Get organised, stay organised

Get organised, stay organised

Yesterday’s entry reminded me of a photo that I’d taken when visiting Boston in 2008. The problem was… I couldn’t find it.  Back in 2008, I hadn’t developed any sort of workflow or filing system. In fact, my filing was chaotic. I had different file types in separate folders, no naming convention, duplicate copies of some files, some files missing completely.

In the end, my wife helped me to find the photo. Otherwise, this entry wouldn’t have happened. And I wouldn’t have realised quite how messy my old files are.

I don’t think this would happen with my new workflow – although I can’t be 100% sure.

The (painful) lesson here is that if I want to access my old images, I’ve got an enormous task to sort them out. I guess I’ll have to tackle it little and often.IMGP2883 making an effort, leaving a trail


Messing about on the river

Another shot from our London hotel room – early morning rowers and scullers. Several groups passed by before I felt that the composition was right – to capture the water activity and something of the golden sunrise. If there’s a learning point here, it’s that I need to be a bit quicker to see the shot and make the necessary adjustments to lens choice, camera settings etc. I really need to be much more familiar with my camera functions!


Night light

When we were in London, we stayed in a hotel with a view across the Thames to Canary Wharf. I was captivated by the scene at night. (And slightly horrified by the waste of energy.) I freely admit that I was shooting in the dark – in every possible way. I had/have no idea about the right technique for this type of photography.

I like some of the effects – especially the long exposure smoothing the river’s flow.

All hints and tips would be appreciated. Here’s my helpful hint – a headtorch would make life much simpler than messing about with a phone.

Using the sunlight

Using the sunlight

This image was also taken in Edinburgh – on a bright sunny day. As I stood outside the National Gallery, I looked up and spotted the General Assembly hall behind the branches of the tree. I instantly knew that I wanted to try to capture the building in silhouette. It’s not exactly perfect, but it’s OK. I felt that changing the exposure any more would lose the foreground details. P1220847

Then it occurred to me that it would look better in black and white. One simple conversion late, and I think I’ve got a much better image. What do you think?


Bending the processing rules

Bending the processing rules

In Edinburgh at the weekend, I wanted to capture the Bank of Scotland building on the Mound. The sky was amazing blue, and I had noticed that the St Andrews cross created by the jet trails. My problem was that the foreground was in deep shadow. So, I took some bracketed shots with a view to layering them.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a tripod with me. So when I tried to layer them, the images weren’t aligned (by a long way). I don’t have the skills or patience to align them manually and almost gave up. Then an idea popped into my head.

I know that Photoshop Elements will align images to create a panorama. So what if I used the three bracketed shots to do that?

Well, you can judge for yourself below. I’m quite pleased with the result. (However, I do need to learn

Who says you have to follow the processing rules?

(However, I do need to learn to carry my tripod as a matter of course.)

P1220844; P1220845; P1220846

Off the beaten track

Off the beaten track

We spent part of Saturday in Edinburgh. I hadn’t intended to take many photos (and I didn’t), but I had my camera with me. I also had my phone with me. The shots in this entry were both taken with my phone.

I also had my phone with me. Generally, I use photos taken with my phone for Instagram. I like to stick to the original square format, with the challenge that this constraint brings.

The shots in this entry were both taken with my phone. Being in Edinburgh on a crisp sunny day offers plenty of opportunity for ‘iconic’ shots. And there’s nothing wrong with that.


However, it’s also good to get off the beaten track, to find something a bit more unusual. Like this one:


I was in this area to sell my vinyl records, and spotted this archway along a wee lane. I think it’s full of character and I was intrigued to see what was on the other side. Time constraints prevented that on this occasion. But I’m keen to go back sometime and also to explore other places ‘off the beaten track’.

Sturgeon’s Law

Sturgeon’s Law

I recently heard Austin Kleon talking about this. Theodore Sturgeon was a science fiction author. His ‘law’ states that:

“Ninety percent of everything is crap”

I’m probably taking Sturgeon’s words out of context, but 90% of my photography is crap. And I’m Ok with that. I took 113 images on my recent photo-shoot (it sounds pretentious to write that) of Arran. Of those, 14 were usable. That’s a discard rate of 88%. This is fairly typical of how I take photos. Firstly, I tend to take three bracketed shots, so at best I could only achieve a 33% success rate.

This is fairly typical of how I take photos. I tend to take three bracketed shots, so at best I could only achieve a 33% success rate. Success isn.t the only way that I measure the enjoyment of photography. Simply being there is a large part of it. And, if I learn from some of my discards, then I don’t deem them to be failures.

There’s a risk with digital photography of taking too many snaps because they are ‘free’. Of course, they’re not free – think of the time needed to sift, edit and process.

Sturgeon’s law feels just about tight for me – I may even adopt it as a benchmark. Here’s one final photo of Arran that ‘made the cut’.