Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Holidays 2008...

Always a popular theme, this year was no different with more than forty images being presented by members.

We where all privileged to see images from such exotic places as Hawaii, Canada, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Canary Islands, Bulgaria, United States, Malaysia, Sardinia and Cadiz (!)

Alberto took full advantage of the theme with his original 'photos on a table' composition which you can see above.

Landscapes where by far the most favorite subjects as you can see from Celia's image of Canadian lake tranquility above and Jose Manuel's splendid shot taken in Hawaii below.

But we also saw stunning underwater images from Luis from his diving trip in Sipadan, clearly illustrated by the photo of the ghost pipefish you see below.

The next theme is 'Song Title' which you may of guessed means that you have to interpret a song title with you photo's. It will be interesting to see if the other members can guess the song !

As always, please go to the galleries and leave your comments and thumbs up !!!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Create a mini-world from your panorama pictures

This is a short description on how to create a so called mini-world from a panorama scene. This is one way to creatively display panoramas, which may otherwise be quite difficult considering the high width/height aspect ratio of your typical stitched panorama shot.

We start with the following panorama of the Hong Kong night skyline

And we and up with the following "Hong Kong" mini-world

For the purpose of this explanation I will assume you already managed to create a panorama photograph like the one I show above (using e.g. photoshop or another proprietary or freely available stitch software such as: canon photostitch or Hugin). You need to have a picture with a aspect ratio (width/height) greater than two. Panoramas with a well defined foreground (sand, floor) and a neutral background (sky) work best.

You will have to go through the following steps with, for example, Photoshop or Gimp.


(1) image -> resize image: deselect fix aspect ratio make height equal to width.
note: this can create a very big image! you might want to reduce the image size first ;-)
(2) image -> rotate canvas> 180 degrees
(3) filter -> distort -> polar coordinates: select rectangular to polar
(4) image -> rotate canvas: rotate the image to your prefered angle
Basically in this way the left edge and right edge of your panorama will be connected, this will work automatically well when you have a 360 degree panorama, although this is not necessary (in that case you may want to crop the edges such that the matching is improved).


(1) image -> scale image
(2) filters -> distorts > polar coords: check "to polar", un-check "map from top". For nice planet look set "circle depth" to 100 percent. Map backwards (un)check as you like. You can also rotate your image (you may want to experiment with the options here).

In some cases you may have to edit your panorama to optimize the final image. For example, you may want to crop some unwanted edges or straighten the horizon. To create the Hong Kong mini-world I removed the edge artifacts from the panorama before resizing (the image below shows what happens if you don't do that). You can still notice a small deviation at the connection of the left and right horizon (due to the slight skewed skyline).

A nice short tutorial, with examples, has been published also at photojojo.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Holiday theme preview: Solar eclipse 2008

I know I should wait until September to present my photos for the 'holiday 2008' theme, but I can't resist to post these two photos now!
On August 1 I was in Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia to observe a total solar eclipse. It was a really exciting experience (and I mean not only the solar eclipse ;-).
The total eclipse lasted 2 minutes, with 'first contact' about an hour before. The sun was partially obscured until about an hour afterwards.

The first image is a crop of a photo taken with my compact camera (canon g9, 12Mp, 6x optical zoom). I used a short exposure time so that you can see the details in the corona. Note that the solar activity is at a minimum and no sunspots were present.

The next image is a composite of some of the many frames I took from the whole period of partial/full eclipse. Obviously the partially eclipsed sun frames were taken with a solar filter (I made a small filter, from cereal box carton and a small piece of Baader AstroSolar (tm) safety film, which I could put easily on the extended lens).

Monday, 21 July 2008

'Through the Window'...

A rather modest turnout, due mainly to the holiday season, enjoyed the diverse and well thought out entries for the theme of 'Through the Window'.

This time we also managed to calibrate the projector beforehand such that we could see all the images at their very best.

Not all members who presented images could be present unfortunately, but special mention surely has to go to Celia, whom despite being on holiday in Canada, still managed to send in images from across the pond... how's that for dedication..!

