My friend and I had been out for a walk, and whilst he returned to the car I took a slight detour for a potential photo (turned out not to be worth taking), but I came back to find nice lighting on his face and quickly grabbed this shot.
Maybe it was due to the book I'd been reading, but his hat, scarf and focused gaze brought to mind a private investigator, hence the title.
Processing was simple: converting to mono was a natural choice, there were over-exposed remnants of the car door to remove, then it was simply increasing clarity and cropping to complete the image.
Sometimes it can be a long time between photographic capture and realisation of an image. This one began life back in 2012, whilst out walking along by a lake that had flooded and caused a swamp-like area amongst some trees, but it was a couple of years later before the image emerged.
I use a collection in Lightroom to keep photos with potential but that are not yet completed images (for whatever reason), every so often I look through what it contains to see if inspiration bites. This one sat there for a while until I figured it out, but was worth the wait.
To see how I gradually tweaked an initial shot which many might reject, and used the versatility of both layer blend modes and adjustment layers to arrive at the final image, keep reading.
This photo was taken whilst being driven along the A3055 on the only sunny day of a trip last November to the Isle of Wight. My D750 and 24-140 F/4 lens were both new at that point, and I was seeing how well they worked.
With the camera set to Aperture priority at f/8, ISO 400, I spotted the potential and waited a brief moment to allow the cyclist to reach the right position before trusting the vibration reduction and auto-focus, and they didn't let me down.
Whilst the camera succesfully captured the moment, post-processing was required to reproduce the image above. If you're interesting in seeing the steps I took, read on.
Spirits in the Woods is a panel of manipulated photos I originally put together eight years ago, when I entered my first annual exhibition organised by Croydon Camera Club.
Not having entered the exhibition for several years, due to various reasons, but with this year being the 125th anniversary of the club, I made the effort to enter the Photo 2015 exhibition with a re-imagining of that panel.
View the Panel It's the same theme and ideas, reworked into four images, and created from photos I specifically went out and took for the panel. This was a first for me - generally I'll go to take photos of whatever I might find, occasionally with vague notions, but without a clear intent/goal. My previous panels were all put together independent of the shooting stage.
Having set myself the aim of re-creating the panel, I made notes on what that meant; what I wanted in it. I then decided on a location I hoped would provide the necessary scenes, waited for appropriate weather, then went out solely to get the shots for the panel.
Note: This write-up was made over six months ago - the exhibition ended on 28th March - but circumstances have prevented the article from being finalised and put online before now.
Exhibition aside, it was a good experience and I'm glad I did it. If you're interested in details you can continue on to the full article for a write-up.
At the weekend I went to the Folkestone Airshow, being held to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - the first in the area since the last Shepway Airshow held in 2003.
After an overcast start to they day, fortunately the sun came out and the sky cleared enough to make for some photographic opportunities by the time the planes turned up.
The photos were taken using a Sigma 70-300mm - a cheap lens with slow and noisy auto-focus - and I was uncertain how well it would perform, but I knew I wouldn't get the necessary reach with my standard 18-70mm, so I gave it a try.
As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised. Whilst I did have issues with the lens, I was still able to get some shots I was happy with.
Below is a selection of images, with more being available in the gallery.
(The Red Arrows started the display with seven planes, and unfortunately Red 6 had technical problems, further reducing the display to five - but they still put on a good show.)
It's been far too long since I last posted anything, so I'll kick-off what I hope will be the start of more frequent posting with a couple of photos taken down on the UK's south east coast last month, immediately after some incredibly stormy weather.
The winds were still very strong and the evening sky nice and atmospheric, allowing me to create these two images:
The exhibition ended last night, and it was a good show this year, with a lot of excellent photos on display.
I did reasonably well - whilst I didn't win any of the trophies, two of my images received certificates of merit, plus I received a panel certificate for my "Elemental Views" panel.
This was a set of extra-wide landscapes with ratios between 4:1 and 8:1 - showing that it is not necessary to stick to the 4:3 or 3:2 standard that comes out of the camera, and photographers should instead consider what shape suits the image best.
Both my print panel and digital set of images are now available to view online:
This coming Monday 9th March, I will be exhibiting a panel of photographs at my Camera Club's annual exhibition, Photo 2009, to be held at the Fairfield Hall in Croydon.
In total there will be more than 150 mounted prints, plus over a hundred slides and digital projected images. These latter two will be displayed when the Exhibition is officially opened by Damian Demolder (Editor of Amateur Photographer), at 20:00 on Monday the 9th.
The prints will be available to look at all week long, at any time that Fairfield Hall is open - starting on the morning of Monday 9th and running until the evening of Saturday 14th.
The exhibition and opening event are both free to attend, and with Croydon Camera Club regarded as one of the best clubs in the region, there are sure to be some excellent pictures on display.
Anyone remotely interested is strongly encouraged to visit.
View the full article for a sneak preview.
Update: For the full panels see my post Elemental Views & Stormy Weather.