Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3: Blog http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog en-us (C) Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3 diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) Thu, 26 Apr 2018 15:38:00 GMT Thu, 26 Apr 2018 15:38:00 GMT http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/img/s/v-5/u692293064-o305701934-50.jpg Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3: Blog http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog 120 80 Photo Impressionism Part 2 http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/4/photo-impressionism-part-2

In my last blog post, I talked about my re-discovery of multiple exposure images.

Since then, I’ve worked on a good number of new photographs using this style, and a refined viewpoint.  I’m also starting to fully understand what works and what doesn’t.

My starting point was the artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and his impressionistic painting “Sea and Rain” – The dreamy effect of the lone man, walking along a foggy beach was remincent of views I see fairly regularly along the East Coast of England. It was paintings similar to this that encouraged me on my way to try and re-create photographically this style of art.

There is a book that I’m keen to get a copy of – it’s entitled “The Lens of Impressionism: Photography and Painting Along the Normandy Coast, 1850-1874″ and includes the beautiful mid-19th century photography of Gustave Le Gray, Henri Le Secq, and others.  The Normandy Coast is where Whistler spent time painting, and it is also the time when painters and photographers were trying to capture motion.  Whistler was trying to move away from conventional art, and experimenting with a softer style.

In the time following the invention of photography, there was controversy about whether art could be photographic, or whether photographs were merely recording a scene.  I would say that the photograph of the French Fleet, Cherbourg, taken by Gustave Le Gray in 1858, shows great artistic quality.

Screenshot 2018-04-25 10.04.32

So photography became the ‘new painting’. Did photography influence the painters, or did the painters influence the photography…….?  I don’t know the answer..

A trip to the Science and Media Museum in Bradford revealed images by Frank Eugene (whom I remember from my college days) who scratched his negatives, to give a softer feel.  As far as I know, no-one before him had tried this, and even the ‘purists’ of the day were said to admire his work.

Screenshot 2018-04-25 09.48.41

Nude Man by Frank Eugene

Eugene was one of the founding members of “The Linked Ring” – Also known as “The Brotherhood of the Ring”, a photographic society created to propose and defend that photography was just as much an art as it was a science.

You can access the Linked Ring exhibition catalogues HERE (It can take a while to load even with a fast internet connection, so be careful) – Sadly the photographs themselves are not reproduced, but you can access all the Salon members, and search for their photography.  You can also see many adverts for the various processing labs, and cameras that were available in 1903.

I did try searching for some of the images in the catalogue but without success.

So – to go back to the start, you can find more of my impressionistic images on Flickr, by checking the link on the right hand side of the blog, I do hope you enjoy them.

More to come on this topic.

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/4/photo-impressionism-part-2 Thu, 26 Apr 2018 15:37:56 GMT
Photo Impressionism Part 1 http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/4/photo-impressionism-part-1 About six or so months ago, I rediscovered multiple exposure photography.

A good number of years ago, I was taking the ocassional multi exposure image, and putting them together in post production.  Once I got a Canon that could do them in-camera, I added a few more.  Time ticked on, and I was working for clients, and I didn't have much time to make images for myself, and the experiment got put on the back burner....

Then towards the end of 2017, I was admiring the work of a Candadian photographer who was creating very impressionistic photographs using multi exposures.  He was not doing them in camera, as each image he created was using upwards of 30 exposures.  He said he'd been influenced by a photographer called Freeman Patterson - and after a short time, I was able to get hold of a book Freeman had written, called Photo Impressionism, and the Subjective Image.

Whilst the publication is quite an old one, and refers entirely to shooting with film, the actual process was easily translated into the digital world.  He talked a lot about shooting images that only gave an impression of the whole, and in the use of shapes and lines, focused entirely on texture, and the nature of the surfaces.

Absorbed in the book, and tracing other photographers who were working the same way - I started to look at how these fascinating images were actually created.

It involved a lot of research, and tracking down different methods of working within Photoshop.  Eventually though, I was able to work out how to align layers of images, and how to blend them together to give the kind of result I was looking for.

Once I fully understand how the layer stacking affects the final images, I'll write a full blog piece.  In the meantime I'm looking at shooting all sorts of things, and seeing what works and what doesn't.

Tree

This is one of the first images I made using this multi shot technique. It uses around 40 images - stacked and blended to give the impression of the tree in front of a building.  I'm working on refining the technique, and this next image is one of the town of Louth in Lincolnshire.  It's the indoor market hall tower clock, on a busy Maundy Thursday, and a shot I shall try again on an even busier market day.  A mere 17 images this time....

Tree

The more images used, the finer the final image becomes, so somewhere in between there must be an optimum number of pictures to use.   I tried one larger image with nearly 70 images, but it did not seem to be so successful.   I have seen one photographer use this technique though with over 200 layers.   I can't imagine how big the final file would be.

I have uploaded a number of images onto my Flickr page (see the link to the right of the blog), and more are on my website

http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/multi_exposure

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/4/photo-impressionism-part-1 Thu, 26 Apr 2018 15:36:39 GMT
Louth clock tower http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/3/louth-clock-tower Louth Market Clock TowerLouth Market Clock Tower

Louth town centre

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/3/louth-clock-tower Thu, 29 Mar 2018 18:29:09 GMT
Lincoln Arboretum http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/3/lincoln-arboretum Lincoln Arboretum FountainLincoln Arboretum Fountain

The Fountain - In the Round

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) exposure fountain in lincoln multi round the http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/3/lincoln-arboretum Thu, 15 Mar 2018 09:20:42 GMT
On Being too Easily Pleased http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/2/On-Being-too-Easily-Pleased When I lived over in Cheshire, in fact about 16 miles out of Manchester, I was not too far from Lyme Park.  A National Trust estate famed mostly for the house, and the large herds of red and fallow deer that roam free on the estate – as well as its starring role in Pride and Prejudice.

