Spent a lovely long weekend in Gothenburg, at the invitation of my friend Christina, enjoying the coruscating Christmas lights draped around the city. Gothenburg is rightly very proud of its vibrant seasonal decorations and they have become a big attraction for visitors, adding both colour and sparkle to an already luminescent city. While I felt bathed in the warm glow of the lights my friend's company and hospitality were warmer still, a needed contrast to the winter chill.Anyway, I hope you enjoy these images. I will post some more of Gothenburg in the daytime and sunset in another post. These were all taken with the Olympus 12-40mm F/2.8 and Samyang 7.5mm F/3.5 mounted on the E-M5.
I didn't see these two places together on my second day in Iceland, and indeed the Grabrok volcano crater wasn't even on my itinerary but merely along the way during a day of mostly driving. I started at Hraunfossar waterfall, which wasn't overly spectacular, and then drove towards Godafoss, a mere 6 hours away. I was meant to go and see Hvitsekur in the north en route but I was running late and wasn't fussed about missing a big rock in the sea. I stopped to trek along the volcano and take in the views, and also met some horses whom I shall present in a separate post. In the evening I drove through Akureyri and stopped again to photograph its lights against the dusk. All shot with the Olympus E-M5 and 12-40mm F/2.8.
Not exactly the most original images Alpha Whiskey has ever made but I had company the other night and tried to steal some shots where I could. The luminous colours and brilliance of London's lights are hard to resist, regardless of how often I have shot them. The impending winter and shorter nights also means that my preferred dusk light doesn't last as long. So these were shot and edited to be ever so slightly over-exposed and as vibrant as possible. All shot on the Olympus E-M5 with either the Olympus 12-40mm F/2.8 or the Samyang 7.5mm F/3.5.
The most photographed mountain and waterfall in Iceland, Kirkjufellsfoss was both the start and terminus of my excursion around the island. Understandably popular with its obvious beauty and compositional simplicity, I was barracked on the hillside by countless other tourists and their tripods. Rather than just be a slave to the same shot that everyone takes I also tried to make a small study of the water and surrounding areas. I rendered them in black and white wherever I felt that the colour added nothing of value to the shot (particularly under an overcast sky). There was a hint of the auroras in some of the images but nothing like the spectacular display I was treated to the following night. I hope you enjoy these images. More from my excursion will be posted soon.
Some classic, some modern, all at the NEC in Birmingham this past weekend. I'm not a fervent car enthusiast but I'm gracious enough to accept an invitation, and even more impressive than the cars themselves was the sheer magnitude and variety of them, filling 5 halls to the brim. The heaving masses swarming around the cars made it difficult to capture isolated shots so I employed a variety of techniques and processing to get these images. And the harsh spotlights and glistening sheen of the metal made the polarising filter largely ineffectual. But low angles made the vehicles look more dynamic and imposing, and individual anatomical details helped exclude people from the picture. I tried composing along geometric lines and shapes while emphasising the beauty of their designs. The images were processed to have a look that I felt conformed to their classic status and design, as well as to render any unwanted bystanders irrelevant. A great exhibition, but after nearly 6 hours of touring around it even my legs were getting tired. Highly recommended though.To capture all of these I used a variety of lenses; mostly the Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 but also the Olympuses 12-40mm and 60mm F/2.8, and the Samyang 7.5mm F/3.5 fish-eye. All mounted on the Olympus E-M5.
Happened to be in London last night and decided to try my recently acquired fish-eye lens on some familiar locations. I must say I was rather impressed with how the manual focus Samyang 7.5mm F/3.5 performed, producing very sharp images and an interesting perspective. I wasn't too bothered about 'de-fishing' the images to give wide angle shots as I rather liked the slightly warped perspective. Sometimes a different focal length can stimulate one's creative juices. The wide field of view can disconnect one from a small or central subject so I suppose one has to be judicious in one's choice of scene or perhaps get closer for a deliberately warped perspective. The long exposures were shot by mounting the camera on a small Velbon Mini tripod and using the LIVE TIME function. All images were shot RAW and processed in Lightroom. All shot on the Olympus E-M5.
Well, these don't change much from year to year and perhaps the photos reflect that, and in any case I prefer to spend more time watching them than photographing them. Just to be different this year, however, I took all these pics using a fish-eye lens, the Samyang 7.5mm F.3.5, a manual focus fish-eye made for the m4/3 format. Easy to focus with and very sharp, I look forward to using it for other subjects.All these were shot with the Olympus E-M5 at around 1/30s and F/3.5 at ISO 2500.
A little more colour as its my favourite season and the more denuded and depressing winter is upon us. The colours this year, while vibrant, didn't last long so I'm keeping them alive here for a little while longer.Again, all shot with the Olympus E-M5 and one of the 12-40mm F/2.8, 40-150mm F/2.8 or Panasonic 20mm F/1.7.Hope you enjoy the colour as much as I do.
My favourite season, and as much as I enjoyed the autumnal hues recently in Iceland I still wanted to capture the vivid colours here at home. These may be very similar to autumn shots I have taken in the past, but for me capturing the autumn instinctively engages certain criteria. The light has to be there, either backlighting the foliage or stretching its fingers through it. The colour obviously has to be as vivid as possible, and in many cases I had to desaturate the intensity (especially the reds). In terms of processing, I tend to bias the white balance towards warmer tones, deepen the blacks to accentuate the colour and increase the white point slightly to emphasise the light. These were all shot one afternoon at Winkworth Arboretum with the Olympus E-M5, hosting one of the 12-40mm F/2.8, 40-150mm F/2.8 (with MC-14 attached) or the Panasonic 20mm F/1.7.I must extend my sincere sympathy (perhaps pity) to the poor old woman at the arboretum who chastised her husband and grand-daughter for speaking to 'that black man.' Firstly, while I accept disseminating human skin colour amongst the vibrant autumn foliage can be a trifle challenging, I am not African-Carribean. Secondly, even if I were (and I accept there probably aren't very many in Surrey), I would still not be a threat to anyone as I'm sure human beings of all ethnic persuasions enjoy nature. And thirdly, while it may seem unusual to a sheltered old woman who probably hasn't got out much, we humans tend to talk to each other. So best of luck.To the rest of you, enjoy the autumn!
