aka 'Canon Corner'

FPC at the Peninsula Blues Club

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There are a number of benefits of being a member of a camera club and the Frankston Photographic Club is my association of choice.

In addition to weekly club nights, competitions and general Q&A support, the club organises events that the average person would struggle to access. For example, we have had studio nights where strobe lighting, off camera flash units and professional models give members as taste of what it would be like to work in a professional studio.

And this year the club has been invited to attend a couple of music events and help out some aspiring artists and new venues to get some exposure through photography for social media, website content etc.

This week it was an invitation to the monthly blues night held by the Peninsula Blues Club at the Frankston Lawn Bowls Club facility. I did participate in the 'Harba' shoot in Mornington earlier in the year and managed a few 'acceptable' captures and I was looking forward to having another crack. Oh dear... It seems the more I learn and the harder I try, the more confused I get and the more mistakes I make! This night I couldn't tell my f-stops from a bus stop. Confused aperture & shutter speeds, bad angles, shoddy use of flash and poor focusing were only the start of my errors...

The photos were, are and will always be bad. But the music was great. The house band (aka King Catfish) did the early blues proud (as always), and Alex Burns was most interesting and entertaining in a varied acoustic music set. I will go back another night and just listen. It is more stress-free! Thanks to the blues club and the photographic club for the opportunity to attend, learn and enjoy. Be brave and review my pictures here...

PCV Presidents Day

Just a cross-post from The Porsche File regarding my photography exploits from the recent Porsche Club track day at Sandown Raceway.

I didn't do super well and it took me until late in the day to get some decent captures with the 'correct' panning settings.

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A 997 GT3 - 2013

For the original link(s), see here.

Just because...

Another couple of 'gratuitous' pictures of our 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Not competition winners, just pleasant.

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C4S (iPhone 5) - 2013

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C4S at Martha Cove - 2013

Ongoing enjoyment of my iPhone 5

I continue to learn about and be challenged by my Canon 5D Mk3, but it is my iPhone 5 that is giving me more 'excitement' at the moment.

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Lexus GS 430 outside our detailer - 2013

Why? Two obvious reasons. Firstly, it is the camera that you always have on you so those Instgram restaurant pics or limited-edition Ferrari road side captures are always possible. Secondly, and more important, is because it is not a very good camera. What??? Overcoming the fixed focal length, crappy flash, small sensor, lens flare and other limitations require the photographer (well me at least) to consider the subject, available light, aspect ratio, composition much more critically than when I am using the DSLR.

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Wet and dreary winter, Mt Eliza - 2013

Of course I have lots of happy snaps with my iPhone that should not be seen by anyone other than consenting family members. But every now and again I work on an opportunity or subject and come up with surprisingly good results up to A5 size or better.

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Maroochydore skyline - 2013

Just to be clear, I am not claiming Pullitzer status with any of this 'work', just to say the discipline is beneficial and that harder work brings better results. Perhaps at my age I should have known that anyway! And I am sure similar (or better) results could be achieved with Windows or Android phones. No Apple 'flaming' please!

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Porsche in paradise (well Merricks General Store anyway) - 2013

Some great iPhonography resources exist on the web and I admit to buying some iPhone hardware and software add-ons and doo-dads of dubious quality / practicality but they have been fun to explore and try even if they don't fall into daily use. I have lots more to learn but it has been a great ride so far and the effort will make me a better photographer with the big rig in the long run.

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The jetty at Maroochydore - 2013

By way of full disclosure, some of the above images may have seen the insides of Apple's Aperture and NIK Software's Snapseed applications.

iPhone Photography Challenge

We are about to head off to Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast for a couple of weeks rest and relaxation after a pretty difficult winter health-wise.

For various reasons, we are flying Jetstar which many of you would know have pretty severe baggage limits. This necessitates some serious prioritisation and decision making.

The biggest decision is that I am leaving the 5D Mk3 at home! To take the big Canon and one lens doesn't make much sense. You really need everything or nothing - charger, spare battery, prime and zoom lenses, flash, spare cards, cleaning gear, decent tripod, backpack to put it all in. There goes my entire baggage limit! And the Apple MacBook Pro won't be going either, just the iPhone and the iPad. I am getting sweaty palms already just thinking about not having my favourite toys with me.

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Dark days as the 5D will stay on the bench, not go the beach - 2013

Although I will take the P&S Leica as a 'backup', I plan to use the iPhone as my primary camera. Why I hear you ask… Here are a few reasons:

