f4 Photographic Group – Summer Outings

At f4 Photographic Group we normally have a 12 or 13 week Summer programme of outings to go and photograph things of interest. Various topics and genres – generally something to suit everyone and it’s planned well in advance. This year of uncertainty has brought a great deal of unhappiness to so many people so the fact that our activities have been curtailed to some extent is more of a minor irritation compared to severe illnesses and isolation.

However, the small number of outings we’ve managed have been attended well and after a long period of non-posting, I thought I share with you few images taken from the Summer Session.

We managed to get to Bempton for the gannets and puffins, The Marina in Hull, a selection of sites on the Hockney Trail, North Cave Wetlands & an outdoor model shoot in Hessle. The remainder of the time was spent utilising Zoom for various on line challenges and presentations

Close ups

I can’t wait for the new Fuji macro lens to come out. I have a 16mm extension but it’s not as good as a real macro lens I don’t think. Anyway, I asked my buddy Tony Beasty if I could do a few close ups of some of his excellent guitars and we had a good session together yesterday. I particularly liked the first two he brought out, and spent most of the time on those. The headstocks on both of them were attractive in their own ways, the Rickenbacker because of the machine head configuration and the Fender because of the tell-tale decal which helps to pinpoint its age. Also, note the darker wood indicating sustained amount of use on particular chord shapes. The wear on the Tele scratchplate also indicates the amount of use it’s had.

Anyway – I’ll look forward to the next time – thanks Tony, here are a few pics :-


Change is gonna come….

Well that’s it then. I never thought I’d change – but the sheer weight of gear has directed me to look at a new camera system. My decision wasn’t easy, I like my Canon stuff and I’ve built up a decent selection of gear over the years, but, as alluded to in a previous post, my tree hugging days have seen , well, better days to be honest.

There are forums, magazines, videos and leaflets, big shops and little shops, all giving you advice, letting you try B4 you buy and offering exchanges and Black Friday deals and the like.  I chose the Fuji XT-2 – the saving in weight on the Fuji,  over the Canon 5D Mkiii, is  great. Plus, the new sensor and range of Fuji lenses available is exciting. Neil,  a friend of mine from f4 Photographic Group is going down a similar path – he had the XT-1 which he really enthused over and so the XT-2 seemed a natural choice for him. Also, there are other members of f4 who made the Fuji choice a while ago and have been more than happy with it.

Time will tell – I’ll post some samples up next week after I get stuck into the manual.


No excuse

I’ve just been doing other things so haven’t got stuck in and posted. Mind you I’ve been in New Zealand and Australia for a month so things will change shortly and anyone who drops by will be besieged by an avalanche of images – watch this space.

Reasons to be cheerful

I haven’t posted anything for a while. I’ve had two or three good trips with my f4 friends, especially one up to Mull to shoot eagles and puffins again, but my results have frustrated me somewhat. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting sharp images. I’m pleased to say that the question has now been answered. I checked all my lenses on the 5D mkiii using Reikan Focal software which worked extremely well and gave me some useful information. All my lenses had previously been calibrated using the earlier version of the software and the results had changed quite a bit on second testing. This led me to think that I might have a camera problem although I can’t think why it should happen. Anyway, I contacted Canon Main repair agents, H Lehmann of Stoke on Trent and arranged to go down and have the camera and my new Canon 100-400 mkii lens checked over. They rang me after half an hour to say that the sensor was not aligned correctly and that they would repair it for me but it would take most of the day. Just before 4pm my camera was ready and I was on my way. That’s what I call service – thanks to Ann and the rest of the team at Lehmann’s – I’ve used their services before and will use them again should the need arise – highly recommended.

Now – let’s get out and take some pictures……

f4 Photography group – Practical evening.

At f4, we have a variety of activities and recently had a practical evening. One of our members, Cain, is active in airsoft and he brought down his gear so that we could take some studio posed shots. We set up a couple of  lighting kits and smoke machine and had a good session.

Here’s a couple of images from the evening :-

Cain 3 1440x960 Cain 1440x960


f4 Photographic Group

Had a trip with f4 last week. We went down to the Peak District over the weekend to take a few decent landscapes. However, the weather was distinctly unkind to us and the first two days were wet. The third day we managed a visit to Padley Gorge and were after a sunset to finish off with but didn’t materialise. Still, a trip on the Peak Rail steam service between Matlock and Rowsley was worth it and also a short stop to Masson Mills where we went into the museum. Plenty of interesting features there.

Bobbins Padley Gorge 1 Peak Rail Matlock

Photo to sketch

I thought I’d put my creative head on today and look at a few old tutorials and I came across one that enabled me to make a great B&W sketch and a coloured sketch in a few clicks using Photoshop CS6. Take a look at the tutorial here.


Happy New Year (belatedly) to everyone.

I was very fortunate this Christmas as far as photography related prezzies go. I had done some work on focus stacked shots last year and also totally unrelated to that, had been trying tethered shooting with the Canon Utilities software that came with the camera. So, when I was discussing this with the Hull Flickr group recently, I started to look into what was available to me so that I could combine both and do it wirelessly as well. Enter the Camranger. There are all sorts of options available for both iPad and Android based product but the Camranger looked the best alternative to me. I also looked at the DSLR Controller and Xtremetether. I’m looking forward to giving it a test shortly. The images attached show two alternative methods of attaching the Camranger to your camera, one using velcro attached to a levelling device and the other using the handy pouch and retaining clip. An example of just what can be achieved by focus stacking is also attached. “Togetherness” was made using a Canon 5D Mkii and 100mm IS USM macro lens. I took 9 images, focusing on different points across the image and stacked them together in Helicon Focus.

Also recommended – Steve McCurry Untold: The Stories Behind The Photographs. A lovely big book with good narrative, worth it for just the images for me but I like to know how the images came about, so perfect. For anyone who likes his work, he’s at The Photography Show at the NEC which runs from 1 – 4 March – I’ll see you there.



Great weekend at Lacock

After attaining my LRPS with the Royal Photographic Society, I checked out their list of Courses and activities and owing to someone having asked me to photograph their wedding, I realised that it is so long since I did one that technology, styles and expectations will have changed somewhat. Enter a perfectly valid reason for a weekend away with the camera. So, I checked places to stay on the net and found what looked like an idyllic retreat, King John’s Hunting Lodge in Lacock – what an absolute gem. My room was overlooking the rear garden with an apple tree just outside my window which was full of goldfinches (a charm of), bluetits, sparrows, robins and various others.

Anyway, the course was being run by Terry Hewlett ARPS who works closely with the RPS and over the two days gave a group of 14 of us the benefit of his experience and an insight into the complexity of shooting a wedding. Thoroughly enjoyable, made all the more so by having two great models, Mark and Sarah posing in various locations for us.

Here’s a few images from the time there :-

Mark 1 Sarah 1 Sarah 5 Sarah and Mark 2 Sarah and Mark 3