Friday, 27 August 2010

Op/Tech Rainsleeve - Video Review

I really hate the rain and just lately we’ve had more then our fair share of wet weather. Obviously getting rain on your camera isn’t going to be a good thing and is best avoided where ever possible, but a rainy day doesn’t have to be a photography free day.

This image was taken in the rain using a Canon 40D. Good as the 40D is, it makes no claims to be weather proof, so I use a rain cover to keep the water out.

Rain covers range from the quick DIY solution of a plastic bag over your camera, right through to a fitted rain jacket with arm holes and thermal linings. It’s all about need. If you’re a happy snapper then the plastic bag is OK, but if your job is photographing golf matches then you'll want the expensive pro stuff so you can keep working whatever the weather.

I’m somewhere in between. There are times when I need to keep shooting in wet weather, but most of the time I can wait it out. That’s why I always carry a Rainsleeve from Op/Tech in my kit bag.

These things are so cheap (around £6 for two) that I bin them when they’ve been used. They also tiny when folded so take up next to no room in my bag.

The bad news is getting the Rainsleeve to fit on your camera is a bit tricky, but once it's on you can hand hold your camera or stick it on a tripod. Long lenses aren't a problem as the sleeve caters for 7" round and 18" long lenses. You can even make a little hole in the sleeve and keep using the tripod ring on your lens.

Judge for yourself in my video review Below.

Rainsleeves are available from loads of retailers all over the world. Here’s one from my friends at Crooked Imaging.

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Angel of Hope

Hope, is a small town in the Peak District of Derbyshire and it was there that I found myself on a grim, rainy August morning, waiting for my wife & daughter to return form a visit to a local shop.

With nothing to do, I could either sit in the car or put on my coat, grab my camera and brave the rain. The church was locked so that foiled my plan to shoot some photos in the warm and dry church. Walking back to the car I spotted this grave stone which looked like it had potential.

So I spent a good 10-15 minutes just photographing the “Angel of Hope” as I called her. Like many photographers I sometimes find myself just taking the obvious shot, especially when it's cold and wet. So I this time I challenged myself to look for different ways of photographing the angel. Moving around to find new angles, changing lenses and playing with apertures will make your images look unique.
On the photo above I’ve swapped to short telephoto lens (105mm) to compress the image and bring the church closer so it becomes a background.
This is probably my favourite shot. The 105mm focal length compress the image and that’s combined with a large f4 aperture to blur the background. Look closely and you’ll be able to the falling rain.

The lesson here is don't let the weather stop your photo fun.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Victim of success

Good news and bad.

The good news is is going from strength to strength and the visitor hits have been rising at a fast pace. The bad news it the popularity of the gavtrain has caused the site to go temporarily off line.

An upgrade has been put in place but I’m at the mercy of my web hosts who have a habit of being frustratingly slow at implementing upgrades and fixes.

Normal service should resume in the next 24 hours.


Monday, 16 August 2010

Photography and the National Trust.

Over the past year or two the National Trust (NT) in England has been getting some bad press amongst photographers. Some people have fallen foul of NT rules which restrict professional photography simply by using a DSLR. Personally I’ve never had a problem with the NT despite being a very regular visitor to dozens of National Trust properties with my camera.

One thing that all NT visitors will be aware of is its policy of indoor photography. Basically, whilst you can shoot away to your hearts content outside, you have to put your camera back in the bag when you go inside.

But there seems to have been a change of heart at the National Trust as their website reveals.

"Amateur photography (including filming) without flash is now permitted in historic interiors at the Property Manager’s discretion. As with outdoor photography, any photographs taken are strictly for private use, and enquiries about selling or publishing photographs should be directed to However, visitors must be aware that at some places, there may be copyright issues, and further permissions may be required in respect of collections not owned by us. In these situations the Property Manager decision as to if photography is allowed is final."

So to put this new found photo freedom to the test, we paid a visit To Calke Abbey, near Derby, which has many semi derelict rooms alongside the usual pristine show rooms. A few of the results are below.

So now I can confirm that I was able to take indoor photos without any problems. In fact other then a few sideways glances from other visitors I was able to snap away as much as I liked.

Old bottles in the wine cellar

Semi derelict corridoor, Calke Abbey

Books in Library

Servants room

Friday, 6 August 2010

Where’s Wally (Waldo) – Photo homage

If you’ve ever read any of the Where’s Wally, or Waldo as he’s known in the United States, then you’ll already know this game. For everyone else, here’s how it works.

Here’s a slice of British life captured. It’s a very high resolution image (around 50 million pixels) that contains lots of interesting detail. All you have to do is find it.

Can you find…
  1. The boy up to his neck in sand
  2. The amazing floating spade
  3. The only man looking at the camera
  4. The happy little dog
  5. The Guitar on the beach
  6. The Union Jack Bag

To stand any chance of spotting these things you’ll need the high res file (roughly 6mb). Either click the main image or click here.

The image is copyright Gavin Hoey Photography 2010. Do not publish/print/pass on without permission.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Better backgrounds = Better photos

It’s very easy to get caught up in the emotion of taking photos and forget a few basic rules. Important rules like checking your camera’s ISO isn’t set to 1600, that the lens isn’t switched to manual focus and the self timer isn’t turned on. Three mistakes I’ve made more then once.

But one rule I always keep in mind is ...
Think about the background.

Take this image. It was part of a music shoot I did over the past weekend. The result is not one of my best shots and I know I could do better. It's the boring brown background that lets the image down, Fortunately I was aware of this and had a plan.

I'd had a bit of a wait before the band came on stage, so I used that time to check the camera settings were all ok and take some meter readings. I also had a look at the stage and realised the background was going to be a problem. This wide shot should give you some idea of what I had to work with.

The background was going to be either brown or black and neither was looking good. Fortunately there was a small poster at the back of the stage and by moving into a central position and picking my moment I could get the artist behind it.

Grizzly South - Live

Hopefully you’ll agree that changing the background lifts the image from a good shot to and eye catching great shot.

So remember, backgrounds are important and a good one will compliment and even enhance your main subject.