  • This is not our first trip to Maroochydore and I have lots of 'decent' shots of this location. No doubt I could take better ones but at least I have a 'DSLR' record of the area;
  • My challenge (to myself) is to use the iPhone to record the feel and mood of the town and people, not to take the glory sunrise shot over the ocean;
  • I like 'iPhonography' but haven't dedicated myself to fully leveraging the in-phone camera and the supporting apps for taking pictures and editing them;
  • By removing some of the complexity of the gear, I will try to focus (pardon the pun) on aspect ratio, composition, colour or black and white for example before taking the picture rather than relying on cropping and post-processing. It should make me 'think' more;
  • The lack of 'zoom' will make me get closer to the action and force a little more creativity (and experimentation);
  • I have a number of iPhone camera 'add-ons', lenses, remote shutter release, glif stand / tripod mount, mini-tripod etc to help me get the maximum out of the iPhone5;
  • Also I am looking forward to seeing what I can do in terms of editing my pictures either 'in camera' or on the iPad. No Lightroom or Aperture allowed!;
  • I want to test how easy it is to take OK pictures, edit and share via Flickr (or Instagram) while on the road with access to limited bandwidth;
  • Set a target of posting one quality shot per day so I will have a 'book' of 14 pictures at the end of the fortnight.
It will be a test but it will also be a lot of fun. Wish me luck!

Surf Coast Mini-Vacation 2013

We are just back from a short holiday at Lorne on the surf coast. We stayed at the Mantra Resort on the beach side of the main street. The accommodation was fine (apart from a lack of cold water…) and I must say we ate very well over the three days. The weather was terrible unfortunately, especially as we packed lots of camera gear for an expedition to the Twelve Apostles.

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On the job - Photo by Robin Humphries 2013

The persistent drizzle didn't help the quality of our images but it was a great experience to see these formidable formations up close and personal. Please click on the picture below to go to my Flickr gallery for a few of the better images from the day.

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Fog rolling in at the Twelve Apostles - 2013
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EasternView Beach, Victoria - 2013
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Erskine Beach, Lorne - 2013
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Erskine Beach - 2013

Photojojo University - iPhoneography 101

Details to come, but I passed...

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Belkin LiveAction iPhone Stand, Remote & App

My latest toy.

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An interesting little 'system' this. Review and comments to follow shortly.

A commitment …. to Flickr

Yahoo are struggling a bit as a 'major' player in the Internet / Search / Ad world. Their new CEO, Marissa Mayer (ex Google SVP) has come in with ideas and energy to turn the place around. One of her first commandments was to support the future of the photo-sharing portal, Flickr. I engaged with their free three-month trial of the 'Pro' version incorporating unlimited storage and full resolution uploads amongst other benefits. Flickr also seamlessly integrates with Apple's Aperture photo editing / management software that I love.

My trial ended early April 2013, and I decided that I liked the benefits and features that this service provided (admittedly without a deep analysis of other vendors offerings) and signed up for two more years at around $A45 total.

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One day in, I still feel good and no buyers remorse so far. In fact I am now uploading more of my Aperture albums and have started sharing more albums in the last 24 hours than in the last 3 months.

Follow my Flickr sets here.

Cool!

Come on down, NIK Software

Most enthusiastic amateur photographers will come across many, many, MANY photo editing suites looking for our money as 'we' scan the web on a regular basis.

Readers of this site will know my Apple Aperture preference, plus my entree to Lightroom courtesy of included software with my Leica D-Lux 5 purchase.

I have always held a desire for the NIK Software suite of plug-ins, particularly Silver Efex Pro 2, the (almost) industry standard for Black and White processing. The problem always was the price. Serious $$$, for serious software.

Recently NIK were purchased by Google and the doom and gloom merchants were predicting the quick (or slow) death of the software. Well, maybe not.

Last week, Google announced a minor re-branding plus a major price reduction. A 50%+ reduction to widen the customer base and boost revenues seemed like a smart commercial decision, the likes of which Google are not always famous for despite their obvious skills & strengths.

So I bought the suite, six plug-in modules in all, for Aperture AND Lightroom. The same plug-ins for use on both of my major photo editing platforms.

I am a really happy camper!

New DIgital Video Camera

Although our 'old' Sony video camera (tape based) is still going well, it is a bit heavy & clunky and we have been using the iPhone more and more because of convenience. Also I have seen a number of people at Robin's riding events wielding tiny video cameras that looked pretty, well, handy...

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Sony HDR-CX190 Digital Video Handycam

The next day I just happened to see an ad for a cost-effective Sony HandyCam, a runout model, HDR-CX190. Seemed OK, SD-card storage, 20x optical zoom, small form factor, 5 mp still images (if necessary) and according to reviews it has an OK battery life. So we bought one from an electronics store barely a kilometre from home. Too easy!

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Stay tuned for some sample vids.

Photo Shoot - 'King Catfish'

Last Sunday afternoon a few folk from the Frankston Photographic Club went to Harba (upstairs) in Mornington to take some photos of a local blues band 'King Catfish' who were keen to get some 'decent' pictures for their Facebook page and other marketing uses. It was a little difficult as shooting directly at the band was pointing at the sun with glass windows behind catching the late afternoon glare. Oh well. I have uploaded my 'best' from the day to Flickr and now just need to work out how to get them to the band.

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The music is based on the old Chicago and delta blues styles of Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and others and was right to my tastes (and the guy in the top hat was a 'mean' harmonica player). The band members were also really friendly and grateful that we were there willing to help them get their message 'out there'. A very nice day indeed.

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