Category Archives: murphyz
It’s with a heavy heart that I’m writing this, as it’s going to be my last regular update in what has been – up until now – my daily photoblog.
Too much work has been put into this for the past two years, and other aspects of my life have suffered because of it; that along with the fact this site isn’t where I imagined it would be two years down the line then I have to question if my approach is right and if the hard work is worth it.
I’ve tried to improve as a photographer throughout the time I’ve been doing it, but I still see talentless hacks posting a few crappy images of their daily lives and getting thousands of hits on their work, and so there is no room for someone like me to compete in that environment.
It’s a pity this decision has come so close to my finally understanding the algorithm that Flickr use to make explore, as I’ve had a great success in getting my images into there of late. Unfortunately the majority of people who look at those images are those who simply want you to look at their work in return, and not true photographers who simply appreciate me without wanting anything in return.
I’m happy to share the algorithm with anyone who needs it, but as I’m making zero cash doing what I love, the instructions for making explore will be given out at $50 each.
Back to this image; I was bored and contemplative so sat in my flat how I always do when like that – in a hoodie with a bottle of whisky.
I thought it would be fun to try a little flash work of my pouring another shot. I was wrong, it was not fun at all.
I couldn’t even hit the glass.
Well, that time has finally come.
It’s taken a while, but we are finally here.
It’s been non-stop, and it’s been tough at times, yet somehow it has come to this point.
I’ve now been posting photos every weekday for 2 years straight.
I don’t fly, but time sure does.
See you tomorrow.
When I rented the 14mm glass last year it was for a trip to Iceland. It arrived the day before I left, and was returned the day after I got back, so though I knew it was a pretty awesome lens from the times I used it in Iceland I never had the chance to take it out and about in London.
This week I bought it though, so now I have it at my disposal on every trip I take…and so last night I got to play around with it on the London Underground. It’s a lovely lens, and here’s a self portrait of me sitting in an empty tube carriage. If you look closely you’ll see the new lens on my camera….or not.
I’m looking forward to getting a lot of use out of it.
Well, we’re finally here. The last day of 2012 is now upon us, and what a year this has been.
As well as being the busiest year of my working career, it’s also the busiest year as far as travel goes. I’ve never had much of a travel bug, but as well as a few stints to various parts of the UK I have been off to places such as Prague, Gothenburg, Washington D.C, New York, Seattle, Toronto as well as trips to Austria and Iceland.
This year I’ve passed the 500th post on this blog, maintaining my one post every weekday without fail, and had my images featured in both a magazine and an exhibition, plus I’ve started to make sales on Getty images plus have sold in a shop. I’ve also taken down first prize in a photography contest which is why I’ve added the Sony NEX-7 to my camera bag.
Speaking of gear, I made the leap to full frame with the Canon 5D Mark II and have had the pleasure of becoming the owner of some great products from F-Stop, 3 Legged Thing and Promote Systems.
Of course with all of this I’ve met some great people as well, making new friends as well as reshooting with those already known. there are too many people to mention here…though I imagine that it’s a list of around 40 people.
At the end of 2011 I wrote a list of things I wanted to do within 2012. These were:
A new camera – done (x2)
Share more of my workflow – I haven’t been great at this; I did one video at the start of the year and another at the end.
Participate more socially (sharing, visiting other photographer sites) – I have been quite poor with this, but that ties in with the busy working year I guess. Plus my perpetual laziness.
Sell something – I’ve managed to do this, and a passive income is great. I do need to do more on this however.
I’m not going to write another list for the next year, but feel my photography is certainly heading in the right direction.
I want to thank everyone for following my work throughout this year, for commenting on and sharing my stuff, and also for inspiring me.
Here are a few of my personal highlights for this year:
A Tale of Two Cities
Boating in Central Park
Force of Nature
A Pyramid Scene
Star Trails over Austrian Church
Toronto Skyline at Sunset
Waiting to be Rescued
I haven’t posted a hoodie shot for a little while so thought I would process one last night – et voila!
This was taken on Dungeness beach on the South East coast. It was a pretty hot day, but I decided to carry the hoodie around in case the opportunity arose to take a few shots with it – and this location where there are several old and decaying boats seemed like the perfect match.
