Don's Pages

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Review: Zoner Photo Studio 15

Review of Zoner Photo Studio Pro 15.

Update: Aug 2013. Can't believe that this review is top of the Google search list. Why???? Because Zoner Studio is just soooo awesome. Check it out for yourselves with the FREE download. You're going to just LOVE it.

Personally, I've gotten so used to Lightroom, it's hard to change now, but I do like the way that Zoner Studio is progressing.

Firstly check out my old review way back in 2011.
Zoner Studio 13 Pro Edition.
If you are in any way serious about photography, you'll want to check out this amazing software, it's getting better with every release and is coming close to beating the Big Brand Names: Lightroom and Photoshop, because it does everything they can do at a fraction of the price and sometimes faster too.

What is Zoner Photo Studio?

It's everything a photographer would need or dream of in one place at a great price. The variety of features is astounding: Organise Photos in Manager. Edit in the built in editor, which has so many more features that Adobe Lightroom or any other photo organisation software. The import dialogues and functions are wonderful and easy to use. There are built in effects and special features too.

We all know that keeping photos backed up and safe is crucial to any serious photographer. Zoner Studio keeps all your original files safe automatically.

Check out what's NEW at the Zoner Photo Studio Web Site.

You can Download from your camera or computer, organise, edit, create and publish all from one place. Awesome!

What I like? 

It's a fantastically smooth piece of software, that so easy and intuitive to use. Photographers will be up and running in no time at all.

Quick Filters Effects:

You can get a FREE basic version and it's FREE forever. How awesome is that? What I know is that once you begin using it, you'll be hooked as I was and you'll want to purchase the full version. 

Also the Pro version is only $69.99 or $70.00 really. But it's a fantastic price for such a sophisticated piece of software.

Designed for Photographers.
Works they way a photographer thinks.
Does Everything (Almost)...

What's New: Zoner Photo Studio 15?

Updated back-up features: Safe Secure Forever.
New Filters and Effects Quick Bar.
Online and Offline Editing.
Amazing Tilt and Shift Lense Features. You don't need any special lenses now:-)

Zoner Photo Studio 15 Pro Video Tutorials

Don's Conclusion:

I've used many different photo organisation software progs and this is by far the best. I'm addicted to Adobe Lightroom, but I'm slowly switching most of my work to Zoner Photo Studio 15 Pro. I love it. 
I also like that you can edit like a pro in one easy all in one piece of kit. 
There are some things that I'll still need PS5 and Lightroom for, but it's getting very close to switching completely. 

keep up the great work, you guys at Zoner Studio...

Removing White Backgrounds: 

Here's a little instruction Video they've put together to remove a white background. It's so easy and intuitive to use.

Scotney Castle

Scotney: Scotney Castle Information
The gardens, which are a celebrated example of the Picturesque style, are open to the public. The central feature are the ruins of a medieval, moated manor house, Scotney Old Castle, which is on an island on a small lake. The lake is surrounded by sloping, wooded gardens with fine collections of rhododendrons, azaleas and kalmia for spring colour, summer wisteria and roses, and spectacular autumn colour. We visited in the Springtime and there were hundreds of daffodils and bluebells all over the place. 
Scotney Castle. Kent. Don Davis Photography 2013.

