Monthly Archives: March 2013

Kestrel Seven Nine Three cleared to land

kestrel

I just decided to post this one as a separate entry. I thought it justified a post of its own. Saturday saw me waiting patiently at the airport for a few aviation related images. Having not been up to the airport for a while I was now on a roll as Fridays visit now meant visits on two consecutive days.  Further to my post yesterday called 3 Months of nothing…then 3 days of everything  (which can be viewed here ) I had arranged to meet some friends for a catch up and some happy snapping. The images are all aviation related and probably wouldn’t justify a complete entry on NMDP. This was until we had a visitor.

Kestrels and Red Kites are very common in the skies above West Yorkshire. In particular near the airport as mice and small rodents are in abundance in the grounds of the airport and its restricted areas. These areas are rarely touched by humans and are a great source of food for wild birds and foxes alike. In the early 2000’s Red Kites were released from Harewood House and nearly 100 breeding pairs are in existence in the area. Kestrels are also common sights as I was to find out this cold Easter morning.

I had been talking to friends about the very same subject and one even showed me some recent images on his camera. The subject has arisen after I commented on seeing a Kestrel perched on the fence opposite to where I was parked. I was shown some photos of Red Kites and Kestrels very close to the airport and didn’t think about it too much. I tapped off a couple of frames of the said bird sat on the fence and proceeded to go sit back in my car.

Not unlike me, I slowly dozed off and then totally unaware of what was going on around me nearly missed this very opportunity. To be completely honest, I wasnt even looking. I was sat behind the steering wheel in my car and starring in to space. MY friend John was emphatically gesturing towards me and pointing. For a split second it didn’t sink in and I looked from the passenger side window straight ahead in the direction he was pointing. And there, sat on a recently cut thicket was a young Kestrel observing the airfield like a fledgling plane spotter. After my recent experience with the Peregrine Falcon in Cumbria I learned my lesson. No sudden movements, no knee-jerk reaction. I slowly picked up my camera from the front seat and managed to fill the frame with this beautiful bird. I tapped off a dozen images in a matter of 2 or 3 seconds before Kes turned its head and departed for a more peaceful hunting ground.

This was no consolation for the Peregrine miss in Cumbria last month but it was a good second best….. I will post the complete images from Saturday in a while. In the meantime enjoy my new friend Kes. It’s a shame the lighting wasnt better but you can’t have everything in this not so perfect world can you.

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After the worst of the snow | Leeds Bradford Airport | 29th March 2013

A small gallery of images from Fridays trip up to the airport. After my morning’s adventure around Otley, Fewston and Menwith Hill the lovely sunshine drew me in. With the wind favouring departures and arrivals on runway 14 a trip up to the Cemetery location was in order. A chance to bump up my very low photocount for 2013. Hope you enjoy the images, a little bit of snow and sunshine makes all the difference

3 months of nothing..then 3 days of everything

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I sit here at my desktop PC, breakfast is cooking (Porridge in case you wondered) and I have about 90 minutes to eat and turn out a blog that is worth reading and somehow explains my absence. I

3 months of nothing…then 3 days of everything That’s just how it goes isn’t it….typical. It’s not as if we have had marvelous weather over the last three months in the United Kingdom because we havent…oh unless you think that snow and ice is the be all and end all and you are an up and coming Antarctic explorer. My blogging has just slipped in to the shadows ever so slightly as my ventures swallowed up all my spare time leaving me with a double whammy. No time to edit the actual images therefore no time to blog them as well . Ok, I managed to get the snow shots on here with very brief explanation of that particular day except that was only half of it. There was more…

Yes, March 29th was two days ago and since then I havent stopped. What was supposed to follow on from my post “After the worst of the snow” was the rest of my day. Using a very familiar phrase on No More Dead Pixels this is where it all went Pete Tong. The Picture count for 2013 is low…somewhere in the 3000 region (That’s 5K lower than 2012 for the record). But the last three days have seen over 1000 images pass from CF Card to PC and a queue forming at the editing office. I don’t appear to have the time to edit the images quick enough to get them on to my blog to support to the words. I like to be up to date and I am failing…..miserably……yes, miserably.

