Author Archive

Cherry blossom time, South London

At this time of year my daily walk often takes a left turn down Winterbrook Road in Herne Hill for the spectacular cherry blossom. The Yoshino trees were planted less than a decade ago as an experiment – Yoshinos are usually for parks – but they have been such a success and I doubt I …read more

The day before

With only one day to go before the UK leaves the EU, Remainers from all over the country gathered for a final, well final-ish, protest against Brexit. SODEM intend to keep protesting and holding the government to account. Although Brexit will have been “done” in the sense of leaving the world’s largest free trade bloc, …read more

Charles I Commemoration

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Brooklands Cars

I don’t consider myself to be a car enthusiast and this series of pictures only began during a landscape photography trip to the Lake District when I heard of a rally close to where I stay. High up on the fell above Honister slate mine, that November day was bitingly-cold, windy, raining and then snowing …read more

Oakwell Hall

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Huntingdon – Burford

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BJ forced back to Parliament

The day after the UK Supreme Court’s 11-0 verdict had ruled Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament to be illegal, BJ had just arrived to face the House of Commons.

Detling

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Crowland

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Did BJ mislead the queen?

Just after Scotland’s highest courts had ruled that Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was illegal, a protester shouted at the gates of Downing Street. I’ve no idea who he may be, but the advice was loud and clear. I feel sorry for the bloke in the wheelchair.

Ragged Victorians Ragged Victorians

The ‘Ragged Victorians – The Great Unwashed‘ are a living history group re-enacting the lower classes of Victorian England, c1851.

Whitehall Watch

Parliament has been on its summer break since Boris Johnson moved into Downing Street. The new government’s planning for a kamikaze Brexit is being conducted at the Cabinet Office in Whitehall, and the SODEM protesters have started a daily “#Whitehallwatch” protest in that area. Whatever the weather, they are there – and yesterday was very …read more

Brexit Brexit

The 2016 Brexit referendum quickly made Britain an international laughing stock. Brexit’s leaders wouldn’t agree what Brexit was, and the hapless Theresa May thought she would strengthen her hand by calling a general election but lost her majority in Parliament. After two years of this chaos, Remainers organised and in October 2018 I went on …read more

Cheriton – ECW

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Cheriton – Napoleonic

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Cheriton – ACW

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Cropredy

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Another 6pm shout

Last Thursday a far right mob had walked from the Old Bailey to Parliament after their leader had again been sent to prison, this time for activity that endangered the trial of child abusers. Some thugs went straight for the anti-Brexit protesters and forced them to flee. Flags were burnt and poles were broken, but …read more

Daily protest

Every evening the SODEM pro-EU protesters go to the gates outside the Houses of Parliament and tell MPs what to do with Brexit. This is with the Fuji X-T2, shot at 4K, and yes, I know I overcooked the sound. As I have been doing more video, I acquired a Rode VideoMic microphone last week …read more

Yellow vests in Whitehall

On Saturday I was in central London just as a protest march approached the Cenotaph in Whitehall. It turned out to be a “yellow vest” protest mixing chants about Lee Rigby (the soldier murdered in Woolwich by Islamist thugs), prosecution of soldiers for alleged crimes, and in favour of Brexit. Once you’ve got the idea, …read more

The British way

This morning I was already recording some close-up clips of flags fluttering in the sunshine (for use in other videos) when the Brexiter started shouting. He then recognised the elderly former Conservative MP John Gummer and started ranting at him – until a passerby intervened….. It’s only a short clip and at the time I …read more

Guy Verhofstadt visits SODEM

On Friday May 10, 2019 the former Belgian PM and now head of the EU Parliament’s Brexit committee Guy Verhofstadt was in London to help kick off the Liberals’ campaign for the EU elections. Hold on a second, I thought the EU was supposed to be undemocratic? Anyway, as part of his trip, he arranged …read more

Extinction Rebellion

I’ve just added a couple of new collections of pictures to the site – one on the Brexit protests and another on Extinction Rebellion. A year ago I remember telling a German friend how I have never really felt at home in London, even after 30+ years and how I’ve always thought that in 5 …read more

Huntingdon – Charles I

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Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion protests closed down central London for a week in mid April. Unlike many demonstrations which strike me as bonding exercises for those already persuaded of the cause, these protests seemed much more about reaching out and convincing the rest of us. I found this fascinating and I spent much of the week walking …read more

