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Thursday, 13 August 2009

RIP Howard Goff

It's with great sadness that I just heard of the untimely passing of Howard Goff (

Howie was a great guy, and gave me lots of excellent advice when I started learning photography. He will be missed...

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Tilt/Shift effect in Photoshop

I recently took a trip to London, and had the chance to take some shots from the iconic BT Tower. It struck me that some of these images were the ideal candidate for a fake Tilt/Shift effect – basically, a photoshop trip to make an image look like it was a close-up shot of a model, rather than a real life image.


So, this is the image I started with

It’s been opened in Adobe Camera Raw, and had the following settings applied:

- Contrast: +59

- Saturation: +37

This is the starting point – boosting the contrast and saturation adds to the ‘false’ effect, and makes the final image look more model-like.

Next, I duplicated the image into a second layer. (Layer –> duplicate layer –> As background copy). I then applied a strong Gaussian Blur to the new layer (Filter –> Blur –> Gaussian Blur –> 15). The resulting image is nicely blurred. You’ll need to tweak this value, based on the strength of effect you need and the original size of the image (larger image needs a larger value, a small image needs smaller value…)

Next, you need to add a layer mask – there is a button at the bottom of the layer palette called ‘Add layer mask’. You need to fill this layer mask with a ‘reflected gradient’ from the gradient tool. I find it works best if you don’t make the gradient perfectly horizontal, but instead angle it to one side slightly. Your layer palette will now look something like this:

The resulting image should, with some luck, look something like this:

You’ll be able to alter the strength of the effect by changing the opacity of the top (blurred) layer.



Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Windows 7 test

So, I finally gave in on my Ubuntu build – WiFi failures were just too much effort, so I’ve gone for Windows 7… this is a test post from the Live Writer app on Win7. Must say, so far I’m very impressed…

Friday, 24 April 2009

Aspire one

Test post from my new gadget - an Acer Aspire One netbook... had it for a few hours, and already I'm in love - it's great! ;-)

Monday, 23 February 2009

Air duct ringlight - the experiment continues

Inspired by this post in the Strobist discussion group by Moyen Format, I tried making my own ring flash from a piece of flexible ducting - Picked up the ducting from Screwfix (Item number 17297) and also picked up a connector that's meant to be used to link the tubular ducting to rectangular duct (Item number 12049). (click thru for bigger pics on Flickr)

Ringlight (No flash)

It's as simple (and ridiculous!) as it looks - length of ducting, with a flash stuck in the end. I've added a CD in the other end as a reflector to try to even the light out a little.

Ringlight with Flash (and -4stop exposure)

And here it is 'in action' - the bottom half of the frame is the same image, but with the exposure dropped -4 stops in ACR to show the hot spots a little better. You can see how uneven the light is, with 12 o clock to about 4 o clock being lit, but a lot of falloff after that

Ringlight with 2 Flashes (and -4stop exposure)

On this shot, I added a second (hand held) slave flash - you can see that this even things up a lot (same idea as above - bottom half is dropped 4 stops in ACR). This looked pretty good, so I thought I'd see out some willing 'models'... Cue Eeyore and Elmo:

Eeyore Ringlight

Eeyore looks OK - very 'flat' lighting, but he doesn't have any reflective eyes (aaw, poor Eeyore!) so you can't see the trademark ring catch light, and he's quite a big guy, and was a fair distance off the wall, so you can't really see the ring shadow/halo against the wall...

Day45 - Elmo Catchlight

Elmo, however, is lucky enough to have real (plastic) eyes, and looks a lot better with the ringlight - you can see in the catchlight that the light still isn't even, but it's a lot better. Still need to try to mask off some of the ring around the flashes to try and even things out, and maybe figure a way to mount the 2nd flash (or better, get the reflection working well enough that the 2nd flash isn't needed)

That's gonna be tomorrows problem... or next weeks. Sometime.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

No pain, no gain

Day33 - No pain, no gain
Originally uploaded by NosamLuap
Reluctantly started training for my pending trial that I foolishly agreed to do with my boss and a couple of colleagues. (Sponsor requests will follow once we figure out who we're doing this for)

Distance covered: 3km
Time: 12.17
Tension: 10 (Yes, the highest - I realised this after I'd finished!)

