Almost Weekly Photo

Big Yellow Taxi, Iran

Hamadan Taxi Driver, Iran.Canon EOS 5DSR, 70-200mm lens @ 200mm,…

How Important Is Cropping?

Hilltop monastery, near Haa, BhutanPhase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 240mm…

Post-Production Quickly

Mountain scenes above the Neumayer Glacier, South GeorgiaPhase One XF…

The New Tradition Update

Regular readers will know that I’m in the process of…

Hamadan Taxi Driver, Iran.
Canon EOS 5DSR, 70-200mm lens @ 200mm, 1/400 second @ f2.8, ISO 100

New York is known for its yellow taxi cabs and no doubt they are prevalent in many other cities around the world, but I'd suggest few cities have as many yellow taxis as Hamadan in Iran. On our photo tour, Nuran Zorlu and I spent a few hours loitering in the Hamadan's busy centre with our band of adventurous photographers. The Imam Khomeini square boasts a rich but decaying circumference of elegant building facades, with a hurried, bustling congestion below. Crossing the road to the park in the centre of the square was not without its challenges!

Nuran had suggested that Imam Khomeini square was a great place to sit down and observe life, but we weren't sitting very long before we found ourselves the centre of attention, with plenty of opportunities to photograph the people.

What struck me was the number of taxis, either in transit as a laneless melee around the park, or waiting in long lines for fares. The challenge was to capture them as a part of daily life. For the street scenes, I found a wide-angle lens allowed me to get close to the taxis as they whizzed past, placing them in the foreground and retaining the building facades behind.

As I stood on the roadside, I noticed how every taxi had its own sub-plot inside, the life of the driver and maybe his passengers, so I switched to a 70-200mm zoom and lowered my camera height. This let me look across the road into the taxis and at the driver.

On occasion I was discovered by the drivers, but never castigated. Perhaps it was because I was obviously a foreigner and somewhat of a novelty in a country that has recently re-opened its borders for general tourism.

There's no doubt this taxi driver knew I was there!

Note: Peter Eastway and Nuran Zorlu have another trip to Iran booked for April this year.  After a couple of cancellations there are now some spots left....!

Click here for all the details of the April 2019 trip on the Better Photography website or email Kim - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Hilltop monastery, near Haa, Bhutan
Phase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 240mm Schneider lens, f5.6 @ 1/800 second, ISO 200

One of the limitations of medium format is the lack of a super telephoto lens. In fact, the problem applies to all photographers who don’t own a super telephoto lens. And the solution is the same: crop. We all have more than enough pixels these days to crop our images, sometimes quite severely, and (technically speaking) still come away with a good quality file.

Take a look at the photo above taken near Haa in Bhutan. You’re almost guaranteed one or two days like this on a two week trip, with swirling clouds engulfing towering peaks that in turn dwarf a tiny dwelling or monastery: man’s insignificance in nature.

On this particular day, we were driving up to Chelela from Haa. It seemed every time we turned a corner, there’d be a dzong or a temple partially hidden by clouds. However, the distances were great and I needed to crop, certainly for a small image on social media.

One of the aspects of photography we don’t talk about enough is the size of the photograph when presented for viewing. In the digital world, we have no idea whether our image is going to be looked at on a small, ageing iPhone screen or a brand new EIZO CG318 4K monitor – yet size is important. If you’re looking at these photos on your phone, you might not even notice the temple at first. On the other hand, imagine looking at a one metre tall print on a wall: you’d certainly notice the tiny temple then. So, scale and the physical size of your photograph when viewed is incredibly important.

In this case, for my website and blog, I felt I needed to crop the image quite severely (middle and right) so the small temple is more prominent. On the other hand, the wider crop (left) for a large print would make me very happy!

Come along to Bhutan at the end of this year with David Oliver and me – we have a new itinerary going from west to east Bhutan! For more information, visit the website or click here.

Mountain scenes above the Neumayer Glacier, South Georgia
Phase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 240mm lens, f4.5 @ 1/800 second, ISO 200.

I’d like to say this simple photo didn’t take me too long to edit, but it did. However, the challenge wasn’t procedural, it was aesthetic. In other words, the physical act of editing the photo hasn’t taken too long, but exploring different colour balances and tonal ranges took quite a bit of time. More than I expected. I think I’m happy with this rendition, but time will tell!

However, with a busy 2019 booked ahead, I am realising that I have a limited capacity for editing my work and so I’m thinking of challenging myself this year: edit everything in Capture One!

This image was done wholly in Capture One 12.

My new year resolution means no Photoshop. Now, before I go too far, there are a few exclusion clauses I’d like to add in. For instance, if I’m working on images for an exhibition or book, then I reserve the right to use Photoshop. But for general purpose work – such as editing images from my trips and posting up shots for the blogs, then I am to keep it quick and simple.

When I analyse the work I do in Photoshop, most of it is broad brush masks. I am not doing much in the way of channel masking, although it will be disappointing not to have access to the blend modes. However, on the plus side, I still have layers in Capture One (which for me personally, are much easier to access than the adjustment brush in Lightroom) and I hope to process more files.

Now, more output isn’t necessarily a good thing. Quality is far more important than quantity, but I am a little frustrated about how few photographs get to see the light of day. I am hoping I can produce portfolios of work that are 95% polished and finished – because that extra 5% of quality might take me an extra 50% in time. I can live with that as an equation – given my ‘get out of jail’ card mentioned before for exhibitions and books.

So, while I still love sitting in Photoshop and I’m very comfortable with the workflow, it’s time to see how far I can push a lowly ‘raw processing’ app!

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