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Showing posts from February, 2015

From The Archives: Tobermory

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Here is another image from the MacLean Photographic archives, this time a shot of Tobermory harbour from our last trip to the Isle of Mull in May 2013.

We are regular visitors to the Isle of Mull but since we moved to Dunbar in August 2013 we haven't had the opportunity to visit the island, which is something that will need to be remedied in 2015 and was the reason I was searching through my many archive images of Mull.

This image was taken late evening and is just typical of the light that can be found on Mull.  The sky had been grey and lifeless but a change in the weather allowed the sun to peep through and add a bit of colour to the scene, which I assisted by using a grad filter on the camera.

Tobermory Harbour front is one of the most photographed scenes in Scotland with the colourful houses - the Mishnish Hotel had been repainted back to yellow from a dark grey over the previous winter - and boats moored up, though on this particular day the waterfront was pretty empty.

This ima…

After the Sun Sets

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I love a good sunset as much as the next landscape photographer and given the opportunity I will grab my gear and head out to the beaches here in East Lothian and set the camera on the tripod to get the last golden glow of the setting sun.

What amazes me is how many photographers pack up as soon as the sun has dropped below the horizon thinking that the photographic opportunities are done.  In fact the best light is often just before the dawn or just after the sun has set and a lot of photographers are missing a golden opportunity (pun intended!)



The best way to capture the twilight you need to be set up in good time as the sun is dropping towards the horizon and you'll need to have your camera strapped to a sturdy tripod and to use a cable release as the shutter speeds start to get longer very quickly once the light has gone.

Once the sun drops below the horizon you'll notice the colours shift from bright oranges and reds to purple to blue before turning black.  It all happens q…

What's Your Desktop Image?

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Computer desktops are very personal things and everyone treats their's differently.  I suppose being a photographer makes it easier to personalise my two desktops but my dilemma is always which image do I choose.  I tend to change my desktop image once every couple of months and it is usually when I  been somewhere interesting and want something to brighten my day when I'm chained to the desk.

The iMac desktop was chosen because I am on a countdown to spring and the beach isn't far away.  In fact the arrow point out of my office window is pointing the right way to Belhaven Bay just 500 metres up the road from when we live in Dunbar.  The sign is at John Muir Country Park at Belhaven Bay and is pointing the way to the beach from the car park.  Last week I had this image printed on an aluminium plate for the wall in our newly decorated guest room and is also pointing the correct way to Belhaven Bay.

The PC desktop is one of the images from the recent trip to Glen Coe, with the…

Sunny Days Make for Good Mono Images

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While out in the hills above Dunbar on Saturday I took some shots that I knew would look good in black and white even though the X-T1 was set to colour.  I actually see the shots in mono tones when I press the shutter release and this is because I used to shoot with black and white film and in those days you couldn't switch the viewfinder to 'mono mode' like you can on modern day digital cameras.
The bright, sunny conditions were perfect for the type of high contrast mono images I love to produce in post production using NIK Silver Efex Pro 2.  However to get a result on the computer you need a good image to start with. 

The farmland on the rolling hills above the village of Spott gave me plenty to point my camera and lens at and I came back with several shots that I was happy with, including this collection of five shots of the farmhouse at Spott West Mains.




The images were all taken on the Fujifilm X-T1 using either the Fujinon XF18mm f2 (images 1, 3 & 4) or the Fujinon…

The Brunt

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Continuing my exploration of the hills around Dunbar looking for new photographic locations I travelled up from the village of Spott along the road to Woodhall and Elmscleugh.  

The road drops drop to a ford crossing the Woodhall Burn and as you climb the hill on the far side there is a nice shot across the small glen with the old farmhouse at The Brunt perched on the opposite side.

I stopped the car and walked up the hill to get the best position.  Luckily the sun was still high enough to light the burn and not cause too many deep shadows in the image.

The X-T1 was fitted with the 10-24mm f4 lens, with a focal length of 17mm for this shot.  I had a Lee 0.9 ND Soft Grad fitted to help hold the brightly lit sky back three stops.  The final image was converted to mono using Silver Efex Pro2. 


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Fuji Spring Clean

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As the days get longer here in Scotland my thoughts are starting to turn to what images I and going to shoot this spring.  I've also been carrying out a 'spring clean' for my business equipment, which includes evaluating each piece of camera gear that I own.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you'll be aware of my recent conversion to Apple for my office computer and a beautiful 27" iMac now sits on my desk.  This has certainly changed my work flow in post production, but the iMac certainly wasn't cheap and this got me thinking about my camera gear needs.  I run a business and I have a lot of capital tied up in cameras and lenses. So I decided to evaluate what I NEED, not what I would like to have in my camera bag.  

My cameras and lenses are the tools of my trade and they are there to make money.  It i very easy as a  photographer to sentimental about camera gear, and I have suffered from 'Gear Aquisition Syndrome' (GAS) in the past. 

However the d…

From the Archive: Peak District in Winter

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I have been delving into the archives once again and re editing some of the shots from previous photoshoots on the new Apple iMac.

This shot was taken two years ago on 14 February 2013.  The image is of a farm house up in the Peak District with a dusting of snow on the fields. a quick edit in Photoshop CS and then converted to mono in Silvers Efex Pro2 software and this high contrast image is the result.

The image was taken on a Nikon D800 and Sigma 50-500mm f3.5/f6.3 lens, with the zoom set at 230mm.

