This page is a diary of activity and is updated frequently, as is the Herefordshire gallery (my home county).
All content of this website is (c) Philip Chapman – downloading and use of all images and articles is expressly prohibited unless authorised. Please see the ‘contact’ page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to know more or would like copies/more/larger images.
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Note that some photographs, such as at National Trust properties are unavailable because of restrictions imposed by the National Trust.
Have been busy since the last post.
A visit to Dijon has inspired this image – a night time 360 degree picture of the Palais des Ducs in the round:
When time allows I will post some more traditional images of this wonderful place.
I have added several pictures of Laura on the ‘Portaits’ page – a very engaging model at my club’s recent Portraiture night.
A trip to Sgwyd yr Eira and welsh waterfalls has been another trip:
Tewkesbury is often a source for inspiration – I like this laid-back quiet shot of the abbey over the water:
Have also visited Devon – this image of Bideford is looking north with a long telephoto:
I also continue to have thoughts on the photographic process. There have been more articles on this subject added to the original ‘Visualisation of the image’ :
The Zone System applied digitally
Capture to Edit Methodology
Photographic ‘truth’ and ethics
Currently in gestation, I have also been thinking about how prints are displayed for competitions at clubs. Prints are shown in a darkened room on an easel under very bright light – quite unnatural compared to the usual use of prints. Is it fair to judge under these conditions? Should authors adjust the tonality for this unnatural environment so that the images ‘pop’?
Really pleased to have been awarded two cups from Beacon Camera Club – the Ruth Handley Cup for portraiture for:
and the Edith Smith Mono Cup for this shot of St David’s Cathedral:
I also got a Highly Commended for the original colour version of the shot of Charlotte:
Improvements are being made to the ‘Wyeside stimulated by Brian Hatton’ page and I have added more images to a new page ‘Lugg Meadows stimulated by Brian Hatton’. I love the Herefordshire landscape, and would encourage you to see Hatton’s paintings – Herefordshire County Council has a substantial collection of his work – details on are on the two pages.
Portrait Competition at Beacon Camera Club tonight… and success has come my way with second place (monkey) and first place (eye contact). Really chuffed!
Some will be aware that much of the landscape in which Brian Hatton painted (see the page) is threatened by a bypass. There is a report of a meeting covered on the front page of the current Hereford Times (my picture across three columns), also at
[More information is on the Breinton Parish Council website and also at https://www.facebook.com/groups/970596702970556/ ]
Those who walked on the Brian Hatton Trail last month may like to know that the walk was covered by the Hereford Times – in print just a small picture, but there are four pictures in the online post at
[Please note that I retain copyright]
I’ve updated the Brian Hatton page to include a few images from this year’s Brian Hatton Trail with Robin Thorndyke. A taster:
Incidentally, I see that it is possible to order prints direct from the Alamy website; if you click on the Alamy logo you can search myimages using keywords. Note that I take time to add images to Alamy and some never reach Alamy (for instance if they are of National Trust properties). If in doubt email me on email@example.com .
More portraits at Beacon CC; this time it was Jordaan… (see the Portrait page)…
It is really pleasing when you see work published. The cover of the book ‘Saints Shrines and Pilgrims’ uses my shot (see below), and I did notice one of my shots was used by the Daily Telegraph travel section, and I know a shot was used by Country Life last year. Because many shots are sold through Alamy I do not normally get to know where images get used, but I was inspired to further research and develop practice when commissioned by British Art Studies to picture aspects of Hereford Cathedral.
I am now looking forward to exploring more cathedrals and ecclesiastical buildings, also having looked at an earlier article in British Art Studies on Fredrick H Evans and the Lantern Slide – a late Victorian photographer whose images of English and French cathedrals are well known – http://www.britishartstudies.ac.uk/issues/issue-index/issue-1/lantern-slide .
Coming to Beacon Camera Club in June is the well known Martin Parr – a good article is at http://www.britishartstudies.ac.uk/issues/issue-index/issue-4/martin-parr ; that issie majors on photography.
My attempts are at the following links:
Was pleased by colleagues’ comments at the Charlie Williams critique at Beacon Camera Club last week – I think my monkey is only just ‘high key’ …
I travelled to The Photography Show at the NEC last month and came across LumeCubes being demonstrated. These are small 1 1/2 inch cubes housing a powerful LED at 5000K Kelvin and have great potential. Indeed I’ve used them in the field and find their portability great – belying their tiny size.
