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The Kelpies

At the end of the Forth and Clyde Canal, at the River Carron Sea Lock you will find the worlds largest equine sculptures, The Kelpies. Created from Steel with a stainless steel skin by Glasgow artist, Andy Scott, the 300 tonne sculptures tower 30m over a newly created lock at the East end of the Forth and Clyde canal.

Stunning during the day or at night when the structures are beautifully lit they are truly a magnificent sight and are not to be missed.

Night time visits are probably best saved for the winter months, especially for those with restricted mobility, as the car parks close in the evening, and parking in the locality is restricted and will necessitate a long walk in.

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If you are in the area a visit to the nearby Falkirk  Wheel is also a must.

Time Lapse

iPhoneography is gaining popularity and as the quality of phone cameras improves it is being taken more seriously, the video functions on phones is also very good allowing you to capture full HD footage on the device you carry with you every day.

Time lapse is performed by taking photographs at set intervals and then combining them to form a movie. Smartphones are an ideal tool for capturing time lapses with no additional equipment. By using a free or low cost app you can either use the phone to capture a series of stills or to capture and produce a video clip.

The Triggertrap App, available free for both Android and iOS can use your internal camera or with the dongle you can trigger your SLR at the required set intervals

Other apps that can capture and produce timelapse movies are iMotion HD  and Miniatures (the free version is limited to lower res 10s clips) but this can also add the tilt-shift effect to your movies, which is quite effective combined with time lapse.

One limitation of making time lapse movies is that it is difficult to pan the camera during the capture of the images without jerking. I use a small device to rotate the phone whilst the images are being captured.

With the Muvi X-Lapse the camera is slowly rotated and setting the capture rate to 1s gives a fairly smooth pan, as can be seen in the following video, which was created with Miniatures and then edited in iMovie

Photography Competitions March 2014

National Photography Awards

Following on from last month’s spectacular displays of the Aurora Borealis the theme for  National Photography Awards UK’s themed competition for March is “Northern Lights”.

*** NORTHERN LIGHTS COMPETITION – Call for Entries ***

This month’s themed competition is ‘Northern Lights’. Entries are now open – We want to see your images of the beautiful Aurora!

1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will see their images featured on our website & FB page and winning images will automatically be entered into our Astronomy Photographer of the Year category!

Our guest judge for the Astronomy POTY category is Lord Martin Rees – World renowned cosmologist, astrophysicist and official astronomer to the Queen! Here is a quote from professor Rees: “The beauties of the night sky have been admired by all cultures throughout human history. I’m delighted to be a judge and look forward to seeing some beautiful images.”

The Northern Lights themed competition is FREE to enter and deadline for entries is midnight on 31st March.

Don’t forget you can also enter your general Astronomy images into our Monthly Awards. For more information and to enter, please visit our website. Good Luck!

 Win a Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 Telephoto Lens

What Digital Camera are offering the chance to win this lens worth £1000 to one lucky winner.

Just answer a simple question to be in with a chance of winning. Closes 1st April 2014

 Amateur Photographer are also running a competition to win the same lens, it even has the same question so double your chances. Closes 10th April 2014

Win a Fujifilm X-M1 and lens worth £600!

What Digital Camera are also giving you the chance to win a Fujifilm X-M1 and lens.

Answer the simple question to be in with a chance of winning. Closes 31st March 2014

Win £500 to spend at

To celebrate the power of vision and the wonder of our eyes, GetLenses are giving away £500 worth of vouchers to spend on photography equipment from Amazon UK.

All you have to do is send us a photograph you’ve taken of a sight or object that reminds you of an eye. This could be anything from clouds in the sky, the froth on your coffee cup, or even water draining through a plughole. If you think it looks like an eye, we want to see it. The more imaginative, the better. So get your creative cap on and get snapping!

Win A Mountain Series Loka Camera Bag have a Mountain Series Loka camera bag and Internal Camera Unit insert, worth £230, to give away, courtesy of f-stop.

One lucky winner will win a lightweight, weather-resistant, 37-litre camera bag ideal for outdoor use. The Loka has room for kit, food, water, and other daily essentials.

It is compatible with all f-stop Internal Camera Units (ICUs), up to a large pro series.

You’ll need to be quick – closes 14/3/14


Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The street photographer’s paradise that is the Edinburgh Festival is almost upon us. With a plethora of performers and spectators jostling to see and be seen on the Royal Mile you will not be short of subjects.

