Featured: 'Hi! An Irish Dilettante living in the PNW' by Leigh

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Leigh, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. Leigh

    Leigh Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Jan 17, 2015
    Squamish, BC
    Hi Everyone!

    Got into photography a few years ago when I moved from Ireland to a town called Squamish in Canada. Back then I was really just taking snapshots to share with family back home.

    I go on a lot of trips into the mountains so I wanted to take better photos. I first upgraded to a DSLR but, as I started learning to climb and ski it became too bulky and heavy for convenient use, the transition to MILC was natural as it's lighter and more compact without sacrificing too much IQ.

    I first bought a GX1 in 2012 and used that up until a few months ago when I invested in a E-M1 and 12-40 Pro. I started doing a lot of research about getting more lenses second hand and came across this site.

    Some of the images on here are stunning and I really want to learn how I can get the most out of my equipment and also how to not overcook the images in Post. I'm realizing I'm doing that a lot.

    I have a flickr but don't really use it. I do some freelance writing and blogging so my photography is usually used in conjunction with that.

    You can see my blog and photos here:
    pebbleshoo.com

    Here are some of my shots, mostly shot with the GX1 apart from the last which was shot with the E-M1:

    P1080005-2-1024x769.

    P1110444-2-1024x769.

    P1150820-2-1024x769.

    P1160328-2-1024x769.

    P1010330-2-1024x768.

    I'm Irish so I have a thick skin. I love constructive criticism. I'm fine with someone saying "your composition and PP is horrible, but, here's how you can be better..."

    Looking forward to posting here and learning from the wealth of knowledge and experience in this forum.
     
    • Like Like x 63
  2. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Welcome from Virginia. I like your work. Squamish is a great name for a town.
     
  3. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Great shots and I see nothing wrong with your PP.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Dan
    Beautiful shots of beautiful countryside.
     
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  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I'm Scottish.. so we can fight out who has the thicker skin later, preferably over a whisky :smile:

    first of all.. big hats off for you including people in your landscapes... to me it makes me engage more with the image.

    second... love the campsite photo.. there is a vague notion of a quote I can't pin down right now about the importance of the journey and not the destination.

    Tell the story of the journey and the 'hero' shot will be so much sweeter.

    thirdly ...be careful about white snow screwing up your exposure.. get a feeling you had to do major PP to get these images

    cheers

    K
     
    • Like Like x 4
  6. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    On a side note, I wondered why you put the fire against the rock face. In Oz we'd put the fire on the opposite side (and possibly build an ice wall behind the fire) and sit with our backs to the rock, as the fire would reflect off the rock and keep our backs warm.
     
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  7. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Its not often I learn big things on a photo forum :)... but thanks Ray... if I am ever in the unlikely situation of building a fire in a wilderness/rockface situation I will remember your advice :)

    hope the red and the lamb are doing nicely

    K
     
  8. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Canadians don't feel the cold. They only light a fire so they can find the beer.
     
    • Like Like x 12
  9. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    Unfortunately, drd1135 is right. ;-)


    On, the other hand, there are no rules in "overcooking". If what you're doing gets you to your vision, then you're doing it right!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    799
    Oct 28, 2013
    Dia Duit Leigh ;)

    I'm also Irish and recently moved over to Canada - although I fly back and forth a lot!
    Canada is a fantastic place full of great photographic opportunity. I love your shots and your PP. Nothing wrong there.

    Things that I miss over here is a good camera store like the ones I used to frequent in Dublin (conns, gunns, berminghams). These guys tend to be very helpful without doing the hard sell. Over here, I've found that the camera stores tend to be very efficient and extremely sales orientated, but I think sometimes they miss the human factor that maybe we expect from an Irish store. i.e. I could walk into Conns or berminghams and be talking crap and not feel pressurized to buy anything.

    Anyway welcome over and look forward to seeing more from your shots. If you are up in squamish you must check out their big music festival. They have a savage music festival there every year and would represent both great music opportunity and be canon fodder for good journalistic photo's!

    Tom.
     
  11. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    It's a very old thing that's done in the High Country in winter, we usually put up a reflective tarp in front of the fire and sit inside the tarp. Sometimes it gets too hot. In the olden days, corrugated iron was often left at campsite to be used by cattlemen etc for exactly the same reason.

    We had some roast butterflied lamb and red last night as a bit of a prelude for next weekend, very nice. Since we'll be camping, I was going to see if I could find some home made lamb sausages, it would combine Aussie tradition as well as lamb for the Australia Day weekend.

    If you want to see what this is all about, here's a video of our Lambassador in action (from his early days and lots more over the years):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0wegCDBts8.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Leigh

    Leigh Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Jan 17, 2015
    Squamish, BC
    Thanks everyone for the feedback and welcome!

    I find I always come back to my pictures a few months later and feel I could have been a little less heavy handed with the saturation or contrast. I like images that give me the impression that I'm looking through a glass window at reality. I'm trying to avoid that surreal saturation that can sometimes plague Fine Art Landscapes.

    I've seen some incredible photography with the E-M1 that matches anything I've seen with Nikons or Canons so I want to start shooting more like that.

