Wednesday, 30 December 2015

52 Week Project 2016

With New Year's Day fast approaching people are making their New Years resolutions. Vowing to get fit, save money, cut back on alcohol, eat less chocolate etc...a smorgasbord of resolutions, most of which will be dropped by February.

With that said, this year, for the first time in my 29 years of existence...holy crap! I'm 29! how did that happen?...I've decided to make one, kinda...

I don't get the chance to shoot as often as I would like, I'd shoot every day if I could, but you know, life! In an effort to combat this and get me shooting more I've decided to attempt the 52 Week Project. Each week, starting Monday 04th January, I'll be trying to create an image based on a set theme, or word, or colour, and I'll post the results whether they be good or crap. Unlike most 52 week projects my theme will be selected, at random, the start of each week.

If all goes well I'll post my image each Sunday and announce the following weeks theme. If things go a little awry, as let's face it happens all too often in life, I'll do my best to get back on track.

As it's it my wedding anniversary on Friday 08th January, my first theme shall be ANNIVERSARY...


Ian

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Despite the un-wintery weather it's that day of the year again, Christmas Day.

I hope you all have a great day! I also hope that Santa, St Nick, Kris Kringle, Tim Allen, whatever your chosen name for him has left you some lovely presents in your stockings.


Ian

Friday, 18 December 2015

Bloody Hell It's Windy Up The Great Orme

This past week I ended up somewhere I haven't visited since I was about twelve...Llandudno. It wasn't a proper visit, at best it was a drive through, however, I ended up having an hour atop the Great Orme.

Between dodging birds going to the bathroom, avoiding sheep muck, and trying not to get blown off the cliff I managed to take a few shots...not many, it was practically gale force winds after all.








Ian

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Emma, You May Be Gone But You'll Never Be Forgotten

Back on September 19th I uploaded a bunch of photos of my families dog, Emma. About five weeks ago she seemed ill so my father took her to the vets for a check up, she was found to have cancer.

This past Tuesday vets at the University Of Liverpool Small Animal Teaching Hospital made the difficult decision to put her to sleep. In the short space of time between emergence of symptoms and then, the cancer had spread at an aggressive rate, and they believed it would be cruel to make her continue to endure it.

I have only known her for five years, since meeting my wife, but she had my wrapped around her paw from day one. She was such a wonderful dog, she was the softest, friendliest little girl despite her bark whenever anyone rang the doorbell.

I'm going to leave it at that and wrap this post up before it descends into a rant about injustice in the universe, or reverts back to my first draft, it was quite obscenity heavy!


RIP EMMA


Ian

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

2015 Christmas Gift Guide

It's that time of year again...in a few short weeks Home Alone will be on the telly, we'll all have gained half a stone, and houses will be littered with shredded wrapping paper...yep, it's nearly Christmas.

Along with the fun and frolics of Christmas comes the not so fun necessity to fight with traffic, find parking, and navigate through hordes of shoppers...thinking about it, it's a little like The Walking Dead. Also, when it comes to gifts for photographers, online is now pretty much your only option, here in the UK anyway, I don't know if things are better elsewhere. With these issues in mind I've knocked up a list of gifts you could get the photographer in your life. They range in price to cover your budget, and/or your relationship with said photographer, from uncle knobhead to the person in your life who touches your fun stuff I've got it covered...that's right folks, a Peter Kay and That 70's Show reference in one sentence.

Anyway, on with the list...all laid out nicely for you in ascending order of price...


ThumbsUpLensCup-ImageCourtasyOfThumbsUpPressRoom

Most people drink some form of hot beverage, be it the normals like tea or coffee, to your more obscure drinks such as Bovril, and as such, people need cups. Available in both travel and 'regular' these cups look the part and are a great cheaper gift option.


Dust, the enemy of many a photographer...a Rocket Air Blower is a cheap and effective way of removing dust, making it a great, low cost gift...did I mention it looks like a rocket?


Novelty T-Shirt (for him / for her) - £9.99
Ermmm, this doesn't really need much explaining...there are many novelty t-shirts around, from clever technical ones to downright silly ones, it all depends on your photographers sense of humour...I'm usually the dafter the better.