There’s a tree – I’m not sure what kind, (maybe a Maple?) but it’s a great shape.  Every time I went over there, I photographed it.  From all angles, and at all times of day – sunrise, sunset, bad weather, good weather.  Different cameras, different light, different viewpoints.

While in the midst of shooting this tree (again) during the Red Deer rut, a cyclist stopped next to me.  He gets off his bike, looks at all the gear I have spread around (I was shooting deer really don’t forget), gets out his little pocket camera – takes one shot, and rides away – with me staring after him,

I watch him go, and I think that I’ve been looking at, and shooting this tree over the years.  He’s taken one shot, and I think he’s probably happy with it.  I wonder if he’s happier with that one photo, than I’ve been after 2 years of messing…….  I’d love to know.

Here’s my version of “That Tree”….

Lyme Park Treelyme-park-tree

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) deer rut derbyshire landscape lyme park manchester peak district trees wild places http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/2/On-Being-too-Easily-Pleased Wed, 28 Feb 2018 23:00:02 GMT
What other People Think ! http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/2/What-other-People-Think There are photos you take and love, and will always love, and there are photos you take that you love and you can’t understand why no-one else does – and then there are the photos you hate, and would delete because, you have assumed that because you don’t like them, no one else will.

The photograph below, I took last year using a 10 stop filter.  I had one, and hadn’t used it for a long long time.  Mostly I forgot I even owned it.  Then towards the end of 2017 I went to an RPS day in Nottingham, and one of the speakers gave a talk about the images you could achieve with long exposures in the daytime.  I went home, got the filter out and set off to see what I could do.

I went out with some friends, and we shot all sorts of things, but overall I wasn’t very happy about any of the images I got.  On the other hand, I wasn’t terribly sure just what it was I was really looking for.

A few other people said they liked the shot, but I just couldn’t see it.

Later – I was reading a book by celebrated photographer Jay Maisel.  In it – he talked about a photograph of his own that he had taken and didn’t like.

He discussed it with a friend of his and the conversation went something like this

He said “I love that shot”

I said “I hate you, I’d just decided to eliminate it”

“Why would you do that?”

“Because it isn’t what I had in mind when I shot it”

He said “But I’m not hampered by your history and intentions. I love that shot”

What he was seeing was an end result with no concept of what Jay had set out to achieve, and so came at it from a completely fresh perspective.

We need to think of our image making the same way – just because somthing doesn’t fit our immediate ‘wants’ doesn’t mean to say it’s a bad image.

I enter the British Photographic Exhibitions,  and other photography competitions, but in the end analysis, who am I really trying to please?  Me or a remote judge?  The answer is ME, and if the judge likes it to, then that’s a bonus.

Take photographs, enjoy being outside, or inside.  Enjoy the solitude that image making can give you – enjoy the companionship too.  Then, listen to what other people say about your images before you throw them in the bin…..

Yorkshire-Edityorkshire-edit

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/2/What-other-People-Think Thu, 15 Feb 2018 02:01:32 GMT
Double Exposures ! http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/2/Double-Exposures There’s an old adage that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  This runs true in all sorts of ways.  We’ve all made mistakes with people, at job interviews, with good friends, and sometimes you get the chance to go back and fix your mistakes – but not always.

I think it’s similar to when you make photographs – but you do usually have two chances.  Once when you take it, and once when you edit it.  There’s also the time when you take something, bring it home, and surprise even yourself.  You haven’t seen what you’ve got at the time you took it.  Whether it be because you didn’t look at the image on the back of the camera, or because you just didn’t  ‘see’ it.

So the second chance comes into play.  You didn’t just randomly delete it whilst you were out (NEVER delete anything whilst you’re out!), and now you can edit.

When I took the shot below – I was playing with the double exposure function of the camera… We were in a shopping centre, and security was popping around – you all know what it’s like – I’m on private property doing something that security doesn’t like or allow – anyway, so I was sneaking photographs.  Camera low down – and just shooting what ever took my fancy.

When I got home, I had this….

DSCF6130dscf6130

Unlooked for and unplanned.  I had no idea what I had.

Most of what I took I deleted, but this is the one I liked the best.  Keep shooting.

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) art camera double exposure experiment fuji fuji x-t2 making images mulit shot photography photoshop photoshop cc special effects http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/2/Double-Exposures Thu, 01 Feb 2018 06:24:06 GMT
To Like or Not to Like, that is the question.. http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/1/To-Like-or-Not-to-Like-that-is-the-question DSED5726dsed5726

Every now and again someone will ask me “where did you take that picture?”  It’s usually easy for me to tell them,  as I can remember most locations.  However, sometimes I’m asked “WHY did you take that picture?”

The image above generated this second question.  It was taken on the beach, close to West Kirby, and the chap had been wind surfing.  The dog had been bounding around on the beach, and this was the greeting the owner got when he sat down.  I was just taken by the moment shared between man and dog.

