Edinburgh based landscape photographer Tom Foster


Looking over to Edinburgh Castle from Calton Hill

Another one of those cliched views and another 3 image HDR, taken in early 2012 (snow is still visible on the Pentland Hills in the background). I think this one turned out quite nicely, I have taken a photo from here before and it was featured on the front cover of the Edinburgh University newspaper but I felt like I wanted to improve upon it and I feel this one turned out reasonably well. I’m not always a big fan of HDR, I think it is fine when it isn’t too extreme though (you know the type of picture I mean!)!Image


Brilliant sea and sky on the West Coast near Connel Bridge

This one is from a couple of years ago too (Summer 2010). The weather was wonderful and the flat waters created great reflections. A beautiful area of Scotland, just north of Oban and at the outlet of (the very photogenic) Glen Etive.


Winter panorama of the Meadows, Edinburgh

This is a large panorama (7% full size here) , made up of 14 individual shots. I took this the winter of 2010/2011, I remember looking to my right and saw this huge, impressive, developing cloud formation and being thankful I had my camera! Out of the photos I have taken so far, I think this is still one of my favourites!Image

Battery grips

I have a third party battery grip for my D7000 and since it only cost about £30, I would consider it a steal. Given that the Nikon battery grip for the D7000 is selling for between £150 and £200, I find it hard to see why anyone would opt for the more expensive option. I’m sure some people buy Nikon/Canon accessories and nothing else but in this case I feel it is simply unjustified.

There might be some differences in the construction and I believe the Nikon one is more solid but considering that the third party one is around 20% of the price, if it breaks I can buy another one and still be in the position of saving a lot of money. Feature wise, it is identical to the MB-D11 produced by Nikon, very handy- makes the camera feel more substantial and is useful particularly when shooting portrait, plus it was very cheap! I think the only significant differences are that some (early ones) have the dials reversed (relative to the body), the newer ones like mine don’t have this problem however.

I would recommend one to anyone with a DSLR with battery grips available (i.e. the majority of modern DSLRs). The one I purchased was from Amazon, I believe it is listed as ‘Neewer’, although it is actually the ‘Meike’ grip for which there is a lot of information available online.

Summer Chronophage clock (National Museum of Scotland)

Whether you find this clock without hands or numbers creepy or not, it makes a good subject for a photo! The chronophage (time eater) walks along the rotating outer ring and snaps its jaws shut every minute to signify ‘eating the minute’. Interestingly, it was designed by the inventor of the kettle safety switch (which turns the kettle off once the water has boiled). It’s sat in an egg shaped recess and is backlit, hence the slightly odd shadows.

Printing photos

While digital photography is undoubtedly more convenient to film photography, there are a couple of areas where film photography has a real advantage. The main reason I am thinking of (and is probably obvious from the title of this post) is the fact that when shooting digital, the vast majority of photos are never printed. While we would probably never consider printing every photo we take, it is nice to have something tangible and to be able to hold that special image in your hand.
About a year ago I bought a Canon Pixma iX6550, which set me back about £150. This isn’t at all bad, considering it prints borderless A3 and other printers with this feature cost significantly more. It doesn’t do scanning/copying/faxing or have wireless connectivity but none of this was a deal breaker as I wanted it simply for printing. I soon realised however that printing A3 photos uses up a significant amount (to put it mildly) of ink.
A set of ink cartridges would cost about £40 and to be honest didn’t last long. Some research later, I decided it would be much cheaper to buy a continuous ink system. This cost me about £90 because I went for the one with slightly more expensive pigment ink and took about half an hour to fit to the printer. I am however amazed at how much more efficient this method is, I have printed hundreds of documents and hundreds of photos (mostly 4×6 inches but a few A3) and I haven’t come close to using up the ink in the system (plus refills are cheap). I would recommend continuous ink flow systems to anyone who prints (or is interested in printing) their own photos. It saves a huge amount of money, is easy to refill and I think the photos printed with this ink look significantly better than those printed with the branded Canon ink. The whole set-up was pretty straightforward and cost under £250, which is about the same price as a cheap-ish lens so it might be worth considering if you are in the position I was in!


Edinburgh Castle from the Vennel (HDR)

For those of you that don’t know…

“A vennel is a passageway between the gables of two buildings which can in effect be a minor street in Scotland and the north east of England”

This one is more famous than most perhaps and is a great area to get a slightly less (albeit still significantly) clichéd view of the popular landmark. This particular shot was taken in the early evening about a month ago. I took 3 exposures (-2EV, 0EV and +2EV) and merged them to HDR using Photomatix 4 (a program which I find to be more much easier to get a good result from than Photomatix 3!). I’m quite pleased with the result but I would quite like to return there when it is a bit darker as I suspect the lights being on would improve the photo. A good sunset illuminating the sky behind the castle would also be nice.

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