Brian A Keen Fine Art

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News Archive - 2010

Monthly Photography, Painting and Website news for the year.

Photos of The Year

A selection of personal favorite photographs for the year with larger image sizes. (click the thumbnails below to enlarge).

Dec 2010

Photography News

Pressure of work has meant a three month gap since my last website update and not much time for photography. I missed out on the autumn colours this year. There were also some potentially nice landscapes with trees covered in early morning hoar frost in late November. The snow over Christmas provided a welcome opportunity to get out and about with my camera despite a heavy cold/flu.

Little Brickhill Church.

A couple of images from the churchyard at Little Brickhill.

Gravestone Lilly
Bridge Girders.

An image shot beneath the girders of a bridge over the Grand Union Canal in Linslade. The girders are painted black but were reflecting a bright blue sky.

Extreme dieting.

Spotted this emaciated looking woman in the window of a barge moored on the Grand Union Canal at Peartree Bridge.


The peppers I grew in my greenhouse this year produced some interesting shapes when shot with a macro lens and converted to mono.

Pepper Pepper
Trees in the Snow around Milton Keynes.

Trees covered in snow can make pleasing subjects. These images were captured in Milton Keynes just before Christmas. The freezing fog helped isolate the subject from any distracting background.

Trees Trees Trees Trees Trees
Snowy river scenes.

The nearby River Ouzel was transformed by the snow and ice.

Ouzel River Ouzel River
Night Photography.

I tried photographing the nearby Holy Trinity Church in the snow after dark using just the available scattered lights from the town reflected from the low clouds. It required a 30sec exposure at f8. I set the Nikon D200 colour balance to apply to the maximum tungsten lighting correction (+3). I converted the image to monochrome and added a blue tint in photoshop.

Holy Trinity Church
More Trees in the Snow.

These images of trees were shot near the Chiltern village of The Lee during the Christmas break. I tried several different compositions. The pale yellow sky complements the blue reflections from the snow.

Tree in Snow Tree in Snow Tree in Snow Two Trees in Snow

Simple graphic compositions of fences and gates in the snow can give interesting images.

Gate in Snow

The snow and ice also brings an opportunity for macro photography.

Gold Leaf Snow Drops Leaves in Ice Bud in Ice Grass in Snow Icicles Icicles Ice Ice
Trees in the Mist.

As the snow began to melt it left a few days of mist and fog. These conditions are ideal for creating delicate images of trees isolated from the background. The camera exposure needs to be increased by around a stop to avoid a dull grey result.

Tree in Mist Tree in Mist Tree in Mist Black Sheep Tree in Mist
Three Trees in Mist
Trees in Mist
After The Snow.

The melting snow on woodland tracks provides a useful lead-in for the eye. The last remaining beech leaves add subtle orange-brown pastel tones.

Trees Trees Trees

A field of sunflowers at The Lee is left to provide winter food for the birds. Fill-in flash was used to prevent the foreground flower head from appearing as a silhouette against the bright sky.

Photography Gallery Updates.
  • 'Colour, Beds, Bucks & Herts' gallery
  • 'Colour Macro' gallery
  • 'Colour Macro Flowers' gallery
  • 'Mono Macro' gallery
  • 'Mono, Beds, Bucks & Herts' gallery

Sep 2010

Photography News
Ballinger Wood.

It can be tricky to find good landscape compositions in woods. Often they are too dark, overgrown or scrubby. Ballinger Wood has a footpath that runs along the bottom of the valley that leads the eye into the picture. Being close to the edge of the wood, the footpath catches the evening light.

Ballinger Wood Ballinger Wood
Farm Track.

This muddy overgrown farm track is near The Lee. It is quite dark so really needs a tripod. I used a tree trunk to steady the camera.

Overgrown Lane

The sunflowers at The Lee are now fully in flower. I took some more shots in the evening using my Canon G11.

Sunflowers Sunflowers Sunflowers Sunflowers Sunflowers Sunflowers Sunflowers

I shot this sunset after the light faded when photographing the sunflowers.

