Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Jo Wimbush is photographer of the month for December

I have been recently been enjoying the work of Jo Wimbush on her website. She has a lovely artistic, moody style that is well worth checking out.


Flotsum
by Jo Wimbush



Previous  Photographers of the Month

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Charity Exhibition

Yup it's that time of year again when I organize the Daiwa Capital Markets Charity Photography Competition and hold an exhibition of my work.
The exhibition of the winning entries and my pictures is on display in the foyer of  Daiwa Capital Markets, 5 King William Street, London EC4N 7AX.  The foyer is open from 8:00am - 6:00pm.

My pictures are on sale at specially reduced exhibition prices with the profits going to the companies' two charities Great Ormond Street Hospital and Little Havens Hospice.

Snaking Ashore
(Would make a great Christmas Present)

With only 59 shopping days to Christmas, now is the time to pop down and bag yourself a bargain present whilst helping charity at the same time.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Chris Sargent is photographer of the month for October

I have been recently been enjoying the work of Chris Sargent on his website. There are some great images on there and combined with his blog it makes for a very enjoyable site.

St.Pauls Dawn
by Chris Sargent



Previous  Photographers of the Month

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

John Andre Aasen is photographer of the month for September

I have been recently been viewing some stunning images on the website of John Andre Aasen. There are many fabulous images on there, it is well worth a visit.


by John Andre Aasen



Previous  Photographers of the Month

Friday, 13 August 2010

Using Smart Collections to improve your Lightroom Workflow

Sometimes life involves some waiting around.  You find yourself waiting for news from hospitals and other such places, not really able to concentrate on anything important yet trying to find something to do to pass the time.

Fairly recently I found myself in such a situation and looking for something to do to pass the time.  Flicking around Lightroom I came across the smart Collection called "Without Keywords".  I thought that most of my image collection was keyworded,  boy was I wrong.  There were 15,000 pictures in that collection!

If you ever need something mind numming and repetitive to do,  I can recommend keywording 15,000 pictures.

So how had this happened?  I have quite a thought out and orderly workflow,  but I must be missing stuff.
Though a lot of the problem stuff was from an older time before I got more disciplined.

It seems that I need a way to check that I am sticking to my processes and the "without Keywords" smar collection got me thinking.  Why not define my entire archive process a series of smart collections.

So,  how do I create a smart collection that lets me know if I have forgotten to put a location against any of my photos.  Well I have my location keywords in a big hierarchical structure based in a root keyword of "Places":



So if I create a smart collection like this:



Any pictures that appear in it have not had a place added on the keywords.

I have created a series of smart collections that allow me to see easily how far I am through my archival process:



Some of the smart collections are simply place holders to remind me to do stuff:

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

How to Use a 10 stop ND filter

One of the most common questions you get as a landscape photographer is "What filters do you use?",  second only to the "did you do a lot of Photoshopping on this picture?".

Well normally I only use ND graduated filters to hold back the brightness of the sky.  Without them you either get white sky or black land under the more extreme lighting conditions of sunset & sunrise (alternativly you can use HDR).

Lately I have been messing around with a 10 stop B&W filter.  The main reason for using it is to get a much longer exposure,  which can lead to movement in the sky or to smooth out waves in water. In addition any people (or in this case ducks) that  are moving disappear out of the photo.  Here is an example of the effect, taken on the banks of Derwent Water:


Kettlewell
181 Seconds at f/22 Using a 10stop ND filter.

The 10 stop filter is a very dark piece of glass - like shooting through a welding mask.  So it requires a slightly different technique.
  • First I set up the camera on a sturdy tripod.  I set the camera to in manual mode and took a straight shot at f/22. 
  • A look at the histogram confirmed a 0.3nd grad would be needed to calm down the sky and consequently lighten the land.
  • Another shot confirmed that the 0.3 filter was correct.
  • Next I switched the lens to manual focusing as auto focusing through the 10 stopper dosn't always work and our test shots have confirmed the focus & composition are what we want so we don't want them to change.
  • Screw the 10 stop ND back on and then the 0.3ND.
  • Using the ND Calc iphone app allows me to easily calculate how much the exposure is lengthened by adding the 10 stopper. 
  • I Switch to bulb mode and then use the timer built into ND calc to time the exposure. 
  • Then just open the shutter till the timer goes off and try not to get bitten by too many mossies.