Back to the 29th and after the random mad dash chasing snow images I even squeezed in another photo session that afternoon…this time at the airport. I know, I know….its my old haunt but every once in a while you need a quick fix don’t you. Anyway it was a prelude. A warm up session as an invitation to meet up with some fellow photographers on Saturday could never be turned down. Karl Wilson is a great image maker whom I met at the Great Yorkshire Stair Climb last year. Please take a look at Karls photography on his website here. Karl is a published and renowned photographer from Leeds and fancied his chances at some aviation photography. A subject matter that has passed across my lens many times.

More on that in a subsequent blog……

So, just so you know I havent gone away and you don’t think No More Dead Pixels is actually “Dead” here I am. Your visits have been truly welcomed so please come back for more. I could never imagined 10,000 hits in the two and half months I have been doing this and for that I am grateful.

The sunset by the way was a lazy one. I took it from the bedroom window last night. Well…..it looked nice.

Back later……

After the worst of the snow….

I got adventurous this morning. Well, who needs an excuse for a photograph anyway. The sun was out, blue sky all over and I made my mind up to make the most of it. A short 10 miles journey through Otley towards Fewston and Blubberhouse Moor is what happened. It wasnt intentional if I am truthful….I had planned on nipping down to the local canal at Apperley Bridge but this went in the trash when I got to the end of the street as I set off from home and saw the queuing traffic. I made a left turn and heading North towards the airport. That’s when I had this idea of Otley and the fields beyond.

The minute I got to the other side of Otley I knew I had made the right decision. The snow that had blocked the roads just days before was still there in quantity but the very same roads had now been cleared. Walls of snow higher than the car bordered the way route. It was quite staggering to see and had I been able to stop then I would have had many more images. I kept climbing out of Otley and headed for Fewston. By late morning the sun was beginning to feel quite warm and it was a total misconception that we are only a couple of days away from April. It almost felt like it should be mid-winter.

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The view looking towards Menwith Hill

I pulled over just before the bridge at Lindley Wood Reservoir and grabbed a couple of frames. The light was absolutely perfect. I was now in “greedy” mode and wanted more. I jumped back in the car and headed further down the road. As I went up the hill at the other side of the reservoir the snow got deeper and as before the road cut a channel through the embanked snow on either side. As I headed out on to the top of Jacks Hill it flattened out and looking at the view I decided it was time for some more photography. There were so many opportunities I was like a kid in a sweet shop. Everytime I moved the car I ended up stopping again within minutes.

I eventually found myself at Norwood, a tiny hamlet about 10 miles north-east of Otley where I spotted the ultimate foreground subject in snow. Bring in the red retro style telephone box. I tried a few angles but with the sun facing in to my camera lens I was a bit restricted for anything of quality.

If you know me and my style of photography you will also know how much I love creating photostitches and panorama’s. This was an ideal opportunity and I must admit, as I wrote this blog entry I took quite a few; not all panorama’s…some were just stitches made up of 10 to 15 images. Snow shots look great in monochrome and with the sky being blue with plenty of white fluffy clouds it just set up a great scene. I shot them with the intention of doing the mono conversion when I got back home. Nik Software Silver Effx Pro is a great piece of software for taking care of this. Adding a red filter deepens the sky and makes it almost black giving a great atmosphere to the shots.

It seems pointless adding each image in to this short post so I have included a small slide show with some of todays offerings. Failing that, head over to the set on Flickr here. As always, thanks for reading and in this case looking too.

Mindblowing Photoshop edit….

My youngest son came to me this afternoon and said “Have a look at this….”
Now, before we go any further lets get something straight here. Up until this point I considered myself quite good with Adobe’s flagship product. Never afraid of a challenge and quite handy with the program.

If you decide to watch this short video you will see what I regard as the best editing I have ever seen. The film is obviously sped up but the complexity of the selection and sourcing is amazing.Anyway, take a look for yourself. I cannot embed the video from the site but the link is enclosed below. Enjoy.

From 8-Bit to ultra-realistic, this is one of the best Photoshop videos we’ve ever seen
http://www.break.com/index/mindblowing-super-metroid-photoshop-modernization-2427419

J.A.R.P. … Video now removed from You-Tube

J.A.R.P. or “just another random post” … saw this on the Facebook Page of Radio Aire this morning. I think this is quite clever, just wish he could sing better. Enjoy.

