Watching the edges

Noticing a patch of forget me not leaves with dew and raindrops, there was an obvious opportunity for a nice shot. The easy option is to just point the camera and start shooting, using the machine gun approach and hoping you’ll hit the target. But that’s not ideal with any subject, it takes some time to search for a good framing of the subject, exploring the possibilities and choosing the best result.

Watching the edges

Watching the edges

Here are four shots taken while exploring the patch looking for the best result. All of these have something that bothers me, a dark patch or area at the edges of the frame. The second frame has a large ugly dark patch, the others have varying amounts, with the fourth being almost “clean”. You can see slight variations in positioning, but in all the eye is attracted by the dark edge, leading the view away from the subject.

Eventually it was possible to find a frame with a clean edge to provide the design I was looking for, with no dark (or overly light) border to take the viewers attention. Always check your edges for distractions when composing. Of course if you find something after shooting you could crop or clone it out later on the computer. But it is simpler, and more satisfying, to get  it right in the camera.

Forget me not dew

Forget me not dew

Posted in Close Ups, Composition, Edges | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to exclude admin users from Google Analytics.

If you are using Google Analytics for your blog data, it is an idea to remove the admin user, that means you, from the results. To do this you need to set up a filter in your Google Webmaster tools.

Here’s how to do just that.

Log into your Google Analytics account.

From your ‘My Account’ page or your ‘Settings’ page select Analytics Settings, it’s at the top left of the screen under the Google logo.

Now, at the bottom right of the page you should see the ‘Filter Manager’, click on the blue text.

On the far right of the ‘Existing Filters’ bar there is an ‘Add Filter’ button, click this.

On the ‘Create New Filter’ page check the ‘Custom Filter’ radio button, this changes the view to the screen grab below.

Exclude admin from Google Analyctics

Exclude admin from Google Analyctics

Now change the settings as above, and add your selected website profile. You can see I’ve added the profile for this blog, closescapes.net/blog/.

The settings are:

Filter type: Custom Filter – Exclude

Filter Field: User Defined

Filter Pattern: admin

Case Sensitive: No

From now on your Google reports should exclude admin users from the stats.

I’ve only just adjusted these settings so will wait and see how the stats are affected. Perhaps by spending a lot of time in my WordPress blog and then later reviewing the stats, I should find there is no activity related to me.

If you are using Google Analyticator you should also make sure you adjust the Advanced Settings to:

Track all logged in WordPress users: Yes

User roles not to track: Administrator

Method to prevent tracking: Remove

 

Posted in Computer Help, Wordpress help | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

One Sunday.

One Sunday.

Kimmeridge Rock and Shell

Kimmeridge Rock and Shell

It’s 3:15 in the morning, what sort of time is this to be awake?

Well for me, it’s the time you need to be up in August if you are heading out in the hope of capturing the sunrise in the New Forest on the way to Dorset. Living near London Heathrow airport, if I’m on the road at around four o’clock I should be looking for a spot to set up for sunrise, with a bit of time to wait before the most amazing display of my life happens. But, of course it doesn’t. There was a bit of colour hidden by a bank of dense cloud just above the horizon. Oh well, maybe next time.

As I return to the car I discover a £10 note on the seat, it must have worked out of my back pocket while I was searching out a previous location possibility. Checking the back pocket I discover my previous nights lottery ticket is missing, now floating around among the purple heather where I was roaming. Oh well, maybe next time.

As I head back to to the main road to carry on to Dorset I decide to take a look down a road that is new to me. From the Ordnance Survey map it seems there are a couple of fairly good sized pools along the road that could provide some nice reflections. Yes, the possibilities are definitely there. Oh well, maybe next time. Yes, that could be a really good location the next time.

An hour or so later I pull into the car park for the RSPB Arne reserve. Although I’ve covered a fair amount of Dorsets Isle of Purbeck looking for photos, for some reason Arne has escaped that search. And from first impressions it looks like it could be a good spot.

Heathland can be a wonderful place, and in August it can be a special place. The heather is in bloom, and the different colours of the different heathers can create a carpet of pinks and reds. As the weather is slightly overcast the heather and the heath will be my subject for now, and I soon find a spot with promise.

Arne Heath 24mm

Arne Heath 24mm

Arne Heath 90mm

Arne Heath 90mm

Above are two views from about the same spot, taken with two different lenses, 24mm and 90mm focal lengths. You can easily see the difference in aspect of the two views, taken from nearly the same position, although the 90mm shot needed a bit of backing up to keep the grasses as a foreground interest. The 90 also brought both the the ridges and the trees closer together.

There were two reasons that I chose this spot.

Number 1 was because I saw some people with tripods ahead of me, possibly birders, and I didn’t want to create a disturbance by walking into their area and scare off any possible subjects. So I stopped to look around, and this view was behind me.