I processing I used a few of the Nik Color Efex filters such as pro and tonal contrast, swiftly followed by using the OnOneSoftware suite where I added a Brandon filter in Perfect Effects, a muted colour conversion in Perfect B&W (I forget which filter it was), and then added a little blur using Focal Point. I also left a lot of the noise in to add to the grungy look of the image.
Boy did I cringe writing that title.
I thought I would end the week with a fun image which I took earlier on this year. I only had my 500d and fisheye in the office so grabbed these after a few drinks in the local and headed upwards to get a view of the city from a pretty darn low angle.
It’s hard to stand still for 30 seconds on a windy night, but I think it didn’t come out too bad and dig the clouds rolling over me in the background.
I also thought I would end the week with the makings of a cold. I have a bit of a headache and can feel that something is attacking me; and as usual it ties in nicely with work trips coming up next week which really does suck. I often get a cold in the lead up to work travel…and have no idea why. I think the stress leading up to such things does something to my body.
Have a good weekend all.
All of the ski lifts that I could see while in Austria have little signs on the masts, but unfortunately I couldn’t read the local language so didn’t know what they said. Ahem.
Logically, I thought, they would simply make sure the ladder doesn’t extend down to a reachable distance if they didn’t want anyone to climb them; therefore, up I went.
These things look like they would be pretty solid but were actually quite shaky structures when stood at the top; I left my camera down in the pitch black field and used my remote trigger to set of the exposure which lasted for 30 seconds.
Here’s the image John took while I was setting up for this shot, but just before I donned the hoodie and climbed the mast: Milky Way
Hope everyone has a lovely weekend
Sometimes you have to go against the grain, especially true for a photographer.
I think all of my readers know that I like a little spot of urban exploration, and that involves going into buildings and locations where a little sign tells you not to go, and where society mostly complies.
Yet you face these signs every day at normal locations; sometimes at a cliff edge where it is deemed unsafe to go further, other times in a park where you may trample on the grass. The question is, should you ignore those signs and proceed anyway?
It’s really down to the individual. Some people are comfortable stepping over that barrier, others are not. I think when you are on the scene you need to determine for yourself whether or not you are in danger for doing so, weighing up likely risks of your actions. Also, will the payoff be worth it? There’s no point in doing it just to be defiant, there needs to be a reward at the end of it.
I won’t often see a sign and comply immediately. I need to understand why it’s there, and what’s on the other side.
For this image there was nothing to be gained by climbing this particular wall, but I thought it would make a fun shot
Have a lovely weekend everyone.
London’s Southbank is a very popular spot. It’s a great stretch of the Thames to walk down, starting from Westminster Bridge where you can see the Houses of Parliament and ‘Big Ben’ you pass the London Eye (lit up in blue here), the Royal Festival Hall, the BFI, the National Theatre and eventually hit the OXO tower. Just behind Waterloo bridge, the main bridge featured in this image and my favourite in London for the night time view, you also have the IMAX and Waterloo Station.
Over on the very left of the image you also see a silhouette of King’s Reach Tower which my regular readers will be familiar with as one of my favourite rooftops and views of London, which is where I had been on this particular night to watch a firework show (unfortunately followed by being escorted off the premises by the boys in blue and no return journeys since).
So anyway, this is me stood on the edge as usual, the fisheye in use to get the distortion.
I thought I would do a mini review of the Black Rapid RS-4 Camera Strap. I’ve had it for a while now, probably about a year and a half, and have had a love-hate relationship with it. Actually, that should be a hate-love relationship to be truthful.
Image from blackrapid.com
I started to use the strap on my Canon 500d where my usual lens was a Sigma 10-20mm. The strap and I did not get along very well together in that instance. Sure, it was easy to use, made carrying the camera convenient and I could pull it up to eye level with ease to start taking photos. However, the way the camera sat meant the back of the camera kept knocking against my body and 8 times out of 10 this resulted in my losing the eye cup from the back of the camera. It wasn’t too many outings before I had spent the same amount of money on replacement eyecups as the strap itself (around £50), and in the end I had to resort to either not using an eyecup or not using the strap. It was frustrating to say the least, but with the clarity of hindsight I blame the camera more than the strap on this downfall.
