Magic People, Voodoo People

Posts tagged “Photos

The Cinderella

The Cinderella by GaryBlack
The Cinderella, a photo by GaryBlack on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
I don’t really do product photography but I figured since my wife was now creating custom shoes that I would at least give it a shot.

She calls these “The Cinderella” style. I decided instead of setting up a lightbox or my studio lights to take it the other way, so I got my camera on a tripod and got the torch out for some good old fashioned light painting.

I think that this worked quite well to bring out the detail and facets of all the jewels.

If anyone is interested in seeing more of her work look her up on facebook under Cinderlily Creations


Cool, a photo by GaryBlack on Flickr.

Its been a while since I’ve posted anything, but this photograph was certainly worth sharing.

Hunter had his first snow at 11 months old, just old enough to get out and have some fun. It pretty much came up over his knees but that wasn’t stopping him.

Of course I got out there with the camera and this happens to be my favourite of the lot.


Tune! by GaryBlack
Tune!, a photo by GaryBlack on Flickr.

With my headphones on
Another successful studio shoot with my very patient son Hunter today.

New Arrival


Hunter, a set on Flickr.

Been a little quite for the past couple of weeks due to the arrival of my son Hunter Black.

He arrived precisely on his due date 25/01/2012 weighing 8lb15 at 16:37.

New website launch

Those of you that have visited this website over the years may have noticed that one of my great hobbies is photography.  Which is why myself and my brother decided to launch a website selling prints in the vain hope that people may want some of our artwork hanging on their wall.
So without further ado I present to you

The rainy day tree

The rainy day tree by GaryBlack
The rainy day tree, a photo by GaryBlack on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Figured it was going to be an epic sunset this evening so went out with the camera. After pondering for a while on a suitable location, I figured I’d take the wife back to the tree that we had to hide under during a huge storm a few years back.
This is a little different to how I normally process photos since when shooting I was bracketing exposures, so I decided to blend them together.

Wringcliff Bay

Wringcliff Bay by GaryBlack
Wringcliff Bay, a photo by GaryBlack on Flickr.

Decided to take a little trip out with the camera in the vain hope of discovering a new photo location. After a three and a half hour journey we stopped just outside Lynton/Lynmouth at “The Valley of the Rocks”.

When we got to the valley of the rocks the sun was just begining to set and we really were not feeling the rocks so we trekked off a little further up the coast and came across a small rocky bay which I later found out to be called Wringcliff bay.

The journey down to the water was a little perilous and we decided to pack up just before the sun dipped below the horizon for this very reason. Out of all the shots this was my favourite and was also the last one, wish we stuck around a little bit longer. Still at least we have now scouted out a good location

Pregnancy Pumpkin

With halloween approaching and my wifes pregnancy belly forever expanding we decided to have a bit of fun with the standard bump photography thats done around this stage.

So we grabbed some face paints and after a painstaking painting session that took around 30 mins we were ready to begin shooting.

We used my interfit EX150 2 light set again with a custom made backdrop stand, which once I iron out the issues experienced with stability I will post up here.

I had a shoot through umbrella to the camera right, lighting both the backdrop and the model, and a softbox camera left centred on the model.

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So I decided to check if my website was still operational, and was glad to see it was despite the last update being back in early 2010.

A lot of things have happened since them, I’m now married for a start and we are expecting our first baby, which unfortunately means I’ve not had a great deal of time to spend on my various hobbies (I.E Drumming, Photography, Radio Control stuff), which this website now seems to be about.

Over the last year or so though I have found time in my busy schedule I have found the time to get some things done such as building a website for our wedding and the photos from our honeymoon in Kenya.

I’ve also found the time to get into studio portrait photography, buying a simple studio kit from Jessops. The interfit EX150 kit comes with almost everything you need to start (excluding a hot shoe adapter) and if I’m honest its a great little starter kit.  Now I just need to find people to use as my models that are not my wife (since she can be reluctant at times).  The results of my short time of testing can be seen below.

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I’ve also managed to persuade my brother to take up photography and his work can be seen flickr  To that end we have decided to start another website to display works from the both of us which can be found at

Now over the years I’ve promised to come back and update this website more often, kind of like a day to day blog but unfortunately I’ve always struggled finding the time.  I will endeavour to do better in future :)

GPS photo tracking for Free

Preparing for our trip to the lake district I really wanted a way to be able to;
a) See where I was
b) Geotag my photos on my return.

So after some digging around I came across a piece of GPS software called GPSed which is available for download on most mobile devices including luckily for me my blackberry.

The great thing about this service is you can tag photos to the “track” either from the device (for a fee) or from Flickr and assuming your computer and camera have their clocks synced it can fairly accurately tell you where you were when you took the photos. This then enables you to add the geotagging data to your image and services such as Flickr or Panoramio should be able to use this data.

