black and white, urban

Stuck inside this weekend. I was grounded by the Australian Flu five days ago, and now feeling like I’m coming out of it, but with no physical energy. Must be better though, because my brain is starting to work!

So a different approach this week. An old photo, resurrected and post-processed. I’ve bitten the bullet and bought On 1 Photo Raw. I’m planning on using it alongside Lightroom and Photoshop. We’ll see. So far it feels a little slow in specific tasks – but less fiddly and technical in performing some operations, than the Adobe products.

The subject is the car park above Titus Skateboarding on Benrather Str in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Titus Dusseldorf

Originally shot hand held 1/20 @f/22, ISO 200 using the EFS18-55mm stock lens @ 28mm. The original was very flat and the building corner at the left hand side looked like it was tilting back at 13degs.

My workflow was to transform in photoshop to correct the 13deg skew, then edit the resulting .psd in ON 1. In layers. I replaced the original sky with some motioned blurred sky from another shot, used two seperate, self selected B&W transforms for the sky and building, (I wanted the “nose ring” to pop out a bit – thanks to Dan Harlacher @ON1 for the inspiration). Finally I sharpened the building for screen. The JPEG was created from lightroom using my standard export.


Backlight in the street

Blogging, colour, street

Christmas is in full swing in Edinburgh. Princes Street has the smell of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts about it. I did a few in my usual style street photographs, thinking about black and white images. But I also wanted to try something different.

I was crouching against a bike stand, thinking about Digital Photography School’s Weekly Challenge on backlighting. At this time of year the sun is low in the sky, and it can provide some interesting backlighting. I noticed this person walking a line that was going to pass right in front of me. In this picture the backlighting is quite subtle but I liked that the tones of her scarf complemented the tones of the buildings.

Princes Street

Taken on a Canon 30D with an EF 50 lens, 1/800, f/8. Exposure on the person was increased 1 stop in Lightroom.

Morning Leaf

Woodland light

Blogging, colour, landscape and nature

I’m struggling with my photography this week. There’s a lot going on with other important things competing for a share of my mind. It’s at times like this something like photography can really help – if you can get into the zone. But when you struggle to get in the zone it can be frustrating. Experience tells me that this will pass, and I just need to find the place where my mind can settle. Given this photographers block – I thought I’d go back to something fundamental. A single focus on light. I’m not going to fret over composition or narrative.

These images were taken just because the light looked interesting. The two in the woods were simply down to the sun. The leaf was backlit, for the colour, detail and edge light to show. It’s quite fun having the Manfrotto Lumimuse!

Morning Leaf

Early morning, with a touch of grass frost.

woods and light

Dappled lighting on Corstorphine Hill

woodland path

A morning woodland path



colour, landscape and nature

Yellowcraigs Beach

There are times when I find that I can be somewhere fantastic, but for whatever reason things don’t seem to work. Yellowcraig’s beach at Direlton, near Edinburgh is a regular haunt.

On this day, I was frustrated that I wasn’t capturing anything that excited me. I didn’t have a plan, but was thinking about what you can do with a camera without resorting to post processing.

I started to try out some camera motion to create a painterly effect. I didn’t want to lose the sense of beach, sea and horizon. At the same time though I didn’t want a straight photo of the beach. I had an ND filter and so was able to slow the shutter down to 1/8 @ f36.

I had to do some spot cleaning in Lightroom. At that aperture the ten year old sensor was showing a few blemishes. I’m too mean to pay for a professional clean!


Moment of thought

black and white, urban

Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh. A cemetery where some of Edinburgh’s most affluent and influential people have been lain to rest.

Occupying a place in a cemetery full of large monuments is this small old wooden cross, with the name David Cecil Hope MacBrayne pinned to it.

Repatriated WW1 Cross

The cross was repatriated from a First World War cemetery. The young man was only 19 years old when he was killed in action on 21 June 1917. David has an easily traced life story. His name is no coincidence. He was the son of another David MacBrayne – as in the ferry company. One might think then that this is a family of well to do comfort. But the stone next to this cross tells a contrasting story. David’s sister Olive died in 1908, aged 8, his mother Frances passed away in 1915, aged 52. His father lived until he was 70, in 1932. By then, the government had stepped into to salvage the remains of his company.

There are many repatriated grave markers across the country. One source for finding them is Returned from the Front. Finding them and then finding out about the person whose life they mark can be a surprisingly enjoyable and contemplative activity.

The above photograph was taken using a Canon 30D, with a 50mm lens, f1.8 @ 1/125 sec. Post processing was kept simple in Lightroom, using my own “My Favourite Black and White” preset, with some additional vignette.