fun

Dusk at the National Theatre

Dusk approaching at the National Theatre on London's South Bank. ©Neil Turner, March 2015.

Dusk approaching at the National Theatre on London’s South Bank. ©Neil Turner, March 2015.

Interesting evening light plus some fabulously brutal architecture makes for some interesting photos. Whilst walking to meet up with a friend and colleague at the National Theatre yesterday evening I was drawn to this section of concrete staircase and shot a few frames in one of those “just because…” moments.

Fujifilm X100S 800 ISO 1/250th of a second at f8.

Early morning winter sun

©Neil Turner, January 2015. Early morning wintery sunshine on the beach at Bournemouth.

©Neil Turner, January 2015. Early morning wintery sunshine on the beach at Bournemouth.

It’s almost always about the light. Watery winter sunshine on the beach at Bournemouth this morning. I shot a frame and edged closer, then shot another before moving closer still. It was my sixth move that caused a few seagulls to finally move off and then I shot this just as the water came through my right boot.
Fujifilm X100S, 1/600th @ f9, 640 ISO.

©Neil Turner, January 2015. Early morning watery sunshine on the beach at Bournemouth.

©Neil Turner, January 2015. Early morning watery sunshine on the beach at Bournemouth.

The Pier has seen better days and I’m not sure that the potted palm trees do much for the area but they make good pictures.
Fujifilm X100S, 1/1200th @ f8, 640 ISO.

I was born less than three miles from where these pictures were taken and the beaches along this part of the coast still hold an almost endless fascination for me.

Not the DSLR, I’m having fun

© Neil Turner, March 2014. Shadows on the pavement as a pedestrian passes along Tottenham Court Road.

© Neil Turner, March 2014. Shadows on the pavement as a pedestrian passes along Tottenham Court Road.

Question: Why are so many professional photographers using mirrorless cameras, micro 4/3rds format cameras and experimenting with pretty much anything that isn’t a DSLR?

It’s a tough question and without conducting some sort of major survey I can only give an answer based on my own experiences and those of close friends and colleagues. DSLRs have been my main cameras for over sixteen years now and they have become an extension of me when I’m working. They do what I need them to do with no real fuss, the quality has moved from “acceptable” back in 1998 to “extremely good” and they allow me to do the day job without having to worry about my gear very much. But, and there’s always a ‘but’ – they have become a little bit boring and little bit ‘too good’.

When I’m shooting pictures for the joy of it (and despite doing this for a living since 1986 I still do that) I want to feel something different. Elegant competence isn’t enough any more. (more…)

Late November afternoon in the park

©Neil Turner, November 2014. Playing football in the  park.

©Neil Turner, November 2014. Playing football in the park.

This is just another of those “just because I like it” photographs that I have added to my personal work folio on my Pixelrights account. The family had been out to breakfast and we went to the park for the youngest members to have a run around. I had my Fujifilm X20 with me and shot a few frames including this one.

For the technically curious amongst you, the black and white conversion was done in Photoshop with a 5% red layer added to the desaturated sRGB file to give it more body and depth.

Mint in box

©Neil Turner, November 2014

©Neil Turner, November 2014. Canon EF 200mm f2.8L II USM lens.

There are lots of things about the world that I don’t understand. Some of them I ignore, some I oppose and there are others that I just go along with.

One of those that sits squarely in the latter category is the obsession with keeping the boxes for items of photographic and computer equipment that you are intending to use. I go along with it because people are actually prepared to pay more for a used item if you have the original packaging. Basically, it appears, you are prepared to pay me a premium for a secondhand piece of kit if I keep cardboard, plastic and polystyrene in my loft so that you can do the same during your ownership of that item.

It makes sense for collectables where the market loves “mint in box”. We have a few Star Wars items safely tucked away still sealed in their original packaging and I have a couple of Corgi model cars in their boxes too (the box for one on my desk is actually more attractive than the die cast metal contents anyway). But the logic of hoarding packaging for something that is in use is beyond me. Again, I get the concept of saving the instructions and any accessories (I have a massive box full of both of those) but not the packaging. It’s no big deal which is why I am now going with option 3 and just accepting that it is just the way it is. No sense fighting against it and ignoring it isn’t much of a principled stand!