For instance here is my track of our walk up the fell known as High Street in Cumbria.

After some jiggling about you can also export the GPX file and import it straight into google maps so that you can also post them straight to your blog like so.

View Larger Map

The following are images that I geotagged for our High Street walk in the Lake District

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Canon Remote Switch for £5

You may have seen my previous blog post about light painting and one of the things that I mentioned was the use of a remote shutter switch.

Now to buy one of these from Jessops for a Canon would cost £25 which for a piece of wire that completes a circuit is just plain silly.

So being the enterprising chap I am I made one myself, for the grand total of around £5, and now I intend to show you how I did it in a step by step tutorial.

All that you really need is as follows:

  • Soldering Iron + Solder(I already had these but Maplin sell them for £5)
  • Switch (£1.79 – Maplin)
  • 2.5mm Adapter(£1.99 – Maplin)
  • Required length of Speaker Wire
  • Pair of old headphones

Should be fairly obvious what you need to do next, but since this is a “How to” I’ll explain. 

  1. First strip both ends of the speaker wire using wire cutters/scissors/teeth.
  2. Solder the ends of the speaker wire to the switch (There is only 2 contacts so there is no way you could mess this up… I hope)
  3. Now you’ll be destroying those old headphones, remove the wire and all the plastic housing around the jack.
  4. If you managed the above step successfully you should now see 2 solder points, solder the other end of the speaker wire here
  5. Plug the headphone jack into the adapter
  6. Plug the adapter into your camera and take it for a spin!

The switch I used above is a locking switch which means you press it down and you need to press it again to release, this is perfect for light painting, but if you were going to be shooting portraits you’ll most likely want to replace this with a “push to make switch”

Obviously I’m a Canon shooter but this tutorial may work with other makes.

Painting with light

It’s a well accepted fact that when it comes to photography its all light, and of course that would mean you need to light your subject appropriatly before hitting the shutter release button right? Wrong!

 The technique known as Light Painting is not exactly a new concept but since I’ve only just had a chance to play with it I thought I’d tell the world.

Is this the holy grail?

No it is not the wine cup of a deity’s minor it is infact a faberge egg (not a real one obviously).

Here i’ll describe the process for anyone that’s still reading and not just looking at the pictures.

Camera (you will need some control over shutter speed, an SLR set to bulb mode is ideal)
Torch or some other way of painting your subject with light
Tripod or something to sit the camera on

Sweet wrappers etc to color the light (or filters if you have any)
Shutter release cable (this makes things easier)

To capture the image of this angry knife I set up my camera on a tripod and focused on the subject. This can be done manually or by the auto focus of the camera but you must remember to set the camera to manual before taking the shot. (Otherwise the autofocus will constantly hunt in the low light conditions)

Now if your using an slr you’ll want to set the camera to its lowest ISO which in my case is ISO 100, the reason for this is so that we can gradually add the light since the sensor isn’t over sensitive resulting in an over exposed image. You can adjust your aperture to suit your needs I personally shot these at f10.

For your shutter speed you will want to set the camera to bulb as it gives you plenty of time to play with your torch, on my Canon 400d this involves just scrolling right through the shutter speeds and it is at the end. If your camera doesn’t have a bulb setting you can set it to your longest exposure but remember your now working to a deadline.
Now the fun bit grab your torch and turn off the light.

If your operating in bulb mode you will need to keep your finger on the shutter button which is why I suggested the remote control, the alternative is to set the exposure time. Now you can have some fun by painting your subject with light.  Start passing your torch over the subject changing the color of your filter when necessary.
This is where practice comes in handy as you’ll not be able to see what you have already lit so you’ll be keeping a mental note of what colour is where.
Once you think your done just release the shutter button and view your results.

This is a great technique for the winter months since it doesnt require any daylight and anything can become interesting with a little time and effort.

Marwell Zoo

So last week it was mine and Sian’s berfday, and despite both of us suffering with the Flu we did manage to drag ourselves out of the house and get ourselves to the Zoo.  I of course had the camera with me and it was a beautiful day.

Here is my favourite (Which is a wonderful sleeping Leopard)

Pool Party.. or should I say Bath Party

So Saturday we all ventured up to James place to take advantage of the swimming pool at the mansion.  It was clear on the journey down however that the weather was going to be less than sunny as visibility on the dual carriage way dropped to nothing.  It really was raining sideways.  Now some people would have just turned back at this point and gone home to their nice warm room with the telly.  Not us though.

