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After my last blog before Christmas, I have given a lot of thought to what I plan to do photography-wise in the coming year. I have decided to have some time off from the degree and to look at it again later in the year. I am allowed to postpone the next module until November and then continue with no penalty.

These next months will give me time to sort out some of my own projects that I was talking about in my previous post. Once they have been finished or at least continuing in a satisfactory fashion, then I will probably be able to look at my degree again with a clearer vision of how I want to proceed.

If my company is amenable I would also like to reduce my hours at work towards the end of 2014, which would enable me to have more time for study.

So, there you have it a possible Clive roadmap for next year.

So. it’s the 23 December, and I’m sitting in front of my monitor and about to start processing another image from the summer. I’m still on July, working on the images I took in Venice. Although my University module with the Open College of the Arts finished in September (which I passed) I don’t seemed to have made much headway in getting through the photographs I have taken.

My plan was to get up to date by Christmas (now) so that when the next module begins, I’m up to date with my own photographs – once the Uni works start I will have very little time to process my own images.

I have various projects that I want to either start or finish. I have a book of 365 images which has been ready for printing for quite a while now as well as a collaborative project with three other photographers that has the tentative title of ‘Tempus Fugit’. This project which will result in a book, is at the stage where the photographs to be used are being chosen.

I also have set up a test site for the sale of my prints on line together with ‘gallery’ space for other guest photographers who also want to sell their prints online. It’s look as though this may have to wait another few months before I can get to grips with it again.

I am currently debating whether I continue with my photographic degree course because of all the other pressures on my time. I also work full-time in a normal job, and have a family. My free time is being squeezed all the time. I seemed to bounce from giving up the course to carrying on many times, in the course of a week. I love that the course has broadened my appreciation of photography and photographers that I may have never considered looking at before, but doing the degree is a massive commitment in time and money and other things have to drop by the wayside whilst it is being done.

As I said, decisions…decisions.

 

I hope you and yours have a merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

 

CM

We have finished decorating the study in our house, and my wife is looking for a collection of landscape format prints to group in a series of four on one of the walls. The problem is, which images to choose?

All of my images are held in Lightroom databases. Each year I start a new Lightroom catalogue for that particular year on a new mobile hard drive. All Lightroom settings, presets and folders for that year on held on that disk. Images are placed in dated folders as they are downloaded from the camera together that are also labelled with the location. This year, for instance, I have 82 individual folders or ‘shoots’, and in those folders are all of the images taken on those shoots. Now, whilst only a small percentage of those pictures are actually fully processed and realised, it still means a lot of images to trawl through to find ones that are suitable for clients or framing etc. When you then start to look even further back at your back catalogue of images over the years the number of possible images that would be good enough to sell or use becomes even larger. Since I started digital photography in earnest three years ago, I have a collection of 22,000 images. Again, obviously most will never be used, but that is still a lot of pictures to look through.

From every shoot that you do there must be a few, perhaps only two or three, images that you feel are good enough to represent your photography, or that you think other people would be interested in. Once those images have been processed to your satisfaction, you are left with the finished jpg or tiff. To enable you to find those images quickly in the future you could meta tag them in such a way that you could search for them in the Lightroom database and bring them all up on to the screen. However, the way I archive my images means that I can only do that for the current loaded catalogue. As all my images are on separate year-dated drives this would be a time-consuming process in that I would have to mount each drive in turn and look through the images it contains.

So, my idea was this: as each shoot is completed in terms of the best images processed, they are saved into a folder on the hard drive and within the Lightroom catalogue. Within this parent folder two other folders labelled ‘Colour’ and ‘Monochrome’ are created. Within these two folders other folders are made that carry general descriptive labels, such as ‘Landscapes’, ‘Portraits’, ‘Still-Life’, ‘Buildings’,  and ‘Abstracts’. These folders will appear in both the ‘Colour’ and ‘Monochrome’ main folders and should not exceed more than five in number. In them I will put my best processed pictures that will fit broadly within the folder topics.

At the end of the year, I will copy the folder on to the new hard drive and synchronize it with the new Lightroom catalogue and then I will start to add the New Year’s best photographs to it each shoot.

This way, I should be able to find any of my best images quickly no matter what hard drive they were originally contained on.

For those who only use the one catalogue, I do urge you to use meta tags. Even if you tag the relevant images with one word e.g. ‘best’, then putting that word into the Lightroom search engine will pull all the images up labelled thus from the folder you have chosen. Choose a root folder and they will all appear on screen.

CM

I took the image below on a trip out to Blenheim Palace at the weekend. It’s no wonder shops are suffering this Christmas with less trade, everybody was at Blenheim – the place was completely rammed full.

Anyway, this is an image of one of the statues by the fountains. I thought it would show the detail on the D7100.

Statue

Statue

I’ve now been out with the new D7100 for two short photo trips – little more than snapshot sessions really to see how the camera felt.

D7100

D7100

I had set up all my settings in the evening after being given it on my birthday. There are obviously a few differences with the D800 in terms of buttons and so I had to get around that. I use AF-On with the 800 and so designated the AEL/AFL button on the 7100 for this purpose. I like to have the Fn button on the 800 for choosing the image area, and I did the same on the 7100.

One difference I found in the 7100 was that the virtual horizon in the viewfinder only shows the ‘yaw’ the tip up left or right, and not the pitch, the tip front and back. The D800 does show both of these in the viewfinder, and though not a perfect replacement for a spirit level, it does give a fairly good approximation.

D800

D800

On the 800 I used to have the preview button to give spot metering, but because I have AF-On set, I use the shutter button to perform AEL lock on the half-press, and so holding the Preview button down as well as the shutter button for AEL lock is quite a tricky thing to do, and does result in the odd curse as the shutter fires before I wanted it to. With the D800 I have taken to using the knurled metering selector knob around the AEL/AFL lock button. It is quick, convenient and I don’t have to hold a button in whilst trying to meter with the shutter button.

However on the 7100 there is no meter selector knob, only the metering button on the top-plate coupled with the MCD for selection. This is not quite so handy and will take some getting used to.

All-in all though, I got the 7100 setup pretty much how I want it for comfort and speed. Out and about, it’s nice to use, reminds me of my D600 (of course), it’s lighter than the D800 and the shutter is soooooo quiet. Switched to quiet mode, it’s then barely audible.

The quality of the images are excellent. So much detail. Without the AA filter, every scrap of detail seems to be picked up. Like the 800, this can be quite forgiving, but get used to it and it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to get out with this camera again.

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