alive for 365

I received the most wonderful compliment from Laura Wilby for my entry this week
in the Alive for 365 project:

“I have to buy this one, even though I already bought the plane print and I’m supposed to be on a budget. This is such a great image! I love the feeling your image have.  Neil, I’m reading your lighting book right now and your wedding images have the same feeling as this image. I know that is a lame description, but I can’t always describe visuals.”

It is a great feeling when one of my own photographs that holds meaning for me, also connects with other people.  Thanks Laura!

(I have previously posted this image on the Tangents blog, with a description of how it came that I took it.)

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alive for 365 – week 11

March 18, 2010

My entry this week for the Alive for 365 project, is another photo from the archives which I have posted here before.

Shot in Fujichrome transparency film, I had the window open on the WW2 vintage Junkers I was flying in.  Because there was no window glass in the way, I could get a crisp photo of this DC3 following us.  The golden glow to the photograph is actually the way it looked.  The air pollution is more pronounced in winter due to the fires that burn on the Highveld of South Africa.  And here we have the setting sun back-lighting the dust and air pollution particles.  Combining all of that with the way that the late afternoon light flared on my lens, is where this photo got that beautiful warm look.

[ Pentax Z-1; Pentax-FA 28-105mm f4-5.6 // Johannesburg, South Africa // June '94 ]

And no, I don’t miss film. Really.  I wish I had all my slide film captures as original digital captures.  But that’s another discussion entirely.


alive for 365 – week 10

March 10, 2010

This very colorful street scene is – if I remember correctly – in the quaint town of Macroom in Ireland.  It was one of the towns we visited while exploring the beautiful country-side near Cork, Ireland last year.

It is my choice for this week’s entry for the ongoing Alive for 365 project.

To enhance the colors even more, I used my favorite Photoshop plug-in, Topaz Adjust 4

Learn more inside…


alive for 365 – week 9

March 10, 2010

With the run-up to WPPI 2010 in Las Vegas, I didn’t have the time to mention my latest entries to the Alive for 365 project.  My choice for week 9 is this image which I titled a very obvious, “Cappuccino”.

The slightly surreal image is part of a London cityscape, with a double-decker bus whizzing past.  The lettering in the sky is actually the lettering in the coffee-shop’s window.  I had flipped the image around to have the word read correctly.  I also juiced up the drab colors a bit with Topaz Adjust 4.  Big news!  Topaz just improved on it with a free upgrade to version 4.

If you do order Topaz Adjust (or any Topaz product) through that affiliate link, use the discount code ‘planetneil’ for a 15% discount off any item in your shopping cart.  (There is also another time-limited discount in effect on their website.)

The effect that I used was the Psychedelic setting in Adjust 4.  I pulled down the opacity, and even then masked the sky to reduce the effect further on the sky …

Learn more inside…

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alive for 365 – week 8

February 25, 2010

This enigmatic image of the courtyard behind the Palais Royal in Paris,
is my choice for this week’s entry for the Alive for 365 project.

I was captivated by the architectural art, and waited quite a while until ‘something’ happened. This was in the days of still shooting transparency film, and not digital where you can shoot something near endlessly. I had to wait for the shot … and when these two women walked across the frame, I waited until the moment when I felt they were in just the right spot.

For me, in this photograph they are visually in a position where your eye follows the lines in the frame.  If they had been in a different place such as between the rows of striped pillars stumps, then your eye would’ve stopped there.  Instead your eye now roams across the image.


alive for 365 – week 7

February 17, 2010

This super-saturated landscape photograph is my choice for this week’s entry to the Alive for 365 project. It is the lighthouse at Cape Aghulas – the southern-most tip of South Africa.


alive for 365 – week 6

February 10, 2010

My pick for this week’s image in the Alive for 365 project, is this previously posted image of Manhattan being engulfed in a rain storm.  This grand view of Manhattan across the Hudson river, was from the top floor of the Jersey Hyatt.  A quiet moment while waiting for a bride to arrive …


alive for 365 – week 5

February 3, 2010

My entry this week for the Alive for 365 project is this enigmatic landscape.

While on a hike in Magoebaskloof in South Africa (Dec ’89), I wanted to portray some of the eeriness of walking through the misty forest that morning.  I remember it being very quiet. I kept looking for *something* to photograph .. something that I could focus my attention on.  But there wasn’t anything specific.  Just the trees and the sloping mountainside fading away into nothing as your gaze wandered further.  Then I realized that that is exactly what I wanted to encapsulate in a photograph.

So instead of trying to find a specific “thing” or a specific part of the landscape, or geometry or pattern or composition … this was just how it was … stark trees in the mist.  Nothing else.

This is why this particular image appeals to me.  I felt that this simple lateral movement in my mindset, got me closer to photographing the essential aspect of this particular landscape.

In finishing the image for the Alive for 365 site, I simplified the original image slightly …

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I am sure the designer of this phone box intended for it to have this distinctly cartoon-like face.   When I saw this, it instantly drew my attention.  It really looked to me like a constantly-surprised wide-eyed face.  Something out of Disney’s animated movie, Beauty & The Beast.  This then is my choice then for this week’s entry in the Alive for 365 project.

The photograph had some Photoshop work done to it to give it much more snap than the straight-out-of-the-camera version.  Oh, and the lighting was bounce flash with available light …

Learn more inside…