Phew, long time no posts, eh?
Sorry about the break – you know the kind of thing. Work, real life, tonsillitis – but tonight I’ve decided to post some things just to get me back in the habit again. August was such a great month for FR – I was acually exceeding one post per day at one point – and then…only one for the whole of October!
Not much commentary with these as I had originally felt that they didn’t make the cut – but I think I was also getting a little to technical – precious about my shots as well, and I had forgotten that a picture can be worthwhile even if it’s not technically perfect. So….they do at least convey, to me at least, the end of summer on the bleak Suffolk coast – the crowds have gone, the temperature is cooling, the clouds have obscured the sun, and the leaves are starting to drop. Some are HDR’s but the people on the beach one is just a single exposure.
It’s a long haul ’til next spring…
And finally, moving north-west again,I took this one in my New Brighton Beach set which I posted last month. To some of you it will be horrendously over-cooked, and that’s why I held off from posting it. However I have just looked at it again and I think it’s worth posting – it certainly conveys that ‘end of summer’ feeling, although some might say it’s more ‘end of the world’……if you have an opinion, use the comments box below to let me know!
A few weeks ago I did a post of some photos I took at Southwold on the Suffolk coast. Since then, I have been playing around with a few plug ins for Photoshop, the most notable of which is NIK Sharpener Pro. This tool is, as its name suggests, a bit of software for adding sharpness to a photograph, and the effects that it gives a photo are, quite simply, stunning. There are not that many applications I can think of which would make you gasp when they have been applied to a good photo [and it has to be a decent photo, of course, to start with!] – but NIK is one of them. I picked it up through the excellent ‘Stuck in Customs‘ website. Have a look at these previously posted images and see what you think.
Finally, one I took at nearby Felixstowe as a three-image HDR effect, which I rather like.
I’ve been working through the photos I took at the harbour recently. Some are interesting when you take the time to look at them – and I have picked out three more which I have done some editing to. I hope you enjoy the results of my wandering around in the humid sunshine.
The first one, above, was taken using the tripod and darkened by reducing the exposure a slight amount in Camera Raw. Looks moody and brooding, which the east coast is very good at, especially in winter [although now it is, of course, summer!].
Above: if it hadn’t been for all the twisted scrap metal and the masts/telegraph poles/wires, this would have been a classic! Before you say, I know that this is a very cluttered composition. I couldn’t do much about it, but I shot it anyway because I loved the boat so much. And cloning is not going to leave a realistic image if I try to remove all that clutter!
Above: This shot of the windscreen of the crane truck was treated to some shadow reductions and contrast adjustments so that previously hidden detail in the underside of the crane jib is now shown.
I also bought, as an aside, some very pleasant Adnams American Pale Ale, one of which is in the fridge right now.
Last week, I spent a very lovely day in and around the Suffolk seaside town of Southwold. Once you have fought your way past the Boden-clad hordes on the main street, the town reveals some real interest. Not least amongst this classification is the harbour – from which I have stolen a few images. My quest for Neutral Density filters has led me to a Cokin ND filter set – big, square, glass filters which you slot in to your normal lens cover to get a strategic darkening of the sky, which in coastal situations such as this is the solution to the problem of flaring bright skies. I have also experimented with the manual settings on the camera for the first time, and am currently struggling to understand the ISO, F-stop etc etc.
Above: this one was a bit of a ‘wow’ moment when I edited it – shooting broadly speaking into the sun, with soft graduated filter, I just banged up the saturations in PS. I have had some useful feedback on this pic, mainly that it’s a little cluttered and could do with tidying up a bit [see bottom right corner for example], and that it’s got a blue colour cast [tint] which makes all the colours look slightly washed out. So last night I edited it again in Photoshop Elements, and got this, below:
Above – right. Kicking off matters with a rather nice long shot of some beach huts. When I walked up to them, they had the obligatory ugly Land Rover Discoveries, no doubt with Islington parking permits in the windscreens, parked without. But, using my educated mind, I simply strolled ’round the back’ and got this shot with a soft filter, darkened in PS. I also used PS to remove a rather excessive blue colour cast. And if you ‘get’ the link, i’ll buy you a beer.
Above – the shop, with saturation layer enhancement of the plastic jink piled up outside.
Above: I went a bit too far with the red filter in this picture, because the sky has picked up a reddish hue which overdoes the effect a bit, I think.
