Floors – Week 6/52 of 2014

Floors - Week 6

OK! A bit of a grab shot this week. I’ve not really had time to settle down and put together a decent post, sorry. The challenge this week was Floors, normally I would go out but with my schedule this week it’s got to be the floor in my house. Now the floor on it’s own is pretty boring so I included a “selfie” for a bit of added interest.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Object

…with most of my photographs, the subject appears as a found object, something discovered, not arranged by me. I usually have an immediate recognition of the potential image, and I have found that too much concern about matters such as conventional composition may take the edge off the first inclusive reaction. – Ansel Adams

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object

How I wish I could have said that about this photograph. I found the tool further down the hill lying abandoned in a ditch. I wanted to use the rocks in the foreground but thought there was something missing. So I moved the tool. What do you think? Does it add anything to the photograph?

Whether you agree or disagree that the tool adds something to the photograph also consider the ethical standpoint.

If I move something into or out of the scene I am about to photograph is it ethical? Granted it may make the photograph aesthetically pleasing but is it really a true representation of that time and place.

the camera machine cannot evade the objects which are in front of it. No more can the photographer. He can choose these objects, arrange and exclude, before exposure, but not afterwards… Your photography is a record of your living, for any one who really sees. – Paul Strand

Nowadays with digital cameras it is easy to capture a photograph and later manipulate it, in Photoshop or similar, to add or remove elements. Is that any different from me doing the same prior to pressing the shutter.

Retouching had become controversial ever since Franz Hanfstaengl of Munich showed at the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris a retouched negative with a print made from it before and after retouching. It was, Nadar recollected, the beginning of a new era in photography. – Beaumont Newhall

If you shoot in RAW it is inevitable that you will carry out some alterations to your photograph. Maybe boost the colour or sharpening? What about exposure, highlights, shadows? All are candidates for adjustment, in some way. But is it any less ethical than adding or removing something from your photograph?

Now you might say that a colour adjustment was fine and well within the bounds of ethical practice. But colours can be changed in software like Topaz Restyle so as to render the new photograph quite unlike the original. The content will be the same but the context will not. For example, you can make a photograph look like it was taken at sunset when in reality it was midday when the shutter button was pressed.

In the end ethical policies may be down to where the photograph is used. The fashion industry and the editors of fashion magazines may think it is permissible to alter photographs used in magazines,  but news editors more often than not would deem it unacceptable for anything to be changed from the original scene, including colours.

How did you answer at the beginning of this post? Did you think it was OK for me to add the tool into the scene prior to pressing the shutter button?

Consider this. Nowadays many media outlets rely on us, the public, to become journalists and help them capture the news. How often have you seen appeals for photographs on your local TV station, or in our case SKY News, when some big news event has happened? Or what about the Weather Man, sorry Person. They’re always asking for sunset/sunrise photographs to use as backdrops. Could I in all honesty send in my photograph knowing it had been altered?



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Macro – Week 5/52 of 2014

Macro or Fill The Frame

It’s only when you photograph a lens close-up do you realise how dirty and dusty it is. When i come back from every photography day out I have a regime of cleaning my camera and lenses. Do you?

I use a soft brush and air blower to remove sand and dust, looks like I’m going to have to rethink this strategy though.

This weeks challenge is to take a Macro photograph or Fill the Frame. I don’t have a dedicated macro lens but my Samsung P&S does have a reasonable close-up function and I used it to photograph my Sigma 10-20 lens. One of the reasons I quite like the Samsung is the DOF is quite good in macro mode.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

Do you ever wonder how they come up with the subject for the Weekly Photo Challenge? I know I do, because sometimes their choice seems strange to say the least.


Welsh ponies are allowed to roam wild in many parts of our countryside, locally, the Carneddau mountains in Snowdonia has a semi-feral population of about 180 animals roams.

On the way to photograph the Aber Falls I came across this pony waiting to get through the gate into a protected area.

And now for something completely differentt…..

The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, is the aerobatics display team of the Royal Air Force. During displays, the aircraft do not fly directly over the crowd apart from entering the display area by flying over the crowd from behind; any manoeuvres in front of and parallel to the audience can be as low as 300 feet,

Red Arrows

The ‘synchro pair’ can go as low as 100 feet straight and level, or 150 feet when in inverted flight. The team use the same two-seat training aircraft used for advanced pilot training, at first the Hawker Siddeley Gnat which was replaced in 1979 by the BAE Hawk T1. The Hawks are modified with an uprated engine and a modification to enable smoke to be generated, diesel is mixed with a coloured dye and ejected into the jet exhaust to produce either red, white or blue smoke.

Talking of smoke. How would you like a train passing by your bedroom window every half hour during the summer months. That’s what happens in Llanberis as the train from the Snowdon Mountain Railway makes the  journey to the top of Mount Snowdon and back..

Puffing Billy

For over a 100 years, trains have completed the journey from Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon, the highest peak in England and Wales. Using a rack and pinion railway system single carriage trains are pushed up the mountain by either steam locomotives or diesel locomotives. The trains travel a distance of 4.7 miles (7.6 km) to reach the summit. The railway is operated in some of the harshest weather conditions in Britain, with services curtailed from reaching the summit in bad weather and remaining closed during the winter from November to mid-March. 

Health and Safety (or as we call it Elfin Safety) laws in the UK are pretty strict and the legislation is mostly aimed at the workplace, dealing with risks such as unguarded machinery.But all too often Elfin Safety Killjoys impose draconian rules for the playground and entertainment venues with little understanding of the law.

For example one school banned the use of leather soccer balls, instead the kids had to play with balls made of sponge. Always a favourite at school sports day, the Sack Race was banned in case a child tripped or fell over. And you can’t use the playground in case you graze your knee. But this one is a cracker. One Holiday Company banned bumping on the Dodgems (Bumper Cars) at several sites they owned. You can only go round and round, all the cars in the same direction, how boring. 

Which brings me to my next photograph.


Gwrych Castle is a crumbling ruin and obviously the owners felt that they had to protect themselves from legal action should anyone hurt themselves whilst clambering over the ruins. So they put a great metal fence up all around it, have these signs every 50 metres or so and occasionally have random security patrols. So why leave a break in the fence that is obviously used; you can see the well-worn path leading to the castle.

As I said at the beginning of this post I sometimes find the concept for some of these challenges rather abstract. Hopefully this week I have managed to fill the brief? Let me know….


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Depth of Field – Week 4/52 of 2014

52 of 2014 - Week 4

I have featured this lighthouse so many times in my photographs that by now should be able to name it without prompting from me. No prizes for guessing, but what’s it called?

And so to this weeks challenge. In optics, particularly as it relates to film and photography, depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image.

How many times have you seen a landscape photograph that is in full focus from foreground right through to the background? Yet, sometimes by minimising depth of field and selectively focusing on our subject we can create a more impressive photograph.

Or to put it another way. By controlling what is in focus, as well as what is not, the photographer can direct the viewer’s attention to what he wants them to see in his photographs.

The 52 of 2014 Challenge on Flickr allows for post processing of photographs, in fact some of the challenges will have an element of post processing to them. So for this week I thought  I would play around and make the photograph look like a vintage print. What do you think? Does it work?


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