What I will be doing this coming year in photography

Well, I’ll be doing more of the same, to put it in a nutshell. So, taking more landscape shots and portraits (or a combination of the two), street photos, flower photos, and playing around with digital art also. I’d like to create more collages, and produce more black & white pics also.

As you will know, there’s a massive amount of YouTube videos on all aspects of photography and photo-editing – my favourite tutors include Mike Browne and Serge Ramelli – I subscribe to their YouTube channels and to lots of other brilliant people also.

In the past week or so, I’ve started to use back-button focussing on my Canon 5D Mk2 – it’s taking a bit of getting used to, having permanently switched away from the usual method of auto-focussing, but I find it more practical to use. Hitherto, my camera’s auto-focussing kept jumping to focus onto nearby things when I slightly moved my camera. You can avoid all this by using BBF – it’s like switching to manual focus after using auto-focus on your camera. I will find it very useful when using my Canon 70-200mm lens, as the manual/auto focus switch on the side of the lens has become very stiff to use.

There are helpful YouTube videos on this subject – here’s one from Bernie Raffe talking about the subject in general …


About the Topaz software I use

I use Lightroom 5 and Photoshop Elements to edit my photos, and recently I’ve bought Topaz Impressions 2, to give some of my photos an arty look – I invite you to have a look at my Digital Art album, to see my latest efforts …

I’ve also been using the basic version of Topaz Studio, which is free to download from the Topaz website, and which I like for its graphic art-like effects.

It’s a good idea to register with Topaz, which is simple to do, and which enables you to receive periodic updates for its software, plus generous discounts on the paid-for software. I’m amazed how quickly my Topaz software generates its effects – it outperforms other software I’ve used.

Two great features of Topaz software … you can lower the opacity of the artwork you’ve just produced revealing more and more of your original image (which is on a layer below it) … the opacity slider is at the bottom right of the interface. Secondly, in the right hand panel are the Layer blending modes that you see in Photoshop, just click on the “Normal” icon to see the usual drop-down menu.

Here is the link to the Topaz website … www.topazlabs.com/

After you have registered with Topaz, they will send you links to tutorials on how to use the software from time to time also. Their website has a few tutorials on it as well …

If you wish to go to my Flickr site, click here.

I’m ba-a-ack!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Yes, I’m back – I’ve decided to carry on with my blog, making it more about what I’m up to photographically, and what I’d like to do in the coming months, and less about the technical / computer-side of the subject.

At the moment, I’m editing a batch of photos I took on a wonderful bried holiday we had over Xmas in Crosby (near Liverpool), and I’m also making a start on our annual tax returns – what a pain in the arse these are!  I could go on at length about the latter – the extra work involved in completing my tax return if I were to sell any of my photos, puts me off doing so. Enough said.

I’ll write a bit more about what I’d like to do photographically, in the next few weeks.

Flickr login problem

In the past few days, I’ve been having problems logging into Flickr using Google Chrome. To cut a long story short, I have been able to do so using a different browser: Microsoft Edge – a tip I obtained by reading through the Flickr forum on this topic …


You can imagine my initial horror and feeling panicky, being locked out of my Flickr account with nearly 16,000 photos on it!

My first attempt when logging on using Google Chrome, produced this warning from my AdBlocker, Bad Ass Johnny …


I’ve put a larger version of this image onto my Flickr site, together with a recurring apology from Yahoo, whenever I’ve attempted to log on with Google Chrome since then.

Here is the link to the larger image on my Flickr site   …   https://flic.kr/p/WasPsy

It looked as though there was some malware on the Flickr site, or possibly on mine, so I did a full scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and found 3 bits of malware which I quarantined, followed up by a full scan with Kaspersky, which showed no problems at all on my computer. I also uninstalled Google Chrome and then re-installed it. However, Google Chrome is still not working, though Microsoft Edge is. Perhaps by coincidence, I had a major update from Microsoft Windows (Win 10) shortly before the Flickr problem arose – I don’t know if this is relevant or not.

So what’s going on?  Several other people have reported problems logging onto Flickr in the past week, so it’s not just me.

A lot of people have had problems logging into Flickr, as they have not kept their account details up to date. You should have a current mobile phone number and an alternative email address to use as part of your login process, so if you were to lose your phone, you would still be able to access your account using your email address, and then be able to add in your new mobile phone number. All this is just common sense.

How to transfer your Flickr photos to a WordPress site

As you will have seen, I’m using a WordPress.com website. Many of the themes are free of charge – some themes are called premium themes, which you would have to pay for.

I have just done a Google search for photographic themes – there are 123 of them at present. Mine is called Nishita, which I think looks classy, though the text is not all that easy to read. For easier viewing, you could opt for having black text on a white background with this theme.

There are two photo sizes for this theme – 1024 px width for the header, and a maximum of 768 px width for other photos on the site. As regards the smaller photos, you could create this width in a photo-editor such as Photoshop Elements, and then upload it into the website’s media centre, and then to insert it into the post you’re writing.

Now if you’ve already uploaded a batch of photos onto Flickr (either at full size or reduced size), you can get one or more of these photos onto your WordPress.com site, rather more quickly. The key to this is to look for the “embedding code” of your Flickr photo …

Starting with your Flickr site …

1.Open up your Flickr photostream.

2. Click on the photo you would like to add to your WordPress site, so you can see your photo against a black background.

3. Click on the Share icon to open up a menu similar to the one below.

Flickr - embedding code for a photo
How to get the embedding code for your Flickr image

4. Select Embed, and then click on the arrow alongside the current image size, to bring up another menu of varying images sixes.

