Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Day 31 - Something old

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It's amazing how quickly you run out of things to photograph when you are locked in your hotel room working until midnight. This pic interested me for its contrasting elements of pattern and plain. Some desaturation, round out the corners to make it look like an old snap and hey presto - some hotel room abstract!
Let's hope Feb's plan for pics starts giving some direction and topics/techniques!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Day 29 - Dawn

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I realise this pic is not quite in focus. I realise it may not even be that dynamically composed. However, this was the sight that greeted us at dawn this morning as we prepared to head up the local mountain forest on our trusty steeds. Nature at its finest and nicely set against last night's sunset!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Day 28 - Big Sky

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Having undertaken some impromptu house-hunting today, the wife and I decided to got for a little drive to see if we could capture a snap for today's entry. Cue Llantwit Major and a surprisingly good looking beach complete with cliffs, beautiful bedrock and a cracking view of the setting sun.
There was some quite dark low level cloud killing off the best of the sunset but I had the opportunity to put the new lens to the test and this was one of the results. I think we'll be back for more sunsets here :)

Friday, 27 January 2012

Day 27 - Run

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Simple forms make me happy. Lightroom makes me happy. That is all.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Day 26 - New Kid on the Block

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A lens I've been thinking about for a while, this one. I was torn on the right camera body to buy as I knew I liked landscapes and beautiful vistas. Motorsport did win out in the end and 8fps burst was probably enough for what I needed hence the 7D choice.
This little beauty though was going to give me the flexibility I needed to shoot some wide stuff without constantly switching lenses. Marry this new arrival to the 500D kept in reserve and I should be good to go for the TT this year :) I'm looking forward to testing this out on the 7D also and have some shots planned for next month that will take advantage of the wide angle!
I shot this on the 7D with a 17-40mm L, f/11, ISO3200 against a white backdrop, and then found out how to use brush mask in Lightroom 3 to blow out the background completely. Three things learned: 1) ISO sucks for clarity, 2) Need proper lights for shooting detail 3) the Lightroom brush.
Good day at the office.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Day 25 - Tourists

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Today marks 121 days to go to the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy 2012. Last year was a fantastic event and I'm really looking forward to this year with even more friends turning up.
Today's pic is the famous Rothman's colours on the Honda 750 from 1985. Probably my favourite colour scheme of all time. This is probably the only time I have taken the protective case off this little beauty!
If you don't know who Joey Dunlop is, shame on you! Go look him up :)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Day 24 - Classic

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Nothing says classic like a simple black and white photo. Choose a nice item that has these base colours at its core, and its an easy pic for Day 24. I'm looking forward to February already when some planning of shots ahead of time will challenge and inspire all on their own.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Day 23 - Everyone needs a smile

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I just happened to find this one in a can! Smile :)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Day 22 - Goodbye cruel world!

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As much as I didn't want this blog to be a diary, I've come to accept a couple of hard truths
1) It will be by its very nature
2) Some pics will just have to be (e.g. like a filler)

Today's pic brings the sad news of the demise of the Samsung WB700. It was a short life, interspersed with moments of brilliance, but ultimately cut short in its prime. Sad, cruel world. Aaaand very poor zoom function that gave up the ghost way too soon. Thank the stars for consumer law, a new one should be winging its way soon. I also couldn't resist the Star Trekkin' reference :)

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Day 21 - Tangled web of intricacy..

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What a frustrating day for photography it has been. We've been trying to set up a particular subject for some shots but it just would not work. It IS complicated and intricate but the effects will be stunning once we get it right. 2 hours and no real progress says time to give in and grab dinner and a film instead.
These elastic bands did make me smirk though at the intricate web of circumstances and conflicting camera settings which put paid to getting the shot I wanted. Never mind, this will do.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Day 20 - R'ajazzled

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Here's one I wasn't expecting. I took about 5 shots today that were candidates for the blog. This one won out however purely due to its dancing lights. Against the backdrop of the Millennium Building in Cardiff, a slow shutter speed through some lights hung on trees and this is the outcome. Quick play about in Lightroom to add a vignette to push the eye into the centre of the picture and that's it. Hope you like it :)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Day 19 - Magnetism

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A simple shot of the nearest thing close to hand this evening. a Trion-Z Titanium bracelet. Complete with positive ion emitting opposing magnets that guarantee world peace and all that malarkey.
The point of the picture was more about testing the new Samsung WB700 that arrived today. Handy little thing and has quite a nice set of features. It should at least mean I am not caught out again when I forget my camera bag!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Day 18 - Money, Money, Money....

