Author: Lee

Backing up

Backing up

Most people these days have a computer and possibly more people own a phone.

We use our computers for a multiple of things, reading emails, browsing the web, Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, Twitter etc…

If you run a business, or are a student, you might write letters, create spreadsheets, or create pieces of art in a graphics package like photoshop.

If you are an iPhone or iPad user and you take photos, then these may also be transferred to your computer too or you might backup your iPhone to your computer. This goes for other phones too, like Samsung or Nokia which might be backed up to your computer.

Now this is all great, everything works, you turn your computer on and off you go… or does it.

I’ve used computers for around 30 years and over that time everything has worked pretty much as it should, however, I’ve also had problems with computers not starting and hard drives failing. 3 hard drives in total. It doesn’t sound much, but when your data is stored on them, it’s EVERYTHING! Some of these drives have been a few years old, but my one failure was on a new computer just a couple of months old.

As a photographer, I have to think about ways of storing my photos and data, so I can access them, even if the worst happens. These days cloud solutions are very popular, but a lot of people like to keep their data local or don’t know about or trust the cloud.

So, an easy solution for backing up is to create a copy of everything you do. If you take photos, create an extra copy. When you’ve updated a spreadsheet, create a backup copy. Now the important part here, is the copy must be stored in a separate location to the original. So if your data is on your computer, create these copies on an external drive. External drives are cheap enough to buy and easy to use.

You should create a process for yourself. At the end of the working day, copy your new and updated data to your external (backup) drive. Get into the habit of doing this regularly or even better daily.

It might sound like a drag (no pun intended!), but it is better then losing your files.

Another option to manually backing up, is to get some backup software that can do it for you. If you use a iMac, then even better, that has it on built in software and recognises when you have your back up drive plugged in and it does it for you.

If you are a photographer and you use lightroom, that gives you an option to create a second copy when you import. Simple!

So find a method for you that works and backup on a regular basis.

Your backup drive needs to be big enough to store all your data, so look at your disk sizes and buy bigger. Backup software sometimes does incremental backups, so creates more than one copy on the drive to protect against bad sectors or you saving a ‘wrong’ version of your file.

Once you’ve got your backup process and drive in place, remember that hard drive might also fail, so maybe backup the backup? Another problem with this in house method, is your data is still in one location, i.e. in house or your office.

Backing up is a simple thing to do to help protect your data, but you do still need to think a little further than just your local backup. It is however a good start, as a backup is better than no backup, but maybe not as good as 2 or 3 backups stored in different places

Hartland Quay

Hartland Quay

In early August, we had family visit, so we wanted to take them somewhere with walks and a beach. We chose Hartland Quay.

You approach Hartland Quay via a toll road, which also covers the parking, and you drive down a narrow winding road to the first of a couple of car parks. Down another twisting road and your at another, where the hotel is.

There is a great view point, just past the hotel and down across an outcrop. At the end, some railings and then a view!

Wow!

This was just asking for some panoramic photos,

It’s the only way to show of the amazing dramatic coastline.

Heading back up from the outcrop, you can then walk down towards the beach. Another amazing view, more jagged rocks, cliffs.

Getting closer I took a Vertorama (Vertical Panorama) to try and show the details a bit more.

Once on the beach, there was so much to see, rock pools, dramatic cliffs, although some looked very precarious
so avoided them and wave smoothed low level rock lines just waiting to be explored.

There where also many walks along the top of the cliff areas to more exciting places, but that required more time and more planning. This day was about the beach, scenery and the company!

Panoramas

Panoramas

Since moving to Devon, I’ve been inspired by the landscapes and the beaches and this has reignited my landscape photography. I’ve now started to take this one step further. The landscape is so amazing it needs more than just a 6×4 ratio photo.

When I visited a part of Dartmoor back in February I took my first panorama photo for years.

The result was just, WOW, so this panorama was quickly followed by another from a trip to Brentor

Then another in Brixham, of the harbour, which I think worked really well,

As you can see, there is a difference between the top 2 panoramas and the one above. This is purely the orientation of the camera when the photos are taken, IE, landscape, or as in the latter, portrait.

Even a photo of a local cornfield in a panoramic format give it a lot more impact.

A recent trip to Stourhead I knew would produce a great opportunity for a panorama photo. This image is made up from 12 landscape format photos stitched together to great this amazing view of the lake.

Museums are also good places for panoramas as you can’t really get everything into 1 shot. Although lighting can pose a problem, especially if you are not using a tripod.

This is one from the Fleet Air Arm Museum, made from 5 images.

Finally beaches, and what better way to show off their magnificent views!

