Well another year has flashed by and to start the New Year off I have been working behind the scenes on a brand new look to the website. The list of improvements is impressive.
If your also looking for a new look for your site, contact me for a quote asap.
View my new Template Here:
A few months ago I wrote about fun with Welders Glass as a nuetral density filter which gave reasonable results although there was a colour cast to correct. (See Earlier Post)
Since then I have purchased a set of Neutral density filters, No not the Lee Big Stopper which proved to be in very short supply and was selling at a premium price plus a filter holder and adaptor ring was also required. I settled on the Haida and bought a set of 3 filters 3 stop, 6 stop and 10 stop circular 77mm screw on type, the set of three together cost less than 1 lee filter and give excellent results with no colour cast.
The photo above at Binstead Hard, Isle Of Wight was taken at dusk and was 181 seconds at F11 ISO 100 using the 10 stopper. Using the circular screw on type means you need to frame the shot before screwing on the filter, although I have been lining shots up by looking along the lens barrel. Focusing isachieved by setting the lens to manual focus and using the depth of field scale to manually focus on the subject. With the wide angle lens I am using set at F11 everything from 3 metres to infinity is sharp. I bracket the exposures and rely on the histogram to gauge correct exposure because when using the LCD display it is too bright and what looks to be ok is always under exposed. So the display now is only used for checking framing.
The Photo below is the colour version of the photo above.
Next trip was to Bembridge and the first photo was shot again with the 10 stopper F11 ISO 100 and 91 seconds.
Next photo again at Bembridge this time at Black Rock Ledge. 10 seconds F11 ISO 100 Haida 3 Stop ND. Focus set manually to the 3 metre to infinity mark on the depth of field scale.
The results are pretty good and a bit more practice in the right conditions should give some outstanding results. The Haida circular screw on filters are not as easy to use as a slide in filter but the results are as good. The only downside is having to carry the tripod around a lot more than I have in the past.
The 3 stop 6 stop and 10 stop Nuetral Density Filters from Haida bought new on ebay as a set of 3 for less than £100 including postage have been a very worthwhile addition to the photographers box of tricks.
as always all comments are welcome
After a lot of thought and reading up on the internet I finally took the plunge and decided to give Magic Lantern Firmware (ML) a go on my Canon 5D mk ii. The deciding factor for me was ML's ability to increase the 5D ii Std AEB from 3 shot ± 2 EV upto a maximum 9 shot AEB with an EV range of upto ±5 plus an auto detect mode where you take the first shot and the software works out how many more shots are required to cover the full EV range of the photo.
My first step was to bring the official Canon firmware upto version 2.1.2, this was downloaded from Canon UK, unzipped and the firmware file copied onto the CF card using a card reader (full instructions come in the zipped file as a PDF help file). Before updating the camera make sure your battery is fully charged. The CF card was then place in the CF card slot in the camera and then the update page found in the menu. By selecting update the camera software checks the CF card for new firmware and reports back with the new firmware version number (2.1.2) select update and the new firmware will load onto the camera.
The next stage was to download Magic Lantern version 2.3 from ML's website unzip and read the installation instructions which are in the unzipped folder along with a user guide both as PDF's.
The first thing to mention is that ML comes with no guarantees, it is reverse engineering so if it bricks your camera you will have a nice heavy doorstop.
Having said this the research I did seemed to indicate that heat build-up might be a problem when shooting raw video possibly in the CF Card. ML says it is not a problem the rest appears to be lots of speculation. Most of my work is shooting stills so I don't see heat build-up being a problem What is confirmed is that ML 2.3 is the most stable version yet and a lot of people are starting to use it for their HDR work. The firmware runs from the CF card so it results in a slight delay in waking the camera from sleep mode and starting the HDR sequence. It also means you need to load ML onto any CF cards you want to run with the firmware. At the moment I have one 32gb card with the ML firmware and one without. If changing cards you must wait for the LED to stop blinking before removing the inserted card or you will have problems. This is no different to most computers let it finish what it is doing and power down then remove the card
I followed the ML installation instruction to the letter and in less than 5 minutes it was time to test. To bring up the ML menu you press the delete/bin key navigation is the same as canons menu except to open sub menus you use the picture style button and the set button to change the values. The menu is vast and will take time to learn but the page for HDR is pretty straightforward choose the HDR mode, auto detect or 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 or 9 shots then choose the EV between shots 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 5.