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It's amazing where you take inspiration from when you are thinking of a subject for your daily pic. This one wasn't obvious at all. I first got a 50p coin earlier this evening which depicted a man with gun and the 2012 Olympic logo. When I got back to the hotel this evening I went to dig out the Olympic coin and spied I had this coin in my pocket too. The Harp of Ireland and the Lion of England immediately sparked an interest given my Irish heritage and now living and working in the UK.
Phone, Camera Effects for Android, a shot taken in negative, border added, import to Lightroom and faff about with graduated filter, crop, saturation, brightness and contrast and we have this to show for it. I quite liked it.
Issued in 2008, this was one of a set of coins.

1p shows part of the harp of Ireland and a lion's head from England

2p Rampant lion representing Scotland

5p mixture of all parts of the shield

10p Two Lions representing England

20p back end of a lion representing England

50p Harp representing Ireland and two lions representing England

£1 shows the complete Shield of the Royal Arms

Wales is not represented on the shield.

Wales was recognised as a Principality by the creation of the Prince of Wales long before the incorporation of the quarterings for Scotland and Ireland in the Royal Arms. The arms of the Prince of Wales show the arms of the ancient Principality in the centre as well as these quarterings.

The £2 coin remained unchanged.

Picture and an education in one deft post. Done.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Day 17 - May the force be with you

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I did forewarn you that I was a geek, right? Another long day at work. Short Winter day mind you so no light for decent pics.
Cue a pic of Deev. Sith Operative in Star Wars: The Old Republic. If I have to explain it, you won't understand :) It's a pic and this meager day is done :)

Monday, 16 January 2012

Day 16 - The Haunted Cottage

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On my many and varied travels for work I get to see some great stuff. This cottage caught my eye last week but I didn't get a chance to stop given its precarious location down a narrow country lane and right on a blind bend. I was ready this week though!
Again taken on my phone camera, the clarity and exposure weren't great, neither was the sharpness. However, a quick fiddle in Lightroom and give it an infrared look and hey presto. Spooky cottage from your nightmares! (It's actually quite nice really).

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Day 15 - Listen up...

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I'm a bit of a gadget geek. That's perhaps not the best way to sell your interests, but it is what it is. I also admire beautiful things, and whilst I may not be an audiophile, these headphones ticked the two boxes for me: beautiful and gadget-y :)
Yet more faffing about in Lightroom and I was happy with this pic which shows the beautiful simplicity of a lovely set of ear blasters. Done :)

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Day 14 - Frosty reception...

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Today's subject was a relatively easy choice. We were greeted with frost galore upon awakening this morning so a 100mm f2.8L macro was called for. A close up of frost on the rear windscreen, followed by a tight crop, some colour, brightness, exposure and clarity tweaks and you get to see crystals of frost close up. Quite satisfying :)

Friday, 13 January 2012

Day 13 - Top of the world

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Friday the 13th. It was never going to be a good day and I had visions of falling off a cliff etc etc just because of the date. Factoid: Friday 13th has origins in the destruction of the Knights Templar on this date in 1307 by King Philip IV of France.
First mountainbike ride of the season done. I've not been up around Cwmcarn for about 6 months, not been on a bike in 4 months and I rreeealllly felt it :) http://bit.ly/Fri13Cwmcarn

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Day 12 - Westbound

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There's nothing quite like being able to head home on a Thursday evening instead of having to work the whole week away from home. What is especially nice is the sunset I get to see as I head west towards home. I've got Wales to thank for that :)
I've also done a bit of research on bridge cameras so I don't get caught out again and have taken a punt on the Samsung WB700. Even better I found it on sale at just over £100 so it should fit nicely in my pocket as I go about my business at work or play. We'll see some pics from it in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Day 11 - It's RAW...

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...but not as you know it! Sorry, bit of a geeky "in joke" there for photoshootists.
I'm still lacking a decent camera and subjects are scarce at the end of a long day in the office. Dining alone wondering what to shoot and I grin to myself when the RAW joke crosses my mind while tucking into a very nice steak tartare. Overworked maybe, who knows. It stops strangers talking to you though when they see you smiling to yourself for no apparent reason.
Idea now is to maybe buy a bridge camera for sticking in a small pocket. Hmmm....

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Day 10 - Windows to your soul...

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Well, not quite to your soul but all I've been doing all bloody day is looking at Windows and it was almost soul destroying! Another day camera-less apart from trusty Android phone. Long work day, lack of subjects. Stylised keyboard pic? Why ever not? You can share my pain too!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Day 9 - Full moon

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There's always something quite spectacular about the full moon. Whether its the werewolves, giant cheese wheel lookalike or just memories of Button Moon when you look up at it, it's a marvel to behold.
Having forgotten to bring my camera with me on my travels for work, I find myself at a loose end.
Cue Paper Camera; an app available on Android Marketplace. It actually shot this picture for me with a pastel type style. Cheating, sure. However, it's another day ticked off and a harsh reminder not to forget my camera in future! And a quick thanks to my sis CherrySue for the inspiration whilst at my wits end for a pic. See her blog in my favourites list!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Day 8 - First ride of the year...

