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Ok, so I got Nothing

Yep, nothing. Not only is my English grammar terrible with the title but also with that first sentence as well. But it says it as it is. I have nothing to blog today. I tried to do something arty with some pictures but nothing came out very good. I said previously that I would not post any picture I wasn’t happy with, and that is the case today. The fair truth is that I haven’t had a lot of time over the weekend to create or blog anything new, but I’d rather check in with the blog then leave it blank.

It’s going to be a bit of a task to find something to blog about on Wednesday, but here’s hoping!

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The Beatles Story

The Beatles Story by Pete HalewoodToday’s blog post is my equivalent of doing a US TV programme clip show. I’m out of new ideas, so I’m digging up something from the archives!

Amongst all the things Liverpool is famous for; the maritime history, the football etc, the story of the most successful band ever to live is of course way up there. Despite my family’s origins being in Liverpool, I didn’t really start to listen to The Beatles as a fan until about 8 years ago. Of course, I have always loved their songs, but as an avid collector of their music, particularly their albums, that took a bit longer to develop. Have you all seen Across The Universe by the way? That has to be one of the most underrated films ever and an absolute must for Beatles fans.

This picture is taken quite obviously outside The Beatles museum in Liverpool, by the Albert Dock. This is an HDR from 3 different exposures and is 1 of 2 pictures I processed of this scene, but this version was by far the better one.

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How to Create Artistic Photos with your iPhone

iphoneFairgroundMobile phones and devices have been able to create great photographic images for a good few years now, but I wish people knew how easy it is to turn regular iPhone photos into something more artistic and interesting.

So I’m going to give you the simple ingredients that take you from having a regular picture of the local fun fair, to an image such as the one above.

My iPhone photo app of choice is SnapSeed. I’ve tried others, but this is always king for me. You can download it for free at the app store (or whatever platform you have).

There is a short learning curve on how to use SnapSeed, but you should have it worked out in a few minutes. It normally involves selecting a certain filter, swiping up and down to select a particular function (brightness for instance), and then swiping left and right to increase or decrease the strength of that function.

To create an artistic effect like the one above, you only need to use 3 filters: Frame, Grunge and Tune Image:

Tune Image – This is your general tonal adjustments, such as contrast, brightness and saturation etc. Use these functions until you have the look you like.

Grunge – There are a great many looks you can achieve with this filter, so I encourage you to keep swiping across until you find the look you want. This brings the art into your photo. You can also increase or decrease the strength of the texture.

Frame – Self-explanatory. There are also a good number of frame options but for something more interesting, use a frame that isn’t standard or boring.

You can use the filters in any order, but however you choose to do it, I would normally finish with the ‘Tune Image’ filter at the end, so I can tweak any tonal adjustments if necessary. Of course, you can use a couple of other filters such as Sharpening or Straighten, if you require them, but the 3 filters I have mentioned specifically in this post will be enough to create more interesting photos with your iPhone.

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The Valleys

BlaenavonWell I wasn’t sure if I was going to post another picture from recent Wales trip but here it is. This is from the World Heritage Site of Blaenavon in south east Wales. There was both an ironworks and coal mining industry in Blaenavon, but with the closure of the coal mine in 1980, both industries were gone.

I did not have time to visit the big pit, where the coal mining took place. My visit was confined to the heritage town, where the people lived and socialised, and still do, but with a much reduced population. The town runs down a fairly steep hill, and beyond that on the other side, you can see the beautiful green hills.

This is an HDR image, but I did not intend it to be. It is a bracketed image from 4 exposures, but when I was first processing this, I was only using the single metered exposure. I realised though that I had to make an HDR image, as the clouds in the single image were becoming too blown out, when adjusting the contrast. I still tried to keep the realism of the scene and have tried not to let the clouds look too ‘HDR’. It’s not a great time to take HDR images during the daytime, it works much nicer in softer light, but when you only have a certain amount of time in a particular area, it’s always worth to keep bracketing your exposures, to make sure you cover the light range if necessary.

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Old Postcard from Venice

MemoriesofVeniceJust a quick blog post today, it took me long enough to decide which picture to post. I’ve already said that my photographic crop from last weekend’s Brecon Beacons trip would be very small, and in fact I think I may have posted the only 2 ‘keepers’ to come out of it. The further you go down your photographic journey, the harder it is to please yourself. I really do have to like every single picture I post on this blog, rather than just another tourist snap.

Anyway, I hope today’s picture isn’t viewed as any old tourist snap, though of course it is of a tourist activity. It’s been 4 years since I visited Venice, and like many other cities I’ve visited, I have always said I will go back soon, but soon often never happens. I thought my days processing pictures from that Venice trip in 2011 were long gone, but every time I go through them, I am reminded of this little picture which I processed into a rather vintage looking image. I cannot remember when I first started processing it, but it is potentially years ago. I looked at it again last night and realised it needed a further crop (was too wide) and a bit of spot healing, but once that was done I had the photo I had envisioned a long time ago.

Scott Kelby in London

Photography trainer supreme Scott Kelby was in London on Tuesday on his ‘Shoot like a Pro: Reloaded tour’ and to say he blew away my expectations is an understatement. Scott makes the art of photography a lot simpler then I always think it is, and his wonderful speaking skills and great sense of humour keep you engaged the whole time. If you ever get the chance to see him live, do not miss the opportunity!

Final Thought

I realise now after I have posted it, that this image has one last edit to be completed. The guy in the t-shirt and cap has to go! Sorry dude! I’ll post my update next week!

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