The Cerne Giant is a unique feature on the landscape of West Dorset.
I have posted this image here as it is the only picture I have of the Cerne Giant, and I wanted to show what the giant actually looks like from ground level, nestled amongst all this lovely Dorset greenery.
On the National Trust website the Giant is described as
Ancient Naked figure sculpted into the chalk hillside above Cerne Abbas.
Head over to the links above to read all about why. There is no point in me telling you this when the National Trust have already done such an excellent job.
And you can check out the Wikipedia page too.
This image is not staying on my Dorset Photographer page. It is not a great image. I have gone off on a bit of a tangent here, and forgotten that this page of my website is meant to be about interesting, appealing pictures of Dorset.
And this image is not my best work.
So now I need to find something to replace this image with. It’s not the Cerne Giant that’s the problem, its my picture of the Giant.
Bear with me, there will be a better image appearing soon on my blog and also on the Dorset Photographer page of my website shortly.
And if you want to see a much better picture of the Cerne Giant then head back to the National Trust who have a stunning shot on their website.
I will do a black and white version though quickly….
Rick McEvoy Photography
Thursday 23rd March 2017
Another definite favourite picture of Dorset is this view looking towards Kimmeridge and the Dorset coast from somewhere on the road between East Lulworth and Steeple. A great view with nice clouds and good light. From the Purbecks you get great views towards the coast looking south, as well as great views to the north, east and west – it is such a special place.
If you look in the sea you can see some standing waves. This is Dancing Ledge, a really interesting spot if you like to dive off the Dorset Coast. There is a sudden drop here on the sea bed which needs to be known about before diving in this area. And the standing waves that you can often see there on the surface.
Another thing I like about this image is the herd of sheep in the middle ground, adding some agricultural charm to the overall scene.
This picture will never win any awards, but is a nice view, and one that lots of people see while driving through the Purbecks.
Not everyone has the chance to stop and take in the view, which is one of the jobs us photographers are here for!
The edit of this image I have just done has made a dramatic difference to this image which I captured and processed some time ago. This image now has had the full 2017 Lightroom processing – my style that is..
Oh yes and I have added the keywords and captions, and today have uploaded this newly edited image to my Dorset photographer web page.
What have I done differently in Lightroom?
Firstly, the crop was sound.
Something I like to do to images can be found in the last panel in the Develop Module in Lightroom, called Camera Calibration. I set the profile to Landscape, which gives richer colours. I just like the effect of this profile, which is now something I apply to images on import into Lightroom.
Apart from that I have updated the edit with things that I prefer that give a cleaner, crisper image. I have also finished off the image in Photoshop, cleaning up some minor annoyances.
Image number 2 done – now time to head over to Nik for a black and white edit which will appear tomorrow on my blog at 11am.
Tuesday 21st March 2017
- Full Dynamic Smooth
- No filter
- Lens Falloff 1
- Dynamic Brightness +48%
And that was all I did.
Quite a subtle edit and a black and white image which I like. I have added this to the Collection in Lightroom called black and white landscape photography in Dorset, which I will update with this and all the other images shortly.
Rick McEvoy Photography
Wednesday 22nd March 2017
This is what I did using Nik Silver Efex Pro to produce this black and white landscape photography image
Full Contrast and Structure. I immediately liked the effect of this preset.
Green – again a quick decision as the efffect worked well.
The image was too bright overall at this stage, so I added a big vignette, Lens Falloff 3 to darken down the edges, and the moved into the Brightness Panel to finish off.
Firstly I reduced the overall brightness by 30%, which is quite a lot.
I then pumped up the Dynamic Brightness by 57%, again quite a lot. Well even more than the overall reduction in brightness of the image.
I then played around with all of the these sliders as I was not happy with the look of the image, ending up with the following settings in the Brightness Panel
- Overall Brightness -25%
- Highlights - no change
- Midtones +54%
- Shadows -73%
- Dynamic Brightness +80%
And this is how I ended up with this image.
And a point I want to make now about making adjustments like this in Lightroom. How do I remember what I have done to produce an image? I don’t want to always have to go back to a blog post but the range of options in Lightroom is limited and a bit fiddly, and I don’t really want to clutter up the caption field. I added the text Nik Silver Efex Pro 20032017 Blog post to the end of the text in the caption field for now.
