August 2020


Project Sphere

One thing that has stuck in my mind from listening to many online talks during lockdown is to think about working in Projects. So for instance, Trees, or Water, or peeling paint, or shop fronts etc. As I gave more thought to that I was also inspired by a couple fo photographers who produce images which have been manipulated in either Lightroom, Photoshop or both. So I decided to have a go at transforming some of my landscape images, mostly of well known places, into a ‘Sphere’, hence the title Project Sphere. The results of which can be seen in the gallery page here. Many of these images have also been included in my ‘Shop’ and can be purchased online through this link. One of my favourites so far is below – ‘Last Light, Whitby Pier’, the original images, ironically, was taken on my iPhone rather than my Canon camera.

LAst Light
Last Light, Whitby Pier

Once I found out about how to make the Spheres it was a fairly easy process to set up an automated routine in Photoshop – it then becomes a simple ‘One Click’ process, as it is for the digital frames I put around my images (see below) when I upload them to Facebook. The other unseen benefit at first was the fact that Instagram works best using square or 5 x 4 crop images, so these Spheres display really well on that platform

Last Light, Whitby Pier in its digital frame

Mounting Panoramic Prints

One of the other Projects I have been working on lately, although my dodgy knees have partly stopped me getting out more with the camera, are Panoramas. You may recall that last month this blog, in the main, was about creating Panoramic images.

In the next month though I have two one-day workshops to attend and on these I’m going to be working on my panoramas for sure.

So, having taken a number of images already this last few days I’ve chosen the best images and mounted them for future display (and hopefully sale at Craft Fairs). They’re not available in the ‘Shop’ as yet as I’m still working on the ‘Spheres’ for that! The next Fair will hopefully be on 29th September, fingers crossed.

My first challenge was to be able to print the panoramic images in a size larger that A3 width (depth is not a problem). I have some panoramas printed, mounted and framed and hanging on a wall in my hallway. However they lack impact when viewed as they are too narrow (IMHO). A little research showed me that Panoramic Paper is available to buy from various sources, although I use Fotospeed paper.

Warnscale Bothey would look great printed at 297 x 900mm!!

Fotospeed and Paper Spectrum are the main suppliers of Panoramic papers and that’s when I then came across the next challenge. For impact the image needs to be printed as large as possible within the limitations of the printer. My Canon Pixma Pro-10s is an A3 + sized printed (329 x 483mm / 13″ 19″), so theoretically the maximum width of any image would be 483mm, less a few mm on all edges for mounting. That’s the size my existing panos are printed out at. So the challenge then was to look at the two sizes of paper available from the above Paper Suppliers. The papers come in either 210 x 594mm (8.25″ x 24″) or 297 x 900mm (11.75″ x 35.4″). My initial hope was for the larger of the two, however my hopes were dashed a little as a tried to find a work around on my A3 + printer.

Eventually I discovered that there is a feature for setting custom paper sizes in the print dialogue settings, but however hard I tried I could get that to go beyond about 652mm, so I had to settle for 210 x 594mm paper size. Now that I’ve cracked that I must say it’s really pleasing to see prints that are 2 feet wide (almost). One of my favourites so far is Warnscale Beck Waterfall, which I’ve printed and mounted as a vertical panoramic print!

Warnscale Beck Waterfall as a vertical panoramic print, here double mounted

Anyway, in my wisdom I decided to Mount these images in double mounts, how difficult can it be I thought. My first challenge was to find mount board to fit. The my regular suppliers are Paper Spectrum and Cotswold Mounts and both do mount board in A1 size (594 x 841mm), however both sell in packs of 10 sheets, which was more than I needed. My local art shop in Northallerton sell by the sheet but the cost per sheet is double that of buying in packs of 10. After a bit of research on t’internet Dr Google pointed me to Paper Gourmet which is where I bought 3 shades of mount board from.

What challenged me next though was the accurate cutting of these mounts. The A1 sheets need to be cut down to 10″ x 24″ (which is a standard frame size. Easily done I thought on my Longridge Duo Plus mount cutter (now discontinued, but see here for their latest range). The trimming to size was reasonably straightforward, and with great care I got most of them perfect. The challenge came when I needed to cut two different sizes of aperture, one for the inner mount and one for the outer mount. The ideal is for there to be about 5mm difference in size. even with the most careful of measuring and cutting I can still tell where the mounts slope slightly or where the borders are slightly greater on one edge than the other. All good fun.

I think the lesson learned here is that when I work out the cost between buying the mount boards, taking into account the time taken in cutting them to size and then cutting the apertures has saved me £1 per mount versus buying them professionally laser cut from the regular chap I use to buy frames from!! I think it’s not worth the stress for a £1 per mount saving!

Panoramic view from Haystacks
Panoramic view from Haystacks

In August I’m looking forward to a ‘Long Exposure‘ workshop at Teesmouth and a ‘North York Moors in Summer Colours‘ workshop, curiously on the North York Moors near where I live! Both of these are being provided by the Royal Photographic Society with small groups (socially distanced of course) and both run by Mark Banks. So watch this space for new images and hopefully some great Panoramas too.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great summer now lockdown has eased a little.

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