Monochrome Moments – 4

I rarely go back to my ‘holiday’ snaps, looking for potential monochrome images.  A recent post from Mike Osborn’s prompted me to look at some old photos from Fuerteventura, and I think that I must start doing it more often.  I found this one.  It’s not as good as Mike’s, but it does show that the sun doesn’t always shine there.  I quite liked the drama in the sky, and also the receding ‘mountains’ (really only little volcanic hills).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used a slightly ‘warm’ conversion from the Topaz presets because I thought that it might fit with the actual colours of the landscape better.  Personally, I think that the mono image is better than the original, which I have included below for comparison.  I know that the original shows the sand colour correctly, but mono shows more drama in the sky and the wind blown ‘ripples’ in the sand more clearly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFuerteventura is a barren island in the Canaries, best known for sunshine, beaches and strong winds, which give the island it’s name.  These images are from the Sand Dunes immediately south of Corralejo, at the north end of the island.

Dorset Coast – 1

I struggle with post titles, so I’m going to continue the trend that I’ve adopted recently, at least where I think there will be more with the same theme.

Today it is cold and grey, and getting colder according to the weather man.  This picture is from a stroll on the beach at Burton Bradstock yesterday, when the sun was shining and all was good in the world.  It was not too chilly, at least not for the young lady taking a dip.  She said that she swims all summer and couldn’t see a reason to stop in the winter.  I was impressed!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe moon was meant to be more prominent, but I recomposed to get the swimmer in and forgot it.  Silly me!

Fisheye Fun – 5

One serious problem with ‘fisheye’ photos is the difficulty of keeping unwanted elements out of the eventual image.  Since I’ve had this lens, I have taken numerous closeup pictures of fingers, thumbs, and camera straps, but I am now getting the hang of it.

The lens is still fun at the moment.  The Lloyd’s Building seemed to be crying out for attention when on a recent walk in London.  The only unwanted element in this one was a car parked in the lower right.  The clone tool fixed this!

Largely LloydsI had to decide whether to make this a Monochrome Moment or a bit of Fisheye Fun.  I thought Fisheye ruled for this one.

Monochrome Moments – 3

I’ve touched on Camera Club competitions before.  Well, we had another Camera Club competition last night and the theme for this competition was ‘Monochrome’, so I thought that a post about my efforts in this competition might fit the ‘Monochrome Moments’ series quite well.  I know that some ‘online photographers’ don’t have much time for Camera Clubs and competitions, and I do understand that point of view.  The Club does, however, get me out on a Monday night and it’s good to be able to mix with like minded people.  I also have a bit of a competitive streak in me, so it seems natural to enter the competitions and give support to the Club’s efforts in running them.

The Judge for this competition was very experienced, so I don’t think that there was much dissent from the opinions that he passed on the evening’s images, certainly not from me.  I thought that I would use ‘Monochrome Moments – 3’ to describe what I may have learned from last night’s judging of one of my entries.

Although sometimes I have managed to shoot specifically for a competition, frequently I find myself trawling through recent images that I have taken, trying to decide what might make a suitable entry.  For this competition I needed four images but this post will talk about just one.

None of the observations that the judge made are new.  We are all aware of the potential pitfalls that a photographer can make.  The problem is that we can also momentarily forget some of these pitfalls when we spot an image that we think just needs to be captured.  This was what I was guilty of when pressing the shutter release on this occasion.  The next image is the one that I entered although the original vision was of a colour image.

The sun was low, the scene was peaceful and I really loved the reflections.  I wanted to capture these reflections.  I also wanted to use the path to the Mill as a ‘lead in’, and I spotted the small boat pulled up on the shore on the right hand side, thinking that this might add interest to the scene. Click!

Carew Tidal MillGo on – pull it apart.  Well, the Mill isn’t ‘on a third’, which I thought was acceptable bearing in mind I had already considered what I wanted to show.  The power lines and poles hadn’t really been considered.  I think I knew that they were there, but didn’t think them an issue at the time.  The judge last night did appreciate the reflections, but thought that the right hand end of the image was not worth keeping.  He would rather have seen the Mill depicted in a portrait configuration, which would have had the benefit of removing ‘the ugly post on the right’ (his words).  Sometimes ‘less’ is ‘more’ was a message that he passed several times during the evening.  I couldn’t get a ‘vertical’ crop without loosing the ‘lead in’ from the bottom left, so I opted to try a square crop. Carew Tidal MillSince the judge didn’t like the power lines and the post on the right, I took the opportunity to remove the rest of them.  Here is a ‘letterbox’ crop like the original effort, but with the offending electricity removed.

