Migrated Blogger to Wordspace and some pics of King’s School open mic night

I have finally got around to moving my blog fromm blogger to WordPress. WordPress has been the website design tool of choice since I moved www.christianblandford.com over to it a few years ago. My other sites www.begurvillas.com, www.chriselsmore.com  and www.scanmypad.com all use it and only my little used photography blog that was left to move over.

I followed these instructions to migrate and, I must, admit it was pretty easy.

While I was at it I updated the galleries on this site to the latest versions of the very good CE4 Lightroom galleries by The Turning Gate. They now have  a new publishing tool called Backlight and when I get around to it, I guess I'll be upgrading to that.

My latest gallery was from photos taken at the open mic night at Christian's school, King's Rochester. The light was almost perfect, by almost perfect I mean it was 10 feet behind the stage, so actually a bit of a disaster. I maybe went a bit heavy handed with the processing but I think I portrayed the Summer evening feeling.

Peter Blandford's photo




Playing about with panoramas

I have just got back from the stunning Stellenbosch near Cape Town, where I took lots of pictures, some of which are on my Flickr page.

One of the photos was the biggest panorama I have ever taken. It was made of 10 D800 photos stitched together in Photoshop and it measures 27,246x5,874 which, for those without calculators or the Rain man like ability to multiply big numbers is equal to 160 Megapixels.

Years ago I used to use Zoomify but that is no longer compatible with my Mac so I started looking for other options. This is a good blog post and came up with a  couple of options. The option of using Google+ was out because the image is to big to upload to Google.

Zoom.it sounds quite straight forward so I uploaded the file to some webspace and then typed the url into zoom.it

Here is a link in case the embedded version doesn't work
Seems to work well!

The New Beacon – Flower and Sparkle Ball

My lovely wife Claudia and her mate Faye are events coordinators for the New Beacon School Parents' Association, as such they organised the New Beacon biannual ball. 
It was a great do and over £12000 was raised for the NBPA but more importantly everybody that went had a great time.
If any friends want prints I have put the photos of the ball in photobox here - the password is theblandfords. You are free to use them for non commercial use.

Sevenoaks Amateur Boxing Club

Paul Lynch, the trainer at Sevenoaks Amateur Boxing Club, asked me to take some photos of the members for the gym wall.

He runs an amazing little gym in a wooden building on the outskirts of The Weald on the outskirts of Sevenoaks.

The details of it are here, I go to the appropriately named "Fat Dads" sessions and have also been popping into the daytime training sessions, originally meant for ladies but all are welcome.

Thanks to Mark (Rocky Balboa) Trenowden for the introduction to this place.

I went in on a Wednesday night, the juniors are in from 5-7pm and the seniors from 7-9pm. I was impressed by the determination most of the kids had, and the experience they had already picked up. The seniors were also impressive, putting my own "fat dad's" training to shame as they worked out.

The star of the show is Paul. He is supportive, encouraging, friendly, occasionally loud ('ARDER!!!!), and clearly immensely respected by both the adults and children who train there.

I would recommend Sevenoaks Amateur Boxing Club not only to those who wish to seriously get into the sport, but to anybody who wishes to get and keep fit.

It is not only the best value, but the best training I have done at any gym.

I have put the photos online for members and parents to browse. I am happy for them to be used by them for non commercial purposes.

The Photos are here or on facebook

I have also put them on Photobox so prints can be ordered. The password is christianblandfordfund

If you wish to share them on Facebook please do so but link back to this page, or just click on the like button below to share this page.

If you like the photos, have ordered some prints and wish to do so please consider a contribution to the Christian Blandford Fund. The aim of the Christian Blandford fund is to improve the comfort of children and their families, particularly those affected by cancer, during prolonged stays in local NHS hospitals.

Please bear us in mind for any future fund raising or sponsorship.

The Christian Blandford Fund

Real Beauty

Over the years I have upgraded my kit and now I'm lucky enough to have a good Nikon full frame camera and a selection of lenses that a wedding photographer would be happy with. I also have various flashguns that I can trigger remotely in soft boxes and umbrellas which allow me to take photos that would be very hard without this equipment.

The problem with all this kit, apart from the weight and the fact that I look like a Japanese tourist when using it, is that sometimes it is too good!

Point a full frame camera with a 2.8 aperture lens lit by an off camera flash in softbox at a 40 year old woman and she won't compliment you on the perfect catchlights in her eyes, she'll scream and shout that she looks old. The fact is the camera pics up every line and imperfection in her skin and that is not what anybody over 19 wants. There's a good reason why I'm rarely in front of the lens and always hiding behind it.

So I sometimes use some tricks to gently soften the results that the camera produces, pushing the fill light in Lightroom and converting to black and white is a nice simple method, for example.

I downloaded Portrait Professional 10 to see if it would improve my workflow and had a bit of a play with it today.

It is amazing how much you can change a picture in very little time and how subtle the individual steps are but how much of a difference the combination makes.

I have posted a before and after photo here so you can see.

This is my wife Claudia with Jessica, the latest addition to the family. I am doing a 365 of Jessica where I am sharing the best 7 photos I take of her every week for a year. As you can see, Claudia is pretty easy on the eye and looks great for her 41 years, which is more than can be said for her husband.

5 minutes of touching up and this is what you get

Hover the mouse over either picture and you will see the before and after effect better.

I'm a bit torn with this, I'll be honest, I think she looks great in both pictures, but more herself in the original so I will probably be using the tool very sparingly.

The point I wanted to make though, is how easy it is to do, it only took a few minutes, and how subtle it is.

Nearly every advert, feature, cover, glamour shot has been edited far more than this. I hope by the time Jessica is old enough to look at them she is bright and confident enough to understand those photos are not something to aspire to.