Posts Tagged ‘mono’

Old stuff

May 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Old stuff can look amazing!

Another season has ended at my photographic society and the summer closed season is upon us. During this time some members embark on their annual trip to Italy or France or Africa, some members stay closer to home and head to the sandy beaches of Cornwall or Wales (last year was a popular year for Northumberland – including my own trip).

This year, I intend to venture out to the lakes in August and may get chance to whip out the camera at the golden hours for sunsets (and sunrises if I can get my butt out of bed). So watch this space for amazing Lee Big Stopper slow shutter speed photographs.

This blog post isn’t about amazing vistas though. That will come later in the year. This post is about a different kind of photography…

Inspiration from others

At one of the last meetings of club we had a knock out competition where members usually showcase or tryout some new stuff they have been working on in advance of next season’s league comps. One image in particular tickled something in my creative imagination and was screaming for a re-shoot.

As a result of another photographer’s shortcomings, I now have what I believe to be a killer idea for an image to create and enter for next season. I don’t have any of the subject matter though…..yet!

I intend to create a ’still-life/record’ type shot of old/antique/vintage objects in a mono, yet very detailed style. This has led me to venture over to trusty eBay for a gander of what can be obtained for my bucket of ’props’.

Old stuff can also be expensive!

Oops! Using funds from my microstock sales I have managed to spend over £30!…. On old tat! I have bought a few really old keys, a couple of pocket watch movements and an old coin (photography can also be educational). I just need to find/create a setting for my shot. This is proving tricky. I have an old tool shed in mind, with a window to provide an interesting light. I can’t think of where one is though!!

I can see the shot now, mono (perhaps sepia-ish or some sort of ’vintage’ effect), gritty, very sharp with a wide range of tones from almost complete dark shadows to almost blown highlights.

I know I am getting ahead of myself, perhaps posting this blog is a bit premature but I am so excited about the photograph forming in my imagination.

I’m not too worried about the cost of the bits and pieces because I intend to shoot all of the objects from various different angles and process in various different styles for my microstock sales that I am confident I can recoup the funds (and more over time) – and there is always the option of re-sale on eBay anyway.

Who needs to go on lavish foreign holidays to get excited about photography? Not me – this year anyway!

Image details

ISO 100, f/22′ 1sec, Sigma 150mm macro



Castle Rock

February 24, 2012 1 comment



Castle Rock

Another view of Dunstanburgh Castle whilst on a holiday in Northumberland. This is photographed on the same night as my sunset shot. Well before the sun decided to appeared I worked on trying to achieve a real moody black and white image.


The setup

This castle has been photographed many times. Some would say you only have to look for the tripod holes in the rocks to find the effect spot from which to shoot it. I don’t care. I always have to go out and give my own take on subjects for myself. I decide to go for a long exposure because there is enough detail in the sky to be able to capture the movement of the clouds. The trusty 10 stop filter is required for this job. An exposure of a good few minutes can be achieved at this time of evening when adding this filter.


The shoot

Tripod all set up low down, wide angle lens attached I focus on the big rock just in front of me. Aperture set to give sufficient depth of field I meter the exposure and calculate what that should be if the scene were 10 stops darker. Being careful not to knock the setup I screw on the B+W 10 stop filter. Set the camera to bulb mode and press the shutter release cable.


It is always a tense moment waiting for the time to elapse and the image to appear on the rear of the camera. I don’t want to get this wrong and have to repeat the process so I always check and recheck my settings for this kind of shot. Some exposures can go into their minutes so each take is precious – even in this digital age.



Conversion to black and white is necessary when shooting RAW. Curves and levels adjustments made then sharpened to finish off. Sweet!



Sticks and Stones

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment


Shot at Llandulas beach, north Wales. It’s the “almost” uniform recession of the groynes as well as the detail in the foreground that makes this picture for me.

The setup

Foreground is so important when shooting landscapes. It gives a sense of scale as well as depth to a picture. It brings the sole shot together. Foreground interest gives the viewer a starting point for their journey through the image. Tripod is a must for this shot – a long exposure of 100 seconds requires complete stillness, which is difficult when you are freezing your assets off on a windy beach.

