A New Year offer

28 12 2009

Usually at this time of year, my mum does a huge clean around the house so that the New Year starts with everything in its place. I have decided to do the same with my photography and have just done an update of my photography website (www.trixtaphotography.co.uk) and I have done a back-up of all my files to a stand alone server – next step is to use a remote back-up for extra piece of mind.

I’m also thinking about the new year and some ideas for how I can improve my photography. So far, my studio work has been with models from the two or three web-sites that I am registered with (Purestorm, Net-Model and Model Mayhem) and tends to always be in a similar style. If I want to progress in my photography, I think I need to push myself into new areas and so I have decided to make an offer to the first 10 people to contact me.

The offer is for a two hour studio shoot in the Edinburgh Photographic Society studios totally free of charge and in the two hours you can chose to have either photographs of yourself or your family – it’s up to you. In return, I will edit between five and ten photographs within seven days of the shoot and send them to you in a high resolution format which you can then have printed – I can also recommend a very good printer and arrange for prints through them. All you need to do to take advantage of this offer is e-mail me, contact@trixtaphotography.co.uk and we can arrange a suitable date for the shoot to take place.


Merry Christmas and plans for the new year

25 12 2009

First and foremost, Merry Christmas everyone! I am just using the calm before the storm of Christmas at my brothers to catch up on my blog.

There are a few thoughts I have started to sew in my head for the next year, not as resolutions but as plans. The first is to finally get the Half A Mind project finally exhibited – if anyone has free exhibition space around Edinburgh, please let me know.

Secondly, I going to use post Christmas sales to invest in a little compact camera so that I can carry it with me whereever I go and capture little moments in life that I miss by not lugging a huge Dslr around all the time. I am always impressed by the macro images of @amypalko on her compact so this year can be my chance to get into flowers!

Finally, I want to start making some money from photography. I am going to push my wedding photography strongly. I do believe I can bring out beauty in everyone and provide pleasing results and so giving a bride and groom memories of their special day feels a good way to use this talent.

What are your plans for the next year?

I give you my life…

16 12 2009

One of the benefits of my photography habit has been to re-introduce me back into the world of live music. About three years ago I started writing to bands through Myspace and asking if I could take photos for them at gigs in Edinburgh and I started to get invited to venues by the bands. I have been fortunate enough to see some pretty cool bands, however, last night I took photos at my biggest gig yet.

It’s quite usual for large venues to restrict the number of songs that photographers get to take photographs, the norm is usually three and the usual ‘no flash’ restriction is put in place. The gig last night, however, was the most restrictive I have seen so far. Two songs limit, no flash, oh and can you sign this release form to say that the band have the rights to your photographs, your first born child, any future photographs you ever take in your life  and any photographs that anybody who you have ever met also belongs to the band. Obviously not quite that restrictive but you get the drift.

I have to say though that the band, Them Crooked Vultures gave value for money in the two songs. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters and Nirvana) rather helpfully poured a bottle of water over his head after the first song, so the second song pictures featured lots of flying water droplets – great for creating atmosphere.

I would love to post a photo of the gig, however, the contract I signed prevents me from doing so. When the website I was working for publishes the review I’ll add a link and you never know, wait a week or two and I may sneak one up..

To HDR or not to HDR

13 12 2009

I have spent a day without the camera pressed to my face and instead taken some time out to look at the images taken over the last few days (and also to edit some music over a video shot on the way down the Bealach).

I am really happy with some of the photos I have taken and posted on this blog, however, one or two just didn’t sit well straight out of the camera and so I have resorted to the ever trusty but also dangerous Photomatix to try and give the odd image a little boost. HDR in general and Photomatix in particular seem to get over-used to produce results which are far from realistic so it is always with a bit of trepidation that I use it to enhance images.

The result of an edit today is shown below, and I hope you agree that whilst it is obviously ‘edited’ it doesn’t look unrealistic and was probably a fair representation of what the eye actually saw. I would be interested in your comments.

