Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 Round Up

Following last years roundup I thought it only proper to do one for 2009! I still have seems that photography is not one of my passing phases, despite being a bit off the radar the past four months, I think I have a good excuse ;-)

I have kept with my trusty Canon 450d despite some quite forceful nudges to upgrade following the death of said photographic equipment back in May - apparently I had used it too much in just over a year. On the household contents insurance though it was fixed and up and running again. However I have made friends with some other cameras this year - I was bowled over by some pieces of fine retro plastic goodness and had a play with film, and I've also been surprised by the possibilities afforded to my by my new iphone.

I said this year would be all about light....I've only really touched the basics. I have invested in a Speedlight 430 EXII, but I have to be truthful - I haven't really taken it off auto yet, I plan to conduct a serious investigation into how to use it properly over Christmas. My photographic focus this year however has surprised me, but may be it shouldn't come as such a shock considering the amazing places I have been the past 12 months.

Travel photography, especially landscape photography has dominated my portfolio this year. I have visited some of the most amazing places... Peru, the Galapagos, Istanbul, SW Ireland, and most recently Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada. I ache to be in Ansel Adams shoes, or have a place on the National Geographic team. The world is so full of beautiful places and beautiful people, I want my photography to capture that and show people how important it is to preserve them.

Part of that is getting used to exhibiting and competitions, getting my stuff out there. Last year I said I'd like to get in a magazine. I haven't quite been there but I did have a photograph in a fantastic Flickr Group exhibition in the Jam Factory, Oxford
back in October. I also have some photographs short listed for the annual Galapagos Photography Exhibition. I have my own web site now and I've sold a few prints from it and I'm also getting a few commissions for work which I always really enjoy. In May I'll have my own exhibition in central Oxford for Arts Weeks - I haven't quite decided what I'm going to put in yet but it will likely follow the theme of conservation.

On top of that I've masted the 'M' mode of my camera and by investing in some ND Filters I really feel I am becoming more confident in this art. But there is always so much more to learn. Unlike last year I'm not going to put a list of aims and objectives for 2011 - really all I want to do is stay in love with this medium and still have time to explore it - "sustain my creativity" as a wonderful post by aliteralgirl describes. I hope I can still find that time when I'm wading through nappies (reusable of course). The internet enables me to communicate with so many wonderful creative people and be inspired by them I must be careful to keep in touch.

My favorite take of 2009...again it's difficult. The black and white of Machu Picchu was probably a turning point for me, my first raw conversion, and a place that meant a lot to me after a hard 4 day trek! I also like Turkish Leather for the reason that I mustered the guts to ask a stranger to pose for me in his environment. I do very much like "And I a smiling woman...." as I believe it was truly remarkable to get my cat to pose like that and my new flash worked really well. This year you liked my portrait of Kelly best, I love that one too.

My blog has nearly reached 50,000 visits! Thank you! Please keep visiting and commenting. Happy New Year!

Do you want to know a secret?

I'm sorry I have been so absent these past four months inter-web-sphere - I do have a good excuse.

(Tag reads: Do not open until 26.5.10)

Annual Galapagos Photography Competition

I have four photographs shortlisted in the Annual Galapagos Photography Competition. If you like please vote for me! (Numbers 14, 31, 41, and 43) Voting ends on January 4th.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Music Maestro

My self-portrait "The Clown" has been made into a poster advertising a concert for the Swedish band Piroth.

Thanks to _martinik for sending me a high res version of the poster to print out!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sunset at Tyne Cot

I'm on the Western Front again with work. I've been to Tyne Cot Cemetery a few times now, but this time, on a cold November day, I saw the sunset bathe the rows headstones in a golden light. It was truly beautiful.

Photos taken with my iphone and camerabag.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Alternative Port Meadow


version 1.

version 2.

Burning the sky and dodging the horses to add some drama

version 3.

Slightly subtler effect, as suggested by The Brentford Taylor. I made the sky into a new layer and adjusted the levels and curves, then blended it into the original using the 'multiply' blending option. Rather than use the dodge tool on the horses I brightened the foreground.

~ Port Meadow, Oxford

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Made in Oxford Exhibition

Just over a year ago I blogged about a fantasy that someday one of my photos would be on an exhibition poster...looks like dreams can come true!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Photographers' Gallery

Saturday morning, Regent Street, I was in the "rabbit in the headlights" zone after emerging from the jam-packed Apple Store after anxiously awaiting the results of the autopsy of my 4-week old iPhone (relief, death occurred in non-suspicious circumstances, replacement procured). I stumbled out onto the buzzing street. Shoppers on a mission crashed into meandering tourists, smart cars jetted in and out of side streets, motorbikes revved, buses rumbled. I stood still, breathing gently, trying prevent my over-sensitized lungs from launching into an asthma attack. London blurred before my eyes, I was not in the mood for busy.

In my dazed state I was led by the hand to a non-descript building tucked away on a narrow through-road between Regent Street and Oxford Circus, The Photographers' Gallery. Peace. White walls, white frames, wide mounts displaying black and whites prints. Airy, light, peaceful. Delight. A whole building dedicated to photography. The cafe served just the type of food that I liked, every single item in the bookstore I wanted, no, I needed, to own. Future talks and events were advertised which in my mind I have committed to attend. At present they are showing Andre Kertesz On Reading. An important photographer, 'the godfather of photojournalism', the collection is well worth seeing. As the title suggests these pictures must be read, sometimes between the lines. When done effectively you can trace the transgression from text-based culture to one that is primarily image-based, and one that has come to dominate the conveyance of happenings and movements in contemporary society, both welcome and unwelcome.

