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Friday, 11 October 2013

Sold Canon 5D full frame, changed to Olympus OM-D E-M5

Well, I've done it, after much deliberation I have swapped all my Canon full frame gear and gone over to Olympus OM-D E-M5. One of the main reasons was the weight and bulk of the Canon system.

My recent trip to Korea made me wonder if the weighty Canon gear was the best for me. There was lots to see and photograph there but I was disinclined to carry lots of heavy lenses around while sightseeing so tended to pick on one lens to take with me. As you may have guessed, I normally ended up needing one of the lenses I had left behind. As a result my wife, Sue, who had taken a small compact camera returned from the trip with many more photos than me, but the quality from the small compact wasn't what we were used to.

The deciding factor was a trip to Glen Coe in the Scottish Highlands. We went for a hike in the mountains, not too far just a few miles really, I was carrying all my normal Canon gear, 5D, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 f4, 17-40, tripod and various bits and bobs and Sue was carrying a similar amount. We realised that photography equipment was taking the enjoyment out of the trip. We were carrying far to much weight to enjoy the whole mountain experience. Something had to change.

We started searching reviews and forums for the right camera. One camera that stood out was the Olympus OM-D E-M5. It seemed to have everything that I was looking for, small size and weight, good IQ, good range of features including the excellent image stabiliser and very fast AF.

I gathered all my Canon gear together and took it all to Ffordes in Beauly, which is the main photographic outlet near to us. It all went in part exchange for the Black Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the 12-50mm kit lens. I also purchased a used HLD-6 grip that they had in stock and, as part of the Olympus promotion, I could send for a free 45mm f1.8 lens.

I have now had it for a few days. The first thing I found was that, although you could use the camera straight out of the box, to get the best out of it you have to spend time getting to know the menu system and setting it up to how you personally want to use it. The menu allows you to change almost everything in the camera, including which buttons and dials do what.

The printed manual that comes with the camera is not much better than useless. There is a pdf user manual on the software cd which comes with kit, but I found that the best and quickest way to set it up was to visit some of the many forums on the internet to see how others had set it up. I found this one particularly useful Thumati.com. This was a good starting point and I'm still experimenting with my setup. To that end, I have now reset my camera to default camera settings no less than six times and each time I get closer to understanding the menu.

I now have to get  out and see what the camera does in the real world...







Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Trip to South Korea August 2013

At short notice we (my wife Sue and I ) decided to visit South Korea. We booked flights on the internet with ebookers.com. It seemed quite strange not having the normal tickets that you get from travel agents, instead we had A4  sheets which we'd printed from the ebookers site. Much to our surprise, it all worked well.
The outward journey took us from Inverness to Amsterdam, from there we took a 10-hour flight to Seoul, where we had an overnight stay.
The Korean Traditional Cultural Experience centre had various things going on in the airport, one of which was this parade. It appeared to be a wedding ceremony of some kind but we were unable to find out in the time we had there. 
Image of Traditional Korean Cultural Ceremony at Incheon Airport  S Korea
Traditional Korean Cultural Ceremony 1




Traditional Korean Cultural Ceremony at Incheon airport, s Korea
Traditional Korean Cultural Ceremony 2

From Seoul we took a one-hour flight to Busan in the south of the country. This was where things started to get interesting, we needed to get a bus from the airport to the town of Okpo, which is on Geoje island about an hour's bus ride from the airport and connected to the mainland by two bridges. The problem we found was that buses in the area don't have numbers, just the destination, written in Korean!
 A Korean man, who saw us looking confused, approached us. With the help of a card we'd prepared before leaving Scotland with the address we were going to written in Korean, he indicated which bus stop we needed. This was our first experience of how helpful the Korean people are.

Main road into Okpo , South Korea.
The main street going into Okpo with local police car, blue and red flashing lights always on.

We eventually got the bus and were dropped off in Okpo. We now had to find our way to the apartment we were staying in. I flagged down a passing taxi and, using our prepared address card, we eventually arrived at the apartment, which was on the seventh floor of the building on the right of the image above.

