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  1. Yesterday
  2. Talk about climbing the walls? No idea how long I've actually been working through all my old stock photos, remastering them for upload to my stock portfolio, but it's been a couple of years. Finished the job a few minutes ago. Oh boy, glad that's over. From now it will all be fresh photos to work with, wonderful. Here is the very last archived photo I just worked on, which was taken on a trip to Stroma Island in July 2014. I'm tired of reworking these old photos. I guess you could say I've just completed my apprenticeship as a photographer. It's graduation day! What a lot of work to get here. And here is the first of a few new photos I took yesterday, a sanderling I met down the beach.
  3. Last week
  4. Here's a part of the coasts I love to wander. This is a 2 photo stitch from two hand held photos taken with the 200mm in aperture priority at f11. The image stabilisation on the lens is out of this world. Didn't even cross my mind it would be such an excellent landscape lens. It's nice to be in love again.
  5. Did a 4 miler yesterday with the bag to break it and me in gently. It's the most comfortable bag I've ever carried, hardly knew it was there at times, and no sore back today. Rubbed my hips a bit towards the end, but not uncomfortably, and I expect even that will dissipate on the next walk as my hips get used to carrying the load. Here's a part of the coasts I love to wander.
  6. I'm still working through old photos. Stumbled across this one today. I think this is probably the best breaking wave photo I've ever managed to shoot.
  7. I've never had a camera bag that does the job for me. I've bought half a dozen, but none of them have ever done what I need a bag to do. The first bag I bought was a Slingshot. Under no circumstances ever buy a bag with only one shoulder strap. As all the weight is not evenly distributed across your shoulders, it's guaranteed to give you sore backs. Weight must be evenly distributed across your shoulders. All the other camera bags I've bought are only good for 2 or 3 hours work, but they also give you sore backs after extended use, especially if you're carrying heavy lenses. Your shoulders are not the load bearing points on your body, your loins are, the hip area. Weight must be carried by your hips for extended heavy work and not your shoulders and back. Here's me photographing a broch back when I was a Canon shooter and you can clearly see that a single strap twists the load on your back. Never use a bag with only one strap unless you enjoy sore backs. I suppose most camera bag manufacturers make bags for chucking on the back seat of the car, or perhaps even for a couple of hours on site where you actually have to carry the thing, and I would have to agree that most bags are suitable for that kind of work. However, trust me, they are not suitable for 12 hour hikes in remote countryside or up in the hills. They give you sore backs, there is usually no room in the bags for things like flasks and food, wet weather gear, hat, gloves and scarf if it turns cold, and somewhere to stash your jacket if it gets too warm. They do not do the job I need from them. Last month I went for a long walk along the shore. Took me about 6 hours. Brilliant walk, but yes, you guessed it, I had a sore back for 3 days afterwards. I've had quite enough of bags that don't do the job so I started looking around. Again. Couldn't find one. I did find some dude who has a new start up called Alotech, and he has designed a bag which looks promising, but it doesn't look as if he has got off the ground with the business as there is no stock at his website, and he doesn't answer emails. Anyway, last week I said fuck it, and decided to make my own bag. First thing I did was source a frame, and eventually opted for the Tatonka backpack frame. It had glowing reviews from folks who use it for such things as carrying firewood, large metal petrol jerrycans and other heavy stuff, it's built like a tank, it's lightweight, your hips carry the load, and it even stands up on the ground and doesn't fall over when you put it down. Imagine that! I ordered one from Amazon, and when it arrived I was impressed. It's a nice piece of kit. Next I took one of my expensive Lowepro bags, spent a good hour studying the Tatonka frame and the straps on the bag, and when I had a clear picture of what I was going to do, I butchered the bag and cut off all the straps I didn't need. The side straps on this bag wrapped nicely around the frame, as did the 2 main straps once I'd cut off all the shoulder and body padding. I've glued the clips and straps here, but I think I may have to stitch the straps as well so they don't slacken off over time. And here is where we are with the main camera bag attached. Had another look at the straps. Stitching won't be necessary as I was able to double wrap the straps back through the clips. Now for the top bag. Although I no longer use my Slingshot, and haven't done for years, it's perfect for my new system as it has plenty of space for personal gear. Here it is with all the unnecessary straps carefully cut off. There are ample bungee securing points on the frame, so I've ordered a few short black bungees for this one. The biggest challenge with the top bag was getting the main belt fastenings to clip together behind the frame. First I had to adjust the straps on the bag and then I had to trim the padding. Clipping them together was a bit fiddly but once they clicked into place I only needed a single 18" Savage Island black bungee (excellent bungees!) to secure the top of the bag. And here is the finished bag. I was surprised to find that I could lift the whole rig off the ground with one finger, empty of course, and raise it above my head. Look at all the space I now have for personal gear. I don't need to worry about accessing the rain covers on the bags either, as the Tatonka has a rain cover you can order separately, which folds up into a tiny little bag. As for space for gear, doesn't this look good! My X-T2 and 16-55mm sit comfortably in the top compartment in the Slingshot when not hanging around my neck. Can't wait to take this lot for a walk. I'll let you know how that goes.
  8. Earlier
  9. Hey, everyone needs a little break now and then. I'm lucky if I get to work on my levels for an hour a day.
  10. Tried to work on level 2 this evening Raider, but couldn't face it. I've been working 5 or 6 hours a day for the last month to get the first level done, and it's burned me out. I'm going to take a wee break for a week or three, recharge the batteries. On the plus side, I think level 1 is one of the best levels I've ever made, and it should appeal to new players as well.
  11. And here is how the area looks in game. That's level 1 finished and alpha tested. Just need to put in secrets once Todd let's me know which secret system we're using. An hour's playing time for me to run through it, so it's one of the biggest levels I've ever made with tons of exploring. On with level 2 tomorrow!
  12. Just discovered a new puzzle I've never used before. Didn't think it would work but it did!
  13. More sample photos edited from RAW files
  14. Coming along. Basic texturing is done.
  15. Raider X

