A Charlie Chaplin impersonator and a guy drawing a pentagram on the ground, on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh.
A girl dressed as a mermaid on the royal mile, an evil mermaid with red eyes and pointy teeth… Gotta love the festival.
One of the street performers on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh during the Edinburgh festival. She was painted head to toe in gold, hence the name of the post. Thought I would try out a tilt shift – style edit on this one. I wasn’t sure about it, but it’s grown on me.
I finished work a but early last week so I headed along to Holyrood park to catch the sunset before I got the bus back to Glasgow. Glad I did because it turned out to be a beautiful night. This is the only shot I’ve edited so far, I so much stuff to edit I keep forgetting about certain sets. Not a complaint though, it’s always good to know you’ve got some pics to edit if you’ve got a spare minute.
I’m not usually one for the over-the-top HDR processing, but with this shot I couldn’t resist. The columns and the tower are some of the monuments on Calton Hill, with St Andrew’s house on the far left and the Scottish parliament down below the hill.
Created from three bracketed shots at -1, 0, +1 using Photomatix Pro 4, and then further edited on Photoshop CS5.
I just realised it’s been almost two weeks since my last post, I’ve been so busy that time has just flown in. It’s a good busy though so it’s fine. I’m still enjoying the new job (I would actually go as far as to say I love it), and I’m managing to keep up with the uni work (so far), AND I’ve even had enough time to visit a few friends for a drink over the past couple of weeks, so good times all round!
Believe it or not I’m still editing stuff! These images were both taken at Cramond near the River Almond, albeit on different days. I have no idea why, but I really like the second shot. Not much editing was done on either of these shots. The first just had a few contrast and tone adjustments as well as a little sharpening. The second I edited mainly in SilverEfex, adding a slight vignette and bringing out the detail and contrast on the wooden rail.
After some problems with delivery I’m going to pick up my new tripod from the Post Office tomorrow, yay! Cue lots of night shots!
This shot was taken a couple of weeks back from Holyrood park, looking north-west towards the Forth bridges, which you can see in the distance. The high rise flats are actually only ten minutes along the road from my flat. The river Forth can be seen winding round the Cramond Foreshore just on the right of the picture.
I’m still sorting through a lot of pictures that need editing – including some from the day this was taken. My cycle trip to Queensferry the other day didn’t yield many good shots since it was snowing/raining by the time I got there except for a brief few minutes where the sun managed to peek through, so I’m trying to see if I can salvage any of the shots. Most of them are dull and cloudy, or have big drops of rain on my lens ruining them! The cycle itself was amazing fun. I used to cycle a lot when I was younger, and decided to go through a countryside estate on the way back – queue muddy dirt roads and massive hills! I felt like I was eleven again, it was fantastic. I was half dead by the time I got back, but it was worth it! I still haven’t managed to get the mud off of everything yet though.
Since I’m such a glutton for punishment I’m going another cycle this afternoon, not as far this time but hopefully with better results photography wise since it’s a nice, clear day (and it’s supposed to stay that way!). This is my way of ensuring I actually have some photos to edit and post in a week or so when I’m so swamped with uni work that I can’t get out to get some shots, hopefully my plan works.
Hope you all have a good week
This shot I took on my cycle to Cramond the other day, just along from Granton Harbour. It was taken about half an hour before sunset, facing away from the sunset (that’s why they look a little dark). The water looked amazing, almost like glass and reflecting what looked like a rainbow of colours. Simply stunning.
This is the first successful HDR shots I’ve done in a while because I’ve been trying not to overuse and rely on the technique for good shots, instead practising getting single exposures right. As always I’ve tried to keep it as natural looking as possible though.
The island in the background is Cramond Island. I almost made it over to the island on this trip, but the causeway is only accessible at low tide. As I was about half way across the causeway started to flood! Needless to say I did a sharp about turn and headed back for land. I’ll make it over one day.
