Web Curation for Photographers

Electrical Image: On Photography

Electrical Image: On Photography

In a moment of headstrong wilfulness, against the sage advice of my peers and even my own family, I’ve started an online newspaper.

Electrical Image: On Photography and Photographers.

Why? In part because I’m headstrong and wilful. In part because I’ve recently discovered some excellent aggregators for the Apple platform and it’s a great way of sharing the things that I find interesting with other people. Rather than squirrelling them away for private consumption with Evernote or Instapaper.

Aggregators have moved on a lot since the RSS reader was the only game in town and I thought I’d use this post to review the ones I use and to explain why I find Web Curation so rewarding.

The Apple IOS platform has been well supported by aggregators from Flipboard to Pulse and beyond. It’s been a continuing source of frustration that none of these applications seemed to care about the Desktop platform. On any operating system. I imagine that the thinking is most of these apps are used whilst travelling to work?  My routine is that the first hour, pre breakfast is spent reading news with a cup of tea. I do use the iPad on the train and on airplanes, but fro me, it is a tool for immediate consumption. Occasionally I’ll save something for the journey home, but my routine is – news in the morning.

Sourcing

These are the apps I use everyday to source material.

Prismatic

There are two aggregators worth paying serious attention to in my view. The first, Prismatic, is a browser based application that allows the user to choose topics based on keywords. It uses these preferences to retrieve articles from the web for your delectation. It supports its own community and allows the user to rate articles or give a simple thumbs up/down. The interface alas is minimal and allows no branding. Nonetheless, with a bit of fine tuning of keywords, it has become indispensable. Why? Because it supplies at least 70% of the information I like to read in my first waking hour. secondly because I can click through to my browser for any article and that allows me to repost the good ones to my own curated newspaper – Electrical Image.

Pulp

The second, as far as I know, is a Mac only application. It’s called Pulp. It lives on your computer and does pretty much the same job as Prismatic, with one important difference. Two important differences, it allows you to save articles for offline reading by dragging them onto a ‘bookshelf’. More importantly it supports the concept of pages. For me this is massive. I read about a lot of stuff, in IT, Business, Photography, Sport, etc etc. I don’t want this arriving in a hopeless jumble, I want it to be accessible via sections, like the Sunday Newspapers. Pulp does this brilliantly.

Flipboard

An honourable mention to Flipboard. One of the first ‘build your own magazine’ apps and still the best in terms of look and feel. It is viewer centric, by which I mean it enables me to build a newspaper for me. Nobody else. Great way to source material, but it stops there.

Publishing

Using the tools mentioned above I can gather more interesting articles than I can reasonably expect to read. So why bother to republish them into an online newspaper? The answer is not vanity or self obsession! I’m developing a brand. I don’t mean that in any over ambitious sense, but it’s a reality I’ve written about before. We are, all of us, complicated creatures with a variety of roles and interests. There is a glut of information out there now and if I want people to notice me I need to stand out in the flood. This means focussing, it means being selective and matching my viewers interests. Put simply, I imagine there are more photographers out there than there are photographers with an appetite for Politics, Socialism, IT, Business and Tennis. The first audience is a lot larger than the second.

Paper.li

Paper.li has been around for a while now. It is still the best curation vehicle out there because unlike so many of its competitors it allows branding and it is getting better and better at integrating the users preferences in a seamless fashion. If I find an interesting article, I can post it on my paper by using the Bookmarklet, downloaded from Paper.li and installable on most available browsers in a couple of seconds. It then produces a pop up window in which I can choose a picture I’d like to accompany the article and whether or not I would like to add the source of the article to my automated feed. In this way, the bulk of the newspaper assembles itself more or less automatically. All I have to do is add more material as I find it and delete articles that I consider to be inappropriate. Over the course of a few weeks it builds up a pretty good representation of my tastes and curiosities.

Scoop it!

The other curation medium worth a look is Scoop it! This one supports a community and allows the user to publish topics. This is great because it means you can still separate your concerns and target a defined audience. The downside is it does not support branding and so identity is hard to come by. The successful users are mostly already well known in their niche and so people are drawn to them for that reason alone.

