photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Great British Landscapes

For your reading pleasure

in Recommended web sites , Friday, February 18, 2011

The online magazine Great British Landscapes was launched late last year, and has now reached issue 8. The brainchild of Tim Parkin and Joe Cornish, it is a very interesting hybrid between a traditional photography periodical (albeit at the higher brow end) and a blog. It is interesting that is was launched more or less at the same time as Advanced Photographer, both apparently in reaction to the somewhat mindless level of standard magazine fare - at least in the UK market.

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Great British Landscapes, Issue 8

The content is part free, part subscription, with several subscription models including an issue by issue one, which is a good way to test the waters (I’d upgrade to an annual subscription if only I could find out how to do it!).

The subject matter is essentially, and obviously, British landscape photography, an area of which both the founders are strong exponents. This style was recently lambasted by some commentators to Mike Johnston’s The Online Photographer, in response to a review of a David Noton book, as (for example) “the padding of a thousand amateur photography magazines” - and worse. Now that’s not very polite, and one could argue that they just don’t get it, or flame back with choice comments about eyeball-searingly dull and witless “art” photography ... but there is a kernel of justification in that viewpoint. So there’s a trap there which needs to be avoided.

I don’t consider myself a landscape photographer - although I’ve got all Joe Cornish’s books, and one of David Noton’s, not to mention Charlie Ward and the rest of the usual suspects - so I’m not unappreciative of it. I also don’t really consider myself British, although nominally I am. And as for “Great”, well…  So I’m not really in the sweet spot of the target audience. But I subscribed anyway, partly out of support for a valiant effort.

Initially it did seem to be playing a bit safe, and there seemed to be a few teething production problems.  Design-wise, however, it was a hit straight out of the box.  The site is very attractively produced and laid out, and highly readable. Extremely impressive work.  The initial subject matter was fairly predictable (you can see all Issue 1 for free), Scotland, Landscape Photographer of the Year, etc, and generally - and understandably - took a somewhat more conservative line than Tim Parkin’s blog.

One thing that in my opinion didn’t work, and still doesn’t, are the videos. Generally following a “masterclass” sort of format, I’m afraid to be blunt they’re pretty tedious. Way too long, and nothing that actually justifies the use of video. But to be fair video - essentially TV production - is a pretty hard nut to crack. I’d recommend they work with a videographer. Or maybe I need to acquire a better attention span.

As the issues started piling up, the content started to really take off, and with the last few issues it has pushed well past the boundaries of “a thousand amateur photography magazines” into something approach Ag territory, in quality terms.  Issue 6 laid into camera clubs with Tim Parkin’s entertaining rant on The Sacred Rule Of Thirds, Issue 7 has a in-depth and excellent article about Fay Godwin, and Issue 8 has a lengthy interview with Chris Tancock, a photographer who is actually well over on the “art” side of the field, and is himself not that enamored with the “Great British Landscape” school.

If anything the title could start to become a limiting factor in the site’s success. I would not want it to abandon its roots, but the editorial team has already clearly demonstrated that it has the intelligence and photographic education to step outside of the genre and examine it through other eyes.

I think I’ve gone on enough about this. If you haven’t already done so, you really should click here and make your mind up. For my part I strongly recommend Great British Landscapes. Well… maybe except the videos :-)


Matt Lauder

panoramas down under

in Recommended web sites , Thursday, July 08, 2010

I recently discovered Australian photographer Matt Lauder’s website, along with his pay-to-view tutorial site, rubbing pixels.


It’s an interesting site, and you can get a good feel for his style from the generous selection of free content. His approach is pretty much the no-nonsense, straight to the point sort of thing you’d expect from an Australian (and that’s a compliment).

I’m particularly drawn to Matt’s work and teaching as he goes for a similar blend of DSLR / film panorama as I do, although on steroids ... he’s working with 617 film (or even 624), whereas for me the limit is XPan 66x24mm ... he’s got an Imacon scanner (cue pure envy) and I’ve got a Minolta (well, actually, that’s no so bad). Certainly there’s enough there to convince me to subscribe.

I don’t fully agree with everything he does or recommends - but he says himself, there are endless ways to skin a cat in Photoshop.

Definitely well worth a look!


Aperture 3

Everybody’s got a opinion

in Apple Aperture , Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Has anybody noticed yet ? What’s that ? Oh. Right. I’m last.

Actually I got the tip off for Aperture 3’s release from the excellent and still improving RB Design blog run by Robert Boyer.  I highly recommend his site as well as his eBook series, without a doubt the best value for money technical writing you’re going to find on Aperture. It’s great to see an Aperture-related web site at least on a par with the best of the Lightroom community. Some of Robert’s tips will leave wondering why you never knew that ... and make Aperture really hum. AND he’s got a sense of humour and doesn’t shy clear of the odd rant, bit of invective or rude word. Highly entertaining.

I’m stuck with Aperture 2 since my photo workstation is a Mac G5, and the budget for a Mac Pro is in the realms of fantasy. But I’m not complaining - Aperture 2 does everything I need.

Aperture 3 looks like it has some outstanding new features, and although it isn’t really an issue, at least not for me, it seems to becoming a far more powerful tool than Lightroom. One thing that does disappoint me though is RAW support: although it doesn’t affect me, the lack of support for the Olympus m4/3 series is a let-down, and the no-show for the Leica M9 is really surprising (yes, I know it records DNG, but the Ricoh GRDII also records DNGs, and at default settings they look crap in Aperture). At least the Lumix LX-3 finally made it. But I predict that RAW support is going to provide some fuel for Ye Olde Forum Flame Wars.

Whatever. Welcome Aperture 3. We’ve been expecting you.


Tim Parkin - Still Developing

Well worth a visit!

in Recommended web sites , Friday, October 30, 2009

Several lifetimes ago, I used to go to York, and Yorkshire, quite regularly, and pretty quickly got used to the local’s penchant for, shall we say, blunt speaking. Oh, and Betty’s Tea Rooms. So I’m not particularly surprised to discover that Tim Parkin, an outstanding landscape photographer, and writer of an erudite, informative, and entertainingly blunt blog, is from Yorkshire.

Quite honestly it’s refreshing to find somebody who quite clearly is photographing and writing for his own enjoyment, doesn’t particular mind upsetting any egos, and doesn’t beat about the bush.

I like his photography too. He knows when to apply restraint, goes for natural colour, and doesn’t go overboard with the Velvia stuff. His work reminds of that of David Ward, both in style and approach, but he’s carving out his own visual language.

So, a strong recommendation from me - great photography and a lively blog. Can’t be bad.

ps - oh, and he helped me fix my RSS feeds. Thanks, Tim!

pps - and If they’re not fixed, it’s my fault, not his


Strange Doings

in Recommended web sites , Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I picked up on a new website today "Focus", which seems to have just got started and presents a couple very well produced and interesting video documentaries about two leading lights of Flickr. The first is about macro photographer, Brian Valentine. The second is about the prolific Icelandic photographer, Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir. I actually discovered the site through Rebekka's blog, and this is where the strange doings come in (cue creepy Twilight Zone sounds). This evening I wanted to send my complements to the people at Focus, and went back to Rebekka's blog to find the link ... only to find the post has been airbrushed out of existence. It is still in my RSS reader archive though. I wonder why this is ... seems a very professional operation...although there is something a little strange, not to mention screwed up, with the Vimeo hosting. I think we should be told. UPDATE - well I have been told. Rebekka doesn't like the music and is unhappy about the edits, so she's decided to keep quiet about it. I can see what she means about the music, but I just tuned out.

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