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A surprisingly mild January day saw an opportunity to get out on the big beast known affectionately as The Green Meanie. It is, of course, quite tame. A ZZR1400 with a few tasty mods and it's a dream to ride.
I met up with Big Gaz after a bit of a slow start (forgot to leave battery charger on the bike!) so a meeting in Brecon with a run to Llandovery for breakfast and a yap before a run over to Ross On Wye was called for. On our way there we spotted Raglan Castle; perfect for today's subject.
Not one to leave it at that, I thought some more post processing action was called for so I set about attempting to create a watercolour from a pic taken on my phone. For some reason it took pic at 640x480 so forgive the size!
Cue Photoshop CS5, 3 layers, 2 backgrounds and about 25 minutes and this is what we have at the end of it. Quite pleased :)

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Day 7 - Architecture

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I don't often take pictures of buildings but I can appreciate a good looking one. Walking through Cardiff city centre this afternoon we happened across a quite impressive looking church. Whilst the pictures themselves didn't get me overly excited, I did have some fun attempting some things in post processing in Lightroom.
This is the result of one, a split tone shot which caught part of the steps and part of the buttresses placed against the side wall of the church.
A trip down to the sea front and pier at Penarth didn't yield anything of use, so we're going with this one!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Day 6 - All you have is time...

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...and what better way to show it than with a classic design sat within a contemporary housing? 1946 was the year Jack Heuer created the Carrera to celebrate the Carrera Panamericana Mexico Race.
I've always been a fan of Tag watches and this one is no exception to the rule.
Shot with a f2.8L IS USM 100m macros lens on my 7d, this was a somewhat tricky shot to get. Lighting was a pain and a tripod was a must. A deft touch of Lightroom 3.0 magic later and an edgy, sharp picture emerged.
This is the first picture I seem to have worked for, to get many elements together and make them work. If nothing else it's proved a learning experience and that's what it's all about, right?!
I'm having notions of starting to set out weeks and months into subjects or styles or techniques. It looks like this could be fun after all :)

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Day 5 - Experience is the teacher of all things...

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..so, according to documents, were the wise words of Julius Caesar. I've long been a fan of Roman history and when I spotted this fine looking chap in the museum shop at the Vatican in Rome I couldn't resist but to have him unceremoniously packed up and shipped home. A somewhat ironic nod to his landing on the shores of Britain, taking what he wanted and packing it off home before leaving again!
He caught my eye as I arrived home this evening from a few days away working. Simple composition, some lighting, shallow depth of field, focused on the eyes for maximum portrait impact. It works for me and 361 days to go and the challenge continues. The die is cast (he said that too).

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Day 4 - Riddle me this...

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Ok. So this picture isn't going to win any prizes. I did, however, leave a reflection in for added interest. Not the point. What we need to look at (and I realise I have taken away from the focus by leaving a reflection in , lesson learned) is the level of the water in the bottle.
For some reason over the past 12-24 months or so I find I am continually drinking or pouring from a bottle, no matter what size, and the remaining liquid sits bang on the top of the label. It can be a 1.5l as in this case, a 700ml bottle of wine with two glasses poured from it, a 500ml isotonic drink slugged or even a 330ml beer. EVERY time, just about, the level is even with the top of the label. This seriously happens more often than not these days.
WTH is that about?!
Either I have a latent subconscious OCD that I am needing to get diagnosed or there are strange forces afoot in the universe. YOU decide...

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Day 3 - Creativity; wherefore art thou?

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On the road again. It struck me that after a long first day at the office that the last thing I want is to do is go try be creative. Then I looked up what Creativity means. The description I was happiest with stated that Creativity is usually associated with being "original". The fact is Creativity is nothing to do with Originality. It'a about being Unexpected. So, I figure if I am expecting myself to be original, I'm probably doing the wrong thing. Therefore a simple picture of my (quite nice) hotel room is very definitely Unexpected. Day 3 done. Veni Vidi Vici!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Day 2 - Does anyone do anything on Jan 2nd?

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Today was one of those days where nothing much really happens. Got up late, late breakfast, watch a film while listening to rain and hail pound down on a cold and miserable day. On the up-side, I got my To-Do list complete :)

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Day 1 - Let's get started

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I've decided to embark upon a challenge. I'm relatively new to photography having gotten the bug from a trip to Iceland two years ago where the sights have to be seen to be believed.
In the 24 months since then I've progressed slightly by taking a one day course to get to grips with camera controls on my Canon DSLR. I've also taken a real liking to motorsport photography so don't be surprised if there are a number of shots throughout this year with a motoring theme.
The challenges for me will be to expand my interest in different subjects, be creative if I can and, last but by no means least; see if I can stick out 366 days of 2012 with a new pic each day.
Welcome to my journey :)