Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Infra-red photography

I've recently had my attention drawn to infra-red photography.
Not the most ideal time of year for it but still.

There's a few ways to do such photography, the most expensive way is to buy a specialist camera or have a camera physically modified to remove in-built filters that purposely filter out light from the appropriate end of the spectrum... The red end I guess.
The cheaper method, the method of choice for folks such as myself, is to use a filter, these come in varying strengths, restricting the spectrum of light that can pass through the lens to the cameras sensor. The result of which, in camera, is a black and red photograph of, whatever you should choose to shoot.
For a better explanation here's a wikipedia link...

Some cameras work significantly better than others and, fortunately for me the D50 is fairly good for it.
Most folks convert IR photographs directly into black and white images but, with some jiggery pokery in software to get the desired white balance and colour temperature compensation, you can squeeze a bit of colour here and there. The shades of colour you get as a result can differ as per taste/technique however the effect of infra-red photography is quite consistent.

The effect can result in an image that looks quite alien but not quite unrealistic. At a glance it might seem like the image is a mere colour negative of reality, however the specific focus of infra-red light that is captured has a notable effect.
The most noticable effect is that blue skies tend to be darker whilst green plantlife glow up brightly infront of it. The more sunlight the better and the greener the plants the more drastic the effect,while other surfaces tend to appear relatively consistent with reality (though in duo-tone.)

Here are some images from my first trip out using some cheap filters I nabbed off of amazon, it's worth noting that you can't use the auto-focus and as infra-red is a slightly different frequency you'll have to offset the focus ring slightly to compensate. I did this via trial and error myself so it's difficult to explain it precisely, also expect shutter speeds to be long due to the volume of light being restricted through the lens, so bring a tripod.


Here is another set, from a familiar location, near my place of work a few weeks after the above set.
I'd had a little more practice by this time so I believe the standard of images is a little better myself.
This last image is a panoramic stitch of several portrait photographs.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Photograph of the week #052

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week" a (mostly) weekly feature showcasing my favourite photo of the week."

Huzzah! Photograph of the week has come full circle(-ish) and is on it's 52nd posting. Today on the 26th of Novemeber 2011 I post the 52nd photograph of the week in a row since the first POTW posted all the way back in 2010 on... *cough* the 6th of September! *cough*

Ironically of course I actually don't have a new photo as such to post this week either. (It's been a busy month and any photos I have taken have been family photos really which are not suitable for wip-tricky.)
Instead, however, I have compiled the past fifty-one photographs into one of my tried and tested "pile-of-photographs" compilation wallpapers for 1920x1020 resolutions, roughly in order going from left to right in rows from top to bottom.

It's interesting, to me, to see how the subjects changed over the year, there's quite a few macros in there, a couple of landscapes, some wildlife, no portraits, a few still-lifes and some experimentation in infra-red at the end. It's quite good to look at, reminds me what I'm capable of, what I've achieved so far and helps give ideas of where/how I should improve or what new things I should try to do next.


So what about those missing weeks eh?
By my calculation, with the exception of the past three weeks, I have missed 12 weeks over the past year but that does not necessarily mean I didn't take any photographs during those periods. I've gone back over my photo-database and discovered a photograph from every week I failed to do an update. They shall be posted below and you can decide for yourself whether I didn't post them because they didn't deserve it(sometimes), because I was too busy(other times) or because I forgot(no comment).
I missed one week in December 2010, January, April, May, June and September and two weeks in February, March and August. The only months I managed a full compliment of weekly updates were in the initial months of September 2010, October 2010, November 2010 and then July 2011.

The next photograph of the week post I make after this one will be the new date that I shall try to get a fluent, unbroken years worth of weekly updates. Until then If you have any requests, ideas, or thoughts on photograph of the week feel free to contact me via the contact page or leave a comment below.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Scribble of the week #010

My sketch books are forever filled with random mind-scrawlings and scribbles that will otherwise never be used for anything or be seen by anyone, because of this I bring you "Scribble of the week".

Scribble of the week is a weekly feature(well, bi-monthly at best at the moment) where i'll be posting a random sketch, scribble, design or element from one of my various sketch books. These will always be unfinished pieces of work and will often, most likely, be very random.


Much like the last "Scribble of the week" this weeks scribble is another character concept. Once again, no heavy concentration on shading or details, a lot of the rough outlines are still present, this is very much an exercise in creativity rather than a project to be finished... Which is handy because I don't have to worry so much about those blasted feet!

This character is a chap called James. The bio-sheet I wrote up to base this character on was quite lengthy but it's not really worth posting so much detail here.
In brief James is meant to be a kind of super-mechanic/engineer/scientist type character. The most noticeable characteristics he has is that he has replaced his rib-cage, internal organs and spinal cord with a mechanical substitute, the substitution requires an exhaust-pipe for an unknown bi-product for an undisclosed internal process, he has also lost and replaced his right arm.

