Category Archives: Lessons Learned


I have always been a fan of Adobe Lightroom for its simplicity. Learning the craft before the digital era taught me to try a get it right first time as it was always difficult to manipulate later (though not impossible). Lightroom is as near to the old darkroom process as you will get for the digital age. Its a shame really as it takes the edge away as a multitude of errors can be corrected after the shot, but not all.

Now I want to look at what it can do, so I will be posting some of my efforts for your feedback.

I went to my Great Nephew William’s christening during the summer, I was happy enough with the photo but now have looked at them again. I will work on these using various effects and processing so I have comparisons. The first edit was done a saved as a preset, the idea was to look for a high key effect or very little shadowing. But after the initial processing  the post cropping to be suited to the picture, so some have light vignetting and others dark.

BeforeWilliam Before


William After


The sisters before


The sisters after


Tracey Before


Tracey after

Each of these were processed using the same preset, using Adobe Lightroom’s Spot Removal tool and tweaking the exposure, the preset works better on photos with more exposure. With the Spot Removal tool I hadn’t realised that you could in effect paint over trouble areas rather than just spotting.

Below are more images that I have tried the same process with, not all work but are interesting.

youngones-1 rose-sally-1 rose-sally2-1 rose-tom-1 thebros-1 thehuntleys-1 Tracey-1-2 william-grandma-1 william-mum-dad-1 William-Rebeeca-1 william-richard-1 William-Rose-1 William-stare-1



Taking the plunge

Its coming up for a year that I have been working on my Project 365, I haven’t been as dedicated as I was in the beginning but have learnt not to beat myself up or feel too guilty about missing days. I have found out lots though about myself and about the abyss we call the web. When I wasn’t posting pics it became a topic of conversation with people I met, wondering where the photos had gone. I have been told that families have discussions about them, others can’t wait to see whats coming next and some enjoy the macro work trying to guess what the subject is.

A lesson here is that although some days you feel no one is watching, on the internet there is always someone watching. If my work can bring a smile to a sad face or even just a smile, remind someone of a fond memory long distant or just bring a little respite in hard day then I will be happy too.

Anyway I have never been that good at self publicising, my attempts at CV’s are evidence of that. But I have been told that some of my work is very good and should be on a wall somewhere. This is where the plunge comes in, I have started to upload some of my work to an online gallery called Photos4me where my work can be purchased in a variety of formats including canvas  prints, posters, giclée prints, or acrylic sheets. I am in the process of uploading images to the site, but if there is something you want the just let me know and I will upload it.

My gallery is at

Project 365 day three hundred and forty, Jack Frost visits

It was a cold morning today, not the coldest we have had but enough that there was a blanket of frost when I got to work. I started off towards the office and was looking down at my feet when I noticed the opportunities that I was treading on. I took quite a few but my hands were shaking that quite a few shots showed camera shake when I zoomed in on them. It maybe time to put the tripod in the boot of the car as well, it may slow you up but at least the quantity of quality pics will increase. What I love about this shot is the detail in the ice crystals, there are some that have caught the first rays of sunlight and started to melt, pooling into droplets on the edge of the Oak leaf.
frost covered oak leaf

Project 365 day three hundred and thirty, the small things in life

The small things or details in life might not seem that important but the saying “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” and telling your other half you love them often go a long way to keeping the road ahead smooth and carefree. I took loads of photos for the day but forget the basics of any craft trade, make sure your tools are fit for purpose. When I got home and started to process the images there was a common theme across them all, a blurred area in the same place on all photos. Initially I thought it could be condensation from where my equipment had been in the car and taken in doors, but checking my lens I found a couple of smudged fingerprints from a small person. I confronted the Hobbits at the bottom of the garden but they swore blind it wasn’t them, so that only left the kids.

Now this is probably my own fault as I like to encourage them as much as possible with taking pictures and interest in what is around them. For now, I will have to check the equipment over each day before using it just to make sure the Hobbits haven’t spilt crumbs from third breakfast.

So todays photo is a smudged and out of focus. Better luck tomorrow, after a good cleaning.

Project 365 day three hundred and twenty three, fun guy

It’s been a while and I apologise, the blog has over 100 days for this years project 365. While I have taken photos over the past few months it was only when I thought I had broken my camera that I really missed it. I have been following other blogs and enjoy seeing the progress they have made.

The story of the broken camera came about when in London last week and the auto focus packed in. The camera worked ok in full manual mode, but not in any auto modes. Typically the extended warranty I purchased withnthe camera ran outthe month before :(. After some research I had suggestions from sending it away for repair to buy a new one. Then I stumbled on thread that said they ha taken the battery out and recharged it. I had only charged the batteries the previous evening, so I removed add on battery pack that screws onto the bottom and holds two batteries, put in my original Canon battery and replaced the cover. Hey presto and to my relief its all working again. I tried the other non canon battery and that worked ok too, but when both when put in the battery pack the autofocus stopped. I recharged both batteries which didn’t take very long as they had both recharged the night before going to London and I had only about 50 pictures enforce this had happened. After recharging they both work in the battery pack ok? So I am no closer to what the problem is but do have camera back in my life.

Today’s photo was taken out the front of Tonbridge Castle, they poke out from under the carpet of pine tree needles that cover the ground, funnily enough under the pine trees. I have no idea what type of fungi they are but do make net resting subjects.

Fungi out the front of Tonbridge Castle
Fungi out the front of Tonbridge Castle

Project 365 day one hundred and forty nine, new look

trying out the Canon 50mm F/1.8 MKII prime lense
trying out the Canon 50mm F/1.8 MKII prime lens

I have come to the conclusion that my Sigma 105mm is not practical in confined spaces. Although it has awesome optics and pics are great you have to stand so far away for a full length portrait it makes it awkward. So I have been using my Sigma 28-70mm at 50mm which is ok, but at 50mm only goes down to about F3.5/4 also the pictures tend to be soft.

A friend has kindly lent me their Canon 50mm MKII prime so I can test it out before buying if I like it. When they handed me the lens I was shocked at the build quality, which unusual for Canon felt plastic and cheap. Having a plastic case does have one advantage, it’s very light, so light in fact you will probably forget you have it mounted. When I started to use it I found the focusing motor very noisy especially when hunting for focus and it does hunts a lot.

But the image quality is what really counts isn’t it? The image quality seems to be top rate and very crisp. In this photo of Jack I had to contend with the scarf he is holding and his hair so that I could focus on his eyes. With the shallow depth of field at F/1.8 focus is critical I was happy with this shot. Although you can’t see in this shot the lens does produce a nice Bokeh effect which people seem to fall in love with. Brand new you can pick one up for under £100, the lens does hold its price well and on eBay expect to pay about £80.

I’m thinking it maybe an excellent lens to have in the bag when space for shooting is tight, but be careful as due to its build it does not feel to solid. Congratulations must go to Canon for this kit lens as they have produced a masterpiece of engineering that will show off their Digital EOS range at a very affordable price.

I have the lens for a few more days yet so I will put it through its paces and see how I get on.

YouTube – steeletraining’s Channel

I am looking for wireless system to remote trigger a flash, it is something I could have done with on several occasions. At the moment I have a 1m off camera cable, but because the twist is so tight I struggle to get it more than 20cm away.

You need to have a transmitter and receiver, I found the PocketWizard @ £300, the CyberSync @ £160 or the Yongnuo RF-602 Flash Trigger @ £30.

A review can be found on YouTube by via steeletraining’s Channel.

I’m gonna order one and try it as I would only use it occasionally.