Me wearing the Black Rapid Strap
When I switched to the Canon 5d Mark II earlier this year my opinions on the strap changed. With the bigger, heavier camera and my default glass now being the 24-70mm the strap seemed to hold the camera a lot better. Gone were the eyecup issues as the new camera was better built, and I started to love the strap more and more. On trips where I’m walking around all day and know I won’t need a tripod and such I will happily just carry the camera using this strap and not bother with a bag. You can see a zipped section on the image above, and this handily fits in a replacement battery and memory card.
It’s sturdy, very quick and easy to use and it now comes with me on most trips.
Due to the way the strap is designed, it hooks onto the bottom of the camera either with the FastenR which screws into the tripod mount section of the camera, or – as is the case with me – straight onto the RC-2 plate which I always leave in place on the camera itself. This unfortunately means that you need to remove the strap when you are wishing to place the camera onto a tripod – as some of you will know, this was my downfall…
Back at the start of the year the strap was carrying my brand new 5d Mark II (36 hours old) and 24-70mm glass, so about £2,500 worth of gear. I had no fear of the strap giving way and letting my precious fall to the floor due to the sturdy design and quality manufacturing. Alas, there was a momentary window of non protection where I took the camera off the strap to place on the tripod – and this is when it fell from around chest level, landing (luckily) at my feet while 47 floors high. Strap – Good. Tripod – Good. Transition between the two in windy conditions after a few beers – Bad.
I haven’t yet thought of a suitable solution for having the camera hang in a balanced position and somehow having the strap still attached to the camera for that moment where I need to transfer it from the strap to the tripod to avoid such a scenario happening again. However, I would say that this was human error rather than the fault of the strap.
I’ve put the strap through it’s paces over the past 18 months and find it very durable. It’s been used on some Urbex trips to help people climb up walls, it’s been wrapped around cranes at high levels in windy conditions to keep the camera as still and safe as possible while taking long exposures, and so far it’s lived up well to all of this.
The only thing I’ve managed to break on the strap is the ConnectR-2 hook.
I decided to hook this onto various things and test it by putting a lot of pressure on it, such as this:
Yes, it’s being misused as the ConnectR is only hooked onto metal rather than it being completely threaded through and then the locking barrel put into place. I did a few of these scenarios adding a lot of body weight to it and, eventually, the hook gave way…
I was still able to use the strap with the broken ConnectR, though I wouldn’t recommend doing this if you are on an active jaunt. I did scramble up a few cliffs in this condition and it was okay, but with a lot of movement and a little bad luck you could see the camera coming out of it and tumbling to the ground – which is why you need a fully working ConnectR and to lock it with the barrel to keep it safe. You can buy a replacement ConnectR though so you don’t need to replace the whole strap should you manage to break it.
All in all I find the strap easy to use, comfortable and very well made. I would happily recommend it to anyone who is carrying their gear around on a daily basis.
Before going to Iceland there were 4 or 5 locations that I had found on the interwebs where I wanted to go; the remains of this plane crash was one of them. I managed to find the plane on Google Maps so that we had a rough idea where it was in relation to the road we were driving on, and on our first full day there we parked up and hiked out to it.
There is probably an easier way that the way we went, I’m not sure. It did involve us walking for quite some time over rough terrain, getting dive-bombed by birds who must have thought we were too close to their nest, and also we ended up walking through a river.
Eventually we arrived at our destination (unlike the plane).
As well as taking the usual shots of the plane from different angles I decided put together this scene – hope you like it s much as I do.
It’s not by design that Fridays appear to feature an image with my hooded character, but I quiet like that it has been this case recently (though this will not continue for long as I haven’t been wearing it too much lately).
I feel this is an appropriate image for for New York, what with people rushing around you and seemingly nobody stopping to take it all in. I think I need to do a shot like this with people rushing on either side of the solitary figure.
Have a great weekend all.
This location, within a disused tool manufacturers in the north of England, was very dark indeed, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much light was in this image in the end. I felt the image was a little sinister, which led me to the title of today’s post.
