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April 2010    Photographers Resource - Monthly    Edition 76

Wildlife Special

Common Pheasant    Common Pheasant

Image taken with Nikon D2h, with Nikon 80-400 VR lens at 330mm, ISO 800, 1/320th, F8.5, EV -0.7

In This Issue:-
  • Editorial

  • Feature - Wildlife

  • Photographic Feature - Photographic Training

  • Photographers Diary

  • April Wildlife Diary

Has spring arrived at last, well on the last day of March, traffic and people are stuck in snow in Scotland and Ireland, and we have snow falling in Gloucestershire. I must ask the people standing for upcoming election to the house of crooks, what they think about global warming, or should that be global cooling.

 
Last month (March) we had the annual Focus on Imaging show, Britain's main photographic show of the year at Birmingham, and the Ideal Home Show at Earls Court in London. We visited both. We have a report for you on the Focus on Imaging show. Focus Show 2010 Report.

We also have articles on:-

The Ideal Home show does not cover photography, but did have 3D televisions being demonstrated on two stands. An interesting show, but the corridors were too narrow, and a move to Birmingham is overdue. Parking at Birmingham was 8 that seemed over the top, until we found out it was 20 at Earls Court and all the car parks nearby.

Photix  - Hector  

We introduced our coverage of 3D in lasts months edition, and over the last month have seen 3D TV's at the Ideal Home Show, the Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D camera and picture frame/viewer, plus prints at the Focus on Imaging show, read of two laptops that have come out with 3D screens and unless you were visiting another planet you could not notice that every film now being promoted appears to be in 3D with some of the latest breaking box office records. In does the 3D future start tomorrow, or is it already here?  we take a look at the progress currently being rapidly made, what we have seen, but also what the near future may hold. The first 3D UK TV channel goes live now in a few days.

One piece of software that has been talked about now for few months is Sketch2photo. With this package it is said that you can just sketch shapes of items and label the shapes and then the software goes and finds images across the internet and matches the best parts, cut out, assembled, complete with backgrounds to give the required image. You can read about this at www.cg.cs.tsinghua.edu.cn/montage/main.htm which includes an impressive number of examples and a demonstration video. A lot of the discussion about this software is whether its real or not, while a lot of this is theoretically possible, its not, as far as I am aware, a program that you can get from anywhere. While looking at the linked page and the video is safe, we would suggest you don't link to the binaries (source code) which people cannot get to work and some suggest may link to places that have viruses. Like all university sites it should be treated cautiously. Other software that is getting coverage is Poser, DAZ3D, and Sumopaint, all are illustration programs but can merge the world of real photos into art and art into real photos. These like the Sketch2photo, move us nearer to the question of what is real and what is not, to the point now that some photo competitions are explicitly saying that programs like Poser and DAZ3D cannot be used.  It also raises a lot of questions about copyright when images become a collection of pieces to be pulled apart and reassembled, in combination with morphing and art.

Another possibility is to add smells to images, but recently published research suggests this is not necessary for half the population, with 47% of people in Britain saying they can experience the smell when looking at good photos. Interestingly a quarter of those interviewed decided when to take photos on how the scene smelt at the time. The scenes, smell associations often seems to bring other memories to the surface as well, and more than any other trigger. The top five are:-

  1. Freshly cut grass childhood sports days and playing football.

  2. Sunscreen the beach and summer holidays.

  3. Baby talc newborn baby.

  4. Candy Floss carnivals/fairgrounds.

  5. Farmyard time spent on a farm or in the countryside.

Want to read more on this take a look here.

This month we have revised two major sections of this site, the Wildlife Section and the photographic Training Section.


Feature

Wildlife

Wildlife photography is one of the most interesting and challenging of the popular areas of photography, and one that just about all photographers become involved in at some time or other.  Our coverage is in articles, lists of places you can see wildlife and plants, location guides on many of these and 'how to' articles, plus we have two diary related wildlife features, allowing you to see what may be of interest to photograph each month.

