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Mark Allen

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Mark Allen last won the day on July 12 2017

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About Mark Allen

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  1. I was watching Top Gear, in 2009, and Clarkston was testing a V12 Aston Martin and I loved the music in the background. I googled "Top Gear Clarkston V12 Aston Martin music" was discovered that there was a Top Gear forum, were addicts and fans commented on each show. It turned out the music was by Brian Eno and was called 'The Ending'. This produced much wails and sadness as the forum members thought this was a subtle message that this was going to be the last in the Top Gear series! I liked the music as it fitted my mood at the time, I had just lost my son and was feeling rather melancholy. I did V1 at that time and then forgot about it (2009). This V2 keeps the music but the slide order has been changed to create a better flow. (In 2009 I had never heard of Photo Harmony, and knew very little about slideshows.) As always; I welcome feedback and promise, in advance, not to get upset!
  2. Version 2.1


    This is a simple slow fade style slideshow produced for my family, featuring photos taken on a once of a lifetime trip to New Zealand.
  3. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your comments on Gaudi. I did download NIK filters when first released free but am just finding out how to use them to best advantage. You are right in that there is a lot of noise in some of the Segrada shots due to the high iso but also heavy use of the Clarity slider in ACR (bit of artistic licence). Just pressing the button on dfine does get rid of a good deal of the noise but it also gets rid of a lot of the texture on things like the columns etc. I'm working through a tutorial at the moment and I'm sure I will be able to sort something out. .


    1. Mark Allen

      Mark Allen

      Great news Mick, I am glad I was able to help.

    Hi Mike, I fully appreciate that you are new to the AV/Slideshow world and are just beginning to get your head around PTE. You will have read the comments on the PTE forum, in reply to your post about how to make better slideshows. For your first attempt, this is most impressive. If I may offer some detailed feedback. I didn't like the - watermark thick white borders on your images, portrait format, whizz bang transitions, repetition of the same, or very similar photos. IMHO landscapes need some time, folk like to look around and enjoy a really good image. You had plenty, the one of the bridge was outstanding. So think about starting again from scratch. Remove the watermark, resize them all to you're preferred ratio, either 16:9 or 16:10. ( I use 16:10 as I know I will just have to take a small slice off the top and bottom and then compose the scene, at the time, with this in mind.) Then create the show to 'show off' your best photos! Give them plenty of time, IMHO slow fades work well, and find some suitable music that you can sync the transitions to. This, of course is easier said than done! Have a look at my 'Wild Scotland' show, that lets the images speak for themselves, slow fades, synced to the music that builds up tension and atmosphere.. It will illustrate many of the points I have made above. Think of it as mere inspiration and then have another go and produce something better! You have the photos all you need is an appropriate soundtrack. Again for inspiration, listen to Classic FM at 5pm on Saturdays. It is called 'Saturday Nights At The Movies'. I often listen and occasionally I will come across a track that I immediately said to myself - I know what photos I could put to this! And then the journey begins...
    Thanks Mick, I'll have another look at the slide order.
    Some folk think that you can get away with including some below standard photos in an AV, as the images are only up on the screen for a short time. As an experienced judge at local camera clubs competitions and at Northern Ireland level, I cannot help myself but analyse each image and how it flows in a slide show. In this case, I was not disappointed. The photography was excellent, and the sound production was seamless. The video sequences, with Zach's music, added to the dramatic impact. IMHO just one video would have been enough. Using two, with again Zach's music was, for me, just too much - just MHO. Many of the photos were so good that I was disappointed not to see them longer on screen, especially many of the reflection shots. I liked the use of a soft white border, when viewing on a big screen. How you managed that with soft zooms at 100% to 103% and 100% to 97% is beyond me! Please share! I really liked the closure, with a 'brief moment in time'.
  4. Mark Allen


    I really enjoyed this show, it was most informative. It makes me really, really, really want to visit, to take in the sights and that, in itself, is a wonderful accolade for your show! As you have been so kind to offer me detailed feedback recently, I thought it only right and proper to return the favour. I fully accept these are only very minor points, but I thought you might be interested in some constructive feedback - which of course is just my humble opinion. The red borders on the first few portrait images jarred with me, you later use a grey border for such portrait images, side by side, and I think the grey works much better. As you use a bright background to these, IMHO a very thin black border of just one or two pixels would work best. Some images display colour noise, there are two in particular that suffer significantly from this. I know they were taken indoors and your ISO was high, but with a little treatment, the images could be improved. Nik Software is now free and Dfine will sort these out for you. One image had two large dust spots. (I know these are very minor points.) And finally the image of the organ pipes, looking up, with all the reflections on the pipes - is simply superb. IMHO it deserves much more display time, to fully appreciate it.
    Hi Maureen, I really enjoyed this show. I was transported to a part of the world I have never visited and unlikely to ever visit! Mark's photography was great and what a backdrop, the mountains are magnificent and majestic. In relation to the makings of the show, I liked the slow fades but I would agree with Mickp, in that I would have liked longer to take in the sights. There was just so much to see, I had to watch it again (twice) to take in the wonderful vistas (a cunning ploy!) Again, I agree with Mickp that I am sure you were concerned about it becoming too long. Kevin's music was spot on and gave the show a suitable ambience. Nik picking, but I know you like detailed feedback - there is one slide with walkers silhouetted against a superb mountain scene. IMHO I think you have the pan going the wrong way, the walkers appear to be going backwards. They are all walking from right to left, but the pan goes right, think it should go in the direction of the walkers to the left.
  5. Version 11


