Tag Archive: Photography


A flickr contact posted  a fantastic HDR picture of an abandoned garage last week, so after a quick mid-week scout of the site, I went for an explore Saturday morning.

Here is the full set on flickr.  (Shows a full screen slideshow, on black).

All the breaking had been done previously, so it was left for us to slip in through a side entrance, using some chairs conveniently left by previous visitors.

At the back of the garage we find a small office, perhaps a supervisor would have sat here, or mayb it was a tea room…One chair remains with a few pieces of left equipment.

Supervisor?

Supervisor's Chair

In the main work area there is a workbench, complete with some tools, perhaps put down on the last day of business.  The tool boxes are empty, perhaps the small tools were taken by the former owner, or maybe they have been stolen.

Workbench

Workbench

I was really looking for the personal touches left behind; those little signs that tell a story about the individuals wh used to be here.  At the back we found some hooks, perhaps for mugs or coats.

Chris didn't have a hook

There is a second floor space, almost empty aside from a cast aside can of WD-40.  Here is my take on this room, similar to AKPhotography’s, but I’ve gone for a b&w approach.

WD-40

Finally, the signs at he front of the garage show that the site was used as a trailer showroom.  Here is a shot of the now quiet front room, perhaps also where fuel was paid for.

Sales Office

Teccie Bits:  All shots take on an Olympus E510 with 11-22 F2.5-3.5 lens.  Tripod when required.  Processed in Lightroom (cropping), Photoshop CS2 (distortion, perspective correction, with PT Lens), and Silver Efex Pro (B&W Conversion, dodge and burn).

Next door to the garage is a house, also abandoned. I will be processing and uploading the shots from the house later in the week.

Thanks to AK Photography (flickr, website) for sharing the location.

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50p Toy Panoramic Camera

Toy Panoramic Camera

At a car boot sale this morning I picked up a Halina Panorama-F 35mm Point and shoot.  Instead of actually shooting a wider than normal size shot on the film it actually shoots a standard width frame, but one that is shorter than on a standard 35mm camera.  It does however have wide field of view (24mm perhaps) and was good fun shooting a test roll during a bbq.

VickyThe camera is fixed focus, and claims to be sharp from 1m to infinity.  As you might expect from a plastic lens if is not exactly sharp, but plenty sharp enough to take interesting shots without thinking about aperture, iso and shutter speed.  The shutter speed is fixed, so the only user control variable is the, which can only be changed by switching film.  The instructions claim 400 is best, but 100 or 200 can be used in bright light.  I used HP5 400, which shoud give me plenty of room for error.  Only a few shots taken indoors without the flash where unusable

I find with panoramics, it usually makes a better picture if care is given in getting subects both close and further from the camera to help give the picture depth.  In this group shot, I positions a person closer to me on the side of the frame.  By doing this I find it draws the viewer into the picture, so that in this case they are part of the group eating marshmellows.

Finally, a portrait of my with my chicken taken byVicky.  After a BBQ and beers, the extra frame width is handy.

While searching for information on the abandoned cottage I visited recently I stumbled upon a mention of a walk passing two abandoned cottages, not too far from home.

Using the walk route, I was able to spot on my OS map the building, and last Saturday was able to make a visit.

The photos shown, and more, are best viewed big on a black background here.

The building contains what appear to be two separate dwellings, and conveniently for me, the door of one of these was missing.  I walked into a large room, dominated by a bricked in, cast iron stove and fire.  Apart from the fire the room was bare, and furniture must have been taken away.  I can imagine this being a living room, and while the picture shows what look like a cast iron stove, there was a bigger, brick oven in a back room.  Maybe the back room was added on later and this was previously where the food was cooked.

The only other feature in the room is a small cupboard to the left of the stove, built into the wall.  Empty now, it is possible to imagine the cupboard being conveniently positioned to hold a few ingredients, or if we are in living room a few treasured items.