Up the hill at the top of the gardens stands a house which was built to replace the Old Castle between 1835 and 1843. This is known as Scotney New Castle, or simply Scotney Castle, and was designed by Anthony Salvin. It is an early, and unusually restrained, example of the revived influence of Tudor architecture in 19th century Britain. Following the death of the resident, Mrs Betty Hussey, in 2006, the house was then opened up to the public for the first time on 6th June 2007. So it was a real privilege for my wife and I to have a guided tour of the property.
The earliest record from 1137 gives the owner of the estate as Lambert de Scoteni. Roger Ashburnham is credited with building the castle c.1378-80.
Construction of the castle began as a roughly rectangular fortified house with towers in each corner. The original plan may never have been finished, and by 1558 it is likely only the southern tower remained. In 1580 the south wing was rebuilt in Elizabethan architecture style, and around 1630 the eastern range was rebuilt in three story Inigo Jones style. The Elizabethan wing remained a bailiff’s residence until 1905, but the eastern range was partly dismantled on the completion of the new house in 1843, leaving the ruin as an amazing and spectacular garden feature. We’ve seen many artists and photographers spending hours here painting and photographing the beautiful place. It’s got an other worldly feel and you can easily imagine knights and damsels in distress.
Catholic Recusant owner Thomas Darrell hid Jesuit Father Richard Blount, S.J. in the castle while he administered to Roman Catholics from 1591 to 1598. Catholicism was then illegal in England, and during the second raid by authorities to arrest the Father he fled over a wall into the moat and escaped.
The Darrell family owned the estate for some 350 years. In 1778 Edward Hussey bought the estate and his grandson, also Edward, built the ‘new’ Castle to the designs of Anthony Salvin, from sandstone quarried from the slope below. The hollow created was developed into a Quarry Garden and contains a 100 million year old impression of a dinosaur’s footprint. On the day we visited the ground was quite wet, so I made sure to leave my own footprint for posterity too:-)
On Christopher Hussey’s death in 1970 the estate was left to the National Trust.
The castle grounds have played host to Shakespeare productions, notably A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with the actors appearing from behind the bushes on cue.
You’d enjoy a visit to Scotney Castle and the wonderful gardens, which are most spectacular in the springtime when the daffodils and bluebells are in bloom.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Burrator Dawn

Burrator Dawn

Imagine my joy when I arrived at Burrator Reservoir in the dark one early morning and parked up the car, then carefully tiptoed through the dense woodlands surrounding the water to be greeted by this scene on breaking through. It was difficult making my way through those densely planted trees, but it was certainly well worth the effort as this scene took my breath away. My heart skipped a beat as I spotted some little deer in the distance on the right at the edge of the woodlands, enjoying the warmth of that October morning sunshine. What was magical to me was the way the light was dancing on the water and making great reflections off the trees and clouds. Burrator is very quiet and peaceful at this time of the day and I didn't see another person until I was leaving about two hours after taking this shot.

The more I think about that morning I realise that God's presence was evident as joy, peace and a sense of purpose in life prevailed for many days afterwards. Sometimes through his creation we become aware of God's amazing love for us and his desire that we should enjoy life in all it's fullness. Another reason I make a special pilgrimage to Dartmoor in Devon every time I'm in the South West of England, is that I want to experience once again God's presence, I don't know why, but it happens every time.

It would be difficult to stand where I was standing to take this shot, because the reservoir is full once again. This may have been a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Frame Up: One a Day 2013

The Frame Up: Gas Tanks.
All over the UK in towns and cities you'll see these massive gas tanks, normally you'd see the round cylinders half way up or down, but these one's were about to be de-commissioned. It was the way the early morning light was playing with the steel framework that attracted me. I pulled up my car got out and walked about for a while before taking a few shots.

I love looking at this picture, not because it's attractive or outstanding, but there's just something terrific about the light and the architecture. The contrast between the nature of trees and man-made objects, the frame shapes and the wall keeping it away from people.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Plymouth Sound: One a Day 2013

Plymouth Sound

Every time I visit the South West of England, I make a special pilgrimage to Plymouth Sound, the Barbican and Plymouth Hoe. Why? Well, I spent so much of my life here in Plymouth. I left Scotland at just 16 years old to join the Royal Navy and I served at HMS Raleigh and fell in love with Devon and Cornwall. When serving on-board HMS Ark Royal, I'd be standing on the flight deck going in and out of this great harbour. We had to stand for hours sometimes, but I always felt so proud manning ship. At 19 years of age I met my wife to be Julie and as we began courting she'd travel up from Cornwall and I'd try and get down to see her as often as possible. At 20 we were married and had a child on the way. Our five children were born in Plymouth at Freedom Fields Hospital and I was also Born Again in Plymouth at St Budeaux Parish Church.

This view of Plymouth Sound and the Hoe sea front is also particularly poignant for me, I watched all my children splash around in the pools and clamber on the rocks below, so this always brings back happy memories of glorious summer days for our family.

