It’s A Compromise

Well further to my last article about trying to replace Windows Live Writer with Word 2016 as my blogging editor I have come to the conclusion that I’m going to have to compromise.

Despite Word being a great editor, for some reason Microsoft decided to remove Flickr as service in the 2016 version. Therefore, although I can link to the photographs, that’s all you get, a link. Word will not show those photographs.

So here’s where the compromise comes in. During my research, and boy I spent a lot of time looking into this, I came up with using the WordPress Desktop App to write my blog posts. It’s not ideal but hopefully it will allow me to “crack on” and become productive again. Who knows. maybe in time I will get used to it…..

Uh! Uh! Just found a problem. I can’t save and come back to the article I’m writing. Correctiom, not entirely true. WordPress saves automatically from time to time and disable the save button until I type something.

Enough of this, it’s photographs you want to see, so here goes. Time to see if this works.

Sitting on a beach in Barbados I spotted this woman waiting for friends who had gone swimming. I don’t know what it is about this scene but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to get the photograph.

Girl On A Beach

Still in Barbados, this rigged ship was getting ready to leave on a cruise around the islands. Interesting way to travel…..

Tall Ship

I’m not convinced that using this desktop app is going to work. One thing I could be sure of with WLW was that all photographs were the exact same size when I was editing the post and when it was finally published. At the moment they look a right mess.

Lifeguard Hut

It had to hapen, late in the afternoon this helicopter dropped in over the beach heading for the airport. Managed to get a reasonable photograph with the little travel camera I took with me for this holiday.

Private Ride

Did I mention that I was cruising around the Caribbean islands before sailing back to the UK, via Ponta Delgada in the Azores (mid Atlantic). Anyway, at one of the island ports our cruise ship, one of the biggest in the P+O fleet, has to do a 180 turn in a narrow inlet. Standing by, just in case anything went wrong was this tug boat, although it was never used.

Tug Boat

So that’s it. First real post using the WordPress Desktop App. I really would like your opinion on whether the format works, or not. Mike

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Another Test Post

I’m still trying to resolve embedding photographs from Flickr into Microsoft Word for publishing to Say It With A Camera. David Baker suggested that I go to Flickr, grab the share link and then post it into my Word Document, so here goes. Let’s see if that works…..

https://flic.kr/p/H2W7wU

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4783/26932502008_95bc361f6a_b.jpg” width=”1024″ height=”576″

A Murmuration Of Starlings

Previously I have mentioned how I am so lucky to live very close to the Snowdonia National Park. Living on the coast I also have the added bonus of having nature reserves used by migrating birds right on my doorstep. So last night I went out to photograph a phenomena that not everyone gets to see…a starling murmuration.

The Gathering

Each evening starlings from all around gather together to roost in the reed beds at Gronant Dunes. Slowly but surely they fly in, usually in small groups, from the countryside and towns where they have feeding during the day.

Groups

Those small groups start to become larger groups as they fly around waiting for other starlings to join in. Why do they do it? The thought is that grouping offers safety. It’s harder for predators like peregrine falcons to attack one bird when there is a flock of thousands. Safety in numbers as they say.

Murmuration

It’s also thought that the starlings communicate good feeding areas and by gathering in numbers it’s easier to keep warm during the night.

Lift Off

Slowly but surely more and more birds arrive and the sky is full of them. You can hear a sort of swishing sound as they fly about and the closer they get to you the noisier it becomes. “Take Cover……”

Bigger Yet

One thing I will say, don’t get underneath them. It can get extremely messy.

On The Move

Eventually, when the group is large enough they head of to their night-time roosting areas in the reed beds

Presthaven

Just behind this caravan park are the dunes and the marshes, home for the starlings at night. And there they are. One last flourish and down they all settle. It’s pretty safe out there. The marsh has lots of water making it hard for predators to approach the starlings .

Settling Down

Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed this quick post – Mike

Risk Assessment

I have just received an addendum to my Photographers Liability Insurance Policy from my insurance company entitled Seasonal Variations and Exclusions. It’s a rather strange, have a look and let me know what you think.

Each year we are required to inform you that should you be intending to photograph anyone dashing  through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh, going over the fields and laughing all the way are you are required to undergo a Risk Assessment addressing the safety of open sleighs.

The assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly where there are multiple passengers. Please note that permission must also be obtained in writing from landowners before their fields may be entered. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.

Benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available for collection by any photographers planning to photograph Christmas lights at night. There is provision to download an app for remote monitoring of your safety from a centrally heated night photographer observation hut, however all facility users are reminded that an emergency response plan must be submitted to account for known risks to you and your equipment.

Photographers are reminded that prior to using Flash they must confirm that any person in the immediate vicinity is wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment to account for the harmful effects of UVA and UVB.

You are also advised that following last year’s well publicised case, EU legislation prohibits you from commenting with regard to the redness of any part of Mr. R. Reindeer. Further to this, the exclusion of Mr. R Reindeer from any night or Christmas scene photograph will be considered discriminatory and according to EU Law (Section 8, para ii and vi) will result in confiscation of photographic equipment and a severe fine taken against the photographer if found guilty of this offence.

Finally, should you happen to find an infant tucked up in a manger without any crib for a bed, please call Social Services and let them know the location of said infant.

Bah Humbug!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas – be safe out there…….

Just a short note. the little story above has been going around the internet for years in a slightly different format. I have sort of adapted it to bring it in line with a photography blog. So far I have not been able to credit the original author but if you see this and are the original author I will be happy to either credit you as such or take this post down.