StunningDigitalPhotography-ImageCourtasyNorthrup.Photo

It's always good to try improve yourself, and a good way to achieve this is through learning. From two of YouTube's favourite creators of photography related content, Chelsea Northrup and Tony NorthrupStunning Digital Photography is a great way for your loved one to improve their photography. Unlike most books that are just, well, books, Stunning Digital Photography comes with hours of videos and a community of like minded people.


5 In 1 Reflector - £28.07
Light, she can be an unruly mistress, especially natural light. At times it can be like herding sheep that have ADHD and are hopped up on sugar. One of the vast array of ways photographers can deal with this issue is a reflector, bouncing light where they need it...or reflecting it if you will. A 5 in 1 reflector gives the ability to not only bounce light, but also adjust it's temperature, it also has a removable centre which can be used to diffuse harsh light.

I should point out, the reflector isn't really applicable if the photographer only shoots landscapes!


BlackRapidSport-ImageCourtasyOfBlackRapidPressCentre

If the photographer you are buying for is, like me, a bit of a klutz, the Black Rapid RS-Sport Strap could be of use to them. Attaching to the cameras tripod mount, the RS-Sport is a longer strap than the factory supplied one, this allows the camera to sit comfortably on the wearers hip when not in use. As well as extra comfort, the length and design allows for easier movement of the camera when taking images. Security is another great benefit of the design as it fastens cross body, and has under arm safety tether.


Wacom Tablet - £264.99
WacomIntuosProPTH651-ImageCourtasyOfWacomPressCentre

Nowadays there isn't an image sent out into the world without some form of retouching. If your photographer's always rambling about layer masks, chances are they're using Photoshop, and a Wacom Tablet may be good for them. Put simply, it's a glorified laptop track pad that, when used with the supplied pen, gives the ability to make more controlled, spot specific changes in the likes of Photoshop and Lightroom...it's a little like drawing, or painting on your image.


DSLR (Canon / Nikon) - £2000ish
NikonD810-ImageCourtasyOfNikonPressRoom

Now, this gift will vary from person to person, as will the price, the cameras and price above are what's on my wish list, sadly however, Santa's so broke that Rudolph's been repossessed. Most photographers are gear junkies, and will no doubt have a camera (or lens) they crave. Money permitting, surprising them with the gear they've longed for will no doubt blow their mind...only downside, as a non-photographer you'll have to try remember daft model numbers.


There you go folks, a few ideas for you. Obviously the list is only a guide, only you know your budget and the recipient's likes...FYI, I'd love anything off the list, just in case you wondered.


Ian

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Photographing Spider-Man In New York

Before I get into the post I maybe ought to address the title. I'll admit, it's a little bit of click bait...well, kind of, it's also accurate...well, kind of.


More and more I've found that my obsession with photography is creeping it's way into other aspects of my life, aspects such as computer games. Recently I've been playing, and very much enjoying the iPad version of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 game. Swinging around New York, beating up bad guys, I was basically living out the fantasy of the 10 year old that lives in my head, and then it happened. As part of one of the early missions I was given a camera, I dunno why, as soon as I received it missions went out the window. Since then, whenever actual photography isn't an option for me for whatever reason, I've found myself photographing Spidey around New York, and messing around with mobile photo editors...









Turns out it's not just Spidey, I've just found out that my iPad racing game has a camera mode on it...so, you can probably expect pictures of Nissan Skylines in the near future. Incidentally, if any readers have a real Skyline and want some pictures of it, get in touch...or any car I suppose...Skylines just happen to be some of my favourite cars.


Ian

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Please Welcome To Me Blog...Yes, I Know It Says Me, It's A Style Choice

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages...

Sorry about that, I had a weird 90's wrestling flashback. Kudos if you get the reference, you obviously watched before health and safety got involved and it softened up, anyway...

Where was I, oh yeah...I am proud to announce, if you are reading this that is, my wife Jan (from the blog Merlin's Cove) has agreed to write for my blog.

Most photography blogs out there focus solely on shoots, prep, advice etc for photographers. This is fair enough if the reader is a photographer. With most types of photography however there's an almost certainty that other people will be involved in the shoot, be it a model, the owner of the pet, the parent of the child, the baker of the cakes...my point being, these people don't receive advice on photography blogs...damn, I want cake now. It's with this in mind that I'm aiming to make my blog as all-encompassing as I can. The goal being helping as many people involved with photography as possible, be it full time models, first time models, pet owners, store owners etc. To that end, Jan will be posting things like reviews and advice about make-up, skin care, and hair care products, and anything else she feels may be of help to anyone stepping in front of the camera.

