Pinhole Forth Bridges

Format Image

Bridges Pinhole

The camera in top was used to stop the box blowing away :)
The camera in top was used to stop the box blowing away :)

Took this photo using a pinhole camera made from a Clarks shoe box.  10 minute exposure.  Took it in January but it’s taken me months to get round to developing it.  Scanned paper negative and used Photoshop to invert and adjust levels a little.

April on Campus

Remember that photo I shared with you last week?  That ever so summery March on Campus?  Well here’s the exact same photograph but taken today, exactly one week later.

Once again, this was taken with fifteen exposures on a Canon 550D.  The nature of the shots meant that the snow that was falling at the time was not captured so I have simulated to as close an accuracy as I can get using Photoshop, the falling snow that was present at the time of taking the shots.

Can you see?

I’m not going to be so nice this time around but there is a very major problem with this photo, can you spot it?  Hint:  Remember that this photo was taken using several shots.

March on Campus

This image is 78.33 Mega Pixels in size, all I can say is, try zooming in. The photo is taken using fifteen exposures on a Canon 550D.

Can you see?

Where’s Wally?
Some took use of the University’s Wifi? Can you see this laptop?
Legs Galore!
The Premiere Shop is making a killing this week but can you spot this six pack?
Have you ever actually seen anyone on this bridge before?
Can you see the second perspective of this photo?
The DJ was out to entertain us.
And let’s not forget the barbecue if any of us got peckish.

What else can you spot?

UPDATE – 25th July 2012 – USE OF THIS PHOTO

Various people within the University of Dundee have contacted me enquiring about use of this photograph.  I’ve had at least three people contact now so I thought I’d make things clear here.  I’m more than happy for this photo to be used within all publications that support the University of Dundee, whether this be publications for possible applicants, as a picture in the Magdalen magazine, in research publications, any thing at all.  I’m more than happy for it to be used by all and anyone at the University.  I’d appreciate a credit, something along the lines of “Photo by former student Andy Barratt” however I recognise that design style may be hindered and so if no credit is given, I don’t mind.  I have a career because of Dundee Uni and this is such a tiny thing in return :)

TomTom Respond

We were not impressed when we found this sign.
We were not impressed when we found this sign.

Remember this photo that I took? Well after receiving over a thousand hits on Flickr I received a comment posted by TomTom themselves stating that after seeing the photo, which I geotagged on Flickr to show where it was taken, they have now corrected the route along with some cheeky/light hearted advice on how people can submit changes to be made on their mapping service.

Hi Andy – we spotted your photo on FlickR, and wanted to let you know that we have corrected this on our maps, and it will be available in new map releases. Thanks for bringing it to our attention! It’s worth adding, that we always appreciate feedback from our users, and the more conventional (!) route for logging map errors is through this link: Come and see us on ;-)

You may also recall that I showed that Google Maps displayed the same error while Yahoo Maps did not. Well it turns out that Google receives its data from TeleAtlas, which as it would happen, is owned by TomTom. Therefore I expect the same correction that TomTom has made will appear on Google Maps thus helping not just owners of TomTom devices but also those using GPS devices that rely on Google Maps.

It’s good to know that TomTom provide a system for feedback and I’m sure I may well submit more corrections in the future.

TomTom, iPhone, Social Media and The Modern Road Trip

This post has not yet been checked for grammer, spelling or rambling nonsense.

We were not impressed when we found this sign.
We were not impressed when we found this sign.

I have been lucky enough to be given the week off to spend time with my daughter, the first part of this little holiday though, is the road trip to go and collect her.

Now in the past, people have often said “make sure you call me when you get there” so that they know you arrive safely at a destination after a long journey. Some even go as far as wanting regular updates during your journey to know how that you haven’t died in a horrific traffic collision on route. And of course there’s the age old question, “did you find your way ok?” No longer must I endure tedious conversations, bring in the TomTom, the iPhone and my good friend, Web 2.0!

Having been a user of 4Square in the past, I have abanded it for Facebook’s own “Places.” With this, we checked our selves in at every service station we stopped at to show how far we had come. The Facebook App on my iPhone simply checked the GPS to see where I was and came up asking if I wanted to check in at the service station I was at. Within minutes, a flurry of messages come in from people wanting to know where I’m going. My facebook “friends” now all know that I’m away for the week and so not to try and find me, beautiful. Can you tell I’m not the social type yet? How interesting that I use social media as a tool to be anti-social.

Our TomTom was happily guiding us to our destination in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire when it took us off the main roads and onto some little country roads. Though happy for the scenic interlude we were not so happy when we were taken down a little dirt track and encountered the sign picture above. A quick photo was taken and uploaded to Facebook where the joys of Schadenfreude (Happiness at the misfortune of others) took over, a “love it” appeared from my brother along with a few more comments.

Google vs Yahoo Maps showing error on route.
Google vs Yahoo Maps showing error on route.

Interestingly, Google Maps agreed with our TomTom about the route however a check with Yahoo showed the dead end that the sign referred to. We added a route correction to TomTom to be uploaded to their server though I’m sure people have reported the error before and we were still sent down this route.

Finally we arrived in town and discovered that we would be waiting for an hour or two before being able to pick up the monster her self. We decided to stop in a café where we ordered pizza, with a check in at the café, people could see that we’d arrived in town safely. After waiting an while for our pizza, we realised a new problem, the waitress had no idea which tables to take food to and so was wandering around each table asking if they had ordered a margarita pizza. If anyone said yes, they got our pizza, she never came to us first. Eventually I decided to open up Google Latitude on my phone. This app shares my current location with my select friends all the time, it also lets me know them know how long I’ve been at a given location. According to Latitude, we had been in the café for a full 58 minutes when our food arrived. We ate and I left the image below on our table upon leaving.