Above – a B&W rendering of a shot originally made in colour, but I liked it more in monochrome. It seems to reveal the detail of the old wooden shack a bit more.
Above – The Sole Bay Fish Company, an organisaton owned and run by fish. I used the graduated filter for the sky and darkened it some more in PS, then painting out the building and foreground with a black brush.
Above: It’s that caravan again! Not filtered, but well and truly hammered in PS!
Above: The truck and tractor are used to pull boats in and out of the water on trailers. There is a lot of blue in this photo, which dominates.
Second in this series is a shot through the windscreen of the crane, with a filtered sky in the background. Obviously the light through the windscreen is inaccurate – but again I like the sense of luminence it gives the picture.
Above: Finally, a deliberately over exposed b&w rendering of a doorway shot.
Flickr slideshow here. [these are obviously not the quality that they were shot in, but the RAW’s will take half a day to download….]
Some more tentative experiments with the new camera – this time on a trip to Walberswick and Southwold, an hour’s drive away on the east coast. Today was a cloudy, overcast day but I got some interesting shots nonetheless. This part of the country is quite lovely in an unspoilt, genteel, tea and cake-on-the-pier kind of way, which by the way is exactly what we did.
Above – as soon as i saw this old caravan behind a shed I knew what this photo would look like – the combination of green, red and blue was irresistible. Crank them up.
Nobody can go to Southwold and not take arty looking pictures of the famous beach huts, which allegedly change hands for the price of a terraced house ‘oop north’. So I have included two such pics.
This ol’ Suffolk boy was fishing at the end of the pier, and had erected a windbreak to sit behind. Unfortunately for his fishing, he had taken 40 winks. Which was probably what he had in mind all along.
In an attempt to be arty, I simply ‘colourized’ this image using a hue/sat layer, which was rather effective I think.
Finally, above, I went a little bit mad and enhanced the saturation of the yellow to give the effect of artificial lights inside the red hut [there weren’t actually any]. I also erased several people who had the damned cheek, frankly, to be sat on their porches, ‘Deliverance’ style!
Whilst most content on this blog is cycling-related, there is room for other stuff if it is interesting, and my recent post on the wayward genius that is Sheldon Brown led me to create a new category on the blog for eccentric stuff in general.
So, this is about an eccentric who, whilst he doesn’t have explicit links with the world of cycling, does live in Suffolk, like me, and therefore is of interest since he is quite clearly also very, very eccentric. I first came across the work of Tim Hunkin a couple of years ago on a rain-sodden Sunday afternoon when, weekending with pals, we ended up on the afore-illustrated pier. We subsequently ended up in the Lord Nelson down the road where we consumed a foolishly lavish amount of beer, but that, as they say, is another strory.
Hunkin’s influence is everywhere, from the wind-powered sign to the exhibition of eccentric gadgets such as the autofrisk machine.
The sheer madness of the inventions, all Heath Robinson styled creations made from commonplace leftover bits and pieces, is tempered by their inventiveness. Another exhibit is ‘test your nerve’, whereby according to the instructions, “Put your hand in the cage and hold then red button for as long as you dare. The dog starts panting and the dial starts revolving. When its about half way round the dog starts dribbling saliva (warm foamy water) on your hand. If you hang on, the dog finally barks loudly.”
I have made a habit in the last couple of years of visiting Hunkin’s excellent website, which seems to grow like a giant slug every time I arrive there. A true renaissance man, he casts himself as engineer and cartoonist, but can also bring his skills to bear in the world of spectacular bonfires, of which he has had a few successes over the years. In the 70’s, he was responsible for the flying, exploding sheep that were part of Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’ tour – the website even has a video of one of the sheep being fired from a cannon by a young, hippyish Hunkin.
The talent for bringing together whimsical irrelevance and the modern and relevant has led to a few interesting inventions over time. The current one has to be his ‘whack a banker’ machine at Southwold, which allows you to enjoy a highly satisfying interaction with the world of finance without leaving town.
Hunkin, who is obviously an accomplished engineer, is not a stuffy, institutional kind of cat. He sums his approach up beautifully by saying:
“A few years ago, while doing a short fellowship at Xerox parc, the director asked me if I was attached to an institution or if I was a floater. He said it implying that being a floater was a good thing. I was amazed, as in Britain people like this are regarded as mad eccentrics, and the word ‘floater’ means a turd that won’t sink.”