Tokswang: Blog en-us (C)Phil Reeve (Tokswang) Fri, 11 Jan 2013 22:03:00 GMT Fri, 11 Jan 2013 22:03:00 GMT Tokswang: Blog 120 77 Undertaking Type of Chap  

5D Mk11 EF24-70 F2.8L USM 1/1000th at F2.8 ISO200

Sunday, and we weren’t sure what to do. The weather has been very unsettled of late so it was a case of just head out and see where we end up or come up with something that would provide us with an escape plan if it looked like rain. Trina checked t'internet and found that the Norwich Arts Festival was on so it was a no brainer really. Off we went to Norwich.

Before we went I checked my kit, charged batteries and decided on using the 5D and the 7D, coupled with the 24-70 and 70-200mm lenses respectively. Now at the moment, carrying those two cameras around can be a bit of a chore as they are heavy on their own, let alone with big lenses clamped on them! Still, you gotta suffer for your art. I'm still waiting on my double strap to arrive. Hopefully it won't be in our wonderful postal service for too much longer.

We arrived in Norwich and as expected, the closest car park was full (Chapelfield if anyone cares) but as I have some local knowledge I drove round the back and went to Pottergate. This car park is very rarely full but don't tell anyone.

We walked via The Forum and down to the Festival Gardens where the event was being held. It was very busy, the food stalls especially having long queues. We walked around the site to get a flavour of what was going on. Lots of sideshows and street performers but there were two stand out attractions. The first being a dinosaur puppet that was being led through the crowd. I got so close to it that a lot of my shots didn’t focus too well. It was like being in a paparazzi scrum!

The second was a pair of what I can only describe as friendly Trolls. They also walked around chatting to everybody. I cant describe them, you will have to check the pictures yourself.

So onto todays picture. We decided to get something to eat but as I said before, the queues were very long but Trina said she would line up. I went and sat on a bench to people watch and see if I could get any candid shots. I saw a bloke in a top hat drinking a beer so I rattled off a few shots of him as he walked by. A couple of minutes later he came and stood right behind where I was sitting. He just stood there. I ate my Hotdog and then just stood up, turned round and took 5 shots in a quick burst. I said “Thanks man” and just sat down again. He was fine with it.

Once back home I was not sure whether or not to HDR those shots but after processing, I thought it fitted well with the style he had. I like the way the colour really pops, it was very in keeping with whole sort of feeling of the day.

It's not easy to HDR people, in fact it's generally never a good idea unless you don't know the subject! It was nice to get an HDR of someone.  



]]> (Tokswang) Man Norwich arts at festival. hat in top Tue, 15 May 2012 15:16:38 GMT
Horse Face  

Horse Face v2-

5D Mk11 EF24-70mm F2.8L USM 1/1000th sec at F2.8 ISO100

The month of April has been a very wet one. The wettest on record according to somebody with some records. Because of this (and work commitments) I've not really been able to get out that much. So I decided to take the bull by the horns, (or should that be horse?) and just go out and see what was around. 

Not far from my house, situated just on the edge of the forest is a field where people take their dogs for a good run. We saw a lady let her Jack Russell go.... not sure if it's back yet. I've never noticed before but as we drove by there were some horses grazing in the field next to it. I parked up and got both cameras out and went to investigate. Trina found that the gate was not locked so we were able to get into the field, legally I might add as it seems it was a public footpath or something similar. Anyway, we were able to get right up to the horses. They didn't really seem too bothered by our presence and carried on chewing while I crept up on them photographing as I went. One started to pay attention to me and ventured in my direction. I stood my ground and wondered what it expected me to do. It wasn't long before it realised that I had no food so it just lost interest and wandered off towards it's friends, but not before I had captured this close up shot of it full face.

Back home, I uploaded the images and started work sorting good from bad. I ended up with about 15 decent shots which I will keep. This one was put through Photomatix 4.2 and then processed using CS5.5, adjusting the levels and vibrance, a small amount of sharpening and then a post crop vignette done in Lightroom 4. There was also a small clean up on the face.

All in all, I'm pleased with how this one turned out, colours and composition work well, clarity is good. A pleasing result. 


]]> (Tokswang) HDR Norfolk horse interest long face quizzical Sun, 06 May 2012 12:52:06 GMT
Happy Shiny People  

450D Sigma 17-70mm F2.8 DC Macro 1/320th sec at F8 ISO100

I like it when on a Friday when the weather botherers tell us that it's going to be a good weekend and there will be "A dry day with typical values around 15 to 16 degrees" Why a temperature suddenly becomes a "value" I don't know, but it is good.

I'm lucky enough that I get to travel all around East Anglia during the week so I can scout out places and then go back at the weekend to photograph what I have seen. Today we went to Southwold but first we stopped off at Blythburgh as I had seen a little jetty that I thought might work. Alas, it didn't. I took half a dozen shots, converted to HDR but they just didn't cut it. (Although I didn't know this for sure until I got home and processed them). As I've said before, I generally take hundreds of shots but only a handful will be ok.

