Two Projects

This post is a little different, no photographs but a couple of projects my friend Joseph Linaschke is involved in, both raising money for charity. Rather than me passing the details on third hand have a look the two projects. The first is for a breast cancer charity raising money though Kickstarter, the campaign runs to the 1st of November.

The second project is the “5 Day Deal” which has already raised over $100,000 for charity, $2000 worth of photography training and tools for just $89 grab it while it is still available – I did.

100th Post

Apparently this is my 100th post so I was thinking I had better write something really interesting or significant, but why change after all this time 🙂 I have been intending to write a serious post on how I use Flickr and other sharing sites, at least until I decided I didn’t actually have any sort of strategy.

For Flickr in particular I tend to put up images at random, whatever I have been doing recently. Sometimes these are images that I like, sometimes ones that I don’t but that are interesting or that use different techniques or processing. I share my images on various groups and, from time to time, I get comments, mostly of the ‘nice image’ variety. It is always pleasant to get these comments, to know that someone else likes an image but the comments which give constructive criticism are much more valuable and rare.

The number of comments varies greatly from image to image, depending on what groups I post to and when I post the image. I was however very surprised this week to see the number of comments and favourites I received on one image having made the Flickr Explore list. The image itself is one I really like, it is a nice moody black and white image I took as part of my attempt to build a portfolio for my diploma course.

As the sun goes down

Ultimately wanting to write a post on the use of sharing sites has at least pointed out that I need to think a bit harder about it. I recently joined 500pix.com and find myself being very thoughtful about what images I share on the site. I think that this sort of self-editing is a much more useful to my photography than the random images I post to Flickr. Does anyone else have any thoughts or ideas? How do you share your images – and why?

Busy Busy Busy

The last couple of weeks have been really busy, I started a new job and my parents arrived for a visit. So far work seems to be going well, as usual lots of learning at the moment trying to find out enough about all the systems to start being useful. I am still managing to keep up with the 365 project so far, sometimes not very inspired but it is definitely making me use my camera every day. That is a good thing!

We all went to Ferrymead again at the weekend and I tried a couple more HDRs, it is a good place for them. I think I need to go sometime without the kids and take some more time though, these were all processed with Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro.

 Ferrymead_2011-01-23_12-31-43_DSC_6423_©RichardLaing(2011)_HDR

Ferrymead_2011-01-23_12-22-50_DSC_6357_©RichardLaing(2011)_HDR

End of Year

2010 is almost at an end. I can’t say I will be unhappy that it is over, this has been a difficult year for a number of reasons, including the earthquake and losing my job. Things are looking up for 2011 though with a new job and a visit from my parents to look forward to. It is a long journey from Scotland to New Zealand and I don’t know how many more times they will feel up to the journey.

After a quiet but fun Christmas with the kids we had a few trips including a visit to Ferrymead which my kids enjoy. I manage to grab a few HDR shots while I was there which I was quite pleased with, so to end the year I would like to share a couple.

Ferrymeade_2010-12-26_12-02-44_DSC_4572_©RichardLaing(2010)_HDR

Next year I intend to work hard on my photography, particularly to learn more about lighting. I suspect a lot of reading on Strobist will be required as part of my learning and I am going to start a 365 Project; I have no idea how I will get on but I would like to manage the year, no promises though. I also intend to write some more Mac applications or plugins, lots of ideas and never quite enough time.

For now however I would like to wish everyone a safe, happy and prosperous New Year.

Christmas Present

A month ago I was told that the company I was working for would be closed at the beginning of December. Not the best news just before Christmas, I am very pleased to say that yesterday I received a job offer which I have accepted and will be starting in the middle of January – a very nice Christmas present.

To celebrate last night I drove to Castle Hill on the way to Arthur’s Pass to take some photos, I hoped to get a nice sunset and try some HDR shots. As it turned out it wasn’t the best sunset there but still I got a few shots I am happy with. HDR was difficult as it was very windy and the flowers and grasses were moving rapidly – not ideal when trying to merge images into a tonemapped HDR. Still I gave it a go, some with multiple exposures and some creating an HDR from a single exposure.

Merry Christmas to everyone, have a safe and happy holiday.

CastleHill_2010-12-23_18-40-28_DSC_4205_©RichardLaing(2010)_HDR

Sometimes it is right to do it wrong

I have spent much of the last year trying to make better images. In particular sharper images with better use of depth of field, lighting and taking great care to focus in the ‘correct’ place. The most obvious example would be focussing on the eyes in a portrait. I think my technical skill has improved greatly over the course of the year, practising really does help. However…

Last night I took my kids to the park, it was windy and I was just playing with my camera with a slow shutter speed to see how the leaves on the trees looked with the wind moving them. As I was out with my kids I hadn’t bothered to take a tripod which I would usually think as vital when taking images with longer exposures and the images were pretty dull and boring. They did not really capture the feel of the wind in the trees and grasses.

For some reason I remembered seeing some images taken where the camera is deliberately moved during the exposure so I tried it; just moving the camera a little left to right.

Playing_2010-12-19_18-24-09_DSC_3862_©RichardLaing(2010)

I quite liked the effect, very abstract (the image above has been tweaked with Topaz Adjust).

Having moved the camera a little I started to play some more, moving the camera in different ways. I really liked the results when turning the camera during the exposure. My technique was pretty crude, I just turned the camera in my hands.

Tree go around Playing_2010-12-19_18-24-37_DSC_3866_©RichardLaing(2010)

I quite like this one, you can still just about see it is a tree.

It even works on people…

I really like the abstract look, it speaks to me more about the wind and the movement than a more ‘correct’ image ever would. These images are not sharp and the focus is all over the place but they do express the movement I felt looking at the trees and grasses in the park. I will be trying this again, a bit more experimentation sounds like a good New Year’s resolution I think.

Don’t worry about technically perfect images, try to make images that mean something or say something to you.