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Gavin Gough's Blog

Gavin Gough's Blog
A Freelance Travel Photographer's blog and photo galleries
Articles: 1, 2, 3


Interesting Links Garage Sale
2010-01-08 08:45:00
Welcome to my URL Garage Sale . These links have been in my family for generations (well, in my “blog” folder for a few weeks – same thing) but the time has come to clear out and make space for some new URLs. I pick up these little gems as I go about my virtual travels and pop them into my gentleman’s valise, hoping that they will prove of passing interest to you upon my return. Like all good souvenir collections, they’re a random mix with no discernible theme other than their sparkle has caught my magpie-eye in passing. Enjoy! Selling Stock Independently A Photo Editor looks at some photographers who are going it alone in the beastly world of stock photography. Olympus Pen E-P1 Old news now but I really like the look of these little ankle-biters. Photography is not a crime The BJP report on how a photographer joined their not-a-crime campaign by standing on a plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square. British Photojournalism Celebrated The Press Photog...
More About: Interesting , Links
How to get your first commission
2010-01-06 08:11:00
Interested in knowing how to go about securing your first photographic commission? The current edition of Digital Photographer magazine includes my article on this very subject. The article discusses things like establishing a brand, creating a memorable profile, how to approach the market, how to go about sealing the deal and how to protect your intellectual property rights (copyright). I hope that it’s the kind of article that will serve as a good introduction to these topics and which will give aspiring photographers plenty to think about as they begin to think about approaching potential markets for their work. You’ll need to buy a copy of the magazine to read the article in full but here’s a couple of quotes to whet your appetite. On Getting started: “Before you leap in and start pitching for business, it’s worth allowing yourself time for a quick brain-storming session. Take yourself off somewhere quiet where you can concentrate and ask questions like...
More About: Commission
January Desktop Wallpaper & the New Year
2010-01-05 12:35:00
Out with the old and in with the new. For those of us who have what might most politely be described as a tendency towards order and organisation, the arrival of a new year is like a breath of fresh air. It’s a time of renewal and regeneration, perhaps even a time of reinvention. There’s something empowering about the simple action of moving from one year into the next. We are able to draw a line in the sand, potentially leaving bad habits behind and can take delight in the seemingly unending stretch of fresh, unblemished sand that stretches out before us. What kind of footprints will you be leaving in 2010? Will they be solid, firmly rooted steps that travel in straight lines from A to B? Do you have a clearly defined sense of the direction that you’ll be travelling? Can you see your destination and have you been able to identify any obstacles that might impede your progress during the year ahead? January ’s wallpaper shows the sun rising above Castlerigg S...
More About: New Year , Desktop , Wallpaper
Kumbh Mela (India) Photo Tour Announced
2009-12-21 06:00:00
It’s difficult to measure the excitement with which Matt Brandon and I are announcing this photo tour. Off the scale probably. The 2010 Kumbh Mela photo tour will commence on April 6th in Delhi. Matt and I will greet eight lucky photographers and begin by spending a short time finding our feet in Delhi before travelling to Varanasi, where we will photograph the activities along the banks of the sacred Ganges river. Varanasi is, without doubt, one of my favourite photographic locations and there will be much for us to enjoy. That alone would be sufficient to get my pulse racing but the highlight of this unique trip will be when we reach Haridwar and begin photographing the Kumbh Mela festival. We’ve arranged the trip to coincide with the most auspicious bathing day, on April 14th, when the river Ganges will be the centre of attention for tens of thousands of eager devotees. Indeed, on the last such day, in 2001, five million Hindu pilgrims participated. It is difficult ...