Please join me in welcoming Jan...now, I'm off for cake!


Ian


Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Halloween

Whether you're going to a party, going trick or treating, not really doing anything, or spending the day watching Michael Myers do his thing like I am...I just want to wish you all a happy Halloween!!!


Ian

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Review: Meike MK-D5200 Battery Grip For The Nikon D5200

*Before I get into my post, please note, there will be pictures of the grip as soon as I get them sorted. I had some on my iPad, which I am posting this from, however, it doesn't seem to want me to show you them. I've spent quite some time arguing with my iPad about this, sadly however the pictures are still a no go, but I'm winning the argument...now I've turned Siri off.*


I've never used a battery grip before, if I'm honest I never really saw the benefit of them. If I wanted my camera in portrait mode, I'd reach that extra couple of inch to the shutter release. If one battery ran out of juice, I'd switch it out. That said, when I saw the Meike MK-D5200 on Amazon for £24, I thought I'd give it a go...and oh how my views have changed.

Nikon don't make an official battery grip for the D5200, I'm not sure why, but after a quick Google search it appears that Nikon brand battery grips generally start at around £150. I think it's relatively safe to say that if Nikon made a D5200 battery grip, you'd be saving well over a hundred quid with the Meike grip, which is nice, especially considering it works so well.

Build quality on the MK-D5200 is very good, it feels very similar to the build of the D5200. I know with some Meike grips people have mentioned their disappointment that the build is all plastic, however, considering the D5200 is a fully plastic construction, I don't find this to be an issue. Unlike some of the other cheaper grips on the market the MK-D5200 has rubber sections. These sections provide more secure handling, as well as making the grip appear like part of the camera instead of a totally separate piece just stuck on...and helps provides the 'pro' look that is expected of us.

The MK-D5200 attaches to the camera snugly, held in place by a screw that threads into the cameras tripod mount (which is replaced by one on the bottom of the grip). I find with the grip attached it's easier, and safer for me to hold my camera. I can be somewhat of a klutz at times, especially holding smaller items, the added surfice area alleviates this issue for me, so far anyway...I hope I haven't just jinxed myself! The grip features two battery slots, giving the life of two batteries without the need to swap them out. Despite the two battery compartments, it does work with just one battery inserted. With the grip attached and battery inserted the camera is powered, however, if you want to use the built in shutter release you need to attach the supplied cable. The cable for the shutter release fits comfortably from camera to grip without much excessive overhang, which is good if like me you find long wires a hazard to your health, and the health of your electronics. The shutter release has all the bells and whistles the camera's built in release has...half press to focus, fully press to take your shot. Whilst the release feels a little cheaper and not quite as smooth as the camera's, it's certainly smooth enough and works well.

Overall the MK-D5200 is a great piece of kit. It's cheap, looks the part, doubles shooting time eliminating the need to disrupt the flow of a shoot, makes shooting in portrait mode a little easier, and most importantly for me, lowers the risk of my clumsiness destroying my camera. As Nikon don't make an official grip for the D5200, and I've never used a battery grip before, I've nothing to make a final comparison with. What I can tell you though is, of all the third party grips I looked at before making my purchase, this was hands down the most loved...and I love it too.


Ian

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Flash Back Fri...Oh, It's Saturday

If you read my previous post you will know I am currently testing some bits and writing reviews. The process is taking a little longer than planned, having only written action figure reviews before, so for now, I thought I'd share with you some of my older photographic works.

As winter is fast approaching, I thought I'd share some shots that were taken the past couple of summers...I can't remember exact dates, my filing system wasn't as rigorous then as it is now, anyway, these few I thought I'd share are some of my smaller wildlife (bug) shots..so be warned, there is a spider!








Ian

facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Saturday, 10 October 2015

I Am Finally Writing & Shooting Again

I just wanted to post a little update, show I'm still around and explain what's going on...

