Photo of the Month – September

Farming ToolsLeica M8
Leica 24mm f/3.8 Elmar-M
24mm, 1/125 Sec at f/4.8, ISO160
Post Processed in Adobe Lightroom V5.6
On a MacBook Pro, OS-X 10.9.4

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Ireland Trip – Castle Ward

Another of the National Trust properties we visited on our recent Ireland trip was Castle Ward.

Castle Ward-2


Close to Strangford there are many walks to enjoy, as well as the grounds and buildings themselves.

Castle Ward

The old laundry is worth a visit though a little challenging to photograph with the low light and high contrast.

Overall through I was pleased with the pictures, is sometimes nice to be limited with a simple Leica and just a couple of lens.

Castle Ward-3

The widest lens I had with me was a 24mm, which on my Leica M8 is closer to 32mm, so the picture below is one of a few stitches I put together.

Castle Ward-4

Its a little wide really for an accurate stitch and it was also handheld but it got the scene in and gives you an idea of the view.

Castle Ward-5



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iMac 5K Announcement


Last Thursday we had another press conference from Apple, this time it was the iPad announcements, we also had a Mac update.

My old 2008 Macbook is getting a little slow now for Photoshop and while ok for light photography use its getting a bit difficult for more advanced work.

Since moving house last year and getting my new office, I am starting to think a nice desktop would be nice rather then a laptop.

With that in mind I have been looking at the Mac Mini’s and the iMac’s.

While the Mac Mini is a good little machine, and I may get one to use as a home server, the graphic limitations would mean it would not last as long as a new MacBook Pro or high end iMac

At the other end of the spectrum is the new MacPro, this for high end graphics and video work is excellent, but for editing still images is overkill.

So that leaves the iMac.  The smaller model is possibly better for my desk, I already have a large NEC Spectraview Reference monitor but it is not user upgradable, thus I would have to buy it maxed out.  The larger 27 inch model is user upgradable for RAM so I could buy the 8 GB version now and upgrade to 32 GB in a few years.

The current models have yet to be upgraded only the new 5K iMac has the new chipset so if I wanted one now that would have to be the one.

People always say never buy a first gen Apple product, now there is some true to that in the second gens are better, but the next version is always better and I have yet to have an issue with a first gen Apple product so that would not put me off.

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National Stockings Day 2014

For the last several years there has been a National Stockings Day, well today is again the day.  This year its to raise money for Breast Cancer Charities.

Here is one of my stocking photographs:


Stockings Day


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Ireland – Mount Stewart

Mount Stewart-4

When Caroline and myself got married, we both had homes, so when it came to wedding gifts there was not much we needed.

Being keen travellers of the United Kingdom we asked for life time memberships of the National Trust and of English Heritage, this enables us to get free access to many fantastic places across England, Wales, Scotland and of course Northern Ireland.

Mount Stewart-3

So when we are on holiday we always look out for NT and English Heritage locations to visit as many are photogenic.

Mount Stewart-2

Here we went to the magnificent Mount Stewart, a place where many current movies have been filmed such as the new Dracula movie.

Mount Stewart


It was a very bright and contrasty day, and without using HDR many of the photographs could not capture the full exposure range, but still even these look good I think.

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Leica T Lug Kit for Third Party Straps

match-technical-strap-lug-kit-for-leica-tThe Leica T is quite a refreshing change, and very different for Leica, even the way the strap attaches to the camera is unique, and while liked, the strap is not quite so well liked.  Well there is now a solution available from your favourite Leica store, the matchTechnical T Strap Lug, which enables you to fit any strap to your Leica.


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Ireland – Portaferry

At the bottom of Strangford Lough on the east coast is the little town of Portaferry, here we caught the ferry to Strangford to visit Castle Ward.

Before we headed over we had a good walk round. Its quite a photogenic little town and worth a look round even if you are only going there to catch the ferry.




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iOS8 and RAW+JPG

- Leaving IrelandWhile on holiday in Ireland I only had the iPad available to me as my main computing device.

Each day I backed up my photographs and imported them into PhotoSmith so I could add metadata to them.

After my visit to National Trust Village of Kearney which was my first photographic trip of the holiday I backed up to the iPad as usual and then tried to import them into PhotoSmith, but all I got was blank images.  I then tried my favourite iPad RAW processor,  PhotoRaw.  This had the same problem.

So I put the memory card somewhere safe and put in a fresh formatted one.  For the rest of the holiday things were fine, so I suspected a faulty memory card.  Once I got home I imported and synched everything up to my master Lightroom catalogue.  My laptop had no trouble reading the first memory card.

So what was the issue, well it turns out there is a bug in iOS8 at the moment, which causes issues if you shoot RAW+JPG.  It turns out by coincidence that the first days shoot was which the camera set to RAW+JPG, but the following days shooting was RAW only thus I did not have the problem.

Hopefully iOS8.1 will fix this issue.

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New BMW R1200RS Released

R1200RS 2014

BMW announced today a new BMW R1200RS.  The old RS from pre 2010 was a much loved bike.  Called a sports tourer, it was less sport and more sensible, comfortable commuter/tourer, with all day comfort for two and luggage.  It was not the prettiest bike in the world but owners loved them.

Well we finally have a new model, much more a sports tourer then the old model, I look forward to testing one next year.

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Kearney Village

Kearney Village

Our first trip out, took us to the National Trust Village of Kearney on the east coast of Strangford Lough.  At the time the sun had not yet come out, so here is my desaturated photograph of the village.  I have also added a colour tint, brown to the shadows and blue to highlights, this has given it a bit of a older film feel.

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Panoramic Views

Pano Layers in PhotoshopWith the Ireland trip being for pleasure I can forgo my normal strict photography practice and play around with the photographs a lot more.  After importing them into Lightroom on Monday I looked at the shots that I had specifically intending to work on in Photoshop.

I took photographs to post process using three techniques while away:

  • Focus Bracketing
  • Panoramic
  • HDR

The techniques involved are broadly similar so I thought today I would show you one of the panoramic shots I took.

Now today many cameras do in-camera panoramic’s but these leave you with a jpeg file, what I like is starting with raw files.  To do a really good job you can get a pano head for your tripod but these are all shot handheld.


As you can see I took six shots with a good deal of overlap, all as RAW.  The final shot was just a marker so I new where the set ended.  Its just a shot of the palm of my hand at the maximum shutter speed to make a dark frame.

After a very basic edit in Lightroom all six images were opened as layers in Photoshop using the Lightroom Merge to Panoramic in Photoshop command.  This created image at the very top.


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