What’s interesting, is that the next person to look at this shot might say that it doesn’t do anything for them.  They may not like the composition, or the colours, or the expression….

This is the point – there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way – it’s all to do with how the viewer has been educated by books, art, and photography.  It’s about how they have been ‘judged’ in the past on their own work.  It is also to do with how much influence an individual has had in their photographic journey.

If you are constantly told that the photographic rules have to be followed, and that deviation means it’s wrong – then it’s possible that the photographer will not be as creative.

You need to know the basic rules, yes, but you also need to be aware that it is OK to break them when YOU want to.

Your own views will be constantly changing, provided you are open to change. And the truth of the matter is that you have only one person to please that really matters……. YOURSELF.

 

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) animals art beach camera competitions dog grab shot judging man photography sea windsurfing http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/1/To-Like-or-Not-to-Like-that-is-the-question Sat, 20 Jan 2018 03:28:44 GMT
Never Go Back ! http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/1/Never-Go-Back I was on my way to a job a couple of years ago – fairly locally.  I had a deadline to be with the client to photograph a presentation, and didn’t really have time to stop on the way.

Driving past, I saw this boat – moored up, and I thought, that’s great – I’ll go back an shoot it on the way home, or maybe another day.

The voices in my head, that I’ve talked about before, and said you should listen to – shouted at me “do it now”.  I did, I stopped the car, got out, and took this one image.

img_2897 When I was finished – I drove home the same way, back to see the boat again.  There was no boat any more.  It had gone.  No longer any photo for me to take.

So, I reiterate….. “Never Go Back”… shoot it now.  When and if you do go back it won’t be the same.  It can never be exactly the same.  The weather will change, the light will change.  The thing you want to shoot may not be there any  more.  It might be better, or worse, but never the same.

I always tell people to keep going back to the same location – over and over – to see it in different lights, moods, and seasons.  You will have a different attitude, and a different mood.  You will try different viewpoints.

Always though, shoot first, and ask questions later……

Enjoy your photography…..

 

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) boat camera competitions docks humour light photography photoshop photoshop cc planing ship thoughts work http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2018/1/Never-Go-Back Fri, 12 Jan 2018 05:33:24 GMT
Lightwaves – Salford Quays – Humans Being Digital http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/12/Lightwaves-Salford-Quays-Humans-Being-Digital On Friday – December 15th, four of us went to Salford Quays, to attend Lightwaves, on Salford Quays, hosted by Quays Culture.

We were able to meet with the Creative Director, Lucy Dusgate, and talk to her about this years show. (Image by Keith Balcombe)

lucy

We discussed the latest commission “I forgot to say”……

a95t37981 International novelist, University of Salford Chancellor and Scotland’s national poet, Jackie Kay has produced a brand new, large-scale commission neon word sign, which spans 15 metres in length across the Plaza outside The Lowry.  Jackie Kay was invited to choose a sentence that for her sums up this year.  The neon (LED) word art spells out ‘I Forgot To Say,’ with the latter, ‘To Say’, illuminating and increasing in intensity and colour when audiences leave their messages..…..  In response to the messages left, Jackie Kay will produce a brand new poem in early 2018.

You can find information about this poem by clicking HERE

Planning for these events, starts at least 18 months in advance, and the build can take up to six months.  The exhibits have to be weather proof, and be able to withstand winds up to 45mph, as it can be pretty windy on the Quays.

Lucy, who works part time for Quays Culture, has a lot of support from both full, and part time staff – one of whom deals just with all the administration.

We asked Lucy about the selection of artists to display their work on the Quays.  She explained that she keeps an eye on the artistic processes, and when she sees work that she thinks will fit, she will approach the artist directly.  She is also aware of upcoming emerging UK talent, and will encourage those to apply to have their work displayed.

This year, the Danish artist Tom Dekyzere is displaying some of his work.  You can find more information about Tom by clicking HERE

His installation on the Quays, a dynamic waterside sculpture will translate soundwaves from beneath the River Irwell into lightwaves.

a95t3844

Tom Dekyvere explores the deeper layers of reality and mind. Just as the alchemists of former times probing for unexpected connections, in search of the boundaries between nature and technology, between man and robot, between dead and living matter.

With over 400,000 people attending the Quays last winter – Lucy hopes that this will be exceeded this year.

The other section of the display is entitled “Humans Being Digital”, an exhibition which ends in February 2018.  Thom Kubli brings his piece Black Hole Horizon – which illustrates sound in the form of bubbles.

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This is what Thom’s website has to say about the installation

“What kind of relations exists between oscillating air, black holes and soap bubbles? What effect does the sound of horns have on the human psyche and why is it present in various creation myths? What impact does gravity have on our collective consciousness? Where do spectacle and contemplation meet?

The installation Black Hole Horizon is a cosmological experimental setup, a meditation about a spectacular machine that transforms sound into three-dimensional objects and that keeps the space in steady transformation.

The nucleus of Black Hole Horizon is the development of an instrument that is operated by compressed air and that resembles a ship’s horn. With the sounding of each tone, a huge soap bubble emerges from the horn. It grows while the tone sounds, peels off the horn, lingers through the exhibition space and finally bursts at an erratic position within the room.”