I will look into this and see if I can find a better way.
Another thing to add to my list.
Talking of lists – no I will comeback to this subject another time. This is enough for a Monday morning! Yes I am really writing this on a Monday morning.
Getting back to the image and away from all that Lightroom stuff I have to say I really like this image, the composition is sound and the picture works well in colour and black and white.
I like both of these pictures of Kimmeridge, and need to decide which image is going to be the chosen one for my Dorset Photographer web page.
Rick McEvoy Photography
Monday 20th March 2017
Yesterday I posted my favourite keyboard shortcuts in Adobe Photoshop. I thought it would be a good idea to explain what they were, so here goes.
J - Spot healing brush. This is one of my favourite tools in Photoshop. The only thing I use more is the clone stamp tool. You can also use this shortcut to get to the patch repair tool, equally awesome and one that I am using more and more. You just have to change the brush using the mouse. And don't think that this tool is for spot removal only - it does much much more than that.
S - Clone stamp tool. Yes this is what I use for everything that the spot healing brush can't do. You select an area to sample from and paint over the area requiring attention. An incredibly useful and powerful tool.
[ - Decrease brush size. With any tool or brush, pressing this bracket key reduces the size of the brush. I use this all the time in conjunction with the clone stamp tool and spot healing brush.
] - Increase brush size. I don't need to elaborate on this any more....
Control 1 - Zoom the image to 100%. I use this before checking an image for dust spots, defects etc.
Home - go to the top left corner of an image. I use this in conjunction with the zooming above - this starts me off in the top left hand corner.
Control 0 - go to the full view of the image. Normally once I have finished some kind of detail work to see how good my work was.
Page Down - to scroll down the image one screen at a time. Whilst going through my editing/ cleaning/ tidying/ polishing of an image.
Space bar - press the space bar key and hold it down. The mouse pointer becomes a grabber so you can navigate around the image
Control S - saves an image back into my Lightroom Catalogue as a Tif file right next to the original RAW file.
Control Z - to undo the last thing I did
Shift Alt Z - to go back more than one step
I hope that you find these keyboard shortcuts helpful. I use Photoshop to clean up images after processing in Lightroom. These keyboard shortcuts allow me to do this quickly and efficiently and save me loads of time.
Sunday 19th March 2017
There is something about this picture of Pool Port which I really like. It is the different colours on the water, the golden orange to the right, and the water on the right just showing glimmers of the sunrise.
A different image to be sure!
Rick McEvoy Photography
Sunday 19th March 2017
I have been working on new content for my Dorset photographer page. The content needed a refresh, being over a year old, and there is lots more I want to say about my pictures of Dorset, and a brand-new collection of images to show.
So how did I go about doing this?
I put all my Dorset photos into a single Collection in Lightroom, which crosses over with my collections of 2008 and 2009. Well every year actually. This is fine as long as I remember to reject and then physically delete the things I don’t want from each collection. I am trying to attack my catalogue from all angles to get rid of stuff I don’t want.
Having all my photos of Dorset in one collection meant that the images were immediately available to me on Lightroom Mobile, where I could go through them and just select picks of things that look interesting. And being on Lightroom Mobile I could do this anywhere, including in the queue for the car wash!
I started this and it was going quite well but I found something I liked the look of so I stopped and edited it.
I know – I really must stop doing this and stick to going through those few thousand images.
I was not being too scientific with the initial picks – anything that I liked the look of or that was something different. I had decided that I might not go for the headline iconic Dorset tourist landmarks like Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove etc etc (well there might be a few) - no not me – I was going to come up with something different.
So, having all my Dorset photos in one collection, I was able to browse these images at my leisure.
Having gone through and crudely picked things I liked the look of I had over 150 images. All I had to do then was narrow them down to a set of twelve images which will go into my gallery of Dorset photos.
I was not sure if I was going to include just landscape photography images, or if I was going to broaden things out to include architectural and/ or interior photography images.
This was another time when my iPad Pro proved invaluable – this is one of the things I really wanted the iPad for – selecting images. And of course, I did some quick edits which I posted – this is pleasurable work for me made even more so by the iPad Pro.
