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Archive for February, 2012

19 Feb 2012

Storybook album design

Alison and Scott's album

We have just completed the design for a 40x30cm Graphistudio wedding book for Alison and Scott. They were in last week for the final viewing and to choose the cover. They chose a Crystal Glance cover which is a beautiful solid perspex finish with any artwork you want.

I love the image they chose for the cover which is fun and the spot colour highlights the wellington boots that Alison had to change into to go under the Bridge at the Old Mill Inn where David got some great shots. You can view the images here.

The pages of this book has a good mix of formal and informal creating a complete story of the day. You can view the book pages here.

These shots were taken in the wooded area under the bridge.

Having the table plan and some shots of the speeches is nice to have in the book.

As David was there up until dancing, he was able to get dusk shots after the meal in the evening.

18 Feb 2012

Wedding on 10th February

Jane and Kenny’s wedding photographs

 

Friday 10th October was a wet and miserable day. However meticulously you plan your wedding, you cannot plan the weather. David was taking the photographs and managed to get some outside but most had to be taken in the restaurant of the hotel. You can view the images here.

 

It was not so wet when the Groom arrived so David photographed Kenny and all the guests outside before the service.

David always gets nice shots of the rings, and if there is not a suitable background, he has a piece of slate in his back which works well as a backdrop for the rings.

He managed to get some during the service and here we see the couple exchanging rings with Rev. John Watson conducting the service.

This shot has Jane and Kenny with their daughter Sophie who although only 16 months was a beautiful flowergirl.

On the way from the restaurant to the function suite, David has got a nice walking shot with the dusk lighting.

You can view all the images here.

12 Feb 2012

New image editing software

The new Lightroom 4 beta

I have been testing the new beta version of Lightroom 4. We do not use Lightroom but the camera raw develop module is the same as it will be in Adobe CS6 which we will be upgrading too as soon as it is released.

To test the camera raw module, I used raw files taken on the compact Fuji X100 that I have been testing and the changes between the previous and new camera raw are superb.

Here is an image taken against the light on the Fuji and alongside it the new sliders of LR4 used to adjust it.

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The new sliders controlling highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks give great control. All the sliders we are used to including clarity, vibrance etc. are enhanced. The adjustment sliders now have a zero centre point allowing adjustment both ways rather than starting at the left as in the previous version. The adjustments are all greatly improved and are "content aware".

 

As well as the "night and day" differences seen here, these tools will allow us very fine control of images – e.g. getting maximum detail in a wedding dress and retaining detail in the Groom's black jacket. To repeat what I said about the new cameras – it is an exciting time to be a photographer.

If you want to learn more about LR4, Terry White of Adobe has a good video showing the main features in his blog – click here.

11 Feb 2012

New Nikon D4 and D800

Amazing New Cameras from Nikon

 

On Wednesday of this week, I was at an Nikon Professional Services event to launch the new D4. It is always worth attending these events as there is a camera clinic and you can have your camera checked and cleaned while you attend the presentation. I was really looking forward to seeing the new D4 which is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary upgrade to the beloved D3s that I use. The day before the trip to Edinburgh Nikon launched another camera the D800 to the world’s press in London and other places across the world. I knew it would be a talking point but I did not expect to see it one day after the release.  However it was very exciting that there was a D800 there so those at the workshop were among the first group of photographers in the world to handle this amazing new camera.

The ground breaking news is that the D800 has a full frame 36.3MP sensor. High resolution is usually delivered at the expense of high ISO performance but this new D800 can still perform amazingly at 3200 ISO or even 6400. It cannot compete with the 16MP flagship D4 in this area, as it can virtually "see in the dark" and goes to an insane 204 800 ISO but it does have twice the resolution. Most photographers are taking the view that the D800 will be the logical choice for the commercial, studio, and wedding photographer while the D4 with it’s ability to work in very low light and it’s speed (up to 11 frames per second (compared to 4or 6 of the D800) will be the natural choice of the press photographer. I would expect to see lots of D4’s at the Olympics. However I do not think we can make a decision until we try the cameras and see the files.

It was great to see and handle both cameras along with the full range of Nikkor lenses and I cannot wait to properly test them both.


This is me in Edinburgh on Wednesday with the D4 and D800

As the cameras were pre-production models, the memory card slots were taped up. However someone in our group (who will remain nameless for fear of repercussions) managed to sneak a memory card into the D800. Although I cannot open the raw file as Adobe are not supporting the new cameras yet, a jpeg shot with available light at 3200 ISO is below. The "male model" in the shot is Charlie Stewart of Royale Photographics.

A small file on a blog post cannot convey the resolution and quality of this jpeg straight from the camera but it certainly looks very impressive. However, Nikon has made a selection of sample images available for download on its official site for the new cameras. As always, these are compressed JPG files – we will wait to see what the RAW files of these cameras can produce before we can even begin to really judge the quality. Still, interesting nonetheless.

Nikon D800 Sample Images

I have not went into any detail on the specification or even mentioned video as there are hundreds of opinions, and detailed technical reviews on-line (I have probably read them all) and all the specifications can be obtained from Nikon or DP Review.

There is already huge debate over which is the best camera. However they are both fantastic tools and both will yield amazing results – it is a very exciting time to be a photographer.

10 Feb 2012

The Professional Photographer’s Compact Camera

The Fuji X100

I have been taking lots of images with this Fuji X100 compact camera and have been rediscovering taking photographs for fun. This small fixed lens compact has been the subject of lots of hype, and was one of the most anticipated cameras released in 2011. There is no point in repeating all the technical details and specification which can easily be found on-line.Visit the Fuji X100 website for details.

