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Community ideas


Creating art from design #photography #art

I went back to photograph a humble post box, yesterday. Despite the fact we take post boxes for granted they are an iconic design and I hope my photograph can be considered art from design.

art from design


Making a little extra money #photography

I’ve been considering ways of making extra money from my photography. I could run a workshop and teach others the craft but there are various other ways of making money such as selling pictures. You can sell pictures directly or sell to photo libraries. I get asked for permission to use my pictures occasionally and I think in future I might ask for a contribution towards my expenses.

Making extra money from photography

The need for recognition and respect #life

We often think that money will solve all our problems and we concentrate our time on solving problems rather than taking action to improve our lives. We need recognition for what we do and respect from our peers. We need to accept that these things are important to us before we can take action to improve things.



More about depth of field #photography

I have written a lot about depth of field but it is difficult to explain in writing. Basically, the field is where the image is in sharp focus. That is the distance from the camera where the subject is and the sharpness falls off as we view things farther away from the camera or nearer to the camera. A wide aperture will make our subject sharper but the sharpness falls off quickly, whereas a narrow aperture will make most of our image in focus.

Taken with a wide aperture for a shallow depth of field


How to have great ideas? #ramble

How do you have train your mind to have great ideas? How do you make life interesting? Tony Highfield, our local historian was telling me about all the awards he has won and how he gets involved in the community. He compiles books, researches history and gets involved and he said that is why we are different. We take a risk and risk the ridicule if things go wrong. We don’t sit at home thinking about it and talking about it, we get out there and take a risk. This inspires our thinking and we even take risks in the way that we think. We imagine and then we try to make it happen. There are people who can’t do anything without lots of support and when it all goes wrong they blame someone else. You have to be brave enough to try new ideas but you also have to be brave enough to accept the blame if it all goes wrong.

having great ideas


Subject choice #photography #art

I have been giving my subject choice a lot of thought just lately. Not only considering what I usually choose to photograph but looking at other photographers work and seeing what they are choosing. I am admin the local history page on Facebook and the most popular images are those that show the way our lives have changed over time. Will telephone boxes be around in the future? What about post boxes? Will email be the end of those?

POST BOX - a good subject choice?


The next priority #life

I’m still taking a break from writing about finance and investments, it is no longer my top priority. I don’t see any great investment opportunities. I’m fairly sure there will be small interest rate rises on the other side of the Atlantic but for now, I can’t see much competition between nations for investment money so interest rates here will probably stagnate. That means we are unlikely to see a rise in the value of the pound against the dollar. Opportunities could lie in watching for takeovers of British companies especially FTSE 250 companies but I don’t see an obvious target yet. In dollar terms, most FTSE 100 companies seem over-valued. Anyway, it is time for a cute picture:

setting your top priority


Macro shots #photography

I’ve been in the garden and because it is a little wild there are lots of wildflowers to photograph. Photographing small things like flowers with a zoom is called macro photography. There are special macro lenses that tend to ‘flatten the image’ but you can do macro photography with just about any zoom lens. I used my 55 – 300 mm lens.

macro photography


Action shots and wide apertures #photography

It was the Black Country Horse Drive on Sunday and I was there at the start to capture the action. Action shots need a fast shutter speed and to get close to the action you need a longer lens. I was using a 55 – 300 mm lens and zooming in a lot so camera movement was a potential problem as well as the speed of the horses.



Artistic mood #ramble #photography #art

It’s Sunday morning and once again I share my thoughts with you, such as they are. I’m in an artistic mood, this week. I had an interesting week and took photos with the Caravan Gallery who are also taking photos as part of the Sandwell Pride of Place Project. We need to take more pride in our community, so anything I can do to make things better, I will try. I have photography on my mind today because it is the Black Country Horse Drive.



The Caravan Gallery

The Caravan Gallery is a mobile exhibition featuring photographs taken around Sandwell and around the country. It is visiting Sandwell towns this week as part of The Sandwell Pride of Place project. Yesterday, they were at Princes End in Tipton where they joined the Fun Day at Laybourne Park. I was there to record the visit in pictures. Today, the Caravan Gallery is at Oldbury Market and will return to Tipton tomorrow, setting up at Tipton Library.



Surprising art #photography #art

It is surprising art when you find a shot that is quite ugly but the resulting photograph has some artistic merit. I went in search of graffiti and the uglier side of life on Sunday as well as taking some more scenic shots.