Heart, Brain and Lungs by Pascal Haudressy are screen-based pieces that encourage you to think about your own bodies…

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Finally, Nye Thompson uses CCTV footage to create a curious environment that asks questions about technology and privacy, contributing a sense of anxiety to an exhibition of many emotions.

humansbeingdigital artists: U_Joo and Limhee Young; Max Dovey; Thom Kubli; Nye Thompson; Thomson and Craighead; Mary Maggic; Mango Chijo Tree and The Jayder; Pascal Haudressy; Libby Heaney and Felix Luque Sanchez.

If you get a chance to visit, entry is free.

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Lightwaves ends on December 17th, and Humans Being Digital Ends February 2018.

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) "salford quays" art black hole horizon celebrities jackie kay light installation lightpainting lightwaves lucy dusgate modern art nye thompson pascal haudressy photography press and pr river irwell salford thom kubli tom dekyzere trafford http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/12/Lightwaves-Salford-Quays-Humans-Being-Digital Sun, 17 Dec 2017 03:21:51 GMT
Seals at Donna Nook http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/11/Seals-at-Donna-Nook _DSF4850dsf4850

It’s pupping time at Donna Nook this month, and next – and it’s always a time of great excitement for both photographers and everyone else.

What some people forget is that these seals are wild animals, and despite how cute the pups look, they are capable of inflicting a nasty bite.  The mothers, over protective, and dominant, can move faster than a person can run – and today, even from the other side of a well made fence, a female growled and plunged at us just for passing.  We were glad we were on the other side of it.

Grey Seal Pupgrey-seal_-2

The grey seal pups weigh about 14kg at birth and have soft white fur. They remain on land where they suck from their mother for 18 – 21 days. A female’s milk contains up to 60% fat, so pups grow very quickly, gaining about 2kg in weight each day. This weight gain consists mainly of a layer of blubber below their skin, which is vital insulation when they go to sea. During the pupping season, male grey seals also come ashore to mate.
The largest males, usually more than 10 years old, compete for a position within groups of breeding females. Occasionally males fight, and may sustain deep scars on their necks as a result.
The fence at Donna Nook, at the foot of the sand dunes reduces disturbance to the seals, and also ensures the safety of visitors.

For your own safety and to reduce disturbance to the seals, please follow these guidelines:

  • Stay within the viewing area behind the fence
  • Strictly observe all red flag and other bombing range warnings
  • Don’t get too close to the seals
  • Never feed or pet the seals
  • No unaccompanied children
  • No dogs

Photographers have been seen out on the beach at the weekends, when the range is closed.  Sadly, all this leads to is an encouragement of others (with no fieldcraft or expertise) to join them out there.

Great pictures can be got from the fence line – there is no need to travel further out, and disturb breeding animals.  If a mother seal thinks her pup does not smell right, she will abandon it, and it will die.  Please keep to the designated paths.

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The seals, and the Wildlife Trust will love you for it….

 

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/11/Seals-at-Donna-Nook Thu, 09 Nov 2017 12:20:41 GMT
Photographic Skills http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/10/Photographic-Skills For a while now, I’ve been thinking about what we, as photographers, need to be doing to enhance our skill-sets.

We all need to be able to work the controls on our cameras, even in the dark, it should be second nature to change an ISO, or an F stop, or a shutter speed without even having to think how to do it – and the only way to achieve this is to practice.

We also need to know how to ‘see’ a photograph before we even press the shutter button, and it’s these skills that can separate the terrific, from the merely competent.

With the advent of new digital cameras, it’s actually quite hard to make a really bad exposure.  Even harder these days to achieve an out of focus image.  Cameras are very clever these days, and have built in exposure settings, and shake reduction in either the camera body, or lens.

However, on top of all these things, I think that photographers need another set of skills outside that of just ‘taking’ an image.

1. Computer Literacy – software is the mainstay of the post image taking process.  We need to be able to email images, to resize them, to compress them, and send them to storage sites such as Dropbox.  To do that, we need to be able to type, and express ourselves in a clear and concise manner.

2. We need to be able to competently edit, and select images.  These days, we don’t go out and shoot a roll or two of film.  We go out and come back sometimes with hundreds, maybe thousands, of images.  We need to be able to select which are the best ones, and the ones that our ‘client’ will like, and not just ones that are our own personal favourites.  We need to be clear that the sharpest images, are not always the best ones compositionally, and conversely the best composed ones, won’t always be the sharpest – we need to be able to make that distinction and choose wisely.

3. We need to be aware of art history, and photographic history.  If you are asked who your favourite photographer is – it’s not just going to be the chap down the  road who takes amazing bird photographs – he might be the one impressing you at the moment, but who in history influences the images you take?    Art and photography are inching closer and closer together, and soon, you will have a hard job telling the difference.

Melbourne Photographer Bill Gekas photographs his daughter in the style of all the old Masters.  Take a look here

https://www.boredpanda.com/5-year-old-daughter-classic-paintings-bill-gekas/

Google for photographic images of ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ by Vermeer, and see what others are up to.

you need to understand art now, to understand photography.

4. The art of conversation – There are times when you need permission to shoot.  Either a person, or a place.  The need for access can sometimes be smoothed over by a polite conversation with owners, or guardians.  After photographers have trespassed on land, you can’t blame the owners for being angry at finding ‘yet another’ on their property.  Go in first, ask the questions – I think you’ll be surprised how forthcoming people will be, just for asking.