Developing the Brand

I talked about the need to present a focussed identifiable version of myself in order to align with an audience of photographers and image collectors. Social Media is about more than self-promotion. It is about sharing information and in that regard, curation is very rewarding. All my social media activities are linked by the name ‘Electrical Image’. In this way, I am creating a recognisable brand and if I get the content right my audience will continue to grow. This is the way photographers market themselves these days.

Photography used to be a service industry and remnants of that practice still exist but with stock photography paying pennies the photographer that wants to do anything other than glamour or wedding photography (for which perfectly good commercial frameworks exist) has to find new ways of attracting an audience.

The internet is awash with astonishing photography, 20 million uploads a day to Flickr tell their own story. For this reason it makes sense to build up a brand. The bad news is it takes time. Not hours out of the day, but months of elapsed time before any momentum is established. As Hunter S Thompson once observed: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”

 

Posted in Editorial, Internet, Media, Software Tagged , , , |

Michael Levin: Zebrato (2008)

Michael Levin: Zebrato

Michael Levin: Zebrato

Milky seas and murky clouds have become something of a cliche these days as a short trawl through Flickr will certainly demonstrate. Its a device I’m certainly guilty of using, perhaps more than I need to, so receiving a copy of Michael Levin’s Zebrato on my birthday was a welcome reminder of just how powerful this effect can be in the right hands.

The effect is achieved through the use of, typically, a ten stop filter, applied to reduce the amount of light entering the lens and thereby extend the exposure without blowing out the highlights. I use the Lee “Big Stopper” filter and although expensive, I haven’t seen anything better although the B&W equivalent runs it close. The B&W filter is a screw in that effectively requires a further step up adapter if you want to use it on more than one lens. The Lee filter requires the Lee filter adapter which has the advantage of offering further slots to insert for example a graduated filter to further control the exposure across the whole image. In addition to the filter, a good tripod is required in order to minimise movement in the camera and, for the same reason, a remote trigger. I use the Canon intervalometer which enables me to precisely time the exposure, but the ordinary remote trigger without timer is perfectly adequate for the purpose as long as you have a watch which displays seconds.

Levin’s work makes a virtue of the long exposure by using it to isolate the subject and generate a sense of timelessness. Minimal in extreme, the effect is to make a point of the apparently pointless, to take one part of a landscape and focus all of the viewer’s attention on the purest representation of form.

Zebrato is exclusively shot in monochrome in locations all over the world, including Brighton, where mysteriously he passed on the opportunity to add yet another photograph of the West Pier to posterity. Instead he shot west to east along the seafront, making a virtue of the natural curve where beach meets water. A solitary mysterious figure is seen lying in the foreground.

This book has made me re-evaluate what I’m doing with long exposures and has sparked some ideas about how I can photograph my new surroundings in Shropshire with a style I am comfortable with. What more can you ask of a book? Highly recommended.

Posted in Books, Equipment, Photography, Techniques Tagged , , , , , , |

Photographing IBM: La Gaude

IBM La Gaude

IBM La Gaude

I’ve been lucky enough in the last eighteen months to have been involved in a long running project with IBM’s Academy of Technology which has taken me to various IBM sites around the world. My favourite so far has been Somers, designed by the architect I.M. Pei, but La Gaude, in the hills above Nice runs it a close second.

Needless to say, my personal experience of local accommodation came a distant second to the splendour of the architecture. This has been a recurring theme in my travels. Usually determined by the same logic. I elected to stay in a hotel close by, which turned out to possess all of the charm and indeed some of the architectural features of the Bates Motel. The identity of said hotel shall remain a secret, but for those, like me, expecting to work at La Gaude, I can in good faith recommend alternative accommodation on the medieval town of Vence, about five miles distant.

IBM La Gaude #2

IBM La Gaude #2

Back to the lab. this extraordinary example of 1960′s brutalism was designed by the Hungarian modernist Marcel Breuer and built between 1960 and 1962. It’s worth repeating a story here that plays on the fact that the IBM building was supposed to have been one of his favourites.