I’ve found myself with another day off today (yay!) and despite the bad weather forecast it looks pretty nice outside, so I’m going another photo taking cycling expedition. I must be feeling brave because I’ve decided to cycle out of Edinburgh to Queensferry, which is about a 16 mile round trip. To any seasoned cyclists that probably doesn’t sound like too much, but I am extremely unfit! So, hopefully I don’t die of exhaustion before I get there and back. Queensferry is the point at which the famous Forth Road and Rail bridges cross the Forth Estuary, so I’m hoping for some good shots of those as well as Queensferry itself and some of the countryside I have to cycle through to get there!
So, fingers crossed it doesn’t rain and I don’t collapse! Speak to you all soon!
I borrowed my girlfriend, Ellis’, bike yesterday and cycled along the coast to Cramond beach around sunset, I was lucky enough to get there just before sunset and capture quite a few decent shots before it got too dark/cold. Despite the cold it was a beautiful clear night, the water was very calm and there were even a few other fellow photographers out and about, as well as the odd family or dog walker. I’ll have the rest uploaded soon hopefully. For the first time in a while I already have a lot of stuff to edit after a trip to Holyrood park at sunset a few days ago as well. This might sound like I’m moaning but it feels great to have a backlog of pics to look through and edit, despite the amount of time it consumes!
This shot was taken after sunset on my way home, another one of those shots I almost didn’t stop to take. Pretty glad I did as it’s one of my favourites so far. It looks nice and warm, but it really wasn’t! You can actually see the frost (still no snow…) along the banks of the esplanade if you look close enough. Anyway I’ve got photo’s to edit, enjoy!
Yesterday we had a day of clear skies and sun, although it was still pretty cold. I headed down to Granton Harbour to get some shots of the breakwater, but instead I ended up wandering around the sand looking for shells. I hadn’t done any macro stuff in a while so it was a refreshing change.
When I was editing these pictures I didn’t like the bland browns and yellows that the sand provided as a background, but I wanted to keep the colour in the shell, hence the colour selection. I was amazed when I started bringing the colour back through the black and white images as the colours stood out som much more without the sandy background. I didn’t manage to get everything I wanted in focus, but I like the shots anyway. I might give it another shot and merge some images to get the whole shell in focus next time.
Anyway hope you all have a nice weekend!
I’ve been doing this blog for almost a year and somehow I’ve managed to avoid posting a picture of Edinburgh Castle, or at least a picture where the castle was the main focus. I love the blue lights they have on the castle, seems an appropriately cold colour for winter!
Unfortunately this will probably be my last night shot for a while because I broke my tripod, but never mind. I’m going to have a bit of a hard drive clear out anyway and see if there’s anything I haven’t posted or that I can salvage with photoshop.
These are the last couple of pictures from the market, for now anyway. I was thinking about going out and getting some more of the people at the market, the stalls and people enjoying all the tasty treats, so there could be more to come!
The first shot is one of the stalls that sells mulled wine (or Gluhwein if you’re German). It’s honestly the best mulled wine I’ve ever tasted, somehow even better than I remembered it from last year. They also sell firepunch (not totally sure what that is) but the mulled wine does the trick for me. Nothing better to heat you up in this cold weather!
The second shot is kind of an abstract one, I was just trying out different shots of the hats (they have a lot of novelty hat stalls at the German market, which makes sense given how cold it is!). This one was my favourite with all the colours and the bokeh, for me it sort of sums up the atmosphere you get at the German market.
Hope you all like
Another couple of pictures from the Christmas market. I was trying to focus in on the baubles to get some nice bokeh effects. I tried catching some reflections in the baubles as well, not sure whethr those shots worked though so I might post them later, we’ll see. To be honest I’m not totally sure about these pictures but I think it’s just because I’ve gotten too used to landscape stuff. I was hoping to have some snow landscape pics by now, but no snow so far just lots of wind unfortunately!
On a different note tomorrow is the hand in date for my last essay for this term, then I’m off uni until January 16th, yay! So yeah, I should probably get on with that essay then…
Well, it is in Edinburgh anyway. The German market and all the attractions that come with it are here! The whole of Princes Street Gardens East gets transformed at this time of year into a winter fairground complete with an ice rink and the big wheel in the picture above. As well as this we have lots of stalls that sell German food and drink, as well as lots of other types of food, local and from further afield, and lots of Christmas trinkets, jewellery and other stuff. The whole place smells of amazing food – bratwurst, mulled wine, waffles, burgers, chestnuts, chocolate…. I’m making myself hungry here! Basically, its awesome. I love the German market!
