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Book Review: New Architecture London
New Architecture London, Prestel

Any good?

Yes it is actually.  The hardback book is about 180 pages and contains images that span the length and breadth of London.  As the name suggests the focus is strictly on modern architecture here so do not expect any images of Buckingham Palace or The Tower or the likes.

But is the photography good?

Well, yes and no.  There are no poor images as such but I can’t honestly say there are any stunning shots either.  A lot are taken in harsh sun and some pretty nasty shadows and reflections can be seen... but shooting in the city is hard going and access can be limited.

Should I buy it then?

You can pick the hardback for under £18 which is pretty cheap for anything to do with photography - a rocket blower can cost more than that!  If, like me, you have an interest in urban and architectural photography then this book is choc full of inspiring locations to shoot when in London - I can genuinely say I would not have found had I not purchased this book, so for me, it was definitely a worthwhile buy.

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DETAILS: Title: New Architecture London, Authors: Edwin Heathcote, Agnese Sanvito,  Richard Schulman, Format: Hardback, Size: 235mm x 280mm, Pages: 176pp, Illustrations: 150 colour illustrations, ISBN: 978-3-7913-8278-4, Publisher: Prestel­

Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 DC USM Art Lens review: Sharp, sharp, sharp!

Following on from my initial thoughts of the Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 DC HSM Art lens, have my feelings changed about this lens?  Or has extended use the lens brought us closer together?

I decided to try out this lens during a recent holiday to the Greek island of Santorini.  I do not normally do travel photography and I can honestly say after my time in Santorini I have a greater appreciation of the travel photographers art - how they achieve anything worthwhile whilst working in such blistering heat is beyond me!  Anyway, moving on...

The image quality is fantastic

I normally shoot between f5.6 and f11 and the image quality is excellent within this range.  One thing that was particularly noticeable was the lack of flare on the lens in such harsh sunlight and chromatic aberrations were virtually nil.  All images looked fantastically sharp, even prior to RAW processing in Lightroom – I actually found myself questioning whether I had applied sharpening to the image already and had to double check.

18-35mm reach is fine (for me)

I had no issues shooting with what some would regard as a limited reach.  I prefer to shoot minimal style images so this suits me but I can certainly understand that most travel photographers would find this limiting.  That said, It really is worth considering exactly what type of images you are going to shot before opting for a lens such as this.

It's still too heavy

As a travel lens I think this lens is too heavy - I will stick to my primes from now onThe Sigma weighs in at 1.79lb on its own so add that to a camera, and even a light bag and it can be become a bit bothersome to lug around.  That by being said if you want to take quality images using an Nikon APS-C camera then the extra bit of weight is perhaps worth the bother.

Handheld, 1/250, f5.6, ISO 100 @ 31mm

Handheld, 1/250, f5.6, ISO 100 @ 31mm

Conclusion:  Is the worth buying?

There is no denying that the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Lens  is a fantastic lens.  The sharpness you can achieve on a Nikon APS-C camera is fantastic.  As I stated earlier I usually shoot between f5.6-f11 but when I did shoot at f2.8 image quality appeared to be maintained.  Really, the only downside for me is the weight, it is really is noticeable, if you used to using prime lens.  That being said if you want sharp images this is the lens you need.

Have you used this lens or have any questions about?  Leave a comment below.

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Platon's iconic portraits: why photographers must watch Abstract: The Art of Design on Netflix

Netflix does great documentaries so it is nice to see more photography(ish) related content to watch.  It does not seem that long ago that the series Tales by Light was released so Abstract: The Art of Design being available so soon after is a real joy.

Abstract is an eight part series which introduces the viewer to some titans of the art and design world and how they create their art.  Architecture, illustration, footwear design, and photography to name a few, are all covered.  For those who are primarily interested is photography, then episode 8, which fo uses on Platon and his portraiture, is a must see episode – although I would highly recommend watching the whole series anyway.

To call Platon a fantastic photographer truly is an understatement.   He has photographed some the most people in the last twenty years; from presidents to politicians, entertainers to tyrants.  His portraits are breath taking.               

Platon discusses his work, his ideas and processes which inform his photography.  He says his process always begins with him asking himself “what can I learn from this person?”  He builds a connection with his subject standing or sitting only feet away from his sitters, virtually on top of them, chatting and probing until he finds a glimmer of what he likes.  His process is all about getting to know his sitter and translating that connection.

This really is a must watch for anyone with even a passing interest in photography.  Platon’s portraits are truly astounding and it is a joy to watch him work.  A must see.

What did you think of this programme?  Leave a comment below.

Want to speed up Lightroom with two simple clicks?

Even on the fastest computers Lightroom can slow down to a crawl, so any tip to keep the program running as fast as possible is a must.  This is a very simple tip but I can guarantee it works.

All you have to do is keep lens correction and sharpening/noise reduction OFF while you are editing and click it back on when you are done.  That’s it.  Believe it or not this can really speed up screen redraw times in Lightroom. 

Turn ssettings OFF and ON by clicking tabs marked above

Turn ssettings OFF and ON by clicking tabs marked above

The difference in performance is noticeable.  For example, using the image of the cart above, with these settings ON the redraw time for the photograph was 7.3 seconds when I zoomed in to 100% but with settings OFF that time was reduced to 1.2 seconds.  That is a lot of waiting before undertaking any edits.

This might seem minor but these seconds add up, especially on complex edits where you are constantly dodging/burning and moving to different parts of an image.  Hopefully this tip will speed up your workflow, let me know in the comments below.

Want to know more about Lightroom?  Have a specific request?  Leave your comments below.