The walls throughout the property where covered in cracked plaster, with patches where the wooden lattice beneath could be seen.  In one place the plaster was carved with “Michael Cole 1911”.  Perhaps Michael was a previous resident?

The second room is narrower, and has two long shelves down the wall.  Looking at the shape, I think it was too narrow to be a room where people would have spent much time, so maybe it was just for storage?

Looking up, little floor remains on the first floor, just the beams the floorboards would have been laid on.  On the side of the beams were occasional hooks.  Perhaps these were convenient for hanging a light.

Through the floor boards the upstairs door can be seen.

Leaving the first room be a door at the back of the building we enter a third ground floor room in a single story section of the house.  Here we find another brick stove and a back door.  Outside here is an old iron pump for water.

The second dwelling is a mirror image of the first, but has not had the benefit of the roof being repaired.  As a result a number of trees have grown inside the building, poking their tops above the roofline.

In the wall between the two homes are a series of holes.  I cannot see any clues as to what these were for, but maybe they held some furniture, perhaps shelves or a sideboard in place?

I was able to leave through the front door of the second home I explored.  The door, wile weathered, still latched and swung smoothly.  Looking back I can see a view into the home a view that perhaps previously welcomed a farmer or farm hand?  The main room at the front of each house appears to be the living room, so perhaps in place of the dirt floor we can now see, there may have been an arm chair by the fire?

Any comments on the photos or ideas for similar sites in the South West Midlands welcome, thanks for looking.

Teccie bits:  All photos taken on an Olympus E510 with either Sigma 30mm F1.4, Zuiko 11-22 F2.8-3.5 or Zuiko 70-300mm lenses.  Processed with photoshop CS2, using PT Lens to remove distortion from the wide angle shots, and a few levels adjutments.  Black and White conversion contrast adjusments and split toning in Silver Efex Pro, and final cropping in Lightroom.

Kitchen

Originally uploaded by BaldyD

Abandoned Cottage, Near Clifton-On-Teme, Worcester.

Unfotunately this place has been abandoned a long time (graffiti indicates 1911?) and there were no leftovers from occupation. The cupboard seen here was empy, and the floor was hidden beneath dirt.

The photo here shows what I assume would be a stove, so perhaps this room was a kitchen/dining room. THe only other room on the ground floor was pretty narrow and had long shelves attached and no source of heat, so perhaps was just for storage. This room may have also been used for living quarters.

The rural location of the pair of houses, in the middle of a field must mean that the house was for farm workers. The building has two almost identical separate dwellings, so perhaps farm workers rather than a land owner?

Out the back was an old iron water pump. Otherwise I cannot imagine that there would be any addtional utilities.

Snowdonia

Snowdonia

A short post, on Monday I took a walk in the snow in Snowdonia.  Due to ice and mist, I walked up the Miner’s Track to where in joins the Pyg Track, then retuned along the Pyg Track. This was generally a very easy walk, apart from the steep climb at the end of the Miner’s Track where it joins the Pyg Track.  This was steep, and as I was the one of first to climb in the morning, hidden in snow and slippy.  I hope to have the weather to get make it worthwhile getting to the top next time.

A few photos from the trip can be found here.

Photos from the walk are here, generally shot in Aperture Priority.  Panoramas shot handheld, merged in PT Gui. B&W conversion in Silver Efex Pro.

360 Panorama of Campsite on Bleaklow

Having seen some pictures link of the B29 plane wreck on Bleaklow Moor, near Snake Pass, in the Peak District, I have wanted to take a look myself for a few months.

Leaving Birmingham after work on Friday, I took wanted to go straight to the crash site to camp for the night, so that I would be there for first light in the morning.

