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Showing posts from February, 2014

FRIDAY TIP: Using the Rule of Thirds

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The first rule of composition is the Rule of Thirds but the first Rule of Photography is that there are no rules, just guidelines - remember that. 

The Rule of Thirds applies to all the visual arts (design, films, paintings etc) and is where the frame is divided into nine parts and the important elements are placed on or near these lines.



The following photographs taken on Belhaven Bay beach demonstrate the application of the rule of thirds. The horizon sits at the horizontal line dividing the upper third of the photo from the lower two-thirds. The shell in the image above sits at the intersection of two lines, sometimes called a power point or a crash point. 
Points of interest in the photo don't have to actually touch one of these lines to take advantage of the rule of thirds as the stump shows in the image below. It falls near the intersection of two of the lines, close enough to take advantage of the rule.

However the opening paragraph of this blog stated that the Rule of Thirds i…

Beautiful Day for Full Frame Photography

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It's been a beautiful spring like day here in the South East of Scotland, too good to be sat at the computer, so I decided to 'down tools' and go for a walk along the coastal path near Cockburnspath to take some pictures of the remains of St Helen's Church above the cliffs - I will post shots from here in the next couple of days. 

Walking along the coastal path I stopped to take in this scene looking back towards Torness Point.  I decided to get the Nikon D800 and take a long exposure (4 minutes) to get some movement in the clouds and the sea.



Regular visitors to my blog may have noticed that I have been favouring my pair of Fuji cameras over the bigger and more cumbersome Nikon D800.  This is because the images quality and the size of the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and X100 are superb and ideal when out walking.  However today I decided to load up my Lowepro backpack and take the D800 along as well and I'm certainly glad I did.  

The 36mp full frame sensor on the Nikon is the o…

Patterns in the Sand

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With wind and tides the beaches of East Lothian are constantly changing and being reshaped on a daily basis.  The tides on this stretch of coastline rise and fall by three metres and the wind is usually blowing across the beach, whipping up the sand and creating new patterns.
Take the images below from Belhaven Beach.  These were taken during a recent walk and show the patterns and shapes left by the receding tide.  Tomorrow it will be different again as the forces of nature sculpt the beach into new patterns.  It's fascinating!



Images taken on a Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujinon 35mm f1.4

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1881 East Coast Fishing Disaster Memorial at Cove

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At the top of the hill by the car park above the harbour at Cove is a bronze memorial by Jill Watson depicting the wives and children left behind after the East Coast Fishing Disaster of 1881 looking forlornly looking out to sea for their lost husbands, sons and fathers .  The memorial was unveiled in October 2008  

The inscription on the memorial reads:  'Commemorating the widows and children of Cove left by the fishing disaster of 14th October 1881 when 189 fishermen were lost off this coast. Cove lost 11 out of 21 fishermen.'


The disaster hit every fishing community on the South East Scottish coast with the Eyemouth fleet losing 129 men and one third of it's fleet (19 out of the 46 boats were lost).  Proportionally Cove was harder hit with over 11 out of the 21 fishermen lost and three of the four boats working out of the small harbour.  

More on the history of the Disaster of 1881 can be found HERE



For more on this memorial and about Cove Harbour visit the official website…

The Harbour at Cove

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Just down the coast from Dunbar and Torness Point is the little harbour of Cove, a beautiful little fishing port almost carved out of the rocky shoreline.  



A beautiful spring like day in East Lothian had us heading down the coast to Cove for our first exploration of this part of the world.  I decided to only bring the Fujifilm X100 for this first visit with a view of returning should we feel the need to with the Nikon and X-Pro1.



The harbour is still in use but like all the fishing ports on this coast it is a shadow of its former self.

History of Cove (words courtesy of BBC Scotland Website)
Since the 17th Century the naturally sheltered shore has been used by fishermen, as well as for exporting local coal.  During the 18th Century various efforts were made to improve the harbour. This included the creation of a tunnel through the headland down to the shore. This tunnel still provides access to the beach.