Number 2 was because of the grasses growing among the heather. The grasses give a contrast of colour, creating some foreground interest. Also the green of the pine trees provide another colour to the scene. But, for me, these are basically record shots. Maybe a little bit nicer than that “record” suggests, but certainly not spectacular.

Try and make sure to get a horizontal as well as a vertical of any subject, here’s my horizontal, actually taken before the verticals.

Arne Heath Cloudy

Arne Heath Cloudy

Why take shots in both formats? Well it can be surprising to find that you will eventually prefer one view over the other. And, perhaps more importantly, you now begin to look at your view more. That little bit more attention to the subject can open up new ideas, and develop the scene in front of you.

Arne Heath Bright

Arne Heath Bright

Also consider the differing lighting on the scene, the shot above had a brief spell of light breaking through, whereas the first scene was devoid of light because the cloud had blocked the sun. Subtly different views, but different nevertheless. On occasions the softer light of overcast can be preferable, but in this case I feel the brighter light gives the second image the edge.

Moving on, the drizzly rain that had been threatening on the road between the New Forest and Purbeck turned into rain proper, and the view of the landscape on the drive towards Corfe Castle became obscured through the car windows. Now was a good time to head to the abandoned village of Tyneham.

Tyneham is described as the lost village or ghost village of Dorset. The village was evacuated during the Second World War by the War Office as the area was needed for training. It was supposed to have been given back to the villagers after the war finished, but was retained by the MoD as part of the ranges. There is more information on the history of Tyneham in an web article by the BBC here:
BBC Tyneham Article – Opens In A New Tab or Window

It is possible to visit the remains of the village, and that was part of my plan for the day. When I arrived the rain had calmed down a bit, and I headed to the farm buildings area. Here there are a number of buildings and you can explore quite freely.

In The Stable

In The Stable

The Tractor.

The Tractor.

As I headed over to the village area the rain began to pour again, so I got out my small folding umbrella, pressed the button and gave it a shake to open it. Standing with the handle section in my hand and the rest of the umbrella at my feet, I gave the couple drinking a cup of tea in their camper van a good laugh. Quickly retrieving a bin bag from the backpack, I slipped it over the camera and tripod. It’s always worth carrying a bin bag for this purpose, you can continue to move around with the camera still attached to the tripod. The bin bag can also come in handy for kneeling on when the ground is damp.

Most of the buildings in the village are now roofless shells, but the village school has been restored as a small museum and gives a nice opportunity for photography. I found the bookshelves of interest and took a few different compositions.

Bookshelves 1.

Bookshelves 1.

Bookshelves 2.

Bookshelves 2.

Posted in Arne, Batteries, Dorset, Heath, Rock, Seashore, Shell, Tyneham | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Stop that maddening zoom on your laptop!

Does your laptop change the zoom without you wanting it to?

Do you then have to go to the spanner in google chrome, or page zoom in Internet Explorer, or similar in other browsers, to get the screen back to 100%?

Want to stop that automatic zoom thing?

What is probably happening is that you have Pinch Zoom enabled. With pinch zoom if you move two fingers apart or together on the touch pad it will zoom in or out accordingly. So you need to turn it off by one or another method.

Method One.

  • Go to the taskbar at bottom right, find the upward pointing arrow, hovering over it should bring the message “Show Hidden Icons”.
  • Click this and hover over the options until you find “Synaptics Pointing Device” or similar.
  • Go to “Pointing Device Properties” then the tab for “Device Settings”, then the “Settings” button.
  • You should now have a “Pinch Zoom” option, click this then uncheck the “Enable Pinch Zoom” check box.

Method Two.

  • Go to Control Panel.
  • Go to Hardware and Sound.
  • Under Devices and Printers, click on Mouse.
  • Go to “Pointing Device Properties” then the tab for “Device Settings”, then the “Settings” button.
  • You should now have a “Pinch Zoom” option, click this then uncheck the “Enable Pinch Zoom” checkbox.

It’s like having a new laptop. No more going to that spanner at top right in google chrome and resetting the zoom to 100%. Yippee!

Here’s a screen print showing what it looks like, notice I’ve unchecked the Enable Pinch Zoom option.

If this is a bit difficult to read try zooming in, or maybe you need to Enable Pinch Zoom! 🙂

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Blue Door Number 3

Blue Door

Blue Door Number 3

This door was found in Smithfield in London, I say was as it has now gone. This and some other buildings have been lost to the development of the the crossrail link in London.

Development is needed for better transport in London, I just wish this had still been around when I got my Canon 5DII to let me get a bigger image size.

Door numbers are becoming a theme with me, and they are plentiful and easy to photograph. A little thought on composition is all that is required to change what would seem to be a bit of a boring subject into an interesting image. If the weather allows I’ll be taking some more in London tomorrow.

Posted in Locations, London, Smithfield, Urban | Tagged , , | Leave a comment