Breuer’s Architecture went through five recognisable phases and this example using modular prefabricated concrete facades was the first in a phase that went on to dominate an entire town at Flaine.

IBM La Gaude #3

IBM La Gaude #3

Accused by critics of being perhaps a little repetitive, Breuer responded somewhat peevishly: “I can’t design a whole new system every Monday morning.”

I’m not sure that even IBM can design a new system every Monday morning, but I like the retort, especially in the context of La Gaude.

One of the things about these buildings is that they embody the kind of bold statement that one might expect from one of the world’s largest and most successful corporations of a certain time in history. I doubt we’ll see this type of statement again, indeed many of the IBM sites are being returned to the wild, a reflection of changing times and changing workplaces. Most of our work is done these days from home or from customer sites, the offices being required only for research and development, customer demonstrations and administration. Perhaps the pendulum will swing back and we’ll see another phase of  these grand designs.

IBM La Gaude #4

IBM La Gaude #4

Finally, a detail from the front of the building, shot in the early morning sunshine, accentuating the shadows and bringing out the best I think of this type of architecture. I used a wide angle lens to get this shot, accentuating the curves and really maximising the geometry. These buildings really are breathtaking, the scale and scope of the project being quite vast.

So, on to Dublin next week. Not sure what I will find by way of architecture, but it’s a great city and I’m looking forward to the couple of days I’ll be spending there.

Posted in Photography, Travel Tagged , , , , , |

The Good Life

Harley

Harley

Two days before I left for America at the beginning of the month, I moved permanently out of Brighton and parachuted, temporarily courtesy of my partner Viv’s parents, into the rather wonderful countryside of Shropshire.

So, no longer a Brighton based Photographer – rather, given the amount of travel I’m doing this year a British Photographer!

New York was an absolute blast, freezing cold I nonetheless managed to get two shots I’ve been kicking myself for missing on other occasions – the view from the Rockefeller Centre and the interior of Grand Central Station.

Manhattan

Manhattan

The Rockefeller centre is one of those trips that you just have to grit your teeth and do. It’s expensive, full of tourists and the resident photographer will try and persuade you to pose for a grisly humorous portrait against a photographed backdrop but there really is no better viewpoint. The Empire State runs it close, but taking pictures there is a nightmare – dirty glass protects you from falling off the thing and of course you can’t get the Empire State into the shot. The big advantage of “Top of the Rock” is there is aa viewing platform in the centre of the tower that raises you some ten feet above the protecting glass screens. There are also gaps between the screens large enough to get a 24-70mm lens through.

Grand Central Station, NYC

Grand Central Station, NYC

The other must grab shot that I’ve failed to grab in four previous visits is the interior of Grand Central Station. This has been photographed so many times it’s virtually impossible to find a new angle. I chose the long exposure route using a wide angle lens. I decided to shoot diagonally and rely on the natural movement of the people to fill the frame.

I processed this particular shot in Silver Efex Pro to get the high key effect – it was a very gloomy day and I wanted to be able to pick out the people in the final rendering.

After a couple of days in New York, I moved on to San Jose where I was due to work last week. I had a whole weekend to explore and having not visited the west coast since I was seventeen, there was a whole lot to explore. I discovered a beach in Santa Cruz that boasts a natural arch and spent a whole morning taking carefully composed landscapes. None of which turned out as good as this – a shot taken rather casually on my way off the beach!

Natural Arches - Santa Cruz

Natural Arches – Santa Cruz

I used a wide angle lens held really low, at sand level for this shot. I took about six frames, moving about to try and get the people separated from the rock. I was really pleased with this one because my attention was on the rock and the family to the right. I hadn’t noticed the little girl to the left and she really makes the picture in my opinion. There’s a rather obvious echo of the arch itself and the stance of the mother, but the little girl pointing adds balance, depth and a little bit of a mystery to the picture.

So am I going to settle down to a life of rural bliss in Blighty? The chance would be a fine thing! I’m jetting off to the South of France on Sunday, Dublin the week after. This is proving to be a great year for both travel and photography. The only regret I have is missing my friends at the Brighton & Hove Camera Club – if that club were a lager it would definitely be a Heineken!

