Very Sleepy

I got back from my trip to Scotland yesterday and had great hopes of working on some of my images – I have almost 2000 to process – but right now all I want to do is sleep. My travels took my to various parts of Scotland, London and Hong Kong so I have a variety of images to go through but it will have to wait for another few days until my jet lag finally subsides.

In the meantime a couple of simple images from Hong Kong to get started.

HongKong_2010-05-13_15-01-46_DSC_1995_©RichardLaing(2010)

A simple pattern shot.

HongKong_2010-05-13_15-53-20_DSC_2014_©RichardLaing(2010)

I liked the curve of the fountains, I am tempted to make this monochrome except perhaps the bag.

Going to Scotland

I’ve been pretty busy this week preparing for a trip to Scotland, really hoping to take lots of photographs and play with some HDR. I’m not sure how much I will be able to process while I am away so I expect to have plenty to do when I get back. While I am away I may be a little slow answering emails and replying to comments, please be patient.

Last night I and another of our club members gave a talk going over some of the basics of photography for some of our new members. It went really well plenty of questions and hopefully we managed to help people understand depth of field, exposure and so on. As ever it is really down to practise, using your camera and even reading the manual.

I took the kids out at the weekend to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve on the outskirts of Christchurch, they always like it there as they get to feed the birds and animals, this week the wallabies and deer were particularly hungry. I took a few images of the animals and birds, a little static but good practise.

SmuginForAperture and SmuginProForAperture Updated to 1.0.1

I have just updated my Aperture to SmugMug export plugins SmuginForAperture and SmuginProForAperture to version 1.0.1. These updates provide bug fixes to improve handling of captions/keywords and filenames and to improve reliability and error handling when uploading images to SmugMug. The update to SmuginForAperture also adds Growl support if you have Growl installed.

If you have any problems or questions let me know.

Stronger Images

We had a very interesting talk from John Suckling last night at our weekly Kaiapoi Photographic Club meeting. John is a member of the Christchurch Photographic Society and his talk last night was about creating better/stronger images by making them simpler.

John talked to us about how he makes his images and how he makes them simpler using various techniques. He often manipulates his images to get the effects he wants and certainly the images he showed were striking. It was great to see the before and after versions of the images.

So what does he suggest to make simpler images?

Monochrome

Using monochrome (not necessarily black and white) can make an image stronger by removing distractions caused by the colour and drawing attention to shapes and contrasts. Many of the images he showed were high contrast, with strong blacks to contrast the highlights.

Softer

Using soft filters in post processing (glamour glow for instance on landscapes), or blur and noise can simplify images by making the areas of the image that are of less interest less obvious.

Stronger

Images can be made simpler by using fewer but stronger colours. A strong red or blue area for example can direct the eye of the viewer to the area of the image he intends.

There are many tools out there for converting to monochrome, changing noise, adding film grain etc to images. Both John and I use the tools from NIK Software. In particular I like both the Silver Efex Pro and Color Efex Pro plugins for Aperture – still waiting for 64bit unfortunately.

The talk last night gave me lots to think about in how I look at and process my images and also reinforced how important it is to avoid hastily throwing away an image. Many of John’s best images were from photographs he originally discarded but later found that, with the right tools, he could create from them strong, interesting and beautiful images.

I took the following images this morning on the way to work and have played with them a little…