Since we stated this newsletter and website we have added sections and topics, often looking at one at a time. Similarly with wildlife and plant life we have also looked at one item at a time, be it bluebells, deer, birds or some others. We have also looked at photographing wildlife, and in several aspects of this, and many months added an article on what to photograph in the month ahead.

Developing in parts we have got to a point now where we have good content coverage, but needed to perhaps organize some of the structure a little better and make it easier for you and us to navigate through.

This month we have revised and updated the entire wildlife section, added new Wildlife Section   pages, a doorway allowing direct entry to this aspect of the website and updated all the related location pages.

Putting this in two lines it may not look a lot, while it required changing and checking out information across hundreds of pages. Just about every page has had some changes but major changes have occurred in the list of pages modified and updated below.

We have new articles on Animal Behaviour  and Hides and Camouflage.  

The wildlife diary started out as a single page, it was then split into 4 pages, one per quarter, and since that we have added more articles looking at what to photograph in a particular month.  We have now also updated the wildlife diary section, laying it out differently so that you can get to the what to photograph or the bullet point lists with photographs far quicker and easier. These bullet point lists now being a page per month rather than quarterly, will allow them to be expanded as we progress. We are aware that not everything included in the what to photograph articles got added to the bullet point lists and we hope to correct this over the coming months, and we have more photos we can add.

At the same time we have allowed for the addition of new pages on wildlife spectaculars around the world. The idea is to have pages where you can see, when you would go, say to Canada to see bears catching salmon or to Africa to see the mass migration of wildebeests, and the many other more noteworthy wildlife events around the world.  While we have not yet added these pages you will be able now to see where they are going to be found.


Photographic Feature

Photographic Training

As you may know, this website started off as the client newsletter of a photographic training business, and was quite naturally dominated by their courses, over time this aspect became a lower percentage of the newsletter and eventually it was split away and for some time now produced by a non profit company.  Since this we have been producing articles on how to take photographs on technical areas and introduced several means of allowing you to understand more and with projects put some of it into practice.

We have, this month, completely redeveloped the training section, now rather than indexing the training services you can buy, we instead have switched our prime attention to structuring the training section so that you can teach yourself photography, in a structured way, directly from this website. No articles have been taken off the system, but the section structure revised.

The new training section is structured in three parts,  DIY photography training where we have attempted to highlight many major areas of knowledge required and indexed in articles we have. Below this a second section that looks at different specific specialist areas of photography and how you go about this, and finally other training that you can attend or buy.

Some other existing articles will also be able to be indexed into this new structure. Over time we will now add more articles that fit into this structure, and expand the structure as we go, and we can also look at adding more projects to allow specific areas of knowledge to be gained. We will also try to cover more of the experience and training that is available for those who want to buy it, but what we would like to do is to review these.

When we added the articles on exposure we included an article route, we want to do the same with other photographic areas,  and will be revising and expanding coverage an area at a time to include these.

At the moment the best place to start is with the structure within the Training Section, but also using the topic index entries in photography and in particular photographic skills to cover the areas of most interest.

Getting out and getting practice, experimenting and then working out how to improve the result will allow you to improve far faster then any course, and its worth taking the time to run through some practical experiments to both reinforce what you think you know, and to help you to see what results are obtained. Digital photography has the major advantage of near zero running costs, but there is the tendency then to snap a lot and take few notes, taking fewer images and making a note as to how each was achieved, particularly when having an experimental day can help. Of course you don't need to write down any of the information that is contained in the image data.


The Photographers Diary

The May diary has been added to the 'Next Month' button and 'This Month' has been moved to April. Some highlights for April that are of particular interest include:-

The Easter weekend and especially Easter Monday seems to to full of unusual events around the country including The Annual World Coal Carrying Championship in Gawthorpe in Wakefield. Grown men carry 50kg bags of coal for a mile, and pant quite a bit at the end. The Bottle Kicking and Hare Pie Scramble in Hallton, Leicestershire where pies are hurled into a good natured mob of individuals who then play a rugby-like mass football game with barrels trying to get as many as possible over stream goal posts a mile a part.