Virgin Money Fringe Street Events run every day from 2nd August 2013 to 26th August 2013, with stages at key locations the length of the Royal Mile and at the Mound Precinct, as well as many performers trying to entice you to visit their shows. The website will have the running order for each of the street stages on the day, so you can plan your day.

Etiquette: The street performers make their living from performing, if you are taking photographs you should really put some money in the hat – suggested amount is £5.

The other performers are trying to boost ticket sales, they are generally happy if you are sharing photos online and tag the shots with the name of the group and the show. If you wish to take shots in an indoor venue remember to ask for permission – this will usually be given at the time but may be denied by the more established performers unless you go through the promoters in advance.

Photography Apps – Android

Following on from my pick of  iOS Photography Apps its time to take a look at Android apps.

I’ve applied the same criteria to my selection of Android Apps – they must be free or low cost.

DoF Calc – Free

DoF Calc


This is a free depth of field calculator that has one of the easiest and most pleasant user interfaces for this type of app. Other app developers should take note. The first step is to select your camera, thankfully you don’t need to know the exact size of sensor just select the correct manufacturer range and you’re good to go.

After that its just a case of dialling in your preferred aperture, focal length and focus distance, pay attention to the units The app then gives you the near and focus limits for your chosen values and the hyperfocal distance for your chosen aperture and focal length. This is also shown pictorially which is handy.


Exposed – Free

Exposed Screenshot

This free exposure calculator is just about as simple as it gets. Ideal for using with strong ND filters, simply meter in camera without the filter then enter the shutter speed and the filter strength in stops and the app does the rest. We even get a timer for those exposures that are longer than the camera’s pre-programmed shutter speeds. The only drawback when using this app is the lack of aperture control, a change in aperture would require you to remove the filter and meter for the new f-stop setting or work out the adjustment to the original exposure yourself which kind of defeats the purpose. Also on longer exposures if your device goes to sleep the timer alarm doesn’t go off.


Exposure Calculator – Free

Exposure Calculator Screenshot

Another free exposure calculator, this one addresses an omission from the previous calculator I looked at, however the layout of the UI is a little awkward, particularly on a tablet when the layout goes a little wonky.

Using the + and – buttons enter your metered exposure and the adjustment required. Then enter your desired ISO and aperture to calculate the shutter speed. If you have a preferred shutter speed that you want to use then you can calculate the f-stop or ISO required. This app is missing the timer function but the stopwatch or countdown timer on your device can be used instead.


PHOforPHO – Free

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This app covers most of the bases required for photographers. Once you set the Circle of Confusion (used for depth of field calculations)

The UI isn’t the prettiest but it is functional. You can start with the Hyper-focal length however the drop downs aren’t the easiest way to set the values the results are displayed clearly as text.

The Depth of Field calculator also uses the drop downs for the selection of focal length and aperture but you can type the focus point. The app then calculates the DoF and also gives the hyper-focal point.

A nice touch is the inclusion of a multiple exposure EV calculator. This is used with film cameras and gives the exposure adjustment required per frame.

The Exposure Calculator again uses the dropdowns to set ISO and aperture from your metered exposure but you can type in the shutter speed either as a fraction or a decimal (1/125 = 0.008). Then set the strength of the filter or with no filter you can simply calculate equivalent exposures. Finally set your target ISO and aperture and calculate the shutter speed. You can then send your calculated time to a timer which can also run as a service allowing very long exposure times to be set and retain the ability to be alerted even when the device goes to sleep. The timer can also be set independently.

The app also links up to Catch Notes, allowing you to easily  log notes about settings etc.  Another function that is probably less useful allows you to measure the distance from your subject to your camera, this only really works over longer distances as it uses GPS which limits its applications.


Sun Surveyor Lite – Free

Sun Surveyor Lite

If you want to know where and when the sun will set and rise along with its path then this is the app for you.

The pro version  is £4.25 and adds functionality and removes ads.

The Lite version only shows the path and times for your current location, but does allow you to change the date so that you can plan a return when the sun will set in a particular area on the horizon. The pro version gives the ability to check for different locations, which when used in conjunction with mapping sites will help you work out when to visit particular locations and also uses mapping APIs and augmented reality and adds widgets.