5. And lastly – filing and organisation – there is no point in having the worlds greatest image if you can’t find it on  your hard drive.  So, keep your drives tidy, split your images into sections or groups, back them up externally, and don’t rely on your website either – if your provider goes out of business – you could be left high and dry with no images.

If you use Lightroom, avail yourself of the catalogue and make sure your images are correctly sorted, tagged, and keyworded.  Sure, it might take you a week (or more) of hard work, if you’ve not started yet, but in the long run I think you’ll be pleased you did.

For example – I sold an image at a craft fair 5 years ago – it was mounted but not framed.  The client decided to have it reframed, and the picture framer damaged the print.  He contacted me, and asked if I could supply a new one, so that he didn’t have to tell his client; and because I’d got a good catalogue, I was able, within an hour, to send him a file, so he could get it printed again.  Job done.

GWPEgwpe

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) "photo sharing" art art history books business cameras computer literacy content dslr editing feedback film fun google ideas internet lightroom literature marketing photography photoshop storage technology thoughts training web work writing http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/10/Photographic-Skills Sun, 29 Oct 2017 09:46:04 GMT
A Trip to the Circus – and the Fuji X-T2 – Impressive Performances http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/9/A-Trip-to-the-Circus-and-the-Fuji-X-T2-Impressive-Performances I was pleased to get some tickets this week for Russell’s International Circus – and even more pleased that I was allowed to photograph the entire show, without having to remain in my seat! – I decided to take the Fuji X-T2 and a couple of their impressive lens.  I chose the 50-140 f2.8, and the mega sharp 23mm F2 – I knew that the light levels were going to be low, so I went for the fastest zoom, and my fastest, widest prime.

Using auto ISO, and shutter priority, and the widest aperture, I let the camera do the heavy work – whilst I concentrated on the action.

Having shot with the X-T2 for a few months now, I’ve been impressed with just how well it performs under low light conditions.

The ISO ranged from 12,800 down to 200, and although at the higher end (it was the dark blue lights) the images were a tad grainy, it was an easy fix in Lightroom.  The lighting for a camera, was probably some of the worst I’ve experienced outside a theatre, but the Fuji dealt with it well.  The images are excellent and I loved what the camera could do.

I’m very impressed with how well the X-T2 handles noise at ISO 12,800 – the colour holds well, and for the future, I’m going to have no qualms about racking up the ISO to compensate for the low light.

Take a look at a sample of the images from the night……

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) circus clowns comedy danger dressing up dslr entertainment excitement fuji hoops juggling photography rings russell's international circus trapeze http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/9/A-Trip-to-the-Circus-and-the-Fuji-X-T2-Impressive-Performances Thu, 21 Sep 2017 03:40:45 GMT
The Wedding Photographer http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/9/The-Wedding-Photographer I was reading an article the other day on Facebook – the discussion mostly revolved  around the giving away of images, and the problems surrounding professional photographers whose income was being somewhat eroded by this same action.

It started by someone saying they’d just got a DSLR, and had been asked to shoot a wedding, and could anyone offer any advice.  The resounding advice initially was “don’t do it” and “leave it to the professionals”, and “maybe get someone to take you on as a second shooter” ……. the response was outstandingly negative towards professional photographers, with remarks such as “anyone can shoot a wedding”.  I have to confess, I left the conversation feeling somewhat irritated.

Why is it, that beginner photographers, and some amateurs feel that it’s acceptable to take mediocre photographs at a wedding, and feel that their images are going to be so much better than a professional photographers?

I’m the first to admit that there are amateurs out there, who are very good indeed, and would produce stunning images for their clients – but there are others who are just NOT good enough, and who won’t admit it.  More irritatingly still, these are generally the people who are arrogant enough to think that the professional photographer with their ‘big cameras’ are not going to be as good as they are.  After the conversation had insulted Nikon / Canon etc, they turned on the professional photographers, and had a go at them – saying that it wasn’t fair that they charged so much……

I’d like them to think of it this way .. If the electrics fail in your house – are you going to nip down the road and ask the neighbour who has a few tools (which might be better than yours), but has no experience to come and fix them?  Are you going to ask someone to come and sort your plumbing out just because they’ve just bought a new wrench?  I didn’t think so.  So why should employing a photographer be any different?

I’d also like to bet that the inexperienced photographer also does not carry any liability insurance, or maybe not carry any insurance at all…..

Expensive yes, but then so is the electrician, or plumber.  I understand that if the photographer gets it wrong, there is little likelihood of a loss of life (unless it is the photographer of course) – but then again, it’s a day that is not going to be repeated – a day that carries much significance, with these being the only memories.  It’s great to get the shots from the guests, but most people also want the romance, and the drama of the day, which an inexperienced photographer is not going to always get.

What is it about photography that makes people think they can do anything, and charge for it?

I used to teach basic camera skills – the first question I used to be asked would be “how do I get the best out of this camera?, and how can I make sure that my photography is going to be the best it can be?

These days – the people come, with their shiny new DSLR’s saying “how can I make money from my photographs?”  The answer should be – you can’t, till you learn how to use it properly.

It might be tiresome to hire someone, it might be tiresome to think that photographers actually charge money for their services – but it’s also pretty tiresome to listen to those who don’t charge, moaning about those who do.

I’m not going to end with the standard wedding shot, instead I’m ending with something that maybe the first timer could not immediately do.