Musical Monday

Almost three years after making the country an international laughing stock, the Brexiters still don’t agree what Brexit means and Theresa May has failed to force through her “Brexit means Brexit” on March 29. So protesters remain outside Parliament, Brexiters alleging betrayal and treason, Remainers more hopeful that Brexit can be reversed. It’s busier when …read more

1640s timelapse

After experimenting with the iPhone’s standard timelapse feature at the Brexit and Extinction Rebellion protests here in London, I thought it might suit a historical re-enactment that I was going to over the Easter weekend. The phone was left on the tripod while I carried on photographing, and the files were automatically imported into Lightroom …read more

Another day in Brexistan

The scenes outside Parliament continue to fascinate me, and on a nice day it’s too tempting to continue my daily walk round Dulwich and carry on the 4-5km into central London, or I’ll just catch the bus up to Westminster and spend an hour or two there. This was a Wednesday, usually more busy thanks …read more

Brexistani Times

The video does have a few rough edges, but I hope it gives a good impression of the scenes outside Parliament every day. It’s a combination of stills taken on my Fuji X-T2 and video from my iPhone.

Ploughing on….

One morning last week I got home from a brisk walk around Dulwich, pleased to have done my daily exercise and ready to spend the rest of the day working. But I was straight back out of the door soon after turning on the computer and seeing that a local pub had tweeted a video …read more

Blackfriars Bridge Street

I have always admired “street photography”, and for me that doesn’t mean photographs taken in streets but the genre is really about observational or candid public photography, whatever the location or environment. Some of my earliest “serious” photographs, like the couple in Trafalgar Square, fitted into this definition and I still enjoy the challenge of …read more

Instagram

For more than a year I have been posting new pictures to Instagram and odd videos on YouTube. Just don’t take this as evidence of any burgeoning social media strategy, let alone of any ambition to be an “influencer”, or whatever. It’s just proof that I am still alive, if anyone is wondering.

Hall Place The public

Living History displays

Coleford Commemoration

2017 has been and gone

I knew I was struggling to keep the blog going, but I just realized that I hadn’t made a single “real” post in the whole of 2017! I am still alive, I do tweet, quite often, I still help people in forums, occasionally exchange harsh words too, and Facebook a little too, which I am …read more

New Lightroom plugin – X-LR

X-LR is released

Author

I’ve written about 10 books on digital photography, but my background hadn’t been as a photographer or artist. I had been in accounting, then in financial IT. Photography had been a hobby, and I loved darkroom printing, but working for the printing press manufacturer Heidelberg meant I was familiar with Photoshop about 1990 and had …read more

Consultant

I have moved all my newer Lightroom content over to my other web site, Lightroom Solutions. My knowledge of Lightroom has origins in my murky past as a spreadsheet warrior. Qualifying as a chartered accountant, I learnt to program Excel and databases and became more of a financial IT guy and eventually was in consulting …read more

Grange Crags #2016top3 3/3 – Grange Crags

The third of my #2016top3 favourite images, a birch and bracken on Grange Crags, has in fact already been on the blog. The photo was taken in mid January, and what I like so much is that the scene was completely different when I first noticed its potential but developed exactly how I imagined it. …read more

#2016top3 2/3 – Honister Pass

You’re looking up the Honister Pass from the Buttermere side, and the lights at the top belong to the quarry. It’s a scene I’ve shot in daytime with the light coming down the valley and picking out the curves of the wet road, but the idea of shooting it at night has been in the …read more

#2016top3 1/3 Rainbows

In the last few days there’s been a Twitter hashtag going round, #2016top3, for your favourite 3 landscapes of the year, and as I had joined in I thought it was a good excuse to get myself back into posting to this blog. I like to get up to Borrowdale early each November. It can …read more

Fuji XT-2 – an easy camera to like

I can’t be the only photographer whose head has been turned by the new Fuji XT-2, and this week I had a great chance to play with one at Fixation in Vauxhall. So if anyone else is wobbling or wondering – and if anyone still reads this blog – I thought I’d jot down my …read more

Lake District V

Hadrian’s Wall

It sometimes seems that re-enactments follow me, rather than me seeking them out. In September 2015 I was in the Lake District, in fact cooking my evening meal when I caught the words “re-enactment” and “Hadrian’s Wall” on the television. A 100+ strong group called Legio I Italica had come from Italy for an event …read more

Rosthwaite Lake District III

Derwentwater Lake District I

Lake District IV

Sealed Knot hi res photos

These photos are copyright of the photographer but may be used freely for Sealed Knot publicity. Try to give a photo credit to the SK and the photographer. We’ve reviewed the photos for authentic details and other potentially-awkward content, but contact John if there’s something you notice.

