Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2: Blog http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog en-us (C) Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2 diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) Thu, 01 Jun 2017 16:45:00 GMT Thu, 01 Jun 2017 16:45:00 GMT http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/img/s/v-5/u692293064-o305701934-50.jpg Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2: Blog http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog 120 80 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 BPE2) 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 BPE2) 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 !

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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 BPE2) 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 BPE2) 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.

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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…….

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) 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 BPE2) 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
Harness Racing at Pikehall in Derbyshire http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2014/6/harness-racing-at-pikehall-in-derbyshire Last week, a few of us met up for some social photography at Pikehall in Derbyshire - we decided that we would go and watch the Harness Racing, as none of us had ever been before.  It's about 30 miles from where we are based, and so with lunch packed away, we intrepid explorers set off on a gloriously sunshiny Sunday....

Racing started at 2pm, and there were 9 races in total.  But, we thought, what is harness racing exactly.. the answer came from the Harness Racing Association

http://www.bhrc.org.uk/racing/the-sport/about-harness-racing/

There are various opinions as to how Harness Racing began – folk racing their horses and traps home from church, trotting horses under saddle carrying the post all over the country and being raced by their owners etc.

A95T4823

Racing is thought to have begun in the mid 1700′s, the earliest recorded race being on Newmarket Heath on 29th August 1750. The Earl of March and the Earl of Eglintowne bet 1,000 guineas that four horses could pull a four wheeled chaise carrying one person 19 miles in an under an hour. A century and a half later, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales drove a trotter on the old Lanark racecourse in Scotland.

A95T4904

Many ‘match’ races used to take place between two horses, and also betting on horses trotting a set distance inside a certain time, some of the more notable recorded ones being:- In 1800 Phenomena, a brown mare 14.3hh, trotted 17 miles on the road in 56 minutes, when she was 12 years old. Some questioned the accuracy of the timing so she repeated the feat in three minutes less! She also trotted 19 miles in an hour, and at the age of 23, she still trotted 9 miles in 28.5 minutes. Creeping Sally was only 14 hands and blind, but she was backed to cover 50 miles of public road within 5 hours, trotting in harness. Her blindness probably proved an advantage that day, as there was a thick fog at Shoreditch and for all of the 25 miles out on the Harlow road. She turned round and headed back to London in 16 minutes under the stipulated time, with no signs of distress.

A95T5147

In 1839, two horses which were driven in tandem trotting 45 miles of road in 2 hours 55.5 minutes, were Tommy and Gustavus, a 24 year old. Both horses had won individual match races. By driving this pair backwards and forwards over a measured five mile stretch of road between Hampton and Sunbury, Mr Burke of Hereford won £100 for completing inside 3 hours. Lady was a trotting mare from Birmingham born in 1828 by Mr Richard Taylor from the noted horse Matchless out of Cheshire Cheese Lass. She was less than 15 hands but her first match was won against a 16hh horse, between Litchfield and Burton on 23/11/1832. She won easily passing him at the distance of 5 miles after giving him a mile start. On 13/5/1834 she trotted 17 miles in 55 minutes, carrying 12 stone.

A95T5103

The main foundation sire of American Harness Racing stock was a grey English thoroughbred called Messenger, and he was exported to America in 1788. His career as a stallion lasted 20 years, and today nearly all of America’s Standardbreds can be traced directly back to one of Messenger’s great grandsons, Hambletonian. The name Standardbred derives from the early American trotters who were required to reach a set standard of 2 minutes 30 seconds for a mile, in order to gain breed recognition. As far back as 1800, many top class American Standardbreds have stopped in Britain on their way to Australia, and British breeders have benefited from them resting here.

(info taken from the BHRA Website) - All images by Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) derbyshire harness racing horse racing horses pikehall racing sport sully http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2014/6/harness-racing-at-pikehall-in-derbyshire Tue, 10 Jun 2014 15:13:05 GMT
CPAGB Award http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2014/4/cpagb-award April 27th this year has been in my diary for a long time, as it was the day that my images were judged by a panel to see if I could be awarded the Certificate from the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain.

static.squarespace.comThe Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) is an organisation that co-ordinates specific activities for photographic clubs in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland. It does this through 15 geographical regions known as Federations.

It also offers other services such as Recorded Lectures to clubs and its own photographic Distinctions (known as awards for photographic merit) direct to qualifying club members.

The C award - is the first of three offered by the PAGB, and involves the entry of 10 images - each of which are judged to a maximum of 30 marks.  Each image has to achieve over 20 marks in order for a pass to be achieved.  So a minimum of 200 marks is needed.

