Further darkness

As is common this time of year, the sky was quite heavily overcast. Despite the gloom, Zoe and I and my parents went to Norwich, primarily to look at beds for my parents' new house, but we also went for lunch at Giraffe. We took Em, who was again remarkably well-behaved despite the usual initial upset when we, big meanies that we are, put her in the car seat. Gosh she doesn't like being put in the car seat! And yet, once we're under way everything's fine again unless we stop for too long. Dark weather, dark pictures: I'm continuing »

Afraid of the dark

The monochrome preset I usually use for my raw files in Capture One has a small amount of shadow boost applied, and I tend to increase it even more when there are large dark areas in an image. As I mentioned in a previous post, though, darkness isn't really a bad thing in pictures, depending on the feeling one is trying to evoke. Certainly for these pictures, taken on a dull overcast winter afternoon, the tonality conveys well the way I saw things at the time. The pictures are the output from Fuji's new X Raw Studio application, which uses »

Southwold Diptychs

The weather forecast said it'd be shiny at dawn today but that turned out not to be the case. Instead, it brightened up about 11 o'clock, so Zoe and I made the most of it and went to Southwold with Emily for a nice walk by the sea. As with yesterday I shot with the Acros +Y film simulation, and +2 highlights, +4 shadows. Generally it worked well, but there were a couple of cases where +4 shadows was too much, so I re-processed the image on-camera with +2 shadows. The result was almost all of these pairs are JPEGs »

Acros is better than I thought

Since I got my XT2, I've never really given the Acros film simulation a shot, but lately I've been trying it and been pleasantly surprised. I don't know if I just didn't have the right highlight and shadow contrast settings, but it's got a lot of subtleties that I hadn't appreciated before. The way the colour filters (e.g. Acros +Y) affect rendering is lovely - not too strong, but enough to make a visible difference. It's quite versatile too: with shadows and highlights set to 0, the tonality is nice and soft and works great for pictures of people, »

Winter sunrise at the beach

I sleep too much, and poorly. I suspect the second thing is a result of the first, so I've resolved to try getting up earlier, since going to bed later isn't really an option as it would disturb my wife and baby daughter too much. And so! Up before dawn, although since it's winter that's not saying much; the sun doesn't rise until about half past 8. Still, it's nice to be up earlier than usual, and especially nice to be out by the sea in the fresh cold morning air. Pakefield beach isn't very far - for future morning »

Black and white baby

It's been a while since I read Koudelka's Gypsies, but it's got me thinking: all my complaining about the Fuji 23mm f/2 seems a bit photo-nerdery in the face of the grainy, dark, often blurry pictures in this book. Pictures that work just fine, and in fact are entirely appropriate for the subject matter. So here's me trying to emulate Koudelka's style, or at least the superficial look of the pictures I've seen, albeit sans grain - I'm using a digital camera, after all, not ISO 3200 film; I feel (somewhat arbitrarily, I'll admit) that adjusting tonality is on »

Gorleston, winter shiny

Since Emily was born, Zoe and I naturally haven't had the opportunity to get out much - newborns require almost constant attention! Still, she's 8 weeks old now, and Zoe's more confident about breast-feeding in public, so we've been able to have short trips into Lowestoft and, today, Gorleston, without too much drama. The forecast yesterday threatened rain but fortunately it was one of those glorious shiny winter days, and not even too cold. Still a bit much for Em though - she spent most of the time outdoors asleep. All of these apart from the 'rusty yellow barrier' and »

I'm a dad now

My wife gave birth 3 days ago to a little girl: She is a very curious little thing! »

The rain comes

So, been a while. Haven't been feeling very inspired lately - I've been taking my camera out a lot, but just not finding much worth shooting, or making much effort to. Still, the car needed to go in for MOT so that meant some time to kill, which basically meant enforced camera time. Alas, as the title says, the weather was overcast-into-rainy. Such is the way of things in late September in England. Processed as usual in Capture One, but using an 'Analog Film' preset that feels appropriate to the weather. Shot with XT2 and 35/1.4. »

Walking in woods and fields

A while back I went for another nice walk in nearby Dunwich Forest, but for whatever reason didn't get around to making a blog post of it. So, here we are: some pictures of a roughly hour-and-a-half walk. »

Stormy skies

Storms are great for generating dramatic skies: the mix of dark clouds and bright, sunlit sky behind has something magical about it. »