Back lit Trees.

The monochromatic effect of the leaves back lit by the evening sun caught my eye.

Backlit Trees
Photography Gallery Updates.
  • 'Colour Macro Flowers' gallery
  • 'Colour, Beds, Bucks & Herts' gallery
  • 'Mono, Beds, Bucks & Herts' gallery

Aug 2010

Photography News

A heavy cold/flu that lasted about 4 weeks meant I was unable to get out with my camera much between the end of July and the beginning of August.

Lens Repair.

The 250mm Zenzanon lens for my Bronica medium format camera has arrived back after having the shutter repaired. It appears to be ok although I have not yet fully tested it.


I took a few shots of sunflowers growing in a field at The Lee using my Canon G11. The field is reserved as a bird sanctuary in memory of Susan Cowdy, a well-known figure in the conservation of the natural history. It is sown with wildflower seed to provide a habitat for birds and insects.

Sunflowers Sunflowers
Morning Dew.

I attempted some close-ups of early morning dew on leaves using the Canon G11. The light was poor and I did not have a tripod with me, so despite the camera's image stabilisation, the results are not quite as sharp as I had hoped.

Water droplets on the bonnet of my car made an interesting abstract image. I used photoshop to add some colour.

Dew Water Droplets
Cadwell Farm Lavender, Hitchen. (10th July)

I have scanned some of the lavender field negs from my visit to Cadwell lavender farm in July. The results are not too bad - although the strong sunlight gave too much contrast for the portrait attempts. I had to selectively reduce the contrast and lighten the faces using photoshop. The portraits would have been better if I had moved in closer or if I had been able to use my longer telephoto lens. Unfortunately the 250mm lens was out of action with a shutter fault. I have attempted to compensate by cropping.

Lavender Lavender Lavender Lavender Lavender Lavender
Cadwell Farm Lavender, Hitchen. (3rd Aug)

I paid a return visit to Cadwell farm at the beginning of August after discovering from a colleague that the sunflowers adjacent to the lavender were in flower. The weather forecast for that week was mainly cloud and rain apart from Tuesday. I knew that the lavender harvest was not far away so I decided to take that morning off work.

The farm does not officially open to visitors until 10:00am but the forecast predicted clouds later in the day so I arrived early just after 8:00am. This turned out to be a good move because although I initially had plenty of sunshine, by 10:00am the clouds had closed in completely. It also meant I had the place to myself. Just as I had finished, the farm tractor appeared and began cutting the lavender.

The Nikon D200 with a 80-200 zoom lens gives more flexibility in finding interesting compositions and patterns. I had to use a piece of black card as a shade to avoid lens flare.

Lavender Lavender Lavender Lavender Lavender Lavender Lavender

The yellow sunflowers give a strong contrast against the purple of the lavender. The effect is increased by the polarizing filter.

Sunflower Sunflowers Sunflowers
Willen Lake Carnival. (16th Aug)

This image of a carousel at the Willen Lake Carnival was taken in the evening using the Canon G11 hand held. It was just beginning to get dark but there was still some light in the sky.

Photography Gallery Updates.
  • 'Colour Macro Flowers' gallery
  • 'Colour Macro' gallery
  • 'Colour, Beds, Bucks & Herts' gallery

Jul 2010

Website News

New gallery categories have been added for Colour and B&W Railway and Aircraft images. I have also created a separate colour gallery for the recent Dragon Boat race.

Photography News
35mm Slides.

I recently scanned a few old 35mm slides from my archives. These pre-date my current database and records so most have very little associated information or dates. Most are from the 1980's.

Farnborough Airshow 1986.

In 1986, the Eurofighter (later named Typhoon) was at the prototype stage. At the Farnborough airshow, it was competing with the French designed Dassault Rafalle. After around 25 years of development, the Typhoon eventually went into service with the RAF in 2008. Although it is an agile fighter-bomber capable of Mach 2, the current version cannot be flown from an aircraft carrier and does not use stealth technology.

Typhoon Sea King
Sir Lamiel Steam Loco.