(c) Michael Jackson A Capella Cover – Thriller – Yeo Inhyeok

It appears since posting this that the video has been removed by You-Tube as there is a copyright claim by UMPG Publishing.

Lucy’s Cycling Treasure Hunt…..this is so sweet

Sustrans is very excited to announce that finding a safe route to ride your bike is set to be easier than ever as cycling routes are made available on UK Google Maps for the first time.

In a ground-breaking move for cyclists and would-be cyclists, National Cycle Network routes across the UK can now be navigated online using a new bicycle symbol on Google Maps, alongside the options of driving, public transport and walking.

Cyclists can now plan their trips, make use of bike lanes, calculate cycle-friendly routes that avoid big hills and customise the map for cycling on smart phones and computers.

Music By Belle & Sebastian ‘Funny Little Frog’ (http://www.belleandsebastian.com)

 

Missing Camera Traced 6,000 Miles From Home

Just seen this article on Sky News
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The US owner of a camera that was found 6,000 miles away from her homeland, is offered a round-trip to Taiwan to collect it.

The American owner of a diving camera which was lost in Hawaii in 2007 has been traced after it was found last month on a beach in Taiwan.
The waterproof Canon camera was spotted by Douglas Chen, an employee of Taiwanese airline China Airlines, while he was strolling along a beach at Taitung on Taiwan’s east coast.
Inside the barnacle-encrusted camera was a still-intact memory card with photos of owner Lindsay Crumbley Scallan’s Hawaii visit still visible.

It was through the memory card that Mr Cheng was able to identify from where the camera had actually been lost.
He then went out of his way to trace the camera back to its owner, who lives more than 6,000 miles away in the US.
She had diving in Maui during a summer break when she lost the camera.
The airline then contacted its Honolulu staff who drew significant media attention with their search.
Ms Scallan, who lives in Georgia and has now been told of the extraordinary find, has been offered a free round-trip ticket to Taiwan to collect her lost property.
“Ms Scallan is welcome to visit Taiwan so that she can take home the invaluable memories of her trip to Hawaii,” said Lee Wen-yi, an airline official.

The full article can be viewed here http://news.sky.com/story/1069891/missing-camera-traced-6000-miles-from-home

As inspiration goes, this is up there with the best | Lomokev

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I have always been open to inspiration with my photography. Years of studying, reading, more studying, taking photos and doing recce’s of locations has taught me that. Reading about historical photographers is a great way to understand not just technique but the way things have progressed with technology since earlier times but most importantly the ways that ideas have progressed and altered. Photographically, if we are all stuck in the same rut doing the same things day in, day out then the job in hand would surely become very tedious. I’m not talking about professional photographers with specific interests like bird life, wildlife, photojournalism who are tasked to do specific tasks etc… what I am referring to is the run of the mill photographer getting out and trying something different for a change.

Of course, this is easier said than done. I will be the first to admit that back in the beginning of my photography years I would never have stepped out of my comfort zone; a comfort zone moulded from family grounding, holidays in summer and Agfa Ct-18 film. There is a whole article on my blog here about this very subject. It was only through forced situations and then education that I began to learn how to deal with opportunities thrust before my eyes and positions that were psychologically out of my league offered to me on a plate. What I dont want to and not going to do is start criticising and condemning camera club photography. I have been a member of various clubs since I was sixteen and having sat and watched countless slide shows, stood and given numerous presentations and made some fantastic friends; they are great places to go. If you are a budding photographer or a serious enthusiast, a complete professional or just want the social atmosphere then this is something that I would highly recommend. Unfortunately what I have found is that some (and that is said very loosely) can be very set in their own ways. The acceptability of images that push the boundaries of photography to the limit can easily be frowned upon. Club lectures and presentations frequently concluded with some members silently questioning whether the last two hours would have been better placed at an art club or even a local historical society. A number of years ago I attended a lecture at an unamed club where a very highly qualified and competent photographer and artist had been asked to speak. His two-hour slot was to display a very small portion of an extensive portfolio on a set subject. He had chosen to show around 120 images that were all uniformly mounted in large black frames and looked very impressive in terms of demonstrating continuity.