More Views of Plymouth Sound and Plymouth Hoe.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Tall Ships: One a Day 2013

Tall Ships

Plymouth Barbican, Devon. UK.

What a brilliant morning this was, the sun was shining, the scene was set, I had to get my camera out and see what I could get down on the Barbican. Imagine my surprise this morning when I saw this great ship in harbour. They had arrived for the very special trans-Atlantic race. Awesome! To see this great ship, rigged and ready for sea.

More Images of Plymouth Barbican and Plymouth Hoe.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Barbican Dawn: One a Day 2013

Barbican Dawn

Plymouth Barbican in the early morning is a magical place to be. What I love is the atmosphere and sense of expectation. You'll see fisherman returning from their early morning runs and Captain Jasper firing up his Baked Potato stall on the harbour sea front. All around the alleyways and back-streets, shopkeepers are getting ready for the tourists and visitors. Other folks, like me, are just enjoying the slowly warming sunshine of the dawn in this most picturesque location.

For anyone interested in the morning light, you'll love the way it softly brings out the shapes and forms and you can still see into the shadows because it's not too harsh. Ahh yes and it's refreshing to the soul too. Plymouth Barbican is a must visit location if you are ever down the South West of England. There's so much history here too; the Pilgrim Fathers left from here to visit the New World and just up the road on Plymouth's famous Hoe where Sir Francis Drake played bowls before engaging the Spanish Armada. This place just oozes historical atmosphere. Some of the buildings in this scene have been around for over 500 years.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Just Sold

Sales help!

It's Funny: You offer something for sale on one website and you sell on another.

I just offered a sale on Fine Art America: Don's Sale. I have made a sale today there, but my viewings have also picked up on another site too; RedBubble and I've made yet another sale today. Yahoooooo! Many thanks my friends.
P.S. I need lots more sales to help pay for my son's wedding coming up in April, the more sales the better...

Check out below:

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New Work by Don.

New Works by Don on Fine Art America.

I've been using an awesome website to sell my artworks for over two years now and have been really encouraged by the sales and appreciation that many people have shown.

As a reward there is a sale now on.
Just apply Code: STVPTZ at Checkout.


Art Prints  

The sale is for all my works so browse through the galleries and make your choice.


Art Prints

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Lime and Lemon: One a Day 2013

Lime and Lemon Still Life

Whenever, I've got the bug to capture something, I need to get creative. My favourite subjects are portraiture and landscape, but sometimes I want to try my hand at other things too. Here's a little set up I put together with some of the elements that go towards making an amazingly refreshing drink; A TOM Collins. It's Gin and Lemon / Lime. If had my first Tom Collins in Gibraltar in 1977 whilst visiting on HMS Ark Royal, it was served with a sugar coated glass and a slice of lemon. Yummy.... in a hot climate it really quenches your thirst, but don't have too many or you'll be hick, hick, hick.... LOL. The Royal Navy is famous for it's Pink Gin and Lemons and Limes. Sailors were called Limeys by Austrailians, due to the fact that they always had Lemons and Limes to prevent scurvy.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Blue Anda: One a Day 2013

Blue Anda.
Sometimes just letting an image speak for itself is what's required.

Can be Purchased at Don's Fine Art Site Here 

Monday, 18 February 2013

Water Lily

Water Lily.

Water lilies are always captivating, whenever I see them I feel drawn to just sit or stand and contemplate. I don't take pictures immediately, I wait until Lily tells me she's ready:-)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Future Eyes: One a Day 2013

Future Eyes

Look into my eyes and see the future of humanity.

"For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see, Saw a vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be" 

From a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Poems Locksley Hall. (Starts of Men and Brothers)...

Friday, 15 February 2013

Smile: One a Day 2013

Aminata Smile:

My granddaughter Aminata is a wonderful model. It's such a pleasure to be able to take pictures of her. However, trying to get her to slow down and stay still even for a moment is almost impossible. She's so full of fun and always wants papa to sing a song, dance with her, play building brick houses or something. Whenever she gets the oportunity she'll cry, "Get the camera Papa"...

