David's Photo52 2011: Index Post 1: Weeks 44 to 46 belatedly added

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David
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#1
:wave: Trepidation, nervousness, excitement...

flickr - Photo52 2011

I took part in some of last year's POTY 2010 and I plan to mount a full assault on POTY 2011. Together with the launch of the 3rd running of A Year in the Life of Faversham I'm really looking forward to this year's challenges and hope that I will be able to contribute to them all. I'm also looking forward to learning new ideas and techniques.

Have fun and good luck everyone!

Click on the link to take you straight to the picture.

[post=3277390]Week 1 Accommodation[/post]
[post=3324828]Week 2 New[/post]
[post=3338079]Week 3 Style[/post]
[post=3366504]Week 4 Open[/post]
[post=3385582]Week 5 Hard[/post]
[post=3386457]Week 5 Re-Shoot[/post]
[post=3414869]Week 6 Clutter[/post]
[post=3461426]Week 7 Delicate[/post]
[post=3463790]Week 8 Chaos[/post]
[post=3470791]Week 9 Finish[/post]
[post=3480502]Week 10 Trio[/post]
[post=3502235]Week 11 Knowledge[/post]
[post=3516330]Week 11 Re-Shoot[/post]
[post=3538922]Week 12 Moderation[/post]
[post=3559809]Week 13 Empty[/post]
[post=3580961]Week 14 Object[/post]
[post=3617540]Week 15 Wrong[/post]
[post=3617609]Week 16 Re-Shoot[/post]
[post=3627063]Week 16 Paradox[/post]
[post=3628169]Week 17 Tropical[/post]
[post=3638966]Week 18 Power[/post]
[post=3677179]Week 19 Divided[/post]
[post=3677865]Week 20 Promise[/post]
[post=3759033]Week 21 Twisted[/post]
[post=3759035]Week 22 Hidden[/post]
[post=3759037]Week 23 Broken[/post]
[post=3776252]Week 24 Bright[/post]
[post=3778039]Week 25 Rescue[/post]
[post=3798433]Week 26 Sensual[/post]
[post=3872234]Week 27 Elaborate[/post]
[post=3872269]Week 28 Celebrate[/post]
[post=3872786]Week 29 Smell[/post]
[post=4011433]Week 30 Weird[/post]
[post=4011469]Week 31 Wind[/post]
[post=4011485]Week 32 Evolution[/post]
[post=4019387]Week 33 Record[/post]
[post=4019410]Week 34 Work[/post]
[post=4088766]Week 35 Blur[/post]
[post=4212064]Week 36 Time[/post]
[post=4225891]Week 37 Mix[/post]
[post=4243562]Week 38 Fun[/post]
[post=4257495]Week 39 Volume[/post]
[post=4257530]Week 40 Explode[/post]
[post=4271380]Week 41 Rapid[/post]
[post=4271399]Week 42 Weave[/post]
[post=4271703]Week 43 Abstract[/post]
[post=4287403]Week 44 Pair[/post]
[post=4288494]Week 45 Safe[/post]
[post=4293130]Week 46 Living[/post]
 
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#2
Oval Gas Works


Week 1 Accommodation by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
A terrace built in the shadows of the Oval Gas Works.
Why:
I like the juxtaposition of the houses accommodating the gas storage tanks in this residential area. As I walk along Mountford Place from my place of work to Tesco at a lunchtime you often have a very pungent smell of gas. Lovely looking houses but not sure I would want to live there. Only now have I realised that the road works are to install a new gas pipe - lucky accident.
How:
This was shot as a 4 shot vertical panorama using my Olympus E-520 and 25mm pancake which is a nice portable combination. Because of the very flat cloudy rainy day, I have processed heavily in Lightroom to prevent the image from being too flat.
Learnt:
When shooting panos like this, give consideration to what will make it in to the final shot. This will be based on the angle from which you are shooting, see here for the uncorrected image after photomerging the 4 shots and you will see how much of the image is lost during correction to give straight verticals.
Improvement:
Dreadful sky. I'm not skilled at photoshopping in new skies especially when trying to retain the fine detail of something like the railings at the top of the gas works.
Over processed. This image needed a lighter touch on the processing, but this is a 52 not a competition and I need to learn to shoot and move on and learn from the experience.
Composition. Use of a prime lens necessitates that I should walk more to find the right shot and give more consideration to what is in the frame of the shot. I could have given more emphasis to the installation of a new gas pipe given the gas works in the background.
 