And for the record, I'm bloody exhausted. And given that the 3 peaks challenge is 24 miles, or 39km, that means I've only done 1/13th of the distance. Wah!

Day33 - Tyneside afternoon

Day33 - Tyneside afternoon
Originally uploaded by NosamLuap

Well, 33 days into my 'project365', and I'm pleased to say that I'm on track and haven't missed a day (and I haven't resorted to too many pictures of my house/dog/dinner etc to act as 'fillers'!)

Some have been 'record shots' of the day in question that summarise what I was doing, where others (like this shot of the Tyne) were images that I'm really pleased with and are more than just a grab shot.

So - 33 gone, 332 to go....

It's all over...

My first exhibition has now closed - many thanks to all that came along and viewed my work, and particular thanks to those that bought some of the framed images.

It was great to talk with people about the images, to hear their views/criticisms/complements. It was a real honour for me to be given such an exhibition, and I am really pleased with how it all went.

Special thanks also to the staff at the English Martyrs Art Gallery for their assistance in setting up the space and in arranging the event.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The day after the night before

Gallery 1
Originally uploaded by NosamLuap
Well, after a nervous weekend, my opening night has been and gone - thanks to all that attended, thanks for the comments, criticisms and praise. Thanks to those that bought prints. Thanks, even, to my friends who pointed out when things weren't level, or when my subject wasn't in the middle of the frame - I'm sure Da Vinci's mates told him "That woman has a funny expression on her face" ;-)

(and no, I'm not comparing myself to Da Vinci...)

Sunday, 18 January 2009

1 day to go...

Gallery 2
Originally uploaded by NosamLuap
My exhibition opens tomorrow night, and the final preparations for the opening night are (hopefully) completed. The nerves are rattling nicely, and food & wine is sorted... Will report back tomorrow with the result!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Empty gallery

Empty gallery
Originally uploaded by NosamLuap
Quick shot of the empty gallery as I started to lay out my images for next weeks exhibition. It's a really nice space - I'm looking forward to seeing it ready to go, with everything hung. Hanging should be on Wednesday - watch this space for an update and 'early view' of the exhibition!


Friday, 9 January 2009

Day1 - Framing

Day1 - Framing
Originally uploaded by NosamLuap
This was intended to be simply the first picture in my attempt to take 1 picture every day for a year (inspired by Project365)

I suspected that frames may be a big part of today... well I was bloody right. After work, and getting Ellie to bed, and tidying up, I started to frame some pics in preparation for my Exhibition and now, at 22:30, I've framed 5. Yes, FIVE. And I need 39 for the space. FIVE!!!! The first thing I do if I win the lotto tomorrow night is hire a framer. (and buy a D3... but the framer needs to come first, 'cos the need to be done by Monday for hanging - I suspect this may be a late night...)

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


Originally uploaded by NosamLuap
The English Martyrs Art Gallery is hosting an exhibition of some of my work, starting from 19th January through to 6th February.

The gallery is open from 9am-4pm, Monday to Friday. The opening evening is 19th January, 18:30-20:00 - if you're in the area, feel free to pop along and take a look.



Saturday, 3 January 2009

Seaton dawn

Seaton dawn
Originally uploaded by NosamLuap
First shot taken with my new tripod (Thanks Santa). Giottos MTL9251 with MH5001 head. First impressions - it's great. Very solid, very adjustable. But by far, the biggest benefit when standing on the beach at 8am in -2 degres... the padded legs. Being able to pick it up without my fingers welding to the metal is quite a benefit.