Here she is all excited because she was all dressed up ready to go out to a friends party. She's only three years old, but amazes me with her ability to wrap me around her little fingers. LOL

More Pictures from the same day with Aminata and Leila.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Big Ben Dawn: One a Day 2013

Big Ben Dawn:

Today I return to one of my favourite subjects; Big Ben or as it's now being called Elizabeth Tower. It was renamed in 2012 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's 60 years on the Throne of Great Britain.

At 5.00am London is still busy with people coming out of clubs and early morning workers either making their way home or going to work. On this drizzly morning all seemed calm in the city of London on Westminster Bridge. 

I love the light in the sky and the ghost-like colour trails of light from cars and buses zooming past in this picture. There's a strange quality with the reflected light from the wet road and pavements too.  

Big Ben Dawn.
Camera: Nikon D700. 6 seconds, f/32, ISO 200, 52mm. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Bulgaria: One a Day 2013

Holiday In Bulgaria.

In 2011, my wife and I had a lovely holiday in Bulgaria. We stayed at the Royal Beach Barcelo, an amazing hotel with great staff and wonderful pools, food, facilities. As always, we made some great new friends and we've since met up again back home in the UK.

This was an almost mid -day capture. I know that we should be up with the sun for those magical hours, but I thought I share something today from the time that normal folks are up and about. There are still many photo opportunities at others times of day too:-) 

Barcello Royal Beach Hotel, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Veiled Eyes: One a Day 2013

Veiled Eyes: 

From "The Face" Photo-shoot.
After looking again at some of the shots from this shoot, I really like this one of Anda. It's the eyes through the veil and the expression upon her face that captivated me.  


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Leila: One a Day 2013


My granddaughter Leila. 

What goes through an infant mind,
as she gazes through the window?
She see a foxy and a birdie,
squeals with delight,
then stares in wonder.
What goes through an infant mind?

Friday, 8 February 2013

Dawn Light London: One a Day 2013

Dawn Light London: Surrey Quays.

On my way to a photo-shoot, I arrived early in the morning and marvelled at the light. This was captured on a Canon S90 point-n-shoot in my pocket. I was a bit cold to get my camera out of the bag:-) 

It was so peaceful walking here with just a few people out jogging at that time of the day and of course the ducks and seagulls playing in the water. I think they expected me to give them some bread as they all scooted over towards me:-) Next time little birds...

But I love the quality of light in the UK on a cold winter morning.
I was drawn to the row of houses along the bank and the reflections in the water. I also like the way Canary Wharf seems huddled in the corner. Surrey Quays is a marvellous location and I must get back again soon. 
Dawn Light Surrey Quays, London.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Wedding Photography: Photo Check List

Wedding Photography: Photo Check-List.

100 Must Have Shots at a Wedding: 

I've taken over 600 weddings since 1994 and I've observed some good and some not so good photographers at work. The Best Photographers seem to know in advance what they want to shoot and they'll communicate that clearly with everyone who needs to know. The worst photographers just bumble along and follow the suggestions of guests and the couple on the day. I've seen photographers miss out completely the most important shots that I know the Bride and Groom will almost always want to see in their albums later. If you are their photographer on their special day, then you don't want to do that.

So having a clear plan of those shots agreed with the wedding party beforehand will eliminate any confusion and future disappointments with your service.

Some people you definitely want to inform: 

There are some people it is essential that you communicate clearly your intended shooting plan:

  • The Brides Parents and Family Members.
  • The Bridesmaids and Best Man and Grooms men.
  • The Minister / Person Conducting the Service (You may need to talk through what permission you need during the ceremony,  etc..)
  • Transport Drivers.

A Comprehensive Check-list of the Shots you should be thinking about.

Before the Wedding Ceremony:
At the Brides Home / Hotel Room. Many weddings are taking place at venues where it all happens: Rooms, Ceremony, Reception, etc... This makes it really easy for Photographers, but most times you'll be shooting the bride at home first. 

