A Bit Late

A little late this week with my blog post (or possibly early for next week), my diploma course seems to be taking up a bit of time but is going well so far. Most of the kinks seem to be getting ironed out now and getting some useful feedback.

Last weeks assignment was to work with wide angle so I went to a local park/wetlands area on Friday evening after work to take some photos, intending to take a few landscape images and maybe some abstracts using a wide angle lens. That proved reasonably straightforward and I made enough images for my course work.


While I was there I spotted some black swans with cygnets swimming around and thought I would try and get some images. The sun was still quite strong although getting low in the sky and with the black swans and the white cygnets getting the exposure correct was hard, lots of specular reflections off the water too. It was very hard to get a sensible exposure for the swan and cygnets.


I wasn’t very happy with the results despite trying various levels of exposure compensation so I went back again on Saturday to try again – practise makes perfect or so they say. The swans were there again but this time on land getting fed by picnic-ers. The light was again quite strong but more shaded in the trees.


I was happy at least to get highlights in the eyes.

Remember to reset your settings

I have been taking a lot of images lately, I had a lovely trip to Lake Tekapo last weekend which was beautiful, a perfect sunset. The sunrise was not so good, thick fog but still interesting for other types of image. I took all sorts of images using lots of different settings, changing metering, changing from aperture priority to manual, changing exposure compensation and so on. I also took a number of bracketed images for later HDR processing.

The one thing that really sticks in my mind is the number of times I still forget to reset my settings (for HDR in particular) and end up with incorrect exposures as a result, the worst case being coming back to the camera the next day with settings which are completely unsuitable.

Simple tip which I must remember to follow: always reset your settings to default values, and I mean always.

The evening light was lovely and there was very little wind.


Great for HDR too, this is an attempt at a realistic look.


The mist the next morning was good for spiders webs and flowers.


Texture in Aperture

Recently I tried out a new set of presets from Joseph Linaschke over at ApertureExpert. These presets add textures to an image, really quite clever and I love the effect. The were developed in cooperation with Tray Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs.  It would be very easy to overuse them of course but they can be quite effective, anyway a short post today as I am insanely busy, give them a try for yourself, I have had great fun playing with them.

A couple of random examples…




It is just over a week since Christchurch was hit by the magnitude 6.3 aftershock which did so much damage to the city. For me things are getting back to some semblance of normality; I am back at work and my kids are back at school. In the city itself, particularly in the eastern suburbs many people are still without power or water or sewage. The schools are closed for another week and some schools will not reopen any time soon, resulting in the pupils having to be accommodated in other schools around the city and possibly the surrounding area.

Many people have simply left the city, how many will return is unclear. Even in Kaiapoi some children have been taken away from school leaving their bags behind – left in their classrooms when the quake hit.

Our local department store (built in 1921) badly damaged in the September 4th earthquake is now being demolished and I have been trying to document some of the process, starting with how it looked after the first earthquake on September 4th.


After the second there was more damage, too much this time


so they started to tear it down.


Now the store is pretty much all gone.


A lot of people watched while they started to demolish the store, it has been part of the town for so long. I took a lot of images but the one which best relates to how I felt about the process was taken at a strange angle. To me it gives the feeling of upset, something not being quite right, like someone has picked it up and shaken it, I guess that is pretty much what the earthquake did.

Shattered Blackwells_2011-03-01_17-20-26_DSC_9283_©RichardLaing(2011)