Image of man crossing at pedestrian crossing while cars drive around him in Korea
Road art, cars ignore pedestrian crossings in Korea

 
The first thing we had to get used to was the fact that pedestrian crossings are really no more than graffiti. They may well be an indication to motorists that people may be crossing but they don't give way in any form. Some crossings are situated at junctions with traffic lights but even then we saw cars ignore them.

Image of the wooden walkway at Okpo harbour, South Korea
Wooden walkway at Okpo harbour

Koreans seem to do a lot of walking and there appeared to be well laid out paths in the forests. The image above is of a wooden walkway that connects the harbour area with one of these paths which then meanders along the coast passing a number of beaches.
 

Image of sidestreet in Okpo town centre.
Sidestreet in Okpo town centre, just thought it would convert to mono well
 
 
I had intended hiring a car whilst in Korea but after seeing the Koreans driving and being unable to make any sense of road marking, like in the above image, I decided I wouldn't have time to get to understand the signing in just the two weeks we were there.


Market stall laid out on the roadside in Okpo, South Korea
Market stalls were to be found on most of the roads within the town area. Most were selling vegetables of one kind or another but there were others selling a variety of foodstuffs cooked and uncooked. Also clothing and even stalls of nothing but knives of various types.
 

Image of Indoor market in Okpo, South Korea
Indoor market in Okpo, South Korea


Image of Indoor market in Okpo, South Korea
Indoor market in Okpo, South Korea

 

Image of fishing nets and boats in Okpo harbour
Fish appeared to be the staple diet of the people of Okpo and fishing boats and nets were in abundance in the harbour.


Image of Fishing boats in Okpo harbour
Fishing boats in Okpo harbour


Image of the The Deepsea Aberdeen under construction in the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering’s yard in South Korea
The Deepsea Aberdeen under construction in the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering’s yard in South Korea.

Image of the rig Deepsea Aberdeen  Deepsea Aberdeen Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering’s yard in South Korea.
Deepsea Aberdeen Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering’s yard in South Korea.

The trip back from Okpo was slightly different to the outward journey. This time we took a flight from Busan to Osaka in Japan, had an overnight stay at the airport hotel then flew to Amsterdam, followed by a short flight to Inverness.


Image taken in Osaka airport in Japan
Osaka airport in Japan


Image of Escalators in Osaka airport, Japan
Escalators in Osaka airport, Japan




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Reorganising folders in Lightroom


I’ve always been a little slack with my photo folders organisation. My normal procedure is I come back from a photo outing with maybe 30 to 40 images; I’m not one for machine gun type photography. The images are imported from the card to an internal hard disk via lightroom 3.6.
I name the folder by the area that I have visited, such as Assynt or Glencoe; all the images on the card go into that folder.
 The problem with this is that if you take photos from another area, such as an interesting landscape that you see on route the name of the folder becomes meaningless.
All my images go onto one disk which only holds photos, that way the disk is never affected by operating system problems which necessitates a reformat.
The disk contains images going back to 2001 and was a mess. The time had come to do a complete reorganisation and Lightroom has all the tools to do this.
I could have gone through each folder in turn and put them into date order and rename them, I didn’t fancy the brain work involved in that.
I decided to let Lightroom do the majority of the work for me and at the same time transfer the images to a new disk.
I made a folder on the new disk ( Lightroom would normally use the default location for this which is in your my Pictures folder on “C” disk). I called this My photo library , inside this folder I made two new folders  one  I called  New lightroom  catalogue and the other Photos
The new Lightroom catalogue had no images in it as yet. I started the import process, I selected the old disk as the source and the new photos folder within my new photo library folder as the destination. I selected Copy photos to a new location and add to catalogue. As I was importing nearly 10,000 images I selected Render minimal previews in file handling to speed the process up, I would render Standard  previews at another  time I also took the opportunity to winkle out any duplicate files by selecting don’t import suspected duplicates .
In Destination I selected Organise by date I choose to have all the images  go into individual day folders within a year folder. So I selected Year/ month-day. The forward slash is important here because that denotes a separate folder. So I would get a year folder and within that folder each day’s images would go into a day folder.
All that remained was to press Import. I hadn’t prepared myself for the time it would take to copy the files to another disk, my 10,000 images took just over two days. Maybe if I had been just moving the images within the same disk it would have been a lot quicker.
I ended up with all the images in their respective date folders
2005
        01-01