Having picked the set of 12 images what next? Well edits of the images and lots of lovely new text to accompany the images and get me higher up the rankings in Google.
This piece of work will also give me lots of new things to write about on my photography blog – as ever one thing leads to lots of new content and also lots of new images.
At the time of writing I have a shortlist of 12 images, and some text which you can read on my Dorset Photographer web page.
But that is not the end. Oh no. Far from it.
Now I have to go through the images one by one and re-edit them. And I will write about this as I am producing the images which will replace the existing ones on this page of my photography website.
To do this I am going to create virtual copies of the 12 chosen images and then do full edits at my leisure and write about these separately –these edited images will also feed into my commercial stock photography libraries.
This sounds like a plan, and one that I will repeat with other pages. My immediate priorities are
Dorset photographer page
Poole photographer page
So, I will get on with the Dorset page then get on with my Hampshire photography page using the same process.
Rick McEvoy Photography
Thursday 16th March 2017
This week I became the proud owner of a Canon 24mm Tilt Shift Lens.
I bought this magnificent thing second hand, as I want to learn how to use the lens before I commit to buying a brand spanking new lens, for quite a lot of money.
There is another reason for going down the second hand route – I am not sure if I will be happy with the 24mm focal length.
Canon produce four tilt shift lenses, which come in the following focal lengths
My problem is that I am used to the wideness of my Canon 17-40mm lens, which I use a lot, especially for interior photography work. I am also used to zoom lenses, so will find the fixed focal length a strange experience I have no doubt.
Time will tell, and this is precisely why I am going to try the 24mm Mark 1 version of the lens first.
Tilt shift lenses are specialist lenses, and are used mainly in architectural photography, as well as in landscape photography. I take architectural photography in the broadest sense, covering
Basically all the things I photograph.
And landscape photography of course.
This is the first post in a series of posts I will be writing about my experiences with tilt shift lenses. For now there is just one thing for me to do.
Put the lens on my camera and play.
After I have downloaded the user manual from the Canon website that is. It would help if I knew how to use the lens.
And another benefit of taking photographs with a tilt shift lens is that it will slow me down ever more.
I am hoping that the quality of my photography is going to increase as I slow down and use this new lens on my Canon 6D.
I will write updates as and when I have news, along with lots of new images.
Rick McEvoy Photography
Canon Photographer with a tilt shift lens
Wednesday 15th March 2017
I tried a few edits of the colour version of this picture of the woods at The Vyne, including an HDR image, but the original edit in Lightroom happily was the best. I did a bit of cleaning up of the image in Photoshop, but that was all really.
The original edit producing the feel of the image that the National Trust liked was still all there.
All I had to do next was produce a black and white version of the picture using Nik Silver Efex Pro. I wanted to recreate the mood of the colour version of the picture, which has been featured by the National Trust in their Twitter feed which is nice, Very nice indeed!
This is what I did to produce the black and white image using Nik Silver Efex Pro, the free software from Google.
- Fine Dynamic Smooth worked nicely for this picture
- The green filter gave a subtle change to the lighting on the ground
- Lens Falloff 3. Then I changed my mind and went with Lens Falloff 2. I didn’t like the shadows on the left hand side.
After a bit of playing around this is what I went with.
- Overall brightness -18%
- Highlights -47%
- Midtones -19%
- Shadows -18%
- Dynamic brightness +40%
This is purely a visual process, I move the sliders left and right till I end up with something I like. Not very scientific I know!
And yes I know I should be working on other things but there is a gap in my 500PX feed – I need to maintain my colour/ black and white alternating sequence so need to do this, erm, today.
I am going to be a bit more systematic about my posting of images to 500PX and Instagram. The problem is I produce something and want to post it straight away. This is why there are so many posts in my draft folder on my photography blog which I need to deal with as well.
Oh well if that is my biggest problem in life… Which it isn't by the way.
And that is another black and white landscape photography image to add to my new web page which will be imaginatively called “Black and white landscape photography in Hampshire”. I have not added the page to my website yet but there is a collection evolving nicely in Lightroom.
Tuesday 14th March 2017
Why should you hire me to photograph your construction site? That is the question.
This was originally titled “What is the reality of being a photographer on a live construction site?”. I changed the title to the one you can see above.
