Red matching top

This was a planned trip to London to explore the city and capture some architecture, leaving home the sky looked quite promising with some light cloud. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas, on arrival the sky was dull grey and overcast, with no moving clouds, and pretty uninteresting. I am not a fan of flat dull sky, although great for macro photography, not great for the pictures that I had planned.

Posing for a photo by a red telephone box.

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Sussex by the sea

Here in the UK, we have been having a mini heatwave, well temperatures in the upper 20’s for a few days. So I thought it would be a good time to visit my nearest city Brighton, on the Sussex coast and have a wander along the seafront.

The first place I like to visit when I go to Brighton is the West Pier, it is now slowly crumbling into the sea, after every storm you see another section missing.

West Pier Brighton UK

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Through a wood and then up a hill

This walk was to the top of Wolstonbury Hill a high point on the South Downs just north of the village of Pyecombe. This area is managed by the National Trust for more information please check the information on their website.

The walk for me started from Hassocks station, following the path along the London to Brighton line for just over a mile to Clayton. From here crossing the A273 by the tunnel, yes someone does actually live in a house above a busy railway line, I not sure I would be able to sleep soundly, although I am sure you would get used to it.

Clayton tunnel

Clayton tunnel with a residential building above

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Airplane travel and camera gear

Having just returned from a short trip to Spain, travelling on a commercial airline is becoming harder and harder for photographers on a budget. So this post is not only my view but also something that may change what gear I currently use or choose in the future.

My current travel camera is my trusty Olympus E-M1, I carry this with a flashgun, two primes the 60mm macro and either the 17mm or the 25mm and two zooms, the 12-40mm and the 75-300mm. I fit all this and my 13″ Mac Book Pro and Kindle (essential for air travel, as I get bored flying) into an old Lowepro Mini Trekker AW. My tripod, filters, charger and power supplies go into checked in luggage. The carry on luggage usually weighs in about 10lbs, so currently is ok for all the UK budget airlines.

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My well worn Lowepro Mini Trekker AW

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My Macro Gear

As promised in my last post I would include an article on the gear that I use for Macro photography, when I travel, stay in my garden or capture indoors.

The first bit of kit serves two purposes when used on Sony A7R, as I also have a film – slide copier attachment for the Olympus bellows (second image). I have two OM macro lenses that I use they are the 50mm F3.5 and the 80mm F4.0, the latter is used in combination with the bellows and A7R to copy 35mm film or 35mm slides.

Sony A7R

Sony A7R – OM to FE Lens adapter – Olympus Bellows & Olympus OM 80mm F4.0 Lens

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A walk with a macro lens

I decided to take a short walk in the Sussex countryside today with a simple macro setup, just a camera, macro lens and two flashguns. The Yongnuo YN560-III for off camera, and the Olympus FL-LM2 for on camera fill flash. I always like to travel as light as possible, depending on what the brief for the day is, so no tripod, insects don’t tend to hang around while you position your kit. I will give a full description of what macro kit I use in another post and some samples of what can be achieved even with fairly old equipment.

My walk took me through a meadow that was full of grazing sheep only a few weeks ago, now empty with the growing grass full of flowering clover.

Clover flower

Olympus EM-1 60mm Macro lens @F13 1/250 Yongnuo YN560-III off camera

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Sensor noise comparison

This post is my take on sensor noise vs sensor size, this is not a scientific experiment, more of an understanding of how a sensor’s size has an impact on noise (Luminance and Chrominance) across ISO settings when the exposure is either under or over. I have produced this mainly for the purpose of deciding if I can work with the 1″ sensor and full frame, and ditch the Four Thirds kit.

I have used several cameras for this testing, with sensor sizes from full frame, APS-C, Four Thirds and 1″, with the following cameras.

All of the cameras were set to Program Mode, with Matrix or equivalent metering, and auto white balance. The images captured starting at the base ISO for the camera (for both the Olympus and Fujifilm the base ISO is 200) and then increasing the ISO one stop up to ISO 3200, I then bracketed the exposure by plus and minus 3 stops. The RAW files were then imported into Lightroom with default settings with no sharpening or noise reduction applied, I obviously had to correct the exposure compensation by adding or subtracting the 3 stops. All of the images were then exported to jpegs for sharing with this blog page.

For information, all of the images were captured indoors on a cloudy day with diffused light through the window blinds. The reason I chose to use two types of camera with an APS-C sensor, was to see if there was any difference between the Bayer and the X-Trans array.

I would also add that in real life situations the noise may not be apparent in the image, or some may find it adds to the image, it really depends on the subjects matter or type of photography that you follow. Continue reading

A day out in the capital London

I do enjoy a day out with the camera, so a trip to the capital city was the plan, with a view to walking along the northern bank of the river Thames towards the Palace of Westminster, better known as the houses of parliament. From there crossing Westminster bridge and walking along the Southbank to the Millennium Bridge, back over the river to St Pauls and then down to Tower bridge and finally back to Blackfriars. That should take up most of the day allowing for a few stops for photos.

The journey started with a train ride to Blackfriars station, on arrival I decided to have a bite to eat saving some space in my bag for my jacket, that I certainly didn’t need. It wasn’t a gourmet feast just a roll and a packet of crisps followed by a couple of wine gums.

The walk down to Westminster was fairly quick, the reason being that I drunk too much water on the train up and was desperate for the toilet. I would have used the toilets at Blackfriars, but it was just my luck that they were out of order, so I had to wait until reaching Waterloo (oh how appropriate). At least they didn’t charge unlike at Blackfriars where they charge you 30 pence, the problem is I can remember when it was a penny, hence the saying “spend a penny”.

Just after Waterloo station, I saw Princess Anne being driven in a car that was escorted by several Police outriders and two other vehicles, she was probably only going down to the supermarket 😉.

I crossed the river via Westminster bridge hoping to capture a long exposure shot of the Parliament buildings, only to find they had the builders in with lots of scaffolding up. I do now recall a news article about the work required on the crumbling building, so I just took a quick shot with the camera phone instead.

The Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster Lumia 930 4.46mm @F2.4 1/1200 sec ISO 64

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Along the coast from Shoreham to Brighton

The majority of the images you will see in this post will be long exposures using the Olympus Live Bulb feature, with a combination of Lee Filters Seven5 Neutral Density (Big and Little Stopper), sometimes with a Polariser and or Graduated filter.

The start of this walk involves public transport by train, so a change at Brighton boarding an ageing diesel train on the line out to Worthing. So the plan was to get off at Shoreham and walk around Shoreham harbour, well that failed as I turned the wrong way and ended up on the wrong side of the water. I couldn’t be bothered to walk the mile or so back to start again so carried on, maybe that will have to wait for another day.

The path takes you across the harbour to a sluice gate, arriving at the beach I found that the wind was certainly turning the blades of the wind turbines.

Wind turbines

Olympus EM-1 17mm @F11 4.0 sec ISO 200

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A walk from Seaford to Cuckmere Haven

I had planned to do this walk for some time so packed the camera bag and set off, however when I arrived it was just starting to rain only light to start with, but was getting heavier and heavier, so I abandoned and planned to return when it was a better day, that day arrived so I set off again.

The good thing about driving to Seaford is that parking along the seafront is free, yes free in this day and age, would you believe it. I parked at the far end nearest the cliffs and ascended the hill by the golf course. The view was spectacular looking back towards the town with Newhaven harbour in the distance.

Photo Walk 22 May 2017

Olympus EM-1 17mm @F11 1/100sec ISO200

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