Sunday 21 December 2008

Some Days you just have to give up

Well the plan for this morning was quite simple, head down to my nearest bit of coast (Leigh-on-Sea) and take a few photos as the sun comes up. Sometimes the best laid plans, just don't work out.

It all started well, as the night before I dropped my camera into the camera bag I hadn't bothered to unpack from my last coast trip. As I had only taken the camera out of the bag - if I put it back in I should have everything I need. Wellies & tripod were left by the door ready for an early what could possibly go wrong.

Well, first of all the central heating went completely mad, so instead of a good nights sleep I ended up getting about an hours hot & fitful sleep. Undeterred I was up at six and chucked all my gear in the car and headed for the coast.

On arrival at Leigh, I headed down to Two Tree Island and got the gear out of the car. As I started to set up I realised I didn't have a tripod quick release plate anywhere in the bag. I turned the bag upside down but it was nowhere to be seen. I now have no way of mounting the camera on the tripod. After a bit of tinkering I worked out a way to use my super stretch camera strap to lash the camera to the tripod.

So undeterred I set my camera up & I start to wait for the sun to come up. Immediately the sky became completely obscured by thick cloud. I Decided I could still work with the strong wind which would cause some nice motion in the sky.

Leigh-on-Sea (on a better day)
(Click to view large)

No sooner had I set up my shot than the carpark behind me filled with cars. As hundreds of fishermen descend on the place for a fishing competition. My carefully composed scene of peace and tranquillity was suddenly filled with fisherman moving boats about and wading through the mud. Time to try another spot I think!

I headed back to try the view from the bridge over Leigh creek. I had to prepare my shot (with the camera still precariously balanced on the tripod), whilst avoiding being run over by the stream of fisherman's cars crossing the bridge. I position the camera carefully, when there was a sudden "ping" and the Lee filter holder and filters dropped off the front of my camera into the creek below. Luckily the tide was on its way out so the filters embedded themselves deep in the mud. I struggled down the bank and waded into the mud to retrieve the filters.

I finally decided to give up and head home in a huff - unfortunately a huff wasn't available so I used the car instead*. Arriving home I searched the house top to bottom and couldn't find the missing Tripod QR plate. After searching for 3 hours, I finally found it...attached to a telephoto lens - in my camera bag.

What a day!

*Sightings of this joke date back to 1933

Monday 15 December 2008

The moment it Clicks

I have just finished reading Joe McNally's book The Moment It Clicks.

And a very enjoyable read it has been too. It bills it's self as "one foot on the coffee table & one foot in the classroom", so does it manage to please both audiences?

I think I would say that it does a pretty good job of doing both, the images are of stunning quality. Each presented with a story and then some text on how the image was created for me the most moving image was of Phan Thị Kim Phúc (The Napalm Girl) holding her baby:

For each scene he offers some words of advice about how he took them - mainly how they were lit. The use of strobes and diffusers (like a white sheet nailed over a door) have really fired my imagination. Perhaps the odd- diagram of how the shot was set-up would help but that is a bit nit-picky.

The advice in the book has made me resolve to learn about (and use a lot more) flash next year and try some people shots. This may be come essential as having pretty much said I would never shoot a friends wedding - I have volunteered to just that!

Highly Recommended.

Sunday 7 December 2008

Lemon (Limited Edition Managment ONline) - now available for those without MS Access

It seems that quite a few people who wanted to use my Limited Edition management system were put off by the need to purchase Microsoft access to run it. To get round this, I have created a version that uses the free Microsoft Access runtime.

You can download the latest version of Lemon from here.

The current release features:
  • Keep track of editions and sales easily from one screen.
  • Block Allocate ~ reserve a group of prints for a particular customer.
  • Certificates of Authenticity.
  • Print Run ~ Mark a group of prints as printed and generate the appropriate certificates.
  • Sales reports.
  • AutoAllocate © ~ When creating an edition numbers can be automatically allocated.

Wednesday 3 December 2008

Stop Playing with Yourself

Landscape photography has always been a bit of a solo hobby. Getting up before the dawn, traipsing round the countryside in the dark and standing motionless in the cold by a tripod has never been much of a spectator sport.

But that has all changed...

No we have the forum, email and even websites with dedicated meeting calendars, there is really no need be a lonesome shooter. It's a great learning experience, you can find new locations, new ways to approach familiar subjects and new techniques just by observing how others approach things.

So I was really glad to meet up with some of the greatest Photoluminists* in Essex on Sunday.

Shelling Out
(Click to view large)

The plan was to meet at Frinton for a morning shooting the sunrise. Unfortunately the light decided not to turn up! Still I got a chance to play with some close ups laying on the freezing beach. And, as ever it, was a real joy to chat with other photographers over a big fried breakfast.

Why not try meeting up with fellow photographers - you never know where it might end up.

*The expression Photoluminist is ©Copyright Ian Flindt 2008