I’ve added a brief article about different artificial light solutions – that will be appended with further use of equipment, whether flash, studio flash, continuous lights or LumeCubes. The next thing I must do to the LumeCubes is fit a diffusion screen to the cradel I’ve made by 3D printing. (see Artificial Light).
I’ve been enormously pleased to have been commissioned by British Art Studies, an online magazine published by the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art I’m partnership with Yale University. Following that stimulus I recently went to the church at Eaton Bishop where I was struck by the tiling and mediaeval windows – see ‘Recent images around Herefordshire’. (I’ll add a link to British Art Studies once published, though photographers may wish to see the retrospective on Martin Parr in the current issue.)
The page also has a new featured image – the Wye at Breinton last week. The previous one is here, showing the grassy area on the right bank where the featured image on the ‘Around Herefordshire’ page was taken:
I think my home page has needed a new featured image – so I have put the painterly Hereford Cathedral there.
Last weekend Breinton History Group were treated to a short walk with Keith Ray, former Herefordshire County archaeologist, who trained us to look for earthworks in the landscape and exciting LIDAR scans of a possible Mercian fort.
Beacon Camera Club has recently held some workshops on ‘Street’ photography… not really my forte, but I did see this image in Hereford. The only just visible ‘apparition’ beside the noose on the left looking forward to entering the meeting room advertised (entrance through the coffin?) is also a photographer…
I’ve also updated the D7100 / EM5 comparison page a little, and clarified my likes/dislikes of the MFT system. [The Olympus EM5 is my carry around camera system, but when I want the best quality I revert to my Nikon D7100.]
Lexi modelled at Beacon Camera Club – see the Portraits page
Have been really pleased to learn of several sales made through Alamy last month, and pleased to accept a commission – I’ll share more details on publication in a couple of month’s time. In the meantime there is some news from the Cathedral I have added on the ‘Around Herefordshire’ page and a new rendition of the Cathedral beside the river.
The light was terrific during the afternoon, allowing me to enjoy making this painterly rendition.
It’s not often you know where images on Alamy end up, but an Australian site has reproduced a cover of a book being published in April… thanks Bloomsbury!
Cold, but sun attempting tom break through heavy mist… atmosphere… – new pictures on my ‘Herefordshire’ page… including this tinted image.
April was the delightful model at Beacon CC this week = more on the Portraits page…
I have heard that Hereford County Library is due to reopen in a few week’s time, and will include an exhibition of work by local artist Brian Hatton. I have updated my own page of photographs stimulated by Hatton taken around the River Wye and added a few words and pictures. The Wye is delightful, picturesque, and virtually unspoilt for centuries – there had been little change since Hatton was sadly killed in 1916.
Following some discussion of judging I had with friends recently, I have put some thoughts together and I’ve added a page ‘Photography Competitions Judging and Qualifications’. Since becoming more involved in the art, I have been concerned that judging of club competitions is as subjective as it is, and coming from music education where competition judging and music examinations are more controlled.
The feature is intended to stimulate debate and not to criticise what may, in my ignorance, be the best way of assessing. I would welcome comment to add to the feature if you would like to contribute.
I’ve had a reply from Olympus, and have decided to describe the whole saga on a new page – Olympus are a disaster, a technological failure. I’ve copied all the communications between myself and Olympus, and I know many are interested judging from the hits on relevant pages to the OMD EM-5.
A trawl across various online forums shows that Olympus owners sporadically suffer from this issue – I have intended that my experiences are open and for all to judge, including Olympus who have taken time to reply.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Headline: Olympus are a disaster, a technological failure
Followers of my work will have gathered my dissatisfaction with Olympus following updating my EM5 with the recent update.
To recap, using Olympus Viewer software I carefully followed instructions and updated (successfully) the firmware for the EM5, but the connected 12-50mm EZ lens lost contact with the camera resulting in a useless lens. I have had no choice but to send the lens to Olympus at a cost of the best part of £100 – a disgrace.
I have never had problems updating firmware for any camera, or indeed, any other product, this fault has occurred following Olympus instructions.