Although my knee is still giving me problems (it dislocated a little bit the other week), I'm not on the strong pain killers now, this means I can type and shoot again...yay! Over the coming days, or week, or possibly weeks, I'll be writing reviews of; an Amazon Basics DSLR backpack, a third party battery grip, a third party speedlight, third party ND filters. As you can see, I like trying third party products. After all third party versions often cost less than half the price of the 'named' versions but work very well, sometimes as well as the named version, sometimes better. As well as the third party camera accessories, I'll be reviewing some named camera gear in the form of the Nikon 35mm and 50mm F/1.8 primes. As well as the camera gear reviews I will also be writing some 'geeky' reviews, reviews of stuff like action figures, iPad games, films and the like.

As well as all the reviews I am currently/planning on writing I'm hoping to get out shooting, so I'll be posting some of my shots, and sharing a little information about how I got them. I may also share some of my older shots, depending on my level of embarrassment over them.

I think that pretty much covers what I have planned. I should imagine some weird and wonderful ideas will randomly reveal themselves to me, and they'll end up on my blog at some point. Anyway, as I mentioned at the start I just wanted to say, I'm still around and I am currently creating content.


Ian

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Lack Of Blog This Week...I'm Hopped Up On Pain Meds

You may have noticed a lack of posts this week. Truth is, I tried writing one the other day, but when I read it back, it was jibberish...thank you pain meds!

The reason for my absence, if you haven't seen my Facebook or Twitter, my knee crapped out on me on Monday. I was standing on one leg (as you do) sorting some bits, got knocked, heard an almighty pop, then had a meeting with the floor. Since then I've found myself in a knee brace, and hopped up on pain meds. I've never really needed pain meds in the past, so I'm a light weight when it comes to them. Most of the time since my incident I've found the world moving not quite right, fun, but not quite right...this has made going out shooting, photographing products for review, and writing posts, very difficult...hence my absence.

Anyway, the pain is becoming more manageable now, granted I need to rest my knee for a few weeks, but I can shoot and write again now...hopefully!


Ian.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Body Shaming...I Don't Get It!?

This is a weird post for me, not necessarily because of the subject matter, but because of what brought it about. The other day whilst browsing the Daily Mail website (I know...don't judge me!) there was an article about Kylie Jenner, she was in a swimsuit, I think that was pretty much the crux of the article. Anyway, in the comments section for the article was countless comments body shaming her, and/or accusing her of photoshopping the image. Up to now I've never really had strong feelings about the Kardashian/Jenner clan one way or the other...I've never seen Kim's 'video', I've never followed them on social media, I've only recently seen some of 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians'. Basically, I know they exist and are successful in their own way, to which I think fair play to them. Despite my indifference towards the family, when I read the disrespectful, offensive comments, often by people over twice her age, it troubled me.

This problem isn't exclusive to the Kardashian/Jenner's. Countless celebrities go through it, many models on the networking sites I am part of go through it, and many 'normal' people also go through it. It just so happened to be the Kylie Jenner article that made me wonder (I'm often oblivious, but occasionally, I have a brainwave!)...why do you do it? What do you get from it?

When I was younger I went through a chubby phase, I was bullied because of it, even by members of my own family. Still now, at a relatively average build, I dislike my appearance...chances are I could look like Dwayne Johnson and still not be happy. If we're honest I think everyone has something they dislike about themselves, and chances are we've all had something said about our appearance that has hurt us. Now, this may make me naive, but I can't understand why people would actively perpetuate this behaviour. Why, when you've been hurt yourself, would you actively try hurt someone else the same way? How would you feel if that person then went on to hurt your son, daughter or partner in the way you hurt them, using the excuse 'well it happened to me'? Then there's the cases where the comments cut someone so deeply that they hurt themselves...would/do you feel responsible for the outcome your actions have caused? Again, if someone had made the comments to your son, daughter, or partner and they hurt themselves, would you blame the person all the while not seeing an issue when you do it?

Life is a hard enough thing to navigate as it is. What with job troubles, money troubles, health problems etc, it's a minefield of stuff all designed to break us. Why, instead of banding together and helping each other out for the short time we're here, must we try cut each other down for 10 seconds of self gratification. It sounds cheesy but at the end of the day, everyone is beautiful, and everyone's a bona fide miracle...seriously, the odds of you being born were something like 1 in 10 to the power of 2,685,000.


