Thursday, 22 August 2019

Halide app - Shot on an IPhone

I recently updated my ageing IPhone 5s for an IPhone SE. Most folk would dismiss that as an upgrade, but I like the small form factor and the upgrade only cost me £150.

One thing I was keen to try out was taking RAW photos on my phone. Would they be usable? Could there ever be a time when I could leave my heavy SLR at home and still get a half decent shot?


After a little bit of googling I discovered the Halide app "It gives you a tactile, intuitive, yet powerful way to take beautiful photos" Well for a penny shy of 6 quid I thought I would give it a go. First thing I did was switch on RAW capture and flick through the online quick guide. It's not rocket science, it's easy to use. 


I was not disappointed, slightly mush jpg's were much improved if you saved them as RAW files and took a few extra minutes to run them through Lightroom. You can see for yourself a comparison at 100% between a standard jpg & a RAW file. The only adjustments I made were to colour correct the RAW file to match the original jpg.



jpg file - note the slightly mushy look, telegraph lines are absent.

RAW file - slightly more noise, but more detail. Both Images taken at native ISO 25

When I was up in the Lakes recently I manged to take this shot up on Lingmoor Fell. I was really pleased with the IPhone output. I'm sure if I wanted to print a 15"x10" it would hold up well.



Lingmoor Fell
Lingmoor Fell. Shot on an IPhone.
Processed in Lightroom & Silver Efex Pro

I have to confess I was still carrying my SLR and took a few comparison shots. Maybe there will come a time when I just head out with my phone!

The only improvement, if the guys from Halide are listening is to have the option to change aspect ratios, I really like the square format.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Frosty morning Cambridge

I've not been out much recently so it was really good to get a text from a good friend Phil asking if I wanted to pop out into Cambridge early on Sunday morning. The weather forecast was for a heavy frost and clear skies. Sunrise was not likely to amount to much, but nice frosty conditions can be really photogenic.

I arrived in town at just after 7:15am, Phil about 2 minutes later. We parked up just the other side of the river (free until 9am) and headed over to Jesus Green and the fabulous avenue of London Plane trees.

Jesus Green avenue of trees

We only had a few minutes before the streetlamps switched off. There were a few hardy folk out and about. The following shot is 3 images combined. One at iso3200 to catch the man walking and then two iso100 shots blended into a hrd image.

Morning stroll

It was very cold (car had reported -6 on the way into town), but there was no ice on the Cam. I've only seen ice on the Cam twice in 10 yrs.

Spot the punt

The shot above was the fist I've taken with my new Kase filters. I used a 0.6 soft ND grad for this one to balance the sky. The Kase filters replaced some rather scratched Hitech resin ones which have lasted well, but seen better days.

Heading into town I was able to capture an obligatory bike shot.

Locked up

After wandering around town seeking inspiration we headed back towards the cars. The sun was starting to burn through a slight mist over Midsummer Common.

Midsummer joggers

It was fast approaching 9am and time to head home for a cup of tea and some breakfast. A lovely if slightly chilly morning to be out and about.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

The Photographer's Guide to Cornwall

It was really nice to be contacted by Ellen Bowness asking if she could use one of my images in her latest guide book. The Photographer's Guide to Cornwall is her eighth guide book. Each one is well researched and an invaluable source for both location and planning info for photographers. The quality of the photos is excellent creating a real visual treat. Even if you know an area like the back of your hand it's really useful to have all that information collated in one easy to access source.

The Photographers Guide to Cornwall


To date I've got copies of the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and Cornwall guides. I'm sure I will be adding more to my collection in due course.



My photo is on page 93, a view of Kynance Cove in the evening light. Kynance can get very busy in summer months so choose your time of day wisely.

Kynance Cove
Summer at Kynance Cove


Resources: 

Ellen Bowness - Long Valley Books
Cornwall Flickr Album
My Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Photos

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Cambridge Open Studios 2018

11am - 6pm on 7th & 8th, 14th & 15th July
@ 23 Greenfield Close, Stapleford, CB22 5BT

COS flag

After many years deliberating I finally decided to sign up for Cambridge Open Studios (COS) back in December last year. COS is a group of over 500 artists living and working in the Cambridge area. The highlight of the year is open studios where over 350 of the artists open their studios & homes to display their work during the weekends of July.

I've opted to open up my home during the first 2 weekends in July (7-8th & 14-15th) from 11am to 6pm Saturday & Sunday.

For the last few months I've been thinking about which photos & products to display and sell. I've also spent some time procrastinating the logistics of transforming my kitchen / dinning room into a gallery space suitable for showcasing my work.

To date I've designed and printed some greetings cards and fitted an Artiteq hanging system along part of one wall. Now comes the difficult part of image selection, frames, sizes finishes etc.

Greetings cards

I will have a variety of work on display from classic Cambridge shots to a variety of UK landscapes from the Lake District, Norfolk & Suffolk, Cornwall & Scotland.

Please do pop in and say hello It would be lovely to welcome old friends and new.