My application was successful after many hours of work, and with assistance from a mentor.

Further Information and Reference
The PAGB www.thepagb.org.uk
L&CPU www.lcpuonline.org.uk
FIAP www.fiap.net 

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) CPAGB LRPS http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2014/4/cpagb-award Wed, 30 Apr 2014 08:53:01 GMT
How Has it Been so Long ? http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2014/2/how-has-it-been-so-long Posted on by

It’s been over two months since my last blog post, and we have been so busy over Christmas and New Year.  So much going on, and so little time to blog.

Late last year I spent some time trying to capture the red Squirrels at Formby – when I set off, the light was superb, and for the first 40 minutes there it was gorgeous – then the clouds rolled in, and it just went dark.  The squirrels were elusive – maybe due to the weather – they have recovered well from their last attack of squirrel pox…

DSED8414

After this, and into January, a trip to Martin Mere – but again the weather was dull.  The goldfinches performed though, with their ongoing squabbles over food.

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Late January, and February brought a raft of dinner engagements, with presentations.

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All in all it’s been a busy quarter – with more to come.

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2014/2/how-has-it-been-so-long Thu, 27 Feb 2014 11:28:12 GMT
The Birds..... http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/12/the-birds It's been a while since I got out and sat in a bird hide - but finally I've been able to manage a half day - well actually not even a full half day - really just a few hours.

Bluetit-1

Having said that - it was frustrating to travel down to my favourite hide, as the Christmas traffic was terrible.   Arriving though was a great relief, and the pools and hides were as fantastic as I remember them - it seems a long time, but in reality it's only been about 2 months.  The birds were co-operative, and it was good to watch as well as photograph them.

I was most impressed by the Great Spotted Woodpecker, a youngster turned up a couple of times whilst I was there, and didn't even immediately fly off when I came out of the hide.  He was full of confidence, and so handsome.

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There are around 140,000 breeding pairs of woodpeckers in the UK, though I don't see them very often, and this one was a delight.

The cold of the day, and the knowledge that I had an appointment in the evening, and 'work' to do eventually made me leave, though reluctantly.  Hoping to return between Christmas and the New Year.  Already I can't wait....

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/12/the-birds Wed, 18 Dec 2013 16:12:31 GMT
Technology Wars http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/12/technology-wars Thinking about buying a new camera?  Maybe getting a new one for Christmas?  A simple question, but one that assumes you know what you are doing.  Plus it assumes that you are not simply upgrading, for the sake of it.  How many times do people change their gear, because getting a 'better' camera will give you better images....

I'm using the Canon 1D MK4, bought in 2010 - but I see a LOT of people now who are more than happy with their mobile phones, or tablets for their images.  Does this mean the death of the DSLR?  I'd like to think not, but it is true that some newspapers have removed all their photography staff, and given the journalists an iphone or other 'smart' gadget.  Maybe the ethos of 'better images' is starting to vanish, and we are experiencing a new boom of quantity over quality.  The sheer amount of visual images on the internet now, through flickr, facebook, and so on, means that you are seeing far more poor quality images than ever before;  and the sad thing is that the more poor quality things you see, the more you get used to seeing them, and the more you accept that as a standard.

That's not to say there aren't the great photographers out there - they are there, and they are putting an enormous amount of energy and skill into producing some outstanding images. I use Google+ and Flickr to share pictures I have made, and they are great places to experiment, and see what sort of reaction there is to new stuff that I produce.  In the end analysis though, it's still social sharing, and maybe it's not as real as showing them in the 'real' world.  What is the value of strangers 'liking' an image if they are not prepared to explain what it is they like?

Has the ease with which images are captured actually devalued their credibility?  Have images become worth so much less since the advent of the mobile phone?

I ask myself this more often these days.  For example - at a dinner I was shooting the other month, a chap came up to me and asked why I thought I needed such a big camera - he himself had his ipad mini - and was more than happy to show me his 'brilliant' pictures that he had taken with it.  I'm not saying his images were bad, but he what he really wanted to show me was that I didn't need the gear I had.  Somehow though I think that if a 'professional' photographer turned up at his wedding with an ipad, he might be just a little underwhelmed !

The whole value of images is reducing almost on a daily basis - I get asked to work for free all the time "for exposure", and that I should be grateful to be asked, because, after all, they could have done it with their compacts, or phones.  (Try asking the plumber to come along for free - see how he or she reacts to that one.....)  On the other hand, with the better cameras, and powerful software, why shouldn't they try it for themselves.