Others

Re-enactors Earlier periods

Every historical era has its re-enacting enthusiasts. Imperial Rome has an obvious attraction, and lets people research authentic uniform and tactics, but others enjoy being Saxons or Vikings for the weekend and are not deterred by a relative paucity of evidence. By the Medieval period, documentary records and paintings again offer plenty of assistance, and …read more

History Pages

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Historical re-enactment

In recent years I’ve been fascinated by historical re-enactment, especially depicting the English Civil War

Landscape

Mostly the Lake District

Photos

Best of 2019

Some of my favourite images from mid 2016 to mid 2017 – the usual mix of the Lake District, the streets of London, and gunpowder.

London Bridge Favourites

Low Scawdel Lake District II

The Shard

This ongoing project took shape in late 2013 as London’s tallest office building neared completion. I find it quite an elegant structure, and I love noticing it behind other scenes and offering new ways to illustrate life in this big city. Like its inspiration, Hokusai’s series of Fuji prints, there will be 36 frames, eventually.

Ightham oasthouses England

Kelmarsh English Civil War

The 1640s and the English Civil War has always been my favourite period, so the heart of my historical re-enactment project is on the Sealed Knot, Europe’s largest re-enactment group. While I do shoot in colour, I didn’t see paintings from the period until I moved to London, and I grew up seeing the likes …read more

Paestum Italy

These pictures are all from southern Italy – mainly from periods based in Tropea, Calabria. I suppose what I like about the south is that there’s less “perfection” than one encounters elsewhere in Italy where everything has been tidied up and restored, and there’s also more of a connection to earlier Mediterranean cultures.

Newstead Abbey Life during wartime

The re-enactment scene isn’t just about pretend fighting, and the “living history” side allows people to depict camp life, music, crafts and other non-military aspects of their chosen periods. Since many events are based at historic houses, I particularly enjoy looking for anything happening indoors where the surroundings often provides strong echoes of those times.

Advanced Digital Black and White Photography II Books

Lord Soper Speakers Corner

Back in the early 1990s I seemed to photograph Speakers Corner almost every Sunday – it fitted in well with dim sum – and I liked what seemed a healthy mix of serious political and religious debate, humour and weirdness. So Christian evangelists waved their bibles, a guy claimed he was Jim Morrison, a British …read more

Bryce Canyon USA

Over the years I’ve been to the US many times on business and as a traveller. I certainly feel very at home in New England, not surprisingly, but I am more drawn to the much less European appearance and culture of the South West, California, the North West, or even Las Vegas (and I certainly …read more

Blog

Welcome

About me

Kelmarsh Hall 20th Century

Re-enacting 20th century wars seems a distinct part of the re-enactment scene with more interest in collecting original kit, some having family history, and also the occasional intrusion of contemporary interests. These can be as innocent as the Italophiles baking pizza and ciabatta in a 1940s Italian army kitchen, or how a group portraying US …read more

American Civil War re-enactment American Civil War

Napoleonic

Not surprisingly, the Napoleonic re-enactment scene is pan-European, and although the TV series Sharpe seems to have drawn in some British enthusiasts, it’s my impression that they seem to share more Europhile attitudes than their English Civil War counterparts.