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#4
Hi David, I love this sort of gritty city image. The composition is great - that line of the houses really drags your eye into the frame. This type of vertical panorama is quite unusual.

I also like the colours, and all the subtle changes of brown, orange, purple, blue, green - just great.

A nice sky would have been good, but that's not a big deal as that is not the main subject.

I'm not sure about the "pedestrians" sign - I might have been tempted to move it out of the way while I took the shot. I would be interesting to do this shot again when the roadworks are finished

The frame is good also - matches the subject well.

Cheers, Patrick
 
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#5
I'm not sure about the "pedestrians" sign - I might have been tempted to move it out of the way while I took the shot. I would be interesting to do this shot again when the roadworks are finished
Thanks for the feedback Patrick

I'm the sort of photographer who never feels comfortable moving things out of shot, maybe I should make that a goal this year to physically de-clutter what's in the frame before I take it. I did desaturate the reds to try and make it less noticeable, but I agree it's a distraction as it a) is not in keeping with the subject of the shot and b) is not in keeping with the colouring. I pass it several times a week so I will definitely go back and re-shoot when the weather is better.
 
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#6
How:
This was shot as a 4 shot vertical panorama using my Olympus E-520 and 25mm pancake which is a nice portable combination.

Really like this shot, never attempted a panoramic before, but will give it a go before the year is out.
As i am a novice, i have only positive feedback on this image.

(y)
 
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#7
Although it's not my style, I really like the composition of the image. The only critique I have is that the arrow sign seems to draw too much attention... I would have removed it if I knew how to use photoshop :(

Keep it up and good luck
 
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#10
A good image there Dave which also tells a story. I agree with the comments about the sky but that's what we get at this time of year I guess.
Mark
 

SimonTALM

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#11
Great - I love the thought you've put in to this shot and the way you've explained everything in your post, a perfect 52er in the making (y)

You've done well in the processing to keep all the verticals, vertical and that adds to the depth of the image for me. I think you are right about the over processing and also about the sky, perhaps early evening just after sunset when the sky has a little colour in it would work really well.

I would love to see this shot again in the future without the roadworks and perhaps a classic VW camper in the shot (where the roadworks are).
 

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#12
Hi David,

Wow that is some composition you have with the photo, very well thought out and in detail. I have actually learned a few things from this thread already. Thank you.

A fantastic start to the 52 and I wish you all the best with the coming weeks. Look forward to seeing your images and the prose that goes with is.

I love the colours and sharpness of the image. Pity about the sky as you have said.

I agree with Simon, a vintage VW campervan would look great in the image :)

Cheers

Dawn :)
 
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#13
Thanks for the comments. As well as being a record of shooting my 52 photos for this year, I also want it to be a resource for my learning. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is the uncorrected Photomerge of the 4 shots used before correcting for straight verticals and to remove distortion:


Pano uncorrected by morganthecat, on Flickr

See how much of the image is thrown away (particularly in the top half) in the final cut.
 