I couldn't decide how he replaced his right arm though, whether it was with a sophisticated bionic arm, a somewhat less-sophisticated mechanical arm or a whole new arm reforged from pure energy. The nice thing about a "pure-energy" arm, I figure, is that you could use the "pure-energy" to power a bionic arm that was built around it, or various other fun devices, so even if I end up preferring the bionic arm I could say there was the energy version underneath it. I did get a bit distracted by the "pure-energy" concept, hence i did a bit of arm anatomy to one side. :)

The character generally is overladen with tools in his many slotted/pocketed toolbelt and he also owns a large mechanically augmented war-hammer that he calls "plan B" because:
"If all else fails, try hitting it with a hammer"

Monday, 31 October 2011

Photograph of the week #051

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week" a (mostly) weekly feature showcasing my favourite photo of the week."


This weeks photo is another infra-red photo.

Coincidentally it was only last night I was wondering to myself.
"What would a rainbow look like in infra-red?"
Lo-and-behold! I arrive home from the office today to have a rainbow visible from my own back garden. I bumped the contrast a bit (on top of the usual post-processing) but now I know what a rainbow looks like in infra-red.

Now...
"I wonder what a million pounds would look like in infra-red!"



(Btw - I notice that it's only one week left now until the fifty second photograph-of-the-week, one years worth of weekly updates, give or take, I shall have to come up with something... either interesting, special or... different to celebrate. Stay tuned!"

Monday, 24 October 2011

Photograph of the week #050

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week" a (mostly) weekly feature showcasing my favourite photo of the week."



This week I tried my hand at my first ever infrared photography.

It's quite an exciting new technique, i'm looking forward to trying it out elsewhere, you do get some very unique and sometimes unexpected results from it.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Scribble of the week #009

My sketch books are forever filled with random mind-scrawlings and scribbles that will otherwise never be used for anything or be seen by anyone, because of this I bring you "Scribble of the week".

Scribble of the week is a weekly feature(well, bi-monthly at best at the moment) where i'll be posting a random sketch, scribble, design or element from one of my various sketch books. These will always be unfinished pieces of work and will often, most likely, be very random.


This "week's" scribble is just a quick character concept.

I recently watched a video about doing quick "brain-stormy" character concept art.
It's all kept very simple, colours are just blocked in, line-art is messy and shading is very crude until a final concept is nailed down. Most details are totally absent and it gives me an excuse to totally disregard feet which is always nice :)

It's a fun exercise and keeps me scribbling so I expect I shall be working on other character concepts for a while now.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Photograph of the week #49

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week" a (mostly) weekly feature showcasing my favourite photo of the week."


This week is a black and white photograph of a chain wrapped around a wooden post. Again this is a photo I took whilst at lunch, walking around the bay near my place of work.

I don't do black and white very often but it's a technique I do appreciate. Instead of confusing the image with too many colours and other stimulus with black and white you can concentrate purely on the subject, the atmosphere and the textures.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Photograph of the week #48

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week" a (mostly) weekly feature showcasing my favourite photo of the week."



Just a quick Macro shot I took this morning of a ladder in my garden.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Photograph of the week #47

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week" a (mostly) weekly feature showcasing my favourite photo of the week."



A quick macro shot from my garden og some morning dew formed on a weed(I think) that has now been removed.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Photograph of the week #046


"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week" a (mostly) weekly feature showcasing my favourite photo of the week."


The above shot is of a little kitten called Dinky one of four sister-kittens being looked after by the folks over at http://www.allanimalrescue.co.uk/ that I went to photograph and video this morning.
Terribly cute bunch, I doubt they'll be without a home for too long.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Photograph of the week #045


"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week" a (mostly) weekly feature showcasing my favourite photo of the week."




This weekend my beautiful wife and I went to the end of the road festival. I didn't take my camera for most of the festival and by the time I had gotten it good to go some of the things I wanted to photograph had become somewhat "weathered".

This shot is of a very cool looking art installation in the middle of a wooded area involving hundreds of origami cranes.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Photograph of the week #044


"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week" a (mostly) weekly feature showcasing my favourite photo of the week."




Today was my dear son's birthday so this weeks photograph of the week is just a quick taster of that.
We're a lot more settled into our new home now so regular Potw's should resume at a somewhat higher standard.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Photograph of the week #043

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week" a (mostly) weekly feature showcasing my favourite photo of the week."


Again, I've been very busy moving house recently and have not had much of a chance to take any proper  photographs however I did steal a couple of hours to myself to start a new photography project along with the assistance of my good friend Goat, we've finished the first phase of the project now and so for this weeks photograph i shall post a bit of a preview photograph.

I won't give away what it is yet, to some it may be obvious to others a mystery but hopefully all will be revealed in the near future. :)

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Photograph of the Week #042

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week" a (mostly) weekly feature showcasing my favourite photo of the week."