You can see one of her entries below from inside a very colourful building in Montreal.

I have to admit the image above from Nick was my personal favourite, with its lovely muted colours and pure simplicity.

Bjoern also continues to bring original images which you can clearly see from his shot of the island of tabarca below...

As I think you have all deserved a well earned rest, no complicated themes for the next round... we resort to the same theme we did last year... 'Holidays'...

You have a couple of months to put together those vacation images and we will present then at the end of September...

Many thanks to all of you who participated and attended the meeting.. enjoy the holidays !!!

....and before you all disappear off somewhere windswept and exotic, don't forget to leave your 'thumbs up' and comments on the gallery pages for all the images that you like...

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

D Hump does it again...

If you check back to the blog entry for 24th june you will see that I talk about the surf photography of Dustin Humphrey or 'D Hump' as he is more often known.

Well he's been busy with the surf conglomerate Insight51 to produce a series of posters for their latest advertising campaign Dopamine.

Here's a description of whats going on:
"Steve Gorrow embarked on a journey beneath the sea to explore the depths of the mind and creativity. Along with the help of his brother, Steve shipped out to Bali to take on the massive feat of building above, and beneath the sea, to give birth to the latest Insight surf spectacle.

Not one to cut corners on creativity, Steve combined upside down bedrooms, naked girls on motor bikes and underwater shanty towns with the amazing skill of the Insight surf team (surfnics) and the photographic talents of Dustin Humphrey to create an array of split double world madness.

Welcome to Insight's latest surf campaign featuring surfers Kai Otton, Luke Stedman, Warren Smith, Jared Mell, Made Lana, Jason Apparicio & The Jamaican Surf Team."

Pix Channel.... What makes Photographers click...

The PixChannel website has been mentioned on a few blogs lately and it is an absolute goldmine of of wise words given to us by some of the greatest photographers of our time.

Quoting the website :

"Pix Channel is an ongoing series of vignettes that explores the creative process of iconic photographers in their own words. It has been a collaboration between photographer Randi Lynn Beach and graphic designer Doug Beach. The project began out of Randi's passion for photography and desire to capture the thoughts and motivations of historic photographic figures"

If you have the time this is definitely one not to miss.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Exploring the hidden features of your Canon Powershot

I came accross this nice Linux development project called 'CHDK'.
It is a bunch of software that you can load onto most (not all) canon powershot compact digital
cameras in order to release their hidden potential!
It can make your camerea do long exposures (up to 65 secs) or very fast exposures (1/25,000 sec),
you can record images in RAW format and display a live histogram. You can even run scripts to take bracketing pictures or on motion detection.
At linux.com you can find a nice overview by Nathan Willis.
Unfortunately, my camera is not supported (yet). But if anyone fancies trying it on your (older) powershot let me know how it works out.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Film is not dead, it just smells funny...

Just recently I seem to be more inspired by the images produced by photographers using film, than the output from digital cameras.

Is it because I know how difficult it is to produce a good image on film, that I know the amount of time and dedication it takes to learn and develop this skill and therefore I have an inherent admiration of photographers that can take such good photo's with what the clueless may call an obsolete format... I don't know....

Anyway, I had been a follower of a website called 'Film is not Dead it just smell funny' for some time now... which unfortunately has shutdown recently... not due to lack of interest as you might think... quite the opposite in fact.... read the following statement from one of the founders Frans Verter Verheyen :

" After a year of “Film is not dead it just smells funny” web site we made the following decision. If you look at the web site it's nice, cool and with a great number of visitors. But it is just a blog. And besides the fact that we show high quality of pictures to the world, it is just that. We would like to do more and more structured. With the summer holidays on the way we have decided to shut down the web site. And to come back in September with a new concept. A bigger and more international staff and a more organized structure. (also in technical way, the structure of this web site is too focused on a blog) More in-depth article's and interviews, an online magazine and a print magazine. We are planning of starting “The International Analogue Photographic Society” And no it will not be another APUG. The web site "Film is not dead it just smells funny" will come back and so will the Featured Artists. This will take some time, although we are already working on it. This group will stay unchanged So we wish you a good summer and hope to surprise you all with a new concept in September"

In the meantime, you can visit their flickr site here, if you would like to get a small taste of what its all about... I recommend going to the discussion section first.

