LG 27″ Ultrafine 5K Monitor

I have been wanting to get a new monitor for a wile now. I waited for a few months to see if the new professional monitor that Apple were planning to release was going to be any good. They finally put flesh on the bones of the rumours this week and, I have to say, the monitor looks like it will be great. Great but at a very high price, great but not for a few months yet and great but it will be too big for my desk at home. I have had lots of monitors over the years and I have tried many more whilst installing them for friends and colleagues and so my decision to go with the LG Ultrafine 5K will probably surprise quite a few people.

The days when everything we did was aimed at print are gone. We have to produce images for a very wide range of uses these days and so I decided to go with a monitor that has excellent colour, brilliant flexibility and a simple (very Mac friendly) interface. This LG fits all of those requirements with ease. When these monitors first appeared in the Apple Store there were a lot of negative comments and I was pretty dismissive of them myself when I saw one. Over time I have grown to like them and now that Apple’s own professional monitor cannot tick my boxes I decided to place my order for the LG. (more…)

The hours before dusk

People exercising their dogs on the 'dog-friendly' beach at Fisherman's Walk as the sun begins to set.  © Neil Turner

People exercising their dogs on the ‘dog-friendly’ beach at Fisherman’s Walk as the sun begins to set.
© Neil Turner

You can’t publish a blog for more than a couple of years without repeating yourself somewhat and I have waxed lyrical about the light at dusk more than once before. It is especially useful when you are shooting subjects facing due south.

Through the middle of the day taking pictures looking out to sea at my favourite part of the beach near my home life is tough because you are shooting against the often strong sunshine. When there’s a cloudless sky by five or six o’clock in the afternoon and then through to sunset the angle and direction of the light as well as its colour and quality goes from nice to amazing. The type of activity changes too and the almost deserted beaches become the one place that draws me to go and take pictures because I want to.

I might also have mentioned my obsession with dogs on the beach and I am slowly but surely putting a body of those pictures together. I wanted a wide photograph that could stretch across a double page and have some headlines and copy run over it and I think that this picture from yesterday evening is a real contender.

The project will never be finished but there will come a day when volume one gets published in some form or other.

Techie stuff: Canon EOS5D MkIII with a Canon EF 135mm f2 L lens. 1/160th of a second f13 200 ISO

Lighting gels… the best in VFM?

Almost all photographers spend money on accessories, gizmos, gadgets and photo-related odds and sods. Sometimes we waste our money but I wanted to put in a brief plug for the things that constantly amaze me by the amount of “bang for the buck” I get from them. I’m talking about lighting gels. They cost a few pounds each and they last for years if you look after them even reasonably well.

Screen grab from Swatch App

Screen grab from Swatch App

The reason that I am writing this today is that last week I was shooting a job and was slightly embarrassed that the pieces of gel in my lighting kit were looking a bit tatty. I realised that some of them were bought as shared sheets (ie I only had half of a 52 x 61 cm sheet of each) when I was at college in the mid 1980s. I might have added a few more colours and strengths since then but even the newest gel in my bag is five years old. The beauty is that you don’t need to look after them that well really – even a scrunched and screwed up gel is still the same colour and will work. Of course they don’t like extreme heat and they aren’t partial to liquid damage either but at under the boiling point of water and kept dry they are very durable.

When I decided that I needed some new gels I phoned The Flash Centre and they arranged for Rosco to send me some. I have been playing with the iPhone Swatch app for about eighteen months now and it made ordering the new gels rather easy. They arrived rapidly in a strong cardboard tube and all I had to do was cut them down into the right sized pieces to fit into a pocket in my Think Tank rolling case.

This time around I ordered various grades of CTS – that’s Colour Temperature Straw, the gel that changes the light coming out of my flash units to varying degrees of Tungsten right up to the Full CTS which does a very good job of making the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra flash tube into a Tungsten light that very closely matches the Tungsten setting on a Canon EOS DSLR. I also got some ND (Neutral Density) gels and a sheet of a diffuser called ‘tough spun’. I didn’t need to get any effects gels – the purple, orange, red, blue and green gels that I have in the case are fine even if they are old enough to buy alcohol by now.

Comparing the cost of this big batch of new gels to some of the money that I have literally thrown away on rubbish gizmos over the last 30 years I feel very smug. I know that after one single use I will have justified the (tiny) expense and that after the 50th use it will get embarrassing how smug I feel about the VFM (value for money) that you get from quality lighting gels.