Campsite on Bleaklow

In the pitch black I followed the Pennine Way along the Devil’s Dyke for about 2 miles from the Snake Pass, not far from Glossop.  At the chosen point, at the top of Hern Cough I headed off the pass, across the moor towards the grid

reference I’d picked up from the internet.  This proved tricky, the land if full of dips and raised areas of grass, which make walking in a straight line impossible.  Normally one could pick a landmark in the right direction to head towards, but I’d left it until after dark before setting off, and in driving snow visibility was down to about 5 metres.  However using the Iphone’s GPS I was able to get in the approximate area of the plane, and find a hollow, out of the worst of the wind to camp for the night.

By morning, it had stopped snowing, and fortunately the mist was high enough to be able to see the surrounding moor.  Within 5 minutes I was able to find the plane.

Crash Site

I was surprised at the amount of wreckage, especially considering the plane crashed over 60 years ago in 1948.  I guess to the weather conditions, and the early start, I had the site to myself for about 2 hours (although I was joined by a passing white hare for a split second).

Due to the brightness of most frames, I set my camera to bracket +/- 1 stop in aperture priority mode.  Doing this allowed my to work quickly in the cold, knowing that for each scene, even i the meter was fooled by the light grey mist and cloud, and the white snow, I’d have a good exposure to work with when it came to processing.  Doing this saved me having to change too many settings, and so allowing me to keep my gloves on.  I wandered around the site first with a wide angle 11-22mm lens (22-44 35mm equivalent), then switched to a 40-150mm (80-300 35mm equivalent) to pick out some details.  I finished up with a second session with a wide angle. Again, I avoided changing the lens too many times, this allowed me to leave my back hidden behind a memorial stone and meant I minimised the times I had to stop in the cold. Generally, for the scenes with most white +1 stop was, as expected a good exposure, although for the close up shots, or shots with most dark wreckage, normal or -1 stop compensation was used for post processing.  Post processing was in Lightroom and then black and white conversion in Silver Efex Pro.

My waterproof trousers were very handy here, allowing me to lie and kneel on the snow without discomfort.

The memorial over the site reads:

“In Memory: Here lies the wreckage of B-29 Superfortress “Overexposed” of the 16th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, USAF which tragically crashed whilst descending through cloud on 3rd November 1948 killing all 13 crew members.

The Aircraft was on a routine flight from RAF Scampton to American AFB Burtonwood.  It is doubtful the crew ever saw the ground.”

Memorial

The most striking part of the site are the plane’s four engines.  These made great subjects, with their frosted up heat sinks and gears, and drive shafts (I guess?) poking out the back.

The only other recognisable (to me) part was the undercarriage. I was able to find a set of small wheels attached to some debris which I imagine were under the wing, and a far larger wheel, perhaps from under the fuselage.  The larger wheel amazingly seemed to have the remnants of a tyre still attached – 60 years old…

Debris

Debris

The rest of the wreckage was anonymous to me, just sections of twisted, torn and decayed metal.

I have tried to capture wider scene of the crash site, and also picked out a few details, such as the rivets and the memorials left, I guess last November for Remembrance Day.

No doubt if this accident had taken place in a more accessible place most of the wreckage would have been looted by now, as it is remains a fitting tribute to the 13 men who died in the crash.

A slideshow of the images in this set can be found here

Flickr Scripts

I have recently discovered Grease Monkey add on for Firefox, which allows installation of a number of Flickr enhancements.

I particularly like the Group Sender, and the Background Changer.

Here is a top ten scripts as selected by the Digital Photography School.

Photoshop Mobile

Photoshop Mobile

Photoshop.com Mobile (Version 1.1.0.21)

Released in late 2009 the Official Adobe Photoshop Application is downloadable for free.  While it obviously can’t provide all the functionality of Photoshop itself, it does allow the Iphone user to make basic image manipulations.

The Screen shows four key menus for altering images, with functions placed in a logical order so that it makes sense to work left to right.