And while you at it, go out and buy a secondhand film camera (they are really rather cheap at the moment), then use it like mad and after you have gone through a number of films you will begin to slow down, think about what your doing, learn to understand the quality of light and how different films react to it... You not going to get instant satisfaction from a screen on the back of the camera... but your not going to take 50 photo's (because you can and just in case) when more often than not, one or two is more than sufficient... and the wait for you photo's to be developed is really quite exciting and actually quite gratifying....

Go on..... I dare you.... ;-)

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Dustin Humphrey, Surf Photographer extraordinaire...

Dustin Humphrey's work is very much sort after by the many surfing publications which exist in the marketplace today.

His fresh, original style has separated him from the rest of his fellow surf photographers, due to his experimental approach to the images he takes, his choice of equipment (mainly film cameras) and how he often chooses to cross process his film.

He could be well considered more of a surf photojournalist as his images encapsulate not only surfing but the cultures and people he meets on his travels.

His collaboration with Taylor Steele and the production of the book 'Sipping Jetstreams' is a must have for any one who not only appreciates surfing, but the travel and adventure that often goes hand in hand.

In fact I would also get the DVD that accompanies the book, as apart from being lavishly shot on 16mm film it contains extra's showing the concept and the idea's behind the Sipping Jetstreams movement.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Photography night (PHE08)

Dear all

As you all now, PhotoEspaña 2008 started last week and there are plenty of exhibitions all around Madrid (and Cuenca, you always get surprised by that city).

Within its activities there is a "photography night" (Noche de la fotografía) taking place next friday 13th of June, including a photo marathon with both cameras and "shoebox cameras"... I think it is worth to have a look.

Have fun.
(And don't deconstruct yourselves too much :) )


Monday, 9 June 2008


The 'Triptych' turned out to be another difficult task with even the Club President failing to heed his own advice regarding leaving things to the last minute causing him not to show up with any images... (hangs his head in shame... :-(....)

However, this didn't prevent the newer members of the club like Bjoern, from coming up with original idea's like the 'cube' triptych above and Alberto with his colourful interpretation of 'corners' below...

Jose Manuel, showed his prowess with a polarising filter and once again turned up with some images from yet another holiday !...... this time in Switzerland... He assured us that the helicopter wasn't off to bring him more compact flash cards after he had filled up all his.!..
Ricardo's 'deconstructing apollo' caused some interesting conversation....... and pysicoanalysis as you might expect after seeing the image below.... Jose Manuel provided a good interpretation.... you'll have to ask him personally what it was though... ;-)

As always congratulations to all of you who presented images and for all the people who turned up to view the slideshow as well....... I continue to look forward to more and more images being presented in future themes (maybe even the club president will participate who knows...?!?)..
So........ our next theme is 'through the window'... that is to say... photo's taken through windows....
One can only imagine what Ricardo will come up with next...... :-)

Friday, 30 May 2008

Tommy Oshima - Urban Photography Japanese style...

I came across the work of Toshihiro Oshima via the latest edition of Quadrat Magazine... and having been impressed by the expressive qualities of his work I began to investigate further...

Tommy was born in Tokyo in 1960 and has apparently been taking photo's since he was 6 years old, he is always praised for his ability to transform the mundane of Tokyo street life into something mystical and mysterious....

Working almost exclusively with film he uses a mesmerizing amount of different camera's to capture his images, he quotes more than 20 on his Flickr page..!! He is also a quite prolific poster and you will see new images uploaded almost everyday...