I found this Southern 4-6-0 steam engine 'Sir Lamiel' at Marylebone Railway Station on a trip into London.

Sir Lamiel Steam Loco Sir Lamiel Steam Loco
Coombe Hill.

The unusual looking stunted flat-topped tree at Coombe Hill, Wendover looks like something from an African safari. The tree has long since disappeared.

Coombe Hill Tree Coombe Hill Tree

A couple of sunset images using a long lens at Coombe Hill.

Cow Parsley Coombe Hill Sunset
Donington Park Motor Museum.

These slides of vintage racing cars were shot back in 1983 using flash.

Donington Museum Donington Museum Donington Museum
Ox-eye Daisies.

The undeveloped land next to the temporary coach station in Milton Keynes was covered in a mass of ox-eye daisies. Despite the flowers moving in the breeze, the Canon G11's image stabilisation did a pretty good job. Most of the images are sharp.

Ox-eye daisies Ox-eye daisies

I also used the Canon G11 to capture some close-ups of a Common Blue butterfly in Campbell Park.

Common Blue Common Blue
Red Rose.

A 105mm macro lens was used to photograph a perfect specimen of a dark red rose in my garden. Spraying the petals with a fine mist of water droplets adds interest to the image.

Red Rose

Cheap packs of Capiscum peppers from the supermarket sometimes have unusual distorted shapes. Photographing them in close up under controlled lighting and converting to monochrome can give interesting results.

Pepper Pepper
Ballinger Wood.

When shooting woodland scenes, a path helps the composition by drawing the eye into the photograph. It's also a good idea to try and avoid distracting highlights caused by sky showing between the leaves.

Ballinger Wood
Dragon Boat Race. (4th July)

The dragon boat race on Willen Lake this month produced some colourful images. I walked out onto the jetty to get close to the action.

Dragon Boats Dragon Boat

I initially only took my Canon G11 but returned later with my DSLR and long telephoto lenses to photograph the actual races. I deliberately used a slow shutter speed on some of the images to emphasise the frantic movement of the rowers arms.

Dragon Boats Dragon Boats
Shuttleworth Air Display, Old Warden Park. (4th July)

After photographing the Willen dragon boat race in the morning, I visited the American Air Display at Old Warden, Bedfordshire. Aircraft included a B17 Flying Fortress, Blackburn B2, Tiger Moth, Miles Magister, Westland Lysander, Hawker Daemon, Gloster Gladiator, F86a Sabre jet and a pair of Apache helicopter gunships.

Photographing aircraft in flight is tricky - especially for a landscape photographer. A fast shutter speed is needed to give a sharp image but if it is too fast, prop blades appear frozen with no sense of movement. A bright cloudy sky can easily result in the aircaft appearing as a dark silhouette.

I used my DSLR with a 70-200 zoom lens and tripod. I set the camera to use shutter speed priority and continuous auto-focus to track the aircraft in flight. Exposure compensation of +0.7 stop prevents the aircraft appearing underexposed against the bright sky.

Unfortunately, despite using a tripod, my initial attempts using a slow shutter speed of 1/160s resulted in a number of images that are just not sharp enough when viewed at pixel resolution. I later increased the speed to 1/200s. With hindsight, I think 1/250s would have been a better option. I used a faster shutter speed (1/500 to 1/000 sec) to freeze the Sabre jet but even that would have been better shot at 1/2000 sec or higher.

B17 B17 B17 B17 Blackburn B2 Formation

My results are 'ok' but no way exceptional. My attempts are put to shame by expert aviation photographers such as Ian Matthews. See the following link Airshow photos I will learn from my mistakes and next time use faster shutter speeds, a longer lens and not be afraid of cropping when shooting. My images have been added to a new 'Colour, Aircraft' gallery category.

Cadwell Farm Lavender, Hitchen. (10th July)

I used my medium format kit and Fuji Velvia and Reala film to photograph the lavender fields. Unfortunately, when I tried to use my 250mm lens, the shutter jammed. This is a repeat of the fault I had in April this year. I need to have the lens repaired.

