Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall

I couple of weeks ago I visited Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall in Powys in Wales. It was a great morning out and I really enjoyed the new challenge of photographing a waterfall.

At 240 ft (74 metres) tall, it's the highest waterfall in Wales & England. Here are some photos I took whilst at the waterfall. Although it is the highest waterfall in Wales and England I decided to focus just on the pools at the base of the waterfall as they gave me something to focus on, on such tall waterfall.

Pistyll Rhaedr Waterfall Smaller
A portrait photo of the Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall. In this photo I cropped it, boosted the contrast, adjusted the hue and saturation to bring out the greens and yellows and sharpened it a little to bring out the detail on the rocks.

Pistyll Rhaedr Waterfall
Another portrait photo of the Pistyll Rhaeadr Watrerfall. Again I cropped it increased the contrast a bit, adjusted the hue and saturation to bring out the greens + yellows and sharpened it to bring out the detail on the rocks.

So what do you think? Have you ever visited Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Best landscape photos this year.

Quick post, The BBC have just put up a slideshow of the best landscape photos of the year in 2009. Check the slideshow out, the photos are truly stunning.

Here is a photo to tease your taste buds!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

If you could photograph any past event in history what event would it be?

Over the last week I asked the following question at a few places around the web 'If you could photograph any past event in history what event would it be?' I was overwhelmed with the number of responses I got and the quality of the them.

Here are a few I would love to share with you:

Man discovering fire. I'd love to see the expression on their faces!

It would be see if they really do wear underpants like my daughter keeps telling me.

Nero playing the violin with Rome burning in the background.

Drake beating the Spanish Armada.

The sinking of the Titanic.

The birth of Jesus.

Construction of the pyramids... I'm a sucker for anything involving ancient Egypt.

The Big Bang!

The boston tea party

The parting of the Red Sea, at sunset of course.

So I will finish off by asking you 'If you could photograph any past event in history what event would it be?'

Thursday, 8 October 2009

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Thursday, 24 September 2009

Gloucester Cathedral

I recently visited Gloucester Cathedral, the same bank holiday weekend I visited Severn Valley Railway. It was a great place to take photos because of it's great magnificence both inside and out.
Gloucester Cathedral is located in Gloucester centre just off Westgate Street. It was built in 1100 as a Norman abbey church and survived the Dissolution thanks to its historical connection with the monarchy. It was from this church that William I ordered the Domesday Book. Recently the cathedral was used for the filming of more than one Harry Potter movie.

A photo of Gloucester Cathedral from the outside looking up at the pretty perpendicular Gothic Tower with a Tudor House in the foreground.

Gloucester Cathedral
What I did: I cropped it slightly to exclude a bin by the wall, adjusted the levels generally and in the sky to make it more punchy and I did some sharpening on the Gothic Tower to really bring out the detail.

More info on Gloucester Cathedral.

What do you think of my photos? Do you like the HDR look on the second photo or not?

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Miners Wheel: Black and White

Miners Wheel

Here is the Miners Wheel memorial in Highley (Shropshire). With this photo I did quite alot of photo editing.

  • Firstly I converted it into Black and White and then I played with the levels in lots of layers to boost the contrasts and to bring out the details in the photo particularly in the sky and the wheel legs to stop them blending into the hedge behind.
  • Secondly I did some dodging in the grass to boast the contrast giving the grass a infrared look.
  • I then did some burning in the sky to stop it looking so bland and lifeless.
  • Then I did some selective sharpening particularly on the rock and and on the grass to bring out the details. And Finally I added a vignette effect to draw the eye into the centre of the image.
This is the book Digital Masters: B&W Printing that gave me the inspiration, it made me want to go out and have ago at some black and white photography. Here is the review I wrote on it Digital Masters: B&W Printing Book Review.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

25 Stunning HDR Photos

Carefully applied, High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging can create visually stunning pictures which blur the difference between reality and illusion. HDR imaging is the process of taking several photographs of a scene at various exposures, then merging them into one file. So the entire photograph can look crisp and detailed, from highlights to midtones to shadows. So photographers needn't sacrifice any part of their image.