He states that "The crystal elements of my eyes are the Looking Glass to observe the world. My mind is the Dark Room which carries the Negative film inside. Then the Photographs are the representation of the Image which is reflected through the Prism of Soul.

Photographs won't tell any truth, but only gives us the bits and elements waking up from our mind's eye.
....but then,the question is what's the "truth"? :)"........

I don't know what you think, but I always find the imagery from Japan to be much less superficial than images from the West, which tend to be much more direct and easier to 'get'.

I also see that just as much importance, if not more in certain circumstances, is put into the out of focus parts of the images.

If you have sometime to look around his Flickr stream, do take the opportunity to do so, you won't be disappointed...

Monday, 19 May 2008

Timeless imagery...

Some photo's just have that timeless feel to them...

This image for example is one that makes me stop and stare, I find it completely enchanting.

When do you think it was taken, this year, 10 years ago, 20 years at a push maybe..... can you believe its from 1947 !!

The photographer was Toni Frissell born in New York in 1907 who became famous for her fashion imagery, WWII photographs and portraits of famous Americans (including amongst other the Kennedys).

She left behind a legacy of 340,000 items, (ca. 1930-69) including 270,000 black-and-white negatives, 42,000 color transparencies and 25,000 enlargement prints.

and just for info... the image above was taken at Weeki Wachee Spring, Florida, the only home of 'live mermaids'.... Apparently, you can watch these mermaids from an underwater viewing area, exactly where this photo was taken more than 60 years ago...

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

David Burnett - "He's been everywhere, but only for an hour"...

I'm always on the look out for inspiration and idea's from fellow photographers around the world and I recently came across the work of David Burnett.

A photojournalist for over 35 years he is well published in Time, Fortune and ESPN Magizines. Was co-founder of Contact Press Images and has received various awards such as 'Photographer of the Year', 'World Press Photographer of the Year' and the ' Robert Capa Award' to name just a few.

Having read various interviews regarding his work, It was very interesting to hear him describe that nowadays all the photojournalists basically use the same digital SLR's with the same set of 4 lens.... and that he wanted to do something different.

What this meant was that he started photographing assignments with Holga's (a plastic camera from China), Rolleiflex TLR's (the de-facto professional camera from the 60's) and the Speed Graphic, which you see him pictured with above.

This camera, apart from being large, heavy and from the fifties, is made more unusual with the choice of lens, the Kodak Aero.

This lens was primarily used during the second world war for aerial reconnaissance. What is so special about this large format lens is that its minimum aperture is F2.5 which is almost impossible to find in a 'normal' large format collection of lenses as you need a lot of glass to get that much light in.!

This combination of minimum aperture on a 5x4 camera means that you get 'bokeh' to die for in your images and was what attracted me to his work.

Since that point I have discovered a whole underground of people using this combination. Definitely something to investigate further......

Anyway, hats off to David for daring to do something different and showing that 'digital' can't do everything after all....

Monday, 21 April 2008


It has to said that 'Panning' hasn't been one of our most popular themes so far.....

However, the turnout was high and there were some very interesting discussions regarding ideal shutter speeds, frequency of electric lights and their effects etc...

Bjoern, who presented images for the first time wooed the crowd with his impressive carrot tossing skills coupled with the ability to then pan with the thrown vegetable..!

Forms of transport were favorite subjects, which you can see from Nico's and José Manuel's images above.

But there were also images of kids, horses, fish and supersonic swallows...

As always, please do take the time to visit the gallery page to see all the images presented and leave comments and 'thumbs-up' where ever you deem appropriate.

Our random theme selection technique continues to choose potentially tricky assignments, the next one being 'Triptych',

errrrrrr whats that !!!!!

well for a full definition checkout wikipedia and for some inspiration try this Flickr group.

This theme should be a good one because you get to show off 9 images and your going to have to use some sort of image processing software to create each individual triptych.

So, leaving this one to the last minute is definitely a no no.... ;-)

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Underwater in Black and White...

The underwater world is normally presented as a blaze of colours, so its curious to see a body of work which is predominately black and white.

