Category Archives: Equipment

Project 365… +1

Typing project 365 into any internet search engine will return millions of results and that is a testament to the ease of access to photography and publication in the digital age… Just the thought of taking a photograph each and everyday with a film camera and then getting those pictures exposed and then finding some way to publish those pictures would be enough to make a grown man cry!


Those that have been following my progress across my various websites in previous years will remember I completed a 365 Project in 2010 and also started one in 2011… I did however wimp out part of the way through as it was getting in the way and I really was not learning anything. However, over the last few months I have been considering starting again and almost by accident it would seem that I have me a shiney new 365+1 project (+1, on account of 2012 being a leap year) on the boil. I guess last year as a consequence of shooting for Micro Stock sites I spent countless hours trying to produce technically very good photographs and images were made rather than produced, which in itself is a great learning curve but certainly not the most fun anyone could have with a camera. So alongside shooting for Micro Stock this year I want to try and just go with a flow a little and enjoy taking pictures of the mundane again…

Sunset at Home

The Micro Stock industry is a fickle old lady and many subjects have just been beaten to death and the market is so saturated it is hardly worth submitting photographs, for instance a quick search iStock for the word Sunset returns some 138,000 images, as a result of this at the end of the day last year when we had a pretty sunset I could not be bothered to head out and take a picture. A bit of a shame so having this project this year will hopefully give me a little motivation to take little less of a commercial approach to my camera and just shoot what there is on a few occasions!

Sunset at Home

I am sure that there are times throughout the year that I will dearly regret starting this project again, but looking back at my images from 2010 I am sure that I will unearth a host of images that would not have appeared on my radar if it hadn’t have been for a 365 project. I guess I am on the countdown already as I have just 363 images to go until I am finished, fortunately we are not experiencing winter as we usually do so getting out in the garden at the moment is not a problem which is great because abandonng a 365 project after just 3 days would be incredibly embarassing.
I am not going to be posting updates here daily but will no doubt refer to my project in my blogs thoughout the year but I will try and keep the langauge clean 😉 Please feel free to bookmark my project and leave me comments, they certainly help with the motivation to continue when things start getting a bit repetative!

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Not working quite so hard!

Things have definately quitened down for us a little now that we have our winter wood chopped so we have a little time to relax, unfortunately things are a little barren in the fields and the weather is a little changeable so heqading out with the camera is not really my first choice at the moment. It is however a good time to practice some product photography and tie that in with a little bit of cooking to while away the lazy days of winter. I have been working in with a new light tent that I purchased recently that I will right a review of in due course but I have been toying with some reflections when shooting objects place on glass with solid colour backgrounds.

Coffee and Walnut Muffins!

The image above was taken with my new Canon EF – Lens – 50 mm – f/1.8 II – Canon EF that I wrote about in my previous entry and I am still more than impressed! It was shot at f6.3 to get the depth of Focus and the muffins were put on a glass sheet with a black backdrop in my light cube and I used two flashes at either side to light the shot. Unfortunately I had to do a bit of work in photoshop to be able to get the black all the way back to black. The shot below was set up identically with a red back ground with a purposely narrower DOF f4.5 to isolate the muffin from the cup o’joe and to blur it into the background a little! I really do have to work a little at getting the images out of the camera a little neater as these required a little more effort in photoshop than I would like but nothing that coupld not be fixed, now time to give them a whirl in the wonderful world of the Microstock photography market and see how they fare 😀

Coffee and walnut muffins with extra coffee!

Thats the photography stuff done so whats the recipe I hear you say… Well I suppose I could share, they are actually very tasty and relatively savoury but I think next time I would reduce the salt a little and also increase the amount of walnuts, especially as the walnut tres over here have had a bumper harvest this year and we have been given tonnes of them!

  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 cup whole milk or 1 cup cream
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup lard, melted (or veg. oil)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

I like recipes like this real simple, mix all the dry ingredients together and then add all the wet ingredients and mix until just amalgamated and throw in the oven at 200°c for twenty minutes, boil the kettle make coffee and sit down and relax with that smug feeling!

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Working Hard

The middle of October represents a ceremonial finish for us, my wifes birthday is the time where psychologically we feel as though we are done and we kind of begin to wind down fairly quickly and this year we celebrated with a night out Budapest, I set the camera aside and we went on a bit of a trawl through the streets of the big city. We had a great time ambling through the streets but I came across a bit of a bargain that was to good to ignore in a used camera shop on a back street, a pristine Canon 50mm f1.8 II so although it was my wife buffday I thought I would treat myself and I am very much impressed.

I got mine second hand and very cheap but this is a fantastic lens for canon EOR Digital SLR Cameras and for a bucket load less than £100 I am wondering why it took me so long to get one. Ok the build is not great but it is light focuses quickly and is a great deal sharper than any lens than I currently use and the fact that it has an apperture of f1.8 means that it opens up a whole host of new options for me.

As I say work really has taken over at the moment at home but I put my new toy to the test whilst I was out chopping wood over the last couple of days and have come up with some great shots with little effort that have all been accepted by Microstock sites so my new toy is already clawing back some of what I spent on it 😀

My Chopper!

As I mentioned work has been a little tough recently so I have been very quiet here, chopping shifting and stacking a couple of tonne of Akacia wood is not everyones idea of a good time and it bloody hurts but there is a great deal of satisfaction spending a couple of days and generating what you need to keep you warm throughout the cold and harsh Hungarian winters. My hands are now covered in blisters and the occasional cut and my body feels like I have been run over by a bus, but it is feet up time and I will be spending the next 4 or 5 months blissfully relaxing in our rural paradise!

My Chopper!
The opportunity to be able to get shots like this that I have tried on numerous occasions but struggled to get the shutter speed because I would need to either push up my ISO or aperture too high is like striking gold for me and using that smaller aperture means I can get a much shallower DOF blurring my not too pleasing face, hell if a lens can make a picture of me that sells it cannot be all that bad, and I sold a copy of this picture within hours of it going on line yesterday afternoon. Important note: Not all models need to be pretty 😉

Below is a 100% crop showing the level of sharpness of the image straight out of the camera with no sharpening or retouching, click on the image to see the full and uncropped image:

My Chopper!

Canon EF – Lens – 50 mm – f/1.8 II – Canon EF

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