In other news, I used the amazing video capabilities of the Canon 5D mkII to take a ride down the Bealach na Ba on the way back to Edinburgh on Saturday morning and then spent much of last night and this morning trying to find a piece of music that encapsulated the drive and also lasted the 5 minutes 7 seconds of the clip. You can see the video on YouTube – I was always sceptical as to why a DSLR should have video capability or indeed Live View, however, the more I am using them now the more I can see they add value, probably just as auto focus did when that was first introduced (and probably was also vilified by the purists). Again, it would be great to get feedback on the video and also any comments generally about video or live view on DSLR’s.

Cloud inversion

12 12 2009

Today was the long drive back from Applecross to Edinburgh, made even longer by the frequent stops to take photographs (and videos coming up on YouTube tomorrow) in places such as Russel Burn, Eilean Donan Castle and a totally unplanned, but amazing stop at Glen Garry where I was fortunate enough to witness my first ever cloud inversion.

Apparently, the conditions that are perfect for this type of inversion are very rare and it creates something called an inversion aloft which is when there is hot air above and below the cloud and means the inversion lasts pretty much all day. Sorry, this isn’t a meteorological website but it is an amazing sight when you see something like this one.

In other shots today, I have attempted to produce something similar (although in no way equal to) the fabulous Ansel Adams. There is a colour version of the photo below on my flickr site (link on the right hand side). I would really appreciate a comment or two to tell me which one you prefer.

Edinburgh calling

11 12 2009

This morning I woke up to the usual Twitter messages on a foggy day to tell me that Edinburgh was missing. It would appear that the M8 belt (not sure why it isn’t a corridor like the M1 corridor) was covered in a mist that didn’t move all day and the temperatures were sub-zero.  Alternatively, Applecross was bathed in sunshine for the entire day and temperatures were a comfortable 8 degrees, so just a light walking shirt was all that was required for me.

As yesterday, another new lesson has been learned (or is it learnt?). This time relating to long exposure photographs perched precariously on just four small rocks, one supporting me and the other three supporting the legs of my tripod. Never, ever, let a dog loose whilst you are taking photos in this position, especially friendly dogs, as they have a habit of running and leaping toward you after they have become bored after 5 minutes hanging around. Picture the scene as I was holding my tripod with one hand, trying to keep hold of the dog with the other and trying to make sure that I didn’t go A over T myself.

The resulting photo from the couple of minutes by the river is fantastic though and well worth the effort required at the end of the day.

And just for completeness, here is the darling little dog that caused the foray by the river.

Tomorrow is going to be a trip home to Edinburgh, however, on the way I am hoping to capture Russell Burn at the bottom of Bealach na Ba (assuming my stupid height issues don’t get too much of me) and Eilian Doran Castle which is kind of on the way back with a bit of a diversion – hopefully the Edinburgh mist makes it’s way to the castle and gives me that bit of something that will make a great photo in this well photographed spot.


10 12 2009

It’s been my second full day in the Applecross Peninsula and I have to say that the rumours photographers pass around that landscape photography is so tiring because the ‘golden hours’ are at the start and end of the day have been well and truly dispelled. This far north the days are really short, sunrise is about 7:30am and sunset is usually around 3:30 – now to me that feels like a normal days work and to be honest there is a good five hours during the day when it’s tools down and enjoy some fantastic walks.

The walk today was assisted by Lulu, dog of the owner of the B&B I am staying at whilst visiting Applecross. I can’t recommend this B&B enough, 5 star hotel service in a B&B which includes fluffy dressing gowns, slippers, under-floor heating, chocolates on the bed at night and the most amazing breakfasts (book at http://www.raggedacre.co.uk/).

Anyway, today’s photography consisted of a few shots looking down the road that travels from north to south along the peninsula, one or two waterfall shots and then I ended the day by spending the evening golden hour (the time of the day when the light is at it’s best and casts a golden glow across the sky) taking some time-lapse images. When I get back to Edinburgh I’ll be posting a short clip of the 349 images taken over an hour that will show the setting of the sun over the Cullin Hills in Skye. However, as a little teaser, here is one of the frames from the clip to show the amazing colours on display this evening.

Every day teaches you a new lesson, and today’s lesson was that when taking time-lapse images over the course of an hour when sitting on wet grass in the middle of the winter, it is probably better to take something to sit on. Thankfully, the heated seats in the car helped but I was fearing an electric shock from the dampness of my butt!

Off to bed for my last full day in Applecross and then back to Edinburgh on Saturday.