The film from this trip has yet to be processed.

Photography Gallery Updates.
  • 'Colour Macro Flowers' gallery
  • 'Colour Macro Insects' gallery
  • 'Colour, Beds, Bucks & Herts' gallery
  • 'Colour, Dragon Boats' gallery
  • 'B&W, Aircraft' gallery
  • 'Colour, Aircraft' gallery
  • 'B&W, Railway' gallery
  • 'Colour, Railway' gallery

Jun 2010

Website News
Photography News

Last month my photography was pretty much on hold due to a bad back. This month I have just about recovered enough to get out and about with my camera once again.

Horse Chestnut Leaves.

This group of Horse Chestnut leaves made a nice composition, helped by the fact there is just a single colour. The sky was overcast which eliminated any annoying specular reflections from the leaves. I also tried converting the image to monochrome and adding a copper tone using Photoshop.

Horse Chestnut Leaves Horse Chestnut Leaves
Simpson Churchyard.

Parts of the churchyard at Simpson village were covered in pink Horse Chestnut blossom. Since magenta and green are opposites on the colour wheel, this created an interesting colour contrast. I took a few shots using my Canon G11, however, finding good compositions was tricky.

Blossom Blossom

The cast iron hinge and colours caused by algae on the Church Door made an interesting subject.

Church Door
Poplar Seeds.

A few days of warm sunny weather resulted in a carpet of white fluff-like seeds under the poplar tree plantation near Willen Lake. This made for some unusual, almost dream-like macro images.

Daisies Miniature Landscape
White Iris.

I found a large white Iris growing in a neighbour's front garden. I initially photographed it hand held using my Canon G11. The result looked quite good, so I re-shot it more carefully the following morning using my Nikon D200, 105mm macro lens and tripod.

White Iris White Iris
Race For Life.

The annual Race For Life event in aid of Cancer Research took place in Milton Keynes this month. There were three races: one on Sat 5th Jun (5km) and two on Sun 6th June (5 and 10km). All races started in Campbell Park.

On Saturday, I took some shots using a 70-200mm zoom and a 300mm telephoto. I found an elevated position not too far from the start of the race where I could fill the whole frame with runners. The results were ok, but looked a bit static. Despite the warm sunny weather it was not easy to find runners that were smiling and looking like they were having fun.

Race For Life Race For Life Race For Life

The following day, I tried using much slower shutter speeds (using a 3-stop neutral density filter). This helps give the impression of movement and blur the background. I used a tripod and panned horizontally so as to keep the runners in the center of the frame. The optimum shutter speed needed some experimentation. If the shutter speed is too slow, then the runners are too blurred because they are bobbing up and down as well as moving forwards.

Race For Life Race For Life

I have created a new 'Colour, Race For Life' gallery for the resulting images.

Photography Gallery Updates.
  • 'Colour Macro' gallery
  • 'Colour Macro Flowers' gallery
  • 'Colour, Beds, Bucks & Herts' gallery
  • 'Colour, Race For Life' gallery
  • 'Mono Macro' gallery

Apr 2010

Website News
Page Footer.

A common page footer has been added to most pages using Server Side Includes.


A 'Photography and Painting' discussion forum has been added.

Photo of The Month.

The single large sized 'Photo of The Month' has been replaced by a selection that includes the most recent past entries. These can be accessed from the thumbnail links on the home page or from the drop-down menus.

News Archive.

The single news archive page was becoming too large. It has now been split into separate pages for each year.

Slide Show.

A javascript based slide show has been added to the main index page. This is configured to display a subset of images from the colour photographs gallery. The number of images in the display list has been kept relatively small to keep the download time reasonably short. The javascript fades the next image over the current image. The image selection mode is currently set to 'random'.

Photography News

The start of the Easter Bank Holiday didn't feel very spring-like. Cold and damp as usual. Global warming? - bring it on! A few days later and the weather has improved.

Old Railway Sleepers.

While out for a walk, I spotted some unusual and interesting looking patterns and colours on some old railway sleepers. I photographed them using my Canon G11 in macro mode with a compact tripod.