Tomorrow morning I fly out to Washington D.C. for work; I’m hoping to be able to sample a few of the sights when there with the camera, though if San Francisco was anything to go by I will likely not get too much of a chance out there. I follow this by going up to New York on the Thursday where I’ll spend the weekend. It’s the first proper weekend off I will have had in a long time, and I’m looking forward to simply walking the streets with camera in hand and seeing the city for the first time. If any of my photog followers are in NYC, hook me up on Twitter and we can grab a few shots…and a few beers.
Have a good weekend all
Friday. Again. Already.
Not to mention we’re about to hit May!
Today’s image was taken in an abandoned bank in central London where I also took The Vault image. Pretty much everything had been removed from this location, but the room I like to think of as the ‘control room’ where it appears the telephone switchboard was had these three missing clocks indicating time in New York, London and Paris.
This weekend will see me hopefully signing for the new flat and packing, but not before John and I hit an open bar at the Natural History Museum tonight.
Many of you will remember that I was spending a lot of time at the start of March walking around London at stupid hours of the day trying to take photos of all of the eggs in the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt.
I spent many, many hours doing so and uploading the eggs online along with helping other people to find the eggs, much like I did with the elephants a few years ago.
Unlike with the elephants there was a photo contest for this event being held by the World Photography Organisation, and so I decided to enter a few of my egg images in there.
I’m pleased to say that one of my images, shown above, won the contest. Hurrah! I must say that this was not the egg shot I thought would win, and certainly not my favourite shot, and for such a fun and upbeat event this image, for me, looks a little gloomy. Not that I care that much of course
Regular readers may remember that I won the St Paul’s Catherdral contest last year, which was also a great honour. I feel the prize for this one, a Sony NEX-7K camera, is slightly more relevant to me than the vase for that contest is. My winning image will also be exhibited at Somerset House during this year’s World Photo London; which kicks off with the World Photography Festival – I went to that last year and it was good fun, so do head down there if you get the chance.
You can view the announcement of my win on the World Photo site here: http://www.worldphoto.org/news-and-events/the-big-egg-hunt-winners-announced
This bridge was taken at Orford Ness during a trip there towards the end of last year. It’s been a while since I looked through that set of images but when I was looking for something to process last night this one jumped out at me.
Though we took a boat out to there it isn’t an island, as you can walk the stretch of land all of the way around it, it’s just a lot quicker by boat. Saying that, the title of this post is more to do with what follows than the image itself.
As mentioned briefly last week, No Briton Is An Island is an exhibit put on by The Photographic Angle.
I have 10 images of London that are going to be displayed, however due to the size restrictions of each of the galleries I actually have no idea at this time how many of the pieces will be viewable at each location. I hope to be able to get to the London one at least.
If you’re able to get along to any of the venues please do keep an eye out for my work
If my poor tracking of days is actually correct, then today is Monday and I have a final busy week at work before things calm down a little. Next weekend I’m looking forward to relaxing, getting out with my camera and, as influenced by the title of today’s post, looking for somewhere to live.
I need to leave my lovely little flat and my ten minute walk through the park to work and find elsewhere to call my home. I guess I need to establish what my priorities are, location, size, cost, living alone etc and then crack on with looking for somewhere. If any of my readers just happen to be owners of a London property with a skyline view and which isn’t being used, then now is the time to speak up
There may be another exciting piece of news incoming also, but more on that a little further down the line.
Another shot from a now familiar location, the Greenwich foot tunnel. It was nice to go down here on Sunday night, not only because it was pretty quiet at that time which allowed us to take time in setting up a few shots, but also because it offered a bit of warmth from the chilly wind outside.
For this image I put the camera onto a 10 second countdown and stood with my flashlight shining at it to get the starburst light effect.
Processing was minimal, I just turned to Black and White and followed this with a liittle slight touch of colour, but not much.
During my trip to Scotland last year there was one spot we arrived at where we wanted to find and look at some old wall engravings; and there was a geocache or two in the area that I wanted to try and pick off.