More About: India , Photo , Tour
A Bangkok Photo Workshop
2009-12-19 04:22:00
Photo workshops in Bangkok are always a treat and yesterday’s was no exception. It’s invariably a pleasure to explore some of Bangkok’s most photogenic locations and never more so than when in the company of an enthusiastic photographer. Young Gaby, from the Netherlands, is typical of many of the photographers who come on my photo workshops. Her enthusiasm for the locations, for soaking up the culture and for establishing rapport with the local people outweighed her desire to leave with great images, which is just as it should be. It’s always reassuring when visitors show that they have an empathy for the people who’s lives we interrupt with our big cameras and pidgin-Thai. As always, we spent some time perfecting our panning technique. This images comes from one of my favourite locations within the market where the dark background helps make sunlit subjects stand out as they walk or cycle past. A few yards from the river taxi stop where we begin the ...
More About: Photo , Workshop
Bangkok Photo School: Photographers’ Reference Card
2009-12-17 19:33:00
Towards the end of last month’s Bangkok Photo School classes, where we were teaching both Beginners and Intermediate classes, we launched a competition to design a photographer’s cue card. The prize for the designer of the best cue card was a copy of Chris Orwig’s excellent Visual Poetry book, which was clearly enough of a motivation to prompt dozens of innovative and creative designs to be submitted. The aim of the competition was to produce a handy, credit card-sized guide that could serve as a quick reminder of those technical basics that sometimes slip our minds in the heat of the moment. Young Tony West, one of our Beginners, produced a design that ticked all the right boxes. The double-sided reference card will be especially useful for photographers who’d like to be reminded of the basic principles that we employ when photographing: apertures, depth-of-field, exposure control etc. I especially like the list of compositional suggestions. Tony is current...
More About: Card , Reference
Travel Photographer of the Year 2009: Winners
2009-12-16 12:44:00
Winners of the illustrious Travel Photographer of the Year competition have just been announced and the winning images are, as always, impressive, eclectic and inspiring. This is the first year for four years where I didn’t make the shortlist, I think it will be something to do with not having entered However, as with previous years, being amongst the winners would have been a terrific honour. The images are varied, come from entrants in dozens of different countries and reflect a wide range of topics and subjects. I notice that there are a few HDR images amongst this year’s winning entries. Thankfully, not the overblown, other-worldly examples that often make my computer monitor shiver and weep. Akash, from Bangladesh, is the Travel Photographer of the Year, with some lovely story-telling images that show great movement. I’m a sucker for long-exposures and Akash’s are beautifully executed. I especially like this image of a young woman perching between the ...
More About: Winners
Embedding Lightroom galleries into WordPress
2009-12-15 10:35:00
Whilst we’re looking at Lightroom tweaks, the ever-dynamic Marco Ryan has a solution for anyone looking to embed Lightroom galleries into a WordPress installation. You’ll need to install the Kimili plug-in and do a little manipulation but, as Marco’s portfolio shows, the resulting galleries look good and work well.
More About: Wordpress , Galleries
Tips to speed-up Lightroom
2009-12-13 21:52:00
I have a backlog of hints, tips, stories and random urls to post that I haven’t yet got around to sharing with you so look out for more of these in the coming week. One of the most useful of these is for Lightroom users who may occasionally be biting the edge of their laptops in frustration as Lightroom begins to slow down. On the whole, Lightroom is pretty good at keeping pace with the way I work – which tends to be as quickly as possible. Hours spent processing image files is not, if I’m honest, at the top of my list of the most delightful ways to spend my time. However, it’s an occupational hazard and my list of Lightroom catalogues grows steadily, as does the number of hours I clock up bashing my way through that familiar grey interface, so anything that can reduce the time I have to spend in front of the computer is very welcome. Young Jack Kurtz is: a) one of the most experienced photojournalists I know, b) a thoroughly pleasant gentleman, c) a fellow s...