The shoot

The trusty wide-angle lens is out again. I get really low down to the ground, and in close to the rocks to exaggerate their size. I know the shot I want in my head. I want milky water, almost fog-like, frothing over the rocks and a calm tranquil sea for the groynes to descend into. For this I need a Neutral Density filter capable of stopping down the light for a good few seconds. It can only mean one thing… This is a job for the 10 -stop filter!

I arrange the kit, making sure the camera is focused on the right spot to ensure the whole image is sharp. Using the camera’s exposure meter I now calculate how long I would need to leave the shutter open for based on its current reading. Being careful not to move the setup, I now attach the 10-stop filter. With bulb mode applied, I now dial in the aperture (f/22) and press the shutter-release cable button and wait. This is the hard part – waiting for time to pass, concentrating on not disturbing any rocks underfoot otherwise the whole setup will have to be restarted. 100 seconds later – click. That’s it, done. I view the camera’s preview image and histogram to make sure the calculated exposure time was accurate. Got it.


Being next to the sea it is inevitable that the filter will catch some of the spray from the water, especially on a windy day, so a few minutes viewing the shot at 100% is necessary to make sure I clear up the dust-bunnies using Photoshop’s spot-healing brush. Some levels adjustments and sharpening and I’m happy.


Neutral Density Filters

February 10, 2012 1 comment


These are a landscape photographer’s best friend. Being able to control natural daylight to create the image you want is a wonderful thing.

One of my favourite bits of kit is the B+W 10 stop ND filter. This has helped me to create some stunning, prize winning images. However, I have adopted the Lee Filter system as my process for taking most of my landscape shots and the B+W Filter no longer fits into this family.

The Lee system consists of a holder to accommodate multiple rectangular and square slot in filters and the B+W filter is a screw in filter. With the 10-Stop filter being so dark, by the time you have screwed it onto the front you can no longer see anything through the viewfinder. So if you need to make any adjustments you have to take everything off again.

Lee now make a 10 stop slot-in square filter for the system I use which makes things a whole lot easier. However, their back order is so long I have been waiting since June 6th 2011 for mine to arrive. Finally it arrived with Monday morning’s post! Yay!

So, if anyone requires a fantastic quality 10 stop Neutral Density filter with a 77mm thread I am selling mine on eBay here. I look after all my kit so you will find it in mint condition.

Knock Out Wonderboy!

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Knockout competitions seem to be becoming somewhat of a speciality for me!

At the end of each season at camera club we have a knockout competition whereby each member is allowed to enter up to 6 images to be projected digitally. The images are all entered into a piece of software on the computer and randomised. The images will then appear in a random order to be voted against the image next to it. Members vote for the image out of the two they like the best and it goes through to the next round, knocking the losing image out.

Long story short, I won! Here is the winning image…

I call it “Sticks and Stones”

12 months plus???

June 2, 2011 Leave a comment

I cannot believe it has been over 12 months since my last post. I didnt feel like i had much opportunity to get out with the camera last year and this just proves it! I started a new job which takes up a lot more of my time these days so photography has unfortunatley had to take a bit of a back seat. 😦

The last competition of the season was very fruitful for me. I managed to win the knockout competition with the following image: –

This was taken at Llandullas beach in North Wales using a 10-stop neutral density filter, which allowed me to expose the image for a good few minutes!

Camera club season is over for us at Crewe Photographic Society and the chance to go shooting instead of the weekly club meet has arisen. I have managed to get out a bit at weekends too.

I have so far been on a couple of excursions and I’m happy to report they have been quite successful. I’m really pleased with the direction my photography is going at present and I just hope i manage to capture enough material for the coming season.

You will see some new images on my website.

This Dandelion Clock was basking in the dappled sunlight underneath a tree amongst these Bluebells. I love the colours!


North Wales

March 1, 2010 Leave a comment

At 4.30 am the alarm went off to signal a belated first trip to the coast was about to start!

This outing was to start in Colwyn Bae and finish in Llandulas on the way home (with a short stop at Macdonalds in between of course).

Itching to test out some new kit i’d recently invested in, I couldnt wait to unload the car and hit the beach as soon as I arrived.

I’ve processed and uploaded some shots from the weekend to my website. Be sure to check out the ‘North Wales’ and ‘Creative‘ sections for the latest ones.

I love the milky water effect created through long exposures like the one above.

Thanks for looking.