Shooting the Breeze

Shooting the Breeze (1813)

Right now I think this is what I’d rather be doing: having a quiet word with a few friends with Ightham Mote just across the pond. It’s been a while since we visited – I recall there were bluebells in the woods, so it must have been early spring. We enjoyed that day out in Kent, and would gladly revisit.

I took this photo handheld as a single exposure. Post processing was minimal, just a slight adjustment to contrast with a global curves layer.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Station (2586)

Several weeks ago, before moving to Malta, work took me to New York City. I had not been there since before the towers fell. I was still shooting film at the time; in fact I had only recently bought the EOS Elan II (that I still have). Also, that time I was only there for a couple of days, so no time to do much.

This visit was also rather short, but I took the chance to go to a few places that I’ve wanted to see for some time. One of these was Grand Central Terminal  on Park Avenue and East 42nd Street. This is such a beautiful and well-kept building, and to see it still being used as a regular train station is just fantastic. Pity that the train I needed to take didn’t leave from there but from the more modern Penn Station.

With all the people there I knew I wanted to take a long exposure shot. There was only one snag: I was leaving my tripod at the hotel. Small as it was, I still found I’d rather not carry it around the city with me all the time. Less weight, less bother. So I found a suitable ledge, composed with live view (to avoid putting myself in awkward positions), and used the self-timer to activate the required exposure, avoiding camera shake. I took a few exposures at different durations to see what would work: I wanted some blurring of movement, but I still wanted the people to look like people. I don’t think I needed any filters, since this was indoors.

In post I used selective curves layers to adjust contrast a little, and eventually decided to go with a black and white presentation. That was rather unplanned, and I think helped bring out the detail in the roof so much better. It also avoids the inevitable clash of colours on people’s clothes.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.

Waxing Gibbous Moon

Waxing Gibbous Moon (2796)

I’m sure I’ve mentioned (R would probably say ‘grumbled’) that I haven’t been doing much photography of late. That is to say that I still need to find a way to fit countryside walks into my weekly routine, and to do the kind of photography I prefer to do. However, that does not mean that the camera hasn’t been used. I’ve been doing some experimental stuff at home (more of that another time) and this weekend I got around to setting up the telescope and testing it out.

I went for the simplest possible target, and it still doesn’t fail to gratify and amaze every time. I also took the opportunity to fit the camera instead of the eyepiece and figure out whether that combination works well and what the limitations are. I must say I’m rather satisfied, for a first try. The telescope in question (a Celestron Nexstar 114GT) has a 1000mm focal length, so on my full-frame camera it has more than three times the pulling power of my longest telephoto lens.

To take this photo, I obviously had the telescope tripod mounted. I did not have any motorized system running as the required shutter speed was fast enough to avoid the need. I exposed for the lunar surface, and used the self-timer to avoid shake. I also had live view on, which locks up the mirror, avoiding the vibrations associated with that. At these focal lengths, it actually matters. In post I cropped to tighten the composition and went for a square format as there was only one simple subject. I used a global curves layer to adjust contrast, and that was it.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.

Sailing Boat at Twilight

Sailing Boat at Twilight (2773)

Post-move, things are slowly settling here, so it’s about time I share an image from Malta. I’m afraid I haven’t been doing much photography lately. I’m very much missing the routine I had made for myself in Surrey, with regular walks in the countryside. Those quiet walks were always a time for reflection, which works well with the pursuit of photography. A small compensation has been the couple of times I’ve been out climbing with the MCC, and in the process discovering some great places on the island.

I have also finally gotten myself a better telephoto lens, now that I think I’ve figured out what I wanted out of it. So I was itching to try it out for real. But the weather’s mostly been too hot to do much. It’s only in the past day or two that it’s cooling down somewhat. In any case, a couple of weeks ago R and I dragged ourselves to Buġibba in time for the sunset. This is a very popular tourist and summer-residence location, and the plan was to simply walk along the promenade and find a good spot to wait for the sunset. In what seems to be a distant past I used to like to sit down by the sea and watch the sun set over Selmun palace. So I figured we’d try that again.

After the sun went down beyond Mellieħa ridge, as the sky took on those pastel shades of pink and orange and everything in between, I saw this sailing boat going out to sea. I waited until it came in front of St Paul’s islands and this is the result. I took the photo handheld as a single exposure. Post processing was simple, with the usual selective curves layers to adjust contrast.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.

That’s My Spot

That's My Spot (1524)

This photo brings back some fun memories. I was at Winkworth arboretum with a few friends from the photographic society, and we sat down for a few minutes with one of our company who had just arrived, on foot, from Guildford. (It’s about six miles, I reckon.) We were also quietly observing the geese. Suddenly, this particular goose made for where I was sitting, and, vocally, made it clear that she (I suppose) wanted me to move. Luckily my camera was in hand, and mostly set up; I barely had time to compose and take a few shots before I really had to move away.

I still have no idea what was bothering it. I guess she thought I must have some food with me (which I did not, having already finished my lunch). In any case, I don’t make it a habit of feeding the animals. It’s generally rather poor practice to do so.

Obviously, I took this photo handheld as a single exposure. Post processing was very minimal, I think just a curves layer to adjust exposure and contrast. For some reason, what happened reminded me a lot of Sheldon, and his attachment to a particular seating arrangement.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.


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