Weekly Photo Challenge: Time

Not the most ‘out-of-the-box’ take on this week’s theme of Time for sure, but an interesting and unusual object nonetheless: the great 24-hour clock, dating from the 1520s – and looking for all the world like a sundial – on the North tower of Chartres Cathedral:


Weekly Photo Challenge: Time

One Photo Focus: February 2016

The original image for this month’s One Photo Focus challenge was provided by Stacy at lensaddiction and is what I’d call a bit of a tester.


OPF Image for Feb JPG Full Size-3398


There’s a lot going on in the original image and not all of it sits comfortably together (a sailing ship and modern high-rise buildings, for a start).


After a lot of thought, I decided to crop in on the rigging and, in particular, the two human figures, which I placed on a Rule-of-Thirds point.

Having looked at the blown-up image, I felt that there wasn’t enough detail in the figures to command much attention so I went for the opposite extreme and effectively turned them into silhouettes by taking down all the sliders – Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks – to -100.

This also made the background sky more interesting and to compound that effect I used a Graduated Filter at the top to reduce the exposure of this part of the image. This not only darkened the clouds but also reduced the ‘blown-out’ area where the sun sits. I think the final result is quite dramatic.

One Photo Focus February 2016

Feeding Time

Never having been one for sharing pictures of my dinner with the world (what exactly is Instagram anyway?), Cee’s chosen subject for this week of ‘Food’ had me stumped initially, notwithstanding that over on my other blog I had recently posted a picture of my take on a deconstructed curry.

But then it occurred to me that it didn’t have to be food for humans, so here’s a close-up of a giraffe grazing on whatever it is that giraffes eat.


Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Food

Thursday Doors: Abu Dhabi

This is part of the dramatic entrance to the Manarat Al Saadiyat Exhibition Centre in Abu Dhabi.


Thursday Doors 4 February 2106


There aren’t many photographs I take that don’t go unedited – especially those that make their way onto this blog – and almost all of those begin with cropping (and straightening where necessary, of course). I agree with Cee very strongly on the importance of cropping: as she writes, it can make a mediocre photo good and a good one great.

(NB: The images in this post have only been cropped, with no other post-processing. In this way, it’s possible to isolate the impact of cropping alone from the overall editing process.)

Eliminating Distractions

This first image was taken from the observation lift that provides panoramic views over Sarlat. The roofs are interesting and colourful but (a) you don’t need to see all of them to get the picture, so to speak and (b) although it’s a medieval town that doesn’t mean that they don’t have access to modern technology. Like satellite dishes; lots of satellite dishes. The cropped version removes all but one (partially obscured) dish – which could be eliminated altogether with further editing, as well as cars, streetlights etc.

As another example of removing distractions, here’s a picture of a nice foxglove, which doesn’t really need the roofline behind it.

Cropping for Composition

Cropping can also be helpful in improving the composition of an image, as in this photograph of the distinctive seedpods of the ‘monnaie du pape’ (‘Honesty’) plant, which in the cropped version are placed on a ‘Rule-of-thirds’ intersection.

Finding a new image

Sometimes, close cropping can reveal a ‘new’ image nested inside the original that isn’t immediately obvious – as in this view from Oradour-sur-Glane.

Taking more than one picture

And finally, as per Cee’s advice always to take more than one photograph, here are two shots of a set of decanters and glasses from a museum in Sarlat. The second is not a crop of the first, but just a close-up: same subject, completely different image.


Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge: Cropping Tips

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

This display of individually hand-painted plates outside a shop in Sarlat certainly meets the brief for this week’s challenge of ‘Vibrant’.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

Before & After: St Mary’s Church, Beverley

ABFriday 29 January 2016

Another ecclesiastical subject this week. However, this time it’s an interior – of the nave and high altar of St Mary’s church in Beverley. A lot of people are aware that Beverley has a Minster (basically, a cathedral without a bishop) and you could be forgiven for assuming that this was it, given its monumental scale and rich decoration. However, it’s ‘just’ a Parish Church.


Nave before

This photograph looks down the main aisle of the church to the altar beyond the rood screen. Apart from the fact that it’s a bit wonky, it displays one of the most common ‘technical’ problems with photographing church interiors: the external light source, particularly when shining through a stained glass window.


Nave after

The first thing – as ever – was to straighten and crop the image. The pews at the bottom of the original weren’t bringing much to the party and the columns on each side provided sufficient in the way of leading lines.

The bright sun shining through the windows high up on the right meant that some of the stonework of the columns on the left was blown out, while the ceiling between the two arches seen in the original was very dark. The latter I dealt with by the simple means of cropping it out (which also took care of the windows) and I applied a graduated filter effect on the left side of the image to claw back some of the detail that was lost in the original.

The second source of bright light was through the stained glass. I reduced the glare by moving the Highlights and Whites sliders all the way over to the left.

The image still had a ‘cold’ overall cast, so I boosted both Clarity and Vibrance, which gave a much warmer tone.

The key colours in the image are obviously blue, orange and yellow. Reducing the Luminance and boosting Saturation (a little) made these ‘pop’ a bit more as well as bringing out still further detail, especially in the painted ceiling.