LHPS ‘Modern Times’ themed Photo Competition

Well I’m the last person who would have thought it possible but I’ve managed to repeat the success rate I had in the ‘Work’ themed competition by collecting all three top places and a highly commended again in the  ‘Modern Times’ competition.

All four images were shot with my HTC One X mobile phone camera. Since getting the phone I’ve developed a real interest in the art of mobile photography and love having the ability to take, process and post shots all from the same device and the fact that you can get your images out there sometimes within minutes of taking them.

Here are my competition entries;

Second Place - The New Three Graces

Second Place – The New Three Graces

Third Place - A digitized world

Third Place – A digitized world

Highly Commended - Urban Respray

Highly Commended – Urban Re-spray

LHPS Work themed Photo Competition

I’ve been a member of the Liverpool Hope Photography Society (LHPS) since it was founded almost three and a half years ago, and, whilst I’ve had several ‘Commended’ and Highly Commended’ competition results, up until now I have only had one top three placing in any of the competitions. It came as quite a surprise, therefore, when I took all three top places and a Highly Commended in the ‘Work’ themed competition held late last month.

Needless to say, I am very pleased 🙂

Here are my winning entries;

First Place - Carrying Passengers

First Place – Carrying Passengers

Second Place - School Work

Second Place – School Work

Third Place - Railway man

Third Place – Railway man

Highly Commended - Late Night at the Office

Highly Commended – Late Night at the Office

Mobile Photography – A Sample Android Workflow

I’ve recently become very interested in the growing art of Mobile Photography. This interest has been partly spurred on by all the incredible images I’ve seen posted in the Mobile Photography communities in Google+, however, the biggest driving force has been how accessible mobile photography can be.

A much used quote is ‘The best camera is the one that’s with you’ and its certainly true. I rarely have my Digital SLR with me when I’m travelling to work or whilst out shopping because its too bulky and heavy, but I’ve always got my ‘mobile’ camera with me.

With this in mind I decided that I’d better learn how to get the most out of it as, rather obviously, a mobile camera is not going to have the same functionality as my DSLR. I soon learned that the real secret of mobile photography is getting to know the best apps available to achieve the results you want, as almost all of the secrets to successful mobile photography lie in the post processing you apply to your original image.

This post is a sample post processing workflow that I’ve applied to an image I took of one of the victims of Vesuvius on a recent visit to Pompeii.


  • The original image I took was very flat, lighting conditions weren’t good and the display cabinet was constantly surrounded by other visitors making it difficult to avoid the poor lighting.
  • The first thing I did was open the image in the Pixlr Express app and apply ‘Auto Fix’ and tweak the ‘Contrast’ levels. Next I cropped in closer to lose some of the background distractions. This was also done in Pixlr Express.
  • The next process was to apply some pseudo depth of field to further isolate the subject from the background. I used the AfterFocusPro app to achieve this effect.  Unfortunately, because there is no stylus capability on the HTC One X, you have to paint over the area you want to keep in focus with your finger which is not particularly accurate, as you will be able to see by looking around the base of the skull.
  • Going back into Pixlr Express I desaturated the image to attempt to mask the areas that AutoFocus pro had missed and because I felt black and white better suited the image. I also sharpened the image using ‘Unsharp Mask’ and added a white frame.
  • The final processing was carried out using Snapseed to add texture and drama to the image.

If you go down to the woods today…

First camping expedition of the year, 2 nights at the Camping and Caravan Club Delamere Forest Site.

Snow was coming down heavy as we left for the site on Friday evening but I’m glad we persevered as we got to enjoy a lovely winters weekend in the forest.

Most of these pictures were taken on the Saturday morning. I went out really early with Gromit and we had the forest virtually to ourselves.


Wow! what a beautiful city.

Having just left rain and wind-swept Britain behind to find ourselves enjoying a cold beer whilst basking in warm bright sunlight, we once again questioned why on earth we still haven’t emigrated south!

We spent virtually all of our first days holiday travelling having risen at 5:30am and finally reaching our hotel at 7:00pm. Actual combined flying time was about 2.5 hours, all the rest was getting to, through and from airports!

We didn’t wander too far from the hotel on the first night as we were quite tired and hungry, so settled for a quick visit to Burger King, something we rarely do, and watched the Strictly Come Dancing final on the television in our room, something Barb was extremely pleased about.

As we really only had one full day to enjoy Barcelona I had downloaded a city guide app for my phone so we could easily locate the best things to see, unfortunately owing to the inaccuracy of the GPS signal this did not go as well as I’d hoped and ended up with Barb and I having a difference of opinion on the usefulness of modern technology!

After a quick visit back to the hotel to obtain some street maps we once more headed off to see the sights.. here are a few images taken during the day.

Barcelona Bubble Maker

Barcelona Bubble Maker

Barcelona street art

Barcelona street art

Roof top terrace at hotel H10 Montcada

Roof top terrace at hotel H10 Montcada

UK Photography Blue Skies Event Gallery

The Google Plus UK Photography Group held a Blue Skies event from Friday 9th to Monday 12th November 2012. The rules were simple; post some pictures taken in the UK showing Blue Skies.. most people figured that out.

Here are two of the four images I posted to the event. Both were taken using my HTC One X phone camera. The Dead Lake image has been slightly post processed in Gimp 2.8, the Salthouse Quay image has only had a slight crop applied and has been resized.

Dead Lake, Delamere Forest, Cheshire

Dead Lake, Delamere Forest, Cheshire.

Salthouse Quay, Liverpool, Merseyside

Salthouse Quay, Liverpool, Merseyside

The complete event gallery can be viewed by clicking here.

Monsoon Downpour, Piliyanda SOS Village, Sri Lanka

My first experience of monsoon rains. This one was quite short in duration, no more than 15 minutes, but quite torrential. Fortunately we managed to avoid being caught in one throughout our stay as mostly they occurred in the very early hours of the morning or while we were teaching indoors.

Monsoon Downpour

Monsoon downpour, Piliyandala Village, Sri Lanka

#srilanka   #monsoon

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Two Tribes go to the Ice

Cardiff Devils and Nottingham Panthers line up before the start of the Elite League Play Off Finals

Cardiff Devils and Nottingham Panthers line up before the start of the Elite League Play Off Finals

Just enjoyed a great weekend in Nottingham attending the 2012 Elite League Ice Hockey Play-off Finals. Unfortunately our team, the Belfast Giants, got knocked out 4-3 in the first semi final by the Cardiff Devils, who also happen to be the team supported by two close friends of ours. The game ended up a 3-3 tie even after going into extra time and finally had to be decided by penalties.

Cardiff Devils went on to play the Nottingham Panthers who had beaten the Hull Stingrays 10-3 in their semi final on Saturday. The two teams seemed very evenly matched through the first two periods and into the beginning of the third but then Nottingham piled on the pressure and following a particularly heavy onslaught managed to get the first goal of the game with only seven minutes left to go. Cardiff came back but couldn’t sink the puck. With only two minutes to go Cardiff took off their net-minder and played strikers in the hope of a last minute goal but, unfortunately for them, that went to Nottingham as they managed to sink one more puck into an empty goal.

I did take my camera with me but couldn’t take any images inside the arena other than with my phone which is not great in low indoors lighting.

That all said we had a great weekend and it was brilliant to see all the fans from the other teams coming together to enjoy what I think is the best team sport ever 🙂