Wapping Politics by other means

After a teenage interest in military history, I have never been into weapons and am generally suspicious of those who try to wrap themselves up in the flag and idolize the military. For me photographing re-enactment grew from my interest in political and social history, and I am always hoping re-enactors will depict these underlying …read more

Front page

Kelmarsh Hall The face of battle

Knebworth House Filming

Elvaston Castle Action

Tattershall Castle A war for religion

Religious difference was a major cause of the war and the reason cited most often by individuals for their choice of sides. Some re-enactors are drawn to Puritan firebrands such as the preacher Hugh Peters (who helped found Harvard while exiled in the American colonies), but others like to portray the established church. I’ve even …read more

List View

ListView is a plug-in for Lightroom (3 or later) that displays images in a list style just like in most other DAM (digital asset management) programs. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to review your metadata entry in a list than by scanning through a grid of thumbnails. Other things you can do with List View: …read more

Capture Time to Exif

Capture Time to Exif is essentially an in-Lightroom interface for Exiftool. Its main purpose is to allow you to edit EXIF data, particularly dates, without having to understand much about command lines. So you can: Update the Date Time Original EXIF field of scanned images. Lightroom’s filter panel and smart collections can then find the …read more

FolderSize

Big note

Big Note is a very simple free plugin which adds a custom field to the Metadata panel. This lets you add notes about the picture. You can store any text in the field, and it can also be searched by smart collections. I am cautious about encouraging people to enter custom metadata in Lightroom. It …read more

Workflow smart collections

Locktastic

Locktastic is a simple plug-in for Lightroom 2/3/4/5/6 that: Marks read-only or “locked” files with the red label Selectively imports read-only files from a folder, bypassing LR’s standard import dialog When photographers review images in the field, it’s common to “lock” those that they particularly like. This simple procedure makes it that little bit harder …read more

Syncomatic

Syncomatic (available here) is a Lightroom (3 or later) plug-in that synchronises Library and Develop settings between groups of files: names are identical or differ by a suffix like “-edit” from the top item of a stack to the other stacked items capture times match for processing jpeg files in Lightroom Mobile and updating raw …read more

Bridge scripts

These scripts are all cross platform JavaScript: Copy iView colour label iView_ExMedia _File_Info_Panels_for_CS4.zip iView_ExMedia scripts Pseudo ratings for Lightroom contact sheets.zip Set filename to metadata CS2-CS6.zip

Expression Media & iView Mediapro

Scripts – Windows only Browse to custom field url Copy User’s HTML Theme Filename to title Get_MS_Office_document_properties IPTC from first item to rest Keywords from first to rest People to keywords Place as Smart Object in Photoshop Place finder to keywords Run a Photoshop action Search_and_replace Select modified files Select yellow label Sync_files_with_same_names Update records …read more

About the re-enactment project

about the historical re-enactment project What I think makes my historical re-enactment project different is that it combines photography with my long-suppressed aspirations to be an academic historian, specialising in the English Civil War. In a sense, I’m trying to report and explain the war and its lasting impact on British history. Too much Don …read more

Books

I’m a writer who can take good pictures and a photographer who can use words effectively – a combination that doesn’t always go together – and so I hope that my publishers don’t waste time or money correcting grammar or spelling, or sourcing the images that help make the book jump off the shelves. On …read more

Open Directly

Open Directly is a plug-in for Lightroom 2/3/4/5/6 that opens images directly in another program. That other program may be another raw converter, or any program the user chooses. In either case, the plug-in simply sends the original file and invokes the other program. Other raw converters Some Lightroom users want to manage raw files …read more

Search Replace Transfer

Search Replace Transfer is a Lightroom (2 or later) plug-in designed for bulk changes to text in Metadata Panel fields. It searches through the chosen metadata field looking for a word or phrase, and then replaces all its occurrences with alternative text. Searches and replaces text like a word processor Appends text before or after …read more

LR etc

As one of the leading experts on Adobe Lightroom and on DAM systems such as iView and Extensis Portfolio, I work with leading photographers to help them establish robust and efficient workflows. Lightroom pro training Based in London and the North West (elsewhere by arrangement) One to one or small group Screen sharing over the …read more

Contact

You can contact me by email. Please make your subject line obviously human or leave it as set by the link. My Italian is good, and I am OK in French and German. Please don’t blame me for Brexit – it’s not my fault. And if you see me somewhere, do say hello. I am …read more

Photography

My photography is varied and ranges from landscape to documentary. What first made me want a camera in my late 20s was the work of photojournalists like Don McCullin and Brian Harris (in the early Independent newspaper) and I also remember being impressed by shows by Chris Killip and Sebastaio Salgado. I like long term projects, …read more