We arrived and promptly set about checking the temperature of the pool, which was a nice 35 degrees, and it wasn’t long before we were all swimming in the rain.  The pool was so warm it was literally like a bath and none of us cared about the weather outside.  There were points when you couldn’t see across the pool because of the amount of steam rising from the water.

Here are some of pic’s I captured on the camera phone when I wasn’t busy in the pool, there is generally a pirate theme.


Photos from the Air Tattoo… Part 2

Ok so last time I posted I hadn’t had a chance to go through all of the photos that I had taken at RIAT 2009 (Royal International Air Tattoo) so I thought I would post up some more.  This collection also includes some more of the stars of the day.  The vulcan bomber xh558 which returned to the sky after 14 years (And over £9 million later) If you are interested in hearing more of the Vulcan I recommend you visit the trust website here

Also included are the legendary Red Arrows.  I really cannot stress how much the photos do not do them justice though.  I was extremely pleased to have captured the following shot which almost shows you how incredibly close they get (Unfortunately the focus is a tad on the soft side)

Royal International Air Tattoo 2009 (RIAT 2009)

People tend to get their panties in a twist over wars and conflicts but it really is rather suprising the amount of people that turn up at airshows all over the world each year to witness the awesome power of some of the most sophisticated killing machines ever invented.  Personally the roar of a jet sends tiny jolts of electricity all over my body and blood thirsty killers or not you have to respect the feat of engineering that is the jet engine as we know it.

I was a little dissapointed however after looking over the display schedule as there were a number of regular visitors that were not on the list, I refer to the F15 eagle, mirage, osprey and even the harriers didn’t get a full set.  I can only assume this was because the pilots or the aircraft themselves were tied up in the various conflicts around the world.

The day itself was off again/on again sunny and we all managed to get a little burned despite this.  Of course I had my camera with me and I had managed to borrow Flo’s 200mm lense, so I present to you the first batch of photographs that I manage to capture (This is a small collection of the 450 frames I captured so there are more to come!)

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Photos from Papa Roach/Buckcherry at the o2

Ok don’t get too excited…

Here are a couple of pictures that I managed to take at the o2 Papa Roach/Buckcherry gig on my phone.  They are a bit crap and in no way show my photography abilities since they were taken on my piece of crap mobile phone.





As I said, crap.  But at least it proves I was there :D

Woodland Photography

Decided since I had the day off and it was such a beautiful day to take a trip out with the camera.

Some how I had forgotten that it was Bluebell season so that was a pleasant surprise.
Here’s my favourites from todays shoot.

Wood Photography & Sienna Wall

So this afternoon me and Sian escaped to the woods as the weather was fantastic, and as we’re walking along she politely tells me to be quiet as she could hear a wooshy windy noise.  The sound she could hear was infact the noise that occurs when lots and lots of little legs hit the soft earth and that was when we noticed the ant hill with many ants flowing over it.  Words cannot describe what a fantastic sight this was, something straight out of a documentary on the Amazon.

So I got in there with the camera and did my best to capture the moment, by the end of it I was absolutely crawling with ants.

Returning from our trip to the woods we decided to stop in and see Sian’s niece Sienna, and since I had my camera with me I figured I’d try and get some shots.  I’ve always heard that photographing Babies and Animals can be a little tricky but I found it was easy to work with Sienna, she was a natural and seemed to play up for the camera.

Anyway enough of my waffling on here are the fruits of my labour.

Pasties for the poor

If your like me and enjoy photography/art and upload to the internet to show family/friends/random people, no doubt you use or have at least heard of Deviant Art. One of the almost hidden feature’s of this site is the use of Pasties which allow you to show thumbnails of uploaded images on your website or blog.  

There is 1 downfall to this though, in order to be able to show images from your own gallery you must first be subscribed which for some people really isn’t an option.  Thankfully Chronosign has come up with another solution which personally I think works a little better (Although a little slower)

Deviant Art Pasties for the poor

Simply enter in your Deviant Art username and choose how many thumbnails to display and hit Get Code and it will generate the code for you to put into your HTML.

Here’s a selection from my Deviant Art account: monochrometear

Funny old photos!

Ok so I recently signed up to this ol’ facebook thingy, those of you that know me will know that I’m not generally a socialable person as it is so this may seem a little bizarre. Well it doesn’t really make much sense to me either.

What is really scarey though is the amount of people on there from my pass, not only people I went to Kennet School with, but people I went to Francis Baily with as well. There are a magnitude of old school photo’s being thrown around which I have started compiling into an “Embarrasing Photo” thread. So if you’ve come across across some embarrasing photos of yourself or others post em up, or give em to me to scan em in so we can all have a good giggle!!!

And to show that I’m not exempt here is one of me at Francis Baily, see if you can guess which one I am


Check out the rest of them here