    Wild Scotland. 2013 - 2015, the Glencoe area and the Isle of Skye. For those that might be interested the photos were taken with a number of different cameras - Nikon D300 (APS-C) , Nikon D700 (Full Frame) , Fuji X-T1 (APS-C) and an iPhone 4. I bet you can't pick out which one was taken with a mere iPhone!
  6. Mark Allen


    Version 2


    A cacophony of pandemonium; sights, sounds and smells, people and pollution, resulting in a sensory overload. The poverty and rubbish are in sharp contrast to the armed guards at gated hotels, where there is not a single leaf out of place. On the streets; the children, who seem to have nothing, are happy and clean. It's confusing, sometimes most disturbing, but a wonderful place to visit and (for me) a once in a lifetime experience. Following Barry's advice, I re-visited this show that was V1 in 2015. For some reason, it just didn't work for me. But it now does in V2.
  7. Mark Allen


    Version 1.2


    I had hoped this show could be good enough for a photo-harmony competition, but sadly I just can't get it to flow as well as I'd like. So, it's just a record of a recent trip to Thailand, i hope you like it.
    Thank you for your kind comments. It was a very emotional day, Claire and I. were both in tears walking down the aisle.
  8. Version 1.0.0


    As the father of the bride, I was warned many months in advance, that I was not to spend the day with a camera. So; as a gift to my daughter, I sought out a suitable 'professional wedding photographer' and paid for his services. This took some time, checking out their work and the feedback they had received. I live in Ireland and my daughter was getting married in England. Eventually, I came up with 3 photographers and asked my daughter to choose. To my delight, she chooses the guy I liked best. On the day, he was superb, relaxed, confident and just did his thing in the background. All I have done in this slideshow is put together some of Andrew's mono work, with appropriate music.
  9. Mark Allen


    (Taken from PAGB May E-News and RPS AV News Issue 200, which only had links to the vimeo version.) I am an amateur photographer; I do not hold any photographic distinctions or do any commercial work. I’m retired and, for me, both photography and creating slideshows are a merely a most enjoyable hobby. The “Scotland†sequence was two years in the making and, as alluded to by Malcolm, was at version 9. I had plenty of pictures to choose from and the multiple versions were all about getting the colours of the images to flow, “just soâ€, but also exactly match the music. It was great to read Malcolm’s feedback and realise that his expert eye identified the many nuances I had included. The latest version of Pictures To Exe allowed me to increase, or decrease, the sound envelope - to draw attention to certain slides. I’m dyslexic, so I work slightly differently to my fellow AV workers (so I’m told.) For me, the music must come first. One evening; while driving and listening to Classic FM ‘at the movies’ I first heard the "Adagio" from the film "Sunshine". I immediately said to myself – “Scotland†- and version 1 was created. I naively called V7 “finalâ€, but then spent some considerable time working on the last four slides. These were: the bridge framing the view of the mountains; then the tree appears under the bridge and then melts into the side of the honeycomb cliff at Elgol, that then finally melts to a ten stopper version of a similar view to the first slide. I wanted to ‘bookend’, or link, the first and last image. Almost all of the images were taken with a tripod during a dedicated photography trip to Glencoe and the Isle of Skye. I used a Nikon D300 and D700 and my iPhone 4 and spent a lot of time getting the composition just right. On some occasions this meant waiting for that interesting cloud to move to just where I wanted it. All images were adjusted with Capture NX and only cropped to fit my ratio of choice 16:10. I use this ratio; as I know, when I take the photo, I will only have to slice a small amount off the top and bottom. I therefore compose the image with this in mind. On an aside, about half of the images were taken with a camera with an APS-C size sensor, the others with a full frame sensor and one image was taken with my iPhone4. No one can differentiate between them and, to date, no one has been able to pick out the iPhone4 image!
  10. Mark Allen


    Version 9


    Winner of the UK Photo Harmony, '5 to 8' Competition, organised by Bridgend Camera Club. Judges comments: “You know when you see the first picture that this is going to be special. The photography throughout is stunning. The Ken Burns effect of gently zooming every image helps keep the momentum going. The "Adagio" from the film "Sunshine" is a wonderful piece and the drama of the music complements the drama of the landscapes completely. Maybe the author should warn the projectionist to keep the volume down during the relatively quiet beginning otherwise the audience will get blown away! The images and transitions are totally in sync with the music. Here is somebody who listens to and knows his music. There is perfect harmony between successive images, shapes, colours, with not a single jarring line or horizon. Great care has been taken constructing this sequence, helped by the fact that the author no doubt has a large number of first class pictures from which to choose. The whole thing builds and develops. Swells in the music are used to highlight the close ups of rocks, barnacles and ice fragments. The percussion is used to show the railway section. When I saw the classic image of the Cullins from Elgol I thought "this is the end", but the final picture was even better. It's clear from the filename (v9) that this has undergone a lengthy period of revision, honing and pruning, so that what we see today is powerful, passionate and intense. This is a good lesson, not to be satisfied with the first attempt. The only criticism I have is that the title is what I would call a "working title". Such a dramatic presentation needs a dramatic title, "The drama of the Highlands" or "Elemental landscape", "Wild Scotland", "Untamed wilderness"...†Malcolm Imhoff, FRPS FACI(M)
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