Let's see how I get on with this... Zenfolio's new Blog feature.  Enjoy, comment, criticise, laugh - do your worst, they're only words :)

Hectic heroics heading East on the South Bank...

May 18, 2012  •  1 Comment

Though now fully recovered, last Friday was a one of those manic days where, when you look back after a few days, you wonder how on earth you managed to fit it all in.  Here's the tale. 

eGroup UK is the forum I frequent the most (apart I guess from my own brass discussion forum - www.theMouthPiece.com).  it's a thriving, vibrant and extremely close-knit community of Olympus and 4/3rds shooters; anView across the South Bank d we often arrange meets around various parts of the UK. Last Friday was a meet up on the South Bank, London - and at the last minute, literally the day before... having been asked, I decided to get off my lazy arse, make the effort and head East on the train.  Bill Gordon The thing was... the meet was to commence on the South Bank at 18:30, meeting in a local pub at 18:00 - and I had a conference call in work that I could not reschedule that didn't finish until 15:00.  Hmmm... now you're getting this blogs title eh!

So, it was: 15:00 leave work after meeting finished; head home to pick up Sigma 150mm F2.8 and shower; get son to drop me off at BR to get 16:09 to Paddington; catch my breath on the train for 1:55; clean kit (my ND110 was bogging); arrive Paddington at 18:05 and grab cab to Victoria; get out of cab and straight to what I can only say was a wonderful group of fellow Olympus togs patiently waiting outside the pub! OXO Building This was one of the most well attended eGroup meets I had been on - with I would think over 25 people traveling from all parts of the UK to attend.  I managed to get the 10:45 from Paddington to home, and actually fell asleep for the most part of the return leg, arriving home, and to my bed at 01:10.

Enough of my ramblings and on with a selection of the shots I managed over the course of the next few hours.  The first one above is a 4 shot stitched pano (Auto Pano Pro) of the classic South Bank skyline.  I've linked this to the large hi-res version should you wish to dive deeper into the buses on the bridge!

We had a very special visitor with us on this trip; Mr Bill Gordon, an Olympus user on holidays all the way from Canada.  Bill is a regular on the forum, and it was lovely to meet him in person.  Here's a candid capture of Bill, showing him full of character and splendidly detailed through the use of the Sigma 150mm.

IOXO Warf am not sure Bill has even seen this shot yet, I do hope he likes it.

I am also a fan of HDR - here's a shot of the OXO building from the edge of the OXO Warf - however, despite using the wonderful 7-14mm I managed not to get all the building into the shot.  If I had stepped back a few paces it might have been able to fix that, hey ho!Millenium Bridge

I had the ND110 with me also, and while several of the group ventured into the lifts to the top of the OXO building (me + lifts... oh no, no, no!) I stayed firmly on the ground and took this long exposure shot of the OXO Warf itself.  Seemed to work OK.

Finally, as it was already getting dark, I managed one from the Millennium Bridge - complete with ghostly figures looming!

Not the most eloquent of blog updates I'm afraid: having been up quite late last night (that's the subject of another blog entry) I am quite tired, and it's way too early on a Saturday morning to be doing this.  Alas...


A break in the weather... and a tale of two images.

May 01, 2012  •  2 Comments

OK, I am still going, despite it being a week since my last blog post...!

Still on my quest to take a series of three separate sets of images of Newport and the surrounding area, these two shots will probably end up in the 'normal' category.  They were taken from the garden of a popular pub, just on the outskirts of the Roman fortress of Isca, aka Caerleon looking back down the Usk valley towards Newport.  What struck me when I was setting up was the rate of water flow gushing past me.  The River Usk, a tributary of the much larger River Severn - has the second largest tidal flow in the World, second only to a river in Alaska somewhere.  Often the tidal range of the Severn and the Usk is in excess of 50 feet!

This first shot is another 5-bracket set, processed initially in Nik HDR Effex Pro, then finalised in Lightroom 4.

We have had more than our fair share of rain these last few weeks - with April being the wettest on record - and th is amount of rainfall is certainly evident when watching the outflow of this river - the volume and speed of the water racing past me was just huge.  This second shot is a long-ish exposure using the B+W ND110 filter on the Olympus 11-22mm lens - 15 seconds to produce this smoothness in the water!

Although each of these images was taken from the same vantage point - and OK, they were with different lenses - the difference between them in their final versions is quite startling.

So there you have it... a tale of two shots!

Image detail: shot 1: 5 brackets, E-5, Oly 7-14mm lens @9mm, HDR in Nik-Effects pro, processed in Lightroom 4

Image detail: shot 2: Single shot, E-5, Oly 11-22mm lens @11mm, 15 second exposure using the B+W ND110 filter, final processing in Lightroom 4


Both ends of the Rainbow...

April 21, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Well, well, well... what's this, a second Blog post, and so soon... wow!! 

OK, it's nothing photographically special, but it was an unexpected moment in time that I was fortunate enough to capture.  As we were out this evening (with may best mate Mark, and my daughters best friend Shannon) on the way back home from collecting our family-and-friends-KFC-Saturday-night-take-away meal, the weather was dry, then showery, then cloudy, then dark, then light...  i.e. particularly changeable.  However, its change presented us with a totally marvelous rainbow, one of the most vivid in fact that I have ever seen.   We watched it from the car all the way home (it's OK, I was a passenger and not the driver), and fortunately mother nature was kind enough to keep it there, in sight, remaining there in time for us to get home to try to get a shot.

Once home, I ran to my camera bag, grabbed the cam, ran back to the top of our stairs, and managed to get this shot of said rainbow from the side window of the house, across our neighbors gardens.  It really was vivid, quite startling in fact - the sunlight made it light up considerably.

I wonder if there was a pot of gold in the golf fields?

This is another 5-bracket set, processed initially in Nik HDR Effex Pro, then finalised in Lightroom 4.

Image detail: 5 brackets, E-5, Oly 7-14mm lens @9mm, HDR in Nik-Effects pro, processed in Lightroom 4


Zenfolios new 'Blog' format... and a 'dirty' start!

April 20, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Over this last year or so, as many of us often experience, I've struggled with my photo-mojo - not wanting to do anything with my camera and generally having a 'meh' attitude about photography. There are several reasons for this, one being the fact that my beloved Oly 7-14mm lens was not functioning properly, wasn't focusing at the wide end... the best end!  So in an attempt to rejuvenate my passion for photography I decided it should go off to Olympus for repair, and that I should also embark on a series of mini projects.Click on image for larger view

This shot is the start one such mini project called 'Newport in Triumvirate' where eventually I hope to have captured the city in a series of between 5-10 shots in each of three categories: Dirty Newport, Usual Newport, and Arty Newport - in each category I will depict Newport as per its title.

Over the last few years, on the one hand Newport has obtained for itself a rather poor name in terms of awful media coverage, late night drunk yobs and a disused central shopping center - whereas on the other hand, there are many new and exciting development projects underway as a result of events such as the Ryder Cup etc - and there's also some quite exceptional sights and buildings/structures to see in and around the town. It's not all doom and gloom despite my Dirty Newport start!!

This shot may or may not end up in the 1st category, as I only went out for an hours drive around the city yesterday evening, seeking out possible shoot locations for the project and in so doing found myself in a roadies truckers yard just before lock-up time. I hopped up to the riverbank and took a series of brackets.  Voila... took this one.

Image detail: 5 brackets, E5, 7-14mm @7mm, HDR in Nik-Effects pro, processed in Lightroom 4

 

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