Drawing left in Café
A little message I left after watching my pizza delivered to the wrong table at the Bellview Café.

A lot of the technologies in social media and smart phones are welcomed with a view of “would anyone actually use it?” or “what’s the point?” Well I believe all these little things add to a larger conversation, they may not be necessity but if you think about the last conversation you had with someone, consider how much of what was said was actually necessary and how short and dull the conversation would have been without them. It was Douglas Adams who noted with his character Ford Prefect that humans really do speak a lot of stuff that there is no reason that needs to be said. Our technology is adding to that conversation now, while we’re talking less with our voices, we do seem completely incapable of shutting up.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at HDR photography for a while. For those of you who don’t know, HDR is a set of techniques used to capture as much detail in a photograph as possible through the use of different exposures, using photo editing software such as Photoshop.

Here is my first attempt, a picture of the Onyar River in Girona, Catalonia, Spain taken from the Plaça de Catalunya.

Onyar North

The image above is made up of four different exposures. One photo, for example, with a long shutter speed captured much of the detail in the buildings by the side of the river but the bright lights of the church spire, bridge and reflections from the water were burnt out leaving much our image washed out in places.

With a shorter shutter speed, the detail of the spire and other bright objects were in much greater detail but our houses, completely in the dark.

The solution is to take several photographs, under exposing and over exposing and all points in between. Using software like Photoshop, these can be merged together and played with to get the desired effect of a contrast ratio that as of yet, no camera is capable of.

Anywho, I’m not here to write a review or tutorial in HDR, just that I’ve given it a go, created the above image and being rather pleased with the result and think I shall spend much of tomorrow wandering around with my camera to see what else I can do.

Speak soon,

Andy :]

update: Have now started a set on Flickr for HDR photos here

Going Analogue >:]

When I was learning photography back in my days at Cardonald College I was being taught to take photos on black and white film, old SLR film cameras and exorcist feeling dark room. I loved it.

At the time I’d acquired several cameras on eBay and from friends who didn’t want them anymore. My favourite was the Olympus OM10. The funny thing is, it wasn’t as feature filled as the other cameras, in fact, it was probably the worst of the bunch but I adored it.

Well, in the year of our long dead lord, 2007, I sold every one of my cameras and every one of my lenses to raise funds to buy a digital SLR. It was mortifying but worth it. The Nikon D40x that I bought has done wonders and I’ve even won an award for one of my many photos taken on it and had my work displayed in a coffee shops too… until they closed… for reasons other than my photography I might add XD

Something I loved with old film photography was its disgustingly physical nature. I may be a computer scientist but I’ve always had a little fetish for all things analogue, I have a type writer in my room, I love rotary phones, old washing machines that make that ferocious clicking noise, doors with big iron locks and keys that go “clunk” as you turn them.

I love how SLR cameras make that snapping noise as the mirror inside flips up, the aperture takes position and the shutter opens up for the light to burn into the film at the back. I love working under a red filament light bulb as I process the film and project it with prehistoric equipment onto photographic paper, watching the image slowly fade into life under the liquid I submerge it in, hanging wet black and white photos on a washing line to let them dry.

So I’ve bought a camera on eBay, they’re all so cheap now, I knew I would be happy with the Olympus OM series, so did I buy the OM1 or OM2 with all the features that I could possibly want? No, I bought the OM10, again. Fuck what the other guys say, if you need features to take good photos, you’re not doing it right >:]

I’m signing up the the DCA (Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre) to get access to their dark room and I’ve already got my way through three and a third Ilford Black and White 400 films.

I’ve scanned the photos from back then and uploaded them to Flickr:

One Stop Up

I’m used, now, to receiving odd glances from strangers in public wondering what I’m up to, what’s so interesting about a thistle, or a motor cycle parked down an alleyway. Often I’ll be asked questions by curious passers by who obviously think I’m a member of the local newspaper. I usually just tell them they’ll read about it later or that it’s just artsy rubbish and I won’t bore them with the details, you see, I’m an amateur photographer, and I take my camera everywhere I go.

As many like me will tell you, the day you forget your camera, that’s the day you see the most tremendous shot, the one that you will never again be able to capture, and it’s true.

Since August I’ve been planning to capture the morning sunrise that can only be captured early on a January morning, my plan was that I’d catch the bus as usual everyday to college and on the day that the clouds have gone wandering and the solar cycle matches the exact time of the buses journey that the distant star’s orangey glow spreads over the dew on the meadows towards the road, I would hit the bell and capture the landscape in the short few minutes that it exists, of course, it just so happened that this day did finally arrive after five months of waiting and of course, I’d forgotten to charge my camera’s battery the night before! This being a battery that only needs a charge once a week with my usage and I let it run down, I hopefully checked the scene over the next few days but the clouds had returned from their vacation and had no plans of moving soon.

Since then, I’d been having a bit of “Photographers Block” where I just couldn’t spot a decent shot anymore. There’s a world of beauty to be captured through the lens out there and the key to a good photo is to be able to spot what to the naked eye looks just ordinary and through capturing it in a rectangle some how show it as something spectacular. The problem with a photography block is, I could no longer do this, having started to feel like the shot that I dreamed about had just blown past, the motivation that powered that vigilant eye had gone.

Now for a while I’ve had canvas prints of some of my photos on the wall in my living room and for a while my friends and family that visit have told me that I should take them to places in Dundee and try to sell them, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but something I’ve always thought of as just a dream, well today I finally decided to try it out.

I took one of my prints off the wall and stuck a label on the back stating it was one of a limit of fifty I’d be willing to print, I took the advice of some friends online, valued it at