Some of the comments and reviews have been amazing

"Let me get this out of the way… The Fuji x100 is the greatest digital camera ever made and may just be the greatest camera I have ever owned……"

"Couple always-fantastic images with the world’s smallest real camera, and you can see why I love it so much….."

"The images I get from my Fuji X100 are nothing short of amazing. Photographing my fast-moving kids and family under every lighting condition from desert sun to dim restaurants to moonlight, my Fuji X100 makes skin tones look better than from any other camera. The X100’s ability to tame difficult light under unscripted real-world conditions automatically, which is what’s most often encountered everywhere except inside a studio, is amazing…."

"I would go so far as to say that the X100 is the most enjoyable and satisfying camera I have ever used…"

So what makes it so special

  • beautiful retro styling reminiscent of a Leica
  • Great build quality
  • Traditional dials
  • Superb 23mm (35mm equivalent) lens
  • Amazing colour straight from the camera
  • An APS-C size sensor – nothing is more important in a digital camera than sensor size

It has been called the "Professionals compact" and this is because it has a great blend of size, quality, and traditional dials. It is certainly not perfect and some of the menu controls are badly thought out, the manual focus is useless, the start up time is slow, and after a DSLR, the focussing is slow. To master this camera takes some time. I bought from Amazon, the Photographer’s Guide to the Fujifilm FinePix X100 [Kindle Edition] and after reading it, I am completely comfortable with it now. There is great pleasure in using it that is hard to define. It feels great in your hand, the main controls – shutter, aperture, and exposure compensation are traditional dials that take me back almost 40 years when I first developed an interest in photography. I am enjoying the fixed lens as it forces me to think more about my shots and composition compared to having a bag of zoom lenses covering all focal lengths.

An evening shot taken hand held on the X100 and although I have been asked if HDR was used, this is a jpeg created from the raw with no localised adjustments.

An evening shot taken hand held on the X100 and although I have been asked if HDR was used, this is a jpeg created from the raw with no localised adjustments.

However despite the retro styling, it has all the features and more that you would expect from a modern digital camera – Raw files, 5 frames per second shooting, auto ISO, auto bracketing, auto dynamic range, amazing fill-flash, and the killer feature – the hybrid viewfinder. The Hybrid Viewfinder combines the window-type “bright frame” optical viewfinder found in high-end film cameras, such as 35mm or medium-format cameras, and the electronic viewfinder system incorporated in fixed single lens or mirrorless digital cameras. While traditionalists prefer the clear, sharp view of an ‘optical’ viewfinder, modern electronic displays, giving data like shutter speed, aperture, white balance, exposure correction and ISO can aid photographers tremendously. The new Hybrid Viewfinder on the FinePix X100 aims to give the ‘best of both worlds.’

Taken at Cove, this file is direct from the camera and highlights the great dynamic range and colour from the X100

Taken at Cove, this file is direct from the camera and highlights the great dynamic range and colour from the X100

One feature that I fully expected to ignore was "Motion Panorama" – a mode that lets you move the camera horizontally following a yellow line in the viewfinder while the camera takes several images and stitches them together to create 120 or 180 degree panorama jpegs. The example below was taken at Cove using this mode and apart from some level adjustments, this image is direct from the camera.

Taken at Cove, this 180 degree panorama was created in the camera.

Taken at Cove, this 180 degree panorama was created in the camera.

I am currently involved in giving training to beginners on how to get the best from their DSLR or mirrorless system cameras and it has been useful for me to go back to basics taking photographs with a new camera, learning it’s features, reading the manual, all things I am "preaching" to the course delegates. In the process I have had a lot of fun with the Fuji X100 and although much larger than my Canon S95 point and shoot (now replaced with the S100), I am taking it everywhere with me instead of the Canon. It is not for everyone and I would not recommend it over a DSLR or if you only have one camera but if you already have a DSLR and are an enthusiast, then I am sure you will love it as much as I do. Of course if you have £10 000 or more to spend, a Leica M9 and M lenses is still the ultimate and this week, I am getting to borrow an M9 and I am very excited about this and I will have a blog post on this next week.

9 Feb 2012

Jill and Pepe at Norwood Hall

Wedding on Sunday, 22nd January

 

Finally back to blogging and hopefuly in 2012, I will have much more regular posts. I am delighted that my first post for my first wedding in 2012 is for a friend's wedding. As well as being the photographer, Sandra and I were guests at the wedding of Jill and Pepe (Guiseppe) on Sunday 22nd January.

As a regular client of the Ciao Napoli in Bon Accord Crescent (the best Italian restaurant in Aberdeen), Pepe and Nino (Pepe's brother) have become close friends, and I was delighted to be the photographer at the wedding.

It was a nice sunny day but was very very cold. Everyone was very cooperative and braved the cold to let us get most of the shots taken outside in the nice winter sun. I was using a new Nikkor 180 f2.8 which has a fantastic bokeh and I am looking forward to using it this year. Pepe is a keen photographer and has some nice Canon equipment so he will appreciate the quality of this lens.

 

 

The slideshow above is a nice way to view a selection of images and we often create this and give them to clients for their iPads, Smart phones, and laptops, but there are also images to view.

 

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Norwood is an excellent venue and it was a great wedding. I took the formal groups and bridal portraits and David took over and photographed during the speeches and dancing, while I joined the party. Pepe is a big music lover and he had booked a fantastic Soul band from Glasgow  – A-Side Soul. Visit their website to hear how good they are.

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It was a great day and an excellent way to start 2012, which is already guaranteed to be a busy year.

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