So I recently had some time to kill and I thought it might be rather fun to drive around Iceland in the autumn. I had been to this charming little island twice before but this time I was on my own, driving around its ring road in an SUV that was also my home for the duration of my trip. My main aim was to see as much as possible in the limited time I had, which often meant I wasn't always fortunate enough to have the best light or indeed the best weather. Nevertheless, in less than 8 days I crammed in over two dozen waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, canyons, a volcano crater, humpback whales and the aurora borealis, the last of which was a stunning display that was worth the trip alone.Iceland is, of course, a beautiful land unlike anywhere else, with contrasting landscapes, volatile weather and spectacular natural features. Much of the country was appropriately dressed for the season in autumnal hues, decorating the countless waterfalls, streams and mountains in a kaleidoscope of colour. It is certainly true that one cannot help but regularly stop at the sight of something unexpected and beautiful. I ended up seeing far more than my itinerary intended for me.I may elaborate in a later post how I planned and executed my trip but for now I simply wanted to share a brief snapshot of some of the things I saw. And despite all that I did see it is still probably just the tip of the iceberg (so to speak).I realise Iceland has been photographed to death and I may not have anything original to offer but this was a trip I wanted to do for myself and most of the images I captured please me. In the coming days and weeks I may expand on individual landmarks/locations. Rather bizarrely, the inclement weather towards the end of my trip became particularly severe whenever I visited a place I had been to before, and miraculously cleared up at places I was seeing for the first time. Spooky. I must thank my good friend Brubaker for all his invaluable help kitting me out for vehicular camping and navigation. Without his help I would literally be lost, cold and powerless. He was due to join me on this adventure but his draconian employers would not free him from work. I must also thank my good friend and fellow photographer Parrish who very generously lent me a set of ND and graduated filters, enabling me to capture some long exposures, particularly at the glacier lagoon. Well, nearly 3000km and a supertanker of diesel later I had made it back to where I had started my journey at Kirkjufell in Snaefellsness, the most photographed mountain in Iceland. A small sense of accomplishment quietly crept under a stronger longing to finally get back home, light up a fat one and swig down a cold one. Job done.Most of these shots were made with the E-M5 and Olympuses 12-40mm F/2.8 and 40-150mm F/2.8. I used the DSLR primarily for the auroras as the larger sensor was more capable at capturing them.
A small but no less beautifully ornate cathedral in the heart of Newcastle, St Nicholas has all the usual photographic opportunities found in these historic buildings. From the grandeur and scale of the columns to the geometric patterns in the architecture, everything in between is a treasure of statues and ornaments with plenty of interesting lighting upon them. All images shot with the Olympus E-M5 and 12-40mm F/2.8 or 60mm F/2.8.
Lots of interesting architecture in the heart of Newcastle, particularly around Grainger Town, where the terrific Victorian and Georgian stone and geometry offered plenty of photographic and abstract opportunities. The bright sun cast some pleasing shadows, further helping to accentuate the shapes and spaces under the masonry.And many of the ladies out in town seemed to have a standard dress code of short skirts and high heels; nice to see but somewhat perplexing attire for a Sunday afternoon. Not sure what the owls were doing there either but by then little could surprise us. Most of the people shots were taken by the quayside.All images were made with the Olympus E-M5 and 12-40mm F/2.8 or 60mm F/2.8.
When Olympus first announced the 300mm F/4 for the m4/3 format there was understandably much enthusiasm for its arrival. After all, it would give users the equivalent field of view of 600mm at F/4 in a far more compact and lighter lens than a DSLR equivalent. I wasn't personally aroused by the prospect but curiosity prompted me to ask Olympus if I could borrow the lens to write up a user experience and they very kindly sent me a copy.
We were incredibly lucky to see the kingfisher, having been told that they had now left the nature reserve. In fact, we had literally just entered the hide and it showed up, perched neatly on a branch right in front of us! And in between waiting for it to fly back into view I had a great time capturing the very many dragonflies swarming around the hide. I have to thank Natalia's eagle eyes for spotting all of them.All of these images were shot with the Olympus 300mm F/4, kindly loaned to me by Olympus and for which I shall be posting a user experience next. The lens was mounted to the E-M5 via the MC-14 teleconverter, offering an equivalent field of view of 840mm.
Not one to easily resist night lights and reflections I spent an evening on the quayside by the River Tyne hoping to capture some decent exposures at sunset and dusk. I usually do this kind of thing alone (after all, who in their right mind would want to shoot with Alpha Whiskey?!), but on this occasion I benefitted greatly from Natalia's company, and in fact it was her enterprise that had me running back and forth across bridges and by the water to best make use of the sunset hues. By dusk I was able to take some long exposures using a gorillapod wrapped around the railings. After dusk the night brought out the lights and colours a little more but I'm not really a fan of black skies, even with long exposures. Dusk blue is best for me. These images were mostly made with the Olympus E-M5 and 12-40mm F/2.8.