Olympus insist that firmwares are updated using their software – no files can be downloaded or copied to memory cards, which strike me to be a far better method. This problem could not occur with Nikon gear.
I enjoy using the EM5 for its compactness, ease of use and technology… but I cannot advise fellow photographers to buy into the Olympus system because of the risk. I have noted that Olympus have updated the firmware of this camera no less than 11 times, the Nikon D7100 (released at roughly the same time) only 3 times. This poses questions – is Olympus gear technologically sound, because its resilience seems in question.
(I have sent a copy of this comment offering Olympus a reply – I shall update should it be forthcoming.)
A new article… this time a very brief article about the Zone System and the Digital Process, further developing the description of my workflow that started in the ‘Visualisation of the image’ article.
Winter has now commenced! … a frosty morning …(also on the Images around Herefordshire page)…
The page comparing Nikon D7100 and Olympus OMD EM-5 has also been adjusted at the end of the article following my experience with the 12-50mm EZ lens (see 1/12/2016 below).
I’ve amended the end of the article on ISO Variance. Continuing the theme I have now referred to Nikon’s Auto ISO feature – a feature I have constantly steered away from since it implies loss of control. In an ISO Invariant camera however, perhaps it does have a value… and from this enthusiast photography has the potential to move forward significantly.
Kat Hopewell-Smith (Nikon Ambassador) gave a talk on her photography to the Beacon Camera Club last night – very interesting, and refreshing to hear of her implementation of the Zone System. However, in connection to this, I was not convinced of her assessment of the dynamic range available to modern DSLRs.
When consumer digital photography was in its infancy (ie 2000-2003) dynamic range was a big issue – the compact cameras affordable to enthusiasts then did struggle. The introduction of the first sub-£1,000 enthusiast DSLRs (Nikon D70, Canon 300D) answered this with much wider dynamic range and picture quality from using larger sensors.
I think most landscape shooters of the present day assume a much wider dynamic range than the 5 stops Kate referred to, and thus more Zones come into play than the 5 stops mentioned.
There was a stimulating talk at the Beacon Camera Club with low light specialist Ian Collins. It even stimulated me to take a picture as soon as I got back home, and now I’ve added a new page on the Nikon D7100 and Olympus EM-5 ISO Invariance and high ISO. For me this has been technical – Ian has an electrical engineering background and explains it better. (If I’ve been incorrect in anything please will you email me and I’ll correct.)
The detail that can be captured with modern cameras is outstanding, and the reporting of available dynamic range that DxO report shows how the technology is improving. This chart shows the dynamic ranges of 3 cameras, all relatively good in their day:
The D7100 launched in 2013, the D70 and Fujifilm S3 Pro were launched in 2004. The latter cameras were only 6 MP and probably pushed the envelope a little too far in modern terms, but the D7100 can go almost three stops more than those earlier cameras in terms of dynamic range. The S3 Pro was excellent up to ISO 800, and then fell off a cliff. The D70 could probably have offered an extended ISO 3200. The newer D7100 has a much wider range. Incidentally, the dynamic range performance between the D70 and more professional D200 was almost indistinguishable making the S3 pro quite remarkable and heaven for wedding photographers. A new D5 still has a dynamic range of around 10 EV at around ISO 8000 whereas the D7100 drops below 10 EV before ISO 3000. Its this sort of progress that makes us hanker for new kit… but do we really need more more more or are we now in a land of diminishing returns with the technology? Perhaps lenses are the biggest mitigating factor now.
I’ve added a couple of shots taken near the Wye at Warham attempting to react to the inspiration of Brian Hatton, though neither are at the precise location of his paintings, but rather scenes he may well have considered had his life endured.
There are some ‘cool’ pictures above Breinton Common taken on a frosty morning that was crunchy under foot and a couple of pictures from another walk around Drover’s Pool near Breinton – those are on the images around Herefordshire page.
The 12-50mm EZ Olympus lens has become a brick. The lens is no longer recognised by the camera following a firmware update, a blank screen is all I can see… and there is no recourse other than sending back to Olympus. The policy of Olympus in providing firmware updates only via their own software whilst connected to the internet may well be expensive – why can’t Olympus allow users to download an update file and copy to a card like other manufacturers? I’ll update after I hear from Olympus.