Just so you can appreciate the effect of the filter. Here is the test shot:


1/6Sec @ f/22

You can achieve similar effects without the filter.  But to do that  you need quite low light, this was taken 45 mins before sunrise and it was so dark that to the naked eye you could hardly see the pier:

 Southwold Blues
15 Seconds @ f/5

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Kris Dutson is photographer of the month for August

Dorset based Landscape photography Kris Dutson has many beautiful and award winning photographyHis website is worth a visit.


Pulpit Fire
by Kris Dutson






Previous  Photographers of the Month

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

How to create exhibition Labels

Quit a few people have asked how I create the labels I use for my exhibitions.  I thought I would share the technique I use here.

  1. I first create the labels, using a customised version of my Lemon Limited Edition Management system.
  2. Any additional documents, like the exhibition cover story and details of how to purchase the shots are created in Word.
  3. I print very light grey dashed cutting lines round each label to make the process easier.
  4. I print all the items on to premium glossy paper to give them a professional finish, don't print right to the edge as you need to allow a bit for trimming off.
  5. Once the prints have dried, it's time to wander outside and coat the back of each with spray mount.
  6. Then stick each print down to a sheet of foamboard.
  7. Leave to dry.
  8. Now use a ruler and stanley knife(with a fresh blade) and cut each of the labels to size, following the guidelines printed on each label.  Having a proper cutting mat underneath allows you to cut cleanly all the way through without wrecking your table, and more importantly, blunting your knife.
  9. After a short while you should have a nice stack of lovely labels!

Monday, 12 July 2010

"Beauty of Britain" - Exhibition opens at Rayleigh Mill

Beauty of Britain - an exhibition of my landscape photography from around the country opens today at The Mill Rayleigh.   It runs till August 13th,  so you have plenty of time to pop in and look at the pics.

Lost in the Mist
(Now Appearing at Rayleigh Mill)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Peter Kemp is photographer of the month for July

I've recently been enjoying the creative and inspirational photography of Peter KempHis website is well worth a visit.


de Roos
by Peter Kemp



Previous Photographers of the Month

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

John Parminter is photographer of the month for June

I've just been spending a happy half hour or so preparing for my next trip to the lake district by enjoying the photography of John Parminter.  His website viewlakeland.com is well worth a visit.


Devoke Water Ruins
by John Parminter



Previous Photographers of the Month

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

New Canvas Print options.

I have just updated all the galleries on the site as we now offer the option of Gallery quality canvas wraps.  So all pictures on the site are now available as:

  • 18 x 12 inch Limited Edition Mounted print      £75      
  • 18 x 12 inch Limited Edition Framed & Mounted print     £125     
  • 16 x 24 inch Limited Edition Canvas wrap   £90    
  • 24 x 36 inch Limited Edition Canvas     £150
 Discounts are available for multiple purchases.

    Wednesday, 12 May 2010

    Why Two Lightroom Catalogs ?

    Following my post on automatically deleting Lightroom backups, I was asked why I have two different Lightroom catalogs.  Well the reason for this is that I like to separate my recent images from my archive of images.

    My working catalogue contains the images I am currently working on and the archive contains images that are finished.  Once a month I move the images from the previous month to the archive.

    There are a few reasons for me working in this way.  The first is that I find the process of archiving images stops me constantly looking at shots to see if there is any way I can improve them.  If I didn't do that I would still be looking at shots I took in may 2006 thinking "I wonder what that looks like in B&W".

    The other main reason, is that it  is really easy to put off keywording and classifying images,  as part of the archival process I like to make sure that they are all classified correctly.  My checklist for archiving is:

    • Delete all the images that don't make the grade
    • Keyword every image with the location it was taken
    • Keyword any shots to identify any dogs & people.
    • Apply Star ratings.
    • Add Title & Descriptions to the good ones.
    • ctrl + A and ctrl + s to write the metadata to the files
    • Export the files to a new library
    • Import in to the Archive.
    • Add pictures to the collections for my various websites
    Am I unusual in using multiple catalogues or  is it a common thing.  Why not leave a comment & let me know how you use Lightroom catalogues.

    Sunday, 9 May 2010

    Images of Suffolk

    After the run away success of our Images Of Essex website, there really was only one way to go.. Suffolk!

    Dave Peck and myself have teamed up with the very talented Gary Horner to create a website devoted to Images of Suffolk.

    Winter sunrise on Herringfleet Marshes
    by Gary Horner

    The Site features a collection of galleries organised by season and a map of Suffolk to help you find photographs of your favourite location.

    The site was created using foliopic a new service providing websites for photographers and artists. Why not have a look at the site & let me know what you think in the comments section.