More About: Tips , Speed
Photoshelter: Embedding Galleries
2009-12-08 21:30:00
Whilst we’re on the subject of Photoshelter, one of the other things I like about having my images archived with them is that they provide various means to get your images noticed. They’re hot on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and offer detailed guidelines on how to get your images indexed and ranked. They also offer swish little tools, like this slideshow facility, which enables archive owners to embed customisable slideshows into their web site or blog, as illustrated by the slideshow of street portraiture, below. On another note, I’ve received a number of enquiries about the Kumbh Mela photo tour that Matt Brandon and I are running next year. You may have noticed the advert in the right-hand side-bar of this page. The tour hasn’t been officially announced yet but we will be distributing the full itinerary and price later in the week. We have a contact in India at the moment, sourcing accommodation and checking on logistics. However, in order to be fair...
More About: Galleries
Web site re-launch
2009-12-07 17:00:00
Welcome to my new-look web site. I hope you like the new design, which now proudly boasts integration with my Photoshelter archive. I’ve been a fan of Photoshelter for some time and all of my clients are familiar with the process of downloading their images from my archive. It’s a great storage facility and, importantly, offers me a remote back-up facility. It’s also earned its keep on many occasions when I’ve needed to deliver hi-resolution files to a client but have not been near an Internet connection with wide bandwidth. Once the hi-res files are stored in the archive, I just need to make a connection somehow and I can release files to clients. I’ve done this a number of times via my phone and have made sales from such varied locations as a boat in the middle of Lake Windermere, whilst speeding along on the Bangkok Skytrain and from the middle of a rice paddy in Bali. When your livelihood depends upon meeting clients’ needs at short notice, th...
More About: Site , Launch
Dreaming of the stars
2007-10-31 10:13:00
Sadly, I don?t have a lot of luck with judges associated with the RPS. I have a theory as to why that is but suffice to say that the judge at last night?s WPS photo competition wasn?t terribly impressed with my image of a down-and-out asleep on the street.It?s an image that I?ve treated and post-processed in an attempt to bring out the grotty surroundings and I?ve tried to emphasise the vulnerability of the man. However, for one judge at least, it wasn?t a success. I?m going to stick to more ordinary interpretations for future WPS competitions.Probably.
More About: Stars , Dreaming , The Star
Morocco Tannery
2007-10-23 16:30:00
Returning to some of my pictures from Morocco this week, I?ve found time to re-process a couple. I always liked the shot of this tannery worker, not least because he was one of the few people in Morocco willing to be photographed.Processing the shot to give a slightly more contrasty effect and adding a vignette and a border seems to have set the image off quite well.I like his stained hands and dye-spattered face and the weary expression he seems to have. His co-workers were very amused to see him being photographed and teased him mercilessly. He simply took a drag on his cigarette, smiled and shrugged.
More About: Rocco
2007-10-21 12:37:00
After a very pleasant lunch with Tewfic on Friday, I took a leisurely ferry ride down the Thames to the Tate Modern to see the giant crack that has been made in the floor of the massive Turbine Hall.The crack forms an artwork, an installation by Doris Salcedo called ?Shibboleth?. Now, whether or not you think that a giant crack in the floor of a building can be considered ?art? or not you?d have to admit that it?s an absolutely fascinating thing to see. The crack itself is, well, it?s a crack. It gets a bit deeper and a bit wider as it progresses along the length of the Turbine Hall and one can see that the sides of the crack are formed with a wire mesh that I?m told was once used in a fence that divided two countries in Eastern Europe. Whether that?s actually true or not I don?t know.Flicking through the leaflet that visitors are given as they enter, I see that there?s a great symbolism attached to the work by the artist ?the history of racism, running parallel to the history of mo...
MAC OSX Leopard
2007-10-18 16:43:00
Apple have released a list of 300 new features that will form part of the new OS X (Leopard ) Mac operating system. Well, they say there are 300 new features but six of the features listed are the six new screensavers so you have to take that number with a pinch of salt.Nevertheless, Leopard offers Mac users a few more of those nifty things that make using a Mac so much more satisfying that using a PC. Little things like being able to click on a name in your address book and being shown the appropriate Google map for that person?s address. And, as we all know, it?s the little things...Of more interest to photographers will be things like 16 bit printing, which will be more important in coming months as more printers and cameras begin to support full 16 bit technology.The new OS also includes ?Time Machine?, which will provide backup versions of your Mac that allow you to return it to a previous state or offer previous versions of files that have changed.The ?Preview? application has ...
