It has been sometime since I’ve been out to specifically take photo’s for myself. Recently it has been either for the Portsmouth News or the Royal Navy Rugby Union. And then there’s been the weather. Today the sun put in an appearance so I decided to drive a short distance from my home to Emsworth. A lovely little town on the A27, the south side predominantly older buildings the main road leading down to, confusingly, Chichester harbour.
I decided to travel light so today I chose to use my first digital DSLR, a 2006 Nikon D200 with a 17-55mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8 lens. Mounted with the battery grip, it is an excellent camera that produces a large quality file. Some of the images taken with it over the years have been enlarged to wall size and are now part of the decor at the Abar Bistro, Old Portsmouth.
With the strong sunlight and a good sky the location offered the chance to take some images featuring graphical shapes and silhouettes. With the tide also out I was able to walk along the foreshore where there would be the potential for some texture, detail and debris images that only a low tide exposes. Sure enough the walk did not disappoint and numerous images presented themselves and were taken. Exposure is always a tricky thing in conditions such as this, strong sunlight and reflective surfaces; the sea and the dark shapes are not the easiest to expose for. For me, I meter off the back of my hand. I hold my hand up so the light source reflects off it and and take meter reading without casting a shadow with camera on my hand. My skin tone represents 18% grey which is what most camera meters are set to. Grass is another great 18% grey source. This will at the least get you in the exposure zone.
However, as I was photographing a rainbow over Emsworth the mirror on the camera jammed in the up position and no matter what I tried it would not return home. I thought all was lost as the camera would not be worth repairing. I retreated to a pub for a pint and contemplated a replacement, probably the Nikon D850 and winder totalling some £2750. I finished my drink and returned home. I looked at the camera again and went through the menu and came across the ‘mirror up’ setting. Used for long exposures or when photographing skittish creatures. I operated the setting and the mirror returned to its correct position. Hopefully this was just a one off event.
I downloaded the images and imported them into Adobe Lightroom. My main piece of software that all my images go through for processing. Lightroom is extremely versatile and very useful for batch processing large numbers of images. If an image requires significant retouching or manipulation then in it is exported to Photoshop. The only other piece of software I use is Photo Mechanics. More on that in future blogs. I star rated the ones I wanted to work on, selected those and applied one of my presets to the images. This gave me a basis to work on each image. Using the dodge and burn tools to achieve the desired finish to image as well as some adjustments to colour and contrast were made. The images were then exported applying a watermark to them so I could share them across my social media platforms (links can be found to left at the bottom of the menu). Some the images can also be found in my shop on this website for sale.
I hope you found this all interesting. Feedback is appreciated. I will be publishing further articles about my work, process’s and opinions in the coming weeks.