Now viewing these in this blog post is all well and good, but the size is a bit limiting, so why not view the panoramas page and view them full size.

Digital Textures

Digital Textures

Since moving house and living nearer the coast and moors, I have been inspired to start taking images for use as digital textures.

I have then also been using some of these images to add into my own portrait photos to give the background a bit of detail or even adding them to some of my landscape photos.

In this image I added a textured background (tm 1860) which was actually a photo of a piece of road.

When you start photographing textures and start looking at patterns it gets quite addictive and you end up finding textures in everything. I’ve photographed pavements, wood, sand and interesting granite rocks. These texture were taken on the beach.

One of them created a great background for this image.

I’ve found some great granite rocks too.

These have then enabled me to create these 2 images.

The first works really well as an old style image, using 2 textures and the second and just made the photo have an interesting feel to it.

Other texture packs are

Rough Granite v3

Sand

Beach Rocks v3

Render

Concrete v3

and more…

So if you are a portrait photographer, landscape photographer or even a crafts person, please take a look at my Etsy shop to view my range of textures, where you can them buy them if you like them.

Digital Textures Packs via Etsy

Learning Lightroom

Learning Lightroom

With my photography I use Lightroom software. I use it to manage and edit all my photos and for good reason. It is an excellent piece of software.

I shoot using the RAW setting on the camera and this gives me great editing power over my photos.

As I am a tutor by trade, I also offer tuition on Lightroom to help photographers, both pro and amateur get the most of their photography.

As you can see using the software can really help with tricky lighting when shooting landscapes. It is also great for just lighting up photos and getting details back.

As well as creating in interesting feel to a photo that might otherwise seem a little dull.

Its other major power is cataloging your photos with many features to help you sort, whittle down, compare and more importantly find your photos quickly!

I offer the training on a 1-2-1, please contact me for more details.

The Langtree Tractor Run 2017

The Langtree Tractor Run 2017

Yesterday was Fathers Day. It was also the Langtree Tractor Run. This sounded like fun and it was for a good cause for our local pre school, Little Bears, so we booked up in advance and spent the week checking the weather forecast. It looked like it was going to be hot!

So, yesterday we headed out armed with hats, suncream and water and went to Langtree. We weren’t too sure what to expect, other than it was a tractor run with about 50 tractors!

The timings seemed a little vague on how long the run was and having never done it before we really just had no idea…

We set off from a field in Langtree on 1 of the 3 trailers, with what then looked like the other tractors jostling and squabbling for position.

Through the farm and down a track to the road.

Now I must say at this stage, these photos are taken from back of a bouncy trailer with nothing really to lean on or indeed focus on!

We’d been going for a while now, but checking the map we had found, it seemed like a long route and we hadn’t travelled far…

Then off roading again to more tracks and across fields.

Through more farms…

and fields, well it was a tractor run…

We eventually, an 1hr 30mins later, made it to the half way point, Shebbear Village square!

A chance to stretch our legs…

before getting back on the trailer and heading back towards Langtree, via many places I hadn’t been.

It was great to just sit there and watch the countryside go by, wave and people and looking over all the hedgerows.

The whole trip from leaving to getting back was around 3 hours. A little uncomfortable at times bouncing up and down on the wood benches in the trailer. The other trailer had a sofa and even some covering but we survived and was rewarded with a great roast meal and amazing ice creams at the end.

The kids enjoyed it, mostly, and so did we, although it was a little long but definitely something you should do at least once.

Vertoramas at the Gorge

Vertoramas at the Gorge

Vertorama photos can be great fun and have a real impact on the viewer.

If you don’t know, a Vertorama is a vertical panorama with images stitched together vertically. It can take a bit of practice to get them right, but the result is worth it.

They can be made from stitching just 2 images together, or multiple images.

I recently visited Lynford Gorge and this was a great chance to take some.

My first chance was when walking towards the Devils Cauldron, there were some very tall trees that I wanted to try and capture and show the height of them.

This images is composed of 6 images in totals.

My second vertorama was a lot more tricky, is was down in the cauldron itself. The lighting at the bottom where the water flowed was dark, in the middle, even less light then towards the top a lot brighter, making the exposure range very wide. Even so, I think it worked out ok. A couple of the exposure were 1/4 to 1/2 second, hand held.

Again, this was 6 images, stitched together.

My final vertorama was a lot easier. Just 2 images, but it really adds impact to the photo by showing it in this manner.

Vertoramas can be fun and it can seem like you are shooting in meduim format when you create the final image, at least with the 2 image versions.