WoodPatterns WoodPatterns
Spring Flowers.

This month Daffodils and Tulips add a welcome splash of bright colours to the landscape after the dull browns and greens of winter.

Closeups of Daffodils in Tilsworth Churchyard shot using my Canon G11.

Daffodils Daffodils

More Daffodils in Campbell Park.

Daffodils Daffodils

I find the best compositions for groups of flowers are generally obtained using a wide angle or short telephoto lens with the camera set low down (about 1-2 feet above the ground). Use a tripod whenever possible.

Pay particular attention to the flowers in the foreground. Try and find three or five perfect looking flowers pointing towards the camera. Bend the stems to position the flower heads if necessary. Adjust the camera distance so that the foreground flowers fit nicely across the lower part of the frame.

Use a small aperture and focus on the foreground flowers. Depth of field can sometimes be a problem if you want the background sharp. You may have to wait for a lull in the breeze to avoid motion blur.

Most importantly, avoid messy, distracting backgrounds.

A short telephoto lens sometimes helps remove an unwanted background. A telephoto lens can also help compress gaps between the flowers.

A small dab of vaseline smeared on a clear acetate filter in front of the lens can give interesting effects.

A single flower can look good when back lit against a dark background.

Spring Fanfare.

Daffodils give foreground interest to the former Holy Trinity Church (now The Rosebury Music Room).

Holy Trinity Church Holy Trinity Church

This image was shot using my Canon G11 with the lens at it's maximum wide angle setting. I had no tripod with me, so the camera was hand-held (steadied on top of my knee). I positioned the auto-focus frame on the foreground daffodils.

The flip LCD display on the Canon makes low-level shots like this much easier. There was a breeze moving the daffodils around, so I had to take several shots and choose one without motion blur.

I used aperture priority with the lens set to f8 (the smallest available) for maximum depth of field. The Canon's small sensor size gives a much bigger depth of field for a given aperture compared to a 35mm camera with a full-frame sensor. The shutter speed was 1/40 second - fast enough to avoid camera shake with the camera's image stabilisation enabled.

After uploading the files to the computer, I decided I quite liked the composition, so I returned with my Bronica medium format camera and heavy-duty Unilock tripod. I had to pick a time when there were some breaks in the clouds to get some decent lighting.

I used a 40mm wideangle lens (equivalent to 26mm on a 35mm camera) with a polarizing filter and Fuji Velvia. I also shot a few frames using Fuji Reala colour negative film. This will allow me to make RA-4 prints in my darkroom.

I also tried some B&W shots using Ilford Delta. Red or yellow filters should help darken the sky and make the yellow flower heads stand out.

When I have processed the films and scanned the images, it will be interesting to compare the results with the digital images from the Canon.

I have now processed the medium format B&W films. As I suspected, there are some depth of field issues. In some of the portrait format images, where I tried to make the foreground flowers appear large by moving in close, the church in the background does not appear sharp enough. This is despite having the lens set to it's minimum aperture of f22. The digital images from the Canon G11 with it's small senor have a much greater depth of field.

Osmaston Mill (Sat 10th April).

An afternoon trip to Derbyshire to photograph the old saw mill at Osmaston near Ashbourne. This has been on my list of places to visit for some time. I particularly wanted to photograph it using infrared film.

I took my medium format kit and photographed the mill using various film types including Efke infrared, Delta 100, Fuji Reala and Velvia. The sky was a bit hazy, but luckily the backdrop of trees meant the sky could be excluded. It is an afternoon shot and we had to wait a while for the sun to move round to throw some light on the front of the building. We spent a good two and a half hours getting the shots we wanted.

On the way back from the mill I took a few frames of an interesting looking doorway at Osmaston Church.

Osmaston Church

The Ilford Delta 100 B&W films have now been processed and, although not yet properly inspected, the negatives look ok.

