Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ARTICLE: Dartmoor National Park

I recently left Barcelona for several days and returned back home to the England. We spent a couple of days walking around Dartmoor National Park which is 954 square kilometres (368 sq mi) of open moorland and can be found in the south-west of England.

I took a single lens, and one that you wouldn't generally consider for landscape photography, but I decided to challenge myself with a 50mm (75mm full-frame). To take full advantage of the low depth of field it can provide, I attached a neutral density filter to the front to counter the the over-exposure that low apertures can cause in bright daylight, and yes, the weather was surprisingly warm and sunny!

So that was the challenge, to use a reasonably narrow, fixed focal length lens and using predominantly a low depth of field. Below is a nice example I've selected and the ten choice others can be seen here on the website.

Simon @ theblend

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Not enough time! :/

During the last week or two, I've really found myself caught up on one task which has been holding me back in progressing in other areas; this task is updating the shop of the website.

I've been experimenting with different formats, navigation systems, layouts, and trying to take into account any future expansion, all of which has taken time. Tied in with the other things going on in life at the moment, it has taken a lot longer than anticipated. If all goes well, it should be up and live in the next few days, which will be great as it will then open the way to working on other projects I've been waiting do.

I suppose I should be thankful that I have no-one chasing me to have this completed "now!", but it has still been frustrating to me that it has taken longer than expected to finish.

If there is something I’ve realised, it's that sometimes (usually due to unforeseen circumstances) it’s impossible to get everything done to the deadline. But if these things are important, it is much better and let’s face it, quicker in the long run, to allow a bit more time and get it done properly.

Here's to a productive couple of days, after which I can get back on track again. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

ARTICLE: Lovebox Poster Design Competition

As part of the website update, I have been needing to complete further graphic design projects to replace the rather tired selection currently on display. I recently found out about a poster design competition organised by 'Don't Panic', the brief to design a poster to promote the Lovebox Bangbox festival happening in London in July. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get back into that graphic design thought processes again.

After deciding on a concept, I followed through on one until I was happy with the results, this is what I submitted:

Not a very complex design, and I'm sure I could remix it again and further whilst maintaining a nice simplicity. I wanted to create a bit of depth to the design rather than a plain, flat look, so decided to play off the 3d drawings of the cubes.

My way of thinking has changed over the years regarding getting everything just right when working in graphic design, especially using the digital tools available. Even in life, I much prefer 'organic imperfections' rather than 'clinical perfection', and I'm sure this will continue; although obviously, different jobs require different levels of correctness.

There have been some great entries already submitted, and I can't say i entered to win (as I'm feeling a bit rusty so to speak) but it has been a lot of fun.

Simon @ theblend

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Kindness and Respect

This isn't really design related, but I wanted to write about something that happened last week whilst I was at at the Barcelona photography and imaging expo SONIMAGFOTO. I have a BLACK RAPID strap for my camera (which I love, the best strap out here!), the importers of them into Spain had an exhibition on, I was able to speak with this American guy about one of the attachments they have for the strap. He was told that it wouldn't fit, we couldn't see why but we tried it anyway.

After a bit of messing around, we got it on and agreed it fitted fine. He asked if I wanted to buy it but I wasn't in a position to drop 18€ on a bit of nylon strapping at that time. The American guy had a word with the importer, came back to me and said "as you helped understand that these things are compatible, i'm going to give this to you!"

It made my day!! He didn't have to do that, you don't often see that kindness here, it was very nice.

As it turned out, the 'American guy' was the founder of the company!

Big respect to BlackRapid!

Simon @ theblend

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Monday, March 28, 2011

UPDATE: Website (re)development: Complete!

Finally, the finished update of the site http://www.theblend.co.uk/ and is now live!

The new interface is much cleaner and as a result, navigation is quicker. You can now see more collections and projects with less scrolling.

The main updates are in the galleries for the photography and graphic design pages which have been completely revised. You will be able to see thumbnails for up to 12 collections/projects, each which now has it’s own page where you can there see thumbnails for each image in that collection.

Three new collections have been added to the photography page here: www.theblend.co.uk/photography.html

The shop is currently being developed using a third-party company which will handle the printing and dispatch of the products. It will initially continue with t-shirts moving into prints, canvases in the future. The shop will be live in the next week or two.

There are further developments to come which will be implemented when the time is right, in the meantime, check out the newly updated site.

If anyone is wondering about the coffee cup on the front page www.theblend.co.uk it relates back to the first version of the site in 2006.

Simon @ theblend

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

UPDATE: Website (re)development

It has been a week or so since I have posted anything here, but far from taking some time off, I’ve been hard at work on the redesign of www.theblend.co.uk.

I decided that with all the projects I´m planning to add over the coming months I had to make it more future proof. So (as I write this) it is still in a major redevelopment and refresh stage, and I hope to have it completed by the end of this week (27 March 2011).

The main task has been to improve the navigation of the site. Previously, taking the photography page as an example , all the galleries were accessed through one long page, which was not providing a good browsing experience. It has now been designed so that thumbnails of up to twelve ‘collections’ can be viewed on a single screen without any scrolling required. Clicking the thumbnail cleanly opens into a new window showing thumbnails for each image in that collection and providing further info.

Also updated are all the menu bars. They have been replaced with a much cleaner method and font. The goal was to be able to access any page/collection/project with no more than three clicks and little to no scrolling. I believe this redevelopment will achieve this.

PLEASE NOTE that until I post the next update on this page, it is the OLD VERSION of the site which is available, so you can do a before and after comparison!


Simon @ theblend

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Friday, March 11, 2011

PHOTO SHOOT: Stop Motion

This week I finally managed to get out and shoot this 'stop motion' idea I've wanted to do for a while. Previously stopped by weather and the position of the sun, everything worked out last week. :)

This is a simple example taken from a batch I'm currently processing, I will display the other examples on my site here soon.

The essential piece of 'outdoor' equipment to achieve this is the tripod, used to keep the camera in precisely the same composition during multiple exposures.

Camera settings used were as follows:

- ISO --> 320
- Shutter speed --> 1000th/s
- Aperture --> F8
- Focal length --> 18mm
- White balance --> Sunny

Once captured in camera, the multiple shots (many times 10+) are imported into Photoshop (or equivalent) into a single document, all layered on top of each other, then it's a case of removing the parts of each image that you don't want until you end up with something like above.


On a side note, I've realised that I haven't been updating my Flickr stream recently, so whoever's reading this, you've all had the same repetitive images to look at, sorry about that, will sorted from now on! ;)

Simon @ theblend

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