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#14
The New Testament


Week 2 New by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
A copy of the New Testament opened at Psalm 32 in the pulpit at the Community Church Sheppey.
Why:
I took part yesterday in the Roaming Perspectives walk around Sheerness-on-Sea led by Matt Rowe (www.m-r-p.co.uk/). This meant I had spent 3 hours shooting photographs this week but nothing for the Photo52.
As Psalm 32 says "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven".
Having shot nothing specifically for the theme of New I decided to look through yesterday's photos for inspiration, I hope I am blessed indeed.
On the subject of new, as well as the subject matter I was shooting for the first time with my (not so) new fisheye lens and getting to grips with that.
How:
I shot plenty inside the church using handheld bracketed exposure of 5 shots +/- 2eV with the intention to process in Photomatix. This is a single exposure using the fisheye. Although fisheyes usually have incredible DOF because of the short focal length, nearly all detail beyond the bible is lost as my focal point was approximately 6-8" away and so HDR did not work.
I processed with a big dollop of contrast and clarity, conversion to greyscale and then split toned with silvery bronze highlights and purplish shadows.
Learnt:
I learnt that the Olympus 8mm fisheye suffers from significant CA although that can be consistently and readily removed in Lightroom.
I also learnt that my viewfinder is not spot on as no matter how carefully I lined up the shot I routinely ended up with a small bias to the right. Not apparent here but in the architectural shots where you are trying to perfectly balance the shot it was obvious. I learnt that a fisheye is unforgiving when it comes to lining up - you may think in the viewfinder you have balanced up all the elements (eg windows, ceiling joists, skirting boards etc) but invariably there is a bias in the final photo.
Improvement:
See the picture before it's taken. I'm happy with the final effect but I need to give positive consideration at the time I take the shot as to how I intend to process it, rather than trying different presets afterwards to rescue my shots.
Composition. It was necessary to make a slight crop and adjustment to the angle to remove some distracting elements in the top corners. Consequently I have cropped the bible more than I would like. Although the passage "Blessed is he whose..." is on the bottom third, I did not make a positive decision as to how far across the photo it should be placed and has rather ended up in no-man's land.
 
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#15
Nice touch actually; if it was me I might have been inclinded to line up down the centre of the page but looking at yours here it works very well. Use of a fish eye is very good indeed, anything with a longer lens might've not put in enough of a background.
 
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#16
Ignoring the photo itself, it's fantastic to see you putting effort into the planning, thought processes, techniques, and self-criticism and best of all, spelling it all out on the pages here. It's clear that you're treating this as a genuine exercise in improving your photography and not as a pointless exercise in "hmm well I said I'd do this, so I have to tick 52 boxes on this one, hope it doesn't take too much time".

I've been trying to do the same, but your efforts in that respect have put mine to shame.

It's just sad seeing a thread (especially in other parts of the forum) with just a titles of "pictures from today" and 5 or 6 random pictures dumped down with neither reason nor explanation .
 
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#17
...if it was me I might have been inclinded to line up down the centre of the page...
Thanks David, as with Week 1 I am reticent to move things to make a beter photo and I need to get over that. If I had lined up the lens with the centre of the page I would have had a less interesting background.

... it's fantastic to see you putting effort into the planning, thought processes, techniques, and self-criticism and best of all, spelling it all out on the pages here. It's clear that you're treating this as a genuine exercise in improving your photography...
Thanks Ray, nice to know the effort is recognised although it is primarily for myself. I wonder how long before I run out of things to say :thinking:
 
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Ian
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#18
Week 2 is an interesting shot. I like the treatment, the colours really work for me. I also like the way the pages have been distorted by the fisheye. I think lining up with paragraph was the best option - if you had lined up with the centre of the page the paragraph would not have so readable due to distortion.
 

Spooky

<span class="poty">POTY Winner 2013</span>
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#19
I like the 'new' take - always like an effective use of a fisheye lens. I might be inclined to make a tighter crop in PS, lose the background and make the 'Blessed' text the focal point.
 
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#20
I like the 'new' take - always like an effective use of a fisheye lens. I might be inclined to make a tighter crop in PS, lose the background and make the 'Blessed' text the focal point.
Hi Simon, good point about the crop although the photowalk on which this was taken was aimed at illustrating Sheerness from a new viewpoint so I wanted to frame the bible with the interior of the church. Of course I did not need to include that for my Photo 52.
 
