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Keeping it short and sweet, here was a humorous scene in the West End of London. By saying ‘was’ I passed this sign two weeks after I took the image, whereby the sign was all cleaned up.

I know its been a round for a while, but Instagram has become a popular choice for me to display images I’ve taken on my smart phone – instantly.

Cycle Path

The workflow is simple. Take a shot using the instagram app or load one in. Play with the cropping and preset adjustments. Add a border if needed. Add a title and description and send. Simple.

With the site now fully on the web, browsing for inspiration is easier then ever before. Their are some great images online, and of course, with the masses sharing assorts of images, their are some dross online too.

You can find my gallery of images directly on Instagram. if your not an Instagram snapper, my website will contain regular updates of images posted online.

Milan is a shoppers paradise. Wall to wall designer products right in the centre of Milan. During my trip there last year with my partner, I couldn’t help but take a few street style images. I’m not experienced in street photography at all, but armed with two cameras, my Panasonic Lumix GF1 with 17-28mm zoom lens and my larger Nikon D7000 with the Nikkor 18-105, 3.5-5.6ED lens I had the choice to go compact when I needed to be a little discreet or pop the larger model when discretion wasn’t necessary.

Shopping

This scene caught my eye, two shoppers stopped long enough for me to get my Panasonic Lumix GF1 camera out and snap a shot or two. In post, I wanted to add a little something to further enhance the interest in what the shoppers were looking at. In Aperture I spent sometime using the adjustment brush to remove colour all around the window and the shoppers themselves. Keeping colour in the window draws the eye towards what the shoppers were interested in.

I can only imagine what the gentleman might be thinking right now while his partner is eyeing up that expensive outfit in the window.

I’ve upped my game in the mobile photography front. I’ve been a member of Instagram for a little while now, and although their has been issues with privacy and copyright, most are really not a big concern if your not earning real cash and not a paranoid type then Instagram can help rekindle a flagging enthusiasm in photography.

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The great thing about Instagram and snapping images from a smart phone is that it’s a camera you have with you all the time and one that can be whipped out at any time to take the shot. It can be uploaded then and their or later when your waiting around for what ever your waiting around for.

Want to dig a big hole with a JCB? You can here.

I took my son to Diggerland over the Easter weekend. It’s a small theme park in Kent. It’s theme are obviously diggers, and people of all ages can have a go at. Want to dig a big hole with a JCB? You can here. The image above was snapped against the sun while a youngster emptied a bucket of soil from his digger. We were waiting for our turn to do the same, but not before I uploaded to Instagram for all to see what my son and I was about to do.

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Last weekend I had the task of digging out some old family photographs. I have in my loft a box full of images in print form as well as a folder full of negatives nicely laid out in a series of Kenro negative sleeves. I also have a black folder full of slides, nestled also in Kenro slide holders. As I took a page out, held it up into the widow light I was wowed by the array of colour that I was holding all in miniature. All the colour slides simply looked stunning and during my time with film I had a go at the AGFA monochrome slide film, so I had a page of black and whites – which looked unusual but just as good. I couldn’t help but compare my digital collection with the slides (as pictured) and I must admit, the slides looked, from a distance, much better then the digitals.

However, I’m not moving back to film anytime (if not – at all) soon. Most of the slides had some information about them, exposure information and basic location. That is, if I wrote them down and spent the hours matching the data from my note book and writing the down on small labels. In the Digital world, all this information is saved with the picture – otherwise known as EXIF data.

must admit, the slides looked, from a distance, much better then the digitals.

Slides also had an half stop latitude, so you really had to be spot on with your exposures. Where as digital has 2 to 4 stops, depending on the camera. This doesn’t mean you can be lazy with exposure, but with RAW data on the digital images, details can be extracted from the darkest scenes.
On top of that, I would have to wait around a week to develop the images on slide film, have them scanned to digital before I could tweak them and output them either on my blog or website or even social media sharing sites. With digital images, it only takes a few clicks.
Maybe digital imaging has taken the fun out of photography? However, with many of my slides never seeing the light of day, I think digital is the way forward – and has been for a while. But it’s still good to take a look at the old slides once in a while.

