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This is the second in a small series of collections created to showcase the beauty of the humble postage stamp. Using a macro lens to enlarge often unnoticed detail, these miniature works of art take on new beauty and appreciation when viewed at a greater size. They are also highly decorative, making superb wall art. We have several stamp albums, some of which have been stored for more than 40 years. Their contents exhibit collections taken from all parts of the world and date back to the beginning of postage stamp history. What started out as a rainy day experimental project quickly became engrossing and we ended up spanning the shoot over several days. Lighting and a stable environment were key to the shoot’s success. We used a Novoflex Magic Studio to achieve the results, along with an assortment of focus rails and tripod heads. All images were captured using a Pentax K-5 DSLR and 100mm f2.8 macro lens.

I am sure all photographers amass a whole bunch of images that elude categorisation and form a body of unspecific, undefined lost souls, doomed to haunt the edges of beautifully labelled image libraries. We occasionally review our collections, exorcising them of such misfits and dumping them into our ‘Odd Sock’ collection. Not good enough to stand alone but just the right side of the delete key, we present to you 2013’s Odd Socks.

City shoots are something we have become increasingly interested in. The images displayed here were shot in Sheffield on 27th December 2013, during our Christmas and New Year break. They have remained unseen since then, so we thought that as part of the PhotoArk relaunch, we would include a sample of them here.

Being the keen walkers that we are it was inevitable that, over the years, we would find ourselves with an expanding collection of inane subject matter. Sorting through such vacuous output we noticed there were some hidden gems buried within that formed a collection we had no idea we owned. Ladies and Gents, we give you our signpost photography of 2013 :-)

This is the first in a small series of collections created to showcase the beauty of the humble postage stamp. Using a macro lens to enlarge often unnoticed detail, these miniature works of art take on new beauty and appreciation when viewed at a greater size. They are also highly decorative, making superb wall art. We have several stamp albums, some of which have been stored for more than 40 years. Their contents exhibit collections taken from all parts of the world and date back to the beginning of postage stamp history. What started out as a rainy day experimental project quickly became engrossing and we ended up spanning the shoot over several days. Lighting and a stable environment were key to the shoot’s success. We used a Novoflex Magic Studio to achieve the results, along with an assortment of focus rails and tripod heads. All images were captured using a Pentax K-5 DSLR and 100mm f2.8 macro lens.

The Orton Technique is an effect pioneered back in the days of film by Michael Orton. It is a method of blending two different images of the same scene, one of them usually being slightly defocussed. The result is a surreal dreamy effect that can add considerable atmosphere to a wide range of subjects. Some of the subjects we have used it with include portraits, macro and selective landscape work. It is a technique that can be applied to digital images by duplicating the original and adding a light gaussian blur to the duplicate. The beauty of digitally applying the effect is that the amount of blur can be controlled easily – once the desired effect has been achieved the result can be saved. If the effect needs to be modified simply return to the originals and try again.

Cross Processing is a technique that deliberately processes a type of film in chemicals that are intended for another film type. Originally, the technique was probably discovered by accident, but unusual and surreal effects can be achieved that give heavy red, green or blue bias to the results. It is easy to simulate the effects digitally by adjusting the RGB channels, saturation and contrast in image manipulation packages, although some of them come with a cross processing filter to achieve the results quicker. Like the Bleach Bypass process, not all images are suitable for this style of working, so experimentation is key.

In the film era the bleach bypass method of processing colour film (as the technique suggests) skipped the bleaching phase. Bleaching removes the silver content from the emulsion, therefore bypassing it caused the silver to remain. This resulted in an image with reduced saturation but increased grain and contrast. The result can be achieved digitally and far more simply – many image manipulation software packages provide a filter that mimics the process, although time should be spent adjusting various levels to produce a satisfactory result…and not all types of images are suitable for this treatment.

Sepia toning is a popular method of modifying a black and white image giving it a dated look. Due to its popularity many digital cameras and image manipulation packages have built in filters to reproduce the effect. Colour images can also be sepia toned giving them a warmer feel. The images shown here have undergone black and white mixing across the colour spectrum to achieve a Sepia result.