Photo of the Month – January

flowerNikon D800
Nikkor 105mm f/2.8
105mm, 1/60 Sec at f/8, ISO800
Post Processed in Adobe Lightroom V5.7
On a MacBook Pro, OS-X 10.10.2

So its now the end of January and time for my first picture of the month.  Last year I ended on a quick snap from my iPhone, this time I am going to show one of my rejects from a macro photography day I did.

These flowers are really tiny and the shooting conditions were less then ideal, with wind moving the blooms.  I used a mix of daylight and balanced flash, but this did not freeze the picture.

Still I thought with the degree of blur in this shot, it made it look quite romantic, so while not technically correct it is artistically pleasing.

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The problem with more megapixels – Glass

Water NymphNot many of us have a cupboard of Leica M glass, priced anywhere between £2000-£5000.  If we did then the megapixel race would be one to be welcomed.

With 6 megapixels giving a quality A4 print, and few printing larger, its difficult argue against that the current crop of 16 MP cameras are more then enough for most people.

But some of use cannot resist going higher.  I have already commented on camera technique and heavy tripod to get the best of high megapixel cameras but you really do need to consider the glass.

When the Nikon D800 was released Nikon took the brave move of releasing a list of recommended lens, its a short list and if you don’t own a few of these then maybe a D800/D810 should be off your list until you have some.

There are some fantastic high megapixel cameras out there now but remember unless you have the glass to match and the willingness to use the technique to get the best out of your camera then your high megapixel camera is just going to show up the imperfections in your lens and your technique.

  • AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED
  • AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
  • PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED
  • PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED
  • PC-E Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/2.8D

List from

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Photoshop is 25

facebookcover_Grid-copyIts now 25 years since Thomas Knoll came up with the concept of Photoshop, the prepress tool that also became essential for Photographers, that was until Thomas and the team came up with Lightroom.

Well done guys.


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Home energy Efficiency

Well all the DIY, new boiler, windows and doors have been worth it and we had are new EPC completed yesterday and we are now a a grade D.

This means we can now go ahead with the Solar PV installation, which should make us energy independent during the day.  If you have a grade D you can get more government help in the form of the feed in tariff to help pay for the installation, basically you get paid more for generating the electricity if your home is more efficient.

We had three local companies round and from those got four quotes, two basic systems and two more high tech systems which while costing more would produce more electricity.

The savings in fuel costs of the period more then off set the expense and with the feed in tariff you end up with a better return then if the money was sat in the bank.


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Books – Photographic inspiration – The Decisive Moment

Coffee ThoughtsIts getting closer to Caroline’s birthday so I have started to look at books and DVD’s that she might like.  As well as that I keep looking at a few books that may inspire me photographically.

Top of the list I keep coming back to is The Decisive Moment and also the Magnum Contact Sheets.  These are expensive books but very inspiring.  Its good to see that even the greats would shoot a roll of film and only one or two images would be potentials.

Often today we come back from a shoot, memory cards full and are disappointed when we only have one or two good shots, but often its that fleeting decisive moment that makes the shot.



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Sorting the Car

Generally we holiday and commute on the motorcycles, and when the weather is dry commute on the bicycles.  The car gets used for the heavy lifting, and has been really abused over the last year while we get the house straight, so this Monday it was time to get the car sorted and give it a bit of TLC.

Caroline had washed it the day before and today we were dropping in to the local inderpendant VW dealer, to get a number of things sorted.

We bought it from the main Skoda dealer but were less then happy with the servicing and the local independent garage gives us far better service.  Its often worthwhile finding a local independent rather then the main official dealer as you tend to get a better deal.

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Friday the 13th – Time to stay in Bed

Actually I was planning having the day at home anyway as I am not superstitious, its the start of a week long holiday where we will be trying to get a number of key jobs done at home and to the car.

So typically I have come down with a cold, so no DIY, no photography and not really a holiday.  Hope this passes quickly.

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Apple Pay and Starbucks

Leica M8 & 50mm Summilux ASPH

Leica M8 & 50mm Summilux ASPH

It does seem like support for Apple pay is growing.  Its going to be interesting to see if it takes off in the UK.

Whilst I general try to frequent independent coffee shops, Lincoln’s Coffee Aroma and Norwich’s The Window being two of my favourites if you need a coffee then the big chains like Costa, Nero and Starbucks are always nearby, and if your a Starbucks iOS app user in the USA you can now use ApplePay with the Starbucks app.

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Nikon D810a DSLR

So after the other announcements, it was time for Nikon.  Most the announcements did not interest me but the additional version of the D810 did interest me.

Whilst I have no intention of buying the camera its nice to see a niche like astrophotography being filled with a camera as good as this.

Apart from changes to shutter speed range the big change is in the filtration to allow infrared light to be recorded.

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Canon 5Ds 5Ds R – 50 Megapixels Good?

Canon 5DIts seems we have had a bit of pause in the megapixel race, the high end cameras have not moved much.

Now we have the the new Canon and I think its time to remind people that with an increase in megapixels comes and increase in issues you have to overcome in getting good quality images.

A modern 16 megapixel, micro four thirds or DX sensor gives very good image quality, but if you want to print big then the more megapixels the better.  There is a reason why fashion photographers and landscape photographers who want to fill an advertising hoarding use medium format.

But cameras like the Nikon D800, the Sony A7R and now the new Canon 5Ds can get close to this kind of quality, at least for resolution if not dynamic range.

The issue with cameras with such high resolution is that your lens and technique has to be flawless.  Nikon produce a list of recommended lens, a consumer kit lens is not going to cut it.  Along with the best glass, you need a quality tripod, cable release, and mirror lockup.

So if your going to print big and have the patience to use correct technique high megapixels cameras can produce stunning images but for most of us, its over kill and you are likely to end up with worse looking images.

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New cameras from Canon and Olympus

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II FrontThis week saw new cameras announced from both Canon and Olympus.

In the high megapixel race Canon and Nikon have been playing leap frog for many years.  After many years of Canon leading the race, since the Nikon D3x and the D800 range, Nikon have been top of the high megapixel race for Digital SLR’s.  Now Canon take the lead again with the new Canon 5Ds at 50 MP its knocking on the door of medium format for resolution if not dynamic range.

For me though the more interesting camera released this week is the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Digital Camera Body.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II top

Hasselblad have a shift mode in some of there cameras allowing you to get better resolution with less megapixels.  The new Olympus can do the same trick, so while on paper a very good 16 MP micro four thirds sensor, it can when shooting a static subject and on a tripod rival a cameras of 40 MP or more.

The old model was great camera, but the build quality compared to the OM-D E-M1 and E-M10 was not in the same league, I expect this to be close to the great M1.

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