The first menu helps tweak composition, with Crop, Straighten, Rotate and Flip tools.  The crop tool unsurprisingly creates a box, the corners of which can be dragged to position where the image will be cropped.  The Straighten tool creates a grid marking over the image, which can then be rotated by dragging a finger up or down either side of the screen.  Compared to the user interface for straightening found in photogene v2.5, this is far easier to control, and the grid lines make it simple to line up a horizon horizontally, or a building vertically.  To keep things simple, there is also a rotate tool which works in the same way but without the gridlines, so an image can be turned in 90 degree steps.  Finally in this section, there is a flip tool.  Using the Iphones facility to interpret swipes of a finger, to flip the image vertically an up/down swipe is needed, and for a mirror image a left right swipe is used.

Composition Tools

Composition Tools

After the composition is completed, the user moved onto the next set of tools, which we can call colour.  The first tool here is Exposure to brighten or darken an image.  Again this tool, as do most others, allow the user to swipe left to right to increase exposure (brighten), or right to left to decrease exposure (darken the image), in total there appear to be steps of +/- 64 settings for exposure, which should allow accurate adjustments.  Saturation (how vivid the colours appear) and Contrast (darkens darks, lightens lights) works in exactly the same manner as the exposure control, by swiping either left to right to increase Saturation or Contrast, and right to left to decrease.

The final two options under the colour menu are black and white, which converts an image to greyscale, and Tint.  By swiping left/right on the screen tint converts the image so that it uses varying brightness of the same colour.

After the colour menu we move onto a filter menu, with three options: Sketch, Soft Focus and Sharpen.  Sketch appears to apply a posterising effect, reducing the number of colours used in an image.  Swiping left to right changes the strength of this effect (number of colours used).

Soft Focus appears to reduce the contrast of an image, which would perhaps be a nice effect on a close up portrait to give a flattering skin effect.  On my Iphone I found the controls for this tool slightly unwieldy, but with trial and error it is possible to apply a subtle effect.  While the application has an indicator to show how the strength of the soft focus effect which indicates that there are 254 different strength steps, in reality it appears there are about five.

Sharpening allows the user to increase definition of an image, which is important on all digital images and should be the last step of manipulation.  On an Iphone this is a particularly important tool due to the relatively low quality of lens and tiny sensor.  The tool seems to work well and allows fine tuning of sharpening so an appropriate amount can be set.

In the final menu, there are two tools.  Firstly Effects offers a selection of 7 presents is varying usefulness.  Vibrant appears to boost saturation, contrast and sharpening, so is a simple way of making an image appear clear and attractive.  ‘Pop’ applied an Andy Warhol type effect, replicating the image 4 times in a square with different tints. Vignette Blur applies a blur effect to the edges of an image; this can be effective in giving a narrow depth of field effect, so that for example a person is a portrait is separated from a complex background. Warm vignette appears to soften an increase the colour an image; I can barely detect a vignette being applied. Rainbow gives an alternative set of tinted stripes. White glow brightens and image and reduces contrast and finally black and white reduced contrast and creates a grey scale image.  While Vibrant, and vignette blur may be useful timesavers, I see the other effects and gimmicks that I doubt will be used very often.

Prior to saving the photo, it may be nice to add a frame.  As mentioned in my Photogene 2.5 review, a thin black frame helps define the edges of pale images on a white background, so is useful for Flickr and Facebook. The Borders tool offers eight present frames, with white rectangle, rounded rectangle and oval, a faded rectangle, rounded rectangle and oval, a film emulsion effect and an effect called halftone (shown below).  It is not possible to edit these borders.

Emulsion Frame

Emulsion Frame

Halftone Border

Halftone Border

To finish the image can be saved, and uploaded to Photoshop.com.

Verdict: Nice range of tools, although lacking the precise control given by Photogene, Photoshop Mobile has a slicker user interface.

Price: £Free!

Pros: Interface, Price

Cons: Has a tendancy to crash on my 3G Iphone, no custom borders/levels controls.