More Norwich wandering

Took these a while back when Zoe's parents came to visit, and we had a walk around Norwich. For a change, I brought the 18-55 along instead of the usual 23/2 or 35/1.4. It worked out... ok, I guess? The convenience was nice, and if I don't go pixel peeping, the sharpness is fine too. The bokeh was... not really a factor on this day, but I know for sure it can get weird at times. Still, there was one case where it turned out well: Funnily enough, the foreground bokeh is pretty nice too, under the »

Fairground: closed for the evening

I'd been sitting indoors all day playing Nier: Automata and was feeling a bit guilty about it, so I went out to get some fresh air and walk around a bit. I didn't really have anything particular in mind, but decided on Lowestoft seafront as it's close by and I could hopefully get some good pictures before the sky went fully dark. Turns out the fair's in town, although at this time of the day it's closed down. »

Telephoto Oulton Broad

I've had an old Pentax-M 135mm f/3.5 for a while now - something I inherited along with a Pentax MX film SLR that sadly no longer works (the mirror is gummed up). I'm really not much of a telephoto shooter - the only other long lens I can use is my wife's Fuji XC 50-230mm, which is... well, about what you'd expect for a modern low cost plastic lens: nothing particularly special, but not terrible either. The Pentax lens isn't plastic. It feels nice and solid, despite being a fairly low-cost, consumer-focused product when it was introduced. It's »

Fujifilm X-T2 review

I've had my X-T2 for just over 3 months as I write this, and used it extensively, particularly during a week long holiday in Malta, so I'm confident that I now have enough experience with it to have something meaningful to say. I'll be honest, though, this is mostly just my thoughts on things I value in cameras. First, some context I'll say upfront that this review (if you can even call it that) won't be comparing the camera to contemporary DSLRs or other mirrorless cameras from Sony, Olympus et al. I've not used those, so don't have any valid »

Gunton burned

Not an especially aesthetically appealing day today, weather-wise, but I felt like going for a walk regardless. It's good to get out of the house now and then, get some fresh air. So, I headed out to Gunton, in the northern part of Lowestoft, starting near the North Denes caravan park. Along the seafront here there are lots of chunks of brick and concrete to break up the waves before they hit the sea wall. Further north the sea wall stops and there is just grassland and beach. And also a dead seal :( The grassland is popular with dog walkers, »

Holiday in Malta 2017, day 6

And so we come to the final day. Indulging in an abundance of caution, we decided not to go anywhere further than walking distance away, lest we be late for our flight home. Even though the flight wasn't until 8 in the evening, we still felt it prudent to arrive several hours early, even if it meant sitting in the departure lounge reading to pass the time. Still! That doesn't mean we didn't go anywhere - we had a nice stroll around Birzebbuga since it was a nice day. Several hours of sitting around waiting, our plane was ready, and »

Holiday in Malta 2017, day 5

Today, Marsaxlokk again, this time for lunch. The weather was a bit dull and grey, and we felt like having a nice relaxed, lazy day, so we didn't want to do anything too adventurous. We had lunch at a place called Southeast Café. The food was delicious, and there was a super cute little cat wandering about who eventually decided to settle down snuggled up to me while Zoe and I ate. After lunch and another wander around town, we decided the overcast sky actually made for nice walking weather, and since it was only a few kilometres back to »

Holiday in Malta 2017, day 4

Last time I went to Malta I never visited Gozo, the island to the north-west. Time to rectify that! After a rather long bus journey from one end of Malta to the other, we arrived at the ferry terminal at Ċirkewwa, and joined the rather long queue. The ferry ride itself is about half an hour, so it wasn't too long before we were in Victoria, the largest town on the island. There we had some lunch (I got a really tasty seafood risotto) then bought a tour bus ticket and decided our first stop would be Dwejra on the »

Holiday in Malta 2017, day 3 (part 2)

Il-waqfa li ymiss: Rabat, and thence Mdina. Eventually, at least - we got a bit lost in Rabat as a result of my not-very-clear memory of the town's layout, and my attempt to find what I thought was a nice café (it wasn't that great in the end). After lunch we headed into Mdina itself. After Mdina we got the bus to Marsaxlokk to meet my parents for coffee and a wander about. Finally we all headed to Marsaskala for dinner. So that was day 3, rather a full one! »