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#21
The Thames at Dusk


The Thames at Dusk by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
A photo across the Thames stretching from the Houses of Parliament along Victoria Embankment taken from the Golden Jubilee Bridge.
Why:
I decided to make life easy for myself this week. I had a couple of ideas based around style and fashion and shooting menswear in shop windows, but they did not live up to expectation so I settled on representing a style of photography. So here we have HDR although hopefully tackled with a subtle enough hand not to turn everyone off.
How:
I shot using a handheld bracketed exposure of 3 shots +/- 1eV with processing in Photomatix. I then did some further processing in Lightroom particularly with clarity and a healthy dose of sharpening as the shot was very soft (I stupidly shot wide open). Finally I added a graduated filter to increase contrast, saturation and some more clarity to the sky.
Learnt:
Take my time, especially when not in a hurry to think about my settings. I took several of these 3 shot bursts wondering why I was getting no dynamic range before I realised that ISO 400 and f2.8 gives a shutter speed of the 'perfectly' exposed shot of 1/4000... hmmm, hard to manage a -1ev from that starting point, doh! I did adjust the ISO to shoot at 100, but I had plenty of scope to go for a more appropriate aperture and still retain a fast shutter speed.
Improvement:
Aperture. I should have shot at at least f5.6 to give as much detail as possible throughout the photograph. I get away with it here as this is a shot about warmth and colour and detail is not the main focus, but that's no excuse for being lazy and stupid.
Composition. I was shooting with a 25mm pancake. I'm enjoying shooting with primes at the moment but this shot would have benefitted from a wider angle in order to retain the Houses of Parliament whilst placing the sunset more central in the picture or at least on a third.
 
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#22
Very interesting background to the photo there, and a good subtle use of HDR to actually improve the image instead of halos around everything big enough to make an angel blush.
 

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#24
I like you week 3, ironically we were taking the same image, although from different angles within the space of 30 minutes from the looks of your details of flickr, small world or what ;)

Have added you on flickr

Matt
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#26
Can't really add much more than has already been said, lovely sunset, lovely picture.

Simon.
 
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#27
Thanks for the comments guys... the weather has been pretty miserable since and nothing to match last Wednesday's sunset.

Now, Open... this weekend I am going to have to produce something out of the bag.
 

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#28
Hi David,

Well done on a gorgeous sunset image. Even though I don't have much experience of HDR I like the way you have processed this image. The cloudy sky is fantastic and adds a certain mood to the shot.

Out of curiosity, what is the whitish grey rectangle on the right? I tried to zoom in to make out what it is as it catches my eyes and draws my attention away from the full impact of the image as does the vapour trail.

Thank you for the write-up you add to your image, I look forward to posts as I learn so much from them.

Cheers

Dawn :)
 
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#29
Out of curiosity, what is the whitish grey rectangle on the right? I tried to zoom in to make out what it is as it catches my eyes and draws my attention away from the full impact of the image as does the vapour trail.
Hi Dawn

Thanks for commenting. I think there were some building works and it is the wind break on the scaffolding. I didn't want to place the setting sun right on the edge of the photo, but a more definite crop may have been a better idea. It scored disappointingly at our club competition last night because of that and the contrail doesn't quite work.

One to re-shoot later in the year perhaps (it is back to dull grey in london today).
 

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#31
Hi Dawn

Thanks for commenting. I think there were some building works and it is the wind break on the scaffolding. I didn't want to place the setting sun right on the edge of the photo, but a more definite crop may have been a better idea. It scored disappointingly at our club competition last night because of that and the contrail doesn't quite work.

One to re-shoot later in the year perhaps (it is back to dull grey in london today).
Hiya David,

You are welcome. Now I can see that it could possibly be the building works/wind break on the scaffolding - which is a pity because it does distract from the image. Not much you can do about that, although perhaps if you had taken a few paces to your left you may have been able to eliminate it from the image and still got the gorgeous sunset. As for the chem trail, you may be able to rid those with a bit of retouch.

Indeed perhaps one to re-shoot later in the year, but then it is always a matter of timing it for that perfect sunset.

Freezing cold oop norf at the mo, with a few flakes of snow today, but at least not dull and grey.

Look forward to seeing your progress with this 52.