        02-01
        02-02
        02-03
        03-01
        03-02
Etc,etc

Lightroom did all this for me but to make it a little more organised I went through each folder and added a name after the folder date.
ie
01-02 assynt.
I could name as many folder assynt as I wanted because the date would always be different.
I now have a tidy folder structure and as long as I import using the same criteria new images will slot in tidily.

 





     
 

 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Accidentally deleted blog images stored on Picasa web albums

I have just spent two days replacing all images on my blogs, no mean task. While writing my photography blogs I had uploaded a number of images into Picasa web albums. When it came to adding images to blogs I went into the web albums and selected the image I needed.

 My interpretation was that I was copying these image into the blog - no, I was just linking them from the web albums to the blog.

I wanted to update the web albums so I deleted all images sitting quite happily in Picasa web albums ready to update them. Only when I went into my blog, did I realise what had happened. The text was fine but where there had been images there was now a black rectangle. Even if I had found the export blog button hiding away in settings, which at this time I hadn't, it would have done no good. The export only records the links to the photos not the photos themselves.

My only solution was to upload all the images to Picasa web albums again. I then had to go through each blog and insert the new photos, caption them, size them, place them in the correct place and sort the alignment of the text.

This is now complete and in the future I won't be deleting images that are linked to a blog and also having found the export blog button I now have a copy of the blog on my hard drive.

Learn by your mistakes !!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Cromarty Firth port mono photos

 
I've just spent an afternoon converting images from my Invergordon trip to monos. Most of them required a little tweeking in photoshop  before being converted to black and white in Silver Efex Pro.

Photos of 16 ton rig anchores with the Sedco 712 in the background
16 ton rig anchores with the Sedco 712 in the background.
Click on image to enlarge

hoto of Sedco 712 , Normand Neptun and CFPA( Cromarty Firth Port Authority) Tug
Sedco 712 , Normand Neptun and CFPA( Cromarty Firth Port Authority) Tug
Click on image to enlarge




Photos of Normand Neptun and Sedco 712 alongside Queens Dock, Invergordon
Normand Neptun and Sedco 712 alongside Queens Dock, Invergordon
Click on image to enlarge

Photo of Sedco 712 and a CFPA tug
Sedco 712 and a CFPA tug
Click on image to enlarge




photo of 16 ton rig anchores
16 ton rig anchores
Click on image to enlarge


Photo of Normand Neptun and Sedco 712 in the Cromarty Firth
Normand Neptun and Sedco 712 in the Cromarty Firth
Click on image to enlarge


photo of two anchore vessels and the oil rig Sedco 712
The anchore vessels Normand Neptun and the Highland Valour towing the oil rig Sedco 712
Click on Image to enlarge

Monday, 28 January 2013

Photographing The oil rig Sedco 712 in the Cromarty Firth


SEDCO 712         
More images from this set       Here                                                                  
Phil Restan Photography              Here

I recently had an opportunity to visit the port at Invergordon in the Scottish Highlands to photograph the oil rig SEDCO 712 being moved from its anchorage on the Cromarty Firth by the two anchor vessels, Normand Neptun and Highland Valour to the Queens dock at Invergordon.