Shots to Get:

  • Bride's Dress (Hanging Up)
  • Bride's Shoes.
  • Bride's Bouquet.
  • Bride's Veil.
  • Bride's Make-up.
  • Bride Being Dressed by Maids / Mother.
  • Bride in her dress (Full length, 3/4s and Head Shots).
  • Bride's Garter (Something Blue).
  • Pinning of flowers on bridesmaids or bouquets holding.
  • Bride and Maids (Head Bridesmaid). 
  • Bride and Mother
  • Bride and Father
  • Bride and brothers and sisters
  • Whole family with Bride.
  • Family and Bridesmaids with Bride. 
  • Bride leaving the house family on doorstep.
  • Bride being taken to the car with father.
  • Bride in the back seat of the car.

Shots At the Church / Venue for the Ceremony (Before the Ceremony).

As with most weddings the Groom and Best Man will arrive long before the bride and you'll have an opportunity to take some shots before everyone arrives. Here are some of the shots you'll definitely want to have in the bag.

  • Groom on his own.
  • Groom with Best Man.
  • Best man adjusting flower / tie of the Groom.
  • Groom with Groom's men and Best Man.
  • Groom with page boys etc...
  • Groom with celebrant / Minister. 
  • Shots of guests arriving for the wedding.
  • Some shots of the Groom with His Family.
  • Shots of the rings in the best man's hand.
  • Groom Seated at the front of Church / Venue awaiting the bride.

The Arrival of the Bride:

  • Cars with Bridesmaids: Getting out and waiting for the Bride.
  • Car arriving with Bride. Father / Driver opening the door bride seated.
  • Bride in back seat (again). 
  • Bride with Father / (Person giving her away)
  • Bride with Bridesmaids. (Page boy) 
  • Formation of Bride and Bridal Party for Procession.

The Wedding Ceremony Shots:

The ceremony is a very special and holy occasion and the atmosphere has been ruined by some photographers being insensitive about this aspect, so be careful and ready to follow the Celebrant's guidelines, but do try and get these shots. 
The Ceremony:
Inside the Venue / Church: Shoot with a higher ISO to freeze action without flash. Many churches will allow you to take shots during the ceremony, but some will insist that you don't use flash. So a good full frame camera with amazing low light capacity like the Nikon D700 or Canon 5d mkll or 3... will really help.

  • Bride and Father walking down the aisle.
  • Groom Waiting at front.
  • Bride and Groom before the Celebrant.
  • The exchange of rings.
  • The placing of ring on finger.
  • The Kiss
  • The blessing.
  • Various candid shots of the congregation / guests.
  • Try and get a shot of the Congregation from the Celebrant's point of view.

Signing of the Registers. This is an opportunity to use flash so remember recycle times of your flash units (Many photographers forget this and come away with a lot of blank / dark shots).

  • Bride, Groom and Witnesses on their own.
  • Bride and Groom. (Signing) Individually and with either party looking on.
  • Close up of hands signing.
  • Bride with Bridesmaids.
  • Groom with Grooms-men
  • Bride and Groom with family (mums and Dads)
  • Don't forget to include shots of the bride's bouquet on the table with the registers.

The Final Procession: After signing the registers the Bride and Groom and bridal party will process down the aisle. Pre-warn them that you'll get them to pause about half-way to take a couple of shots. If you have a second shooter get them behind the party and focus on the guests and back of the bride.
Bride and Groom walking down the aisle together.
Bridal Party as they process down the aisle.

After the Ceremony:

  • At door of Church / Venue more shots of the Bride and Groom. Remember to vary from full length, 3/4 and close-ups. 
  • The Kiss outside the Church.
  • Family Groupings.
  • All Friends and Family Together.
  • Finally some more shots of the Bride and Groom with special friends and must have shots previously agreed with Bride and Groom.
  • Candid shots of family and friends outside the Church.
  • Bride and Groom Getting into the Wedding Car / Transport.
  • Close up of Tin Cans / Old Boots etc on bridal car.
  • Just married slogans etc.
  • Car leaving for reception venue.