And this is a natural follow on from the series of posts about my construction product photography work over the last week or so.
Please read this (if you don’t mind) and find out why you should consider me when you are looking for a professional photographer to photograph your construction site.
Taking pictures on a busy construction site
I am normally asked to photograph construction sites, and indeed products, immediately before completion of the site works. If you have never been on a construction site immediately before practical completion you might be surprised by what you find. Lots going on - that is the generous way of putting it! Seriously these are very busy times, with everyone under pressure to complete their works.
And there is the further conundrum of client fit out, furniture, fixtures, fittings and specialist client equipment. FF&E is a term often used on construction by the way – furniture, fixtures and equipment. See I know this stuff!
The timing of when to carry out the shoot can make or break a shoot.
But once the optimum time has been agreed with my client there are many things that I have to contend with. So agreeing the when is just the beginning.
Before going on most construction sites I have to go through a site induction. This time needs building in and pre-planning of course. Just turn up at a construction site and you will probably be turned away these days!
And quite rightly so.
I have lost count of the number of site inductions I have attended.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
The rules vary from construction site to construction site as to what PPE is required. Also the timing can impact on what is required to be worn. I have all my own PPE, which covers me for 99% of scenarios.
I am a current Managerial and Professional CSCS card holder. This proves my competence to be on construction sites, and that I have the required knowledge in construction health and safety. Well I have more than a CSCS card but that is another story…
Mobility on site. And more importantly minimising the impact of my presence on your construction.
My photography gear is all packed away safely and nicely in one compact bag, leaving both my hands free at all times for me to safely access all parts of a construction site. This is a serious consideration. I have seen photographers turn up on sites I have been working on with all sorts of completely impractical equipment, including once large roller bag which the poor photographer was expecting to wheel half a mile across a muddy field to the site!
I don’t use lights but do use a tripod.
Yes mud. I have to get from the cabins to the site. More often than not the grounds are not completed and I have to walk through mud to get there. And having walked through the mud I then find yourself inside a brand new sparkly building interior!
See above re camera bags.
Working at height
By the time I am invited to site works in the ground are pretty much done, apart from the nice finishing touches that is. Like grass. And plants and trees and stuff.
I am often climbing up scaffolding just to get to the view I need, or to get to the part of the site I need to get to. And that is of course with all my camera gear and PPE on. If I am really lucky I get to ride in a MEWP. I have sat in steeplejacks seat boards, and been in metal things suspended from mobile cranes. Back in the olden days that is.
Most times however I have a huge expanse of not quite finished building to photograph without getting in everyone’s way while everyone is rushing around trying to finish their own works.
I am often on scaffolds and the roofs of buildings for obvious reasons, and not so obvious reasons. Often there is plant mounted on the roof that you cannot see from the ground, which can make for interesting subject matter. And of course there are often spectacular views from the roofs of many of the buildings I photograph. Yes they are sometimes for my benefit.
Yes the good old British weather. Who wants their shiny new building photographing in the rain? No-one!
I can, with some special tricks I have, make the weather look much better than it was at the time of taking the photographs, but this can be time consuming and expensive to achieve realistically. Most of the time I just have to wait for good weather.
Unless of course it is a construction product shoot internally, in which case the weather is not an issue.
And there is the wind, rain and the cold. Sometimes construction sites can be colder than outside. Dark, damp cold environments with lots of wet materials and structures shedding water as they dry out.
This is a serious issue, especially on refurbishment projects in existing buildings, and the larger construction sites. Don’t worry – I have gear to help me deal with this issue.
Another issue. The thing I turn up to photograph not being complete. Or still being worked on. Or not actually there.
Construction sites can be very very dusty, so I need to take extra care changing lenses and keeping the front element of my camera lens clean.
Do I photograph the building with the furniture in or the furniture not in? It depends who has commissioned me, what they want pictures of and when they want them. I would of course rather photograph a fully furnished building but sometimes that is not possible.
So who would choose to photograph live construction sites?
Someone who has spent a lifetime working on constructions sites, and a lifetime working on their photography skills.
That would be me then.
And that is why I am a great person for you to speak to about photographing your construction site, product or material being installed on a construction site or recently completed building.
All the things I have written about above I am completely familiar with and comfortable with.