Digital Railroad Marketplace
2007-10-18 09:10:00
I?ve been with Digital Railroad for a while, posting my pictures to their online service and using the cataloguing features of their web site. I first met up with some of their representatives at a seminar in New York and then again later at a similar event at the Apple Store in Regent Street. There?s obviously a vision for Digital Railroad that?s been followed since the service launched, perhaps at some stage to sell out to a Getty, Corbis or similar. The recent launch of the Marketplace feature seems to tie in with that vision.Photographers with work on Digital Railroad can now sell their work through the Marketplace. It?s good for individual photographers as we can combine our images with other photographers? work, in what in effect has become a library. Providing there is sufficient content then I assume buyers will like it because it will offer them a one-stop shop for new images.I?ve heard a few reports of photographers making sales through Marketplace although it?s early days...
Genius of Photography
2007-10-16 09:40:00
The BBC start airing a new series about Photography on BBC4 next week. ?The Genius of Photography? is a six-parter that looks at the history of the art.Programmes include a look at how Kodak brought photography to the mass market, Editorial photography, Travel, Documentary and Photography as Art.Nice to see the my licence fee going to something of interest.The first programme goes out at 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 25th.
Where am I?
2007-10-11 19:06:00
I?m tempted to ask if you can guess where I am but suppose that the photo of onions, garlic and a Euro price tag might make it a tad simple.Yes, I?m in Brittany, France, having escaped the madness of searching for, nearly selling and nearly buying a new home.An offer came in for my house but was quickly withdrawn when the potential buyer realised that the front door doesn?t have a cat-flap. Seriously, some people are quite strange.So, a break from house-hunting seemed to be a good idea although it does reduce the likelihood of moving before Christmas and, consequently, increase the likelihood that I?ll have to pay out on the bet I made that I?d move before the end of the year.I?m giving up for a few days and enjoying the Breton sunshine, which is an unexpected bonus.
Is the Tate Modern all that it?s cracked up to be?
2007-10-09 16:22:00
Not according to my friend Masher it?s not. And if Modern Art leaves you bewildered then the latest installation at Tate Modern is probably unlikely to bring you any further into the folds of the Modern Art community.After giant spiders, slides, white cubes and a massive solar installation, the Tate is, like The Jam, going underground. The latest piece to grace the massive Turbine Hall is a chasm that stretches the length of the building.Now I can see how that might be an interesting concept and I can understand how it might invert our usual views of such a robust and impressive structure as the Tate but artist Doris Salcedo claims to be ?addressing a long legacy of racism and colonialism that underlies the modern world?. I haven?t seen the crack in person but I must admit that it didn?t immediately bring the subject of racism to mind.Either way, you can?t deny that it?s an unusual subject for an artwork and continues the Tate?s record of displaying ground-breaking art. ?Ground-brea...
More About: Cracked
iPhoto Library manager
2007-10-03 11:24:00
iPhoto comes as part of Apple?s iLife package for the Mac. It?s pretty good and I?ve been using it to manage those photos that I want to keep out of my Professional workflow: pictures of friends and family gatherings, parties, etc.The only problem is that the iPhoto library can soon get pretty bloated and it seemed impossible to manage multiple libraries very easily. I wanted to keep the main library on an external disk but a smaller library of the most recent photos on my laptop, so that they?d be available when I?m out and about.Enter iPhoto Libra ry Manager . Doing pretty much what it says on the tin, this software manages multiple iPhoto libraries, enables sharing of albums, copying, switching, iPod synchronisation and even a bit of iPhoto First Aid should your library throw a wobbly.There?s a free version although that restricts copying to no more than 20 photos so pretty pointless really but the full version is only just over 10 and well worth the investment.No, I?m not on comm...