The images were all based upon rejects that had been cast aside over the years whilst sorting through his newly received slides. Instead of doing what most of us would do and throwing them away, he had chosen to store them for a rainy day. Before the digital age it was impossible to check the accuracy of your composition, ISO, exposure and shutter speed settings. Waiting until it had been developed was the only option back then, usually a box of 36 slides had 1 or 2 rejects that were either split frames from the end of the roll or purely out of focus and candidates for the trash. He had kept them and put them in a show called “Oooferiges” a ficticious word that stood for Out Of Focus Images.

I could really follow his lead… the colours, the shapes, the ideas (intentional or not) were great and it really got you thinking. I could understand why he hadn’t thrown them away. It was like art college all over again. I set out to try it myself and at the time it was one of the “been there, done it, filed it away” topics as something more important was always waiting in the wings to try next. College taught me a lot. Not just how to take photographs but how to see. How to use an image for its worth not just its photographic quality. An image that may first appear unsuitable for whatever reason may not necessarily be destined for the bin. It taught me that photography is co-joined with art and that the two are inseparable. It taught me that surrealism can be your friend and as a photographer you have so many choices to make when it comes to taking, editing and printing the final shots. Each stage can have influences that will steer the eventual purpose of the finished piece.

What it also taught me is that there is no right or wrong way to take a photograph. If you intentionally set about tilting the camera to add a different take on a portrait then so-be-it! It is not for anyone else to judge but the end recipient or user. A classic example of the difference between 1980’s club photography and the real world of image making in business. If a customer should call asking you to shoot a portrait against a barbed wire fence with a model wearing an army uniform and from a very low angle to emphasise the size of the feet then that is what you must do. If it breaks all the rules of photography then it doesn’t matter. The point here is that it fits the customers criteria and brief and they paid you to do that then it’s a result. All parties are happy. Job done.

I learned this at the right time and on every photo shoot and trip out I was always up for trying new angles and different approaches. In the computer I would play with Adobe Photoshop and push an image to its limits to create what I had envisaged as the final output. One example of this can be seen below. Low light photography: a simple image of something I love….but with a slightly different take
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A mere low light photograph of a simple subject, but by carefully exposing over a few minutes then later increasing the blacks and contrast, cropping alternativley and changing the style of the image by allowing the subject to move creates a whole new take on an idea. In my opinion the ghostly figure really makes it jump out. I have had quite a few inquiries to purchase this shot and it has subsequently been used in a number of publications.

In September last year I was invited to the White Cloth Gallery by a group called Exposure Leeds. The White Cloth Gallery is a unique space for established artists to exhibit and elevate projects of particular importance while at the same time providing a platform for emerging artists to showcase their work. The gallery and its events space also has a pioneering vision to support the artistic community, encourage creativity and work alongside other local arts organisations to aid the city’s burgeoning development as a cultural centre and to become ago-to destination for art lovers everywhere. Throughout these endeavours they also wish to promote a socially aware and progressive approach to visual culture and aim to create a sense of community, attracting artists and visitors from all walks of life. White Cloth Gallery is also home to the WCG fully licensed Café and bar – a cool and vibrant urban retreat, serving up tasty snacks for those looking to enjoy the exhibitions, as well as those just looking to grab a drink or a bit to eat. An early start to the evenings presentation meant parking in central Leeds in the rush hour. A note to any prospective visitors:- allow plenty of time for this as it’s not as easy as it may first seem.

I was attending to see a presentation by multi-featured photographer, author, teacher and speaker Kevin Meredith (aka Lomokev). Kevin’s website can be viewed here. The video of the presentation is available for viewing on Kevin’s website and link to watch it is shown below

There had been no time for me to do any research on Kevin’s work as the invitation I received was very late, same day if I am truthful. I turned up “blind” if that is the right expression to use and made the customary introductions in the meet and greet area of the White Cloth Gallery. Upon sitting down and listening to Kevin talk I felt an instant connection to what he was saying. Everything I had learned over the years raced through my mind with certain items triggering old ideas and others tossing memories around like a leaf in the wind. I was fixated. I had learned alot about surrealism and studied the works of David Hockney at college so joining photographs to create montages was nothing new to me. Prior to this evening I really thought nothing could surprise me when it came to photo montage and joiners. Kevin Meredith on the other hand did surprise me. This chap has established his own ideas and turned out some absolutley amazing pieces of work.