Several frames on the Efke IR820 infrared negatives appear underexposed. Previous tests with this film indicated an exposure 1/2 or 1 sec @ f11 in sunny conditions. This time more exposure was required. This was probably due to a thin veil of cloud over the sun. Also the mill was partially shaded by surrounding trees. Luckily, I had bracketed heavily by +/- 2 stops in 1 stop increments (1/2s, 1s, 2s @ f11 and 2s @ f8). The correct exposure looks to be 2s @f11.

Osmaston Mill
Truble at t'mill. (Lens Shutter Jam).

While at the mill, I tried using my 250mm Zenzanon lens for the first time. The lens was bought secondhand only recently.

I had intended to use the lens to photograph some cascading water next to the mill. After setting up and operating the mirror lock-up as usual, the shutter refused to fire. At first I thought there was a problem with the cable release, but the release button on the camera body would not work either.

The camera was completely locked up. I was unable to advance the film. Worse still, I was unable to remove the lens from the body. The camera has interlocks that prevent lens removal when the mirror is locked up so the film cannot be accidentally exposed. Once locked up, the mirror cannot be released until the shutter has fired. I tried operating the mirror lock-up and multiple exposure controls but nothing seemed to work. Eventually, to try and save the film, I removed the film back and replaced it with an empty one.

After more fiddling with multiple exposure, mirror lock up and shutter release controls, I eventually managed to remove the lens. From the rear of the lens I could see the leaf shutter blades were partially open. I decided not to risk attempting to use the lens again for the rest of the day.

After returning home that evening, I attached the lens to the camera body and tested the shutter. It immediately freed itself. I ran a couple of blank films through using different combinations of shutter speed, mirror lock-up and multiple exposures. Everything now appears to be ok, so I'm hoping it was a one-off problem.

Dinton Castle Folly (Tue 13th April).

A return visit to photograph the folly at Dinton near Aylesbury using medium format and Efke IR820 infrared film.

The folly has been subject to some crude and poorly carried out repair attempts since my last visit. These include some replacement brickwork and timber props to support the crumbling stonework. No attempt has been made to match the existing bricks. It would look so much better if the stonework had been repaired properly instead of using timber supports. It would also help if some of the surrounding scrub were cut back so that the folly was more visible.

Dinton Castle Dinton Castle
Winchendon Churches.

On the way back from Dinton using minor roads, we stopped to photograph a couple of small churches at the villages of Nether Winchendon and Upper Winchendon.

Upper Winchendon Church
Equipment problems. (Film back dark-slide jam).

While photographing Dinton folly, I had problems with one of my medium format film backs. After reaching end of the infrared film roll, I found I could not fully insert the dark slide. At first I thought the film back was faulty. It had only been recently bought second hand and was not tried and tested. I was worried about losing all my Osmaston Mill images that were on the same roll. I thought I might have to stop using the Bronica until I could get to my darkroom. I did have my 35mm Nikon FE and Kodak HIE film with me as a backup. I eventually managed to force the slide into place and was then able to remove the film back from the camera body. I discovered the tail end of the paper film backing had torn off and was jammed in the dark slide runner. Luckily this was an easy problem to correct.

I had a secondary problem with the same film back: The tiny countersunk set screw that secures the film winding crank was lose. I tried to tighten it with the blade of my swiss army knife but without success. I thought the thread may have been stripped by the previous owner. To avoid losing the screw and the winding crank, I removed both. On closer examination after returning home, I discovered the screw had a left-handed thread! It was a simple job to re-attach the crank using a small cross point screw diver.

Disused Barn (Sat 17th April).

I love looking inside derelict buildings. I found this old battered teapot lying on the remains of a door inside a disused barn. I like the colours of the blue paint and the green algae on the door and the walls. The teapot was perfectly placed - I didn't even have to move it!

Gone To Pot
Segenhoe Church Ruin (Sun 18th April).

I paid a return visit to Segenhoe Church ruin near Ridgmont. This was partly to use up the last few frames on the roll of Efke IR820 so I could process the film.

The tree I had used as a foreground on my last visit a few years ago has been cut down. It is a shame because it framed up the Church nicely. Instead I had to use gravestones as a foreground.