Photoshop has become an expensive piece of software over the years. As an amateur I couldn’t justify the cost of such software, especially when Lightroom and Aperture was released. Lightroom meeting most of my needs along with NIK software suit, which cost me in total around the £200 mark.

Over the past few days I decided to give Adobe’s creative cloud a go. This was prompted by the release of their iPad app. The App is very good and hopefully Adobe will update it to be able to title and keyword images and sync back to the desktop. I was reluctant to install Lightroom 5 on my 6 year old iMac. Lightroom 4 was slow and buggy on my machine, and I moved some of my processing workflow to Aperture, not that it was any faster. Thankfully Lightroom 5 hasn’t suffered the same issues as 4 did on my ageing iMac.

The maths for the photographer makes sense. Creative cloud costs just under £9 per month. Over the year that’s less then £108. You get the use of Lightroom – so the subscription pays for itself. But you get the function of syncing to your iPad and what’s more the use of Photoshop.

Sending the seven RAW images to photoshop I thought might take some time. I was expecting 5 minutes maybe. But in about 45 seconds the result appeared. I was blown over! Yep a 200meg image file is not quick to handle, but the old iMac is doing well

I decided to give Photoshop a go. It’s been around 7 or 8 years since I last played with Photoshop. (Version 6 I think – on a windows machine) and a lot has changed. I found it a complicated program back then, so I know I wouldn’t really get on with it that well to begin with. Thankfully You Tube is full of tutorials and help. I thought I’ll give the Merge photos into panoramic a go. I had a series of images which I took in 2006 while working in Doha. I snapped 7 images, tripod mounted to be able to stitch together at a later date. And another wide angle image which I cropped to be a panoramic.

Cropped image of the City of Doha

Cropped image of the City of Doha

The above image shows the cropped panoramic. A nice shot and one that I’ve always liked. But it’s never been wide enough. I know that I had a wider version that just needed the correct software and skill to be applied. Photoshop CC now seemed the answer, some eight years later.

7 image merge in Photoshop CC

7 image merge in Photoshop CC

Photoshop CC on a six year old iMac was never going to be fast. Although it is a quad core, and the first iMacs with 64bit processing power I can only max the memory to 4 gigs. Not a lot in today’s standard. The tech spec of Photoshop from Adobe says a minimum of 1 gig. That surprised me. Sending the seven RAW images to photoshop I thought might take some time. I was expecting 5 minutes maybe. But in about 45 seconds the result appeared. I was blown over! Yep a 200meg image file is not quick to handle, but the old iMac is doing well, and since I had Lightroom open, I thought further adjustment could be made in their.

It’s been eights years since I took this image. And now I’ve processed it. A wider view of Doha and it’s city lights. An image I am now proud of…

Leeds Castle – one of the beauties of Kent. Around 5 miles from Maidstone. The castle itself, like all castles, is steeped in history.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leeds_Castle. With the surrounding grounds, their are plenty of opertunities to take some wonderful images here. The moat provides a deep blue foreground while the castle provides a great back drop. 
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Olympus E300, f11@1/125sec, 11-22mm f2.8-3.5 @ 11mm, iso 100

Here I set the camera to aperture prioity and dialed in f11. Using the wide end of my 11-22mm lens (on a four third system its double the focal distance ie 22mm in 35mm terms) The light was very good so ISO 100 was suitable and hand holding at f11, 1/125 sec was no problem at all.  
The panaramic is a simply crop in either Lightroom or Aperture. I had tendency to flirt between them. Simply enhancements in colour and satuations is all that I feel was needed here. The major improvement that could of been made here would to wait for a little cloud cover to break up the bland blue sky. Their is always a danger of blowing out the blue sky in the exposure stage, but careful metering and good use of RAW processing prevented the sky turning gray or even over exposured white. 
However, with Leeds Castle only a few minutes down the road from me, there will be plenty of opetunity to pop down again and take some more images.  

Leeds Castle Webpage – http://www.leeds-castle.com/home

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