Have recently sold a couple of lenses no longer required. Currently happy with what I’ve got!
On the way back we had a brief visit to Newark Park (NT property near to Stroud) – mediaeval, rediscovered and restored by an American. A lovely place – will undoubtedly revisit (and photograph better!) on another occasion.
Anne is an upside down reflection, and I understand the volunteer underneath the stained glass window is a Canon user.
Incidentally, I used the Olympus EM5 for these snaps – portable and light, but still think CSCs still have quite a way to go before overall IQ reaches APS-C DX DSLR level.
Went away last weekend – had a coffee at Tyntesfield (south of Bristol close to the M5). Only stayed a short time, but took a few snaps…
You may have seen pictures honouring artists (WJ Turner and Brian Hatton) elsewhere on this site, but I’ve also been enjoying exploring landscapes created by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Last weekend at Capability’s first design, Croome Park, it was sunny, warm and colourful. One thought – I realised I was taking a greater proportion of shots than usual with the ‘standard’ zoom (this time the Nikon 20-35mm 2.8 rather than my Sigma 10-20mm) – is this because of Capability’s work?
Helen was the patient model last week:
Over the summer I’ve been taking pictures from Dorset to the Midlands, nature, landscapes and a wedding: Kimbolton Hall (Cambridgeshire) was the terrific venue. Gallery 5 has been updated to include a few pictures, as well as these below. Thanks to Francis and Franzi for letting me display them – the musicians were pretty good too!
It was a Charlie Williams Trophy (CWT) night at Beacon Camera Club last night – there was some great imagery. I had an entry, but did not do very well – but justifiably in the face of many of the pictures. But this morning, on reflection I’m disappointed by the event.
The CWT is a series of 10 monthly competitions, scores being given by fellow members producing monthly winners. Through the year scores over all ten months are then aggregated as in a league to award the overall CWT.
This month’s theme was ‘Urban’, and it was clear that different members had a different take in defining it’s meaning. Some felt that any photograph taken in/of an urban environment satisfies the definition, but others feel that it requires some form of social comment on a decaying environment.
Living in a predominantly rural environment I found ‘Urban’ a challenge. At one point I considered doing a composite – a crane lifting ‘blocks’ of individual Tewkesbury black and white buildings and connecting them lego style. But I rejected this idea because a) I did not have enough different images and b) because creating a composite is in effect a failure of not being able to produce a good image in camera. In the end I was left with the crane picture taken close to Hereford city centre featuring a reflection across the river.
I was amazed that one member suggested I was manipulating the image citing evidence that the reflection of the cable descending from the crane wasn’t straight. Indeed, members seemed to be looking for the enhancement and manipulation than the overall image itself. I do reject those barbs, but I do think the image was weak.
There is a world of difference between enhancing data that is already there (saturation, converting to mono, etc) and creating something that does/did not exist (changing a sky, composites),
There is obviously controversy – is the strong manipulation and creation of composites in this fashion properly ‘photographic’, especially for a club titled Beacon Camera Club? In essence, is our club ‘Digital Photography’ or is our club more ‘Photoshop Creative’?
Most high scoring images seemed to be composites – extremely well executed and with impact. But now I am wondering about ethics in our art. Photography from the earliest times has always distorted images and included composites and cutaways. But there are issues about declaring a composite especially in the press where digital manipulation alters the sense of an event making a false story.
Beacon Camera Club has some excellent minds and image makers and practitioners, but a large club has a responsibility to uphold ethics as well as excellence. For the first time the club has created doubts in my mind.
See the Recent Herefordshire pages for a look at a great community event held at Breinton Manor Fruit Farm on Saturday (9th July). Luckily the expected rain showers did not materialise. Pictures were taken with the EM5 at ISO 400, most with plus one stop compensation. This is Eleni:
Did the Hatton walk again yesterday – go to the ‘Wyeside simulated by Brian Hatton’ page that has been updated – these shots are a taster:
Apologies for not updating this site recently – moving house, setting up a room as a studio, new photographs and projects and more.
I have replaced the image at the top of the home page to a River Wye view reflecting the move, but also reflecting my interest in the artist Brian Hatton who was sadly killed during the First World War. His centenary has stimulated the new ‘Wyeside stimulated by Brian Hatton’ page – perhaps you might like to follow the walk in the footsteps of Hatton.