This is something I am going to be doing more of and will be offering some tuition on it too!

I have more vertorama images in my Vertoramas Gallery

Free Texture No1

Free Texture No1

As I mentioned and promised recently I am giving away one of my new textures for free and all I ask in return, is for you to like my Facebook page.

Facebook.com/LeeOrchardPhotography

So, my first free texture is this one. It is of view old stonework. The file is a jpg image, 5000px across the long edge @ 300dpi and is profiled to AdobeRGB. Oh and it is a 10mb file.

It is free to download and use as you like for personal and commercial use. If you would like to link back to me via Twitter (@LeoPhotography) Instagram (@LeoPhotographyUK) or Facebook (@LeeOrchardPhotography), that is much appreciated, but not required.


Click the thumbnail to open the file.

Once the image has opened, you can save it to your computer using the save option on right mouse click menu.

Here is an image I have created using it.

I hope you like my first texture giveaway and I hope to see some of your creations using it.

The Granite Way

The Granite Way

Since moving to Devon, we are finding we are starting to visit lots of places. That was part of the reason for moving, so this is good!

It means that my outdoor photography is rekindled, meaning this blog has sprung back in to life again.

I have started to create texture files, which will be available to buy and I will occasionally put up a free texture for people to use.

To find these textures though, I have to go in search of them.

This time, to The Granite Way. This is a track walk, mostly tarmac, which starts at Okehamption station, where you can also park at the youth hostel. It follows the Old Railway running along side the A30, then heads towards Meldon Quarry and over the viaduct. It is ideal for prams, bicycles and easy walking.

Where the track initial joins the railway there is an old bridge with the track running under it. I’ve again given these photos a bit of an old look to fit in with the style of the old line.

Although the track is fenced off, as it is still in use, you can get a view down the line, showing the track heading off into the distance.

After about 2 miles walking along The Granite Way, going under the A30 and passing lots of fields with sheep in them, you arrive at Meldon Quarry.

This was a bit of surprise to me, as next to the quarry was what looks like an old shunting year with old trains in it. Well, I say old, not steam train, but oldish rail carriages, the type with the Slam Door that were classed as dangerous and so phased out.

They looked great, and ideal photo opportunity!

And a bonus, some great graffiti on a rusty train!

Just past the trains was the visitor centre, which was unfortunately closed, as was the buffet carriage, which had been one reason for doing the walk! We bumped into the people running it on the way back, apparently it opens at weekends in April. Now we know.

Just next to the buffet carriage is the viaduct.

Not being too keen on heights, I didn’t fancy going across it, plus short on time, we just admired the view which a bit of lunch and started the 2.5 mile walk back!

Exploring Belstone

Exploring Belstone

Wanting to explore more and get to see our new surroundings we headed out to Dartmoor. This time to a place called Belstone to get on to Dartmoor. This area like many, has a few Tors on it. One called Belstone Tor.

So, I had the intention of trying to find it. We did however have the weather against us, with just an hour or 2 between the rain. Approaching Okehampton we get the amazing views of Dartmoor in front of us and we noticed it has snow! Ok, it was patchy and higher than we were probably going to get, but it was still snow!

Now, I obviously don’t know this area at all at the moment, so starting out with one idea of going to the Tor and actually getting to it, or indeed finding it is really by luck, but it didn’t really matter. As sooner as you step on the moor, it is instantly amazing!


So we just followed the first ‘path’ we found an headed off in that direction.


Quite quickly the views open up and you can see for miles into the distance. We headed in the general direction of what looks like a mountain range and what was one of the highpoints in southern england.


Wanting really to find the Tor, we passed a couple walking. Infact the only other couple walking that day that we passed. They said head straight along this path until you find something that looks like a wall, a fallen wall, more like a pile of rocks and go right following it.

Hmm, we either didn’t walk far enough to find the ‘wall’, or couldn’t work out what was rocks and what was wall…


So we admired the views and I took a couple of Vertorama shots. This is like a Panorama photo, but vertical instead of horizontal.


Now snowing a bit and fighting with the water on the lens we turned around and headed back to the car admitting defeat and decided we needed a slightly better day to find this Tor. As usual though, stormy days make for a really great photos. They can be a bit of an exposure nightmare with blown skies and dark foregrounds, but you can try and get a medium and then edit later, thank to the power of shooting Raw.


The snow also added to the impact of the shots and it not something I normally get to photograph much. But living this close to 3 moors really gives me a better chance to see it and photograph it!


Next time I’ll give it another try to find the Tor and maybe do a little more research as to where it is, but the main thing was to get out, get a walk and hopefully get some great photos.