Segenhoe Church Ruin Segenhoe Church Ruin

There are some potentially nice shots of the columns and arches inside the ruin but it really needs a dull overcast day to avoid the harsh shadows and excessive contrast.

Segenhoe Church Ruin Segenhoe Church Ruin
Photography Gallery Updates.
  • 'Colour Macro' gallery
  • 'Colour Macro Flowers' gallery
  • 'Colour, Beds, Bucks & Herts' gallery
  • 'Mono, Beds, Bucks & Herts' gallery
  • 'Infrared' gallery

Mar 2010

Website News

The website has undergone a considerable face lift:- A light grey background has been adopted to delimit blocks of text. The font size has been reduced to allow more text per page. Pages are now fixed width to prevent the layout from being reformatted when the browser window is resized.

Navigation Pull-down Menus.

Navigation icons on the main index page have been replaced by pull-down menus. The site banner and navigation menus now appear on all pages apart from the gallery pages (using a 'Server Side Include'). This means the 'home' button located at the bottom of some pages is no longer required. The 'Photo of the Month' page can now be accessed from the navigation menus.

News format.

The latest monthly news now appears on the main index page in a 'three column' format using a light grey background. This includes a few of the latest thumbnail images from the galleries. The original 'News' page now contains a list of archived 'old news'. The order of the archived news pages is reversed with the latest news at the top.

The original 'scrolling news' marquee is now superfluous and has been removed.


A biography page has been added.

W3C Validation.

Errors and warnings reported by the W3C validator have been corrected.

Photography News
Efke IR820 Infrared Film.

I recently bought a few rolls of Efke IR820 'Aura' 120 Infrared film to test.

Efke 820

It is very much slower than the 35mm Kodak HIE I have used in the past but it should give less grainy results.

A rare sunny afternoon this month presented a good opportunity to test the speed of the film when using a Hoya R72 filter.

I re-visited a few local locations that I knew make good infrared subjects. I used a basic shutter speed of 1/2s @ f11 and bracketed +/- 1 stop. The film was processed using stock ID11 for the recommended 7 min @ 20degC. Results suggest 1 sec @ f11 is optimal for a sunny day. The negatives looked a bit thin, so in future I will develop for 8min @ 20degC.

The resulting gallery images have been split toned using Photoshop to give a 'lith print' effect.

Bradwell Abbey Broughton Church Bradwell Mill
Gorhambury House Ruin.

Having carried out tests to determine the required exposure to use with Efke IR820 infrared film, I spent a sunny morning photographing the 'Old Gorhambury House' ruin between Hemel Hempstead and St. Albans.

Gorhambury Ruin

I hoped to be able to park close to the ruin but discovered that vehicles are prevented from entering the Gorhambury estate by a padlocked gate. I ended up walking about a mile carrying my medium format kit and tripod. The digital D200 kit had to stay in the car.

In addition to infrared, I took some conventional B&W shots using Ilford Delta 100 with a red filter to darken the sky. I also shot a few colour frames using Velvia and a polarizing filter.

Sopwell Nunnery Ruin.

After shooting Gorhambury House Ruin in the morning, I drove to nearby Sopwell on the Eastern side of St. Albans to photograph the Nunnery ruins.

Sopwell Ruin Sopwell Ruin

I used both Infrared and conventional B&W film.

I have visited this location twice in the past without success: On my first visit I discovered the sun was in the wrong place and the ruin was a silhouette. I returned on another day in the late afternoon, but the sun disappeared behind clouds before I could get a shot.

This time, the weather held out. I had to wait about an hour for the sun to hit the front of the ruin but that gave me time for coffee and sandwiches.

Park Cottage Panorama.

A bright frosty morning was ideal to shoot a stitched panorama of Park Cottage using my Canon G11.

Park Cottage

I used the built in 'panorama' mode which allows you to align each frame with the previous frame. Despite being hand held, the image stabilisation worked well giving a sharp result.

Photoshop did an excellent job stitching the eleven images together.

