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Showing posts from January, 2014

FRIDAY TIP: Using the Photographic Standard

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The standard lens is one of those photographic legends, it is a relatively cheap addition to your camera bag that gives more bang-for-buck than any other photographic purchase you will ever buy.
So what is a standard lens?  Well it is a lens that 'sees' the world with same field as vision as we do with our eyes. 


In the film days this was a 50mm and this is the same today for full frame cameras such as the Nikon D800.  For crop frame sensors the standard lens has become the 35mm.  The advantages are they are relatively cheap to make because they don't need as many glass elements and they are a 'fast' lens with a wide aperture, usually f1.8 or f1.4 and some manufacturers have a f1.2, so they are great for shooting in low light.  They are also relatively cheap with Nikon and Canon 50mm f1.8 around the £100 mark brand new and dirt cheap second hand.
They were the standard 'kit' lens that all cameras were sold with until the arrival of the standard zoom lens, whi…

Silver Birch Close Up

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The silver birch is a favourite photographic subject because of the contrast between the brightly coloured bark compared to the rest of the woodland surrounding our home here in southern Scotland.


This is a close up shot of a silver birch tree from the woodland near Ravensheugh Sands.  The sunlight was coming from the right through the trees, highlighting the side of the bark.  

Using the X-Pro1 and 60mm macro lens I captured this image showing the colours and patterns in the bark.


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Cliff Top Walk in Dunbar

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The cliff top walk around the Winterfield Golf Club has become a regular place for us to go for a walk to blow away the cobwebs.  Unless the weather is VERY inclement, we head off for a walk down to Belhaven Bay and if the tide is in, meaning the bridge to the beach is cut off, we'll head up the coastal path alongside the golf course.



This shot is taken from the cliff top looking east towards Dunbar Castle and the North Sea was reminding us of its power with plenty of breakers and white horses all along the coast.  Wonderful!  

The shot was taken on the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujinon 35mm f1.4R.  The image was converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro2.

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River Ice

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So far the winter in the UK has been pretty mild with no snow at low level or temperatures dropping below freezing for long periods.  I'm sure this will change but as a photographer the lack of snow or ice to photograph is disappointing. 

However in the Highlands there has been plenty of snow and ice and I captured some close ups of the ice that had formed in the River Etive a few weeks ago using the close focusing abilities of the Fujinon 60mm f2.4 macro on the X-Pro1.


The shapes and textures of the ice provided a great photographic subject and using the Slik tripod with the legs splayed out I was able to get down low to capture these images.




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The Big Guns in Dunbar

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Situated on a small area of grass overlooking the North Sea and Dunbar is a 25-pounder artillery piece as used by the British forces during World War II.  

The 25-pounder had been in position at Edinburgh Castle, where it was used for firing royal salutes, before being acquired by the town in the early 2000s to mark Dunbar's close association with the artillery regiments of the British army stretching back hundreds of years.


Alongside the gun is a colourful information board which details this long history and the reasons for the 25-pounder being on display in the town.
The gun was removed and restored in May 2012 in time for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. CLICK HERE to see the article that appeared in the East Lothian Courier







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All Square in Glen Etive

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Square images are a throw back to the 6cm x 6cm medium format cameras that were favoured by wedding and portrait photographers and also some landscape photographers.



Looking at the world in square is very different from the norm as we are used to looking at things in rectangular formats thanks to mainstream photography and TV / cinema screens.  It is usually 4:3 but widescreen laptops, PCs and TV screen has also introduced the 16:9 format.

I decided to compose my image in square to see if I could see the world differently and it works.  The beauty of square format is editors can crop the image portrait or landscape as the page layout dictates, but I quite like this image square - what do you think?


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FRIDAY TIP: Preventing the Photographic Shake, Rattle and Roll

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90% of the time photographers are looking for an image that is sharp and in focus and the best way to acheive this is by selecting the correct shutter speed to ensure that the image is sharp. 
As a photographer who specialises in landscapes I use a tripod which allows me the freedom to select whatever shutter / aperture combination I need but a tripod is not always convenient.  So what are the different options available to the photographer.
Handheld Images - use the correct stance to support the camera Most images are taken handheld, either at arms length a la mobile phone / compact camera, or with the camera up to the face looking through the viewfinder.  The 'arms length' method is the least stable because movement in your arms will be transmitted to the camera. 
With the camera against your face the photographer becomes a sort of tripod, especially if you stand correctly with your feet apart.  Supporting the camera with one hand under the lens also reduces the chance of came…

Another Sunset in Belhaven Bay

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The Bridge to No Where across Biel Water in Belhaven Bay is proving to be a popular subject for my camera lens at the moment as it is only a 5 minute walk down to the bay from our house in Dunbar.

This is another image from the other evening and was shot with the Fuji X-Pro1 and 60mm f2.4 lens as the sun was setting behind the Lammermuir Hills.


The image was taken on the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujinon 60mm f2.4 lens - 1/1400 @ f8 ISO400
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If yo…

The Bench

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This is a shot across Belhaven Bay from Winterfield Golf Course.  The bench on the headland is very popular as a place to just sit and contemplate the world. 

I have found out from a Dunbar resident that the bench is in memory of a local lady called Jane Baird, who used to walk her dog Sula on Belhaven Bay every day. She was a  familiar figure to lots of people and always had a kind word.  The bench is her memorial and what a view it has. 


The beauty is this bench is a 5-minute walk from our house in Dunbar and I have to pinch myself every so often to make sure I'm not dreaming as Dunbar is such a beautiful place to live.  We are very lucky!

The image was taken on the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujinon 60mm f2.4 lens
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REVIEW: Three Months with the Fujifilm X-Pro1

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It doesn't seem possible but it has been three months since I started with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and four prime lenses. in that time I have shot 5000 images in Japan, China, Bahrain, France and Scotland.  So what do I really think of Fujifilm's premier Compact System Camera? Well here are my thoughts - the good AND the bad.


As many readers of this blog will know I bought a Fuji X100 Black Limited Edition in October 2012 and this camera immediately changed the way I approached travel photography.  Fast forward a year and I had the opportunity to try out the Fujifilm X-Pro1, which is essentially a blown up version of the X100 with interchangable lenses.  That maybe a simplistic view of the XP1 but it is how I best find to describe this camera. 
I certainly wasn't disappointed with the handling or the performance of this premium digital range finder or the four prime lenses that I obtained to go with it.  The 14mm f2.8, 18mm f2, 35mm f1.4 and 60mm f2.4 offer a good range of cove…

Surf's Up

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Walking down to Belhaven Bay this evening in some glorious winter sunshine (see it doesn't always rain in Scotland) to grab some test shots for my blog on the first three months with the Fuji X-Pro1 we spotted this kayak surfer paddling out from Biel Water to catch the waves as the sun set across East Lothian.

The images were taken on the Fuji XP1 and 60mm f2.4 lens and then cropped slightly in PSE11.

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