Ian
facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Rescued Film Project

When I was a nipper shooting digital wasn't an option. All the cameras my family had were film...thinking about it, my generation was quite possibly the last generation to shoot film without it being a gimmick. Hell, we're probably responsible for it's downfall...now I feel bad!!!

Anyway...

Because of my use of film photography as a child, I will always have a place for it in my heart...or proper photography as I call it to most peoples amusement (over time you will come to realise I am old beyond my years!).

Another interest I have is World War 2. I have always found the camaraderie, the resilience, and the courage of all involved an inspiration...we can all learn a lot from them.

I am almost to the point of the post, I promise...

An Idaho based photographer, Levi Bettwieser, as part of his Rescued Film Project recently (I say recently, I recently came across an article on PetaPixel so it may not be that recent) found and developed 31 rolls of undeveloped film shot by a soldier in WWII. The result of Mr Bettwieser's hard work...a collection of stunning images that show parts of WWII from a soldier's point of view.

The Rescued Film Project isn't just about pictures from WWII, it's an online archive of many images captured on film throughout the years. I highly recommend you head over and have a look, there's lot's of great images!


Ian
facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Emma...The Slightly Unwilling Model

A few week back I had a shoot with the most uncooperative model I have ever worked with. No matter how polite, exact, or rewarding I was when instructing her, all she wanted to do was roll on her back or lick my face...I guess I should have mentioned sooner, she's a dog, my grandma Annie's dog to be exact.

I'll be honest, I'd tried photographing her before for my gran so knew she'd be difficult going into it, however, I'd got the Nikon Nikkor 50mm F/1.8G AF-S for my birthday and wanted to take it for a spin. I realise most people would probably shoot some 'standard' portraits to test it out, using the shallow depth of field to create some amazing Bokeh, however...I'm a wimp. I really want to photograph people, create those beautiful images you see on the likes of Flickr and 500px, the trouble is, people make me nervous, they always have. I know, grow a pair right! Until my confidence grows (admittedly one 'proper' shoot would probably help, it's just having the confidence for that), or I take up alcoholism to counter my nerves, pet portraiture is as close as I get for now...all the fun of portraiture but with less human interaction. Don't get me wrong, I love doing pet portraits and will always do them...local to me? Want some shots of your pet? Drop me a message! If it's a spider, I will require compensation for adult diapers!

Anyway, long story not quite so long...she was a pain in the backside, however, it was fun and I got some cute shots.







Ian
facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Blog 2.0 - Hello! Bonjour! Gutan tag! Ciao! hola! Hey there, hi there, ho there!

Before I start with the obligatory, but potentially somewhat boring (I'll try not to be!) opening post that waffles about the blog's future, I would just like to say...thanks for popping by this little ole blog of mine! 

Now...

Allow myself to introduce...myself (get the reference?), my name is Ian Guffogg. I'm a few things; I'm a husband, I'm a carer, I'm quite lazy (actually, I'm not lazy, I'm just economical with my energy usage), I'm somewhat greedy (my profile picture was taken in a Burger King!), I'm a photographer, and I'm a geek!

For about eight months last year I somewhat successfully ran a blog 'Cleverly Disguised As A Responsible Adult'. It featured many things I love; action figures, movies, food, photography, and all kinds of geekery. Despite the fact I enjoyed writing my blog, and it received quite a positive reception, I was never 100% happy with it. Having spent quite some time tinkering with it trying to get it how I want it, I am still not happy with it. Because of this I have come to the only logical conclusion one can make...send in a tactical nuke and start again!


This blog, the blog that has arisen from the ashes like a Phoenix will be a plethora of photography and geekyness, it will be my previous blog but better, it will be what I wanted my previous blog to be...it's a blog 2.0 if you will.

Rather than running the risk of boring you to the point where you don't return, it's about time I wrap up this here first post then the real nonsense can begin...

If you are following me on my blogging journey, thank you for your support! If you are a manufacturer of some sort of photographic equipment or geekery and would like to help me out by providing products to review, please get in touch (you've gotta try haven't you?). Also, please feel free to leave me comments on any of my posts, or if you want to natter about anything photography or geeky, links to my Facebook and Twitter can be found at the end of all my posts and on the contact page.


Ian
facebook.com/guffoggthegeek


P.S. It may take me a short while to gain traction and start posting with a set schedule, please bear with me.

P.P.S. Follow my blog with Bloglovin