It’s In The Bag!

Regular readers will know that I’m always willing to share how I took a photograph and  any steps I might have taken to develop the photographs that I publish to this blog. I even let you use the photographs for free as long as it’s not for commercial purposes. But one thing I’ve always been pretty vague about  is what I carry in my camera bag. “A camera, a few lenses, some filters and cleaning cloths” is my usual response. It’s not that I’m trying to hide anything, it’s just a pain in the rear end to say “Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2, Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens”, and so on.

A little while back I was contacted by Julie Williams from MightyGoods asking me about the kind of bag I used, what I carry in my bag and how it’s organised. An involved question that really required something better than the vague response, I usually give. Julie explained that it was for an article being written in MightyGoods and so I decided to send her a response. So if you really want to see what’s in my bag follow the link to find out “How 21 Photographers Pack & Organise Their Photography Bags” and you will see why I carry those little black bags that you can buy in pet shops.

Right to this weeks challenge, which is all about experimentation. One of the great feature of the E-M1 is a mode called Live Composite which allows me to shoot a long exposure, which is made from a series of shorter exposures, combined in camera after I press the shutter release to stop the exposure. In effect what happens is the camera software only applies the brighter areas, which make it perfect for shooting light trails, light painting, fireworks etc.

So in the photograph below. The first time I click the shutter button the camera takes an exposure for all of the static items. It’s just like a normal photograph. Now this is where the magic comes in. Because the next time I click the shutter the camera then takes a series of photographs, at an interval set be me, but this time it only reacts to light changes.

Saint Anna Parish Church

As the building and street lights are static and their light is not changing they don’t get included. But moving vehicles with their lights on will be recorded in the series of photographs which are then combined to show the light trails.

Lion

Sounds complicated, but it really is just three presses of the shutter button, One to record the base exposure, one to start the light capture.

Riverside

Now the other good thing about this is, being a mirrorless  camera I can watch the Live View and see the picture build. When I’m happy with what I am seeing, the third press of the shutter button tells the camera to stop recording and show me the final photograph, which by the way is a full size RAW file.

Light Trails On The River

So where’s the experiment in this. It’s in the time that you set the camera to take the different exposures and through experimentation I have found that 1 second interval works great for light trails, where vehicles are involved.

Buda Castle

From a safety point of view, you have to be aware that you are photographing moving vehicles and I’ve had some strange looks from drivers who see me there with a tripod taking photographs. Some will even beep their car horns. But the main thing to remember here. Moving traffic is unpredictable and in the dark, even on well-lit streets, it’s harder to judge their speed. Also be aware, drivers are not expecting to see you standing on a traffic island in the middle of the road, so try to blend in. or be really obvious. However through experience again I have found wearing a bright day-glow vest does not go down well.

In the photograph below I wanted to catch the symmetry of the vehicles entering and exiting the tunnel and fortunately a convenient traffic island gave me the vantage point I wanted. It’s a well-lit area and I was standing under a light with bright clothes, well the jacket was bright, so they could see me well in advance of exiting the tunnel.

The Tunnel

I hope you enjoyed this little foray with me to capture light trails of moving vehicles at night.

Chain Bridge

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

This is Another Story Photo of the Day!
Kings Canyon National Park – MERCEDES CATALAN
Experimental Angles! – Travel. Explore. Sparkle. Shine
Anita Sikorska – artishorseshit
Experimental- Bokeh Lights – Rebecca Wiseman Portfolio
Simply Photos Shake It Up A Bit
Half a photograph Turn, turn, turn
Experiencing, recognising, learning – picturesimperfectblog
Experimental – By Sarah
The Land Slide Photography Experimental

Photography Wind ups

Chris, gives his unique perspective on the world of photography

Photography Grouch

1 . Stupid watermarks on even worse images , Why do some people insist on putting indiscrete watermarks their photos  that take up quarter of the page or even worse plonk it right in the middle of the photo ! – I look at some of these and sit there thinking why would anyone want to steal that let alone print and hang it ! , you’d be hard pushed to give it away ! if you insist on marking your image make it small and don’t let it detract from your photo !

2. Fuji owners – The arrival of the new Fuji medium format camera is great in my opinion if only for the fact that all the Fuji snobs can no longer brag about owning the top of the range Fuji camera unless they are will to fork out the 6k plus  required – in that respect…

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Has “Say It With A Camera” Lost It’s Way?

I’m not a stats guy. I don’t look at the WordPress stats every day, In fact I might not look at them for months and months. But one thing I am aware of. The number of comments on “Say It With A Camera” have dropped dramatically. So that prompted me to look at the stats…..and it’s depressing.

According to WordPress “Say It With A Camera” has 3481 followers and yet after I published my latest post for the weekly challenge only 80 people have viewed the post…..and looking back over past weeks it’s very similar.

On that basis I’m beginning to think is it worth my while continuing to blog.

Maybe it’s me, it’s possible I’m not writing anything that’s of interest. Or perhaps it’s the photographs?  I’m not looking for my ego to be stoked here. I just think something is missing and I don’t know what it is. If you do, I’d appreciate your thoughts, although going by current stats I’m unlikely to get much in the way of replies.

In the meantime I was taking a break from blogging whilst on holiday, but I think I will extend that break to give me time to contemplate the future of “Say It With A Camera”.

But I will leave you with a photograph – Mike

The Crypt