    @ Raider X

    Well our games have never really been that hard though. As long as we keep the same kind of gameplay and challenges it will be fine I think.
  16. George

    @ Raider X

    Raider, there is a problem affecting all of us in the TR Community. Levels are so hard these days that most Raiders can't play them without following walkies and using DOZY. The problem is that they've been riding bikes with crooked handle bars for so long they now think it's normal. No new players are coming to the community because levels are so hard new players can't play them and bin them. So builders are now essentially spending months and even years of their lives making games for perhaps 10 to 20 players who are using DOZY and following walkthroughs while no one else can play them. Instead of thousands of people playing our games, we're building games for a tiny minority who use DOZY and religiously follow walkthroughs, I'm not prepared to spend months of my life making levels for a tiny minority of Raiders who use DOZY and follow walkthroughs. As I see it, the only way forward here is to make easy games like the originals and try to attract new players who can play them without using DOZY and following walkthroughs. When we fell in love with Tomb Raider all those years ago, the games were easy and you could finish them without using DOZY or following walkthroughs. We need to get back to that. There is nothing like the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a game using your own Raiding skills, wit, and intelligence. Using DOZY and following walkthroughs destroys everything worth having from playing Tomb Raider. I'm going to make dead easy levels with lots of exploring and I'm going to build DOZY traps into every level so those who refuse to play without using DOZY can't play them. We need to get back to Tomb Raider roots here and start attracting new players to the game again by making easy games with easy controls which even brand new players can finish. I'm not even going to use any new moves, just the moves that the original TR games gave us. If you're not happy with that, you had better speak up now.
  17. Here's a 100% crop of a hand held shot of the moon. I was in aperture priority f/2 and the camera selected a shutter speed of 1/2700 and ISO 160. It was early evening, and I'm somewhat surprised at the fast shutter speed of 1/2700. I guess f2 lets in a lot more light than the f2.8 I'm used to.
  18. I'm still working through my old library of stock photos, checking them over and remastering them before moving them to their new home at Adobe Stock. I've been at this for 2 years. However, I'm down to the last few hundred photos so should be done before the summer. Today I worked on jelly fish so thought I'd share them. Well, they are kinda colourful, if a bit silly getting washed up on beaches.
  19. In the old days of film cameras, we either sent our rolls of film off to a lab or we did our own developing in the darkroom. Either way, there was a process involved in getting the images off the roll of film and onto prints. That process is called post processing. So, whether they like to admit it or not, film photographers all post processed their work. In the digital age, we can learn to post process our own photos at home on our computers. The question is, why would we want to do this? To give you an idea, this first photo was how a sparrow looked straight out of my camera while the second has been post processed to bring out contrasts and colours. Is learning how to do post processing worth it? I think so! For your information, a digital camera is just a computer with very basic 'photoshop' photo editing software installed. The software is needed to convert your RAW files into jpgs. If you shoot jpg, you are relying on your camera and very basic software to post process your photos. As manufacturers want to keep everyone happy with the jpgs their cameras produce, the finished results are tailored to be rather flat and dull. I don't rely on my camera to do my post processing for me. I