I have an array of photography gear tailored to allow me to work quickly and efficiently in these environments. I also have lots of non-photography related equipment which I carry in my site camera bag. I have assembled my construction photography tool-kit over a number of years.
I know construction. I understand construction sites.
I am fully equipped, with lightweight, mobile, durable gear that allows me to do my work quickly, efficiently, professionally and to an excellent technical standard whatever the environment.
And I am fully insured of course.
I am a current Managerial and Professional CSCS card holder. I am a Chartered Builder. I have a lifetime working in construction.
Oh yes, and I am a professionally qualified photographer.
So what are you waiting for?
All you need to do is phone, email or complete the form on my contact page with your construction photography related enquiry.
I have a couple of pages which are all about my construction photography - my construction photographer page and my construction product photographer page. You can see examples of the pictures I have taken on construction sites on these pages.
Monday 13th March 2017
Having spent lots of time on lovely fluffy landscape pictures it was good to get back to the nitty gritty of what I do. Is nitty gritty actually a word? Well two words?
Sorry. Having one of those moments.
- Construction photography.
- Construction product photography.
- Product photography on construction sites.
- Photography of construction products.
Well I don’t know which term to use? It is an SEO nightmare.
But in all seriousness taking photographs of products on construction sites is a specialist area of commercial photography. And one that I specialise in.
The timing is critical – too soon and the works are not advanced enough. Too late and the client has moved in and is using the new building.
The taking of the pictures can be challenging. Taking photographs in a live construction site as the overall construction project reaches practical completion can mean getting in the way of lots of very busy people all under pressure trying to deliver to individual deadlines. Not really a good time be expected to stand and wait while a stranger takes some pictures!
Taking photographs in a noisy, dusty, dark, damp and unfamiliar environment is not exactly the easiest thing to do either.
Photographing in a live construction environment requires speed, efficiency and the correct equipment.
You also need the correct clothing and personal protective equipment.
And the timing of when the shoot takes place requires planning and prior arranging with the principal contractor.
It might sound like a difficult ask, but it’s fine if you engage a specialist like myself, qualified in photography and construction and fully familiar with working on live construction sites.
The shoot I was writing about went smoothly. Until I received a phone call from site that is. I had taken one of the keys with me by mistake. I was the other side of Portsmouth when I took the call, thankfully they were understanding enough to allow me to return the key the next morning.
Don’t let that put you off getting in touch with me about photographing your shiny new building or product.
I have photographed some big construction product names to date, including
- Marshalls paving
- Flue Stax flue inspection equipment. Not strictly a product. Well the equipment is….
- KRend render
- Catnic lintols
- Rockwool insulation and cladding
- Tobermore paving
- Cell Security equipment
- Dulux Pyroshied paint
- Sports hall flooring by Gerflor
- ElliottUK modular buildings
- A petrol station for Morrisons by Elliott UK
- BASF Walltite sprayed insulation
Head over to my new web page all about my work as a construction product photographer and you can see pictures of each of the commercial shoots listed above.
Construction product photographer
Sunday 12th March 2017
This is a set of 6 images of the construction product shoot I have written about this week. There is one point I would like to make about the image capture and processing of the images.
Consistecy of image capture and image processing.
How do I achieve a set of images that look like they belong together?
Only when I have to do I take images handheld.
Why is this so important to me? Well I never need to change the settings on my camera. The only thing that changes is the aperture, which I vary depending on what I want the lens to do.
Everything else stays the same, using the camera settings that enable me to achieve the highest quality of image capture.
Image capture is the first part of the process.
Image processing is next.
It might not surprise you to know that I have a very well defined image processing workflow in Lightroom and Photoshop. Every commercial image is processed using the same workflow. Obviously some images need different things doing to them, some need more work and some virtually no editing.
I can produce matching images from different days using the skills I have developed over the many hours spent using Lightroom and Photoshop.
My workflows in image capture and image processing are probably week long subjects in their own right. Maybe when I run out of things to write about I will turn to these subjects.
Saturday 11th March 2017
This is a recently introduced feature in Instagram, and one I had forgotten about in Twitter.
Well worth knowing. You can prepare posts and save them to publish whenever you want. Or more importantly when your audience are around and reading this good stuff.
Saturday 11th March 2017