The Advent Calendar Challenge

If you’ve never tried a ‘pic a day’ type challenge, here’s an ideal way to get started before you try a whole ‘365’..

Over on my forum we’re planning to do a little ‘Advent Calendar’ project to take a photo each day through December.

It’s really simple to get involved, all you need to do is take, and post one picture each day!  Starting Thursday 1st December, take at least one photo every day. It doesn’t matter what you shoot on, so no excuses because you’ve not got an SLR with you. Compact or camera phone is fine. Just try to find one interesting photo each day. Subject, composition and timing are the most important things. Make a thread on the forum in this projects section and call it something like ‘Rich’s Advent Calendar’ then post up your best photo from each day right up till xmas. Try to stick to one you’ve actually taken that day unless you’re *really* stuck as the whole point is to get you looking for potential shots and taking more photos so no digging through the archives!

RIP Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs Hero Pic

Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

 
– Steve Jobs

Back in the loop!

Ooh crikey, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been a little out of the loop for the past month or so as most of my spare time has been eaten up by my mum being poorly and she’d spent the last six weeks in hospital. Thankfully she’s well on the mend now and home again so it’s time to catch up a bit and get some quality photography time in!

Autumn is upon us now so it’s time to get out and capture those amazing colours. I’ll be heading out for some park shots soon I think, plus maybe another little Somerset tour and maybe it’s time for a trip to Westonbirt..

I’ll catch up with some posts about my recent trip to Paris too, plus plans for a couple more trips out there next year, and also some of my recent training clients.

As they say, watch this space..!

Sensor Cleaning for Training Clients

I’ve had a couple of comments from recent clients who’ve discovered the scourge of the Digital SLR, dust on the sensor. This can manifest itself as dark splodges on your images, and will be particularly noticeable on smaller apertures.

Here’s an example of a blank image (just a piece of paper up against the window):
SensorCleaning-2317
(It’s on flickr so click to biggify!)

Pretty grim eh? Imagine all the spotting and cloning you’d be doing in Photoshop if all your images were overlaid with that?
I realise that for many people the thought of cleaning the sensor in a thousand pounds worth of SLR can be rather daunting but it’s really not as scary as you might think as long as you’re careful.

Sensor Cleaning – £25

If you’re not confident in cleaning the sensor yourself then you’ll find most camera shops will offer it as a service in store, or now as an added service for my training clients I’ll clean your sensor for you on your training day for the discounted price of £25 (normally £40).. If you’re interested, please let me know in advance so I can ensure I have the right size swabs for your camera.

Here’s an ‘after’ shot..

SensorCleaning-2499

If you’re interested, the system I use is made by Photographic Solutions. I use their Sensor Swabs and their ‘Eclipse’ soution. It pretty expensive as the swabs are single-use only but if you’re serious about keeping your sensor clean it’s a first class product.

I also have the option available for a full optics clean of your lenses too, where I’ll clean/degrease all the external elements of your lenses using professional cleaning solutions and special non-abrasive wipes. For a full optics clean, up to 5 lenses it’s just £25 (client price only), or if I do it at the same time as your sensor the full service is just £40.

Paris in the Summertime…

I spent the last week in August in the beautiful city of Paris, where I was very busy with some interesting photographic projects!

The main purpose of the trip was to visit my friend Ian who lives there and to help him run a workshop on portrait photography. One of his specialties is engagement/celebration shoots for couples. They’re mostly visiting tourists who want a tour of Paris to see some of the most picturesque parts of the city and obviously to get some memorable photos of them along the way. Ian had a couple of shoots planned while I was there, so I was happy to tag along and help out..

Here’s one of Anna and Larry:



The workshop itself went really well, with four photographers attending, Beata and Kasia were two Polish girls from Hull, my friend Gareth came down from Dundee and then the very talented Buffy who’d flown in from the United States. We had two excellent models for the day, Kevin and Céline who were very professional and an absolute pleasure to work with.







Hopefully Ian will be running a similar workshop next year, so watch this space for news of that and a potential Parisian photographic trip I’ll be organising in the springtime too.

The Severn Bridge by Mike Lowe

Another happy customer..

Had a nice email from one of my recent training clients Mike earlier today which included a very kind testimonial about his training day with me last month. Here’s what he had to say..

