Happy New Year

I finished my first year of blogging just getting used to the idea and finding out there’s more to blogging about photography than loving it.

When you make resolutions I suppose it’s an admission that you need to do better.

So my main resolution is to blog more regularly.

Yes, this could be just too boring but I’ve given some thoughts to a plan.

Here it is:

Every month to write at least one post on some of these things:

  • Reviews – tell you what I think about equipment I’ve used, books I’ve read, techniques I’ve been using and of course, other photographers’ blogs.
  • Plaudits for dealers and products with good service.
  • Upload photos that interest me and especially those that I have displayed on forums, some of the comments made about them and my reaction to them. Perhaps changes I’ve made as a result.
  • And connected with all this there’s something a number of readers have emailed me about – that’s my working methods and outlook on photography.

Here’s the first picture to start the year.

I like to get up early in the morning – well before 6 and get down to work. As I was editing some RAW files I saw the sun come streaming through my study window – a bit different from the old darkroom days.

I got up to draw a shade across the window and through my open door I saw the sun in the living room catching my poinsettia throwing a long relief shadow against the wall.

I went to get a camera – my Canon D350 and my manfrotto tripod. By the time I was set up with mirror lockup and self timer on, the sun had gone. The fleeting shadow vanished and the day was dull.

I tried what I could to replicate the light. I set up one of my studio flashguns with a small bright reflector to provide a harsh shadow. But I simply couldn’t get what I wanted. No fault of the flashgun which is a Chinese built Yong Jiang Model YJC-200 which is a great gun with continuously variable power, consistent output and an accurate modelling light.

The day came and went and I was ready next day in case the sun came through again. It did and I was ready.

As so often the result was not as I imagined. The picture produced in camera was quite different from the one of my imagination and my inner vision.

But still all was not lost. I sat down at my computer and began the serious business of creating a picture on the screen.

My main decision was to get rid of the flower and concentrate on the shadow and the wall.

This is my first effort and some of the feedback I received.

Poinsettia shadow - first version


Poinsettia Shadow – first version

“This looks great John, I like it.”

“Nice image. Great graphic simplicity. Shame the leaves just extend beyond the frame on the left. I’m not sure oversharpening has done any harm here (for once!) as I think it adds to the effect in a way. Well seen and well done. Did you darken the pots shadow?”

“Wow. Is that the true picture that you posted or is it edited? You got a great image, it looks exactly like a Japanese woodblock carving. Thanks for sharing.”

“Although this is a good, strong image, reminiscent of Japanese art perhaps, it looks more painted than photographed. If that was the effect you were looking for, Bravo. I wonder how it looked before you sharpened it? I think it looks a bit oversharpened, as there’s distinct light edges around the entire shadow. I do like it though.”

In response I created this version:

Poinsettia version 2

So every picture is a work in progress.

Let’s all work to improve our pictures in the coming year.

I’m going on to refine my approach to mirror images. What do think of them?

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