New Photos Snow

As I’m sure you are aware, the UK had a slight sprinkling of snow over the past weeks and everything ground to a halt. Really everybody just wanted and excuse to skive off work and make snowmen, I know I did.  Alas here in Northern Ireland the snow was not very bad and we only got a couple of days of snow. But I got to run down the street barefoot in the snow so thats me happy for another year.

Anyway here are some photos of the snow we did get.

Some more on my Flickr

Stock Photography

I have decided to make an attempt at stock photography, that is producing images with a general theme that could be used by people on websites or on publications or where ever else generic images are required.

Sites such as istockphoto or bigstockphoto allow you to set up an account through which you can sell your images.

Every time an image is downloaded you get paid between a few pence to a couple of quid depending on the image size required. So a decent stock of images, which would require some initial work would then stay on the site making you money.

That said, it’s actually quite hard to get your images onto these sites as they are quite specific about what sorts of images they will use.
Most of the photographs on my Flickr would not be considered useful for stock images so this is new ground for me.

Corporate images as well as images on clean white backgrounds are popular and as I am not going to go hire models for corporate images the latter is what I am going for.

To this end I have build myself a miniature studio complete with an off camera flash setup and two lamps.

I built this in the garden shed from scrap bits of wood that were lying around.I cut a piece of chipboard in half and glued and screwed it together to form the base and back.
Two pieces of plywood were used for the sides and the joins all taped over with masking tape so that they wouldn’t show in images.
A block of wood with a slit in it was attached to the top for holding a basic reflector made from a cereal box and tin foil.
The inside of the box was sprayed with multiple layers of white paint.
The lamps I bought in Poundstrechers for £3.49 each and each has a 60watt bulb, I also made diffusers for these with grease paper.
The off camera flash is a old vivitar flash I had lying around and is triggered by a weak flash from the camera using a photo slave cell (basically a wee box that clips onto the flash which makes it fire when it detects another flash).

The whole setup cost me less than £15 to make.

I haven’t experimented with the lamps setup much yet but using the Flash with the the “studio” allows me to take nearly shadowless images of objects or ones with nice soft shadows.

This is pretty much the image out of the camera with the colours adjusted slightly.

My next step is to learn how to use this set up well to produce images that people will want to buy , get them uploaded and hopefully watch the money trickle in.
I see this as more of a benefit to me than trying to make money from selling big prints of landscapes or portraits as I will be able to add “Stock Photographer” to my CV when trying to get a job in multimedia.

Any ideas for good images are very very welcome as that is the hardest part, read this for what sort of images are required .

Please note that I am not limiting myself to only images shot within my mini studio so I am open to a wide range of ideas. Oh and thanks to Louise for her list.

Here is my list of ideas so far to give you an idea:

  • Butterfly.
  • Hands.
  • Keyboard.
  • Sihouettes.
  • Bullseye.
  • Wet spider web.
  • Marbles.
  • Whistle.
  • Dice and counters.
  • Paperclips.
  • Sugar Cubes.
  • Pasta.
  • Fruit.

Happy Birthday to me.

Well it is in about 10 days time anyway.

But of course not being one with a lot of patience I went and got my birthday present early and am hoping that my family and friends all give me a little something towards it because otherwise I cant really justify buying it. Especially after weeks of me constantly complaining about being broke.

<–well what did you buy num nuts?–>

Oh right yeah, sorry.

I bought myself an Olympus E-420 digital SLR, as a dual lens kit with a 14-42mm lens and a 40-150mm lens. (For those into photography that gives me in 35mm terms 28-300mm coverage)

I have been following the progress of this particular model for some months now. One of the things that had been stopping me from buying a D-SLR before, apart from cost, was the fact that they tended to be big and heavy. This camera on the other hand is the worlds smallest digital SLR, using a special system designed for digital that allows it to have much smaller lenses than used by other brands.

At some point I hope to get the 25mm f2.8 prime lens that Olympus released with the camera as this lens makes it small enough to fit in a pocket.

Now thats sexy.

<–you find a camera sexy? think there’s a phrase for that, “electrophile” or something–>

Heres a couple of pics I snapped with my new camera.

Daisys out in our front garden. (warning technical stuff)  Shot this with a standard wide-angle zoom lens using a close-up adaptor.
This meant I was able to focus closer but still have the wide-angle of the lens allowing me to capture more background detail. Unlike using a macro lens which would have limited the field of view. Shot it in RAW converted to TIFF in Olympus Studio and edited in Photoshop(technical stuff over). Thanks to Practical Photography mag for the idea.

Another cat pic, I would take more pictures of our dog but its near impossible to get her to stay in the one place.

Need to make me a reflector.

Keep checking out my Flickr page as now I have an SLR I intend to dabble in a wider range of photography areas.

Anyway  back to my non photography world.

I finished Uniabout six weeks ago and since then have been working in Spar over thirty hours a week and thanks to some annoying five hour shifts and a lot of evening shifts I have had very few completely free days. Thankfully last week and next week to rota is better with me working full shifts the days I’m on, which gave me a couple of full days off.

Discovered that I am surprisingly better at the early morning shifts (7am-3pm) which being a night person surprised me.

In the free time I have over the summer I have a few projects I hope to work on.

  • Three possible websites, one of these being a revamp of my SteveDesign site as I dont really like it.
  • Learning to use Joomla, an open source Content Management System (CMS).
  • Learn Visual Basic 6 as I sure didn’t learn it in the module we did this year and its one of our first modules next year and I’d like to know what I’m doing this time.
  • Improve my photography and perhaps figure out a way of actually making money from it.
  • Create an online comic using photography in the style of Violent Veg.

So far I have created one character, and thats Calvin the blind pea, although he will have a good friend called John who is yet to be invented.

Well I’m off to work in jolly old Spar.