Sasha Stephens was a great model for a portraiture evening at Beacon Camera Club. The Beacon’s facebook page has my attempts:
Have now clarified how I am using my cameras – when to use DX and when to use MFT. A page has been added for interest.
Changed the theme for the New Year. Like? Also added a few pics to the Around Herefordshire page.
Beacon Camera Club has a number of special interest groups and I was pleased to join the Portraiture group this week. This was new experience for me, photographing a professional model, but she gave me some good results. I admit I have slightly overprocessed the images in Portrait Pro (I’m always prone to doing too much). These are my pics that are on the Beacon CC’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/296970173705579/photos/
Further to my comments of 2/11/15.
I have been using my Nikon D7100, but have also used the Olympus OMD EM5 much of the time. I have been talking to various photographers who have OMDs who are generally very pleased. Previous comments I made I feel are still valid, to which I shall add the sometimes oddly organised menu system and sometimes awkward buttons, especially with cold fingers.
The camera is obviously technologically advanced, and there are sometimes operational issues. Twice the EM5 has frozen on me during operations and I know not the cause. The camera has frozen, with the last recorded image (shot seconds previously) frozen on the display. No buttons have any effect, including the on/off switch. The only way to rectify has been to dismantle the grip (I only use the smaller part) in order to take the battery out and reset. The camera then operates as normal. I would be interested if other folk have the same experience.
For most uses image quality is excellent – you can’t recognise which pictures on the Herefordshire page are Olympus or Nikon. I still think Nikon has the edge – colour is more neutral and files can be subjected to more significant editing, eg dynamic range seems greater.
Just had to say how good Tom Mackie was in his presentation to the Beacon Camera Club. Terrific images excellently described.
Sorry I haven’t updated recently – ‘flu that lasted for weeks… and then there was Christmas…
But I have been active…
A visit to Berrington Hall was interesting – the potting shed with its fruity smells and atmosphere was wonderful, and seeing the coach and horses helped to envisage the Hall of yesteryear. The tour below stairs was informative and enjoyable… though very cold!
Just before the holiday we visited Brockhampton and were entertained by the small but delightful choir in the gallery of the hall. Our walk was colourful in the low sunshine … and we are grateful to members of the choir who pushed our car out of the mud!
I am grateful for the invite to a fireworks spectacular at New Year – colour, sparks, rockets, crashes and bangs!
There may have been a lot of mud created, but the immense amount of rain has afforded opportunity for watery pictures – see the tree reflections in Hereford adjacent to the river.
See the pictures on the ‘Recent images’ page.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I’ve changed the image at the head of this page, and is typical of the north Herefordshire landscape around Tedstone and Whitbourne. Not sure if I prefer the previous image:
Took some more pictures, but think I was lucky to not fall flat in saturated and very muddy clay. Fallen leaves covered part of the route. I took my Nikon because the light looked more demanding, but wished I had the lighter Olympus on the return hike. I discovered it is much harder work trudging through sticky oozing mud balancing between ruts on heavy gradients than on more benign bridle ways. [See the new Herefordshire page].
Looking for a new place to live, and admired Breinton, a few miles to the west of Hereford. We wandered down to the River Wye, and also up from Breinton Common to see the landscape around… a great view. Next to the church there is the evidence of a mediaeval settlement and the National Trust is also curating an orchard. [See the new Herefordshire page]. Getting used to the Olympus EVF (electronic viewfinder), but the EM-5 is producing sharp pictures.
Went for a walk to discover what is claimed to be the most haunted site in England. It is an abandoned church at Avenbury, a few miles south of Bromyard. It is currently overgrown but some abandoned gravestones can be seen from the public footpath. The main tower is still standing. [See the new Herefordshire page]. These images are shot with the Nikon D7100 – I wanted the lens flexibility and best quality image.
Rather than populate this page with pictures, I’ll keep this page text only, but I’ll talk about recent pictures that I post in the galleries.
Richard Spurdens gave a talk at Beacon Camera Club – and was engrossing.
