Category Archives: Photography

Day 17 – October 26, 2010

Day 4 of the workshop with Bruce Percy.

Morning Session –

Evening Session –

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Day 16 – October 25, 2010

Day 3 of the workshop with Bruce Percy.

Morning Session –

Somewhere in Assynt

Evening session –

Achiltibuie beach

Day 15 – October 24, 2010

Day 2 of the workshop with Bruce Percy.

Morning Session –

Loch Cul Dromannan

Evening session –

Achiltibuie beach

Day 14 – October 23, 2010

Day 1 of the workshop with Bruce Percy.

Shot 1 – Morning session.

Loch Lurgainn

 

Shot 2 – Evening session

Loch Bad A Ghaill

Day 9 – October 18, 2010

Shipwreck at Diabaig

Torridon is such a world of difference as compared to the tourist-infested area in Glencoe. It almost seems as if the entire world has come into Glencoe for hiking, walking, and general merry-making. It’s not that it isn’t a great place to be in, but Toriddon is no less. In fact, according to me, the rugged beauty of Torridon is a level above that of Glencoe, if not more. The manner in which the land meets the waters and the sky at Torridon are to be seen to be believed. It looks serene and dangerous at the same time; intensely beautiful and awe-inspiring.

I spent the first half of the day driving up to the end of the road onwards from Torridon, up to a village called Diabaig. It’s located at the shores of Loch Torridon, and is accessible only if you are willing to traverse a tortuous section of single-track road across the mountains in the area. The views throughout leave nothing to be desired, and when the sun comes out they gain an entirely new kind of look, so different from when it is overcast and cloudy that it’s hard to believe you’re looking at the same piece of earth. The weather being what it is in Scotland, especially in the Highlands, it kept raining and clearing every hour or so and I was fortunate enough to have witnessed the full splendour of Torridon in just half a day. Diabaig itself isn’t much, but with it’s setting along the shores of the Loch it acquires an off-track charm that is entirely its own.  Hopefully some of the images I shot over there will do it, and Torridon, justice.

Loch Torridon

Overall, I am extremely happy with my stay at here today. The second half of the day was much less eventful weather-wise and shooting-wise, but it was also good to ease-off towards the latter half, which helped the grandeur of what I had witnessed in the morning to sink in.

Day 7 – October 16, 2010

Loch Leven

I left the hostel this morning thinking I’d go on one of the many short walks around the area to take in the beauty of the landscape. Instead I ended up wandering around the small village of Ballachulish, and then driving around the circumference of Loch Leven. Nothing terribly exciting, although both of these places are pretty, as is every other place in Scotland I’ve seen so far. Came back to the hostel early today to see if I could start with some image management, but I don’t think I’m going to end up doing it yet. My cold is taking hold over my actions completely, what with the permanently runny-nose today along with the never-ending sneeze-fest.

Not sure what I should do tomorrow. My knee has been acting up again and I don’t really fancy the idea of going on any walks that may keep pushing it. I need it to be better by the time I start with the workshop next Friday. I’m considering heading to Torridon, but it’s more than 120 miles away, and I’m uncertain whether I should drive that much in a single day. I need to start scheduling my travel such that I can be back in Glasgow on the evening of the 21st, no later than 6-7pm. Reading the Rough Guide to Scottish Highlands & Islands by Rough Guides (which I bought at Stansted airport) might help me figuring this out.

I’ve been shooting continuously for the last week, and despite the number of good photographs I think I’ve taken so far, there is still this sense of hollowness about it all. They might all be good photographs, both individually and as a representation of the land that I am visiting, but it that all it is supposed to be? Is landscape photography only supposed to be about the grand shots and the detail shots, standing alone and working together to give a picture of the place being photographed, or should there be more to it? Am I overcomplicating this, or am I relalizing something that never occurred to me earlier? Is there some way landscape/nature photography can play a kind of documentary role in the sort of the travels I’m undertaking? Maybe not, but probably the scope of images being shot might need to be expanded to include people, rather than just the landscapes. After all, people do form a part of the whole landscape of a country, so it only makes sense that including them should add another dimension to the story, if this can be called as such. Only, I’m not very comfortable making images of people, and to do it now in such an unfamiliar setting is going to be a challenge. Let’s see how it goes.

On photography –

I think photographers, especially those who have been really into the entire process of imaging, and have devoted a significant amount of time to their craft, have a tendency to reach for their camera every time they see something interesting. I’ve found myself doing this repeatedly over the last few days, and I’m sure it’s quite common among others of my breed. It’s almost a reflex action – seeing something and reaching for the camera. I think it has the potential to be debilitating, and possibly even have negative effects on leisure time. After all, if all we’re trying to do is look at composition and light all the time, rather than just sitting and soaking in the place, the atmosphere, there has to be something wrong. I noticed this first when I stopped at all these different parking slots on the side of the road in order to get out and take pictures of the surrounding area.

Most other people around me were happy to jump out of their vehicles and roam around, maybe take a picture or two, laugh and joke, and just stroll around taking in the scene. I, on the other hand, looked ready to go into battle. Backpack on, fully geared up from head to toe in rainproof gear, gloves, beanie, with the camera in one hand and the tripod in the other. I probably looked like a walking comic book to everyone else. Not that I mind being considered a comic, but it made me think about the difference in how they were enjoying their time there, and how I was running around, like I had targets to achieve (images to make), and deadlines to meet. Kinda’ made me feel a little silly. I am on holiday, after all, even if the holiday comes with a purpose. Maybe I should slow down a bit and try to soak up things a little more. Or maybe I’m just over-thinking stuff, as I’m predisposed to most of the time.