More About: Ager , Iphoto
BBC Buys major share in Lonely Planet
2007-10-02 08:58:00
BBC Worldwide has bought a 75% share in Lonely Planet and has announced plans to put the full Lonely Planet guidebook range online in the near future.The BBC don?t have an especially good reputation among photographers who often complain that the BBC?s contract is a little unfair, demanding, as it does, that contributors grant a ?perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sub-licensable right? for the BBC to use the pictures where and when they like. The prospect of those contract terms influencing dealings with Lonely Planet Images is quite unappealing.Having said that, the opportunities offered by the BBC linking up with Lonely Planet could be very inviting. These are two iconic organisations and I?d hope that the BBC would reinforce and support the Lonely Planet brand. If that proves to be the case then the weight of the BBC?s reputation can only enhance the perception of Lonely Planet in the public?s eyes.The expertise that the BBC has built up in creating one of the world?s best w...
More About: Share , Major
Travel Photographer of the Year
2007-09-29 17:47:00
It seems to be the season for photographic competitions. The TPOTY competition deadline is next Wednesday and there are several others with deadlines looming. I?ve put together a couple of entries for the ?One Planet, Many Lives? category and a couple for the ?Sense of Place? category. The sequence of four pictures above are of Varanassi in northern India. I think these are my favourite group of four and I?m hoping they convey a ?sense of place? sufficiently well to be looked upon favourably by the judges. However, whether or not they make the grade, the process of re-examining photographs, even very recent ones, can yield unexpected pleasures. The process of putting photos side-by-side to see which ones work well together is interesting and I was pleased with this group of four as they cover a full day, from the busy sunrise when tourists take ferryboats along the Ganges to sunset and a picture of a ferryman rowing me back down the river.The two photos on the left are entries for t...
More About: Travel , Photographer , Year
National Geographic Best Mountain Photos
2007-09-29 08:37:00
The photo above was taken three years ago on the descent from Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal. I?ve posted it here to introduce the 2007 National Geographic Best Mount ain Photos competition, the winners of which were announced this month.The seven photos you can see on the National Geographic site were all taken in the Americas, six in North America and one in Bolivia. I?m not sure if entries were restricted to that continent but it seems strange to me that there were no winners from the Alps or the Himalayas or any of the other mountain ranges across the globe. Perhaps it?s just another example of an American institution being America-centric. Nonetheless, the photos are interesting. I?m not sure about the photo of the plane dropping fire retardant, it seems more than a little artificial to me, but the picture of the grizzly bear holding the head of a caribou in its mouth is fascinating.The photo above might not win any prizes and yet it?s a favourite of mine as it was taken by a Dutc...
Trouserless Peaking
2007-09-27 18:33:00
?Trouserless Peaking? is the phrase chose by Hank Wangford to describe Nude Mountaineering in a Guardian article defending the sport. Following the first conquest of Everest by a nude climber, Hank (real name: Sam Hutt) reveals his inspiration for founding the Nude Mountaineering Society was a photo of George Mallory and a friend standing at Everest base Camp in the all-together.?Their kecks-free frolics are a tribute, a sacrament to the mountain. And we'll never know if Mallory not only got to the summit but also went for the trousers down approach as an ultimate gesture.?As Wangford points out (not, on this occasion, literally), the dedication of the naked Nepali climber to strip down on the summit of Everest at ten below zero in unquestionable. What some people will do, just for the craic.
