All 7 entries tagged Photos

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March 11, 2006

Mr Blue Sky

Blue skies, Summer 2005

(Click for larger image)

I'm a sucker for sky photos. Digital cameras have been a boon for me because I think I'd feel vaguely guilty about spending film and money just pointing up and clicking speculatively. But now any time there's some interesting light or some nice clouds I grab a few frames and then play with them on the PC later to see if they can be cropped and tweaked into a nice composition.

It's mildly interesting to me to realise that the artistic process, if indeed there is one, for these sorts of images happens entirely on the computer; I make almost no attempt to compose or frame these images at the time I take them, and I rarely have any sense of whether there's a nice image waiting to be pulled out until I get them on to the PC screen.

But I really enjoy experimenting with cropping and tweaking levels to see what can be pulled out; it's the easiest and most forgiving of subjects to play with on the computer, I think, because there's no real subject in the traditional, portraiture sense, and without people or other real-life objects in the scene, it's easy to play with colours and saturation to see what you can get without ending up with something that's obviously "wrong".

March 08, 2006


Kangaroos in a wildlife park near Brisbane

(Click for larger image)

Took this at a wildlife park near Brisbane where visitors wandered around the same fields as kangaroos (cute, especially when they're peeling and eating bananas), koalas (smelly, dirty looking) and emus (outright scary). No cages, no fences; great place.

Post-processing: Cropped, removed red eye, which it turns out that kangaroos get just like humans do. Who knew?

February 22, 2006

Jumping for joy

Jumping for joy in the park

(Click for larger image)

This photo is a bit of a fluke in three ways. First of all, like most children of his age, my son is pathologically keen not to do things to order, so had I asked him to jump off the ramp for me, he would certainly have done something completely different. So it's pure luck that he happened to do something in my vicinity while I had the camera to my eye.

Secondly, the camera I was using here suffers from shutter lag, so there's a great deal more luck than precision timing in catching him in mid-air like this. I've lost count of the shots I have showing him just after a leap or run or hop, or just before he's left the ground. So it was nice to finally catch him in the act.

Thirdly, there's a special telepathic link between boy and camera which enables him to know exactly when the shutter will come down, and in that same moment do one or more of close his eyes, look away, scrunch his face up into some hideous gargoyle facsimile or produce instantly a look of thunderous rage or ineffable sadness. I can't explain why the link failed on this particular occasion.

February 20, 2006

Fishing boy

Boy fishing, Boulder, Colorado, Oct 2004

(Click for larger image)

What I originally liked about this image is the stillness of the scene, with the fishing boy the only character in a tranquil landscape. Later, though, I spotted that he was in fact not the only character, and I'd completely missed his friend when I took the photo; somehow that endeared it to me even more.

Camera: Pentax Optio S
Date: October 2004
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Post–processing: Cropped, pushed shadows, pushed saturation.

February 19, 2006

On the beach

I'm really enjoying the photos posted by Gemma and Nathan and Nick and having just got back from a week down at the beach, I thought I'd have a go too.

Waves on the beach, New Milton, Feb 2006

(Click for larger image)

Camera: Casio Exilim Z750
Date: 14th Feb 2006
Location: Highcliffe Beach, new Milton
Shutter: 1/120s
Aperture: F/3.6
ISO: 100
Comments: Bizarrely unlike what I actually saw, since it was about midday and a sunny blue sky, but pleasing anyway.
Post-processing: None.

December 28, 2005

Snow fun

How much snow do you need to have fun? Not much, it turns out. And as an added bonus, it seems that my new camera is less plagued by shutter lag than my old one was.

August 24, 2005

Which digital camera?

I've had an Optio S camera for a while now. It was a bit of an impulse buy; I saw it in a shop window and was just flabbergasted by its remarkable tininess (it fits inside a tin of Altoids). And as well as being unnaturally drawn to small, shiny things, I also suspected that a tiny, easily pocketable camera would be with me more of the time than a better but bigger model, so I'd get more shots, even if they weren't technically brilliant, and this turned out to be true.

But in the time since I bought it, every aspect of digital photography has moved on, and there are now things I'd like which the Optio doesn't have:-

  • More megapixels. I like to shoot wide angle and then compose later by cropping on the computer; more megapixels makes this more do-able.
  • A bigger, better, brighter LCD screen.
  • Image stabilisation. The curse of tiny cameras is that it's hard to hold them steady, so a higher proportion of shots end up blurred. I've discarded more photos for blur than for anything else.
  • Faster autofocus. The second commonest reason for discarding photos is when my high velocity son has disappeared from the frame before the autofocus has finished thinking. I have lots of photos of a frame empty except for a motion-blurred arm or leg in the act of exiting stage left.
  • Burst mode, for more-or-less the same reason.
  • A decent video mode. Lots of current models can shoot 640×480 at 30 fps.

But crucially, I want to stay with something ultra-compact; pocketability trumps performance for me. I wouldn't mind going a little bit bigger than the Optio, but not as big as, say, a Canon S2, even though it's undeniably a great camera. For a while, I thought that the Panasonic Lumix FX9 hit the spot, but on closer examination, it misses one crucial thing; no optical viewfinder, so no composition at all in bright sunlight. Same with the Dimage X1. The Casio Exilim Z750 seems to be very well-liked, but is missing the image stabilisation I'd like. Same with the Ixus 700. Sonys are out because I don't want to be landed with Memory Stick. What to do, what to do?

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