    Saturday, 1 May 2010

    Leanne Graham is photographer of the month for May

    You see I like photography and I like dogs. But which one is better? There's only one way to find out....

    Visit ShortDog Photography!!!
    I have been enjoying the work of Leanne Graham and her dog photography.

    by Leanne Graham



    Previous Photographers of the Month

    Thursday, 15 April 2010

    KG Images - new site design

    My good friend and one third of ImagesOfEssex, Keving Goodchild has just completely overhauled his website.

    Thre are lots of lovely new images on there from around the UK and further afield.


    Snake and Ladder
    (by Kevin Goodchild)

    I was involved in the design of the site,  so why not take a look and leave a comment below as to what you think about it.

    Monday, 12 April 2010

    Deleting old Lightroom backups

    Lightroom is a nicely thought out application and one of it's nice thoughts is that it reminds you to backup your Lightroom database on a regular basis. This is a good thing, you should listen to it's advice and make sure you take those backups regularly.

    If you always cancel out of the backup dialogue, or worst still have disabled it ,just delete your Lightroom catalogue now.  This will save all the hassle of waiting till something goes wrong with your hardware/software/mind. Always, always make sure you have a backup.

    The only problem with the Lightroom backup system is that it can start to fill up your hard disk with lots of old copies of your catalogues. It would be nice if there was away to automatically limit it to only keeping 2 months or so worth of backups.  Well after a quick bit of fettling I worked out a way to do this.

    The instructions below are for windows PCs, if you've got a Mac there is probably some animated icon of Steve jobs you can click on and all your problems will be solved.

    1.First identify what directories you are backing up to.  These are usually in a folder called Backups inside the directory where your caltalouge lives In my case they are:
    D:\Catalogs\Lightroom\Backups
    and
    D:\Catalogs\Lightroom\Archive\Backups

    2. Open Notepad:
    • In XP choose Start>Run and type notepad click OK.
    • in Vista/Windows 7 just type notepad in the search box & click on the notepad icon

    3. Paste in the following code:

    forfiles /p "D:\Catalogs\Lightroom\Backups" /c "cmd /c rd @file /s /q" /d -60


    replace D:\Catalogs\Lightroom\Backups with path to your backups you found in step 1
    Repeat for each of the folders you found in step 1.
    My final file looks like this:

    forfiles /p "D:\Catalogs\Lightroom\Backups" /c "cmd /c rd @file /s /q" /d -60
    forfiles /p "D:\Catalogs\Lightroom\Archive\Backups" /c "cmd /c rd @file /s /q" /d -60


    Note: the -60 at the end means "delet backups older than 60 days" you can edit this to any number of days you like.

    3. Save the file as DeleteLRBackups.bat (the .bat bit is very important) in a c:\batch folder (if you don't have one create it).

    4. Now all you need to do is schedule this as a task to run whenever you like.

    Friday, 9 April 2010

    Do you Facebook?

    If you are on Facebook, why not pop by The Images of Essex page, Become a fan and invite all your friends?

    If your not on Facebook,  do you actually exist ?

    Monday, 5 April 2010

    Published! - BBC Countryfile Magazine

    Today marks the publication of the April edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine, which has a feature on "Wild Essex".  The photographs for this feature were supplied by the Images of Essex team.

    The picture Editor of the magazine, contacted us via our website which is provided by the Foliopic system. It proved to be quite a challenging assignment, as we requested to make the images as "spring like" as possible. Bear in mind the country was being lashed by the worst winter for 30 years and spring was the latest it had been for many years. Indeed, so unfavourable was the weather that as I was talking to Tor (the picture editor) on the phone about the commission, huge snowflakes were blowing past the window.

    We had two weeks to get a long list of shots from across the county, sharing the work amongst the three of us meant that it was quite achievable...if only the weather played nice. For the first week, slate grey skys hung over the county and things looked like it could get quite tricky to get the required shots.  But the weather was with us on the second week and all the locations were all snapped.



    My fellow Essex Imagers worked hard to get the required shots.  Dave Peck did a great job of shooting The Company Shed on Mersey Island - it's just a shed so Dave got some great shots of it's fishy produce instead of just a picture of a shed. Whilst Kevin Goodchild managed to use his influence with the military to get access to the broomway on Foulness.


    The Picture Editor had requested that we email the shots to them as they were taken, but instead we used our Foliopic website and created a private password protected gallery where we could upload the images easily and the customer could brows to pick the shots they liked.  This was a much better way of working and made things quicker and easier for us all.