Cheers

Dawn :)
 
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#32
Open Fields


Week 4 - Open by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
A field by Faversham Creek.
Why:
Having been sidelined by a virus all week, I wanted to get out mainly to take this photo and as I walked back I suddenly thought of Open Fields. This was a back-up having failed to take a decent shot of the Late Opening sign outside the National Portrait Gallery on Friday night.
How:
Taken using the Falcon 8mm fisheye lens and a handheld bracketed exposure of 5 shots +/- 2eV with processing in Photomatix. I then did some further processing in Lightroom particularly with bringing out some detail in the sky and getting the right colour for the plants. Having shot with the fisheye I chose a panoramic 2x1 crop sp that only the horizon has the fisheye distortion to further accentuate the sense of openness and adjusted the angle slightly.
Learnt:
After shooting for 4 weeks, I'm seeing that my personal palette is quite dark, and in fact my favourite shot to date is week 2's where I went for much lighter tones. I should in future try apply a lighter palette to my photography.
I need to challenge myself more to shoot to the brief rather than shoe-horn my shot into the theme; I have an idea for Week 5 which is "Hard".
Improvement:
Exposure. I have again settled for HDR to overcome the challenges of some poor and uninteresting skies. I should choose alternative subjects which require me to give more consideration to the exposure I want to use.
Processing. Once again this image may have benefitted from a lighter touch on the processing; this is a consistent them in my processing and I cannot put it all down to the grey January skies.
Composition. I made a positive choice on the 2x1 crop, but the original 4x3 frame did not have enough sky and so whilst the edges of the sky are sitting on the third, I would have chosen to include more if I had had more to work with.
 
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#33
Hard Hearted


Untitled by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
A lamb's heart being hit with a hammer.
Why:
I have had in mind for a while a series of photos based around the different emotions associated with the heart. This week's theme gave me the impetus to take the first of these shots.
How:
The heart was frozen and 'mounted' on dowel that was poked through the backboard which was covered in black cloth. The hammer was balanced in position and the lighting set up. Finally a sparkler was placed in line with where the hammer meets the heart to give the impression of sparks from the hammer hitting the 'hard heart'.
Lighting set up was as follows:
1. Olympus FL-36R (1/4 power) with Apollo Micro XL fitted to soften the light, above and slightly in front of the subject;
2. YN-460 II (1/32 power) with grid fitted at 60 degrees above camera right to fill light left hand side of heart; and
3. YN-460 II (1/64 power) with grid fitted right of subject and slightly behind to provide rim light on hammer and separate from background plus slight fill on right hand side of heart.
A flag was placed hear the main light to prevent spill onto the backcloth.
Learnt:
Adapted the set up used in Colin Jones' photograph to illustrate MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This.
Improvement:
Sparkler. I'm happy with the composition and processing, but should have placed the sparlkler along the same axis, but ahead of the heart/hammer so sparks across the front rather than just behind.
 
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#34
superb david (y) you must be well pleased with that one..very creative you have the lighting spot on ..great idea and brilliantly executed (y)(y)
 

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#37
Hiya David,

Well what can I say, except that I so look forward to seeing what images you produce for this project and once again you have both impressed and inspired me.

What a creative idea, I love it. Although it does bring back memories of high school when we had to dissect an animal heart, which I didn't enjoy and landed up fainting :LOL:

I love reading your write-ups for the photo as I learn so much from them, so thanks for sharing that with us.

Agree with what you and others have said about the sparks, so that is already covered.

Perhaps if you had removed the sticker from the hammer, as it does draw my attention.

Your control of lighting is spot on and the way you have caught the light trails of the sparks is brill and well exposed.

An excellent take on the theme and I now look forward to seeing what you produce for week 6.

Cheers

Dawn :)
 
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#38
WOW - I'm in awe too. You're HARD shot is fantastic. Looking back (tho I haven't read all the comments) - I am loving all your shots...

really looking forward to seeing more and following your 52.

FABULOUS David... really... :)
 
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Mark
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#39
An excellent set of photo's David. Particularly like weeks 3-5.
Your set up for the heart and hammer is ingenious. Very clever.
Criticism of the sparks seems a bit harsh, and I'm not sure that you could have done much about it anyway. They really add to the overall image and are great as they are. I'd have had that sticker away though.
 
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#40

Week 5 - Hard (Re-Shoot) by morganthecat, on Flickr

The sticker on the hammer is still there but the critique re the sparks which I had said myself I would like to improve have been addressed. I may yet re-shoot sans sticker.

A fourth flash was added for the re-shoot; YN-460 II (1/32 power) with grid fitted at 60 degrees above camera right to fill the top of the hammer and help separate from the background.
 
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