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March 2017

COMPOSITION OF COLOUR
The four seasons obviously vary and we may all have our different favourites depending on the kind of images we like to produce. One of our unique qualities that can often define us as an artist or photographer, can be our personal likes or dislikes for colour and the way we render it within a ...

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February 2017

WHY PHOTOGRAPHY?
You may have read my photographer’s profile but if you are a little more interested in what shapes my photographic world, please read on. It’s another dreary damp day outside today and whenever it’s like this I have a good excuse to philosophise, in particular about photography, its artistic attributes and art in general. I don’t think it hurts to take stock sometimes, to look at where you are, dwell a little on what has shaped your visual appreciations to date and then of course look into the abyss of where ...

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January 2017

THE DRIVING FORCE
It's that bare time when the Christmas tree, decorations and unused wrapping paper get assigned to the boxes, cupboards and lofts, not to see the light of day until September when the TV adverts remind us that Christmas is a mere day or two away. Due to an 'orrible lingering cold and the time set aside to keep the Inland Revenue from the door, this holiday seems to be a week longer than usual. As a result I get more time to gather my thoughts and prepare for the New Year's work commitments. In truth, my year begins with ...
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December 2016

A YEAR IN PHOTOGRAPHS
As Christmas approaches I decided to use this month's blog post to reflect back on the year and display a photo per month chosen from shoots, workshops and personal days throughout 2016. It was quite hard to choose just a single image from so many photographs, especially as it has to represent the whole month. Each image is a fond memory of an excellent experience at ...


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November 2016

ON COMPOSITION
One of the most challenging topics of discussion and debate on many photographic workshops is how to find a good composition. I have lost count how many times I have read on participants' booking forms preceding the workshop that they are okay with the camera technicalities but want to address how to improve their composition. From a tutor or course leader's angle this is almost an impossible itch to scratch in a single day. Let me explain. We live in an age when everybody has the ability and accessibility to own and use a camera. I have mentioned in previous posts about the growth of the mobile phone generation and the fact we all have a camera in our pockets. So instantly, everybody is a ...
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October 2016

THUNDERBIRD TWO
It doesn't seem that long ago since I was reviewing a year as custodian to the cherished and much loved Fujifilm XT-1 (aka Thunderbird 1) compact systems camera (CSC). My worthy praise and reflections were based solely on the user experience of what was then the flagship Fuji - and undoubtably their jewel in the crown. Back in June 2016 I strongly advised against chopping in previous model cameras for the latest models in search of taking better images. I also remonstrated that all too often I see budding photographers of all levels buying the next new model; falling for the manufacturers charms and promises that this will take their photography to ...
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August 2016

RIGHT & WRONG
This post is going to highlight something that photographically makes my blood boil! It’s my belief that the photographic fraternity generally is losing sight of one of the fundamentals of good photography, and it is simply wrong by ignoring it. I was browsing through a very high profile photography magazine the other day and was shocked and surprised by what I saw. I can only describe it as something that was definitely wrong! The magazine is produced by people who I am sure have a strong photographic pedigree, and their CV’s would probably stand them up as being experts in their field. Landscapes and wildlife feature mainly and there are often great articles about how images are ...
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June 2016

IS IT GOOD TO UPGRADE?
It’s just over six months since I highlighted the virtues and fun of using the Fujifilm X series camera and a whole year since I first took ownership of the flagship XT1 model. This month’s post is in the form of a user update with a strong photographic message buried within. You may remember, I originally purchased a Fujifilm camera as a back-up to my larger Canon system and was bowled over by the user experience. The Fujifilm X series mirrorless system is without doubt one of the most exciting systems on the market today. Whilst Canon and Nikon engage in a blinkered fight over who can produce the biggest pixel count, the mirrorless cameras have been ...
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May 2016

BLUEBELL BLUES
I am sure I am not alone when I admit to getting quite down from time to time about my photographic exploits and sometimes the battles of life in general, especially in the pursuit of photographic genius. We only have to watch a national news bulletin for 10 minutes and our whole mood can swing from okay to totally miserable; follow that with 5 minutes of Eastenders and I'm reaching for the vallium as depression sets in. I say 5 minutes, but normally it’s only as long as my ageing body takes to find the remote control and hit the off button. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not in any way denigrating mental health issues; in fact, this post recognizes and is very much ...
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April 2016