    Normally we'd camp with our backs to the rock. In this instance the situation called for the fire to be put beside the rock though. We where camping in a wind cirque with a cross wind coming through it. It wasn't ideal but it was the most sheltered spot in the vicinity. We placed the fire in a location that we knew the wind would take the sparks from it away from us and not towards our tents or fragile synthetic clothing.

    Also, there was a rock shelf near the wall that we could build the fire on. Away from the wall we'd be building the fire on snow. I've done this before and very quickly the fire melts down and you soon lose it's heat.

    Unfortunately I was not into photography while in Ireland so I never visited any of the camera stores. I have worked for a camera department over here though. The guys there weren't really sales focused. One was a teacher of photography who just kept a part time position at the store to get cheap camera gear, the other was an ex-professional photographer looking to get some more stability to his paycheques. Both of them would have long conversations with customers about gear and would spend time teaching people how to use their cameras or just shoot the breeze with local pro-photogs. It was a slow store so we had the time to do that.

    What is different, and this goes for most Canadian retailers, is the lack of craic. Good customer service is deemed to be polite and professional here. In Ireland I deemed good customer service to be how much craic I could have when I walked in to a store. It's just a different culture.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Thanks. Things are always situation dependent and I noticed that the sparks were flowing over the rock face, so wind was clearly a factor. When I used to do cross-country skiing in Victoria (Australia) I always used to wear woollen clothing (and cotton under garments), it kept you warm, dry and very comfortable (also very fire resistant). It's nigh on impossible to find woollen trousers and the like anymore.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    Great pictures, nothing to say. If I'm allowed to nitpick this is what I noticed:

    - first one: I would delete part of long yellow trail in the top right corner

    - first one: the stars look strange to me: is this a single exposure? Are they so bright?

    - second one: I would desaturate the red bottle, maybe you did just the opposite :)

    - third one: glaciers and surroundings look like an oil painting (a lot of denoise?)

    - fourth one: top left corner is very dark: was left out of a mask?

    That's it, there wasn't much to say.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    We can always find the beer; we just need the fire so it doesn't freeze.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    Leigh, welcome to the forum. It's a big change from shooting film to shooting digitally. I've learned to have 4x5 or 4x6 test prints done of shots I think are really good, especially if I want to have enlargements done. It's amazing the difference you'll find between your LCD monitor and a print. I learned that I was hitting the saturation too hard on some images and now rarely increase it unless the light is really flat and dull.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Joe
    Great work mate...and welcome to the forum.

    With regards to being heavy handed with the post processing, I find it helpful to sometimes walk away from an image if I've been staring at it for too long, my eyes I've found can become desensitized so to speak and what looked like a really natural looking blue sky or ocean turns out to have been horribly overcooked, that being said, I still do like an image where it isn't necessarily representing what was there but how the shooter interprets/feels about the scene.

    I really like what you've done here post processing wise with the exception of the third image...looks like a little too much de-noising going on and perhaps the darks/shadows have been lifted a little too much...but again, that's just me speaking to my personal preference.

    Again, nice work and welcome to the forum and hope to see more of your work.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  18. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Please share more! Love your shots!!
     
  19. kimo

    kimo Mu-43 Regular

    98
    Dec 4, 2013
    Colorado
    kimo
    Love it. I'm a sucker for mountains. Checked out your blog too - good stuff. Enjoyed the mix of personal insights and practical beta. Inspiring photography. The Tantalus Range looks unreal. Look forward to seeing more.
     
  20. Leigh

    Leigh Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Jan 17, 2015
    Squamish, BC
    Thanks everyone for the welcome and feedback. Great to be here!

    I've got to use flickr more. I've been paying for a pro account for a few years and hardly using it.

    Here it is. It hasn't been updated in quite a while. Most of the shots are from a few years back when I was following the usual stages of a photograph and dug myself deep into the HDR hole.

    I like this one though:

    8249773109_33e05404a8_b. Frosty Ridge above the clouds by Leigh McClurg, on Flickr

    Really appreciate the C&C.

    For the first one, that trail was actually a pain as it effected how I wanted to crop. I try not remove anything from my pictures if possible, but it is a distraction, I agree. I brought out the stars with a graduated filter. They probably aren't needed.

    For the second one, I didn't even notice the red bottle, lol. It probably does need to be desaturated.

    For the third one, yeah, a ton of denoise. The image out of the camera was close to black except for the sky. Definitely a lot of PP on that one. I'm still pretty new so I'm not really sure how to meter properly when shooting into a sunset. Tips?

    For the 4th one, I think that might be a result of my polarizer.

    I have to say, I've noticed my IQ has really gone up since moving to the E-M1 + 12-40 Pro. It's like night and day compared to the GX1.

    I've posted some of my recent E-M1 shots on my Facebook page which you can check out here, but they have been horribly compressed by FB soooo, maybe don't check them out :tongue:

    I liked this one. It was part of a series of burst shots in RAW, something I didn't have the option for on the GX1.

    https://www.facebook.com/pebbleshoo...287607764694179/664462380342047/?l=2376e3b333
     
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