 

 

 

Posted in Photography, Techniques, Travel Tagged , , , , , |

Street Photography in Bangalore

Living The Dream

Living The Dream

When I finished my 365 Day Project, I found myself curiously adrift. I no longer felt motivated to go out and shoot every single day, but I was also keenly aware that the simple fact of shooting every day had improved my ability to see photographs and also my technique by sheer force of repetition. To compound the problem, most of January was spent searching for a new house, so my photography was somewhat reduced.

I decided that what I needed was another context to put my photography in. Sure, its great to carry a camera around and I’ve been fortunate enough to stumble across some great opportunities while so prepared, but I felt I needed to get excited about something and I knew that wasn’t just going to come out of thin air. I resolved to be patient, knowing I would recognise the opportunity when it came.

A trip to India provided exactly the stimulus I was looking for. I was very struck by the billboards. Everywhere I went in Bangalore, posters of epic machismo glared out of the walls, a whole mythology of the modern Indian male, straight from the imagination of advertisers. I was very conscious that these posters were setting a high bar for the majority of the population, feeding aspiration but also fuelling disappointment and anger. I decided the subject of my Bangalore project would be related to the advertising.

Dreamland

Dreamland

The day after the event I was working on finished, I got up early and drove out to the KR Market. I’d been here before and knew I would find some good juxtapositions of aspirational advertising and stark reality. This time however the market area was mostly deserted so I started to explore the backstreets surrounding the marketplace. Inevitably I quickly became lost and resolved to explore further. Diving deeper into these streets I discovered an area I would describe as impoverished. Here, the gap between poster life and real life became wider and more blindingly obvious. Beyond the business parks, there is an India of grinding poverty and I realised it would be here that I would find my best subjects.

Street Life

Street Life

I probably should mention at this point that roaming the back streets of a strange city alone, with a camera that probably represents several months wages to most of the people you meet is perhaps not the wisest thing to do. In a couple of places, I became aware that I was being scrutinised and moved quickly on. It’s a peculiar thing about travel, I’m a confident person and I’ve never felt directly threatened. I’ve walked the streets of New York, Beijing, Delhi, Bangalore, Paris and London in the last twelve months without a single incident. Always a first time, but I make an effort to be friendly when I’m out taking photographs and also maintain an awareness of what’s going on around me.

My final picture is the one that made the whole expedition worthwhile. I’ve always felt uncomfortable photographing poverty. It’s a conscience thing. I’m a middle class, educated male from one of the worlds leading economies.

Broken Dreams

Broken Dreams

No matter how little cash I feel I have at any one time, there’s a danger of being patronising and worse, prurient in photographing extreme poverty. I’ve walked on past several opportunities to photograph people sleeping rough, because at the time I had no purpose in photographing them. On this occasion though I had a purpose and a point to make. This picture absolutely nailed what I was trying to articulate with my poster shots. It’s a shot that carries the emotional punch I was looking for. Above and beyond the fact of the enormous gulf between the indomitable alpha male of the poster and the broken spirit of the man sleeping, there is also the fact that this person is somebody’s son, has been somebody’s lover and friend. It’s a very sad image I think and one that I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to take.

Posted in Photography, Projects, Travel Tagged , , , , |

The Real Tough Guys

Sierra Lujar

Sierra Lujar

I just got back from a week in the Alpujarras, ostensibly working on the house, but finding time to do a bit of photography as well.

The Alpujarras are as different from the Costa del Sol as the Earth is from the Moon. January in the mountains is an experience not to be missed. As stunning as the Alpujarras are in spring, winter reveals another side entirely. The days can be warm and sunny, the nights uniformly freezing.

The landscape changes character too. The mountains, capped with snow and shrouded in clouds look formidable and demand a healthy respect. Walking in these hills, suitably clothed and equipped with compass, food and a map is an amazing experience. Even the view from the house, shown here, is breathtaking at this time of year and changes by the minute as the clouds throw shadows across the land turning it into some kind of enormous shadow theatre.