I’ve been informed that it will be my ‘Letter of the Week’ in the Amateur Photographer mag dated 21/11/15 (out on Tuesday 17th) – strongly felt comments on threats to the photographic arts (see 27/10/15 below)
Went to the Beacon Camera Club at Malvern last night – a most interesting and revealing talk by Richard Spurdens – landscapes, architecture, sport, travel, portraiture, street photography and fine art. The displayed prints demonstrated impeccable technique, the projected photographs showed a vast range in his capabilities.
Perhaps I could clarify a little what I mean by my statement of 25/10/15.
My main cameras are a Nikon D7100 (an excellent DX or APS-C tool) and a Olympus OMD EM5 (an excellent CSC).
For a lot of general photography the 16MP OMD EM5 is truly excellent, and as a carry about camera is great. Usable apertures creating depth of field effects are more limiting and the resolution is not quite as high (but the latter is irrelevant for photographs to A4, provided you do not need to crop significantly).
I do sometimes need a greater lens choice – especially for wide angle shots, and choice of optic at wide apertures when I turn to the D7100 that I have owned for some time. Latitude levels are more forgiving – I seem to be able to use higher ISOs and longer shutter speeds before noise increases or contrast diminishes or colour desaturates.
The OMD is vastly more lighter and portable – almost pocketable, because there is no mirror box, etc. It can also (via an adapter) use all my older Nikon lenses, though the lens angle of view is not as great. I rarely use flash so the lack of built in flash is a benefit. Handling is OK, but is vastly improved by the accessory professional grip. [The grip further expands with a second piece containing an extra battery compartment and more customisable buttons and portrait shutter release.]
Pictures produced by the OMD are sharp and with excellent colour provided light levels are good.
I am using the two cameras about 50/50 depending on what I’m doing, shooting, or feeling.
A letter in this week’s AP has got me going. I believe the Arts in this country are under enormous threat from the current government – small group music tuition is now only available to those who can afford it, Arts funding is diminished, the BBC under great pressure. Photographers outside the commercial sector are finding times difficult whether because of reduced fees from periodicals or huge mass market competition in picture agencies, or even the wholesale redundancy of photographers because the periodical thinks that free ad hoc submissions will suffice. I believe our whole society could collapse if the philistines governing us continue on this path. I am seriously concerned that the BBC, an organisation that is absolutely committed to a service ethos to inspire, educate and entertain is threatened.
See my article on threats to photography.
Creativity is the lifeblood of our way of life.
I’ve been thinking about sharing my thoughts on my Olympus/Nikon cameras, but on second thoughts consider that this is not a review site.
That said, a good big ‘un will always be better than a good little ‘un, but the little ‘un will score on portability and weight. The difference depends on threshold of image quality and ergonomics.
I do not own a full frame DSLR (high cost/weight), I do own a DX/APS-C DSLR (upgraded from typical kit lenses), I now own a mirrorless CSC (generally fulfils needs, though with care – less latitude of dynamic range/colour saturation/tone etc)
Living in this part of pastoral Herefordshire can be stunning. Have a look at the latest Gallery of Tedstone Delamere – I really love the colour as well as the peace and tranquillity.
Tidied some website pages, done some keywording…
Beautiful countryside before sunset – just about made this one with the D7100, but the shot was rushed (just been supermarket shopping…). It is the current featured image.
Have been playing with the EM-5 – not a bad little machine!- loads of facilities and very capable.
Now moved base – now Tedstone Delamere in Herefordshire. Busy unpacking.
Have purchased an Olympus OMD EM-5 mirrorless camera with 17mm lens.
Enjoyed great evening photographing ice hockey – IW Raiders vs a Cardiff team. It was quick. Initially disappointed, but after editing have got some more than acceptable shots.
New big sale on Alamy. Now have 1,200 images with more to keyword.
Spent a (very) late night photographing the eclipsed moon at Freshwater Bay. Also took star fields with the Samyang 8mm – Orion looks good!
Last attendance at camera club before leaving the Isle of Wight. It has been a terrifically photogenic place, but about to head to pastures new. Best wishes to all at Niton CC …. looking for new club …
Now have almost 1,000 images on Alamy
New Grandchild – Beth – a beauty. Photo opportunities in and around Leicester/shire
Have found the first image sold on Alamy online supporting a Country Life article: http://www.countrylife.co.uk/country-pursuits/why-you-should-protect-your-skin-against-the-elements-69625