Image of the Sedco 712 Oil rig
The Sedco 712 in the Cromarty Firth
Click on image to enlarge


The port situated on the Cromarty firth is the north of Scotland’s leading port for the offshore energy industry, having deep water anchorages and high quality maintenance facilities. I was very lucky that we were experiencing fairly mild weather and temperatures were hovering around 2 or 3 degrees, the only down side to this was heavy grey cloud cover, not ideal photography weather but I wasn’t in a position to change that, at least I wasn’t expecting to freeze


The Normand Neptun starts to tow the Sedco 712 towards the quay at Invergordon
The Sedco 712 was to be tugged by the Normand Neptun and Highland Valour with the assistance of two CFPA( Cromarty Firth Port Authority) tugs from an anchorage about 1 ½ miles from the quay at Invergordon where it was going to be tied up for the next eight months or so. I’d arrived at first light, around 8am expecting the rig to be moving towards me fairly soon. However I hadn’t taken into consideration the time it might take to lift the anchors, bearing in mind these things can weigh anything between ten to twenty tons; sixteen tons would be a fair guess at the ones this rig was using.


16 ton Rig anchors with Sedco 712 in the Cromarty Firth

16 ton Rig anchors
Click to enlarge

I was expecting to use three lenses Canon 28-135 f3.5-5.6 is, a Canon 17-40 f4 and Canon 24-70 f2.8 fitted to my trusty old Canon 5D mk 1
I soon found that because of the dull conditions the Canon 17-40’s wide angle was too wide , bringing in too much of the surrounding dull landscape so that was soon packed away. The Canon 28-135 proved useful for the distance shots as the rig was moved from its anchorage by four tugs. The main towing tug was the 80 metre long Normand Neptun, with the Highland Valour also 80 metres but slightly lighter taking up the rear . Two smaller Cromarty firth port tugs were also assisting.
The Sedco 712 with The Anchor vessels Normand Neptun and  Highland Valour and two Cromarty Firth port tugs
Click on image to enlarge

As far as movement is concerned, nothing really happened till around 11am when I realised the Normand Neptun and the Sedco 712 was slowly moving, I started shooting but soon realized that I was going to have masses of very similar shots if I carried on as I was. It was a case of trying to be patient and pick my shots. The Canon 24-70 L  was invaluable, sharp, fast enough to freeze movement and wide enough to get the Normand Neptun  and rig in the shot comfortably.


Normand Neptun towing the Sedco 712

It was close to 11.30am before the Vessels and rig were close enough to my position for me to be able to get some of the more interesting shots.

Normand Neptun and Highland Valout with the Sedco 712
Click on image to enlarge
 
Normand Neptun moving towards the Quay with Sedco 712
Click on image to enlarge
There was a lot of manoeuvring going on close to where the rig was to eventually be tied up,  at 1.30 pm I decided to leave as getting the rig in was obviously going to take some time and light would be fading by the time it was secured. It would make more sense to return when conditions were better , the Sedco 712 wasn’t going anywhere for several months.

Normand Neptun and Sedco 712
Click on image to enlarge



 


Normand Neptun towing the Sedco 712
Click on image to enlarge

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Highland cow photos





Highland cows are great photography subjects. Generally they are calm and can be approached safely, however if you intend to approach cows that you’re not familiar with especially if there are calves it’s probably best to ask the owner if this is ok.
Photo of a Highland cow from Crask in Sutherland, Scottish Highlands
A Highland cow from Crask in Sutherland, Scottish Highlands
Click on image to enlarge
Highland cows can either be photographed to fit in with their surroundings such as those in mountains or rough terrain or, close up to get impact, head on filling the frame.
A bull Highland cow
Click on image to enlarge
Living in the North Highland there is an abundance of highland cows, although I have never managed to get a photo of a mother and calf.
Photo of a Highland cow from Lairg in Sutherland, Scottish Highlands
A Highland cow from Lairg in Sutherland, Scottish Highlands
Click on image to enlarge
This photo of katrina won photo of the month on the Digital photographer website and was published a number of times in their magazine.
 This photo of a Highland cow named Katrina won photo of the month on the Digital Photographer website.
Click on image to enlarge
A black Highland cow
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Highland cows can be found in some strange places
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A more naturally processed Highland cow
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Another Lairg Highland cow
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Photo of a digitally manipulated Highland cow
Ghosts of Highland cows are found in the Scottish Highlands
Click on image to enlarge