Photogene Title PagePhotogene offers a variety of image editing tools previously unavailable to the Iphone.  Arranged in a series of icons on the left of the screen (portrait or landscape),the tools are easy and intuitive to select and apply the to a photo.  As with most Iphone photo applications, the user can either take a new photo from within the application, or select a new photo from the picture library.

The tools are arranged in a logical order, so typically one will can work from the top tool down to the bottom, however it is possible to use the tools in any order, or go back and tweak an effect.

Crop: The first step is to crop a picture to improve composition, perhaps remove distractions from the edges of the frame.  With the Iphone’s (3g at least) poor close focusing this is useful to get a small subject to dominate the frame.  To crop, like in photoshop, corners of a new frame are dragged into position, prior to a crop being applied.

Mirror/Rotate: Perhaps less useful, but nice to have, the application has options to rotate in 90 degree steps, flip the photo vertically or horizontally.  A slider is available for more subtle rotations, maybe to straighten a horizon.

Filters: Photogene currently has a set of 7 filters to choose from.  On the Iphone I often find some Sharpening can really help an image “Pop”.  A sepia splitone can be an effective way of presenting some picture, and can be applied in varying degrees.  The other filters are perhaps less essential, Pencil, Blur, Posterise, Night Vision, and Heatmap.  A Black and White filter is available, which converts the picture to black and white, surprisingly. However this is 2 colour black and white, not a greyscale option.  A slider can be used to adjust the brightness level where black or white is chosen.

BLack and White Filter Screen Shot

Black and White Filter

Colour Adjust: The Colour Adjust menu includes Photogene’s most useful tools.  Firstly, there is a levels control, common in most photo editing software, but I’ve not seen this elsewhere on an Iphone app.  Slight adjustments using the levels control can give pictures an effective contrast boost, particularly to make sure that blacks are black. After levels, there are exposure and contrast controls, however these are possibly surplus to requirements to a user happy working with the levels tool.

Levels

Levels

A colours option allows adjustment of the pictures saturation and colour temperature using a pair of sliders.  Desaturating an image allows creation of conventional black and white images, although I would normally do this before adjusting levels.  I have rarely wanted to use the colour temperature

control, usually being happy with the Iphone’s auto colour temperature on image capture, however it is nice to know the option to adjust this is there if needed.

Saturationan Colour Temperature

Saturation and Colour Temperature

The final tool under colour adjustment is to adjust the RGB settings.  Again, I have rarely used this tool, but it can be used to give a tint to an image, again with three sliders for red, green and blue.

Symbols tools allow the user to insert coloured shapes onto the phone, such as speech bubbles, stars etc.  A small choice of fonts in available to place text onto these shapes, after a chosen shape has been dragged onto the picture and sized to suit.

The final tool is allows a selection of frames.  A good variety of choices is available, such as square, and rounded with customised line colour and thickness.  When posting a picture to a website with a white background (facebook, flickr), a think black frame is great for marking the edge of a pale picture from the background. Options are available to give shadow effects to the frame.

After editing is completed, Photogene allows the photo to be saved at a custom resolution, and then exported directly to a selection of social media sites, including facebook and twitter.

Verdict:  The most feature packed image editing app I’ve found for the Iphone.

Cost: £1.99

Pros: Number of tools, simple interface, not crashed yet

Cons: Potentially over complex, without presets it can take a while to get the desired ‘look’ and so maybe overkill for a mobile phone app? Photoshop.com app is free.

Porthleven

There are plenty of fantastic pictures of Porthleven in stormy weather, but on our visit there in October 2009, it a calm overcast day. There is however a nice harbour to explore, and a distinctive church right by the sea wall.

The picture here is looking out towards the sea from the harbour; however it is worth taking a look on Flickr for pictures of church (in the background on my shot) in the middle of a storm.  Portleven is a place I have made a note to visit one day when it is stormy.  The pub opposite the Church, the Ship Inn, has a terrace outside which could be the perfect place to wait around for the perfect conditions.

Porthleven is just a short drive out of Helston.

Porthleven

Porthleven Harbour