To crop …

I seem to have lost all of my RAW files from a 2016 trip to Skye so have had old hard drives out today in a vain attempt to locate them. Whilst doing so I found some images from 2009 and took a detour – how unlike me to get distracted!

This one of Lumb Hole Falls caught my eye.  I had processed it so clearly I’d liked it enough to take the trouble to do that; I am notorious for processing very few images at the time, preferring to come back to them over a period of time, it’s why the loss of my 2016 RAWs is so annoying.

© Dave Whenham
Canon EOS 40D with 24-105 f4

Ignoring the fact that I’d probably process the file differently these days what struck me this afternoon was there are two images fighting with each other in this version which is clearly cropped from the original RAW file.  I haven’t been back for a while but from what I remember it would be possible to get a wider view, although this was shot at 24mm which was as wide as I could get in 2009. These days I’d get the 14-24 out, get lower … but that’s irrelevant.

© Dave Whenham

The first crop reduces that triangle of bland sky to a small patch and I like how the bridge is now hinted at. The eyes are  drawn first however by the boulders bottom left which lead the eye towards the falls.  There is no doubt as to the main subject, unlike the original version where my eyes jump back and forth between the two.

© Dave Whenham

It’s a similar story with the portrait crop which isolates the right hand fall.

I remember this morning well. It was extremely icy, you can see large bands of ice to the right of the falls in the third image, and I was stood in the river in wellington boots with ice cold water an inch from the top.  I’d gone with a fellow photographer and was grateful of the additional hands as I climbed back up the bank which is around eight feet high and quite sheer in places.

The other thing I notice is the processing. This appears to have a not-too-subtle Orton treatment and the whole image is a lot warmer than I’d probably opt for these days.

© Dave Whenham
I can’t remove the Orton effect but I can adjust the white balance for a cooler look

There is of course no substitute for cropping in-camera as it were and these days I’d have shot all three options I suspect. It’s a sign of how my approach has changed in the eight and a half years since I took this image. It’s also a reminder not to be afraid to crop after the fact if it improves on the original composition.

A day in the life …

9:50pm, weather forecast for tomorrow – starting bright and clear in most places. Thinks, “finally time to get the drone up for its first flight of 2018.”

  • Batteries charged – check!
  • Drone firmware up to date – check!
  • Drone in case – check!
  • Cables in case – check!
  • Memory cards – check!
  • Cleaning cloth – check!
  • Camera in bag – check!
  • Mobile phone on charge – check!
  • Portable phone battery – check!

11pm, gear checked,  packed and ready to go.


6am, alarm jerks me awake and I look out of the window. Wall to wall, nothing. Grey, grey, grey oh and more grey. The wife is in luck, no dawn shoot so a lift to work at 7am is on the cards.

7:39am, a test shot looking over the Nestle factory with some of Halifax’s architecture in background. Will look good I think with warm morning light on the warm coloured stone contrasting with the bright metallic feel of the factory in the foreground.

7:52am, coffee in front of me, transfer image from camera to iPad and marvel at modern technology yet again. My test shot is a keeper! Celebratory sausage and egg butty is called for.

© Dave Whenham
Looking over the Nestle factory to Halifax town centre (Snapseed edit)

8:23am, still grey, grey, grey. Abort and try tomorrow? Or drive out and hope?

Decisions, decisions.

8:24am, realise that there is a basket of dirty laundry awaiting me at home.

8:26am, in car heading for the moors!

8:38am, signs of some light creeping in.

8:53am, Pulled over on to some rough ground alongside the B6114, drone in the air.


First shot from the drone since early November. Checking later it’s a keeper too.

© Dave Whenham
Off the beaten track – just 25 feet above gives a different perspective


9:02am, drone at 200 feet above Buckstones. Light not good but I am getting some flying practice in too. A few snaps of which a couple will find their way on to Flickr in the afternoon.

© Dave Whenham
Still murky but good to have drone aloft

9:13am, Hands like ice so reach into bag for hand warmers.

9:14am, back in car. Hand warmers are still on my desk!

9:16am, heading back along B6114 and see a few crepuscular rays so pull over for a quick snap. Drone on the seat next to me so decide to use that rather than the Fuji.

© Dave Whenham
Crepuscular Marsden Moor

9:30am, back indoors. Coffee brewing, hands painfully returned to life as I drove and are now back to normal.

10:00am, images loaded into Adobe Bridge and a small smile of satisfaction on my lips.

© Dave Whenham
60 feet above Buckstones

View from 60 feet up above Buckstones looking down the road towards Rochdale (I know it’s beyond the horizon but stick on the road and you’ll get there).

Happy now to sort out the dirty laundry!

I want to go back …

I thought I’d share a work in progress. My plan is to revisit and amend this video in a couple of months time when I’ve had a chance to implement feedback on another PTE AV that I created recently.

Of course, as a work in progress it has many rough edges although I plan to maintain the length at 3 minutes and limit the images to 36.  I have a vague idea about 36 frames on a roll of 35mm film but it is very vague!

To conform or not to conform?

Hospital (again) this morning, routine blood tests so no stress just the inconvenience of arriving at 7.30am to be tenth in the queue, which is a lot better than turning up any later. They work hard at Calderdale Royal Infirmary that’s for sure. But you’ve not tuned in for a medical report!

I recently joined a dedicated audio visual group in order to expand my skills and most importantly get some impartial feedback. I have to submit a sequence (yup, already got the lingo) during March and I finished the first draft of one last week.  I said finished but added the caveat draft you notice; good practice is to leave the finished sequence for a day or two then watch it twice a day for a few days. Right, I thought, that’s a waste of time but I will try it.

© Dave Whenham
Light and dark – I don’t always conform.

Not to beat about the bush, I was wrong. On the first two viewings I tweaked a couple of things. After the third viewing I started to get annoyed at how a few of the slides didn’t quite dissolve into each other neatly. I spent half an hour sorting that out. After the fourth viewing I took all the music out and replaced it with new choices. Yesterday I watched it for the fifth time and completely scrapped the opening section and rebuilt it from scratch. An hours work for a newbie. © Dave Whenham

I’ve now watched it back eight times, making small changes until on the eighth viewing I finally decided there was nothing more I’d tweak.  At least not until I view it again I suspect.



But for now, PHEW!

There is a sting in the tail though. Reading some AV guidance notes from one of the larger UK clubs I’m now wondering if what I’ve done fundamentally breaks all the norms. I shall have to speak to my group leader for a view.  I’m happy to break the rules, but as it will be my first submission to the group I don’t want to upset the apple cart just yet. That can wait until I’m more settled in the group.

I’ve done a lot of reading and online searching this last week, eagerly absorbing any morsel of information that I can. Dedicated AV guidance is sparse. There is quite a bit available on using Pictures to Exe, the most popular software for the AV worker, either commercially or via YouTube. But general guidance is a lot harder to come by it seems. True, a lot of the skills needed are not specific to AV, but I’d expected to find something other than a few general, very high-level notes on AV Club websites. If anyone can point me in the direction of a book I’d be very appreciative!

I’m sure that there will be more words from me on this subject as the year goes on.

Watch this space!!