On the horsey front, Easter Monday is the London Harness Horse Parade in West Sussex, where horses, ponies and donkeys take part in a parade, and on Saturday 10th April is the annual Grand National Horse race at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool. At the end of the month is the Badminton Horse Trials in Gloucestershire with 4 days of eventing, riders showing off their show-jumping, dressage skills and of the course the renowned cross-country event on the Sunday.

With spring now in full spring many of the horticultural shows are starting to wind up with the Harrogate Spring Flower Show starting on the 22nd April and the British Asparagus Festival starts on the 23rd April in Evesham, where everything Asparagus is celebrated. There is even the Great Asparagus Run in Abbey Park.

Of course the 23rd April is also the day the English celebrate St Georges Day, their patron saint and there is a St Georges Festival on the weekend of 24th and 25th at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire, with re-enactments, displays of falconry and archery and more.

The largest marathon in the UK of the year is the London Marathon and this takes place on the 25th April, and with the 25th also being World Pinhole Photography Day, perhaps this is an event where this technique could be tried out. For more details on World Pinhole Photography day see their website and find out how you might take part. For more details on Pinhole Photography and how to go about it see our Pinhole Section.


Wildlife Photography In April

With the onset of spring there are a number of days in the wildlife and natural world calendar that are marked. These include Cuckoo day which signals the arrival of the Cuckoo, different parts of the UK have various dates during April which they call Cuckoo Day. Also Swallow Day which is traditionally the 15th, this is the date swallows were first seen again after their winter break in Africa. There is also Primrose Day on the 19th of April. In the late 19th century celebrated in memory of British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, who died on this day 1881.

For the wildlife photographer this is the month when many activities start to happen. Puffins start to arrive back at their nesting sites to do their housekeeping ready for the arrival of their new offspring. Great Crested Grebes will be seen on lakes, rivers carrying out their impressive courtship displays of ballet like moves often standing on the water and offerings for the new season. Capercaillies will be strutting their stuff in their strongholds with the males trying to impress the ladies, you will need to get up early to see this though, and you may need some of our advice in the Hides and Camouflage  article as they are very weary creatures. A walk in the woodlands you may get to see the first shoots of Bluebells.


Summary of Articles Included In This Issue

Focus Show 2010 Report

Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D

Does the 3D future start tomorrow, or is it already here?

Photix  - Hector  

Flash diffuser - lambency 

Flash diffuser - lambency compared 

Fotomate sliding plate 

Animal Behaviour

Hides and camouflage

Lists Updated This Issue

Birds Species

Locations Guides Updated This Issue

Abberton Reservoir, Essex  

Abbots Hall Farm, Essex

Amazon World Zoo Park, Isle of Wight

Amazonia Strathclyde Country Park, Lanarkshire, Scotland

The Ark Open Farm, County Down, Northern Ireland

Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire

Birdworld, Farnham, Surrey

Blakeney Point, Norfolk

Caerlaverock WWT Dumfries

Castle Espie WWT, Northern Ireland

Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

Dungeness, nr Lydd, Kent

Exe Estuary, Devon  

Fair Isle, Shetland

Fetlar, Shetland

Fidra, East Lothian

Foula, Shetland

Hermaness, Shetland

Holkham National Nature Reserve, Norfolk

Isle of Noss, Shetland

Leighton Moss, Lancashire

London Wetland Centre London

National Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall

Natureland Seal Sanctuary, Skegness, Lincs 

Old Hall Marshes, Essex

Otmoor, Oxon

Ramsey Island, Pembrokeshire

Redwings Ada Cole Memorial Stables, Essex

Redwings Caldecott Rescue Centre, Norfolk

Redwings Oxhill Horse Rescue Centre, Warwickshire 

Seal Sands Yorkshire

Skokholm, Pembrokeshire

Snettisham Nature Reserve, Norfolk

South Stack, Anglesey

Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland

Sumburgh Head, Shetland

Uyea, Shetland

Vane Farm, nr Kinross, Scotland

Welney WWT Cambridgeshire

Wicken Fen, Ely, Cambridgeshire

Ynys Hir Nature Reserve, Machynlleth, Powys

 

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