Because i'm currently moving house my camera equipment is more than a little buried under packed boxes and other miscellaneous mess. As such this weeks photo is an old photo, from my archive that happened to jump out at me, probably in thumbnail form.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Photograph of the Week #0041

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week"

This weeks photo is of our pet cat, Eccles, whilst he lounged on a seat in the garden. I was trying to take advantage of the fact and get some close-ups of his eyes but the light was tremendously uneven.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Photograph of the Week #0040

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week"


I've been meaning to do this for a long time. It's a very basic photograph and more a snapshot really. Nothing special in the exposure or anything but i've just been meaning to get a shot of this sign.

It sits on the side of a cycle/footpath, as you might imagine, beside a bay that I walk around every lunch time to get some much needed exercise/fresh-air.

There is something a little unusual about the sign though, took me months to notice it, mostly because I wasn't paying attention to it but still, I don't imagine it will take anyone viewing this image long to notice what I didn't.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Photograph of the Week #0039

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week"


A quick, colourful shot from a previous trip through the new forest.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Scribble of the Week #008

My sketch books are forever filled with random mind-scrawlings and scribbles that will otherwise never be used for anything or be seen by anyone, because of this I bring you "Scribble of the week".

Scribble of the week is a weekly feature(on and off probably) where i'll be posting a random sketch, scribble, design or element from one of my various sketch books. These will always be unfinished pieces of work and will often, most likely, be very random.


I'm not too good at keeping up to date with my Scribbles of the week in comparison to my photos but that does not mean i'm not scribbling. I'll try to get more on the ball in the coming weeks but no promises. :)

For now though, my current work-in-progress is actually an extension of a previous post. This is apiece of art depicting my boy and his awesome mount and travelling companion the Alphabetepillar.

As always with these pieces it's very much a work-in-progress. The background is miles off and more shading/highlighting/details and such needs to be done with a splash more colour but still.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Photograph of the Week #0038

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week"



Yet another quick macro shot, this time taken of a fly in my garden that landed on a large, green, plastic, riding-dog toy that my son got last christmas. It was only there long enough for the one shot which is my excuse for not adjusting my aperture to give a better depth of field.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Photograph of the Week #0037

"When not scribbling away in a sketch book or dabbling on a Wacom tablet i'm invariably fiddling around with exposure settings on my Nikon D90 trying to capture moments in aesthetically pleasing ways.
So here we have "Photograph of the week"

Sunday, 26 June 2011

...We are men of groans and howls, Mystic men who eat boiled owls...

Last night I went ahead with a little experiment I'd seen recently in a YouTube video involving a thin metal tray, a sub-woofer, some cornflour and a bit of water. See video below;
 
Initially I found the video when I was inspired by a challenge I read about on dpreview, the challenge was already over but it made me look up what non-Newtonian fluids were and more pertinently, google the term "fun things to do with non-Newtonian fluids?"
(Next time I might google "stupid things to do with non-Newtonian fluids")
 
With this in mind I grabbed an old sub-woofer I had no intention of using again(though I could) and begun the experiment with a friend of mine called Gordon. A fellow dabbler in photography and other such things and always happy to assist in anything even remotely interpretable as chemistry.

The plan of action was very simple.
  1. Mix up some oobleck using cornstarch(we used cornflour) and water
    Most recipes I found say 1.5 parts corn-starch to 1 part water but we ended up adjusting the mixture to suit as we went. The ingredients are so simple you can play with it.
  2. Pour it into a tray
  3. Slap the tray on a sub-woofer/speaker 
  4. Ramp up the bass.
To avoid having to spend too much time poking the mixture and holding the tray down we simply used masking tape on the underside of the tray, strapping it directly to the speaker, which basically served the purpose necessary and meant we could concentrate on things like focus/aperture/shutterspeed/etc.
I decided to go for macro shots of the fluid as it bounced and formed it's tendrils and blobs as wide angles, whilst interesting and documentative don't have much impact or visual appeal I think. Due to the nature of the experiment however the fluid is constantly vibrating at a high speed which is again exaggerated by being zoomed in so close to the subject. What this means is it's necessary to shoot at a fairly high shutter speed.

I went for 1/1000th of a second in the end which seemed to suitably nullify any motion blur, this ofcourse required some carefully controlled flash. Too much light will easily over expose the already white liquid and/or plunge the shapes into heavy shadows while too little light can result in a total lack of definition in the fluid or of course under-exposure. Shooting at a high speed such as this though does have the advantage that you can hand-hold the shot quite easily. 

Anyway, what follows is my pick of the results.
That's a tea spoon by the way.
The above two shots had too little depth of field I think, thankfully what i focused on is fairly interesting to look at but it would've have been nicer to see the rest of the image clearer.

Really these photos exhibit a technique of what's called "high-key" photography. (Something I've previously been quite poor at in my opinion.)

Shooting a white subject on a white background is basically a challenge, any definition in the subject can only be obtained from well-considered lighting.
I think I've managed to achieve the effect I was after, if I was to do this again(which is likely) I would probably try to incorporate more colour, either using food dye or possibly some coloured filters on a couple of flashes.
Only question now is what to do next.