So setting the camera to manual I set the shutter speed and aperture and I tried the HDR AEB in auto detect mode which I have to admit I hated because you do not know how many shots the camera will take sometimes it was 2 or 3 or 5 depending on the EV range in the photo you were taking and I found myself waiting for it to continue when it had finished or lowering the camera only to have it fire off another 2 shots not a good start. Also you only have to press the shutter once the rest of the sequence of shots fire off automatically, if you do forget to lift your shutter finger the camera will continue taking shots at the speed and aperture you have set untl you lift your finger off the shutter, then it will resume taking the rest of the HDR sequence.
A revisit to the menu and I changed the number of shots from auto to 5 and the EV range to 1 and switched off the 2 sec delay. The next batch of shots were fine, press the shutter once and the other 4 fire off automatically. The photo at the top of the blog is a 5 shot HDR blend with the camera on a wall with 1 EV spacing at 0.5, 1, 2, 4 and 8 seconds ISO 100 and F22 the shutter was fired using a wired remote.
Are you using Magic Lantern?
Thought about it but worried it may brick your camera?
Let me know your thoughts I would love to hear them and compare experiences!
Leave a comment
Part two of My Magic Lantern trial will follow soon.
Neutral Density Filters
The big Lee 10 stopper ND filter works out an expensive piece of equipment, first you have the filter itself add a holder to put it in plus the adapter ring to suit your lens and you are talking over £150 before you can even get out and try it. So what are the alternatives if you want to shoot long exposures to blur those clouds and give water that silky sheen
Welding Glass as a ND Filter is not a new idea but it was a viable alternative to explore the world of ultra long exposures. Sourcing any kind of high end photo gear in Portugal is hard work and in the Algarve there are No specialist Camera Shops to be found anywhere. But there are a few welding shops here in Faro and a 15 minute walk brought me to his front door.
(Want to read more, click the link on the right)
Ferragudo, Algarve, Portugal
Ferragudo is not to be missed, but to get the best from this fishing village you have to walk and be reasonably fit for there is a lot of ground to cover. From the railway station we headed towards the Rio Arade and strolled along the sandy banks into the village for a coffee before continuing along the fishermans quay to the lifeboat station walk around the back wall of the lifeboat station through a small alley and you come to the villages first small beach at the far end is Castelo Sao Joao (pictured). Here you will need to go around the rocks at its base onto the next beach bigger this time head towards the far end but don't miss the dinosaur footprint fossils in the cliff on the way. At the far end of the beach you will find the steps to the clifftop path which will take you past a numer of small beaches and the giant breakwater to the lighthouse at the point. The views of The Rio Arade, Porti Mao, Praia de Rocha, Lagos and Pointe Piedade along the way are breath taking There are a number of small cafe/bars on the way to rest those legs before returning either the way you came or along the road back to Ferragudo and the little village square for a well deserved rest. Next is the village church which overlooks the Rio Arade just head up to the highest point to find the church and more amazing views. You can then if your legs can take it explore the little backstreets of the old part of the village for photos like the one opposite. - See more at: http://www.manateevoyager.com/locations.html
Slde Show or Slider? That was the question and a slide show on the front page of the website just didn't have the wow factor.
The container it sat in was always too large resulting in wasted space above and below and tweaking the CSS did not resolve the problem.
Weebly offer a slider with their Pro account and give you the tools to put one on you site but what they don't tell you is free users can have one as well, you just do not get the tools to do it so have to figure out the HTML and CSS yourself.
Well the good news for me is I figured it out and have changed my slide show to a 1020 x 400px full page width slider. What a difference it makes the wasted space above and below is gone resulting in a much cleaner look with the website logo and the slider filling the screen.