The present day harbour was constructed in 1831. This involved the building of a bre…

TEST: X-Pro1 + Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 + 2x Converter

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Ever since I got the Fotodiox adapter to attach Nikon lenses to the Fujifilm X-Pro1 I have been waiting to try out the Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 AF-D with the 2x converter to make the lens an effective 240-600mm f5.6.  I did have the opportunity to try the combination this afternoon at Tyningham beach but when we got there the light was far from ideal.
I had to push the ISO to 1000 to make sure I had a fast enough shutter speed for the focal length as I was hand holding the camera.  Now the newly acquired Fujinon 55-200mm has optical stabilisation and autofocus but the Fotodiox adapter means that there is no AF and the lens doesn't have VR anyway.
Bearing all this in mind, I am pretty pleased with the following two images, both taken at the long end of the zoom range. The biggest problem was keeping the lens steady enough to focus accurately. With the long focal length and the high wind sweeping across the beach I have to admit this was pretty frustrating.

This isn't a lens combinati…

It's all in the Planning

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For some weeks now I have been planning a shot of the Bridge to No Where at Belhaven Bay that required high tide to coincide with dawn and for the weather to be kind.  Keeping an eye on the weather forecast, and with a high tide at 7:09am, yesterday morning look to be a good bet to head down to the bridge.

Well the weather gods were smiling and despite a short, sharp shower of rain that produced a rainbow, the sunrise provided the perfect conditions to get the shots I had visualised in my head.





Images 1 and 2 were taken on a Nikon D800 and Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 lens - Lee 10x ND 'Big Stopper' and 0.6 ND Soft Grad filters.
Image 3 was taken on a Nikon D800 and Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens - Lee 10x ND 'Big Stopper' and 0.6 ND Soft Grad filters.
Image 4 was taken on a Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujinon 14mm f2.8

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Look Up: Part 2 of the New Project

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Part 2 of my new project 'Look Up' where I try to show off our new home in Dunbar in a different way.  We are all guilty of walking around observing the world at eye level.  As a photographer I tend to be always on the look out for the next picture and Dunbar has some wonderful buildings with so much history attached.  

By looking up we see things that we sometimes miss when we are walking about and here are three more images from the 'Look Up' project.


Part 3 of 'Look Up' will be coming soon.

Images taken on a Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujinon XF55-200mm f3.5/4.8R LM OIS. 

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REVIEW: Hands On with Fuji's Premium X-Series Long Lens

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Last November I had the opportunity to test the Fujinon XF 55-200mm f3.5-4.8 telephoto zoom (see blog HERE) and despite some misgivings beforehand, primarily about the variable aperture and larger lens profile when compared to the four prime lenses I had, I ended up loving this lens for its pulling power, image quality and optical stabilisation system. I didn't want to give it back at the end of the three days in Bahrain.

Fast forward to February 2014 and I now have one of these lenses in my camera bag and for the past three weeks I been giving the Fujinon XF 55-200mm a thorough test, taking it on walks around the local area in Dunbar and also to Paris on my regular business trips to the French capital.

The 55-200mm zoom is currently the longest lens in the XF range of Fujinon lenses (equivalent to a 84mm-305mm in full frame terms), though there is a 50-230mm f4.5/f6.7 XC spec lens available which is cheaper than, and not as well built as, the XF range of prosumer lenses.  Fujifilm …

Waiting....

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Belhaven Bay is a big draw for surfers, kayakers and swimmers and during our walk yesterday morning we spotted this lone surfer.  It was another good test for the new Fujinon 55-200mm f3.5/f4.8 lens I acquired a couple of weeks ago and is long overdue a review on this blog.

The surfer was waiting and waiting for the right wave to break and, after a long time, he eventually he got his wish but the waves were pretty small. 





This reminded me of an old Guinness advert called 'Here's to Waiting' -




Images taken on a Fujifilm X-Pro1 and 55-200mm f3.5/4.8

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The Old Door

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On the harbour front in Dunbar is an old pub / restaurant that dates back to the 18th century but is currently is serious need of renovation after being left empty for over a decade.  However it does make for an interesting subject for my camera lens.



Images taken on a Fujifilm X-Pro1 and 55-200mm f3.5/4.8

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Look Up: A New Project

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I am always on the look out for a new photographic project to get the creative juices flowing and I may just have found one while out and about with the X-Pro1 and 55-200 lens.  Dunbar has many beautiful buildings and during a walk in the winter sunshine last Sunday I hit upon the idea of taking shots of the tops of the town.  

Here are three images to start off this new project.





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