Resources:

Cambridge Open Studios
Artiteq Hanging System


Sunday, 29 April 2018

Another New Website - www.marona.co.uk

I first registered my domain name marona.co.uk back in 1999. Lots of people have quizzed me about the origins of the name, the simple answer is it's the name of my house. After searching through atlases (assuming it was a place name) I drew a blank. I then assumed the previous owners may have been called Mary & Ronald or a combination there of. Recently I came across a baby name website to discover the girls name marona (not in the top 1000 names) in Hebrew means "flock of sheep". So there is the answer.

Using Wayback Machine I was able to dig out one of my earliest designs from 1999.


1999 design
1999 design


In 2003 I was featured in Amateur  Photographer magazine and was praised for my clean and simple design. Back then I offered 6 images for sale. The purchasing process required you to download an order form print it out and post it off with a cheque. How things have changed.


Amateur Photographer Websight
Amateur Photographer


By 2006 I had dropped my wife's art work, Cityscape & Cambridge images. Cambridge images had flourished and moved to it's own domain. I was now down to three categories, Landscape, Panoramic & Close-up. I also added in PayPal payments, the order form process clearly wasn't going to catch on.

2006 design
2006 design

Over the next few years the bulk of my website hits and a few sales were for Close-up images. Although I enjoy taking macro shots I was far more focused on landscapes. Fast forward to 2010 and another design change embracing pull down menus and numerous galleries.

2010 design
2010 design

Since 2010 not a huge amount changed other than adding new images and retiring a few older ones. The site remained non responsive and a bit of pain to use on phones since everything was so small. 

Almost a year ago I redesigned www.cambridgeimages.co.uk using a w3schools CSS template and it was finally time to start thinking about sorting out www.marona.co.uk

I decided to stick with w3schools, but have a slightly different feel from my Cambridge site. Using a menu which stays at the top of the page as you scroll enabled me to add more content to a single page. The portfolio pages are also dynamically sizing meaning tablet and phone use should be much easier and usable. I've stuck with PayPal ordering, it's trusted and reliable and effective to implement.

More fundamentally I've re-brand myself as "Landscape photography of the UK". No more cityscape, macro or foreign destinations. Hopefully this will work in my favor and give me a clearer focus when adding new work.

New Website - Marona.co.uk
New design

I hope you enjoy my new site, I've already received some positive feedback with lots of suggestions so I don't think it will be standing still for any great length of time.


Resources:


Monday, 26 February 2018

Reverse image search and sausages

I've been selling photos on Alamy (digital stock photos) since 2001 everything from landscapes, cityscapes, travel and a few images from in and around the home.




Ironically one of my best selling shots is "8 Sausages in a frying pan". It has sold a total of 13 times since 2006 ranging in price from $0.83 to $156. (Alamy pricing is very confusing). So it got me thinking where has this image been used and by whom? When you sell an image on Alamy it sometimes gives you a bit of a hint; magazine, newspaper, website, presentation... you get the gist, but it's never very specific.

A few years ago I was reading the Telegraph only to spot a photo of Wastwater, that looked very familiar and sure enough it was one of mine. There was a small credit, but all it read was "Alamy" a bit disappointing and the stark reality was I only got paid £5 for the privilege.

So how else can you track down where your images are used? Back to the image of the sausages, I found a really useful website https://tineye.com/ a reverse image search engine. You upload a photo or URL to a photo and it the searches through an alleged 26.2 billion images in 3.5 seconds! My humble sausage photo was picked up 30 times across the web.

Here are a few of the more interesting locations my image has featured:
  • Dailymail  - "Hull-based sausage makers Cranswick gobble up poultry producer Crown Chicken in sizzling £40million deal"
  • Newslocker - "MRSA superbug found in supermarket sausages and mince"
  • Telegraph - "Moving guide: 10 things to know before relocating to Qatar"
  • Telegraph - "Ditch sausages for a longer life, say Harvard scientists"
  • Cracked.com - "Sausages are older then the Bible"
But the prize has to go to a Caribbean Villa in Trinidad and Tobago that features my sausage shot as part of their breakfast menu offering.

Give TinEye a go yourself and you may be surprised at where you photos crop up.


Resources:

TinEye reverse image search
My stock photos on Alamy

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Cambridge TV

Back in June I was contacted by Cambridge TV who were producing a series of short programs called Behind the Brush. These looked at the work of artists in and around Cambridge. The photography based program was questioning the aesthetic and commercial value of photography in the world of art and how is social media affecting this industry?

I'm not big on social media, I don't do Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, the only place I regularly post photos to is Flickr. Doing social media well, takes time and I would rather spend that time out taking photos!

The filming took place on a stinking hot Saturday afternoon in Cambridge. I was met by Rick and Oscar on the Backs for the first part of the interview we then moved onto Garret Hostel Bridge, finishing off down near the Mill Pond opposite the Anchor Pub. All in all a fun afternoon and my first ever TV appearance.