In the gallery as a whole I saw few pieces that made me go 'wow', however the price tags of some of the prints for sale certainly did....can I ever hope to sell a photograph fro £2000? But the venue itself is noteworthy, its commitment to independent photographers and emerging talent is welcome, as is its commitment to education and providing a place focused on visual interpretation. It's all free too. A rarity in the capital. An hour to spare? Seeking an oasis of tranquility, and tea and cake? Let your eyes lead you to the Photographers' Gallery.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

'And I a smiling woman. I am only thirty. And like the cat I have nine times to die. '


NB: One of my fist attempts with my new flash bounced off the ceiling. The room was pretty dark with a red tinge because of the red curtains, so I think it worked really well!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It was meant to be all about light

Shame on me, I am 8 months late. Back in December I posted that I wanted to play more with light this year, specifically flashes and studio lighting. It's only now in August that I've purchased my first external flash unit. The Speedlight 430 EXII already looks promising. Just sticking it on auto on my camera has produces some very nice portrait shots, I have to say it does make a lot of difference. As far as the settings on the back go though, am flumoxed, so I bought a book with pictures in it. Eventually I'd like to get a transmitter so I can fire the flash off the camera, and the Blue Peter girl inside me likes the look of these DIY light modifier kits.

First though I'll inspect my picture book! Look out for better lit shots!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

This is not a phone: Photography Applications for the iPhone

The other day I received my shiny new iPhone. The underlying reason for me getting Apple's finest was primarily because my two-year old Nokia N95 had been held together by sellotape for the past six months as the back and battery kept falling out at inappropriate moments and also because I was spending a fortune by being on the internet too much reading emails etc. The iPhone's high contract price was counterbalanced by free web access and there was no clip-on back to fall off! Plus it looked snazzy. I was happy.

But then I came to download a selection of Apps and I discovered that this wasn't really a phone. What it was was another tool I could use to better my photography. The Apple App Store is bulging with photography widgets from filters to create fun photo effects to more serious tools to get your shutter speed spot on. Here's a few I like so far:

Pre-Photoshoot Research

Not a photography app as such but GoogleEarth will easily help you scout locations before a shoot. More specific is FocalWare which promises to be a God-send. It calculates the Sun & Moon location, in relation to due North. This provides an exact means of researching and preparing to photograph a subject with specific lighting or placement of the sun/moon in the scene.

The Photographer's Notebook
Photographers tend to take notes. Often in a small leather bound or occasionally hard backed notebooks recording location data, camera settings used, and other bits and pieces to recreate good shoots or remind of the mistakes made in previous ones. Everytrail (free)is a geotracking application records your movements, takes geotagged photos, to which you can make notes and immediately upload it all to Originally used as an online tool for travel storytelling, it also offers photographers the chance to take reference photographs, tagged with location data, and record and share the settings that they were taken in. These can all then be plotted on a google map.

Alternatively Photojot is similar to the above but with a nifty sunrise / sunset calculator. It has specific fields to fill in camera settings but doesn't have the sharing facilities as EveryTrail.

Calculators for those complicated things

Can't get your head around manual exposure settings? Use a calculator! ExposureCalc will let you select from a range of different light settings and will give you the different values you need to create a good quality photograph. Photocalc on the other hand is a bit more detailed, providing depth of field (DoF) and hyper-focal distance calculations, exposure reciprocation, and flash exposure calculations. If you want a good all round tool which also tells you when the sun will rise and set then PhotoBuddy is your, er, buddy.

Getting it straight
As in your camera on your tripod (if you are one of those people who don't like to straighten things digitally afterward). Use the iHandy Level Free. It's free, funnily enough.

Photo Editing
If you want to actually use your iPhone as a camera (and it's not a great camera but sometimes it's just easy) you can edit your takes directly on your iphone. There are tonnes of apps for this, but my favorites so far are Tiffen Cool fx, offering nearly 100 different filters which can be applied and saved as “virtual” layers and images are saved out as new files; Lomo and ToyCamera (don't think just shoot); MagicTouch - what it says on the tin, basic retouches such as blemish removal, change eye colour, clone stamp, lighten selective areas etc.

Don't believe you can do much with phone cameras and software. Believe. Check out Tony CeCe's and Greg Schmigel's work, as well as the iPhone Photography Awards.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

La Jetée (1962)

If you haven't seen it this short 28 minute film by Chris Marker is worth a watch. Constructed almost entirely from still photos, it tells the story of a post-nuclear war experiment in time travel.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Radcliffe Camra: Alternative Photographs

Oxford Photowalk: Dept. of Biochemistry

The new buildings for Oxford's Department of Biochemistry opened in 2008. They are architecturally stunning, designed to promote collaboration and interaction. It's adorned with funky leather chair clad group work spaces, glass birds hanging from the ceiling, futuristic lifts, and insect frosted glass.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

KT Lindsay and the University of Oxford

The photographs that you see adorning the University of Oxford's new look Web Services (e.g. It's Virtual Learning Environment 'WebLearn', it's new Webmail Interface), are indeed yours truly.

Due to my creative commons love and my sharing nature, they got em for free! Slowly dawning on me that I'm never going to make any money from this expensive hobby if I keep with this vibe! Anyway, I'm happy with the kudos!