5. Click on a size you’d like, to add to your WordPress post … for example the Medium size: 640 x 426 px.

6. Next, use your keyboard keys to copy the embedding code … Ctrl + the letter C (Mac users: use the Command key + the letter C)

Now switching to your WordPress site …

1. Log into the login page: https://wordpress.com/wp-login.php

2. Select “My Site” at the top left of the page

3. Click on “Add” next to “Blog Posts”

4. Start writing a new post, writing the title first, and then below the text editor, start adding some text, up to where you’d like to add your first photo.

5. Now if you paste in the Flickr embedding code, you will end up with seeing just the code and not photo … for example …

<a data-flickr-embed=”true” href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/14836724@N00/33117852282/in/dateposted-public/&#8221; title=”IMG_8628artr”><img src=”https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/772/33117852282_580500b8d3_z.jpg&#8221; width=”640″ height=”426″ alt=”IMG_8628artr”></a>//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js 

The trick is to select the HTML button at the top right of the text editor. Now, paste the embedding code onto the page. Next, click on the Visual button, and your image will appear as if by magic …

                                                                       poppy photo

6. Carry on writing to complete your post, adding more images if you like.

7. Press the blue “Publish” button, to post your article onto the internet.

8. You can now view your post online. You can go back to edit it if you so wish, and then upload the edited version.

All this might seem daunting if you haven’t done this before, but this process is fairly easy and quick to do. A professional web designer will no doubt point out that you’ve missed out on adding descriptive text for each image (which is usually added during the fuller uploading process). However, you could add a small description for each image just above / below the image instead, so that those viewers who are blind (or who are of limited sight) can understand what the image is about.

Photography Update

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I posted anything on this site, as if I’d gone into hibernation over the winter. I had planned to go walking with my wife and The Nottingham Wayfarers today, but a recurrence of my low back pain (after lifting some heavy things) has stopped me going. I’ve spent today doing some light food shopping, to make a fish pie for dinner this evening, watching a video on how to play Bridge (the Losing Trick Count), and then “pottering” on Flickr (and saving some lovely pics using the Windows Snipping Tool, to add to my Desktop slide show).

For anyone who’s been following my photos on Flickr, you will already know that I love taking snaps of my family members, and of the great outdoors. I’m also starting to do more in the way of street photograpy / portraiture, and also using various programs to add a painterly look to my photos. I also love taking twilight shots, and hope to combine this aspect and taking landscapes shots when we come to stay at Derwentwater in The Lake District this coming weekend. Here’s hoping for some dry weather (as if!).

As regards street photography, I’ve watched loads of YouTube videos and read lots of articles on this subject. Two of my favourite street photographers are Thomas Leuthard and Helio Tomita



Here are three street photos taken with my Canon G15 and 5D Mark 2 cameras …

Wimbledon, London IMG_3457

Nottingham – The Exchange

Nottingham Market Square, in front of the Council House.

There are lots of photographers out there, who do really arty things with their photographs. Two of my favourites are José-Luis Benítez and Roland Ezquerra …



I’ve tried out a few software programs, such as Photoshop’s arty filters, Fotosketcher (which is for Windows users only), and currently Topaz Impressions 2. I’m also looking into using Autodesk Sketcher on my iPad, to produce some abstract backgrounds to use in collages.

I’m very impressed with Topaz Impressions 2, which has a range of pre-sets for famous Impressionists, which you can then easily modify. So if Renoir doesn’t look very good, you can improve on him.   You can create your own pre-sets too (and share them with the Topaz online community). I’ve been using Topaz in the last 2 weeks or so, and you will be able to see a few of my early efforts in my Flickr album: Digital Art … I’ve put one of them below.



How to make a header for your Flickr site

In the past few weeks, I’ve uploaded much larger photos in landscape format, onto Flickr. 

Previously I was using images reduced in size to 1024 px across. Now they are double that size,
at 2048 px, in common with many other Flickr users. When re-sizing, I use a resolution of
150 px / inch, so if anyone were to try printing them out, they wouldn’t look very good.

I’m now using a large Acer computer screen, which is 1920 px across, so my new-width photos
look even better, as do those of other Flickr members who offer larger image sizes. 

Re-sizing images in bulk is easy to do in Photoshop Elements.
Click on File > “Process multiple 
files”, which will bring up a menu like the one below …


Re-sizing images in bulk

                                                            Re-sizing images in bulk in Photoshop Elements 11


… just fill in the relevant boxes, press OK, sit back and let Adobe do the work for you.

You will have to create extra folders beforehand, one for landscape views and another for portrait
views, as you will have to process these different sizes separately.

Now it just so happens that the optimal width for making Flickr headers is 2048 pixels, so it’s
really easy to make a new header from one of the new-width photos you’ve uploaded onto Flickr.

Sign into Flickr, wave your mouse cursor over the right hand side of your existing header, until you
see a short white pencil appear on the header. Click on the pencil, which will bring up a gallery of
all your recent photos. Click on an image > “Select”. Part of your image will appear in the header area,
and you will be able to move it up or down, by clicking on it and dragging it to the position you want.
Now save your image. It’s possible to delete your original image from Flickr, without deleting the 
header you’ve just created, if you so wish.  (Open up the image in Flickr. In the bottom right hand
corner, just below the image, click on the second of the four icons, then select “Delete” in the menu.)

In January 2015, I wrote another post outlining another way of creating a new header for your site.
This is much more complicated than what I’ve described in the above paragraph, so I’m now using
my much easier method.