This post covers 25 stunning HDR photos. Many of them might look surreal, too colorful, even magic or fake, but they are not. Keep in mind that they’ve all been developed out of usual photos, and not a single image is an illustration.

  • This selection isn’t supposed to be complete which is why I encourage you to post links to further stunning HDR images in the comment box.

  • There is no ranking, all pictures have been selected due to their outstanding quality and excellent execution.

  • You can explore further works of the designers and photographers we’ve featured below by browsing through their sets on Flickr.

  • All screenshots are clickable and lead to the pages from which they’ve been taken.

  • You might want to take a look at this book Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography I reviewed earlier this year. Using this book is the easiest way to to master this exiting relatively new technology with this thorough easy to follow and visually stunning book. It covers everything you need to know to produce some great HDR photographs, from how to take great source images to how to merge and tone map your photos

Here are 25 stunningly beautiful HDR photographs.

Just behind those buildings lies the oncoming zombie horde.

Golden Gate HDR

Reflections on the Arctic Sea

New York - West Side Story

There Even Was A Rainbow!

Run to the water

Lost in space

Opera on Ice II

Yacht Shopping

hdr tree



City at 60 degrees North / Icebreaker Krasin

I have sailed the seven seas ...

One Night in Bangkok

Caracara takes off

The Eyes Of London

HDR photography

Tokyo Nightscape

The Veins of Bangkok

skyline of bruxelles

This is not a mirage ...

Lava Streets

CBD, Singapore @ HDR Night

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Digital Masters: B&W Printing Book Review

The Book Review

Rating 8 out of 10

Digital Masters: B&W Printing by George Dewolfe is in short a step by guide to creating a black and white 'masterpiece'. This book covers everything you need to know to create it.
This book is divided into 3 sections (Black and White, Image Workflow and a Conclusion) as well as a glossary, index and portfolio.

The first section in this book is about the key qualities that make up a black and white photo (tone, luminosity, luminance, sharpness,softness,edges, depth, contrast and brightness) with great attention paid to the difference between Luminance and Luminosity. The difference between what is visually perceived by us and what is actually seen (recorded) by the camera.

The second and the largest section is about Image Workflow. It describes how to design a workflow, how to setup your software, how to input your images on a computer, how to make global and local adjustments to a photo, how to optimize and fine-tune an image, setting up your workstation and last but not least printing and evaluating your print.

The final section and the shortest section is all about photographing the known and unknown, honing your skills as a photographer and accessing and practicing your mindfulness.

I particularly enjoyed the 2 pages on exploring tonal values in the first section and chapter where George DeWolf converts famous paintings into grayscale and looks at how the tonal values are distributed.

Top things I learnt from this book

  • To make global adjustments then broad adjustments and then local adjustments when your editing a image.

  • The difference between Luminosity and Luminance.

  • How to outline in Photoshop to accentuate the depth of individual objects.

  • And finally how to create a 'Masterpiece'.

A few minor criticisms

  • He devoted a entire chapter to inputting your photos onto your computer, this is so basic as to be inappropriate in a advanced book like this.
  • The book uses Lightroom and Photoshop exclusively with all his detailed explanations of image adjustments being done in Photoshop or Lightroom. As well as an entire chapter being dedicated to customizing Lightroom modules. This is not very helpful to those who use other photo editing programs.

  • The screen shots which show an image together with the Lightroom controls side by side results in the control panel being so small as to be unreadable. This adds to the growing frustration of a non-Lightroom user trying to decipher & translate what is being done.

  • Throughout this book he is constantly promoting his 'magic' plugin, this gets very annoying after a while. He tries to persuade you that your photographic life depends on getting his plugin.

  • And finally the book states on page 71 that the plugin costs $19.95 but when you visit George DeWolfs website the price actually is $90.00.