On our way to find get things we found ourselves on this nice large rock that was hanging over a river, so I took the opportunity to set up the tripod, a little precariously, on the edge and take a seat for a selfie.
This appears to be a popular spot for people to go to, as many people have made engravings of their own into this rock and which you can see when looking closely.
Friday at last, again! I hope everyone has a great weekend.
Thought I would do something a little fun for today’s post and attempted to take one of my hoodie shots with the eyes visible behind a pair of glasses.
I’m not sure it turned out exactly as I had imagined it would, but I think I quite like it anyway. I set up the camera on my tripod with a flash mounted to my left at around 10 o’clock. The focus was done via a shutter release with the lights in the room on, and then I flicked it into manual focus, turned off the lights and took the shot.
I hope everyone has had a good week, enjoy the weekend.
The HMS Liverpool was recently docked in the Canary Wharf area for a day and were kind enough to let the general public aboard to take a look around the top deck and check out a few missiles and such. I popped along with John who has a boat fetish and seems to know the ins and outs of them, which comes in handy if I have any questions as I can just point to something he’ll be able to indicate what it’s for. I’ve no idea if he speaks the truth of course, but if there’s one thing I like better than learning stuff about boats it’s sure to be learning lies about boats.
Towards the back of this battle ship someone had parked a helicopter, though with it’s tail hanging over the edge of the ship I’m not too sure if it was really meant to be where it was. It did have a nice big gun on it though, and so I popped up onto the seat to place myself behind it and get this shot with my hoodie character.
Here we are. It’s been a year now and I have uploaded a new blog post every weekday without fail, and a few on the weekends too. Come public holidays, vacations, illness or a hangover the posts have been going up daily and I’ve managed to maintain a level of passion for this wonderful hobby that I feared may not last, and which has no signs of slowing down.
Whether it’s happy birthday or happy anniversary I don’t know, but I’m thankful for everyone who has stuck with me along the way and given me the motivation to continue to post my images and work hard to try and get unique shots. This one’s for you, and for the year ahead.
To celebrate this occasion it was suggested by @foolhandy and @andthesewalls that I post my top ten images and have you lovely readers vote on which of them is your personal favorite. Finding 10 is a tough task, and my recent New Year run down was only made easier because I had to choose one from each month of the year, which is not the case here.
So below you will find 10 images which I either class as my favourite or which mean something to me for one reason or the other, and I would appreciate it if you could take a moment to look through them and then vote for your personal favourite using the polls –
I’ve placed the poll before and after the images for convenience, but you can only vote once I’ve removed the bottom poll as it doesn’t appear to work too well. Thanks again for all of your support, and have a great weekend.
Which is your favourite photo?
- 3. The Day The Music Died (36%, 12 Votes)
- 10. Shard Sunrise (15%, 5 Votes)
- 4. Cell 3 (12%, 4 Votes)
- 8. Alone (12%, 4 Votes)
- 6. St Paul’s – World AIDS Day (12%, 4 Votes)
- 5. London's Burning (6%, 2 Votes)
- 2. Staircase (3%, 1 Votes)
- 9. The Bridge to St Paul’s (3%, 1 Votes)
- 1. Inferno (Dante) (0%, 0 Votes)
- 7. Double Tap (1%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 33
1. Inferno (Dante) – One of my earliest and most successful attempts at spinning wire wool.
2. Staircase – My favourite black and white shot.
3. The Day The Music Died – An image which turned out far better than I had conceived when composing the shot.
4. Cell 3 – The one shot I wanted from this urbex location, and I was pleased with it when I got it.
5. London’s Burning – Revisiting this popular spot after learning a lot more about HDR made it clear to me how I had improved.
6. St Paul’s – World AIDS Day – This shot won me 1st place in the competition held by St Paul’s Cathedral.
7. Double Tap – One of the rare shots that turn out exactly as I had conceived when setting it up.
8. Alone – This location in the far north of Scotland was awesome, and had me running barefoot through the sea to get several shots.
9. The Bridge to St Paul’s – One of the first images where I appreciated how much other people enjoy my work.
10. Shard Sunrise – My favourite view from my favourite location during a great sunrise.
Friday at last, and what a long week this has been!
