Happy New Year and oh crap really?

What the Duck is a comic strip by Aaron Johnson. The main character of the comic strip is a professional photographer who is a duck. The witty humor and smart observations about photography have made the comic a favorite among many amateur and professional photographers. Check it out at http://www.whattheduck.net/.

OK so I am a bit nerdy so this really made me laugh. Its a new year already… so do I have any new year resolutions?


  • Take less, but better photos.
  • Be more harsh about culling photos.
  • Get out more.
  • More H.D.R photography!

Purchases this year? Possibly a fish eye lens to take grander H.D.R interior shots. At the moment I have been using my 18-55mm Canon lens but on a crop sensor it is more like 28-88mm which means I either shoot what I have or attempt a stitched H.D.R shot to get more included in the shot. If the indoor lighting doesn’t change then it might be OK but for light coming in from outside which can change will spoil a shot and be noticeable in a stitched panoramic.

Will give it ago though for my next blog post.



2013 – Yearly Round Up – December

And so to December.

OK so not much happened  in December but I did want to learn something new with the time off from work.

I had a look at HDR, High Dynamic Range. HDR is a set of techniques used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than possible using standard digital imaging or photographic techniques. (Thanks Wiki)

According to WikiPedia:

The idea of using several exposures to fix a too-extreme range of luminance was pioneered as early as the 1850s by Gustave Le Gray to render seascapes showing both the sky and the sea. Such rendering was impossible at the time using standard methods, the luminosity range being too extreme. Le Gray used one negative for the sky, and another one with a longer exposure for the sea, and combined the two into one picture in positive.

163 years later I am trying the same thing with my Canon…

Dec 1Dec 2The second photo using a number of textures to add the gritty, burnt feel to this photo. The scratches were added to try to create a used photo look. I could have masked around the windows to look like it was raining outside.

I quite like making HDR photos, look out for more of them in 2014!



2013 – Yearly Round Up – November

November!! Fanfare for no reason!!

Ahem… Bloody helicopters! Just about to get to sleep and one of these bubble bee impersonators decides to buzz the place. Looking around, no… no… damn.. can’t find my bazooka.. oh well it will have to be the camera then.

This particular annoyance was being extra annoying as it would just bounce around for a bit, back and fourth, up and down as if a bumble bee was actually at the controls. It was really hard to miss the moon was up at the same time. So grabbing the Canon with my new Sigma dragging my arm down I fired off a number of shots to celebrate the fact I had been woken up again.Nov 2Nov 1From bumble bees at the controls of heavy machinery to seagulls and electricity.

This seagull had obviously not seen the public information films from the 1970’s about the dangers of getting to close to electricity pylons. Jimmy the Seagull was flying lazily above the pylon, perhaps looking for a frisbee while being urged on by another female seagull from below…

I took this shot in case he exploded soon after.


2013 – Yearly Round Up – October

Oct 1

October… hmm not much happened in this month…

So I had a beer. Then the door bell rang. My lights had arrived! Yay! More beer! Why not both together? OK so you cannot screw a bottle of beer into a light fitting, light bulbs fit so much better so I used them to take this shot of the second beer in my kitchen and then that was drunk too.

Drunk in charge of a camera… is that against the law? Hmmm

Oct 2

The lights came in handy for my second trip to Brighton, again to see Violet Blaze. Of course, it being October, there was no way my face was going to be burnt off this time.

This would have been a good test of my knowledge of using softboxes outside of a kitchen and into a bedroom.

Set up was quick I had one to the right of me and one just to my left to light Violet from the front. While ‘the Blaze’ was sitting on her bed in something skimpy, I knelt down, supported my elbow on my left knee and felt quite stable.

I kid you not, I commented on this: ‘Hmm I am my own tripod’ then suddenly realised  what I had said in the context of the situation. Ahem… moving on quickly…


2013 – Yearly Round Up – Sepetember

Sept 1September.. and it was getting cold.