My Rating 8 out of 10

I found this is a good yet challenging read at times. I am giving it 8 stars because I found it difficult to read at times and because of George promoting his plugin excessively. Regularly now I go out to take photos specifically to be converted into black and white. This book feels good to the hands with a nice tactile finish on the front and the back of the book and the printing quality is excellent. This is a great book for anyone wishing to learn more about Black and White photography with lots or little experience.

And if nothing else this book offers some great black and white photos throughout the book to motivate you. You really could buy this book just to see the photos.

Check out the Digital Masters: B&W Printing at Amazon where it is 25% off.

Have you read any great black and white digital photography books lately? Give your recommendations in comments box. I'm Looking forward to discovering some other great black and white digital photography books!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Severn Valley Railway, SVR

Last Sunday I visited Severn Valley Railway (SVR), it was a lovely day even with the typical British weather. The Severn Valley Railway is a 16 mile heritage line that runs from Bridgenorth in Shropshire to Kiddiminster in Worchester along the river Severn. The trains don't just run sraight from Bridgenorth to Kidderminster they stop at some stations along the way allowing you to go out and explore the local area, this makes for a full day out.

Highley Railway Station
Highley Railway Station was my first stop. It was a small yet beautiful station on the outskirts of Highley. After admiring the station I walked into Highley Village (instead of visiting the packed paid railway museum opposite the station). And i'm glad I did, it was a lovely signposted walk into the village centre through the green woodland.

Miners Wheel
A photo of the Miners Wheel in Highley village park.

Miners Clock
A photo of a Miners Memorial inside village centre. It also doubles up as village clock! (nifty)

My second stop was at Bewdly Station. It was my favourite station because it felt so authentic and real as though it had been suspended in time.
Severn Valley Railway Station
A photo looking down on Bewdly station from the bridge crossing.

After leaving Bewdley Railway Station I explored Bewdley. Bewdley is a pleasent historacal town with plenty of shops and places to visit.
A photo of the River Severn running under Bewdley Bridge, with the town in the background.

The final stop was the end of the line. It was Kidderminster railway station. Kidderminster station was the largest of all the stations it had a waiting room, a tea room, a pub, a book store, a free admission museum and a ministure railway running around the parementer.

Kidderminster Train Station
A photo of the train we travelled on throughout the day with Kidderminster Station in the background.

Mini Train Kidderminster Station
A photo of the mini train at Kidderminster Station that runs around the paremeters.

Kidderminster Station Waiting Room
A photo of Kidderminster Railway Station waiting room.

At the station I visited the free railway museum. The musuem was small yet it was packed with railway paraphernalia. The museum was suprisingly hands on considering some items were hundreds of years old.

To conclude I had I wonderful day out and I believe that the Severn Valley Railway is a great day out for people of all ages interested or not in railways.

If you would like to see the Severn Valley Railway in action why not visit Youtube or you could purchase the DVD British Steam - The Severn Valley Railway for £10 at Amazon.

After visiting Severn Valley Railway, the following day I visited Gloucester Cathedral. It too was a great place to visit and I highly recommend it.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography Book Review

Over the weekend I sat down with the Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography- one of my many unread photography books that have been sat on my desk for a while. This book was recommended to me by a Friend and thought that it was probably time that I checked it out for myself. I’m glad that I did.

So What is High Dynamic Range Photography (HDR) ?

According to Ferrell McCollough the author of this book, HDR is the process of taking several photographs of a scene at various exposures, then merging them into one file. So the entire photograph can look crisp and detailed, from highlights to midtones to shadows - and photographers needn't sacrifice any part of their image.

The Book Review

10 Out Of 10

The Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography is the easiest way to to master this exiting relatively new technology with this thorough easy to follow and visually stunning guide book. This book covers everything you need to know to produce great HDR photographs, from how to take great source images to how to merge and tone map your photos.