I wasn’t always of that opinion. Somewhere there’s probably a whole load of boxes being safely squirrelled away that look exactly like the original boxes for the items they were bought with but they are just substitutes. When I bought my first two Canon EOS5D MkII bodies a dealer bought the boxes and instructions from me. I thought it a bit weird at the time but £20.00 is £20.00 and I sold them. He presumably “re-united” those boxes with cameras that were missing theirs and sold them on to some unsuspecting soul who thought they were getting the original packaging.

I’m not even sure why this is taking up an hour of my time thinking about why I find it so absurd – other than the fact that I am getting rid of some superfluous gear and one of the lenses really is “mint in box”.

“What gear is that?” I hear you ask – it is a Canon EF200mm f2.8L II USM prime lens that I bought a few months ago when I was going through a phase of using prime lenses for as much as I could while my 70-200 f2.8L IS (ditched the box for that one in 2003) was away having major surgery. The repairs cost less than I had expected and in the end I only used the 200mm lens twice – both times indoors for large groups of head shots. I had bought the lens as secondhand myself although Castle Cameras did (which I trust) say that it had barely been used and had been originally purchased through them a few months before that. So here we have it; a fabulously sharp current model lens with all of the correct bits and pieces – including cardboard, plastic and polystyrene – which retails for £569.00 new going for the bargain sum of £449.00 + delivery.

I am loath to stick it on eBay given the massive commissions that they now charge but the average selling price for one of these (and it would be impossible to be in better condition) is £473.91 on the auction site. The lens is registered with Lenstag and so I would obviously transfer that over. By clicking on the link you can check that it is verified – such a good system!

I will be clearing some more gear out soon. None of it will be ‘mint in box’ because 99% of my equipment gets used for many years before I sell it on but it will be well looked after, properly serviced and verified by Lenstag.

Five day black & white challenge

©Neil Turner, November 2014. A young woman jogs along the promenade near Portman Ravine in Bournemouth with a child in a pushchair.

©Neil Turner, November 2014. A young woman jogs along the promenade near Portman Ravine in Bournemouth with a child in a pushchair.

A couple of weeks ago I was nominated by another photographer to take part in a Facebook Five Day Black & White Challenge. The idea was simple: to post a new black and white photo every day for five days. I have to admit that I was a bit reticent at first and posted pictures that I’d already taken in the previous few weeks. Then someone mentioned that they found the discipline of having to go out every day and shoot something new invigorating and so I started the challenge over again and shot specifically for it every day. My second challenge ended yesterday but it wasn’t until I was out shooting again today that I remembered that the challenge was over. What to do with the pictures from day six? The answer was to post the chosen frame to Facebook anyway and then to post it here too – as another “just because I like it” frame.

Technical stuff: Canon EOS6D with a 28mm f1.8 EF lens (cropped slightly). 160 ISO and 1/1250th of a second at f11 RAW file converted and desaturated using Adobe Camera RAW CC 2014 with a 5% bronze tint added.

After the storm

©Neil Turner, November 2014. A pensioner walks along the beach near Bournemouth Pier.

©Neil Turner, November 2014. A pensioner walks along the beach near Bournemouth Pier.

Following on from my post about zoom and prime lenses I was out with just the primes yesterday – walking along one of my favourite bits of beach in wild winds and failing light. I was just out having some photographic time before getting into the car for yet another drive up the M3 for work. This one was shot at 640 ISO at 1/1000th of a second at f4 with an 85mm f1.8 Canon EF lens on my rather lovely little Canon EOS6D – a camera that I am becoming increasingly fond of. When I’m doing personal work like this I tend to set the white balance to daylight and accept whatever colour cast I get and in this case it wasn’t far off of what the naked eye saw.