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I can understand that this is not to everyone’s taste but personally this is right up my street. For much of his photography Kevin uses a Lomo-LC-A Camera. This is a fixed length 35mm compact style camera. It is loosely based on the Cosina CX-2. The camera is a perfect companion to this style of work and in particular Kevin’s ideas and approach to photography. This is just my opinion but the Lomo Camera is a perfect tool for street and documentary photography allowing easy use for this experimental style approach. It allows easy storage in a large pocket and can be used quickly and effectively. The Lomo Camera is available in many forms which were kindly demonstrated by Kevin at the event. The camera stems from a style of photography called Lomography. This is an analog camera movement and community and also a commercial trademark of Lomographische AG. The Lomographic Society International was founded in 1992 by a group of Viennese students after they discovered the Lomo LC-A Camera. In 1991, a group of Viennese students discovered the Lomo LC-A and were “charmed by the unique, colorful, and sometimes blurry” images that the camera produced. The name is inspired by the former state-run optics manufacturer LOMO PLC of Saint Petersburg, Russia. If you would like to read more about Lomography and the Lomo LC-A then click here for a link to Wikipedia

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Another of Kevin’s many arms in photography is shooting portraits. As before, he lends his own unique take on portraiture by capturing images from his hometown of Brighton and the people on the streets. He narrows his selection by discretion and in particular to fit his own ideas of hip and notable characters. A lot of this work is for Brighton Source Magazine’s street style section. I personally find these “Fragmented” portraits fascinating. It’s hard to put my finger on what it is but I particularly like the un-cropped edges and the very alternative approach of the imperfection in the joins. It reminds me so much of my studies of David Hockney back in my exam days. Kevin has a whole site on these portraits here and they are really worth a look. I have discussed this elsewhere on Nomoredeadpixels but I will say it again; it takes courage some nerve to approach a stranger in the street and speak to them. It takes a lot more to ask them to pose for a photograph let alone half a dozen of them.

After Kevin’s show at the WCG I vowed to go away and try this myself. As it stands currently, I am yet to do anything like this and forever fall back in to my own style. It’s not for a lack of desire to do it, more a fear of “copying” and offending the original artist. I am sure Kevin wouldn’t mind as he is not the only photographer to do this type of imagery. A quick google search reveals many derivatives but the fear came from the heart. I’m not a person to copy, I much prefer to put my own take on the ideas of others. Ideas, we all have them, and many will have a go at doing the obvious and making an exact replica of what they have seen. I would much rather try to understand what the photographer was thinking and go out with the same feelings and shoot a different subject with the same approach (if you follow).

So there it remains. A field that I have yet to try. But one that is almost certainly in the queue.

Thanks for reading. Kevin is a great guy and if you are fortunate to meet him you will completely understand everything I have talked about. Please, please take a look at his website and his Flickr pages…it will take you hours and you will inadvertently become one of thousands of addicted viewers. I am going to leave you with one final image from Kevin. In his own words, from his website “At the HiFi festival in 2006 I spent the night documenting the array of different coloured wellies on show. Before 2006 wellies were mostly green or black, this was the first time I had seen so much variety. I also shot some of these images at another festival, Beachdown in 2008. Shortly after Beachdown I was contacted by CHI Partners asking if they could use the images in a TV spot for the Sunday Times Festival guide.” Click the image below to view the full article.

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Links

Kevin Meredith aka Lomokev – Photographer, Author & Teacher
http://lomokev.com

Kevin Meredith – flickr.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lomokev/

Kevin Meredith – Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Meredith

Lomokev – Twitter
https://twitter.com/lomokev

The White Cloth Gallery, Leeds
http://www.whiteclothgallery.com

Exposure Leeds
http://exposureleeds.org/

All images are copyright (c) Kevin Meredith and must not be reproduced.

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