My own thoughts are that photographers have to move with the times.  I'll confess to having taken images with my ipad, during a conference where the lens I had with me would not fit the whole lecture hall in.  My fault I admit, for not having the right lens with me.  The ipad image though was quite acceptable, and the client didn't even bat an eyelid.  I just added that one shot in with all the others, knowing that the images were only going to be used on line.  The problems arise when a print is required and you can't get the image quality.

I would say though that just because there are more people out there taking photographs, doesn't mean that there are more 'good' photographers.  I think there are about the same number of people producing good images as there were before - it's just that they are somewhat overwhelmed by all the other 'stuff'.

It'll be interesting to see in the next year or so, where we go with the new DSLR type video cameras, from which you can capture one frame as a still.  Why worry about taking individual images - video the whole event and pick your shot.

Next year's technology could be worth looking at.....

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) images ipad iphone photographer photography press http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/12/technology-wars Fri, 13 Dec 2013 16:20:46 GMT
The Rut of the Reds http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/10/the-rut-of-the-reds Red deer are our largest mammal in the UK.  Stags weigh anything from 90 - 190kg with females 63 - 120kg. The number of branches on antlers increases with age. Up to 16 points in native animals - who can live typically 18 years.

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The breeding season, or rut, occurs from the end of September through to November.  Stags return to the hinds home range and compete for access to hinds by engaging in elaborate displays of dominance, including roaring, parallel walks and fighting.  Serious injury and death can result but fighting only occurs between stags of similar size that can not assess dominance by any of the other means.  The dominant stag then ensures exclusive mating with the hinds.

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Only stags over 5 years old tend to achieve mating despite being sexually mature much earlier (before their 2nd birthday in productive woodland populations).  In woodland populations hinds over a year old give birth to a single calf after an 8 month gestation, between mid-May to mid-July each year.

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Injuries do happen, and sometimes even death.

Red deer are active throughout the 24 hour period but make more use of open spaces during the hours of darkness in populations experiencing frequent disturbance . Peak times of activity are at dawn and dusk.

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Red deer are widespread throughout the UK, and can be found in many parks and in the wild.  Bradgate Park in Leicestershire, Lyme Park in Cheshire, Tatton Park, Dunham Massey, and the Lake District.   Also common in East Anglia, and the South West of England.  In Scotland in the Scottish Highlands, Dumfriesshire.

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) Deer rut breeding deer mating nature red deer stag wildlife http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/10/the-rut-of-the-reds Mon, 21 Oct 2013 09:14:18 GMT
The Damselfly http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/8/the-damselfly In my last post I talked about Dragonflies, and in this one, I want to talk about their smaller counterparts, the Damselfly, but first the differences between the two..

Dragonflies have eyes that touch, or nearly touch at the top of the head, they are stocky, and have different sized wing pairs.  When they perch, the wings are held open.

Damselflies have eyes that are clearly separated, one on each side of the head, they are long and slender, and have evenly sized wings, which are held close when they perch, as can be seen in the image below.

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Common Blue Damselfly perching

 

Damselflies are carnivorous insects that live and breed near a wide variety of freshwater habitats. They lay their eggs in water, and the immature damselflies spend the first several months or years as aquatic predators. These immature damselflies, called nymphs, have external gills that allow them to extract oxygen from the water. After undergoing metamorphosis, new adult damselflies fly away from the water for a brief period of several days to several weeks, after which they return to breed. Both adult and immature damselflies are predators whose diet consists primarily of insects. (Corbet, 1999; Silsby, 2001)

Damselfly eating an aphid
Damselfly eating an aphid

 

The mating behaviour of the damselfly is quite unique.  Males have two sets of genitalia.  To mate, the male must grasp the female behind the head, and curl his abdomen into a circle.  In this position the male and female are said to be 'in tandem' - if the female is receptive, she will curl her abdomen forward to join the tip of her abdomen with the male's second set of genitilia, sperm is then transferred from one to another.  This position, called 'the wheel'.  After mating, the female will lay eggs usually below the water line, often guarded by the male

Mating Damselfly
Mating Damselfly

 

The average Damselfly, probably only lives between 3 to 4 weeks as an adult, but the damselfly nymphs can spend months in this early stage, depending on food source, temperatures and so on.

Damselfly do need a minimum temperature at which to fly - in the early mornings, they can be seen spreading their wings to dry out the morning dew, and warm up.