Postcard from the A896

Kick-off

90 days for freedom. That’s what this time is for. Finding the path to my freedom. Far too long have I lived under this dark cloud of dissatisfaction, longing, and perennial oppression (hallucinations). Now of course this time has also been of tremendous help in terms of giving me a rational perspective of life, along with the financial resources and time to put into my hobby. But we can’t let a sudden bout of reason numb the joy to be had from some mindless mud-slinging, can we? 😉 Hell no!

Right then, the tickets are done, some bookings are too. Most details are unknown. Yet. And so they might just remain for a good amount of time. Like right before the night is upon me, I might just know whether I’ll be able to make it to a hostel, or have to end up sleeping in the car that I’ll hire. Oh well, fun never came with comfort, did it? It did? Oh, hmmm… well, not in my budget it can’t. Geddit? Good! 😀

Then there’s the whole issue of equipment upgrades, new gear, old gear, weight, size, cost, yada yada yada. The whole nine yards. If you know of a way to compress 16kg. to make it weigh no more than 7, please let me know. Just don’t tell the airlines, cool? I’ll bring you a nice gift when I meet you. Promise. 🙂 And some thoughts on plucking some money growing on those nice Christmas trees wouldn’t be too bad either. That 24/1.4 looks mighty tempting. Yummm…

You’ll be seeing a lot of updates on this blog in the coming months. If you find them interesting, hit me up in the comments. It’ll be nice to hear you while I’m stumbling from one stop to another. Hopefully there’ll be some nice images to share, and a few stories to spice up all that spare time you don’t know what to do with right now. You can thank me later. Cya soon. 🙂

Colour (mis)management

DSC_3195

I’ve been bitten by the photography bug for a few years now, and having owned a dSLR for a reasonable amount of time now, I’ve accumulated a few things that any photo-hobbyist would acquire over the active course of their hobby. I have read quite a bit about color management and why it is essential to get it right if you’re serious about your work, but being a salaried individual I never quite had the money to buy a monitor simply because I wanted better colours… until now.

Dell, as a lot of people are aware,  keep giving discounts and special deals throughout the year. In April they had 10 days of special deals running. One one of those days, I decided to plonk some money for a monitor I had been eyeing for a while, the Dell Ultrasharp 2209WA. This is an e-IPS panel, and has had a very high percentage of people reviewing it favourably. For the price it is available for even without a discount, it any hobbyists best bang-for-the-buck option available in the market. To go along with it, I also bought an X-Rite i1 Display 2.

Before I plunged into calibration of my new monitor, I went through a reasonable amount of reviews and articles about calibration, colour spaces, etc. I was hoping it would help me nail the process in my first shot. Only, I didn’t realize how accustomed I had become to my laptop’s LCD (which is quite crummy, photography-wise). As soon as I had my monitor calibrated by the i1, I realized the reds and greens were too bright and saturated. Disappointed, but certain it was my fault, I proceeded to re-calibrate my monitor five more times over the next few days, each time with the same result. Exasperated and disappointed with the results I was consistently getting, I put my questions online on a few forums, hoping someone would be able to tell me what I was doing wrong. Unfortunately my posts disappeared into the deep abyss of old forum posts in less than a day, with barely one reply which wasn’t as useful as I was hoping it would be. I had decided, enough was enough, and rather than letting my money go down the drain, I’d sell the monitor and calibrator to someone who was smarter than me and figure this out. However, having acquired a monitor, that too of the quality of this one at the price I paid for it, was something I couldn’t convince myself to do so easily. So I decided to give this one last shot.

I deleted all the previous profiles created by the i1, and got the monitor into its native state. I then proceeded to adjust the brightness, contrast and colour levels on my own, with no point of reference, till the time the screen content looked the way I expected and wanted it to look. Despite that, I found that there was no way to get the super-bright greens down to manageable levels without messing up the gamma adjustment, which then tilted the balance of colour unfavourably towards green. So I settled for what I had, and used these settings for the next couple of days.

Today, after two days of manually setting the monitor, I ran the calibrator again. Post-calibration I now find that the monitor resembles the condition I had obtained manually, only a little more accurately. So does this mean I wasted money on the i1? I don’t think so. I know that some time in the future I’ll buy myself a good printer, and maybe a bigger monitor with a larger gamut than the 2209 (which covers sRGB fully). Having the i1 with me at that point in time will help me calibrate all my devices and help them play nice with each other. As far as the super-bright greens and reds go, I guess I’ve been using crummy LCDs for so long that the colours that I consider too bright or saturated were actually the ones that I never saw correctly earlier. Lesson learnt.

If you’re considering buying a color calibrator for your monitor, I strongly advise you not to waste time thinking about it. Just get one. It will make a ton of difference to your work. even if it only personal work or fun. I can’t say much about the cheaper hardware calibrators available in the market, but for sure the i1 is great, and comes with a very good software which is very simple to follow (although it keeps crashing my system… maybe it’s because of Vista.) I’ve heard some really good things about the Spyder 3 Elite as well, and most people say it is at par or slightly better than the i1, so it’s worth a look as well.

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