THE ELUSIVE NEXT LEVEL
The elusive next level often gets bandied around like it's an achievable goal, a hope that by stepping up a level will lift us to a better photographic status. The amazing thing is when you meet somebody with maturity in any field, they generally play down any notions of being on a higher step. They often display a different quality, an inner belief and maturity that manifests itself in a very self effacing way. They are more likely to be quite uncomfortable with the raised expectation and approval of others, preferring to concentrate on their inner reasons for doing what they do rather than whether others give them a raised status, David Attenborough springs to ...
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March 2016

ARTISTIC HERBS
I like to read books. Non-fiction mainly, as well as historical and modern-day books about art and photography image making in particular. I recently read a book where the artist hardly mentioned the medium (photographic) he uses to make his images, preferring instead to concentrate his writings on how he expresses his art rather than emphasising the tools and technical processes he uses. In fact, it struck such a chord with my own artistic style that I read the book three times, back to back: the first time it evoked emotions of wonder and awe, generating an “I work that way too” reaction. The second time ...
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February 2016

OF COURSE IT’S NOT ART, IS IT!
During a Dorset Arts Week exhibition a few years ago, I had a chap enter the gallery and individually inspect all 40 of my images on display. I watched with interest as he spent nearly 45 minutes scrutinising every detail from no more than 4 inches away. Finally, he walked up to me and said, “ Of course it’s not art, is it!” before scurrying away, never to be seen again. I have to admit to feeling stunned, slapped in the face and deflated, not least because I had no opportunity to put my point of view over. I felt indignant, harshly treated and hurt. The course of time has softened that hurt and I now realise ...
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January 2016

GOOD FOR THE SOUL?
I’m sitting cocooned in my office early this morning on yet another wet and windy winter’s day – the time is nearly 7am. I am sure I am not the only one to notice, but opportunities to get out and do some so called ‘serious shooting’ has been limited to half-day glimpses of dry sunny weather at best since the autumn; it seems to have rained virtually non stop. The short and long-term projection is for more of the same. Bucking that trend, yesterday’s forecast promised sun, so I took the chance to drop everything and run – camera equipment was primed and fully charged and ready for photographic combustion ...
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November 2015

THUNDERBIRD ONE
It’s been about 6 months now since taking possession of the Fuji XT1, affectionately nicknamed 'Thunderbird One' in our household. (If you get the analogy it probably says more about your age than you would like to admit.) This is not a technical review of the Fujifilm XT1; you will have to do a Google search for that. This is a reflection of how this classic little gem of a camera looks, feels and works for me. Reading through countless technical reviews was a must before taking the plunge to own one. After all, it wasn’t cheap and it had to deliver decent quality images, especially when ...
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October 2015

WHY RAW?
The aim of this post is to highlight the benefits of exposing to the right, capturing the maximum number of tones in an image and then showing how this can benefit and improve the final image. Anyone who has been on one or more of my workshops will certainly know how important good exposure is to making a good image. I frequently bang on about histograms, exposing to the right, balancing the exposure and so on. I can hear you all now saying ...oh yes! Does he go on! Anyway, the great thing about having a blog page is that I can rattle on about these things knowing I have your full and ...
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September 2015

ACCURACY OF NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTERS
Being used to hosting a regular program of workshops in the south of England and in particular Dorset, I find myself regularly tutoring photographers in the art and craft of using neutral density (ND) filters. For anyone who is unfamiliar with how or why neutral density filters can be useful for landscape photography, please see the brief explanation below. There are two types of neutral density filters: ND Graduated Filters, often called grads, are used to balance an exposure when parts of the image are brighter than the range of light the camera can record. The top half of the filter has a ...
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August 2015

DIGITAL SLR AUTOFOCUS CALIBRATION
I realised today that I haven't calibrated my camera's autofocus recently. Keeping your lenses calibrated so that they focus on the correct plane is essential to producing pin sharp images. No matter how good your technique is, if you use the autofocus system on your camera to focus and it is not focusing in the correct place, then this will virtually always produce soft images. I thought it would be useful to see how far out a lens can be set at when attached to our ...