Damselfly in morning dew
Damselfly in morning dew

 

Damselfly and Dragonfly populations are good indicators of environmental quality and population levels are a good indicator of the health of the area.

They are the most ancient of insects, with evidence of them being found as fossils some millions of years ago.

 

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) damsefly derbyshire dew flight insect life cycle mating nature predator sex wildlife http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/8/the-damselfly Mon, 12 Aug 2013 15:18:43 GMT
Hunting for Dragons http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/8/hunting-for-dragons This week I was out walking with the dogs, and noticed a good number of Damsel and Dragonflies.  By Friday I had a bit of time, and decided to go hunting Dragons.... The majority I saw were Brown Hawkers...

Brown Hawker

The Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis) is a large dragonfly about 73 millimetres (2.9 in) long. It is a distinctive species and is easily recognised, even in flight, by its brown body and bronze wings. At rest, blue spots on the second and third segments of the male's abdomen can be noticed; these are absent in female.

It is widespread in England but commonest in the South East; local in Ireland and rare in Scotland. It is found on well-vegetated ponds, lakes and canals. It patrols a regular hunting territory around margins which is vigorously defended against intruders.

The flight time is mainly July to September. The nymph has stripes on the side of the thorax and distinct banding on the legs. (Text from Wikipedia)

Brown Hawker

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/8/hunting-for-dragons Sat, 03 Aug 2013 21:40:39 GMT
Water Fools at Salford Quays http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/7/water-fools-at-salford-quays The French outdoor theatre company ILOTOPE put on a spectacular event this weekend at Salford Quays.  I was down there to shoot the dress rehearsal which, although brilliantly done, did not have the fireworks going.

Water Fools, Salford Quays-11

It did feature though, a floating car, with a caravan, a huge floating bed, and lots of other magic.  At 9.30 prompt a car arrived, dropping a man off on a platform in the middle of the water.

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The story is rooted in the fanatical, as a surreal world explodes out of a man’s head, transporting him from the rigmarole of his everyday existence to a landscape populated with mythical creatures and inexplicable magic, while all spectacularly taking place on the water’s surface. Caravans, prams and penny-farthings will feature, defying all logic, bringing an impossibly innovative piece of entertainment to Salford Quays.

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Choreographed by French artist Bruno Schnebelin the routine had chain breath-taking visuals, punctuated by pyrotechnics, with engrossing theatre while fellow countryman Phil Spectrum composed an original score to make the show spectacular in all aspects.

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The rest of the images from this shoot can be seen HERE

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/7/water-fools-at-salford-quays Sun, 21 Jul 2013 15:14:08 GMT
Red Kites and Springwatch http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/6/red-kites-and-springwatch The BBC have bought and used one of my red kite images which currently features on their Springwatch blog.

You can see it here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/natureuk/posts/Feeding-red-kites-a-view-from-the-Chilterns

The shot was taken quite some time ago in Wales and is, I think, a beautiful portrait of an outstanding bird.

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/6/red-kites-and-springwatch Thu, 13 Jun 2013 05:25:52 GMT
Manchester City Games http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/5/manchester-city-games Manchester City Games 2013

The Manchester City Games were held today - May 25th, and will be followed by the BUPA 10K run on the 26th - the games though were all about running, jumping, and pole vaulting.

It was hard for me to be everywhere all at once, but I managed to bag all of the long jump, and all of the pole vaulting.  I did shoot the races last year, so tried to concentrate on things I hadn't shot before.

What I did find was that the main challenge was not so much the athletes themselves, but the light - it was dull and shady in the morning - meaning I needed a high ISO to keep the shutter speeds up, and harsh sunlight in the afternoon, meaning I had to control the amount of light that was coming into the camera, without compromising the image.

Malte Mohr

Anyway, it was an experience I hope to repeat in the none too distant future....

Feel free to peruse the rest of the images by following THIS LINK

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) DSLR Press and PR Thoughts celebrities manchester photography running http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/5/manchester-city-games Sat, 25 May 2013 19:39:31 GMT
The Ruff at Martin Mere http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/4/the-ruff-at-martin-mere It's been a while since I got out to shoot birds, and nothing else... this last weekend we made a trip out to Martin Mere - we've not been there for a long time, and it was good to meet up with some friends, including some I'd spoken to on Facebook, but never actually met.  Although the day was a bit overcast, the light was nice in the morning.
We spent a good part of the morning in the SwanLink hide, and the Ruff showed particularly well.