2007-09-27 17:05:00
If you can bear the trendy, jerky camera action and the sight of bespectacled Microsoft engineers gobbling on Jelly Beans then this video from Live Labs might be of interest.Photosynth combines existing photos into a 3D world and then allows a viewer to navigate a virtual world, picking out specific images, zooming in, looking around corners and viewing two-dimensional images in a three-dimensional representation.This is another piece of technology that it?s easy to see becoming a reality in the near future and, indeed, becoming a familiar technology to most of us within a few years. I?m slightly concerned about the rhetoric with which Microsoft discuss it?s implementation, especially the comment about ?Seamlessly merging? the real and virtual worlds but perhaps that?s just a little bit of over-enthusiasm from a geeky individual.This video shows a 3-D Photosynth tour of the Space Shuttle constructed from thousands of images.
More About: Synth
Content aware Image re-sizing
2007-09-27 16:43:00
This video shows a new method of image re-sizing. When I first had it explained to me I couldn?t see how the process wouldn?t distort the relative size and perspective of parts of the image but it does seem to work. I?m particularly interested in the ability to remove objects from a picture without cloning so that it?s not necessary to copy and paste some parts of the photo over others to remove unwanted elements.The software appears to still be in development although the YouTube comments suggest that there is already a plug-in. I can?t find one online but am sure that it won?t be long.The one thing we can be sure of is that in five years we?ll be looking back and shaking our heads at the thought of how we once used to process our photographs.
More About: Content , Image , Tent , Aware
Des Res?
2007-09-25 00:18:00
Looking for somewhere new to call home can be a frustrating experience. Half the battle is undoubtedly the need to wade through Estate Agents? web sites, deciphering the definitions used to describe the properties and then trying to glean some sense of the true state of a house.How refreshing then to find the above advert. ?Classically designed and then royally rodgered? has to be the most unlikely sentence ever to be uttered by an Estate Agent. Obviously, one can?t scroll on down the page without first clicking to read the fuller description. Sadly, at first inspection, the further information reverts to a simple list of rooms and dimensions but careful reading reveals ?Bedroom 12?3?x6?9?, window to the rear and radiator if you can find it?. You can almost hear the exasperated tone. The small photos that accompany the text speak volumes.So, if you?re looking to move to Glastonbury and want somewhere that already feels like home - a home for the hygienically-challenged - then this c...
Mini Business Cards
2007-09-23 12:18:00
I?m having some new mini-business cards printed. I was looking for something that people might be tempted to keep on their desk. They?re about half the size of a normal business card and the narrow format doesn?t work with all images but I think I?ve found ten that work OK.Perhaps people will start to collect the set.Links:Ten Business Cards
More About: Mini , Sine
Google Flight Simulator
2007-09-20 20:06:00
I often refer to Googl e Earth when I?m looking at new locations and can easily spend an hour just viewing new destinations.The new release has a not-so-hidden Easter Egg in the form of a Flight Simulator , which works pretty well. There?s a choice of flying either an F16 or an SR22 propeller aeroplane and whilst calling it a Flight Simulator might be stretching the definition slightly, it does at least give another dimension.Switch the 3D buildings on and fly over London or New York to get a whole new perspective. If you really have nothing better to do, you can practice flying along the Thames and under Tower Bridge.
Why f/9.0?
2007-09-20 16:38:00
A heated debate has broken out in the usually quiet halls of the Winchester Photographic Society. Well, I say heated, it?s luke warm at best but I?m trying hard to stoke the fires.It all started (deep breath) when Barry e-mailed us with a link to some of his fine landscape images. They were impressive, especially a selection showing the Cardiff Millennium Centre but that?s not what we?re here to discuss. As is often the case with pictures in the digital age, each image carried beside it an aperture and shutter speed reading, created from the EXIF data made when the picture was captured. I noticed that several pictures were taken at f/9, rather than the more ubiquitous f/8.Now, I often shoot at f/8, or at least I begin with that setting but being as clumsy as I am I often inadvertently move the dial one notch to f/9. Shooting on Aperture Priority, it doesn?t make any difference as the camera compensates with a slower shutter speed. I assumed that Barry had done the same and thought ...
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