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Category: Photography

100 Portrait Photos

I love my photography. Although I enjoy making close-up and landscape images what fascinates me most are portraits of people. I’d like to concentrate on this kind of photography from now on so, as an ice breaker, I have set myself the goal of photographing one hundred different people by the end of 2013. Starting on 26th May that gives me just over seven months. All the successful portraits will appear on this page. There should be 100 by Christmas!

Seton Collegiate Church

DSC_8031A Historic Scotland Property.

Good For

Learning about the history of the area – battle of Preston Pans is not far away. Also good to stop on the way past. Could form part of a walk up from the coast.

Not So Good For

A day out. There isn’t that much there. Although it is a lovely spot there is the noise from the motorway, A road and railway. The day we were there there were people on trials bike in the field next door.

Nikon D80 Spotty Sensor

A couple of weeks ago I got my gorgeous Micro-Nikkor 55mm f2.8 serviced so that the diaphragm works again. A.J.Johnstone in Glasgow did a really nice service. I used to use this lens a lot for plant portrait work on Fuji Velvia. Some people say that 55mm is too short for macro work but for plants I prefer it a bit wider. My intention was to use it on my Nikon D80 which is a DX sensor so it would be 82.5mm which is just about perfect.

Here is one of my first shots of the inside of a tupil. It is actually a crop of the whole shot. If you look at it closely (click it to enlarge) you will see the pores on the stigma. But if you look too  closely you will see those pores spread onto the petals as well – which is odd.


It appears worse in shots with plain backgrounds. It must be sensor dust right. So I set about cleaning the sensor.

Mindful Portrait Photography – A Manifesto

FaithI would like to reconnect with my photography but I would like to do it in a way that is informed by my Buddhist practice and that becomes part of that practice. This topic has been in the back of my mind for some time but has now crystallized into this manifesto for action. A manifesto that I hope will also be of  value to non-Buddhist photographers looking for direction.

Key to my practice is the notion of Right View or “inter-being” as it is formulated by Zen teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh. We inter-are with each other and everything else; from the most distant star to the flea on the cat. Suffering is born of denying this truth. Joy comes from embracing it.

It seems easy to accept we are made of star dust but tough to admit our deep dependency on other humans. This lack of acceptance leads to the creation of barriers,  stereotyping,  prejudice and eventually violence. If we are to use our camera as a tool for positive change then it appears obvious we should use it to dissolve these barriers and that this should involve portraying others. This has potential both in the act of photographing and in the viewing of the photograph itself. Hence this manifesto is about Portraiture rather than any other form of photography.

DIY Book Scanner: Learn By Doing

Simple Scanner
Almost Free Scanner

In the last weekend of the Christmas break I was sat in Starbucks in Waterstones in Edinburgh considering which of a stack of potential books I was going to spend my Christmas book tokens on. I had just been playing with a Sony eBook reader and so was thinking maybe I should take the plunge and go digital with books as well as the rest of my life.

I wondered what I would do with my existing books. It would be nice to be able search through these and have them all with me when I travel. There would be issues with copyright if I were to copy them but there would also be technical problems. How would I get them in EPUB or PDF format? I did some Googling and came across a great site There are some really innovative designs on this site and it got my obsessive thoughts going. There were two problems.

  • I only had 48 hours to play before going back to work and my wife and kids wanted some of that time.
  • I didn’t have a workshop. Just a desk and some simple tools.

Could I produce a scanner in that time? Would it work?

KAP – Another photographic box ticked

Cwm yr Eglwys - Wind too strong.

You may not have heard of it but Kite Aerial Photography is quite a widespread hobby. It involves strapping a camera to a kite and flying it over something interesting. The camera can be fired remotely or just on a timer. Serious people build complex radio control rigs to move the camera around and point it in different directions.

Doing silly things with cameras appeals to me so, when I realized that my older compact digital camera (a Nikon Coolpix S1) had a feature to fire a shot every 30 seconds, I just had to give it a go. I built a rig using the Picavet suspension system. Bought a large kite for £30 and took it on holiday to West Wales. The result was terrifying!