Posts Tagged ‘Canary Wharf’

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A comp of three images here from the Docklands/Canary Wharf collection.

It’s an area of London that, like so many others in the City, is so full of photographic promise. There are two great likelihoods in photographing parts of London in 2009 :

1/ You’ll get some fantastic images

2/ Completely unexpectedly – or maybe not, now – there’ll be a request not to use your camera …could be the police, a jobsworth security guard, or … the latter, speaking through a mic, plumbed into a ‘speaker somewhere near you.

The last option, where you’re being observed via perhaps a distant camera (!), does seem strange …my own photos are neither for commercial gain (I’d have asked for a ‘permit’), nor for terrorism … I actually quite enjoy photography, thanks … there’s no ulterior motive in my case. However, by photographing certain things in the UK in 2009, we’re apparently guilty until we can prove our innocence.

It seems strange that, in these ever-changing times, our ability to record UK life photographically is so inhibited by the people we ultimately elect to run the country … but one of the best ways to be inconspicuous is to use an LX3, set to RAW capture for ultimate flexibility & quality.

Do that, and read up on the legalities of photography in a public place, work ethically, use your common sense, and you should be able to capture some fantastic images…unscathed, I hope.

Many more LX3 images – of London, and many other subjects – can be found and viewed in safety (!) at http://nickbland.zenfolio.com. Don’t forget to also take a look at http://1001noisycameras.com for more on the LX3 and many other ‘must-have’ photographic tools, which so far, can stil be bought legally !

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Thanks to its Leica-logo’d f2-2.8 lens, the LX3 has proven itself to be a stunning low-light camera. There’s a feeling amongst many that shooting in low-light is a relatively rare requirement, and that most photography – literal translation from latin being ‘drawing with light’ – takes place when there’s some light to draw with !

Well, for those of us in the UK who are finding that, this week at least, there’s some real summer weather, we all know that this can’t generally be relied upon, in this green & pleasant land;  conditions are more normally much cooler, wetter, and often overcast. Thus, there’s a real need here for ‘low-light ability’ in a camera, and the light-gathering capability of an f2 (at 24mm equiv.) to f2.8 (at 60mm equiv.) lens really makes a difference.

The fact that it’s a really sharp one, with little noticeable distortion following processing, really helps to produce what I feel is a way better quality of low-light image than the output of the previous champ – the infamous Fuji F30. As I still have my F30 (and amazingly still in pretty well ‘as new’ condition), it’s been easy to make a direct comparison. LX3 has far more detail, less smearing, and its fast lens allows a lower ISO to be used, further reducing the possibility of noise that needs noise reduction, and the artifacts associated. If you want to replace an F30/31, the LX3 is also a far better performer in bright light conditions.

This dusk shot, from my collection of Canary Wharf/Docklands images, is a good example of what’s possible, handheld, under such conditions. That the full gamut of colour remains intact is also testament to the quality of LX3, that just wasn’t possible on a small camera even 18 months ago – we have much to be thankful for !

More LX3 low-light (and ‘normal-light’ !) shots in new & updated galleries … just go to http://nickbland.zenfolio.com and choose from the many subjects, each in their own folder for ease of use.

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For all LX3 users out there – have you ever actually had large prints from your files ?

I just received today 3 prints that I’d ordered via upload the other evening. They’re 24″ x16″  (that’s the paper size …my images are in 16:9, so they’re printed full width, shorter in height) … and all look fantastic.

But the real killer ?    That’s a 30″ x 20″ print of  one of my recent Canary Wharf favourites (16:9, same again), top left, which looks absolutely stunning ! Thought I’d try it, just to see … being used to prints from my D3, I really wasn’t expecting this – and there was no special post-processing, just my usual, and the results really are spectacular – I’ll be organising frames this weekend.

If you’ve not yet bothered to ‘print large’ from your LX3, treat yourself – I can’t recommend it highly enough …and I reckon you’ll be really surprised by what can come from a carefully designed small-sensor camera, with albeit an amazing lens – EVEN if you’re a DSLR owner/user as well.

By the way, these images were all shot handheld.  Many more LX3 16:9 images at http://nickbland.zenfolio.com

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From the weekend while I was at Excel, I processed this image of Poplar DLR station from the RAW file, then in DxO Labs FilmPack v2, and liked the Selenium toning option, in keeping with the style of the image. I chose not to add grain, so as to maintain smooth sky and detail on the platform and tracks.

For more details, go to http://www.dxolabs.com where there’s a free trial download of the software. You may also be interested in checking out http://www.duggal.com for more information on the expert development partner that DxO chose to work with.

As usual, visit http://nickbland.zenfolio.com for a separate LX3 gallery dedicated to DxO Labs FilmPack v2 conversions, where you can see how well it works with LX3 high-res files – enjoy !

20 CANADA SQUARE

20 CANADA SQUARE

Auto White Balance – Revisited.

I’m using the LX3 more than ever lately, setting it for RAW + jpeg capture, and find myself using SilkyPix to process the RAWs when the mood takes me. This is really only to extract maximum quality from the file, though, and I’ve found that Panasonic’s most recent firmware upgrade has made a huge improvement to the quality of the LX3 Auto White Balance.

This has been to the extent that unless for creative reasons, I’m not needing to change from the AWB in SP. Nice to have the option, but generally no need to go there. Not only is this a time-saver, but makes the whole photography process that much more enjoyable. Without doubt, I was previously finding the wb to be quite a way out, on daylight and especially tungsten lighting. In my experience so far, this latest upgrade has now made LX3 colour rendering reliable in virtually all lighting conditions.

Visit  http://nickbland.zenfolio.com for more new images, as well as many LX3 galleries

REFLECTIONS OF CANARY WHARF

REFLECTIONS OF CANARY WHARF

Another from the series, as promised, and got an e-mail as soon as I’d posted this to my zenfolio site  http://nickbland.zenfolio.com  … reminded one viewer of his old 4″x5″ days. I’d be blown away if LX3 could get close to 4×5 format film (it’s great, but not quite that great), although it does act as a reminder that what we have in our hands is a powerful, very portable tool that does offer amazing quality for what it is.

Being acutely aware – how couldn’t we be ? – of the current (unrealistic) oversensitivity by companies, security staff and the UK ‘government’ about photographing things in the UK at present, that makes an even better case for using an LX3 over a DSLR in these situations, and is certainly the difference between getting a shot and none at all.

Go to http://nickbland.zenfolio.com for new & updated LX3 galleries !

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Having spent the last few days at the ExCel exhibition centre for the London International Music Show, I made time during the trip to visit Canary Wharf, for a look around some of the stunning architecture that the area is known for.

Also, it was a great opportunity to make the best of the LX3’s 16:9 format, and I was keen to see if I’d miss a DSLR for such shots. Given that some organisations are clearly very edgy about anyone capturing images of their premises, there’s no doubt that a high-end compact is definitely the tool for the job, and I didn’t feel I’d had to compromise quality.

This is the first of several images of the area I’ll be posting, and Canary Wharf & India Dock are highly recommended for some interesting additions to any photographer’s portfolio … and a useful motivator for pushing one’s creativity in a quite unusual environment.

Go to http://nickbland.zenfolio.com for more new Canary Wharf/London images, as well as many LX3 galleries