use an excellent computer and excellent software and I can do a much better job of post processing the RAW files my camera produces. Another reason we might want to shoot RAW and edit our own photos is because camera sensors do not have as high a dynamic range as the human eye and simply can't get all the details into jpgs in high contrast situations. In this example, all the detail in the sky has been lost. The camera produced an absolutely awful finished photo because the software installed in my camera couldn't handle the high dynamic range and so the highlights are blown out and the photo is extremely flat and dull. This is not an HDR. I produced this from the same RAW file as the photo above. If you shoot RAW and do your own post processing in a RAW photo editor you can bring details back into blown out highlights and blocked up shadows. A picture paints a thousand words, so here's another example, Mrs Blackbird having a bath. The first photo is what the camera produced, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it, it's just dull and flat, it has no vibrancy, no life about it. I opened the RAW file in my RAW Editor, adjusted the contrasts slightly, saved it as a Tiff, then opened it in two of my Photo Editing programmes to bring out contrasts and colour to give it some life. Took me about 2 minutes. Post processing isn't difficult these days because photo editing programmes are so good they can do all your post processing for you with a few preset clicks. *under construction* Being for pure beginners, this workshop is not a comprehensive Photoshop guide, it is simply an introduction, an overview to the world of photography. As such, we will only be looking at a few basics that will start you into post processing by making simple adjustments and fixing up a few common problems. There is a lot of software out there, and the choices can be bewildering. The good news is that photo editing is not graphic design and you do not need the full Photoshop CC programme. In fact, there are plenty of good programmes out there that will do to get you started, including a few free ones. You will need to do your homework and perhaps ask a friend for advice on what would be best for you. For my RAW conversions I use Capture One by Phase One, but there are many others you can look at if you decide to shoot RAW. Photoshop Elements includes a RAW converter and you don't need the latest versions. If you shoot jpg, you won't even need a RAW converter. For my editing I use an older version of Photoshop Elements 11 and Topaz plugins. I find that is more than sufficient for my editing needs.
  20. Brora is such a beautiful highland village.
  21. George

    Sutherland

    Here's a couple of photos of the countryside around where I live, first one is looking across Sutherland to Morven and Maiden Pap, the second is the road through Glen Loth.
  22. George

    Strange Bug

    Well, well, running TBuilder in XP Service Pack 2 compatibility mode solved the problem as well. I guess I'd better set all my Tomb Raider stuff up to run in XP Service Pack 2 Compatibility Mode.
  23. George

    Strange Bug

    I'm having the exact same problem with the TGA set now. I'm opening a TGA in TBuilder, adding textures, saving the file, all done correctly and double checked, and the revised TGA is opening in the Level Editor but without the new textures. When I open the TGA in TBuilder again, the new textures are there. Too late at night for me to fight this thing right now.
  24. I hope he'll show himself if he's okay and now that his game has been released.
  25. A new area under construction
  26. And no, TC14 hasn't heard from him in years either. I've had this project for years, but only found time to complete the work last year. Took me 6 months.
  27. I hadn't heard Titia. A rumour circulated last year about this when someone got him mixed up with Bedazzled. If he has died, I hope he saw his new game had been released. That would have pleased him before he went.
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