Images by John 'K'

Life as seen through my lens…

Tag Archives: photo



As an amateur photographer who takes pictures for enjoyment, there is nothing that helps maintain an interest in the hobby more than words of praise and encouragement from people who see and appreciate and enjoy your images.

Well actually that’s not entirely true. What really strokes my ego and makes me want to keep taking pictures and sharing them with the world is the chance that someone will see one of my shots and want to use it in a cool and unusual way, and if it happens to be in support of a cause or organization that fits with my beliefs that’s even better.

I never take photos with the intent of trying to get them published – I take them for my enjoyment, and I like to share them with others in the hope that they might enjoy them too. The fact that someone has seen a picture of mine and has wanted to use it is really the icing on the cake for me, and I’ll happily support anyone who wants to use a shot of mine if they are kind enough to ask. I don’t want money (although it would be nice!) – all I ask for is photographer’s credit, and if the work is to be printed, I ask for a copy of the finished piece to add to a slowly growing collection of such works.

The latest shot to join the collection in the form of an open-out brochure is this panorama that I stitched from some shots I took while hiking on Mount Diablo in California in 2009. The image was seen on Flickr by someone looking to put together a brochure about some of the wildlife seen in the Mount Diablo State Park that would be given out to park visitors. As we are frequent users of the park and have had more enjoyment from the park than the entrance fee pays for, I was more than happy to donate this image to be used by them.

They asked about 4 months ago and we went through all the formalities for me to give my consent soon after, and I had all but forgotten about this, until a copy of the finished brochure arrived in the mail today accompanied by a very nice “thank you” letter. The brochure is now available from the summit visitors center in Mount Diablo State Park, is titled “Common Mammals of Mount Diablo State Park”, and features the work of a number of talented photographers who have given images for use by the authors.

It’s occasional rewards like this that truly make me want to keep shooting.



Lunar Eclipse, 12/20/2010

Some early images from last night’s lunar eclipse. I’ll be uploading more to Flickr as time permits…

Thankfully the really heavy cloud held off for most of the event, but we had to view most of the eclipse through a thin layer of cloud that made the viewing experience a little hazy.

Lunar Eclipse: 12/20/2010

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse: 12/20/2010

Don’t Panic

Don’t…, originally uploaded by Images by John ‘K’.

It’s funny how things you love lodge themselves in your head and shape what you do, often unconsciously.

I’m traveling on business this week, and as always I’ve brought my camera with me even through there are few opportunities to use it during the day. So sat in my hotel room after a fun meal with colleagues yesterday evening I was bored and was looking for something to inspire me to take a photo of. I took the key from my rental car and looked at it and thought a macro shot that fixated on the panic button could be fun, so I attached my 50mm prime F/1.8 lens to my D5000, stuck a magnifying filer on the end of the lens and took the shot.

After a quick play in Photoshop Elements 9 I had the image looking how I wanted and so posted it to Flickr. Job done.

Looking at a few of the comments that people had left on the image this morning, two people thought they could see a sad face in this, and now I look again, I can see it too. It immediately made me think of Marvin, the paranoid android from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I LOVE his work, those books, and am a big fan of the cult TV series based on the books, and sure enough there is a passing resemblance between the “face” in this and Marvin.

Compare for yourselves. Here’s a shot of Marvin, courtesy of the BBC.


Am I a lunatic?

Mystical MoonOriginally uploaded to Flickr by Images by John ‘K’.

I had been hoping to get a clear moon shot every night this week to track the moon’s transition to being full, but the weather was against me. Tonight the sky was covered with fluffy white clouds through which the moon would make an occasional appearance. The moonlight on the back of the clouds made for a beautiful scene though, so even though this wasn’t the crisp clear moon shot I was hoping to grab, I decided to get an image of the sky anyway.

Now anyone who knows anything about digital photography will know that there is no way I got this picture from one shot – to get the right exposure for the clouds the moon ends up as a ball of white light. To get the right exposure for the moon, the clouds in the sky disappear into the darkness of the night. So to make this image I had to take two shots and then merge them together. I’m quite pleased with the result though.

My friends on Flickr call me “The Moonman” because I seem to be fixated with photographing the moon. Am I The Moonman or simply a lunatic? :-)

Shooting the moon


Moon, 38% off, originally uploaded by Images by John ‘K’.

After much early experimentation trying to get something I considered to be a half-way-decent photo of the moon using the equipment I have, I came up with the following guidelines….. (these are based on my experiences with 2 Nikon cameras, a D40x and a D5000, usually with my AF-S NIKKOR 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 G lens – feel free to adjust this to fit your equipment!)…..

* Have no filters on the lens (you want as little unneeded glass between you and the moon as possible)
* Have the camera on a good tripod (if not possible, be sure to brace yourself against something solid)
* Don’t use VR unless you are shooting freehand (if the camera is stable you don’t need it)
* If you can (especially if on a tripod) use remote shutter, or timed shutter release (eliminates shake from shutter press)
* Set to spot focus and spot metering
* Use Shutter Priority
* Set shutter speed so the camera thinks the exposure will be dark (this will vary dependent on how full the moon is and what lens you have)
* Use as low an ISO setting as your camera will allow (ideally 100)
* Pre-focus the shot and then turn AF off for when you take it (sometimes AF will do funky things when you don’t want it to).
* If you want clarity, don’t shoot with the moon low on the horizon.
* If you really want clarity, you want the moon to be fairly high in the sky at a time when the sky itself still has some light (dusk).

Moon shots typically need a bit of post-processing, but be careful to not overdo it.

* Contrast and level adjustments give the most bang for the buck.
* Keep sharpening to a minimum.
* Do what you can to remove noise from the sky
* If the color is odd (and you don’t like that!!) consider converting black and white.

If you use my suggestions, please let me see how your shots come out! If you have a recipe of your own that works well, please share it!