Here’s a quick shot of myself, or the hoodie character if you prefer, as I’m descending in a 1930′s lift. Looking at the shot through the eyes of tonemapping, tonal contrast and a few other filters it also appears to have not been cleaned since 1930.
I hope everyone has a great weekend lined up; mine will be pretty chilled – hopefully a bit of photography will be thrown in there. See you on Monday.
I’m not one for New Year resolutions. I have tried them in the past and never stuck with them…and as far as I’m concerned I have a long list of things I want to do, and places I want to be and when the real motivation is there for me to do them, they’ll get done.
I do, however, have a list of things that I want to aim towards in order to take a further step with my photography, and it’s a list I’ve had for a while now but haven’t really done much with. A few are hopefully going to progress in the following year, but I’m not going to hold myself to them and if they don’t happen then so be it, I will not beat myself up about it.
So, here’s a quick look at a few things I wish to do in the near future, a few words to those who read this blog, and also a look back at some of my favourite shots over the past year.
New camera. I wish to take the leap into full frame and will hopefully do that very shortly. I’m awaiting the outcome of something else to see if I have the available funds, and then I’ll likely jump right in there and buy the Canon 5d Mark II. My only real stumbling block is whether or not to hold off for the announcement of the 5d Mark III which will likely be in the around the end of Q1/start of Q2 of 2012. Knowing me, though, I’ll just buy the Mark II and consider an upgrade if it’s worth it and if the price is right when the next model is released.
Sharing. I wish to share a little more about my workflow and how I produce a final image and I guess the best way to do so would be via a few videos that look at my processing an image from the camera through to release. I think this would also be an opportunity to get feedback from others on how they work differently to myself, and that would be very beneficial. Along with I’ll like to add a page with software reviews and links to discounts. I’m starting to get more and more people emailing me with questions on how I do something and taking the time to build this resource will save me time in the future, and help more people.
Participate. I’m the first to admit that I fail quite hard on this in comparison to others who tweet, comment and promote other photographers a lot more than I do. I would like to start spreading the love a little more.
Sell something. Photography is pretty consuming, and pretty expensive. I’ve recently been given an opportunity to get some of my work out there and start selling it, and I look forward to delving into this and hopefully making a little cash to pay for all of the hardware and software I use.
That’s it. Nothing too major, but steps towards doing something a little more than I am already and which I feel will be beneficial.
A few words:
I really just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has dropped by and supported me throughout this year. Whether you leave a comment here or on one of the photo sharing sites, whether you tweet or like my work, whether you email me or link to my posts, it’s all appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed. I don’t think I would be able to keep up a daily post if it wasn’t for those who appreciate them, so thanks very much for providing me with the motivation to do so, and helping me to try and raise my standards so that what I do post is of quality. I’m looking forward to continuing to share my work with you in 2012, and growing as a photographer.
A few favourites:
I’ve published about 237 shots on this blog since February of this year, and I have a lot of favourites within there, so much so that it is difficult to pick a top 5, 10 or 20. So I don’t bore you with all of the re-runs, here’s a simple way for me to do it. What follows is one image from each month, 11 in total as I started this photoblog back in February. Sure, there are some months that may have a few of my favourite shots, but I think it’s fair to split it this way.
February – Misty Morning
March – The Day The Music Died
April – Stairways & Shadows
May – I Dreamt I Was Batman
June – London’s Burning
July – At Night I Stand Watching
August – Lone Tree
September – Head in the Clouds
October – Shard Sunrise
November – Ascend
December – Birdwatch
This weekend I went to Essex to visit some friends and decided only at the last minute to throw my camera in my bag along with a couple of lenses and the flash – I had no real intention of taking any photos, but then decided it would be better to have and not want, than want and not have.
On the Saturday we went for a walk around a woodland walk, and so I decided to take the camera, just with the BlackRapid strap and 50mm glass. It was a lovely walk enjoyed by both kids and adults, and here’s a toadstool that we found towards the end.
The highlight of the trip was my, unfortunately unfilmed, recreation of ‘Fenton‘ with myself playing the dog and the deer being replaced by a gaggle of geese. Much fun.