Gadget technology.

Being of the older generation I tend not to keep up with the latest gadget technology. My photographs are processed on my desktop pc. When I travel I have tended to use to use a laptop but as this was coming to the end of its life I started looking for a new one. Someone mentioned to me that one of the latest tablets may do what I needed. Obviously when travelling this would make life easier. The main reason for it was just to process some RAW files whilst away and put them onto social media. I would leave the bulk of work for when I got home.

After looking at the possibilities I purchased the latest ipad pro. Obviously it could connect via the cameras wi-fi. Using the Nikon WMU app I could view the images I had on the camera and download a couple to process. I have downloaded the Lightroom app to work on the images. It also has the added bonus that when out photographing I can check the images as they are taken. This is such a bonus to me as much of my work is based around long exposures and I can check them easily and quickly. A much better way to work than looking at the back of the camera. The tablet goes with me everywhere now and I wouldn’t be without it.

Enough of the technical side its images that matter. I recently visited one of my favorite spots for  photography, Padley gorge in the Peak district in Derbyshire. A beautiful afternoon with dappled sunlight coming through the trees. A lovely walk through the trees and I settled on a couple of spots to photograph. One where I could do close ups of the water flowing round the rocks but the one chosen for here is from a bit further back. It shows more of the flow of the stream flowing through the rocks with an amzing range of colors.

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Blue is the color.

Blue is the color that I want to talk about in this post. Your images should create an emotional feeling to yourself and the viewer.  Different colors have different emotional effects on us. Blue does have some negative emotions, cold, distant, sadness. It also gives some positive emotions, harmony, faithfulness, confidence. By many people blue is regarded as their favorite color which says so much about it as a color.

I am a big believer in having a feel for an image before raising the camera to the eye. See the image and reflect how it feels in your final image. My photoshop skills are basic but I will happily play with the sliders in Lightroom until I get the image to look and feel how I want. Whatever my end image, it must project my feelings of when I took the picture. However your image finishes do not be frightened to be different. No type of art will be universally liked and it should push peoples emotions.

I was walking round the marina at Riva del Gardo whilst on holiday at Lake Garda in Italy when I spotted this shot. It was a calm peaceful scene, which is how I felt at the time. The haze gave the light an overall blue tone and the scene just had that feeling of harmony. I have increased the blue in Lightroom but hopefully kept the original feeling of the image. The jetty and the island give a sense of scale. The angles of the mountains create harmony.

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Reflections of Fountains abbey.

I am a great lover of reflections, they seem to give an image extra life, though if you know what to look for they are easy to find. Bright sunny days are where they stand out best. The shot that I have put on here is about 100 yards from the abbey so you don’t have to be too close to the thing that you want a reflection of. Sometimes it is a matter of searching out where you will find a good reflection. The problem that I had with this shot was that it was a breezy day creating a ripple on the water. The ripple was spoiling the refection that I wanted so I put a 10 stop neutral density filter on the lens. When using something like this it is better to put the camera in manual, set everything up and work out the exposure then put the filter on the lens. The filter in this case gave me an exposure of 30 seconds at f22, I needed a small aperture to give a lot of depth of field. The effect of the long exposure on the image was to smooth out the water creating a better reflection. Often with filters like this you will get a slight color cast, depends on the image whether you adjust in post processing or keep it in. Also with reflections I often give extra saturation to my images in lightroom to make them stand out more.

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Look to the sky.

As you walk through woodland it is good practice to spend a little time looking upwards, look to the sky. As I walked along the woodland path it curved away which made the trees look like they formed a semi circle. Using a wide angle lens and pointing upwards from low down the trees converge creating a dynamic shape. When you take this type of shot you do need a good a good strong sky. On this particular day it was very blue with white fluffy clouds, the shot looked quite good in color but I thought it would look much more powerful in black and white. Whenever you are out photographing it is as well to spend a little time pondering the possibilities of any shot that you are taking. Always a good thought to have in your mind is how would I like this to look when it is finished.

The conversion to black and white was done in Lightroom,I have kept as much detail as possible in the trees whilst darkening up the sky to make the clouds stand out better. The clouds help the trees stand out against the darkened sky.

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The right time.

When is the right time to shoot? A massive question with many answers. Many people say that you should not shoot between 10 and 2 as the there is little modelling etc. My own thought is that you should be able to shoot at any time of day. Shooting between these times gives you some amazingly punchy black and white images with a vast range of tones. The main thing is to make sure that you use the correct exposure and that you post process the image well.  Controlling the contrast is big factor. Though the sun was very strong on the day I took this image there is very little lost in shadow areas but detail is kept in the white clouds.

Never limit when you should shoot because of what others say. The only thing that matters is the image that you have is one that you are truly happy with.

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Using subtle tones.

After learning how to use apertures, shutter speeds etc. the next thing any photographer should learn is about light. How to use it and how it affects your images. The correct use of light gives interest to your images as well as depth. The use of shadows can add great atmosphere to an image. On the image that I have added here I have used subtle tones in the shallow estuary water of the River Conwy in Wales. The shot was taken from high upon a hill so you clearly see the different tones where the sand shows through and ripples on the water. The cliffs add a frame to the esturay.

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