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  #91  
Old 14th September 2011
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Week 31 - Wind

Tankerton Beach Sunset


Week 31 - Wind by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
Long exposure sunset over Tankerton Beach at low tide
Why:
An attempt to capture the sense of the wind by taking a classic long exposure skyscape with blurred clouds
How:
It was low tide so I could walk a significant distance out from the foreshore giving some wet mud in which to capture the reflection of the gorgeous evening light.
I placed my 12-60mm at its widest angle and together with a B&W ND110 filter I could get a 25 second exposure.
Adjustments made in LR3 for the usual (clarity, vibrance, saturation, vignette etc) including a 2 exp graduated filter to lighten the mud and maintain detail in the clouds.
Learnt:
Using live view, composition is easily achieved even with the filter fitted. In order to get a correctly exposed picture a +1.7 eV exposure compensation is required as with the filter added the normal metering leads to severely underexposed photographs.
Improvement:
Foreground interest. A wide angle image like this benefits from having foreground interest. I did take a further image 2 minutes later with the pole in the mud much more prominent in the shot, by which time I was both in the wet mud and it was raining heavily. The light was even worse and the image had too much noise, but also the changed position lost some of the gorgeous tones on the norizon so I ditched it in favour of the shot above.
Exposure. Even with the global exposure compensation set at +1.7 eV, the mud is still underexposed that when lifted in LR3 you start to see a lot of noise.
Hot pixels. Olympus do seem to suffer more than Canikon in this respect when taking long exposure photographs. I could have taken a ‘blank’ image to subtract, but think I will stick to spot fixing in LR3.
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
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  #92  
Old 14th September 2011
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Week 32 - Evolution

Mitsubishi Evo VI


Week 32 - Evolution by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
Evolution VI decal on a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI
Why:
The term evo is extremely evocative amongst petrolheads. I was lucky to chance across an Evo at my local garage… this being the rally inspired evolution of a dull Japanese saloon in to one of the most outrageous weapons one can own for the road.
How:
Shot early evening in appalling light under the garage forecourt roof, so I used the widest aperture possible on my XZ-1 in order to keep the ISO and noise down.
Post-processing was to boost the red, desaturate the other colours (it was a grey car but the metallic paint gave some strange reflections) and apply usual processing of clarity, vibrance, saturation etc).
Learnt:
Composition remains one of my biggest obstacles to overcome, but having realised the problems caused by unwelcome background distractions from other cars etc, I settled for a simple face-on shot
Improvement:
Composition. The angle leaves me feeling uninspired, plus I have clipped the VI decal at the top right. The vignette helps to disguise this, but I should have shot from further away so I had more space to play with and make the vignette less instrusive on the lettering, especially the right hand side.
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
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  #93  
Old 17th September 2011
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Week 33 - Record

Push the Button


Week 33 - Record by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
Macro shot of the video record button on my Olympus XZ-1
Why:
I wanted a more abstract, simpler, cleaner image for the theme.
How:
Shot using my 12-60mm lens at 60mm together with the EX-25 macro extension tube that allows for auto focusing - macro shooters would always say manual focusing I bet.
Lit with a FL-36R at 1/2 power approx 18 inches away shot through a shoot through reflector to soften the light, and triggered with a PT-04 wireless trigger.
Learnt:
How difficult it is to get a decent lock and remain in focus when shooting handheld macro shots, and the challenges that macro shooting produces in terms of lighting shots and getting balance in the lighting - it is a very unforgiving subject.
Improvement:
Composition. Pretty pleased with the composition; I would have wanted the record button to sit on the thirds but there was not enough camera to the right of the shot to achieve that in the final edit.
Focus. I shot hand held very quickly and I should have taken the time to set the shot up with a tripod and manually focus so that the detail in the circles around the record button are best captured.
Lighting. Difficult to get the light where I wanted given the distance at which the lens was from the subject. If I had used the 50-200mm lens + EX-25 I would have had more room to work with. Consequently there is a harsh shadow on the bottom right hand corner of the white circular rim that could have been avoided by tweaking the position of the light source. I did try balancing the shadows by having a second flash camera left on slave and powering down the right hand flash but it didn't work. I could have tried using a second reflector on the left hand side to help soften the shadows.
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
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  #94  
Old 17th September 2011
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Week 34 - Work