I know I haven’t been posting much lately, but I finish uni next week and I only have a few essays left to do and I’m free for the holidays (well, from uni at least), so hopefully I’ll a few more regular posts over the next week, with more pics from the German market for you all.
Also no snow so no Edinburgh snow pics yet, but it’s getting pretty cold so it’ll only be a matter of time I think.
Hope you like the pictures to come, and that they can give you a littel taste of our awesome Christmas market/fair
OK, so Autumn started about 2 months ago, when these pictures were taken, but I took my time getting them edited and posted. I love these pictures because I was enjoying one of the last days of warmth as the first leaves fell around me, with all the other people in the Princes Street Gardens doing the same. It was a beautiful evening.
Two pictures this week, I couldn’t decide on black and white or not (as usual), so you can let me know which you prefer. My favourite is the black and white, surprise surprise! I also like it because of the single leaf as well though.
I haven’t really had much of chance to get out and about for pictures recently, but since the sun has started setting behind the castle (rather than slightly more north west) I’m off to get some nice sunset pictures over the city tonight. Hopefully I make it back down from Arthur’s seat in the cold and dark though!
Oh and I’m still waiting to hear about the job, something about a problem with getting a reference from my old employer, but I’m still hopeful
Hey everybody! Long time no speak, not properly anyway! I’ve been working a lot and also had a lot of other things that I wont bore you with going on in my life recently. It’s actually been quite good to take a step back from photography for a couple of weeks, I haven’t taken any proper pictures in ages! Luckily I have a few I’ve been meaning to post for a while sitting on my hard drive.
This is a picture of the Scottish Government building in Leith, Edinburgh (not to be confused with the Scottish Parliament building – this one actually looks like a Government building, whereas the Parliament building looks like luxury flats or a modern art gallery).
I have a black and white if this shot, but for once I prefer the colour version. Enjoy!
Another picture from my outing to Newhaven with my new ND filters. This shot isn’t as dark as the picture in previous post (it was taken about ten minutes beforehand), and you can actually see a little bit of detail on the rocks and under the water. You can just see the last remnants of the suns light, which looks like a flame, reflected in the water. This wasn’t technically a long exposure picture, I was just lucky enough to get the water when it was really calm.
Some people where asking about how to do long exposure shots, so I’ve decided to give explaining the technique a go. Bear with me, this is my first attempt at a ‘how to’…
1. First off you need a tripod, because you have to use a long exposure for this type of shot. If you try and hand hold past about 1/30 sec, you just get a colourful blur, believe me I’ve tried! Also a shutter release cable is good, because you don’t want to press the shutter button and make the camera shake. Most cameras also have a timer that you can use to avoid having to touch the shutter button right before you take the picture.
2. It is a long exposure that gives the ‘milky’ or ‘smoky’ effect from the water in these kinds of pictures. For this shot I used a relatively fast shutter speed, but for the picture in the previous post I used a shutter speed of about 50 seconds, meaning that the shutter was open for 50 seconds, hence the need for a tripod (although if you want everything to be perfectly exposed so that you can see details in rocks and stuff you will need to expose for longer than this). To let as little light into the camera as possible I used the lowest ISO setting of 100, and set my aperture to f/22 (so that it is closed right down rather than wide open). One problem with using a low f/stop is that your image won’t be as sharp as it can be, but that can be fixed using smart sharpening or the unsharp mask in Photoshop.
I also used two neutral density filters (or just ND filters), darkened pieces of glass which screw onto the front of the camera lens. You get different strengths of filters and you can stack them to let in less light.
As well as ND filters I also used a polarising filter. The main purpose of this filter is to give deeper more vivid colours and also to cut reflections on water, glass etc, and it is adjustable by twisting the ring on the lens. A side effect of this filter is that it also lets in less light.
