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I hope you enjoy my eclectic selection of images. I don't have a particular style and I don't do too much in Photoshop. Almost all my images are processed in Lightroom. Occasionally I indulge in Photomatix but only to deal with excessive contrast.


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  • Ask your printers if they have a template. I produce my own calendar every year and all I have to do is the cover as A3 and then produce A4 images for the top half of each month. I supply tiff files and the printer drops them in to a template they already have. There is nothing complex involved and I get really good calendars. Only thing to remember is that you shouldn't put anything critical near the edge as printers tend to bleed out at the edge and so the final image is slightly (a few mm) smaller than your file.


  • Thanks everyone. The telling quote was
    Quote:A general rule of thumb thats worked for me is at least 1.5GB per virtual CPU core. e.g. a 4 core hyper threading processor has 8 virtual cores so suggest at least 12GB, i.e. 16GB in your case.

    Great idea Paul, but I don't think they do the fun 2Tb as SSD. It's half in half on the Fusion so that's fine by me. My original HD on my current iMac is still pulling well, but it's getting to the end of its design life, so time for a change.

    I think we can call this dead now. Thanks for all the thoughts.

  • Thanks Ade and Martin. I think that answers my questions. I was happy to upgrade my current iMac when it was a few years old, but now I know that the new ones aren't upgradeable, I'll probably go for 32Gb. I certainly filled the 1Tb hard drive when I stored photos on it, but I decided a year ago to use external drives and I have two 5Tb drives to fill. By the time they're full even bigger drives will be cheap. So I'l go for the 2Tb Fusion drive and 32Gb of RAM.
  • Hey guys, I'm not concerned about storage, its RAM I asked about.

    The 2TB fusion drive is half and half SSD and standard disk and I'll not exhaust that 'cos I store more photos on separate drives. So storage is fine.


  • Quote:On a practical note, if your camera is on a tripod at extreme wide angles nothing is likely to be closer to the lens than the hyperlocal distance at f8 - a typical tripod is more than 1m from the ground anyway. So get you foreground risk a couple of metres away in focus and the rest will follow. My advice is not worry about these complexities, at wide angles just find some close and relatively close and focus on that.

    This should read:
    On a practical note, if your camera is on a tripod at extreme wide angles nothing is likely to be closer to the lens than the hyperlocal distance at f8 - a typical tripod is more than 1m from the ground anyway. So get your foreground rock a couple of metres away in focus and the rest will follow. My advice is not worry about these complexities, at wide angles just find something close or relatively close and focus on that.


  • Thanks for the thoughts. The fusion drive is 50% solid state and the rest standard disk. I store all my photos on separate 5Tb drives with a mirror drive with it. My processing and docs etc stay on the main drive backed up using Time Machine.

  • I'm interested in reading this because with a full frame DSLR at 17mm the dof is going to be huge at any aperture. Tape measures are important only for plate cameras where the depth of field is shallower than for 35mm equivalent sensors, and even there I'm not so sure on landscapes.

    You should consider what you want to viewers to focus on and image quality. At 17mm hyperlocal distance at f8 is 1.2m using a calculator I have. That will get everything from 1.07m to infinity acceptably in focus. Using f16 reduces hyperlocal distance to 0.6m and puts everything from 0.57m to infinity in focus, but at f16 image quality will already be degrading. Best image quality for most lenses is in the region of f8 to f11, so you need to balance dof and quality. f16 is only really necessary for focussing on something close such as a bird or macro subject that you need to have sharp from front to back. Once you're into vistas f8 is a good optimum aperture.That's why I say what matters is what you want the viewer to focus on. For critical focus on a 5D II or III use live view, enlarge to !0x and shift the image on screen to show what you want in critical focus. You can then adjust focus manually to suit. So that foreground rock that is key to your composition should be sharp.

    On a practical note, if your camera is on a tripod at extreme wide angles nothing is likely to be closer to the lens than the hyperlocal distance at f8 - a typical tripod is more than 1m from the ground anyway. So get you foreground risk a couple of metres away in focus and the rest will follow. My advice is not worry about these complexities, at wide angles just find some close and relatively close and focus on that.

    You may have to make more adjustments at longer focal lengths, but my guess is that you'll be using those to compress perspective. If you focus on something about 75m away at f8 everything from 8m out will be sharp at 135mm. Again on a tripod with a telephoto that will pretty much be everything in the frame.