Mind the Gap


Week 34 - Work by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
Commuters waiting for a Northern Line train to come in to London Bridge station.
Why:
I wanted to capture the daily commute that so many of us endure on the way to work.
How:
Shot wide open to get as much light in as possible whilst keeping the ISO low so I could get a slowish shutter speed that would offer a compromise between keeping the commuters in focus but slow enough to get some motion blur in the tube train.
Learnt:
How much I need to develop my B&W processing skills. I think this has come out quite well, although I hadn't shot with mono in mind. I have been thinking for some time that next year's challenge will be to shoot more mono and to get to grips with it.
Improvement:
Composition. Nice leading lines taken from the tube track and consequently the train itself and its lights but I have clipped the feet of the closest commuter. Holding the camera slightly to the left would have brought the yellow "mind the gap" line into the central vertical plane thereby further differntiating the stationary commuters from the fast moving train. I like the sense of the chasm between the two and a different interpretation from the usual "Mind the Gap" photos you see on flickr focusing on the yellow line and the words themselves.
Timing. A split second earlier would have brought the front of the train slightly more into view, although on reflection I think it works well as is.
People. You don't have a lot of control over this but a chap nonchalantly reading his copy of the Metro at the front of frame would have been a nice touch, or perhaps taken at a busier platform/time of day to give the sense of how horribly claustrophobic the tube can get.
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
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  #95  
Old 12th October 2011
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Week 35 - Blur

By the Seat of the Pants


Week 35 - Blur by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
Zoom blur photograph of my car.
Why:
I wanted to capture the sense of speed of my car whilst parked in the local school car park.
How:
Placed the camera on the tripod, composed using the 'telephoto' end of my UWA zoom lens (7-14mm), set the aperture and ISO to get an approx 1 sec exposure and then whilst the shot was taken twisted the lens barrel to zoom out.
Levels/contrast/vibrance/saturation etc adjusted in LR3 in order to give some more punch to the shot and give a greater sense of speed.
Learnt:
Be already twisting the lens before you start the shot to ensure the zoom effect blur is maintained throughout the shot.
Improvement:
Blur. As noted in 'Learnt' above if I had been twisting the lens barrel before the shot was taken I wouldn't have ended up with the registration plate being discernible which I find distracting.
Composition. It would have been worth taking this photograph where there was more drama in the background.
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
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  #96  
Old 28th November 2011
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Week 36 - Time

Wreck of the Hesparus


Week 36 - Time by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
Star trail with the North Star positioned above the mast of the Thames Sailing Barge Pudge.
Why:
I originally wanted to photograph one of the boats in considerable disrepair being renovated down at Faversham Creek with the stars circulating above to give the sense of time passing against the decay. This barge appeared to present a better opportunity but in using a boat in such fine condition, I have lost the purpose of the photograph somewhat.
How:
Placed the camera on the tripod, attached my shutter remote and locked to 'on', set the exposure to 1 minute and kept taking pictures for half an hour making sure ISO was set as low as possible to avoid noise - I almost wrecked a sensor on a previous occasion shooting at ISO 800 for half an hour. I also took a separate 4 minute exposure to bring out more detail in the foreground plus in two of the 1 minute exposures, the headlights of a police Land Rover that came down to investigate what I was doing at 3 am helped to shine some light on the boat and pick out more detail. The images were then combined in Image Stacker using brightest pixel. I then layered this combined shot with a couple of others in CS3 and blended to help control some of the highlights in the boat. Levels/contrast/vibrance/saturation/WB etc adjusted in LR3 in order to give the final image.
Learnt:
To find the North Star (it is fairly non-descript in the sky) first locate the Plough and then drawing a line between the two rights hand stars follow that line up into the sky until it intercepts with the North Star.
I have taken star trail shots before, but forgot to apply mirror lock up which has resulted in vibration and less than smooth trails.
Make sure every screw/lever is as tight as possible on your tripod as there was a fair degree of movement when I came to line up the images.
Improvement:
General star trail technique. There are plenty of web resources and tips of what to do, and I need to take more of these to refine my technique. At least I now know how to locate the North Star.
Composition. I need to learn to accept defeat. By placing the North Star directly above the mast (which was a conscious decision), I have ended up with the houses in the background which detract from the composition as well as some hideous light pollution (hence why the best star trails are always taken in the wilds of some desolate Arizona desert).
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
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  #97  
Old 4th December 2011
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Week 37 - Mix

Protection, Recreation, Construction


Week 37 - Mix (Version 1) by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
The Thames Barrier with the O2 and Canary Wharf behind.
Why:
A shot that captures the mixture of purposes of architecture - to act as a defence, to act as a place of enjoyment, to act as a hub of wealth generation (and loss!).
How:
I shot this with the intention of a 3 shot HDR. However, there was a strong wind and I find that my long exposure HDR skies end up looking a right mess and so instead I settled for a 2 shot 'intensive fusion' in Photomatix Pro rather than tone mapping. I took this image, created a virtual copy in LR3 and adjusted the Tone and Presence settings to add more drama to the sky, imported both images into CS3 and manually blended away to give some definition in the sky whilst retaining the buildings and milky water of the base Photomatix image. I finally made some lens correction adjustments in CS3 and cloned out some artefacts.
Learnt:
I need to master the use of histograms as the LCD display on an E-30 is not the best screen to chimp your long exposures. Controlling the light in this situation was particularly challenging.
Improvement:
Composition. Although I prefer this shot, it does not speak so well to the theme as the focus subjects (barrier plus O2 and Canary Wharf) are lost in the scale of using a wide angle lens. Which is why I also present version 2 as my submission for Week 37:


Week 37 - Mix (Version 2) by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
The Thames Barrier with the O2 and Canary Wharf behind.
Why:
A shot that captures the mixture of purposes of architecture - to act as a defence, to act as a place of enjoyment, to act as a hub of wealth generation (and loss!).
How:
This was shot as a much tighter image using the zoom end of my 12-60mm lens. Processing was done in LR3 making various adjustments to WB, Tone, Presence and colour saturation before applying the Stylised1 LR preset. I then had more of a play with saturation, hue and luminance but using the HSL sliders in LR3. Finally used the heal spot removal tool to remove the small amount of cloud in the sky.
Learnt:
Use of the HSL sliders in LR3.
Improvement:
Quality. Focus - I had to sharpen this image considerably. Aperture was simply the same as above which had been chosen with exposure time principally in mind. A long exposure was still desirable to flatten the river but more attention should have been placed on achieving best quality in the focussing of this shot, although I did use Live View and magnified zoom to assist.
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  #98  
Old 11th December 2011
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Week 38 - Fun

Amusements


Week 38 - Fun by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
Amusement arcade on Herne Bay seafront.
Why:
Interpretation of a fun activity... on a bitterly cold, empty Wednesday afternoon it was many things, but fun it wasn't.
How:
Shot with my ultra wide angle lens and saturation/clarity/vignette adjustments made in LR3.5.
Learnt:
I need to invest in some suitable gloves for the winter season.
Improvement:
Creativity. This leaves me with the feeling of a shot to brief and very little effort put into it. Must try better.
Composition. I was sloppy and I have ended up captured in the reflection of one of the windows.
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
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  #99  
Old 13th December 2011
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Re: David's Photo52 2011

Some Fantastic Photos in this 52, please you stuck it out (unlike myself)

Almost on the home straight. Do you plan to produce a photobook of the 52? Maybe a 365 for 2012

Cheers
Garrie
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  #100  
Old 18th December 2011
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Re: David's Photo52 2011

I plan to shoot number 52 before 31 December 2011 and collapse

A 365? Nooooooooo This has been hard enough
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
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  #101  
Old 18th December 2011
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Week 39 - Volume

Boom (Cardboard) Box


Week 39 - Volume by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
Cardboard radio and speakers for sale in Peter Jones, Sloane Square
Why:
I had hoped that I would stumble across a stylish Bose shop or other high end audio retailer in order to shoot something focussed on the volume control of a beautifully designed amplifier. Instead I took a grab shot of this cardboard radio in the shop window.
How:
Usual saturation/clarity/levels adjustments made in LR3.6 on the RAW file before going to work in CS3 on cloning out the rather distracting bokeh (well you wouldn't expect a compact, even a high end compact, to produce smoothly gorgeous bokeh now would you?) and removing the advertising sign in front.
Learnt:
Perfecting my cloning technique and by chance stumbling across the different blending modes when cloning. The luminosity mode was quite effective when cloning the body of the cardboard box. I need to invest some time in the new year in CS3 to better understand its capabilities.
Improvement:
Creativity. Not the most creative take on the theme.

And for comparison, here is 'before' shot so you can see what was cloned out:


Untitled by morganthecat, on Flickr
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
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  #102  
Old 18th December 2011
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Week 40 - Explode

Eruption


Week 40 - Explode by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
A cornflour-water mix exploding on the surface of a speaker.
Why:
This was the perfect opportunity to shoot some aqueous explosions which I have wanted to try for sometime as an alternative to water drop shots.
How:
Photos of my setup for Eruption together with a detailed write up of how it was done can be found by following the link.

Please take the time to read Ryan Taylor's excellent Water Figure Tutorial which I pretty much followed.

My pc is running Multisine 1.74. Using the headphone output I have then connected my pc via the Mic input to an old stereo (at the the top of the picture) which is connected to the speaker.

The speaker was wrapped in clingfilm, and a small amount of a 50:50 cornflour (cornstarch)-water mix was placed on top.

