Sunday, 24 February 2013

Glasgow in Black and White


Glasgow
Originally uploaded by stephenlamb


A recent short stay in Glasgow gave me the opportunity to photograph the remarkable modern architecture which has been built on the site of the former dockyards.  Unfortunately, the weather was not ideal.  It rained  for much of the morning that I had available for taking photographs.  The light levels were low and there was not much contrast in it.  I decided that I would convert the photographs that I took into black and white in order to mitigate these issues.  I used Corel PaintShop Pro X5 to process the images.  It has a function that makes it possible to make a HDR image from a single RAW file.  I used this to increase the contrast of my photographs.  I am pleased with the results.  A selection is shown here - there are more in my Flickr photostream.

Glasgow

Glasgow

Glasgow


Glasgow

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A Christmas Fireplace

A Christmas Fireplace
A Christmas Fireplace
Originally uploaded by stephenlamb

Each year, Cindie decorates our fireplace at Christmas time - and each year, I have been photographing the result. Because of the size and shape of the room and the lenses that I have, there is really only one angle from which I can take the photographs if I am to include the whole fireplace. Even then, the photographs have to be cropped to remove extraneous detail. The photograph above is from 2012.

A Christmas Fireplace  
 Above is the fireplace as it was in 2011.
A Christmas Fireplace

This is the fireplace as it was in 2010.  Above it is displayed one of my photographs - it is now in the hallway.
A Christmas Fireplace

And here is the fireplace decorated in 2009.
A Christmas Fireplace

Finally, the first photograph in this series shows the fireplace as it was in 2008.  This is my second most viewed photograph on Flickr with over 1,500 views at the time of writing.

    

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Vertical Panning

 
Originally uploaded by stephenlamb

I have been experimenting with panning during a long exposure. I visited the Watermead Country Park looking for a suitable group of trees. I set the camera on a tripod and used shutter priority. The shutter speed was 1/8th second. During the exposure I gently moved the camera vertically. It was a dull overcast day and of course the trees were not in leaf. As a result, there was not much colour in the images. I decided to convert them to black and white in Corel After Shot Pro.  I have edited two of the images so far.  Here is the other:


Tree Panning

I intend to try this again in a few months time when the trees are in leaf.  The results will be quite different.  Meanwhile here is another example of vertical panning with a long exposure.  This one was taken last December during a Photowalk organised by Leicester Peoples Photographic Gallery.  It shows the Christmas illuminations on Gallowtree Gate.

Leicester







Saturday, 17 December 2011

Tree 2011


Tree 2011
Originally uploaded by stephenlamb


During 2011, I photographed a tree each month.  The tree stands in a field just off Barkby Thorpe Road on the border between Leicester and Leicestershire.  This photo mosaic is a collation of the results.  The individual photographs can be viewed on Flickr.

I did not make any attempt to take every photograph from exactly the same spot and with the same focal length but I tried to match the images at least approximately.  Most of the photographs had to be taken at the weekend - especially the winter ones.  I did sometimes leave it a bit late and some of the photographs were only just taken in the month intended.  Still, I found it an interesting exercise and intend to repeat it in 2012.  I am considering using this scene:


Watermead Country Park, Leicestershire


It is in the Watermead Country Park and about ten minutes walk from my home which would make getting to it easy.  The tree and the vegetation will change a lot through the year and I like the fact that the scene includes water.  This photograph was taken on a cloudy and overcast day but different weather conditions will change the scene considerably.  I put the photograph on Flickr earlier today with the comment that I might use it as the subject of a photograph a month project.  I have been surprised and pleased by the encouragement that I have received to go ahead - and so I probably will!


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Project 365

Project 365


Project 365 - June 2008


Photo Mosaic of my June 2008 Project 365 Photographs


Project 365 is a challenge - not a competition. The basic idea is that you commit yourself to taking one photograph a day for a year. You may choose to post it online but you can keep it to yourself if you want to. I completed Project 365 between 29th December 2007 and 28th December 2008. I started a second series on 1st April 2011. 

Apart from being fun most of the time, Project 365 has several benefits:
  • It makes you get your camera out. 
  • It sharpens your powers of observation and composition. 
  • It makes you think more about making photographs. 
  • It makes you find photographs in the most unpromising of situations - whatever you are doing and wherever you are, you have to take a photograph today. After you have done this a few times, you will never again say or think that there is nothing to photograph - there is always something to photograph. Your photography will improve. It just has too or you will not finish the project. 

You do have to rid yourself of the notion that you are going to try to take 365 masterpieces. Some days just getting a photograph taken - any kind of photograph is an achievement. It is fairly easy at first. There are probably lots of subjects easily available that will get you through the first month or so. Then it starts to get more difficult. Here are some of my coping strategies:
  • Take a photograph early in the day. It does not much matter what it is like - at least you have got something that you can use. It takes the pressure off. You can try and find something better during the rest of the day. When I have not been able to follow this advice, I have sometimes found myself desperately looking for something to photograph late at night. One time, I was reduced to photographing a lamp in my hotel room. Taking a photograph early is especially important during the winter when the hours of daylight are short and you might be travelling to and from work in the dark. 
  • Have a few themes. In my first Project 365 set I tried to take a self portrait each month and to photograph our front and back gardens from the same viewpoint each month. I also took photographs of doors and windows; churches; flowers and trees. In my present set, I have featured photographs of benches, buildings, sculptures and tombstones. These themes all make it easier to find a photograph especially when original ideas are hard to come by. If you already have an idea of what to look for, the photographic potential of your surroundings will become more obvious. 
  • Take a camera everywhere. You probably cannot carry a DSLR all of the time but a compact camera or a mobile phone camera will enable you to take a photograph whenever the opportunity arises.


Project 365 - June 2011
    Photo Mosaic of my June 2011 Project 365 photographs.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, Leicestershire


Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, Leicestershire
Originally uploaded by stephenlamb

On Wednesday, this photograph had 18 views on Flickr. Today it has had another 7. All of them come from an "Unknown Source." according to the Flickr stats. I am baffled as to why. It is a simple record shot that I did not expect anyone to look at really. I wonder why so many folk have suddenly taken an interest in it and where are they being referred from?

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Digital Lomography with Vignette


Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Originally uploaded by stephenlamb



I recently upgraded my mobile phone and chose the Motorola Defy. The main reason for choosing this rather than any other phone was that it is supposed to be able to withstand being dropped, banged and drowned - and it is claimed that the screen cannot be scratched. I wanted a robust phone. It is my first Android phone - the previous one was a Nokia and so ran Symbian. An unintended consequence of getting the new phone has been my discovery of apps that mimic lomography cameras such as Holgas and Diannas. I have been interested in trying these cameras for a while but been put off by the cost and inconvenience of processing film.

Gerbera

In common with most mobile phones, the camera on the Defy is not great but that means it lends itself well to this kind of lo-fi photography. I have been using the Vignette app to produce my photographs. it does a very good job of imitating the colour shifts, light leaks, vignettes and distortions which are characteristic of lomography. The range of options available is bewildering. For now, I have set it to square format and random - so that I do not know what is going to come out when I press the shutter. That is part of the fun though - if I do not like the result, I just take another photograph.

London



The Vignette App is available in the Android marketplace. There is a free version which is limited to 0.3 megapixel images. The full version allows images up to 5 megapixel although the instructions recommend not going higher than 3 megapixels. This is adequate for this type of photography. The full version also has GPS tagging enabled.

London