Sections in the book cover

1. HDR Photography: An Overview (chapter explaining technical details of how HDR works)

2. Equipment, Controls, and Technique (raw vs jpeg, exposure compensation and using a Tripod and more)

3. Merging and Tone Mapping (conversion options, tone compressor vs details enhancer etc)

4. HDR Software and Post Processing (All the major software packages are examined and their virtues compared, The Creative HDR Look and lots more)

5. Capturing Great Source Images (Judging Contrast, Number of Images and Bracketing Amount, Histogram analysis, Ghosting + more)

6. Flash Merging, Architecture, and Panoramas (a shorter chapter on Flash Merging, Architectural HDR Photography and Panoramic HDR Photography)

7. Single Image HDR Photography (shortest chapter on Single Image Tone Mapping and Graduated ND Filters vs HDR)

8. Advanced Image Analysis (I think this last chapter should really be named extras or others as this is not really that much about analyzing images). The chapter includes Black and White HDR Photography, Night and Low Light HDR Photography, Macro and Flowers.

When I first read about this book I wondered how a HDR photography would take 174 pages to cover. But I soon realised that this book covers everything about HDR and that 174 pages for everything about HDR isnt much. I particularly enjoyed the page on Extreme Tone Mapping in the last chapter as this really opened my mind on how creative HDR can be.

Top Things I learnt From This Book

  • The technical details of exactly how HDR works
  • That you can have shadow in your photos and have an HDR image
  • That you can have black and white HDR images
  • That HDR can help reduce noise in photographs.

My Rating 10 Out Of 10

I found this book an enjoyable read and I think it fully desrves 10 stars. I now feel confident in producing good HDR images. Regulary now I take several photos of some scenes to see what that they would look like combined in a HDR image. The book feels nice to the hands and the printing quality is excellent. This book is an ideal starter book for anyone interested in HDR images, experienced photographer or not, it will guide you through the world of HDR. This is a book that will remain on my book shelf as a useful reference book for years to come as I continue my journey through the world of HDR.

And if nothing else, this book offers some fantastic inspiring HDR images to motivate you that really will motivate you. I think it is even worth buying the book just to see the excellent HDR images.

Check out the Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography at Amazon where it is 35% off. Furthermore if you would like to see the potential of HDR photography check out my post 25 Stunning HDR Photos

Have you read any great digital photography books? Give your recommendations with your reasons why in comments box. I'm Looking forward to discovering some great digital photography books.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Guest Post: Lord Hills Column, Shrewsbury

Just to let you know, I have posted a guest post on The Lord Hills Column in Shrewsbury on Shrewsbury Photo Blog. It's the worlds largest doric column, being 13ft taller than Nelsons Column and two ft wider.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Temple Of Apollo, Turkey, Side

The Temple Of Apollo is located close to Side harbour, about a five minute walk from Side town centre. The temple apparently was given to Cleopatra as a token of Anthony’s love to her. It is dedicated to the God of Light, Beauty and Art (Apollo). In all the temple measures 17 by 30 metres. The temple has 8.90 metre Corinthian Capitals. The Temple Of Apollo consists entirely of marble. It was built in the second half of the 2nd century A.D and it is surrounded by other important ruins that date back to 7th century B.C.

Temple Of Apollo
A photo of The Apollo Temple in the day. This is my favourite photo of my holiday in Turkey. I love the white fluffy clouds behind the temple, they add alot of atmosphere to this photo.

Temple Of Apollo Side Classic
This is a classic view of The Temple Of Apollo as you would see on most of the postcards and books.

Temple Of Apollo Side Back
A photo of the back of The Temple Of Apollo. I framed it nicely through a entrance to another ruin that was behind the temple.

Temple Of Apollo Night
A photo of The Apollo Temple at night. This was the hardest photos of my holiday to take, everything was black apart from the illuminated temple.

Firstly I turned the flash off as I did not want to illuminate the people in the foreground and because I felt it would have made the photo look unnatural.

Secondly I increased the shutter speed as I was without a Tripod. But when increased the photos where black due to the lack of light. So I ended up shooting at 0.2 (1/5) seconds while resting on a rock hoping for a sharp one. And it worked, I got a sharp photo with the temple illuminated with a natural glow.

Other places I visited in Turkey;

The Manavgat Waterfall

The Aspendos Theatre


The Kursunla Waterfalls

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