One World Week – Carnival

So I was called to help out last minute, because the One World Week people needed photographers.

President of Warwick Illusion right after performing a paper-cutting illusion.

All things considered, it wasn’t one of the better conditions I’ve found myself having to take photos in. The event started proper at about 7pm in the evening, so it was dark. It was also surprisingly cold, so my fingers were almost too numb to feel the shutter release. There were floodlights, but they were quite small, and set to strobe throughout the performances, meaning that I was restricted to taking my photos in time with the strobing. Throw in the crowds milling around and jostling me while I was working, and all in all, it was a somewhat challenging evening.

Took a bit of repositioning and stretching to get the flag in the background where it is, but it was totally worth it.

For pretty much the entire evening, I was working with my 50mm 1.4. Eventually, I had settings floating around a 1/100s shutter speed, F/1.8, ISO 800. It probably helped that I was shooting in RAW as well, so I could bump the exposure around a bit after the fact. Because I also figured I needed to be moving around quite a bit as well, I used a monopod instead of a tripod. Glad I did – there probably wouldn’t have been enough space for a fully extended tripod anyway.

If I recall correctly, one of the dancers from the Carribean Dance Society.

Β Of course, the problem with photographing performances at night is that the use of flash isn’t a good idea, since the last thing you want to do is distract the performers. In that sense, the floodlights were important if any photos were to be taken at all.

The Warwick Devils, our university's cheerleaders.

But if there’s one thing that darkness does help – it’s long exposures.

One day, someone is going to keep their body still for half a second when they're spinning fire, and it'll be awesome.

Β It’s been busy, but hopefully I’ll have more up at some point. Until then, have a nice day. πŸ˜€


On the books, but never too busy for photos.

Busy days are busy. With two essays on the books and a number of other commitments, updates are going to be pretty intermittent up until December. However, I’ll bring you photos when I can, and maybe even a LTA post. Meanwhile, enjoy some photos I took walking around during what free time I had.

White balance set to flash for this one.

England finally decided that it might be a good idea to invest in road grit for the winter.


I would have liked to remove the sign and posts, but I think that might have been a bit more trouble than this photo is worth.

One of these days, I'm going to find a white-barked tree to take this photo. And it'll be awesome.

Warwick Castle – Birds!

“It’s been 10 days, why haven’t you posted?”, I hear you ask. Well, I’ve been moving around quite a bit, and so my memory card has slowly been filling up with photos from all over the place. So as much as I wanted to post up this set of photos, I’d just been sidetracked with volumes of other photos and the conundrum of how to organise and upload them all. Anyway, the photos today will be mostly birds, although there’ll probably be one or two other photos from Warwick Castle that are not bird related.

Who doesn't love eagles? πŸ˜€

What I’ve therefore decided to do is to use this opportunity to write a bunch of posts discussing various topics about photography. I haven’t yet decided what these topics will be, but I’m guessing there’ll be maybe five posts or so discussing it. If anyone reading has anything they’re not so clear on photography-wise, feel free to drop me an email at and I might write a post on it.

Getting this photo was a bit difficult, since the owl's enclosure was somewhat dark. Thankfully, the fence was a good enough base to rest my 70-300mm on to reduce some of my camera shake.

Anyway, with regards to my plans for the near future, I’ll be heading off to France for a few days. Depending on whether there’s internet available, you guys may or may not hear from me, but with a bit of luck, I might have some landscape photos for you. I don’t actually know what I’ll be able to see from where I’m staying, so it might actually be something else. After I get back, it’ll be some posts about the aforementioned photography topics – again, what those will be remains to be seen.

I have to wonder if the shadows would have looked better if I had used a flash, but I don't think flash photography was permitted at the time.

Anyway, I don’t have very much else to say today, so I’ll write again after France. Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you guys next week. πŸ˜€

Couldn't get this guy to spread his wings, even after following him around for 20 minutes. Gave up, went with this photo. .___.


Warwick Castle – Jousting

So I recently was at Warwick Castle, and certainly, it’s an amazing castle. Of course, I had my camera along for the day, and so I did end up with a ton of photos by the end of it. What I’ve decided to do is to break it up, so I’ll be posting different stuff from the day over a few posts. So what am I posting today? Why, men running at each other with sharp objects, of course. πŸ˜€

Most of the photos I have today are crops unfortunately, because the show was across a river, and 300mm just doesn’t quite do the trick.

Unfortunately, the jousting and so on was taking place in a sectioned off area on the opposite side of a small river, and even with 300mm of focal length stuck on the end of my camera, it wasn’t enough to get the tight framing that I wanted. As a result, there are two consequences of my having to do this. Firstly, I’ve had to crop photos to get the framing I wanted, which is needless to say, not exactly the greatest situation ever, so the resolution of the photos isn’t exactly brilliant. Secondly, the lens I was using is a little iffy in terms of optical quality at the longer focal lengths, so having to crop the photos probably isn’t helping this.

The other drawback of not being able to get better angles - having things get in the way. Rrawrgh.

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you’ll also know that I’ve been messing around with my picture controls lately. The main reason I started messing with it is because I realised on a number of my photos that the in-camera sharpening, which I had turned up pretty high before, was… well, sharpening my photos too much. The result was a large number of photos that looked very harsh, as opposed to sharp, fine and detailed. So when I was at the castle, I reconfigured the picture control and let it choose the sharpness automatically. For some cases it was fine, but for others, the lack of crisp and clear edges irked me somewhat. The pictures you’re seeing here (and probably in the coming Warwick Castle posts) will have been sharpened in Photoshop instead of in-camera, a step I didn’t have to do with my previous picture control. I think for my next outing, I’ll probably leave the sharpness at about 6.

Because everything is more awesome when it's on fire. True story.

Funny thing about Nikon’s picture controls is that if you make custom picture controls by using the existing ones as templates (which to my knowledge, is the only way of doing it), the base control that you use does seem to have an effect on the custom one that you finally end up with. Now, I know it might seem really obvious at first that basing two custom picture controls off of different controls would result in different effects on the photos. But when you have two pictures controls, one based off of Vivid and another off of Standard, with identical settings, producing different results, you have to scratch your head a little – especially when the settings for hue, saturation and contrast are controllable. It suggests that Nikon’s picture controls have a little bit of the black box around them, and it’ll probably be useful for people to know that there is this difference in the base picture controls that you build your customs off of.

Of the jousting/combat photos, this one is probably where a combination of being too far away and not having sufficient in-camera sharpening does hurt it a little, which is a shame.

Well, that’s probably all I have to say for tonight. Hopefully I’ll have time to put up more photos of the castle soon, so check back when you can.


By the way, if you like what you see, please do tell your friends and check out the Facebook page. I’m just one guy trying to run this and keep the blog updated with interesting and useful content – plus, I’m considering putting out some photography tutorial videos, so your support would mean a lot to me. Thanks for reading, and see you soon. πŸ™‚