Bride and Groom on their own:
Find a nice place to take photos of the Bride and Groom on their own away from everyone else. These can be great moments for them to be alone and you can get some great shots of tender moments.


At the venue for the reception try and get there before everyone else, whilst they are sipping cocktails / champaign outside, you can be inside getting some detail shots of the tables, place cards, cake, place settings etc.

Whilst they are still enjoying this cocktail-hour, take some formal group shots and have a second shooter taking candid shots of guests as they chat and drink together.

Group Shots.

  • Bride and Groom with bride's family; Mum and Dad, then immediate family, then extended family.
  • Bride and Groom with his family; mum and day, then immediate family and grooms family and friends.
  • Bride and Groom with both sets of parents, then joint family, then all friends and family together for a few massive group shots.

  • Don't forget to zoom in for close ups, full length shots and head and shoulder and 3/4 shots.

Vary as much a possible. It helps to have someone with a loud voice calling the groups together and getting those up next read to jump into position. It looks more professional if you personally position people for the shots and helps with posing. 


 (During Meal) Candid shots of family and friends.
  • Top Table Shots. Try and avoid mouths open with food going in:-)
  • Speeches:
  • Best Man (Also watch out for guest reactions). 
  • Father's Speech
  • Groom's Speech
  • Bride's Speech
  • etc...
  • Remember to focus on individuals watching and listening to the speakers.
  • Cake Cutting. 
  • First Dance. 
  • More candid shots. 
  • Time to relax and take request shots from family and friends. 
Finally: Give out your Business Card and arrange to take details for those who will want to purchase special shots of the day.

Have a great time with a well planned and executed shot inventory, then you'll have something amazing to present to the Bride and Groom after the event with all the shots that you've pre-planned together.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Wasp Architecture: One a Day 2013

The Wasp: Lloyds Building, London.

This amazing building catches my eye every time I walk from Victoria Station in London towards Westminster. 

Hope you like it?

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Rainy day in London: One a Day 2013

On a rainy day in London.

For many people England is always raining, but in-between the showers there is sunshine. It's that constantly changing condition that I love so much about our weather. One moment the sky can be blue with puffy white clouds and a few moments later a dark mass can appear and drop it's load on the unsuspecting people below. In London on a busy day, you'll see people scooting for shelter or searching for that elusive umbrella in handbags. You can see people huddling together and even people walking past with magazines or newspapers over their heads. It's fascinating to observe the different reactions to rain. More often than not, I'll life my head up and glory in the feeling of the rain droplets on my face.

How do you feel about the rain?

Here's a poem by Longfellow:

 How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!
How it clatters along the roofs
Like the tramp of hoofs!
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!
Across the window-pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Picture Below: Rainy Day in London. Don Davis Photogrpahy.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Canterbury Cloisters: One a Day 2013

Canterbury Cloisters.

Canterbury is a marvellous City and the Cathedral is the Spiritual home for thousands of pilgrims. You'll perceive this 'Spiritual' atmosphere the moment you walk through the doors. For over a thousand years people have been making Christian pilgrimages to this place. I think it's the fact that they are genuinely seeking God that the presence of the Lord can be felt here. I was moved to silence and awe, then after some time praying I got to work with my camera. 

What really surprised me was how helpful the Ushers were, and they didn't object even once to me setting up my tripod, that's amazing in this day and age. Praise God for the peace of Canterbury, I know that I'll definitely be making many return visits.

Camera: Nikon D700, with 16-35mm Nikon wide angle. Tripod mounted. 1/5th sec at f/8.0, ISO 100.
Canterbury Cloisters (HDR Version).

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Thames Twilight: One a Day 2013

Thames Twilight: One a Day 2013.

My favourite bridge, Tower Bridge on the Thames in London, and the Shard under construction. I really like the contrast with the old Thames Sail Barges and the newest buildings. The scene tells me that things have been changing on the river for hundreds, if not thousands of years of human habitation. 

The shot was taken against the sun at almost 4.20pm on a February twilight. 
Camera: Nikon D700, 28-300mm Nikon Lens, 1/60th sec, f/11.0, ISO 200.

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