All Saints Church, Milton Keynes Village.

While out for a walk I spotted some interesting looking lichen patterns on gravestones in the Churchyard at Milton Keynes Village (All Saints).

Lichen Lichen

Luckily I had my Canon G11 and a compact tripod with me. That's the advantage of a compact camera; it's there when you need it, even when you are not specifically looking for photographs.

Spring Flowers.

Spring has finally arrived after what seems like a very long and cold winter.

I took some macro shots of Snowdrops in Campbell Park and Crocus in my garden using both my D200 and Canon G11.

Crocus Snowdrops

The Canon gives good macro results because of the large depth of field obtainable with the smaller sensor. The minimum aperture of f8 gives a depth of field equivalent to f45 on a full-frame 35mm camera.

The Canon also has the advantage that the LCD display can be angled which makes low level shots easier to frame.

Photography Gallery Updates.
  • 'Panorama' gallery
  • 'Infrared' gallery
  • 'Colour Macro' gallery
  • 'Colour Macro Flowers' gallery
  • 'Colour, Beds, Bucks & Herts' gallery

Feb 2010

Website News
Australia Gallery.

I added a new 'Colour Australia' gallery to hold a few images from an earlier trip to Australia.

Katoomba Bush Trail Katoomba Bush Trail Katoomba Bush Trail
Photography News
Milton Keynes Museum.

I spent a Sunday afternoon at the Milton Keynes Museum near Wolverton. This is a fascinating place, full of interesting photographic subjects and definitely worth a visit. At only £5 entry fee (adult), it is very good value. Unlike some museums, there are no restrictions on photography and you can get in as close as you like to photograph most of the exhibits. You can even move things around a bit to get a good composition as long as you are careful. It is particularly good for B&W, close ups of old machinery etc. Outside you can find rust patterns and flaking paint, so take a macro lens.

On my first visit, I was not sure what photographic potential might exist. Hence, I only took along my Canon G-11 compact camera and no tripod. The quality of the first set of images might therefore not be quite up to my usual standard. I returned the following weekend and re-shot some of the best images using my D200 with a tripod.

The lighting conditions inside the museum present some challenging problems for the photographer. It is quite dim in most areas, so you need a tripod or put up with noise from a high ISO setting if using a digital camera. Relying on the harsh lighting from an on-camera flash means you will lose a lot of the atmosphere and you can end up with specular reflections from shiny surfaces.

I found white balance to be a problem when shooting colour on a digital camera under the dim tungsten lighting. As I am mainly a landscape photographer, I hardly ever take photographs under artificial light. With film, the only way to adjust the white balance in the camera is to attach a tungsten balanced filter to the lens. I am unused to adjusting white balance on a digital camera. I experimented with both auto and tungsten white balance settings on the D200 but some images still show yellow looking casts which needed subsequent work in Photoshop. After reading the white balance section in the D200 manual, I now realise I should have made manual adjustments to the tungsten white balance setting or, better still, used a gray card for calibration. As the D200 has no 'live view' mode, it means shooting a few frames with different white balance settings and using the LCD display to determine a neutral looking image. The D200 allows you to shoot a gray card under the same lighting as the subject and use that as a reference. I tried this and it works really well. In future I will carry a gray card with me.

Reflections and lens flare can be a problem with some interior shots where light is coming from a window. I didn't think I needed a lens hood inside the building but with hindsight it would have been a good idea.

I have added two new galleries for colour and B&W images taken at the museum.

Cart Wheel Kitchen Range Oil Lamp Tram
Wrought Iron Cart Wheel Oil Lamp
Tree Bark Patterns & Fungi.

I found some interesting macro images of fungi and lichens growing on tree bark. These did not fit into the existing macro galleries for Flowers and Insects, so I added a new Colour Macro gallery.

Fungi Lichen Lichen
Photography Gallery Updates.
  • 'Colour, Milton Keynes Museum' gallery
  • 'Mono, Milton Keynes Museum' gallery
  • 'Colour, Macro' gallery
  • 'Colour, Australia' gallery
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