Swiss Cheese on the Beach

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While out walking on the beach at Seacliffe at the weekend we came across this strange rock lying on the sand.  The surface of the rock is covered by lots of round indentations, like something has worn the surface in those areas.  I don't know what caused this to happen but the result, which looks like Swiss cheese or an irregularly shaped golf ball, is very interesting.

The geology on the East Lothian coast is fascinating with so many different types of rocks and evidence of fossilised remains of mud flows, which are a testament to the volcanic activity in this area millions of years ago.

On the rocky parks of the East Lothian coast there are rock formations that have been sculpted by the wind and tides and perfectly smooth holes where pebbles have been moved around by the waves and tides to wear away the rock.

The one thing that is for sure is the East Lothian coast is never boring and we are always discovering new things on every walk.



Images taken on a Fujifilm X-T1 + Fujinon 56mm…

Brock Wood Wildlife Reserve

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Spring is definitely on the way as the evenings get lighter and the temperatures start to rise.  Now I have said that I'm pretty sure winter will return with vengeance!  But the days are certainly getting longer and this means the opportunities to get out and photograph East Lothian are increasing.

Instead of going to the same locations like Barns Ness, Belhaven, Seacliffe and Tyningham all the time I have decided to get the OS map out and look for new photographic opportunities around Dunbar.  On Saturday evening I headed up into the hills around the village of Spott and with a very misty and overcast end of the day it turned into a recce run rather than a photographic trip.

However as the light was starting to fade I came across Brock Wood Wildlife Reserve so I decided to stop the car and go for a walk.  A grey and lifeless sky doesn't really matter when photographing in the trees, in fact the diffused light is perfect.



The wooded area is filled with a variety of trees includin…

High Seas at Tantallon Castle

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A beautiful sunny winters day had us heading to Seacliffe for a walk on the beach.  The waves were crashing onto the rocks around the Gegan, a large outcrop of red sandstone at the western end of the sandy beach, which made a dramatic foreground to the ruins of Tantallon Castle perched on the cliffs overlooking the Firth of Forth.

There was a slight sea mist hanging around the East Lothian coastline that produced a slightly diffused light in the middle to long distance playing over the landscape as the sun sank lower in the sky late into the afternoon.

I took several shots from several locations along the beach using the Fujifilm X-T1 fitted with the 56mm f1.2, 35mm f1.4 and 18mm f2 lenses.



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From the Archives

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I love looking through the MacLean Photographic archives to see what little gems I can turn up that were missed the first time around for whatever reason.

Take this shot from our trip to Berwick on Tweed in November 2012.  The shot that got used was the panoramic shot below but the colourful shot of the person in the orange coat standing in front of the red and white lighthouse at the end of the harbour breakwater was passed over for some reason I can't remember why.

I put the image into Photoshop CS and tweaked the levels and vibrance and the shot at the top of the page was the result.  

The images were both taken on the Fujifilm X100 using the standard 23mm f2 Fujinon lens.






Taking My First Bite of the Apple

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Well I have given in!  After many years of fellow photographers telling me I needed a MAC and MACs were the best, I have finally turned to the dark side and ditched my Windows desk top PC for a shiny new 27" iMac.  So why have I decide to this now I hear you ask?

Well it has a lot to do with the direction that Microsoft have gone with the Windows platform.  I like Windows 7, there is nothing wrong with Windows 7 and all of my other work is supported by Windows software (MS Office, Lightroom, Photoshop Elements etc) and I have invested a lot of money into this.  So, like buying into a camera system, changing from PC to MAC is a big step. 

I had to make a decision because my 5 year old desktop PC needed to be renewed.  I had specced it to the hilt when I bought it new but age was starting to creep in and it had started to slow down.

My options were to buy a new PC running Windows 7 like my laptop or go look at Apple for the first time.  The problem I have is Windows 8 - I hate it, it …

Edinburgh Castle

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This week has been a busy one for us with two visits to Edinburgh for meetings and a new computer system installed in the office (more on this tomorrow!).  We are also working on a new website design, which will be unveiled next month.

This has left little time this week to update the blog, but we are back online now.  I did manage to grab this shot of the floodlit Edinburgh Castle while I waited to catch my train at Waverley Station.  Edinburgh Castle still impresses me and is one of the most instantly recognisable sights anywhere in the world.  

The image was taken on the Fujifilm X100 and held steady by putting the camera on the fence surrounding Princes Street Gardens.



Surfs Up in Belhaven Bay

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Today was a beautiful sunny winters day in East Lothian so we wrapped up warm and headed down to Belhaven Bay for a walk on the sand.  The long 3km beach attracts a lot of surfers and with some good waves on offer Belhaven was busy with people bedecked in wetsuits and carrying surf or body boards.


I decided to take the Fujifilm X-T1 fitted with the Fujinon 56mm f1.2 lens on the walk, with the 18mm f2 in my coat pocket if I needed a wide angle lens.  As it happened I decided to keep the 56mm fitted to the camera and set about capturing some of the scenes on the beach as the surfers braved the very cold North Sea.


With the tide on the turn the wet sand shimmered in the bright Scottish sun, so I decided to try and use this reflective surface as the surfers walked towards the water.

The colour of the water, the bright blue sky and the yellow sand provided a very colourful subject, which I duly captured using the camera's RAW and JPEG mode, with the later set to 'Velvia' film simu…