Making photographs, not just taking them – Dundee, Tayside, Scotland

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The Eliminator by Muckmedden

Well that’s the weekends event done. Awesome weather on Saturday with dry trails and brilliant sunshine, shame it wasn’t the same again on Sunday.

Well done to all those that took part, congrats to the winners and a massive thank you to the organisers and all those that helped out. This truly was a great event and I hope it goes ahead again next year (who knows I may even enter myself…. Or I might just take the camera again).

Here’s a little selection of images:

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IMG_2411 - 27Jul2013

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IMG_2549 - 27Jul2013

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IMG_2712 - 27Jul2013

IMG_2721 - 27Jul2013

The full official gallery can be found over at PK Perspective – where images can be ordered for print, download, etc

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St Andrews Triathlon 2013

I had the pleasure, along with the folks at PK Perspective, to cover the St Andrews Triathlon 2013.  What an enjoyable event it was to watch, yes I specify WATCH, and well done to all those that took part and suffered in the heat.

Here is a small selection of images from the day:

IMG_9539 - 07Jul2013

IMG_9543 - 07Jul2013

IMG_0873 - 07Jul2013

IMG_0876 - 07Jul2013

More will be uploaded to the official gallery where prints or downloads can be ordered/purchased.  Please be patient as we have more then 4000 images to work our way through.


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HDR experiment

So whilst out at the Dundee Observatory a few nights ago I wasn’t exactly inspired by my surroundings. Because of this I deliberately started bracketing my shots with the aim of playing around and creating some HDR images. I’ve done a little of this in the past but haven’t been overly impressed with my results.

Here is an example of the sorts of images I was getting in the past:

IMG_0140 - 04Jun2013-Edit

Not very interesting and certainly doesn’t grab your attention. To create this image I was simply using the HDR feature within Photoshop but I’ve kept hearing that this doesn’t give good results, certainly against other software. So I finally decided to go and find something else to try.

I’d heard about both Photomatix and HDR efex Pro, but as soon as I saw a video showing how well HDR efex Pro works with Lightroom (almost seamlessly) I knew that was the one I wanted to try first. I downloaded a trial and here is a couple of images I created using it:

IMG_0140 - 04Jun2013_HDR

(Using the same 3 images as the Photoshop image before)

IMG_0127 - 04Jun2013_HDR_2

They may still not be very inspiring and I could do with spending more time learning how to better use this software but it is faster to use and even the basic images created are far better than those produced using Photoshop.

I am very happy so far with my little experiment and I can see myself using it more and more in order to create some different images to what I normal produce.


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Dundee Observatory

This week a few of us headed out for an evening shoot.  Seeing as my lovely wife is very near her due date we couldn’t venture too far from home for me, with this the Dundee Observatory was suggested and as non of us had been that’s where we went.

Turns out that there is no views to be had from up on the hill, too many trees, so it doesn’t make a very good daylight location.  This shows by the lack of decent images any of us got.  We did all come to the conclusion that it would make a great winter/dark night location to light up the building or do star trails.

Anyway the images I took that are keepers:

IMG_0149 - 04Jun2013_HDR

IMG_0146 - 04Jun2013_HDR

IMG_0111 - 04Jun2013-2

IMG_0111 - 04Jun2013

Copies of the main Observatory image, along with many of my others, can be  purchased over on Photo4me or by getting in touch.


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Auchmithie Waves Experiment

Last night was another outing with the good folks of PK Perspective and Robert Garside Photography where we all headed to Auchmithie.  This is the second time we have headed here for an evening shoot and again we discovered that it isn’t the best location for sunsets.  However, it is a good location of long exposures with the movement of the water over the rocks and pebbled beach so when I heard that was where we were going I knew I was in trouble due to having no filters and it being a sunny day.  But with this in mind I came up with a plan – there is a MachineMart near where I work so I nipped in and picked up some welding glass to see how well that would work as a replacement for a 8 or 10 stop ND filter.

So with a £3.50 something piece of glass off I went:

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Turns out that it works ok, it’s not brilliant in that the colour cast it gives means all the images look very flat and it takes a lot of editing to bring that back whilst at the same time brightening most of the image.  But as an emergency filter it does its job, without I could only get exposures of up to 1/4th of a second and with it I could get up to 25 seconds.  I say up to 25 seconds but I discovered around exposures of between 8-15 seconds worked better.  This is because how the glass fitted my Cokin filter holder meant there was a gap between the lens and the filter so light was getting in there after bouncing off the wrong side of the glass so giving a weird effect on the images.  This is one of the worst examples I got:

 IMG_9331 - 22May2013

I have thought of a solution to this (i.e. to fill/cover this gap) but in the future I will simply avoid doing longer exposures than 10-15 seconds.  But one thing I have learnt is that I need to get myself a proper set of good quality filters as they are essential for any daytime long exposures.

I also took other images I took whilst there and without the welding glass:

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While we were there we kept our eye on this very suspicious character who seemed to be taking an age to work out how to use a camera of some description!!! (I say camera but it had “NIKON” etched onto it so I don’t believe it’s a camera at all)

 IMG_9379 - 22May2013

A selection of these images will be uploaded to my Photo4Me account shortly


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Highland Perthshire Enduro Again

An update to my previous blog I have now created a gallery where prints can be ordered directly from the Highland Perthshire Enduro.  Please check it out and pass it on so others can find and view it.

Highland Perthshire Enduro


Highland Perthshire Enduro

Seeing as I was already heading to Perth today I decided to take a trip up the A9 to Dunkeld to check out an event I was tempted to enter but decided against, seeing as I’m not that good on a mtb yet. Plus I had some new kit to test out, but more on that another day.

The event was the Highland Perthshire Enduro which was billed as an XC event over 49km with 4 timed stages (2 being downhills).

I ended up catching most of the riders come through the final section 4 and boy it was definitely a downhill stage, even walking up it to find spots to capture the action was knackering enough nevermind trying to get down it in one piece.

Here is a selection from the stage:

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A bigger section of images can be found over on my Facebook Page here or if any participants want to see if I got any of them I can search through by numbers.