    If you are passing a newsagents, why not pick up a copy.

    Saturday, 3 April 2010

    "Coast" - Exhibition opens at Rayleigh Mill Coffee Shop

    Coast - an exhibition of my photography from around the Essex coast opens today at Squires Coffee Shop, The Mill Rayleigh.   It runs till June 4th,  so you have plenty of time to pop in for a coffee and a look at the pics.

    Leigh Creek
    (Now Appearing at Squires Coffee Shop)

    Friday, 2 April 2010

    Essex on View Gallery opens

    Today is the opening of Darren Chaplin's new gallery Essex on View at View Garden Centre.
    Darrens plush new premises will be featuring some of my work.  The new collection includes a couple of rather fetching canvas prints I have had made by Fresh Pixel Design (highly recommended).  If you are in the area why not pop in.

    Cockles
    (Now available on Canvas)

    Gallery Opening Times:
    Mon, Thurs, Friday 11am - 4pm Sat, Sun & Bank Hols 11am - 4pm Tues & Weds by appointment only.

    Thursday, 1 April 2010

    Dav Thomas is photographer of the month for April

    After my trip to the Peak District at the beginning of the month,  it has been a joy to view Dav Thomas website and his stunning large format images of the region.  So I figured it would be a good time to make him photographer of the month so, you can all enjoy his work.

    Burbage brook sanctury
    by Dav Thomas



    Previous Photographers of the Month

    Friday, 19 March 2010

    Mobified

    I have just been playing with mobify: http://www.mobify.me/ and have created a version of this blog that should look ok on a smart phone. It was really rather easy.

    If you browse to the blog on a phone it should automatically redirect you to the mobile version: http://m.shepherdpics.com/ I hope it helps those of you with wizzy phones.

    Wednesday, 10 March 2010

    The Still fo the Morn

    One of the things  I enjoy about landscape photography, is the complete look of shock on peoples faces when they hear what time of the morning a picture was taken.  "You got up at 5:00 in the morning..on holiday...are you mad?" is a not uncommon reaction!

    Dawn Light
    (click to view large)

    I have just come back from a great week in the Peak District and whilst it was there I came to the realisation that getting out in the countryside is not just about bagging great light.  It's about experiencing these places without,  just having a well visited place to yourself is quite a humbling experience.



    Overlook
    (click to view large)

    All the shots from this page were taken from Curbar Edge,  I got there at 6:10am and had the place to myself.  The only sounds were those of my footsteps on the frozen ground,  a rather agitated grouse who kept wanting everyone to know where it was and a very occasional car driving up the Curbar Gap.


    Curbar Gap
    (click to view large)

    It was one of those magical moments when the experience of the photographer goes well beyond the process of picture making and into the realms of a spiritual experience. I hope the pictures go some way to reflecting that and if they don't well i have the memory anyway.

    Saturday, 6 March 2010

    2009 Portfolio Updated

    It's been a real busy start to the the year and things seem to be showing no sign of slowing down any-time soon. It's only taken till the beginning of March to get round to completing last years gallery.

    The delay was mainly because I have been experiencing the joys of getting Lightroom to generate my galleries for me. When I get a moment I will produce some blogs explaining what I have learnt for anyone else brave enough to delve into the Lightroom SDK.

    The 2009 Gallery includes images from across England and I hope you find something there you enjoy looking at.

    Lost In The Mist
    Lost In The Mist

    Monday, 1 March 2010

    Pawel Bieniewsk is photographer of the month for March

    Pawel Bieniewsk produces the most amazing insect macro photography. His website is full of the most amazing images of these tiny creatures and is well worth spending some time viewing it.


    by Pawel Bieniewsk

    Wednesday, 17 February 2010

    Book Review: Finding the Picture: A Location Photography Masterclass

    I have recently finished reading Finding the Picture: A Location Photography Masterclass by Phil Malpas and Clive Minnitt.



    I found it a really enjoyable read. There are loads of excellent images within its pages and each photograph is accompanied by a commentary from both Phil and Clive.

    The commentaries work really well with both photographers happily critiquing there work and offering suggestions as to how they could have improved the picture. The comments are well thought out and offer a real insite into the thought processes behind each shot.

    I read the book a few pages at a time and then used my camera as soon as possible afterwards. Having the comments and image critiques fresh in my mind really helped to focus my mind on the whole business of picture taking.

    Highly Recommended.



