Top five from 2012

I’d been meaning to take part in the “Your Top 5 From 2012” thread on PistonHeads.com for a while, so once I’d selected my five favourite images of last year, I though they would make a good blog post too.
Cement Works
Rugby cement works – A shot I’ve had planned for quite a few years, as I can see it out of my kitchen window.
Hoffmann's Woodpecker
Hoffmann’s Woodpecker – This guy woke up up while I was having a post surf nap at the Funky Monkey Lodge in Costa Rica.
BMW Z4
Ali’s Z4 – Taken on the A39 near Porlock on Exmoor during our trip to Devon.
Cloud forest abstract
Cloud Forest Abstract – Another one from our trip to Costa Rica, this was taking in the Selvatura Cloud Forest.
500
Fiat 500 – This was only meant to be a test shot, while Jen was shopping, but I really liked the effect with plain car and bright building.

Autosport International 2013

Ari Vatanen Peugeot 405

 

The evening before I went to Autosport International, at the NEC in Birmingham, I’d been watching a video, posted on Bill Caswell’s Facebook page about Ari Vatanen’s Paris-Dakar Peugeot 405 being stolen from parc ferme, a randsom being demanded, the car eventually found but Vatanen still being disqualified from the rally. This wasn’t a story I’d heard before, but I wasn’t expecting to see the subject of the story the next day. At first I thought it was just another Paris-Dakar 405, but upon reading the plaque I realised that it was the exact same car, what a nice coincidence!

The rest of the show was good, especially seeing a Lamborghini Miura and a Toyota AE86 in the metal, two of my favourite cars, which somehow I’d never seen in real life.

A trip to the pub

This is my first go at making a video, so I thought I’d break myself in gently with a time lapse. Capturing the images was easy, I set the GoPro camera to take a photo every second, stuck it on the windscreen and drove to the pub (via the scenic route)! Winter in Warwickshire isn’t the most glamorous, or exciting of locations, but I got a new toy for Christmas and I wanted to use it!

The real challenge started when I got back from the pub with 2,500 images on the memory card, I had three options when it came to software, so I tried them all:

  • Lightroom – My photo editing software of choice, well within my comfort zone, I could import, back up and add my metadata to the images with two clicks, then process one image and sync settings to the rest. What I couldn’t do without adding plug ins, was compile them to a video at 30 frames per second, this is something I need to investigate further.
  • GoPro CineForm Studio – I’m always a bit vary with bundled software, but after a few teething problems (importing a folder full of images works, importing 2000 individual images doesn’t) I was able to get it to stitch the images together and edit the resulting video file, which I didn’t find too intuitive.
  • iMovie – Apple always seem to say how god Macs are for creative projects such as video, so their software was worth a look, although seemingly, to get the still images into iMovie they had to be imported to iPhoto. This integration is great, but only if you plan on using both, having said that iPhoto saved my bacon when I accidentally formatted the micro SD card in my camera, meaning I didn’t lose the first picture I took with the GoPro. Using iMovie I wasn’t able to stitch the images together faster than 10fps, with 30fps being what I needed, so I gave up on it for creating time lapses, but when it comes to working with multiple video files iMove seems to be the best application I have available, although I’ll need to upgrade it to export in 1080p high resolution.

In the end I used Lightroom to process the images and crop them to the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, then GoPro CineForm studio to combine them into a time lapse then compress them to upload to YouTube. I can see video and especially time lapses being a big thing for me in 2013, it’s certainly got my creative juices flowing, so watch this space.

2013

Old BoatFirst of all – Happy new year! So far 2013 has been pretty good, a lazy breakfast of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup with my friends who had joined us to see out 2012 at my flat, then a roof down drive in the MX-5 to blast away the cobwebs and a walk along the Grand Union Canal at Braunston to make sure they were really gone!

As usual I had my camera with me and saw this barge which was looking a bit sorry for itself, almost as if it had over done it seeing out 2012. Although from geotagging the image in Lightroom, it looks like the boat has been there a while, as it is on the Google Maps satellite view!

2013 is already shaping up to be a busy year, with a house to renovate (and a flat to sell), an new exciting project at work, car shopping (for my best friend, my Dad and the replacement for my MX-5), hopefully some travelling and not to mention my 30th birthday!

I’m hoping to update this blog more than I have been recently, as one of my new years resolutions is do do more photography, including time lapses with the GoPro I got for Christmas.