The ruff is a medium-sized wading bird. It has a long neck, a small head, a rather short slightly droopy bill and medium-long orange or reddish leg. In flight it shows a faint wing-stripe and oval white patches either side of the tail. It breeds in a very few lowland sites in eastern England, and it appears that numbers are dropping. It is a migrant but in the UK some birds are present all year round. Many young birds from Scandinavia visit the UK in late summer, then migrating on to Africa.

Overview - Information from RSPB

Latin name

Philomachus pugnax

Family

Sandpipers and allies (Scolopacidae)

Where to see them

Best looked for on passage in spring and autumn in suitable habitat, particularly on the east and south coasts of the UK. Some birds overwinter, generally near the coast. Try some of the RSPB coastal wetland reserves, where there are lagoons, such as Titchwell, Norfolk.

When to see them

All year round

What they eat

Insects, larvae, frogs, small fish, seeds

Population

Europe UK breeding* UK wintering* UK passage*
- 37 males 800 birds -


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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) Birds Lancashire Martin Mere Nature Ruff Water Bird Wetlands Wildlife photography http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/4/the-ruff-at-martin-mere Mon, 08 Apr 2013 15:10:19 GMT
Shooting at the Speed of Light http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/3/shooting-at-the-speed-of-light

Speed of Light Salford: 21-23 March

NVA’s Speed of Light brought The Quays, Greater Manchester’s waterfront to life from Thu 21 – Sat 23 March 2013 from 8-9pm each night.

A centrepiece of the Edinburgh International Festival and recently staged in the docklands of Yokohama in Japan , the night-time work used light, intentional movement and sound to change the way we see and feel about a chosen environment.

Hundreds of runners in specially commissioned LED light suits created beautiful, choreographed patterns of light flowing through streets, over bridges and around public spaces and buildings. Free and non-ticketed for the the watching audience, it was seen as a piece of abstract art on the quays.

I was able to photograph the dress rehearsal for this fantastic event from above the crowds - some of the patterns made by the runners were seen at their best from this vantage point.

Many thanks to the organisers NVA and to Peel Holdings for allowing the photography to take place.

To see the full set of images CLICK HERE

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) LED NVA Salford quays art light manchester music patterns photography run running salford speed of light waterfront http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/3/shooting-at-the-speed-of-light Sun, 24 Mar 2013 11:06:13 GMT
The Google / Getty Stock Image Situation http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/3/the-google-/-getty-stock-image-situation The Google / Getty Stock Images Situation

photo

Over the last few weeks, I have closely followed the situation that currently exists between Google, and Getty Images.

It comes almost immediately after the problems with Instagram terms of service - which were re-issued to state that

“Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

“Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, except that you can control who can view certain of your Content and activities on the Service as described in the Service’s Privacy Policy.”

These terms have since been revised, Getty though has continued to broker a deal with Google that seems on the face of it to be totally unreasonable.  On the Google Drive Blog  they announced 5000 new images were to be made available free of charge to Google Drive users.  Create an image on Google Drive, and choose your image to illustrate it.  Whether for personal, or commercial use the images are free.

Where do these images come from?  Well, a lot seem to come from ‘i-stock’ , and others from the Getty/Flickr relationship.

This is a licence deal arranged with Google, through Getty images and iStock RF collections.  There was an initial pool of several thousand images licensed from Getty and iStock RF that are on the Getty platform.

What does this mean - well initially we have seen that some photographers whose images are sourced through Flickr to the Getty RF pool, have received around $12 per image, to have their images on the Google Drive search.  Images which have had the metadata stripped and can therefore not be traced back to the photographer.

So - initially, if you have photos on Flickr, which are currently in the Getty pool, you may find them turning up on Google Drive.. You will know if this has happened, as it will show in the October / November 2012 statements.  The main problem as I see it, is that you have images of people who have signed a model release stating that their image will not be used for certain purposes - but once out in the wild - they could end up anywhere - and the photographer can’t do anything about it.  The Getty contract is suitably vague, and even if you pull out of the programme, you can’t recover images already sold.

There has been another post on the iStock website

“We’ve heard you, and we’ve met with Google and are working with them to refine the implementation which we believe will address some of the concerns raised over the past several days–including copyright ownership.”

Maybe the agreement will be changed.  I’ll be watching to see how this one develops.

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diane@dseddonphoto.co.uk (Diane Seddon LRPS CPAGB BPE2) http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/blog/2013/3/the-google-/-getty-stock-image-situation Mon, 04 Mar 2013 11:57:03 GMT