    Saturday, 13 February 2010

    Published

    As part of the promotion for Darren Chaplins new gallery. This months Essex Life magazine features pictures from Kevin Goodchild and myself. Four of my images of spring are in their Beautiful Essex feature.
    Darrens Gallery opens at Easter:
    The Gallery

    The Craft Village
    View Garden Centre, Old Chelmsford Road
    Rawath, Wickford,Essex
    SS11 8SJ

    Monday, 1 February 2010

    Phil Malpas is photographer of the month for February

    I have recently been reading Finding The Picture by Phil Malpas & Clive Minnitt. The quality of the work in the book has really impressed me so this months top tog is Phil Malpas.


    Seven
    (by Phil Malpas)

    His website is well worth a visit.


    Previous Photographers of the Month

    Sunday, 31 January 2010

    Exposure at Virginia Court Hotel

    A date for your diaries...

    Why not Be among the first to have an opportunity to view the full exhibition of photographic works on display around the newly refurbished Virginia Court Hotel.

    Exposure, features landscape works by local Cromer, Norfolk and East Anglian based photographers and demonstrates the full variety of the countryside and wide open beaches that surrounds us in North Norfolk.

    On display are works of art from the award winning David Morris, Brian Wells and members of the 'Painters with Light' collective including award winners Chris Herring, Jon Gibbs, Chris Calver and Ian & Sue Flindt alongside Chris Shepherd, Dave Peck and John Duckett. Most of the exhibitors are full time photographers and all pieces are available to purchase and take away, making a stunning momento of your visit to Cromer and North Norfolk.

    Brograve Mill
    (Click to view large)

    This launch event will be attended by several of the photographers where you will have the opportunity to discuss the technical and artistic skills behind their images. Taking place between 4pm and 7pm, with canap├ęs and a glass of wine, it will be the perfect way to start the week in style!

    To receive your invite to the launch of this exhibition, please email at marketing@virginiacourt.co.uk and we will add you to the guest list and our mailing list for future news and event updates.

    Thursday, 21 January 2010

    Images of Essex

    Over the last few weeks I have been working with Kevin Goodchild and Dave Peck to create the website Images Of Essex. it is hopped to build the website into an extensive collection of pictures from all around our home county of Essex.


    Mersey Island
    By Dave Peck

    The Site features a collection of galleries organised by season and a map of Essex to help you find photographs of your favourite location.

    The site was created using foliopic an new service providing websites for photographers and artists. Why not have a look at the site & let me know what you think in the comments section.

    Monday, 11 January 2010

    Wet pants (this is not an instruction)

    Dawn, New Years Day 2010. A time when sane people are in bed nursing hangovers, I was standing on a freezing cold beach at Beesands awaiting the sun-rise.

    Now this is not too unusual for me, I am often to be found on the east coast waiting for the sun to do it's thing over the sea. The main difference from my normal hunting ground of the East Anglian coast was the pounding waves hitting the shingle of the beach. Each wave hit the sound with a loud crash which made it easy to see the damage the sea can do.

    There is a myth that every seventh wave is a big one, but I'm not convinced this is particularly true. Having watched the waves for a while, I noted where the big waves were landing and took up position some 6 feet further up the beach for safety and started to compose an image of the sunrise with the beach steps as foreground.

    I had just taken my first shot, when looking to my left I saw something that scared the bejesus out of me. Coming towards me was a wave of tsunami proportions.

    It hit the beach with an ear splitting CRASH!! My immediate thought was "this is going to go over my wellies". I took a couple of steps up the beach and kept firing the camera shutter release. The wave hit me.

    The water quickly topped my wellies and kept rising. I started to panic - this could ruin the camera if the water keeps rising! It kept rising, up to a few inches below the camera and right up to my waist. The ice cold water took my breath away.

    Then the wave moved back out and I started to panic. The force of the wave started to pull my feet from under me and I grabbed on to the tripod for support. You can always tell if a photographer is really hurt or not - if he says "is my camera all right?" he isn't really hurt. In my case I stopped worrying about the camera and just held on to the tripod for dear life.

    The wave receded and I found myself soaked through but with a dry camera. I decide that discretion was the better part of valour and headed back to the car and a chance to dry out.

    This was the shot I got just before my soggy pants experience!

    High Tide
    (Click to view large)

    Friday, 1 January 2010

    Chris Shepherd is photographer of the month for Jan

    Luck always plays a part in a good photograph and certain photographers have more luck than others. Our photographer of the month for Jan is lucky enough to have a really great name: Chris Shepherd is our photographer of the month for January.


    York Minster
    (by Chris Shepherd)



    Previous Photographers of the Month