Working in North London I am not far from Camden. Shall me and a fellow photographer take the bus there? No.. lets walk… along the canal.

Some of the surrounding walls of the canal were being repaired so there was a floating walkway along a small section  of the pathway. While wobbling around the floaty deathtrap with near to a grands worth of gear on my back, a couple of heavy joggers started pounding along behind me…

I thought I was about to be trampled by a heard of elephants.

This photo was taken just past the first lock we came to. I do not know if any one lives there but if you are interested then this is the Google Maps location on Grand Union Tow Path.

Sept 2Back home and I bought a tomato. OK not just the one tomato, who the hell walks into a grocers and asks for just one?

Anyway, I wanted it to try the Macro Reverse Ring again and get a close up shot of the water I sprayed on it.

I should have got closer..


2013 – Yearly Round Up – August

August 1 August and I found myself wobbling down a river in Windsor and walking for hours around High Elms.

Taking a boat trip along the Thames for a while I failed to notice what all the fuss was about when we were a couple of minutes from returning to the dock… oh yeah the massive Windsor Castle in the distance. Best take a shot of that.

After disembarking I strolled up the hill towards the castle I found a long line of people.. must be for the toilets I thought… nope it was an hour long queue for the castle.. another time then. Next year I will return to Windsor and storm the battlements…

High Elms, 250 acres of woodland and meadows to explore in Farnborough. Quick tip here… when you are in the visitors center and the man behind the counter gives you advice about where to cut short your walkabout… LISTEN TO HIM!!!! Don’t, like I did, ignore him and spend a few hours wondering when the forestry hell will end.

It ended for me on a golf course. A quick check of the folded map and I plotted a quick route back to the car park… However there are lots of photo opportunities there so I would recommend it to any one who likes trees.. and flowers.


High Elms - 06

2013 – Yearly Round Up – July

July 1June! I was Brighton bound it was Blazing hot and I had a burnt face!

Couldn’t resist putting as many B’s in there as possible. It was the height of summer and I was down at Brighton to do my first model shoot with Violet Blaze.

I got there early and walked around for a while taking shots here and there without any sun cream… yup bit of a burnt face after that. My tortured skin was illuminating most of London long after the sun had gone down, but I got some excellent shots of Violet frolicking around in the sea and showing off in front of a crowd of lads. This candid shot if from just before the shoot.

July 2While Blaze was getting dressed I turned around to take a shot of the beach behind me… it had been a long time since I had been to the sea and wanted to capture the moment.

Hmm bit stoney…


2013 – Yearly Round Up – June

June 1June already! The small things theme continued with The Tiny Tardis Travels and Remembrance of the Hard Disks.

Since taking up photography I have moved around more than a marble in a sock. (?) So where I go then so does my Tiny Tardis.

OK its not a BBC sanctioned model, it is a Hornby model of a Police Box. I thought that seeing as I am doing a lot of traveling then I will take this with me and take a shot of it in the location.

I continued to use the Macro Reversing Ring and smashed open an old hard drive of mine to see if there were any intricate bits that were worth taking a look at in a macro fashion. The stylus like object is the read/write head of a hard disk. It is floating on the top of one of the four disk platters.


June 2

2013 – Yearly Round Up – May

May 1

May was a good month! It started getting warmer and I returned to the Natural History Museum for the first time ooh ages, then everything started getting smaller.

Over 30 years ago I was at the Natural History Museum with my Primary School. We were given a sheet of paper with sketches of features which could be found around the museum. I remember I was the irritating sprog who found the monkeys around the edge of the walls. I recalled where I was when I spotted them too so I just had to take this shot from the landing above the entrance. This brought back a lot of memories.

May 2Things come in small sizes. Sand for example. I had tried macro work before but turned my hand to using a Macro Reversing ring. This turned my 50-250mm Cannon into a great tool for macro work.

I shot everything, from coins, to gravy granules just to see what they were like really close up. It is a very cheap way of trying macro photography before you decide to splash out on a proper macro lens to do even better shots.

One day I will try that too.