    Finally, art is not about precision, it's about the impression your image provides the viewer. As photographers,we all spend too much time with our noses stuck up against our images, and that's not how to enjoy them. How many times do we hear, "That's not pin sharp." The idea of normal viewing distance is key - about 50cm for an A4 image and more for bigger ones. If you get the chance to see a full size Seurat pointillist image, try viewing it at different distances. Up close all the dots are visible, but as you move away the image appears to be more coherent. That's an extreme example, but photography is the same. An example is an advertising hoarding that looks fine across a road, but up close it's grainy. You can see the grain up close but not the subject.

    Viewing an image to assess critical focus is essentially an academic exercise, so whether you are focused a few cm either side of the hyperlocal distance really shouldn't matter at normal viewing distance. I would err slightly on the far side.

    As to your question - laser range finders are useful for surveyors and golfers, but to me they are overkill for photographers.

    Enjoy your photography,

  • Hi all,

    I'm about to replace my venerable old iMac with a shiny new 27"er - it's my retirement present to me. The question is, do I buy 16Gb or 32Gb of RAM? I'm running 8Gb at the moment and if I fire up Lightroom and Photoshop at the same time, things do creak a bit - i basically have to shut down most other programmes. The old thing does cope, but only just. I know it's the whole machine showing its age, but I'd like to be fuss free for a few years and increasing the RAM to higher levels seems to be the way to go.

    In setting the spec for the new one, here's whatI'm going for
    3.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor
    8GB (two 4GB) memory, configurable up to 32GB
    2TB Fusion Drive1
    AMD Radeon R9 M395 with 2GB video memory

    I'm definitely going to upgrade to 16Gb for an extra 160 but is it worth the 480 for 32Gb? And no, I'm not going to put it face down on the table and poke in its innards. I know I can buy memory from Crucial - I updated the current machine myself, but I am not up to the sweaty palmed anxiety of doing that to a new machine; not to mention breaking warranty conditions.

    I guess it boils down to the question - will Adobe, through its developments of LR and PS, continue to gobble memory, and will 16Gb stay ahead of that long enough?


  • It's highly unlikely that the camera will drain the battery when it's off. This sounds a bit like a memory effect - not supposed to happen with modern batteries I know, but your experience seems to suggest it. I'd start again but buy a Canon battery. I have used both Canon and independents, and the Canon batteries outlast the others. I know they're expensive, but the cost of modern photography is relatively low. What you'd pay for a new battery is only about the equivalent to buying a processing a few films.
  • If you mean Advanced Photographer, that went online only last autumn. It's available at
  • Create an album in Photos and share it with her with permissions to download.
  • As someone who used to work for the Inland Revenue (now HMRC), the best thing to do is for your relative to contact them on the numbers quoted. Before he or she does they should gather together as much information as they can about their circumstances in the period of the apparent overpayment. Make sure that the HMRC people the person talks to have all the correct information - errors happen. If there is any doubt ask for details, in writing, of how they made the calculation. If your relative is unsure about dealing with HMRC then contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau and ask for assistance. If you have the (now rare) option of going to a tax office enquiry counter then do that and take along any relevant paperwork.
    If an over payment has indeed been made, then come to an arrangement to have it coded out through PAYE. You can ask for that over a couple of years, and that should be much more bearable than paying it off at once.

  • Quote:Very interesting Alan. Alas, it's a seven hour flight for me to visit London.Tongue

    No staminaGrin
  • You can find her website here She is in The Photographers Gallery in London until January 16th
  • I tried to post this before but screwed up, sorry.
    I found this story on the BBC Website here it's an illustrated interview with Russian photographer Evgenia Arburgaeva on BBC World Service. It's well worth a look.
  • Oh, I forgot, generally you should overexpose a general scene to get details in African skins particularly where the people have very dark skin. For close-ups your metering should be OK, but some cameras will over expose dark skins - the obverse of underexposing snow. You need to test it. More modern cameras cameras will have more exposure latitude, and you can often rely on that to enable correction particularly if you're shooting in RAW.

    When we lived in Nigeria in the 1970s we noticed huge variation in skin colours, and the Nigerians certainly take this into account when describing other people. Be aware that African skin is at least as variable as European in it's tones. This is a gross simplification, but people from SE Nigeria often have much darker skin than those from the north where the genetic mix is with the desert nomads. This will make a difference in how you expose your shots, and you may have to make compromises in processing.