3. Getting the exposure right for the whole image is tricky in landscape pictures. I used evaluative exposure metering for this shot and exposed for the water, because it wasn’t much darker than the sky. The water turned out perfectly exposed, but the sky was a little bright so I lost some detail and colour. There are a few different ways to fix this. You could use a graduated neutral density filter (or ND grad filter), which is essentially a piece of glass that is dark at the top and gradually becomes transparent towards the bottom so that the top of your image is darker that the bottom. The filter is held in a holder which screws onto the front of your lens, although I think there are also screw on ones available.
A cheaper way if you already have Photoshop/Elements is to shoot in RAW mode. Process the picture in RAW format in Photoshop so that the foreground is properly exposed, then open the RAW file again and process it so that the sky is properly exposed. Once you have both the images processed and open in Photoshop then copy one onto the other so you have two layers on top of each other. Create a layer mask for the top layer (e.g. the properly exposed sky) and then invert it so it cannot be seen. Then use a black brush and paint over the layer mask and it will reveal your properly exposed sky on top of your properly exposed foreground. Here’s a great little video tutorial on layer masks.
If you have Nik’s ColourEfex Pro 3 plugin for Photoshop then there is a graduated neutral density filter in the plugin which does the same as an ND grad filter but in post processing rather than when you take the picture, and also lets you choose how dark the grad is, what angle, how far down the image etc.
4. When actually taking the picture my camera only goes up to a 30 second exposure so I had to use ‘bulb’ mode, which I think most DSLR’s have. This mode allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you want. This is where the shutter release is really essential, because it allows you to lock the shutter button, meaning you don’t have to hold it down to keep the shutter open.
Guessing how long to keep the shutter open is a bit tricky however, it’s just a bit of trial and error really. If you are only just underexposed on the exposure meter (e.g. only a few stops to the left of the middle of the meter) on the camera’s LCD display, and your camera’s max exposure is 30 sec, then maybe use 40 or 50 sec exposure. If it is further to the left of the centre of the meter adjust accordingly. like I said it’s just trial and error.
Well I hope that explains it well enough and clearly enough. If anything needs clarified just ask. Also if you think the way I’ve explained things could be done better or if I’ve left anything out then let me know and I’ll be happy to fix it. If people find this helpful I might do more in the future.
Hope this helps!
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Some more pictures of Newhaven beach (I’ve sort of ran out of places to take pictures of, in case you haven’t guessed!). It’s been a while since I posted a sunset picture, even though you can’t actually see the sun in this shot (it’s a few minutes after sunset). It was more the water and the colours, rather than the sun, that I wanted a picture of anyway. I’ve been wanting a nice serene water shot like this for ages, so I’m glad I managed this one. I have a few more so expect more of the same over the next few days, I’ll try and keep them varied though
This shot was taken using two ND filters stacked, an ND4 and an ND8, as well as a polarising filter (because it also lessens the light hitting the sensor, and gives more vivid colours). I also used the highest f stop on my camera, f/22, so that I could get a nice long exposure to create the smooth water effect. I ended up using a 50 sec exposure for this shot.
This is the phonebox on Leith Street, possibly quite a strange subject for a photography? I’ve been wanting to take this shot for a while, and I managed to get one at night where the light is spilling out the side of the phonebox. I suppose it was the composition of the objects on the wall that I like. I read that a photograph should have something that draws the viewer in or something that the viewrs eye can rest on. I don’t know if this picture has that, but I still like it.
I tried to clone out the HMV advert, but it didn’t look natural, and I suppose it’s part of the scene anyway. A few weeks ago there was a Kung Fu Panda 2 advert whch would have been much cooler!
This picture is an HDR from three shots, with a black and white layer brought down to about 40% opacity, with the colours brought through a little bit using the vibrance slider to give it a nice faded gritty look. I also used control points in SilverEfex to lighten the areas at each side of the phonebox to exaggerate the light coming out.
This is a picture I took on Monday night (the safest night for night photography without getting hassle from drunk people). I don’t know the name of this bridge, or if it even has a name, but it is just off Festival Square, in the west end of the city centre. It is in probabl;y one of the most modern areas of the city, surrounded by bank plaza’s and other modern office buildings, that come close to being skyscrapers in design, but not in height.