[frame_right src=”http://www.richardolpin.co.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/MikeLowe-0578-200×300.jpg” href=”http://www.richardolpin.co.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/MikeLowe-0578.jpg” rel=’gallery’]Mike Lowe[/frame_right]
[quote]Thanks for the one-to-one training that we did. Although I’ve been around photography a while I decided to do a one-to-one training session after recently purchasing my first DSLR.

I really enjoyed the training I received. Crucially you listened to me and understood my experience and aspirations immediately and then tailored the training toward that. I can’t express how important that was in making me feel valued and that I’m getting the most out of the training. Your passion about photography energised me throughout the day and still does now.

You clearly showed me technical aspects of photography and my camera in a way that I would understand. You also set me fun and challenging exercises to enhance the things you were teaching me.

I think we went over our agreed end time while you continued to show me some post processing techniques. I came away from our training with greater understanding, creatively inspired and proud of the shots I took. So much so that a couple of weeks later when walking to work I saw a scene on Bristol docs that to me begged to me shot. But I didn’t have my camera on me all I had was my phone. I had you words echoing in my ears ‘sometimes you don’t have time to set up you just got to get the shot with what you got’. Previously I would have walked on by, but this time without any prep I took several shots on my phone. Now, although they didn’t come out fantastic they caught the mood of the moment that I was looking for and a few days later my photograph was published as Picture of The day in the local paper. I’m a published photographer! LOL

– Thanks Richard!
[/quote]

Highnam Court

Had a cracking day out with my chums from the Royal Society to Highnam Court

I’ve uploaded a few random shots from the house which you’ll see in this set on Flickr.


Highlight of the day for me was getting access to Highnam Church where I managed to sneak in a few minutes before the place was swamped with photographers and I was able to get a handful of HDR shots including the one on the right here.

Although the house isn’t generally open to the public, if you’re interested in exploring the amazing grounds you can visit on the first sunday of the month, when it’s open for charity as part of the national gardens scheme. I’m certainly planning to visit again very soon!

Scratch N Skate..

Nice little random afternoon down at the skate park in Cam this afternoon. For the past couple of years they’ve been organising a little music/skate/bmx event called ‘Scratch N Skate’. There were loads of kids on bikes & boards, and a few of them actually looked like they knew what they were doing too!

I’m going to add a proper sports/event gallery on here soon, but in the mean time here’s a quick peek at a few of them from myScratch N Skate set on Flickr

Practice Makes Perfect…

For me, one of the most satisfying aspects of being a teacher is when I see a student making real progress. That’s why it’s especially nice when I get repeat bookings for training as then I can see how they are putting their new skills into practice and then help to take them futher forward still.

[frame_right src=”http://www.richardolpin.co.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/GayGilmourTrainingDay-0262-240×300.jpg” href=”http://www.richardolpin.co.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/GayGilmourTrainingDay-0262.jpg” rel=’gallery’]Gay Gilmour[/frame_right]I had a great day out today with one of my regular students, the very lovely Gay Gilmour who’s making excellent progress over the past month or so.

As she’s been out with me a couple of times recently I thought I’d step it up a notch or two today and put her in a rather more challenging setting to get her out of her comfort zone a little. Suffice to say she more than rose to the challenge and came back with a super set of photos. Well over 50 really good shots a dozen or more that would look great in a portfolio.

At the rate she’s going we’ll get her up to Royal Society standard soon (shh.. don’t tell her I said that, it’s a SECRET ;-)

Here’s a small selection of Gay’s shots from today..

[button size=”small” href=”http://www.richardolpin.co.uk/training/gaygilmour/” bg_color=”#aaaaaa” text_color=”#ffffff”]Gay Gilmour’s Training Gallery[/button]

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Bristol Harbour Festival

Had a great day yesterday down at the Bristol Harbour Festival. I met up with some of my friends from Bristol and watched the excellent Pete Josef in Queens Square, then a little later I met up with one of my forum chums Mark Knight as he was playing with the excellent K-Passa who were headlining over on the Cascade stage. I think the last time I saw them must’ve been at least 10 years ago and they didn’t disappoint. Cracking good show, the only downside is trying to whittle down some 750 shots to a slightly more manageable number!

Anyway, here’s a few pics as a taster:
[flickr flickr_id =”83021873@N00″ set=”72157627329799300″ items=”30″]

And the main set is up on flickr. I’ll pick a few choice favourites and make a proper music gallery soon.