphernalia which I'm amazed didn't see us packed off on a one way trip to some sub-contracted Bulgarian detention centre in the name of "prevention of terrorism". London's army of self appointed Jack Bauers deserve a measure of kudos; we shot through Westminster and by the Palace without harassment. A refreshing data point that hopefully pulls the whole curve nearer something that resembles a confident, functioning democracy.

Raven's key objective for the evening was to get some clean headshots for her portfolio, so this early effort focused on this. There's a nice headshot crop in the comments. I'm not sure this one is ideal for the brief; that splash of silver light across her shoulder is maybe just a little hot and distracting. I kind of like it though, that shimmering smooth gradient glamour is just too perfect for me to care too much about the fact it's brighter than the light in her face. Though it is...

Per my reference on Purpleport (see above link to Raven's portfolio there), Raven's a terrific person to work with. Striking, enthusiastic, patient and flexible; she's awesome to work with. Colin, Raven and I are all looking forward to part 2 of the shoot next Monday. Other postings from the first session to come into my Photostream as work allows,

Now catching up with everyone - hope you're all superbly well and enjoying a productive, exciting week.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Blaue Reise (Sailing Boat & Gulets), Göcek

Via Flickr:
Another quick "heartbeat" post, as quarter end keeps me from processing and Flickr.

This is one of a number of archive shots which, whilst it does rewrite history, I rather liked, but never got around to posting. Just a clean holiday shot of something I'd intended to catch and broadly managed too, but it hopefully confirms I'm still alive.

Hope everyone is well and look forward to catching up more frequently and without the 1-2 day delays that early mornings and late nights of work are currently enforcing.

Have a great week.