I have been thinking about a question asked by Scott Bourne on the “This Week In Photography” blog recently. Scott asked us to reflect on the simple question, what was your best photograph last year? I think its a really helpful question since we spend so much time putting folders full of images on our drives that we may let them pass by in a blur. When I process a folder I whittle it down to my few favourites and I’m really unlikely to look at the rest of them again. Some I print as gifts for others, and my favourites I tend to store as a backup, full resolution on my Flickr account; some I intend to, but forget to get round to doing so.

Among this mass of photographs, which I think are my best work from last year, must be one or two that I think would represent the very best of what I have tried to do. Scott Bourne has challenged us/me to choose the one that I feel represents my best work. Why is it so hard to select your one favourite, I have tried but failed. My compromise has been to choose my favourite portrait, Landscape, Animal and Flower since these are probably my favourite categories.

Now come on, think back yourself, what is your favourite picture, or at least your favourites in different categories? Perhaps identifying these will help us to set a target or a benchmark for next year.

Portrait:

wendy

Landscape:

matterhorn-flirting

Animal:

madeiran-wall-lizard

Flower:

communication-tower-hibiscus

Perhaps next week I’ll look back and decide that I have got this hopelessly wrong, but I hope I’ve learned something from the exercise of analysing what I like? I’m going to print these and hang them somewhere, why not do the same to remind yourself of this year’s standard.

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  • This is when you can be glad you have boys. Go buy a barbie and try to get it out of the package! No assembly required but painful in its own way. And girls can have hundreds of barbies. And barbie shoes. Trying to keep up with barbie shoes is like keeping up with crickets. I think I may have gone off topic a little. My girls are 18 and 20 but the memory of barbie lingers. Happy Birthday to your boys…such cuteness. Enjoy these days…it certainly does go way too fast.joyce’s last blog post..

  • Fra un paio di mesi avremo il nuovo papa, l’attuale sarà comunque un vescovo e cardinale della Chiesa, e di tante scemenze che si leggono in questi giorni non resterà nulla.Che spreco di tempo …

This is the view of the mountainous end of Mull from the coast opposite the Isle of Ulva.

p1000383

mull-mountains-crop

As you know, I’m still evaluating my new LX3 and I’m finding it a rollercoaster experience. I’m generally very pleased with it, but every so often I remember that it has a tiny sensor compared to my Canon 40D and that no small sensor camera using current technology can deliver what a DSLR user expects in noise terms. This image was taken in low near-sunset light at ISO 200, I thought it looked a bit grainy and so I looked at 100%, result, noise and plenty of it. I increased exposure here by about 30% so I was emphasising noise, but even at that, I will be keeping a close eye on this, I hadn’t expected much at ISO 200. I’ll keep you posted. (This was from the RAW file!).

On a positive note, the handling of the “toys’r’us” controls hasn’t got in the way at all despite my earlier reservations; I still don’t think they compare to the Canon G7/9/10 controls, but they are quick enough in use. I like the camera a lot.

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catherine1

A simple close portrait of Catherine in the cold air above Dervaig with the LX3. I used the onboard pop-up flash as fill-in to see how useful it would be for basic portraits. I’m surprised by the usability of the results, not top class interesting light, but OK as fill. The real light was coming from Catherine’s right and there was a lot of shadow/darkness on the left hand side of her face. It has put nice little catchlights in her eyes as well.

100 ISO, f5.6 and 1/160th.

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accordionist-in-tobermory1

tobermory-fireworks1

All the new year revellers in Tobermory gather around the clock tower at the harbour to bring in the bells. I didn’t want to carry my serious camera or a tripod as it would have limited my ability to carry champagne! The trusty little LX3 was therefore stuffed in a pocket. I used the LX3’s “fireworks” mode which is unusual for me as I never bother with the automatic modes but I am still playing with the camera and was curious about what it can do. One excellent feature is that it lets you save in RAW format even when you are in “scene” modes; usually cameras make you default to jpegs when you are in the automated modes, so this is another grown up and sensible feature.

Anyway, I wish you all the best for 2009 from Tobermory

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salen-boneyard2

Yesterday I took this image of these sad old fishing boats on the outskirts of Salen on the Isle of Mull. I have often passed them and wanted to photograph them, but the light has never been nice or I haven’t had the time. The light yesterday was OK, but not wonderful, and I had the time. Oddly I left my SLR in the car and took the little LX3 with me and tried a few compositions in RAW format. For those of you interested in the “Panny’s” performance, I spent 5 minutes in Lightroom using the graduated filter to lighten the foreground and darken the skies as well as pushing the colour saturation of the foreground greens and the blue in the skies. All in all I tweaked the exposure to a ridiculous extent and I’m happy to report that the LX3 raw files have a lot of latitude. I’m very impressed and I certainly think a landscape photographer wanting to travel light could take the LX3 and a portable tripod like a Gorillapod or similar, and produce great results. The original picture was at ISO 80, so in summary, keep the ISO low and you’ll have immense latitude in post processing.

I have to retract what I said in my first impressions posting about the RAW files not being worth the bother for most people; frankly they are worth the bother, they are an excellent way to control your image making.

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