The people that live here, making a living off the land are the real tough guys, I’m not talking about the hippies, blow ins, criminals and flakes attracted by cheap North African drugs, rather the people that go back generations. The real tough guys.

Tough Guy - Orgiva

Tough Guy – Orgiva

Conditions here are brutal. Work is available in construction or….construction. Luckily food is cheap or many of the people now living on their wits would be starving. This is the sharp end of modern capitalism. The spanish economy harbours some massive companies, Santander, Repsol, Zara for example whose balance sheets are very healthy thank you very much. In the meantime, in Motril I saw people protesting under the watchful gaze of armed police outside the Banco Popular, at the Bank’s ruthlessly implemented repossession policy. By which I mean that ordinary folk are being evicted from their houses so that the Bank can maintain its shareholder value.

In a few months, the tourists will return and the local economies will begin to function again, the English the French and the Germans come back with armfuls of cash which will be spent in the many excellent restaurants, bars and coffee shops. For six months or so things will return to normal and then there will be another winter.

Street Photograph - Orgiva

Street Photograph – Orgiva

In the time I have spent in Orgiva, I have found the Spanish to be almost without exception, charming and hard working. The ex pats, occasionally reminiscent of the itinerant population of Casablanca before the second world war. As the once favourable pound to Euro exchange rate becomes a thing of history, the danger is that a new kind of normal is beginning to prevail. A normal where desperation overrides decency and the desire to get on the gravy train is stronger than the desire to provide a service. What we northern europeans have always held to be Third World pressures are making themselves felt very close to home. There is a lot of property for sale in the Alpujarras at knock down prices, but it takes nerves of steel and some real street savvy to make it work.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Travel Tagged , , , |

Brighton in Black & White: West Pier

West Pier & Boardwalk

West Pier #5

Brighton’s ruined West Pier is one of the iconic landmarks of the South Coast. Certainly one of the most photographed and when I started my 365 Day Project, I made a resolution to try and avoid repeating the most cliched of the shots I’d seen. In fact I almost went out of my way to avoid shooting the damn thing!

No matter how many times a subject has been shot, there is always a different approach and it is worth taking the time to find that different shot because that’s what differentiates one photographer from another. There is nothing wrong with recreating shots with a view to understanding how they were done and in so doing mastering a technique, I’ve done that plenty of times, but I’ve tried not to publish those shots as a rule.

West Pier Abstracted

West Pier Abstracted

The reason the pier has become such an emblem is that it symbolises the best and worst of human nature. Even in ruins, the ironwork is beautiful and so far, resists the fiercest storms. The shape is instantly recognisable, even as here, when it is abstracted. The worst? The persistent rumours that the fire that destroyed it was started deliberately. Legend is that a speedboat was seen leaving the scene as the flames took hold. The identity of the arsonist has never been discovered and as long as there is no proof, there can be no accusation.

One of the challenges in landscape photography is to find a way to connect the land to its occupants. This is what elevates the best landscape photography above the biscuit tin class. West Pier does this at a stroke, the contrast that can be achieved by showing the ruin in the context of its surroundings is very powerful. The opposing forces of nature and architecture caught in perfect balance.

Brighton Gothic

Brighton Gothic

This shot was made with a Lee 10 stop “Big Stopper” filter around dusk at low tide. An exposure of a couple of minutes. The effect is to calm the ocean and the wreckage rises out of this preternatural stillness like a ghost ship, encrusted with barnacles and seaweed. The intent here was to stretch time, to show something that has been with us for years and to imply that it might just be here long after we’ve gone. I genuinely hope it is and during the last set of storms have fretted, hoping that they haven’t succeeded in bringing the old girl to her knees.

The final challenge I set myself was to show the pier with people. People playing, people watching or even photographing, the important thing was that they shouldn’t be interacting with me. I wanted to be the observer.