A95T2797a95t2797

 

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/9/The-Wedding-Photographer Thu, 07 Sep 2017 01:00:42 GMT
Positive Thinking http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/6/positive-thinking I've been a Manchester girl my entire life (apart from the last two years we have lived here in Lincolnshire) - The story this week though, and the events that unfolded broke my heart - and I guess would have done where-ever it happened.

Manchester has a heart - but like any major city, it's not perfect. I think that no matter where this atrocity had been committed, people would have turned out in droves to help - it's the nature of people generally to rise to a crisis.  Should this have been Sheffield - it would have been Yorkshire stubbornness, rather than Manchester determination, so I don't think it's unique.

Having said that, I admired very much the grit of the people who helped strangers, gave lifts, and supplied food.

I worked in the city centre for many many years - our office got blown up by the IRA bomb -  Could not believe the devastation left behind. I was in town on 9/11 - attended St Anne's Church in the centre afterwards, and again was amazed at the coming together of people.  We came together in solidarity for America - and the Manchester people came together again in solidarity for Monday night.

There are lots of rubbish things currently happening in the world, so I've made a list of things that have made me happy this year.... and it's only May !

My beautiful daughter came home from Australia for a whole month (in fact she's still here with her boyfriend).....

I celebrated 35 years of marriage to my lovely hubby, it was our coral wedding anniversary this month.

We have much better friends than we probably deserve (me especially LOL)

We had a new fireplace built

The car passed its MOT

The camera did not pass its MOT - but it did get repaired despite the bill !!

We are relatively healthy, and relatively sane!  (That's pretty relative though)

I was able to afford a new camera......

I finally found somewhere that could give me a good haircut.

Discovered that I could grow chilli successfully, and garlic, and beans........

I rediscovered a cousin that I have not met up with for 30 years..... it was an amazing experience....

I visited Liverpool for the first time in an age, and met up with an old friend from work...

Found out that people like to dress up, and have their photos taken....  friends are far more enthusiastic about this than I care to think about - but it makes me smile when I do!

I've been asked to judge at lots of camera clubs around Lincolnshire - met lots of nice folks, and seen some amazing photographs and creations.

The sun is shining as I type, and I realise that I have a home, a roof over my head, food in the fridge, and a nice garden for the dogs to play in.

There's wine too, and decadently,  gin in the kitchen.

Yes, there's lots of horrid things in the world, so lets focus on the small things - and in the same breath say a prayer for all the folks who have lost loved ones this week....

I'll end with a photo that makes me smile - Sanderlings skittering across the beach last week.....  Give us a smile - go on - you know you want to !

DS2_2351

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/6/positive-thinking Thu, 01 Jun 2017 16:45:13 GMT
Pixelstick GIF's http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/4/pixelstick-gifs I've had the Pixelstick for a long time, and although I've used it regularly to demonstrate light painting at camera clubs, I can't say I've used it to it's maximum for me.

These last two weeks (since I did a talk in Sheffield) I've been getting to grips with the more interesting aspects of its use.  For example, you can create GIF's and although you can't host them here on Zen, you can upload them to a site called "Giphy" and access a link from there. 

I spent a lot of time working out how to get maximum smoothness from movement, and last night - in a moment of realisation - It dawned on me that you needed more frames for more smoothness.  The explanation from the Pixelstick website is not clear - but I think I need constant light (rather than a darkening sky) and far more frames than I have been using.

The GIF below is only made up of 7 frames.... I shall be exploring this further, and seeing what can be done with this technology.


via GIPHY

 

 

 

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) GIF Light Light Painting Pixelstick dark garden night http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2017/4/pixelstick-gifs Tue, 18 Apr 2017 14:38:11 GMT
Take a photo, make a photo ! http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/10/take-a-photo-make-a-photo Is clicking the shutter really enough ?  Do we spend too much time post processing ?   Should we be 'pure' in our art.  What comes in the lens, comes out in the print....

I'd say NO.  Clicking the shutter for me, is only the beginning of the process.

Whilst digitally enhancing images has become far easier, it's nothing new.  The practice has existed since photography began. There was an exhibition in New York in 2012 which examined this whole thing.  Click HERE for the link.  The exhibition featured images created in the period 1840 - 1990.  Look again at the first date...... 1840 !!!  The photographs were altered using a variety of techniques including multiple exposures, combination printing (images used from more than one negative), painting, and retouching.   Nothing new really here, apart from the speed - it was much slower then to get the same results as nowadays.

untitledUnknown Artist, American School
Man on Rooftop with Eleven Men in Formation on His Shoulders
ca. 1930
Gelatin silver print
Collection of George Eastman House
Photo Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The earliest example I could find was this one.... a two headed man - created in 1855 !

untitled

So why is manipulation such a huge problem for some people?

My all time hero - Ansel Adams was one of the greatest landscape photographers of all time.  He was probably one of the perfectionists.  His images were printed, edited, printed, edited, and printed again.  His 'zone' system is complex, and, for his time, revolutionary.  Google him - look at his images before and after editing.  One of his most famous pictures - Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico' - is a perfect example of his post processing skills.

So, next time the 'purists' start shouting about images coming straight out of the camera, because that's how it should be done, just remind them that although sometimes it's done that way - most times it's not.  That old adage that 'the camera never lies' is bunkum.  It lies most of the time.

The reality is that the people who make the cameras in Japan, or where-ever are the people who are ultimately telling you what your image will look like - especially if you are shooting in JPEG.  They decide the colours, the saturation, the sharpness. You decide on the crop.