It takes a good 90 mins to get from home to that particular area so we decided to salvage the day and go and have a coffee on Southwold pier. It's a lovely place, you should go.

After having a coffee and an extraordinarily superb piece of chocolate cake we strolled out and onto the pier. I had my trusty Canon 24-70 L series lens on the old 450D, Trina was playing around with a new app for the iPhone, Hipstamatics' Disposable Camera. A fine app, we'll have a lot of fun with that through the summer!

I took a few shots across the water looking back at the lighthouse, the sun trying it's best to burn through the cloud giving us a nice display of Jacob's ladder. Sadly, again the processed pictures just not hitting the spot. Ho hum, time to change lens and hopefully fortune. We sat on a bench and I swopped over to my 70-200 L series F2.8. The amount of people that stare at that lens!

On  the pier is a weird, water driven clock that you can throw your spare change at and they give it to a charity. I should pay more attention and then I could tell you which charity! At certain times during the day, the clock does something that makes people stand around and admire it. Again, I should pay more attention but the truth is I'm a people watcher, so I generally miss what's going on. I liked the fact that everybody was watching and enjoying the clock doing it's thing so I quickly fired off a few shots and this was the pick of the bunch. I decided to HDR the picture as I wouldn't normally capture a people shot in this way, HDR treatment just doesn't work  close up on faces but it seems to at a distance. A tight crop and just a little hint of vignette to focus everything in. A small amount of noise reduction and some level and vibrance tweaks, we end up with a shot that maybe didn't look like much to start with but ended up with a few happy shiny people.... and one happy photographer!


]]> (Tokswang) happy people smiling faces Sat, 10 Mar 2012 22:47:00 GMT
A Cold Day in Cromer A Cold day at Cromer

450D Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC 1/395th sec at F5.7 ISO100

Finally, after a busy winter and the worst case of manflu the medical world has ever seen, I was able to get out and get some pics taken. It was just a case of get on the road and which ever way the car was pointing, then that's the way we would head. So it was north to Cromer on the north Norfolk coast.

It was a particularly windy day and when you factor in the wind chill, it must have been minus 1 maybe minus 2. Nevertheless, wrapped up and sporting my trusty woolly hat and Thermalite gloves I was warm enough. With my partner Trina also similarly attired but nursing a strained back it was agreed we would only need an hour to get down to the shoreline and back.

We parked at the main car park just next to the tourist information centre and marched off through the streets to the top of the gangway near the Lifeboat museum and navigated around the walkway above it, along to the bench's that overlook the sea. I took out my Canon EOS 450 and with a 24-70mm L USM lens fired off half a dozen shots of the pier with the Lifeboat museum in the foreground. It was incredibly windy but as I was shooting at roughly 1/250th camera shake didn't seem to be a problem.

I then turned around and moved onto the grassed area where I took a few shots of a shelter. I swapped lenses and attached my Sigma 10-20mm wide angle so was able to get in tight and bring the clouds into the shot. Fired off about 12 frames but had not really seen anything to get excited about.

We decided to head on down to the pier itself where the sea was quite rough with the waves crashing into the pier and up the slipway creating a lot of foam and a fair bit of spray. Took a few more shots from below the pier wall, still nothing to write home about. I had also taken a couple of shots from over the sea wall before reaching the slipway still with the 10-20mm attached.

I have this idea in my head of a shot I would like to get on the pier so we walked under the entrance and out onto the wooden decking. Straightaway I knelt down and started taking shots. The amount of time Trina has spent out with when photographing you would think she would know when not to walk into frame. Alas, that day has not yet arrived. Nevermind. A few more shots taken, some at standing height, some crouched with the camera low to the ground, F13 selected for good DOF. Might bag some good ones here.

By this time, even with my woolly hat on, the cold was starting to get through so we decided to head for home and have a look at the results.

Back in front of the computer, all shots downloaded, there didn't seem to be anything that jumped off the screen at me. I made some notes and as I pretty much always shoot in RAW marked off the one's I thought might benefit from some HDR treatment but that would mean the tedious task of opening each RAW file and adjusting exposure to give me the metered photos needed for HDR. Yes, I know it's not strictly the correct way to do it but it works fine if you have a moving subject such as waves etc so I was happy to compromise.

Monday evening saw me back in front of the computer and putting the shots of choice through the HDR process. First into Photomatix and then photoshop. A couple hours and a lot of tweaking of levels, vibrance, brightness etc later, I was really pleased with the result. A Cold Day in Cromer was created.

After thinking that I had come home with very little that day, I have ended up with a shot I am very pleased with. I look forward to next weekend. I wonder which way my car will be facing?


]]> (Tokswang) Cromer Cromer pier as seen from the lower promenade looking west on a cold day cold looking west pier promenade Wed, 22 Feb 2012 19:19:05 GMT