Carew Tidal MillHaving listened to the judge’s words, and taken another critical look at the image, I have to agree with him.  I do now think that the square crop is best, even though I do still like the original ‘letterbox’ crop.  What I have learned is that I do need to be much more critical at the stage where the image is recorded, and also that it is well worth exploring the options when preparing an image for competition, posting or printing.  Available time is of course the thing that will likely make me forget what I have learned.

That’s it for Monochrome Moments – 3.  Perhaps another of my entries for last night’s competition will make it into Monochrome Moments – 4.

Monochrome Moments – 2

The next one in this series is also from our walk around London at the end of October.  Having walked through the City, we were returning to the South Bank over the Millenium Bridge.  Having just fitted my Samyang Fisheye, I thought it would be worth a bit of a ‘panorama’ looking downstream towards The Shard.  I guess that I could have used this image in the Fisheye Fun series, but having done a mono conversion, I thought that this series might be more appropriate.

Although it is not so far, the fisheye lens makes Tower Bridge appear miles away.  The B&W conversion was done by ‘fiddling around’ in Topaz B&W Effects.  I can’t remember the actual adjustments now.

From The Millenium BridgeI guess that if I could have worked out how to do it, this could have been an entry into the five days black and white challenge suggested by Mike Osborn in his comment to my Monochrome Moments – 1.  I may just go ahead and post a few more on a daily basis anyway.

Fisheye Fun – 4

This shot of Portland and the Harbour were taken from the Nothe Gardens in Weymouth.  I guess that it would have been better if I’d had a ND Grad, but there we are.  I thought about cropping the burned out sun out of the frame, but I don’t think that the composition would have worked.  I suppose that I should have tried a hand held HDR bracket (yes, no tripod with me), but I don’t think that I originally thought the image would be worth it.  I now think that maybe I was wrong.

Portland from The Nothe

Monochrome Moments – 1

I’ve been dabbling more and more with B&W conversions of my photos.  I really like the way it can transform shots taken on a gloomy day, but I also find that removal of the distraction of colour can often allow a better appreciation of the picture.  I’m beginning to think that almost any picture can make a good B&W image, although bold shapes, patterns, textures and strong contrast produce the best.

In the future, I will probably post a fair few monochrome images.  This is the first of my Monochrome Moments. It was snapped when walking past 20 Fenchurch street, otherwise known as the Walkie Talkie building, in the City of London.

The Walkie TalkieIn this image, we have mainly shapes, lines and texture.  The texture is provided by the ‘sunshade’, introduced since the ‘solar glare’ off the south face of the original building was responsible for melting parts of the bodywork of a number of cars.

Actually, this B&W version is not so different from the original colour shot, which looked pretty monochrome on that day.

Fisheye Fun – 3

This is another shot from October’s trip to Kingston Lacy and as I said in an earlier post, I hadn’t mastered ‘focus peaking’ with a third party, manual lens at that time.  This shows up very clearly in this shot, which I only took to see how the lens behaved as a ‘closeup’ lens.  It was also a pretty slow shutter speed so the lack of sharpness isn’t really a surprise.  Perhaps the lack of DOF was, but I’m learning from these ‘cockups’.  Now I know how to drive it, things can only get better.



Problem Uploading Images from Lightroom to WordPress Media Library.

I’m struggling at the moment.  My old brain is just not up to the job.  I have spent many hours over the last day or two, trying to understand what has gone wrong.  I’m posting here, in the hope that some clever WordPress user can help me.  Here is the background:

For many months, I have been exporting my images directly from Lightroom to my WordPress Media Library using the ‘Dossier de Presse’ plugin.  It has given me a very simple, and reliable tool.  I stopped working a couple of days ago, producing the following onscreen message:

‘An internal error has occurred: Invalid at the top level of the document.’.

I had not knowingly made any changes to the set up of this plugin because it had been working perfectly.  The only thing that I had done, was update my Lightroom installation to V 5.7 and initially, I wondered whether this could have introduced the problem.  I don’t, however believe this to be the case because I have a second WordPress blog under production, and I can still export to this using exactly the same plugin procedure.

I’ve tried as far as I am able, to look for any differences between process used on the two ‘blogs’.  I’m thinking about going back to ‘calling’ the images from Flickr, which is how I started, but don’t want to do this because I can’t set up ‘galleries’ within posts using that method.

If anyone can help, using terminology that this old man can understand, then I would be most grateful.  In the meantime, I’ll look at other alternatives to try to keep this blog rolling.