Dramatic Palace I’m a very lucky man. Not least because my partner puts up with me and my hobby. In fact she even encourages me somewhat. So last week, for my Birthday she presented me with many gifts. All fantastic gifts, but one that I’ve been after for a while now. The Lee Filters Big Stopper. What she didn’t know was I needed the system to fit this very dark quality piece of glass in front of my camera. I quickly ordered the screw on filter and holder and waited for that package to arrive. Which it did in good time. Today I decided that I’ll give it a quick test. Water would be the order of the day, and nearby is Maidstone Town Centre and the River Medway. The Archbishop Palace is a place I’ve been to and taken a few pictures and a place I can quickly test things be it the Big Stopper or a new little lens for my iPhone. Normally these test don’t see the light of day once I’ve uploaded them to Lightroom. But today was different. Having had my eye on the big stopper for a while, I’d seen the video’s on You Tube and read the instructions on the net. I knew how it should be mounted and with the aid of the prompt card inside, know what I needed to do. Lining the shot up, manually focusing and dialling in the correct exposure, then popping the glass in the holder and mounting on the lens I snapped away. With the camera on a tripod and remote release of course. The result was promising and with the thought that I’d be converting these images to black and white I’d wasted no time in getting home and processing the images in Lightroom. Quick conversions, and lengthy work with the brush tool gave some good results. However, processing them in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 gave a stunning result – as seen above. Below are two images, one not processed at all, and the other with careful adjustments in Nik Silver Efex Pro.

No filters and no processing

No filters and no processing

Using the Big Stopper, processed in LR5 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

Using the Big Stopper, processed in LR5 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

I for one am pleased with the Big Stopped and I think you’ll be seeing more images from me and the Big Stopper in the next few months.

I own serval Apple devices Personal iPhone, work iPhone, iPad Mini, iMac, two Apple TV’s and an old iPod touch. I like the quality of these devices and the easy of use and the way information is synced between devices. Including photos.

Let’s take a look at the photos App.

If I take an image on my personal iPhone, in a minute or two it will be available to view on all of my devices. But theirs one limitation. It doesn’t share the image with the world at large. Yes it does share, but only to the people I select.

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Thankfully Apps are available to solve this problem. And the biggest App is of course Instagram. Straight from the phone to the world I can snap, process and publish an image in a matter of minutes.

To do the same with my DSLR is impossible. For a starters my Nikon D7000 doesn’t have wifi or mobile internet connection. But their is a work around. Take the image. Pop the SD card into my computer, open Lightroom, edit and process. Drag the finished image into a collection that sync’s to the Creative Cloud. Sync. From the iPhone open the Lightroom App. Wait for the sync to complete. Find and select the image, save to iPhone. Open Instagram App, find the image and publish. Yes I know I could publish the image from my desktop and that requires an export from Lightroom. Which of course is fine. Quite a workflow, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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However, I’ve not published my DSLR images on Instagram. Why? Their is something about publishing iPhone only images in a single place that I like. I’ve tried in the past to create an iPhone gallery on my website. It’s very do-able. Once the image appears on my iMac iPhoto App, a simple export and upload can be done. But that requires webpage editing on my desktop, something that requires a full blown computer.

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The ease of the Instagram App is amazing. I can and often do snap an image and post minutes later at the location. In the middle of the park, central London, as soon as I surface from the Underground station, while at work. You get the picture (pun intended).

I know that some my say, quality is much better from my DSLR then from the iPhone. Yes, absolutely. But the images here, in my opinion are not too shabby. I’m sure these images will look awful blown up to 20 feet high – which I don’t intend to do. But for Web viewing these images are not bad. Yes the iPhone has its limitations, many of them in fact. Low light photography is one.

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My most regularly updated webpage is Instagram. Simply because I can as and when I feel like it, at pretty much any location i choose at pretty much any time I like because I’ll always have my phone with me, which has a built in camera, and soon Apps.

To view or follow my Instagram please feel free to click right here

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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.

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