I jut realised while going through my latest street shoot how many people I inadvertently catch on their cell-phones. And not necessarily talking either. It’s quite funny really. I wonder what the same people would have been doing to pass their boredom 20 years ago? It’s a smartphone nation I guess!
I opened an old Aperture library today to find an image I was looking for, and while searching I got side tracked looking at old photos. By old, I don’t mean decades, mind you, I just mean from a few years ago! Anyway, I particularly liked this set from a trip I took to new york in 2011. I had never really done anything with these shots so I figured I spent a bit of time playing around with them, and applying the VScO Film presets to a few to give them am nice filmy look.
These were taken the first night we arrived. We had headed out to get something to eat, and all I brought with me was my GF1. I had left the big guns in the hotel (It was the 5D Mark II I had brought with me on that trip, I think). The light was absolutely gorgeous and we sat soaking up the wonderful atmosphere of Bryant park (while also trying to get used to the heat and the new time zone!)
I’ve been using the Sony Nex-7 for almost a year now, and I have to say, I really love the camera. It took me some time to get used to it and appreciate it for what it does, but now, that I’m comfortable with it, I really enjoy shooting with it, and I really like the images it produces. The little Sony get’s a lot of (frankly unfair) criticism, especially for its control layout. I think many people dismiss it without giving it a fair evaluation, and never get to see just how good it can be. Once you learn to use it, and configure the camera to your taste, the controls aren’t that much of an issue. In fact, they become second nature after a while. But I don’t want to get sidetracked with addressing the critics. What I want to talk about is one aspect of the Nex-7 where it really excels. It produces fantastic black and white images.
Normally I shoot raw. Well, I usually shoot Raw+Jpeg, but I usually only ever use the Raw files. With the Nex-7 though, when shooting black and white, the jpegs the camera produces are so good that I use them straight from the camera. I only ever tweak a little. (for these shots I’ve added a little grain in Lightroom) There’s something sentimental about going with what the camera gives you. It’s almost like shooting film in a way. There’s the same anticipation as you load the images into your editing software. I know you can see them on the LCD but it doesn’t do it justice. You only get the full effect when you view them on a big screen. Continue reading “The Sony Nex-7 is a great Monochrome Camera” »
I set out on Saturday to the centre of Dublin city with a little photo project in mind. I was planning to do a series on the colours and textures of Dublin city. It was going to be a piece on the nice and bright vibrant colours that you don’t normally associate with the grey city of Dublin. That didn’t exactly go as planned. It started when the nice light faded and the typical gloom recurred. Undeterred though I continued to shoot. What I found though was that the city has become quite grotty in places. There is a real sense of urban decay. Don’t get me wrong, I like urban decay. It’s an art form in and of itself. Before long I realised that my quest for bright colours had become a graffiti binge.
There’s this wall in Temple Bar in Dublin that I absolutely love. It’s bright blue and covered in graffiti, and if you stand there for long enough the whole world walks by. Well, ok, maybe not the whole world, but you know what I mean. If you stand on the opposite of the street, because there’s so much going on in this area, you can shoot away and pretty much no one pays any attention to you. You can get some great characters walking by, and the great big “Smile” sticker on the boarded up window really adds to the irony of the scene, because very few people seem to be actually smiling! I was there yesterday for a short while and here are just a few of the people going about their business. Enjoy!
When I posted the video of Color Efex Pro and Vivesa the other day, I deliberately left out my favourite plug-in of all the plug-ins in the Nik suite, Silver Efex Pro, mainly because I felt it deserved its own post. I’m still working on a little screen cast to show the software in action, but I thought I might post a little teaser in the mean time. If you haven’t heard of Silver Efex Pro before, it’s a fantastic plug in for Lightroom, Photoshop and Aperture, whose sole purpose is to make great black and white images. To quote an old tv ad, “it does what it says on the tin”. Silver Efex Pro is an amazing plug-in and you can get spectacular results from it. Now that Google have dropped the price of the Nik suite, there hasn’t been a better time to get it.
Here’s a quick example from an image I took the other day. Let’s start with the original colour version:
It’s a nice subject, but the light isn’t great and there’s a lot of distracting elements in the shot. With Silver Efex Pro, not only can you do black and white conversions, but you can dodge and burn within the interface among with other adjustments. Here’s the result:
I think this works much better and its a much better image than the colour version. I’ll have a screencast showing how I did this soon.