The ultimate decision of course is the photographers  own.  There is no right and wrong way to process (or not) your own images.  There is also no need to preach about perfect out of camera images - nor is there a need for people to stop manipulating images just as much as they would like.

There's space for all of us.......

No go out and MAKE some photographs............

untitledMaurice Guibert (French, 1856–1913)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, Albi 1864–1901 Saint-André-du-Bois)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as Artist and Model
1892
Gelatin silver print
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Henry P. Mcllhenny, 1982-14-2

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/10/take-a-photo-make-a-photo Sat, 15 Oct 2016 14:12:25 GMT
The Rule of the Fool http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/10/the-rule-of-the-fool The Rule of the Fool

Are you a fool?  Why do you think you are, or not, as the case may be?

In my head, the fool usually rules – he challenges the norm, and his job is to question the rules, conventions and so on, that keep you thinking the same things.

Sometimes, in photography, you have to let your head rule, let the fool inside you out.

As an adult, I think it’s harder to do than when you were a child.  Children act the fool all the time, and everyone smiles and chuckles and says “how cute” – once grown, the same actions are seen as unhealthy and immature.  Now I’m not suggesting for one minute that we all go around acting like a  5 year old all the time, but I am suggesting that you let your mind wander. Laugh at yourself.

I had an idea a while ago – not an original one I hasten to add – but I’d seen images created of people apparently levitating.  A quick check on the web pretty much told me how they were achieved, and then, with the aid of a pal, we set off to see what we could do.  It was harder than we both thought, to get the light right, to get a natural looking lift, and more importantly, to get perspectives right so it ‘looked’ like we’d got a person to float.

I was reminded of a quote I’d read

“If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed at the results”

And that’s how we were – we had a rough idea where to go, but it was up to us to come up with a ‘fool’ proof route.

A problem was posed, and we had complete freedom in our imaginations as to how to solve it.

At school, we learn that failure is not an option – you are scored throughout your life – tests, exams, sales figures, business goals.  We learn to be right with only one answer as often as possible. We keep ‘mistakes’ to a minimum.   You have learned not only to not make mistakes, but you learn to not put yourself in a situation where you might fail.

The photographic judge looks at your photo, and doesn’t like it – he/she scores it 8/20 – you are deflated.  You won’t make that mistake again – you won’t enter a competition again – at its worst – you won’t take any more photographs if that’s the attitude.

The question is – Are you afraid to fail?  Are you afraid to try something new in your photo journey because of that fear?

What I see with most amateur photographers (and by that I mean new starters mostly) is that they post online everything they shoot – the good, the bad and the ugly…..  The people who are rated more highly, are the ones who (apparently) shoot good images all the time.   WRONG – they are the curators, the people who only post their good shots.  You only see what you are allowed to see – because yes, they make as many mistakes as the rest of you – it’s just that you don’t see them.

So, be brave, be curious, make mistakes and play the fool.

My experiment with levitation, by the way, not only led me on an interesting journey through the ‘how did they do that’ process, but ultimately led me to images that I like, and have entered into national competitions, with some degree of success.

Enjoy being the fool……

learning-to-fly

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/10/the-rule-of-the-fool Tue, 11 Oct 2016 10:54:03 GMT
Are We Frightened of Change? http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/10/are-we-frightened-of-change A few weeks ago, I wrote about photographers who were doing the same thing year after year, and me thinking that they were not as interesting, as those who moved on, tried different things, and were willing to experiment.

To some extent, I take that back.  There are photographers who are interesting, and have been, and will remain interesting, no matter what they do – mainly because they are very good at a particular genre. I would however, bet my last dollar, that at some point they have tried different things, and that they have in some areas failed (See my fear of failure post).

I realised only the other day, that I’m pretty guilty of this myself.  Now, I’m always happy to have a go at something new, something different – and at least try, even if I do fail at it.  But, yesterday, I drove for just under 3 hours to get to Wollaton Hall, where there were Red Deer, in the hopes of seeing some of the rut.  I’ve done this for the last 6 years (not the long drive, just the photos), and I’ve had some pretty good images.  What dawned on me yesterday, was that I was trying to do the same things I was doing before I moved home into deepest Lincolnshire.

Where I lived before, for example – deer parks were pretty easy to get to.  Lyme Park was 20 minutes away, and then there was Tatton, and Dunham Massey – all National Trust, but then I was a member, and all three were accessible for early morning, and evening shoots.  Here, now, Bradgate Park, and Wollaton Hall are probably two of the few places with a Red Deer Herd, and I made two mistakes yesterday.

  1. I left home too late, and
  2. I left home far too late

Nearly 3 hours there, three hours on site, and same back.  Exhausted? Yes, Pictures? Yes – Good Pictures? – Weeeelllll…. maybe some pretty OK ones.

a95t1046

Bradgate Park Leicester is 84 miles and 2 hours.  I went there last year, and yes, it was better access, time and more deer activity.

I did wonder as I crawled into bed last night whether I shouldn’t reconsider what I was photographing on a weekly basis.  I’ve not adapted my photographic behaviour to my new location – I’m still doing some things I was doing before, and maybe, not as well – just because of the distances involved.