I set the aperture to f/16 to get sufficient DOF as I was using my macro extension tube. This meant I could run a 5 second exposure without the ambient light spoiling the photo and giving me a window to do the following:

Using my wireless remote shutter I triggered the camera. During the 5 second exposure I activated a 0.2 sec pulse at a frequency of 120Hz on my pc and using a PT-04 wireless flash trigger in the other hand tried to time the flash to coincide with the sound. This took several attempts to time it right, and in actual fact the final shot is actually a blend in CS3 of two images in order to increase the drama.

The ghosting in the final edit is not an artefact of blending the two images, but due to some double triggering of the flashes when I pressed the remote trigger.

Strobist info:
1. Olympus FL-36R (1/32 power) with flip down diffuser, 8" to the right of the subject and at 15 degrees upwards;
2. YN460-II (1/32 power) with flip down diffuser, 8" to the left of the subject and at 15 degrees upwards.
Both flashes triggered with a PT-04 wireless trigger.

The pink/orange hues in the conflour-water mix of the final shot are, I think, attributable to the flashes bouncing off the bare plaster walls. This was not intended but presumably it would have helped to soften the light as specular highlights are not too much of a problem.

The final edit involved usual adjustments in LR3.6 to saturation, levels, sharpening etc together with burning in CS3 to darken the background which in the original shot I felt was distracting.
Learnt:
How to take a Water Figure shot, although there is lots of room for improvement when you look at Ryan Taylor's work which is just stunning. I learnt that it is a good way to kill a couple of hours.
Improvement:
Colour. Bolder, primary colours would add to the impact of this shot.
Lighting. Lots of experimentation possible here such as use of a Stofen or other diffuser to soften the light, use of filters, changing the position and directionality of the light.
Surface. I wrapped the speaker in cling film which did not result in a perfectly smooth surface, although as I shot in macro mode with shallow DOF means it is not too distracting. Ryan Taylor uses a stretched balloon but my speaker was way too big for that.
Timing. I will invest in a HiViz multi-trigger at some point which will give me much more control over shots of this type or classic water drop shots. That said my shoot and see technique wasn't too bad as I got a couple of good explosions - I was running at about a 1 in 10 ratio as sometimes I would manage to not click the button on the pc (I was looking the other way and if my mouse moved, the button was missed) or the flashes didn't fire.
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
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  #103  
Old 19th December 2011
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Re: David's Photo52 2011

First time I have seen this - very nice series. Well done and very educational.
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  #104  
Old 23rd December 2011
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Week 41 - Rapid

Into the Void


Week 41 - Rapid by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
A motion blurred photo of a commuter travelling down the escalator at London Bridge Underground Station.
Why:
I wanted to try something different in terms of the motion blurred shots by keeping the subject in focus whilst the surroundings blur, and my panning technique needs a lot of work so this shot from behind allowed me to stay still relative to the subject.
How:
Shot with a longish exposure such that the advertising boards to the side are blurred whilst the subject and stairs remain in focus.
Learnt:
A different approach to motion blur - want to take this shot again on the travelators at either Heathrow or Waterloo underground as examples.
Improvement:
Composition. There needs to be more drama in what happens around the subject, particularly to the subject's right, to convey a greater sense of rapidly descending into the bowels of the underground.
Post processing. The limited dynamic range of the XZ-1 means I have lost a lot of detail in the lighting in the ceiling. I struggled to get the right look without being over saturated as I wanted to bring out the detail of the advertising signs.
Shutter speed. I could have afforded to go with a slower shutter speed as the subject remained fairly still.
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Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
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  #105  
Old 23rd December 2011
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Week 42 - Weave

The Guiding Thread


Week 42 - Weave by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
A macro shot of the weave of my jeans as I travelled home on the train.
Why:
A simple interpretation of this week's theme.
How:
Shot in Super Macro mode and then usual adjustments made in LR 3.6
Learnt:
Just how competent a macro performer my compact XZ-1 actually is. In many ways, it is easier to get macro shots with this than with my E-30 using an EX-25 extension tube.
Improvement:
Composition. There is nothing for the eye to rest on, nor is the eye drawn in this shot and as a result it lacks interest.
DOF. I shot with a highish ISO and wide open to get the shutter speed up but I should have given more thought to the DOF of the shot given that I was shooting in Super Marco mode - I find it's too shallow and would have benefited from more DOF in the final edit.
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David

Olympus E-30 | Falcon 8mm fisheye | 8mm fisheye | 12-60mm | 25mm f/2.8 pancake | 40-150mm | 50-200mm | 70-300mm | Tamron 135mm f/2.5 | EX-25 | FL-36R | YN460 & YN460-II | B&W ND110 | Lightroom 2.7 | Photoshop CS3
flickr - Photo52 2011
My Photo52 2011 Thread on TP
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