West Pier with Dog

West Pier with Dog

I chose to shoot at sunset again, the idea being to frame the participants in silhouette. This shot was one of about fifteen I took over a period of about twenty five minutes. I like the composition because there are distinct layers in the photograph and the pier is not the dominant figure, instead the eye is drawn from the couple in the foreground along the edge of the beach to the man playing with his dog in the middle. If anything, the dog is the dominant figure in the photograph and from there the eye can wander to the pier, with the sun directly behind it, silhouetted against a sinking sun.

Technical notes, the first and last images were processed in photoshop, using layers to bring the right textures to all points of the photograph. I use a very slight vignette to pull the eye towards the centre. And in all of these images except the last, the pier is centre stage. I used Nik Silver Efex Pro to process the colour conversion to monochrome in all instances.

Posted in Filters, Photography, Projects, Techniques Tagged , , , , , , |

Martin Parr – The Non-Conformists (Aperture 2013)

Martin Parr "The Non-Conformists"

Martin Parr “The Non-Conformists”

As Christmas presents go, Martin Parr’s “The Non-Conformists” was probably number one on my wish list. Which may seem odd for someone who is primarily a landscape photographer but, as a Brighton resident born and raised in Yorkshire this project has a special resonance.

The first collection I encountered of Martin Parr’s was “Think of England”, a set of images of the English at play, containing several photographs of Brighton seafront. I was struck immediately by the humour of the photographs, the visual puns and sly references to other images. This ability to both document and comment is what to my mind separates the great observational photographers from the run of the mill and it is a characteristic that runs through Parr’s photography like the wording in a stick of rock.

“The Non-Conformists” then is a departure of sorts, a tightly themed compendium of monochrome images taken between 1975 and 1980 documenting the chapel and farming communities around Hebden Bridge and Calderdale in Yorkshire. The words are provided by Parr’s wife Susie and the resulting project is a crystallisation of a way of life that is now practically extinct. This old worldliness is both striking to the outsider and very typical of Yorkshire, a county that has always struggled with modernity. My childhood memories of Brylcreem and Billy Walker, bakelite and diesel in Richmond and Swaledale during the early 1960′s seem more typical of the austerity of the 1950′s than the flower power of the sixties. Sure enough, the images in the book suggest another era entirely, more closely resembling the fifties than the onrushing punk rock explosion of the seventies.

My favourite section of the book, one that absolutely nails the class divide that is so very pronounced in Yorkshire is the chapter entitled “Grouse Shooting”. Here we see the thin lipped upper classes and their pampered spaniels at play; enthusiastically engaged in the massacre of the wildlife of the moors. Beaters, one memorably captured upended in the snow, drive craftier fowl out of their hiding places and into the guns.

Other riches offered by this book include the sublime brilliance of the photograph of the Anniversary tea at the Steep Lane Methodist Chapel, the participants lined up along the long table, posh hats and twinsets framed beneath a reproduction of “The Last Supper” and the wonderful series documenting Hebden Bridge Picture House, a struggling provincial independent cinema, where weather, seasonal sales and a paucity of available films conspire to keep the crowds away.

In summary, a wonderful, rewarding book, quite likely to be my favourite of the year. Highly recommended.

Posted in Books, Photography Tagged , , , , |

The River Adur, A Rumination in Monochrome

Lancing College

Lancing College

After a couple of weeks of non stop activity, I took some time out on Sunday to walk along the banks of the River Adur at low tide, from Shoreham by Sea to Lancing. I’ve been meaning to do this walk for nearly a year now. I drive over this river at least once a week and have never managed to make the time to take a camera.

It is of course a magnet for wildlife, and I saw many examples of the lesser tripod equipped photographer. I’m not a wild life photographer, not knowing the difference between duck and gull is no advantage in that pursuit and its a race I’ve no intention of entering. I do on the other hand love landscapes. There has been a lively debate in the Brighton & Hove Camera Club about landscape photography recently and the arguments have been articulated by very talented people on all sides. I’ve found the debate energising and thought provoking and I’d like to explain why.

Sunset over the Mud Flats

Sunset over the Mud Flats

When I started shooting landscapes, my major challenge was technical. There are a lot of very gifted, very technical landscape photographers out there and as someone who was born and raised in the country I could recognise the emotional impact a landscape is capable of delivering but I often struggled to convey anything other than a representation. My initial effort therefore went into honing my technique and mastering the many tools that are available to help and hinder.

