Friday, 31 December 2010

Christmas Market

So that was 2010. What did we all think of it? Rubbish? Fair enough.

One last post of pics from 2010, this time from Sheffield's Christmas Market. I took these a week after it was supposed to close down, so it was somewhat barren. Still, I think they're quite nice. The ice rink ones didn't come out at all, but mostly that's because I was uninspired by it. If you don't put inspiration and feeling into the taking of a picture, there won't be any taken from it.

A stack of fantastic hats
What stalls remained were very nice. Colourful, and the wood gave a warm glow to everything. Some of the stalls even looked nice despite most of the goods having been purchased last week.

Mmm cupcakes
All in all, visiting a half shut market isn't a very exciting thing to do, but it is always a good photo opportunity. And I did have a bratwurst filled with cheese, so that was new and interesting.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A tree is not just for Christmas

Big box o' decorations ready to hang

It's that time again. Tree decorating. I'm not very good at it, and I always lose bits of my fake tree. Then I get the lights all tied up in knots. Then ... well, it's not good. So this year I've very much cheated and bought a fibre optic tree. It is the lights! Genius.

Fibre optics make tree lights easy

It's not a very big tree, admittedly. Only 3'. But substantially bigger than last year's 12" effort, which is also out and still decorated with its miniature decorations. Still, looks nice enough.

The first decoration goes on, looking very lonesome

Monday, 6 December 2010

Bonus


Bonus follow-up post just because I thought this was a cool picture. Again, the detail and clarity are great, and I love the pose. This was obviously "pose du jour" because it cropped up a few times.

Resolution

Took some more portraits of the kids while I still had a blank wall for them to sit against. Been having a lot of fun in Aperture messing with sliders and changing the tone of pictures, or accentuating a mood through colour.

50mm (80mm @ 1.6x crop) f5.6, 1/125th sec, ISO 400, bounce flash + slave backlight

Here we have the mid-shoot strop (aspiring pro model, perhaps?) I snapped it just because it let me capture a different sort of picture to the usual portraiture. A lot more emotion. To enhance that, I've toned down the intensity of the colour and desaturated it just a tiny bit. This gives it a softened look and brings out some detail that I thought was lost to the flash. I especially like the hair texture and fine detail around the eyes.

Speaking of which, here is a 100% crop from this very image.


Not bad for ISO 400. Good sensor, but great optics thanks to the nifty fifty.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Icicles


The snow is finally beginning to melt (not that you'd know, trying to drive about) and so the icicles are finally forming. Hanging out of the bedroom window, I risked life and limb to take a few pics.

 

Thursday, 2 December 2010

It's looking scarily like Christmas ...

It snowed again. It keeps doing that. Very annoying. 

50mm f/1.8, 1/200th second, ISO 100

The kids enjoy the snow, anyway. This is Aimee revelling in the snow, throwing it about and creating what I think is a very Marks & Spencer feel.

I used wide apertures so that the shutter speed was fast enough to freeze any flying snow while still giving a little motion blur. This also let me use a low ISO for smooth, noise free pictures. The wide aperture also helped give some depth to the pictures, which I find is important with snow. It's easy to lose any sense of depth or scale when everything is white. Setting the metering to +2/3EV ensured the snow stayed white, instead of averaging to dirty grey. This worked well for the whole set, but this one in particular fell perfectly.

The snow is in focus, frozen and distinct from the blurred background. The trees are snow covered and give atmosphere and context. The canted angle and framing gives a sense of space and motion while still filling the frame with the important features. In the end, this was a photo of opportunity. See it, frame it, and shoot it in a matter of moments. As much luck as design, it still always pays to be prepared!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snowed in ... again


The cars are stuck. The buses are cancelled. The trains are nowhere to be seen. I'm not walking 7 miles in this. Looks like we're ... snowed in!

Here is the car, stranded and buried.