This is an HDR composition, with the sky converted to black and white using Silver Efex, and a high structure black and white layer over the rest of the image at about 90% opacity to allow just a tiny amount of colour to remain, which had also been sharpened. It took me 45 minutes to get this shot because, as I eventually realised, the buildings aren’t quite in line with the bridge, and it’s hard to align things in the dark (good ‘ol Photoshop helped save this).
Here are some more pictures from our our outing to Duddingston Loch the other day, by way of the Innocent Railway tunnel. I wasn’t actually able to get as many pictures of the loch as I wanted mainly because I would have had to get down low on the ground and it was covered in something the many, many Geese had left, and because the sun was in the wrong position. Every shot I took had a glaring fireball and some terrible lens flare in it. I should probably plan these trips a bit better! I’m hoping to get out there at sunset/sunrise for some shots at some point, but since the sun currently sets around 10pm and rises around 4:30am, I’m going to wait a while.
As far as I’m aware the geese are Canadian geese. This is the first time I’ve ever seen them up close, and there were loads of them! They were totally oblivious to us (as soon as they realised we didn’t have food), except for one little gosling which squeaked at me when I got to close and ran off to its mummy/daddy goose. I felt quite bad about it.
The shot of the loch is an HDR, but the ones of the geese/gosling’s are just straight up captures which have only been cropped and sharpened, with a little adjustment for contrast and brightness too.
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This is The Innocent Tunnel, formerly a railway tunnel but now part of a cycle path. I’m going to be lazy here, this is what Wikipedia says about it:
“The Innocent Railway is now a cycle path connecting central Edinburgh, at Newington and St. Leonard’s at its west end, with Duddingston, Niddrie and Craigmillar to the east. The path continues, directly linking Bingham and Brunstane.
The route has what might be Britain’s first railway tunnel built around 1830 by James Jardine, which stretches 350 yards under the southern edge of Holyrood Park and is open to the public, forming part of the cycle route through the park. There is also a cast iron bridge at the Duddingston Road junction which is one of the earliest surviving examples of its type. The route passes very near to, and affords a view of, the Scottish Wildlife Trust property of Duddingston Loch.”
It’s quite a creepy place to be, even during the day. It was pretty warm outside but with all the dripping from the damp walls and the fact that you can see your breath and hear every little movement echoed it was quite easy to forget about the sunshine outside, the only hint of it the light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn’t look that long in this picture, or when you’re in it, but it is very deceptive.
Apparently there are several tunnels like this in Edinburgh, I have just discovered. The rest aren’t strictly speaking open to the public, but access isn’t too bad, I’ve heard. Queue future spooky tunnel adventures!
P.S. I forgot to mention it’s called The Innocent Tunnel because it was part of “The Innocent Railway”, so called because it was horse drawn at a time when steam power was still considered dangerous. This is the official story, however another theory states that it is called this because no one died during the construction of the railway, which was fairly uncommon in those days.
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This picture was taken a few weeks ago at the Shore in Leith, it’s the old harbour bridge which is only accessible to pedestrians these days as it can’t handle vehicles. There are boring looking modern style flats at each end of the bridge so I deliberately made sure they weren’t in the shot and ended up with this weird composition.
It’s actually sunny today, wahey! And I’m off work, double wahey! After exploring one side of Holyrood Park so much I’m going to explore the other side today, apparently there’s a Loch and stuff so I’ll hopefully have some nice pictures of that to post. There is also an old railway tunnel (now turned cycle path) that is 517 metres long so I’m going to check that out and try for some motion blur shots of some fast moving cyclists, or just some creepy tunnel shots.
Anyway hope you like this shot, I was a bit unsure about it but it’s grown on me.
I took this picture ages ago, I can’t even remember the exact month. I wasn’t so sure of it at the time but I gave it a bit of a tidy up and now I’m quite happy with it. It was taken in Princes Street Gardens, that much I can remember! I was on a wander about the city with my little brother (I say little, he’s about an inch taller than me) and we had stopped to take a breather in front of these two tree, so I got the camera out.
The gardens were created in the 1820′s, so these two trees were side by side for almost 200 years before I stumbled along with my camera to take this shot.
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