The next step, after I considered myself capable of taking a decent picture, was to answer the question “What does this landscape mean to me?” That was the question I was failing to answer by focussing entirely on technique. I’ve thought about it a great deal and I’ve looked at a lot of landscape photography over the years. To mention a few of my favourites, the work of Fay Godwin carries a real sense of purpose, Don McCullin although best known as a war photographer has published in “Open Skies” a phenomenal and unusual take on the countryside of Gloucestershire where he lives. Knowing what we know about McCullin, it’s easy to see he’s delivering a personal view of the landscape in the context of his own experiences. Magnificent, brooding pieces suggesting a timeless land of great extremes.

Low tide on the River Adur

Low tide on the River Adur

I’ve also looked at the politically informed work of Paul Strand and the pure graphic genius of Edward Weston with interest. Paul Strand’s book on the Outer Hebrides is reviewed elsewhere in this blog. Edward Weston’s landscapes, like his nudes, are triumphs of form and texture. Each one of these photographers has a very personal and identifiable style.

So where does all this rumination get me? There are two reasons I am drawn towards landscapes. The first is that when I was a child, growing up on a farm in the Yokshire Dales I roamed the woods and valleys by bicycle and spent many hours doing the old fashioned things, climbing trees, falling out of trees, lying in the bracken staring up at the sky.  I also remember the bleak Yorkshire winters, the big featureless skies and the grouse wheeling away in a clatter of wings and as often as not, gunfire. But there is another reason.

Sunset over the River Adur

Sunset over the River Adur

Most of my income is derived from the IT industry. I work as consultant in a high pressure environment where the cost of failure for a typical IT project runs into millions. People build careers on their ability to make the right decisions and those jobs are lost in a nanosecond if their competence is recognised as being less than their publicity. It can be brutal and intense but it is never less than interesting. It is as far away from lying in the heather as it is possible to get and when I take my camera out for a walk through the countryside, I’m inhabiting another world, one that is stress free and timeless. It is a necessary antidote to a world run for profit and it enables me to keep my head when all around me is frenetic. It is this world I’m drawn to and it is this world that I’m trying to capture.

On matters technical, these pictures were shot with a Canon 5D, 24-70 lens, f4.0, handheld. All were processed in Adobe Lightroom, the Monochromes were further processed in Silver Efex Pro.

Posted in Editorial, Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

G RAID with Thunderbolt

G Raid Thunderbolt8 Terabytes of storage, arranged over two disks configured for RAID 0, with Thunderbolt connectivity. What’s not to like?

This device is perfect for photographers, but even more so for video makers. I’ll be using this in tandem with Final Cut Pro X running on an iMac.

First impressions. Out of the box, plugged in and switched on, available on the desktop in less than five minutes. That includes time spent crawling under the desk to get at the spare extension sockets. Speed? I transferred four Sony SxS cards yesterday, as part of the normal video workflow to a standalone G-Raid device over a firewire connection.  These cards take about 16 minutes each. This standalone device will be the archive. From that device I transferred the entire set of data to the G Raid in five minutes. Outstanding, considering the slowest part of the chain was the Firewire connection.

Once the data was transferred, I fired up Final Cut Pro X on the desktop and imported the rushes as events, one event per day of shooting, two cards per day. To import the XDCAM data I needed the XAVC/XDCAM Plug-in for Apple (PDZK-LT2), download that here. One of the very desirable features of Final Cut Pro is that once you set up your project, it copies the rushes to a separate directory – you never work on the original set, so there is no chance of deleting, corrupting, destroying your original data. I like this feature a lot!

Inside Final Cut Pro, the access to data is so fast you wouldn’t know it’s not on the local disk. I’m very impressed wit this technology and it will become the mainstay of my editing set up. I’ll review Final Cut Pro in due course – once I’ve had a chance to put it through its paces.

 

Posted in Equipment, Film, Hardware, Process, Software, Storage Tagged , , , , , |