I’ve learned the hard way – I need to adapt to what I have now, and move on, accept the changes, and next week, I’m back in the car, and looking for Stags…….

a95t1072

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2016/10/are-we-frightened-of-change Wed, 05 Oct 2016 09:43:38 GMT
Please be Gentle - It's my First Time..... http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2015/9/please-be-gentle---its-my-first-time Please be Gentle - It’s my First Time

I’ve not blogged in an age - we moved house, I started to rebuild contacts in a new area, I neglected all sorts of things in an effort to re-establish my life in a new county - and when I look back, all these things are excuses for not concentrating on blogging, or on so many other things I needed to do.  

What’s prompted me back into writing again, is the constant stream of excuses that photographers are coming up with these days, to explain their below standard work, which they are sharing on Social Media on an almost daily basis.  It’s driving me nuts……  

That’s not to say of course that there are many excellent photographers out there, sharing some truly inspirational work.  The trouble is, there are so many more ‘photographers’ (and I use the quote marks intentionally) who feel the need to share a lot of sub-standard images, and who feel that people should be praising them for their trouble.

I’m a member of a few Facebook groups - and I’ve actually left a good number - trusting that the few I stuck with would be more ‘constructive’.  Some of these groups encourage members to post images for constructive critique, and this is where the whole thing starts to fall apart.

“Please be gentle, I’m only just starting with photography / photoshop / Lightroom / Elements - don’t be harsh”

I’m more than happy to give constructive critique to those who really want it - Telling people their images are good, when they are good, and offering (I hope) constructive feedback  to those whose images are not so good, but have potential.  

However, if you are new, and just starting out, is it not even more important that you get honest feedback about your images?   If people constantly tell you that what you are producing is good - then of course you will keep on doing it - in exactly the same way, and you will continue to make the same mistakes, and I find that the poorer the image, the less likely people are to accept any criticism of it.  

I also see poor advice being given, and explanations for poor technique being blamed on equipment.  A prime example happened today.  I was reading a post where someone had put an image up for review - there was so much noise in the image that you could barely make out what it was.  The image was scaled up to 200%, the ISO had been set at 6400 and the exposure time was just 1/200 of a second.  The usual explanations were offered.  The high ISO, and the darkness of the image - the upscaling, all contributed to the rather messy image.  Later in the discussion - someone chipped in with and offered the explanation that it wasn’t the photographer who was to blame at all.  It would be a combination of a faulty SD card, and the fact that the Battery was nearing depletion that caused the ‘grain’ on the image.  A number of people tried to explain that a low battery would not cause this effect, but the photographer was relieved that it wasn’t anything they had done.  It was a ‘gear’ problem and so they could fix this by always taking with them a spare battery……..

I’m sorry, but this sort of thing is worse than useless.  Taking the easy way out, is not always an option.  Sometimes you just have to learn how to use your camera, and understand what the settings do, and how you can work with them, when the light is against you.

Understanding your camera, and it’s limitations are key to making better images.  All photographers need to know and understand the relationship between F/stop, shutter speed and ISO.  Adding in white balance, focus, composition and using a tripod where necessary.  There is a host of information on the net, and asking a question on a Facebook forum does not mean you are going to get good answers.  Check out the ones you do get - make sure the information is accurate.  

You can’t work on the principle of “It was on Facebook, so it must be right”

So before you post images on the net, asking for critique ask yourselves these questions

 Do I REALLY want other peoples opinion?

Do I really?…… because there are some images that we just feel are ‘right’ for us.  It won’t really matter what other people think, because they are personal to you.  It might not be a technically perfect image, but it captured that moment, which means so much to you.  But don’t forget, other people don’t know your circumstances, or your family, or your pets.  To them it’s just an underexposed image.

2. Is the opinion really about what you have posted

Opinions can be hi-jacked by other things happening in the same thread.  Some posters will ask questions that others will answer, and in the end the whole thing is not about your image any more, it’s about something different.  So be careful when you read the comments - it may not even be you they are talking about.

3. Are the comments actually helpful

Does “wow”, “amazing”, “beautiful work”, “incredible”, actually mean anything to you?  Or would you prefer comments such as “the composition works well”, “superb lead lines”, “nice and sharp”.  Even negative ones “the shadows are too dark”,  “you have some blown out highlights there”, “love the shot, but I see a couple of hot spots on the models face”.   Some of these things can be fixed in post production, and because you are so close to your images, you don’t see them sometimes.  It’s good and helpful to have them pointed out to you later on.

Hearing feedback about general things in your image can help you later on.  Ask yourself - can you take what’s being said, and apply it, to other images. If you can’t, I don’t think you should be asking for critique in the first place.   Is there a lesson to be learned in the feedback you are getting.

I encourage my students to take time looking at other people’s work.  Not just photographers, but artists and painters.  Ask yourself “why” is this person’s work so good - how does this compare to what I am producing.  Visit art galleries and photographic exhibitions and try to work out what is good about some of the images you see.

In summary then, if you are new to photography, photoshop, lightroom, whatever - then doesn’t it make more sense that people are absolutely truthful about your work?  There are ways of offering constructive critique without being rude or disrespectful.  If people ask for critique, then we should give it truthfully, and honestly, and expect it to be treated as such.  If we continually praise poor workmanship, then this will become the norm, and we will start to forget what truly great images look like.

 

 

 

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE3) Facebook art critique equipment lightroom photography photogshop http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2015/9/please-be-gentle---its-my-first-time Thu, 17 Sep 2015 12:22:10 GMT