Making the content #ramble

It’s Sunday morning once again and so I’ll let you in on my innermost thoughts. It has been a week of ups and downs, as usual. I photographed a book launch yesterday which was interesting. I bought the book and it was duly signed by the authors and then I put it down while I put my camera away and left it behind. Fortunately, it was in the library, I had put I down with other books and pamphlets and it was still there when I returned two hours later. Anyway, I think making the content of a book and putting it all together takes a lot of skill so that was well done.

Making the content


Narrow apertures #photography #art

Over the weekend we actually had some sunshine and it was mixed with cloud and so it was fairly diffused. Direct sunshine can produce really dark shadows. I decided to go back to landscape photography and that meant narrow apertures and a depth of field that would bring those distant objects in to focus. f/16 and 1/100 of a second are regarded as ideal for many shots and I use it to measure how much light I have when I’m shooting a landscape. If I get better than 1/100 of a second then I can consider an even narrower aperture, if I’m slower then I can use a wider aperture, increase the ISO or hold the camera very still.

Shoot landscapes with narrow apertures


Focusing on depth #photography

Through the winter it has been difficult to get out and take photos but there have been some opportunities. The snow, while creating difficulties reflected lots of light and provided some picturesque scenes. The rain is more difficult to cope with. When I came out of my writers’ group meeting on Saturday it was bright sunlight but that too can present problems with overexposed shots and dark shadows. For the street shots, I decided on narrow apertures and shot at around f/8. I would have gone much wider if I had been zooming in on the people. I was focusing on subjects fairly close by and so a relatively shallow depth of field seemed appropriate. I was also focusing on depth as I composed the shots.

DARLASTON - focusing on depth


Industrial scenes and white balance #photography

The light changes all the time and we can set the white balance on a DSLR to suit the light and we can also choose scenes that suit the light. It was a grey light on Sunday because it was quite cloudy and I chose industrial scenes to photograph.

an industrial image


Aperture and depth of field #photography

I mostly shoot on aperture priority and so I need to measure the light and set the ISO and then set the aperture for the depth of field that I want. That is largely a matter of judgement. If I’m taking a portrait I want a shallow depth of field and I’ll choose a wide aperture and often zoom in quite close. If I’m shooting a landscape I’ll go for a narrow aperture which will bring distant objects into better focus.

aperture priority


Metering on a DSLR #photography

There are three different setting for metering on my Nikon D3200. Metering sets DSLRs apart from other cameras and can help us get just the right exposure, especially for portraits. When we focus on a shot we also meter the light that is being reflected into the camera from our subject. The metering mode I use the most is ‘matrix’ and it measures the light across the whole frame.

matrix metering


The first day of spring #photography

It is the spring equinox today and so by tradition the first day of spring. Here in the Black Country, it is sunny and looking out of the window this morning I thought it was a cold light. A cold light has more blue in it and it is a blue sky today, in summer we get more red tones especially the last hour before the sun goes down. I did take a few photos last week and they looked quite cold with more blue than red tones.



Contemporary art #photography #art

Contemporary art includes just about everything that can be created including photographs. Photography is a visual art and we can capture nice views as in landscape photography or we can capture people’s lives as they work or enjoy their leisure time.

contemporary art


Artistic editing in Photoscape #photography

When I’m in a creative mood I like to do some artistic editing of my photographs and I create some artistic edits of famous quotes for our writers’ group. Different photographers use different editing software. I use AfterShot sometimes, Windows Live Gallery for basic editing and I use Photoscape (a free download) for artistic editing.

artistic editing


Using a DSLR camera #photography

I saw a post on a photography group from someone who is new to using a DSLR and wanted to know how to take sharper pictures. The answer is complicated because the cameras are quite complicated but there are basics like keeping the camera still as you take the shot that you need to learn before you switch to manual.

using a DSLR


Images of the present #photography

I’ve decided to photograph some buildings before they are lost to progress and also what’s left of some of our industry. Photography is about recording images of the present that do eventually become images of the past. I started with this building that used to be the offices of the Rubery Owen’s empire.

Images of the present


Winter landscapes #photography

Shooting winter landscapes can be difficult because the dark skies and poor light give us dark pictures. However, our eyes adjust to the darker landscapes and our camera can do that even better. You can let more light into the camera by using wider apertures, but you want them to be narrow to get a depth of field that will bring distant objects into focus. The answer to poor light then is to increase the sensitivity of the camera sensor and you can do that by increasing the ISO. If you’re new to a DSLR, then on aperture priority you can set the ISO to 400 or even higher and try to choose subjects that aren’t too far away and shoot at something like f/8.

SANDWELL VALLEY - winter landscapes


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