Wayne Levin, a Hawaiian photographer has an impressive range of images on his website that amongst other things, shows not only the normal inhabitants (resident spirits) of the kingdom beneath the waves, but also the underwater people.

I find these images having been stripped of their colour and reduced only to tones to be extremely powerful.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Pulitzer awards

Dear all

The Pulitzer awards were announced yesterday. If you are interested in photojournalism, go to www.pulitzer.org and browse along the past years. I personally found extremely impressive last year winner (there is already a post here about it, or was it World Press Photo... I can't remember).
This year the prize is for Adrees Latif, who shot a photo of a fatally wounded japanese photographer, Kenji Nagai, during the protest at Myanmar in 2007. Google him and you'll find plenty or breathtaking suff, though I cound not find a specific site with his work. I include here the awarded picture and another one that impressed me even more, taken in West Timor in 2006.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Joe Mcnally.. "perhaps the most versatile photojournalist working today"

Joe Mcnally who is well known in the photojournalist world has recently set up a blog and YouTube channel where he is freely sharing his experiences and knowledge.

I recently finished reading his book "The Moment it Clicks" which is a bit different than the normal books on photographic technique, as it concentrates more on what it takes to be a photographer in the commercial world, and written in Joe's unique way, it really is a very entertaining read, plus as an added bonus it's jammed packed full of nuggets of information.

Above you see a video about what was involved to complete of photo shoot of the guy who changes the light bulbs on top of the Empire State Building and I don't mean the ones in the penthouse suite... you have to admit that along with a wicked sense of humor he also has guts..!


'Cazadores de Luz' are a group of 100 Spanish photographers who have set up there own private forum in an attempt to create an environment in which their collective talent can grow.

You may have read an article in El Pais or seen them on tve2, but they have been doing a bit of self promotion recently. There is also a book available, produced by National Geographic to showcase their best images.

As I mention earlier, their forums can't be read and are invitation only, so I can't really comment on the content, but there is also a blog and their galleries at Pbase. I have to admit that the watermark they put over all their images somewhat spoils the enjoyment and I think for images of such a low resolution its a bit over the top (comments left by many people are complaining about the same thing).

Are they being elitist by not sharing their forum, are they paranoid because they keep putting watermarks on their images or are they arrogant because they think their images are so good that everyone will want to steal them. You decide... it would be interesting to hear your comments...

Kicking the habit...

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

I noticed there are two links to photography shops on the web on the list of links on the right. Does any of you had any contact with them in the past? Are they reliable? A few months ago I tried to order some kit from Foto Boom (something pretty standard but they were offering it at a very good price) and after two months and a few phone calls I gave up because it was clear I was not going to get it. One other aspect that is also relevant for me is that of warranty. I have seen places offering kit at very interesting prices but then the situation regarding warranties seems not to be very clear.

So, if you have any positive experiences with this or any other photography shops, web based or physical, I would be very interested in hearing from you.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Whatever you want 2008...

Ten members presented their images for the open theme of 'Whatever you want' in the newly refurbished B.4.

Even though the 'delegation' type set up of tables was a bit grandios for the photoclub we battled on nonetheless trying to take up as much space as possible so we didn't look quite so lost.

As is always the case with this theme images were diverse with a selection of 3D images (like the one above... your going to need some 3D specks to see the effect though)... through to the preparations for the princes visit, underwater images, flowers, landscapes, buildings etc etc.

The club also welcomed Luis and Tim who presented images for the first time... we hope the experience wasn't too traumatic and and look forward to seeing more of your images in the future.

As always, please go and take a look at the galleries, and leave comments if you feel inclined and remember to give the 'thumbs up' to the images you like the most. It helps a lot to see which images everyone thinks are your best ones.

The next theme is 'Panning', which will be a lot of fun because normally you spend all your time trying to keep the camera still, but this time you get to move it around on purpose... anyway if you not quite sure what its all about you might want to take a look here as it gives an idea of the technique.