  • It's been said before but there are plentyy of cameras out there that would fulfil your brief, so you need to take a systematic approach.
    I suggest you do a decision table. On the left hand side write a column with price at the top, then features you must have, then a group of features that are important but not essential, and finally a few nice to have features. Then make a list of cameras across the top, put in the price and tick off your features list. Rule out those that don't match your must have list, then those that are too expensive and finally reject those that have too few of your important and nice to have features. That should leave you with a lot fewer choices. If possible go and have a look at the cameras and see how they feel in the hand.
    Then see what's available second hand. Only buy from reputable companies that provide a guarantee. I always swallow hard and spend a bit more than I want to get a better product. It stops me kicking myself later when I start to say, "If only I'd gone for xxx I'd have had better value."
    Generally I would look to larger sensors and possibly CSC type cameras. You will not have sufficient quality for a calendar from tiny sensor photos regardless of the megapixel count.
    Good luck,
  • I use Lee NDs and they are superb. However, the holder is as important as the filter if you're using square/oblong NDs. Lee produce a special holder for ultra wide lenses such as the 17-40 so that you don't get vignetting at the wide end. It up to you what you can afford - the more expensive filters tend to have less of a colour cast - but test them if you can to make sure you don't lose the edges of your frame. If you do have marked vignetting, it loses the point of 17mm.
    The alternative is to use the Grad filter adjustment in Lightroom.
  • What gives the 1:1 reproduction is the fact that the lens is designed to operate at its best at the short end of its focus range. In theory you can expand the range of focus in all lenses to allow you to get 1:1 reproduction on your sensor, but most lenses are designed to work better at longer distances. 1:1 reproduction is independent of the focal length.

    Shorter focal length macros are a bit easier to design, but the disadvantage is that the working distance from the front of the lens to the subject at 1:1 is very short. I use a Canon 100mm and find that at 1:1 I have about 10cm from the front of my lens to the subject. With a 40mm lens the distance will probably be only a few centimetres.

    Hope that helps,

  • You don't say what sort of computer you're using. I have been sharing with my wife and my 90 year-old mother-in-law on their iPads no problem using Photos. Open Photos on the iPad and use import to pull the files from Dropbox that should do it. If you're using a Mac, then share an album from Photos. If, like me, you use Lightroom, you'll have to export the files as jpegs and import them into Photos.
  • As ever the Wail and the Extreme have their own agendas. They always have had. One of them created the Limehouse Murders in the 1920s to try to get Chinese immigrants deported. These were the families of sailors and those brought in to dig the trenches in the first world war. They are fiction, but the story spawned an industry. 100 years on not much has changed. You will remember the EU ruling on straight bananas. Also fiction, but ask anyone in yer average pub and they'll quote this as fact 'cos they read it in the papers.

    So, until any of this unlikely nonsense becomes law just keep on snapping.

  • That was the famous occasion the police removed their numbers so they couldn't be identified and MacPhee's photo captures this detail - look at the epaulettes. As for the rights and wrongs, the minors got it wrong. I often wondered idly how the politicians manipulated Scargill so effectively. He walked into every trap. Lots of passion and no common sense.
  • We all enhance our photos. All cameras are designed to capture data in a way that has to be manipulated to bring out the detail. If you shoot in RAW as I do you are expected to post process it to bring out what you want.

    Ansel Adams used his zone system for exposure to capture what he wanted on his one-off negatives and he processed them in the same way - i.e. he printed to convey the image he had decided he wanted to capture. In other words he manipulated "reality" to create an image. When we view a scene our eyes and brain process the differences in shadow and tone to pick out the details we want to concentrate on. When you take a picture and you know that your camera will not be able to show what our eye/brain perception can, you must make a compromise on your exposure and process the image file later.

    You ask "So it is not a composite if it is a composite of itself?" The composite you talk about comes from the ability to create layers in Photoshop to enable selective processing. We could do that in the darkroom too by dodging and burning. Many photographers, myself included, spent hours printing one image and building up adjustments to the point we were satisfied. When we had printed we took out flaws and distractions using dyes and a OOO paintbrush.
    Cropping has been with us since the early days as have composite images. Even the purist medium of slides can be manipulated by push or pull processing and the use of filters.

    Are you asking - should manipulation be limited, well some competitions do stop it, and in the right circumstances (or wrong ones) such photos should be banned, and they are. A photograph selectively processed to clarify the details is a valid form of communication. Provided the processing doesn't change the facts, e.g. removing Trotsky from the photo with Lenin, it's legitimate.

    Try loading an unprocessed RAW file on the site - it won't work. There is no such thing as an unprocessed jpeg all jpegs are processed in camera. That's why most of us use RAW, because we ant to be in control.

    Basically everything is processed and, provided the tog doesn't change the facts in a news story, or in a nature shot, then relax and enjoy or at least respond to the message in the image. It's no less valid than a news report where the journalist will put his or her slant on the story.