Andrew Macpherson


Photographing Charity Cycle Rides – lessons learned

by on Jul.28, 2013, under Equipment, Learning

Well it’s the 4th time I’ve had a go at photographing the participants in the London to Cambridge sponsored charity cycle ride. Each time I get a little closer to getting it right, a little more confident of getting a reasonable set of results.

So where have I got to?

  1. This may be a daytime event but I definitely want flash to get separation from a darker background
  2. If the aim is to get each participant there is not time to capture each and get AI servo lock, and definitely not time to focus so a big depth of field and manual pre-focus is crucial, especially as the riders are all over the road, which means
    • Strobe in high speed sync
    • or high power low ISO (recharging time is an issue)
    • This year I had a speed light with an external battery pack which both gave good recycle time and over 2000 discharges at 1/8 from the 12 AA cells, but in hindsight I could have done with being at 1/2 power (or 2 strobes at 1/4) but I’m not sure about charging being fast enough
  3. It may be worthwhile using a crop frame sensor and shorter (absolute) focal length lens to improve the effective depth of field for a given composition
  4. Get the other stuff right then shoot medium JPEG, there are several thousand riders, one really does not want 100G of raw to process
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Opportunistic lighting

by on Jun.20, 2013, under Equipment, Learning


A neighbour’s daughter was being particularly cute, telling her aunt to pick up a book and read, then gazing into one herself.

Outside we had bright sunlight, with a slightly north facing window. The window light reflects ideally from the book into her face, so I sneaked a grab shot, holding the camera low (and failing to get the focus perfect- it’s on her arm rather than her eye) I thought I would share the shot for the lighting anyway

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Photo challenge cards, topic suggestions needed

by on May.14, 2013, under Camera Club, Learning

In preparation for the season when the club goes out and about I”m making up some sets of photo challenge cards, 5 topics per card, which I’ll make available here in due course ready to print and run through the card cutter (standard10 cards per sheet cutter when the image is centred & printed)

In the meantime I’ld very much appreciate suggestions to add as topics in the different contexts — the cards will be based on topics such as town, country, seaside, day, night, seasonal, different weather conditions etc. I’ll make up a grid where the topics apply

The final aim being to have cards prepared and to hand, as a fallback whenever we sally forth.

Please leave suggestions below, or tweet them to me. many thanks!

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What files have I worked on?

by on May.10, 2013, under Learning, Retouching, Workflow

Ever find you have to do some work in Lightroom without adding Picks, selections, stars or other obvious Metadata?

Select Develop Preset

Select Develop Preset

I recently found myself tweaking a friend’s images so she could use them immediately rather than wait to get home and work on them at her desktop…  She had literally hundreds of photos on the card, but wanted to see them full screen, then wanted a few adjusted, and the issue was, at the end of the exercise, to identify quickly which had been touched to re-export them.

All your modifications will be under "custom"

All the modifications will be under “custom”

With the folder open in the Lightroom Library Module I went to the Filter bar press ‘\‘ if it’s not showing at the top and select ‘Metadata’ then set my selection to ‘Develop Preset’ at this point you may have a few choices particularly if you have used any presets, but everything I had touched was under custom enabling me to quickly pick them out for re-export.

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Notes from the Tabernacle

by on Mar.09, 2013, under Learning

A seminar arranged through the London Photographic Meetup Group, featuring the Internationally famous photographer and trainer Frank Doorhof, who I had seen earlier this week at Focus on Imaging at the NEC

Arrived early at the Tabernacle for Frank’s show.

The Pan Man

The Pan Man

The hallway has a fascinating wireframe sculpture of “The Pan Man” a carnival Steel drum player, under a memorial to Claudia Jones the mother of the Notting Hill Carnival. As I’m sitting enjoying a mocha I get to say say good morning to Frank and Anneweik as they go past to set up.

We are asked to wait until 10:15 before going up to the theatre, a very nice space, set up with round tables, and surprisingly comfortable folding chair.

Frank Doorhof addressing the audience

Frank Doorhof addressing the audience

Frank is sitting under a spotlight, on a high chair, somewhat reminiscent of Dave Allen.

The class starts with a reprise of Frank’s theme “Why fake it when you can create it?”

Here are a few notes, points or aphorisms from the talk:

  • Emphasis on Knowing how to do it right, as second nature.
  • Great bare bulb shots to show that expensive strobes are not required
  • The seminar is “PowerPoint” but with a big emphasis on composition and audience interaction.
  • Go low for a new viewpoint.
  • “Find a stage and the players will come” – Jay Maisell
  • Interesting examples of wide angel lens fashion
  • Be careful to put in deliberate asymmetry.
  • Deliver the picture you are happy with
  • Tip try DxO Optics vs Lightroom for lens correction
  • Lose colour, and add contrast and noise for interest
  • If you have to title a photo it’s possibly not strong enough

Finished up with finally buying Frank’s “Live in Boston” instructional DVD.  Get yours here.

It was also good to meet a new people, I expect I’ll try more of these meetups.

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Hopley’s workshop: Easy photo fixes

by on Feb.28, 2013, under Learning, Retouching, Workflow

If you’re thinking about making small changes to your photos to just save that moment that can never be repeated, but the photo didn’t quite work, I’m doing a workshop in the village to get you started. Saturday March 22nd at Hopley’s Garden centre, in Much Hadham. This is also a good start on processing your photos to the next stage beyond what just comes out of the camera. Please note: basic computer knowledge is assumed, and I will only cover those extras relating to processing photos.

I’ll also work on any photo you bring to the class, explaining what, and why, to show you what you can do “for real,” rather than just using carefully chosen examples, the main tool will be Adobe Lightroom 4 which is currently available at a very good price from Amazon..

More details and book here

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