Midnight Isle

Welcome to the Midnight Isle, where you will find posts about my photography and other visual artistry.

If you'd like to find out about my other interests, I also have an aggregated blog, which includes articles about programming and other topics.

3d graphics airshows animal castle Croydon Eileen Donan exhibitions gallery haunted image manipulation Isle of Wight Kent landscape monochrome nature news panels photography Scotland sunset trees urban weather Yorkshire

On the Case

On the Case

My friend and I had been out for a walk, and whilst he returned to the car I took a slight detour for a potential photo (turned out not to be worth taking), but I came back to find nice lighting on his face and quickly grabbed this shot.

Maybe it was due to the book I'd been reading, but his hat, scarf and focused gaze brought to mind a private investigator, hence the title.

Processing was simple: converting to mono was a natural choice, there were over-exposed remnants of the car door to remove, then it was simply increasing clarity and cropping to complete the image.

Encroaching Despair

Encroaching Despair

Sometimes it can be a long time between photographic capture and realisation of an image. This one began life back in 2012, whilst out walking along by a lake that had flooded and caused a swamp-like area amongst some trees, but it was a couple of years later before the image emerged.

I use a collection in Lightroom to keep photos with potential but that are not yet completed images (for whatever reason), every so often I look through what it contains to see if inspiration bites. This one sat there for a while until I figured it out, but was worth the wait.

To see how I gradually tweaked an initial shot which many might reject, and used the versatility of both layer blend modes and adjustment layers to arrive at the final image, keep reading.



This photo was taken whilst being driven along the A3055 on the only sunny day of a trip last November to the Isle of Wight. My D750 and 24-140 F/4 lens were both new at that point, and I was seeing how well they worked.

With the camera set to Aperture priority at f/8, ISO 400, I spotted the potential and waited a brief moment to allow the cyclist to reach the right position before trusting the vibration reduction and auto-focus, and they didn't let me down.

Whilst the camera succesfully captured the moment, post-processing was required to reproduce the image above. If you're interesting in seeing the steps I took, read on.

Spirits in the Woods (v2)

Spirits in the Woods is a panel of manipulated photos I originally put together eight years ago, when I entered my first annual exhibition organised by Croydon Camera Club.

Not having entered the exhibition for several years, due to various reasons, but with this year being the 125th anniversary of the club, I made the effort to enter the Photo 2015 exhibition with a re-imagining of that panel.

View the Panel
It's the same theme and ideas, reworked into four images, and created from photos I specifically went out and took for the panel. This was a first for me - generally I'll go to take photos of whatever I might find, occasionally with vague notions, but without a clear intent/goal. My previous panels were all put together independent of the shooting stage.

Having set myself the aim of re-creating the panel, I made notes on what that meant; what I wanted in it. I then decided on a location I hoped would provide the necessary scenes, waited for appropriate weather, then went out solely to get the shots for the panel.

Note: This write-up was made over six months ago - the exhibition ended on 28th March - but circumstances have prevented the article from being finalised and put online before now.

Exhibition aside, it was a good experience and I'm glad I did it. If you're interested in details you can continue on to the full article for a write-up.

Folkestone Airshow 2012

At the weekend I went to the Folkestone Airshow, being held to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - the first in the area since the last Shepway Airshow held in 2003.

After an overcast start to they day, fortunately the sun came out and the sky cleared enough to make for some photographic opportunities by the time the planes turned up.

The photos were taken using a Sigma 70-300mm - a cheap lens with slow and noisy auto-focus - and I was uncertain how well it would perform, but I knew I wouldn't get the necessary reach with my standard 18-70mm, so I gave it a try.

As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised. Whilst I did have issues with the lens, I was still able to get some shots I was happy with.

Below is a selection of images, with more being available in the gallery.

(The Red Arrows started the display with seven planes, and unfortunately Red 6 had technical problems, further reducing the display to five - but they still put on a good show.)