It is not all good news though, the slide show allowed you to link every photograph to another page on the website my buy now page for example. The slider does not appear to have that option available or maybe you know a way of doing this?
For now I am happy and have learn't a bit more about CSS and HTML which not so long ago was like an alien language but is now starting to make some sense, it is lucky that I always think "if there is a will there is always a way" to do these these things.
Providing a sitemap to Google has been another big tick in the box so they can better index My website. This was another feature that is not plainly obvious in Weebly, reading on Google Webmaster Tools about how I should provide one but having no idea how to do this it sat on the backburner not forgotten but in the pile labelled "How the He... do I do this".
Luckily whilst researching the slider I happened to find a page telling me that every Weebly site has a sitemap and you just have to know the magic words to get it. If you want to know those words you had better send me a message.
If you read this and visits My website, please let me know by way of a comment to this post how long the front page takes to load, with my slow connection it is hard to judge the speed.
The Guiding Light
A discussion in a forum got me thinking about style, what it is, how it evolves and what shapes its development to the point that other people can recognise your work from the style of the photograph. There is a guy over on Fine Art America (FAA) who takes photos of old barber shops, chemists and lately firemen and hand paints over them to the extent that when you see a picture you just know it is his work, it is so unique. It is his style and his alone his name is Mike Savad. Then there is Betty Larue the lady who started the thread at Photo4me on style, she works with textures and again has a well defined style to her work soft tones and expertly blended textures makes her work stand out from the crowd.
What defines your style? I guess today in the digital age there are many factors that can and do shape your style. Maybe it starts with the type of camera you use, your favourite lens the one you always seem to have on the camera not the bag load you always carry with you but never seem to use. The big wide angle or long telephoto instantly defines the photograph with either an endless or a very narrow depth of field and field of vision. The type of photographs you take, people pictures, nature, landscape, action, macro etc and how you process them all define who you are and your style.
It is in most cases a subconscious thing done without thinking, fine tuned over many years without you even realising you are doing it. I say most cases because there are occasions when a certain style is how you may want to be recognised for, so there is a conscious effort to do things a certain ways to achieve a desired result, is this wrong of course not, it is your chosen style.
For those who say they do not have a style, well maybe it just has not developed enough yet to be recognisable but don't worry it is there just waiting to emerge like a flower in the springtime it just needs a bit more time to develop but it will emerge eventually.
Yesterday I decided to have an afternoon off from building my Website and do a piece of photo editing,
The lifeboat station is a great subject and I have been looking for an image to give a 3D look to for a while, but nothing in my portfolio really looked right.
First I created a duplicate layer and converted it to black and white to give it a more dramatic look. Next by the use of a layer mask I revealed the colour beneath in areas of the photo by painting the mask on at various opacity settings from 100% for the building itself down to 12% when working on the piles. Next I applied a radial blur to the black and white layer to give the zoom effect and make the building itself seem to pop out the front of the photo.
Lastly I added a layer mask to the radial blur adjustment layer to decrease the effect around a few of the piles to give the building something to stand on so to speak.
Click on either photo to view a larger photo.
All comments appreciated good or bad, thanks for taking the time to look
New Gallery Added Architecture Photography
Architecture you will either love it or hate it because it is art in its most visible form. In some parts of the world they build boxes which are ugly to the eye but serve a purpose within their walls, Others embrace the style of the architect and build things of beauty.
The World is full of impressive architecture some old with blocks of stone chiseled by hand, others are modern and have facades of steel and glass in each there is beauty the curve of the arch, the detail, the reflective qualities, the textures, the strong lines.
The impressive detailing of the blocks of stone and the reflective beauty of the modern glass facades.live side by side both in the real world and in my photography gallery of architectural photographs. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have creating these photographs
The work continues with major changes to the look and feel of the website. I have designed a new pattern which I have used to create a textured background which has given the website a more classy look.
Each top level page has also been redesigned with a different header photograph for each page.
A travelling photographer from the South of England who is on a journey of discovery around Europe in his sailboat Trelawney.