My normal workflow is to take the picture using black and white 35mm, develop it and then scan it.  I edit it using Photoshop which normally involves not much more than brightness and contrast adjustment and then some cropping and reducing the file size for use on the blog.  It’s been called ‘semi-digital photography’ and it represents the best of both worlds.

However, my copy of Photoshop is getting old and I’m too tight to fork out for a new one, so I took this photo as usual but decided to test out free photo manipulation software called Gimp.   It’s designed to be a non-pro tool aimed at the open source market and the consensus is that Gimp does most things well but not the high end of image manipulation.

This photo of a closed and boarded up Tobacconist and Confectioners (or to put it another way, a corner shop) needed more work than usual.  There was a lot of ‘street furniture’ which ruined the compostiton.  It was easy to crop a little and remove the a car bumper which had sneaked into the frame, but the street sign was more difficult.  It was blocking the view of the left side of the shop (just under the Confectioners part of the sign) and it just looked too modern compared to the shop.

I used the clone tool to copy parts of the wooden board to go over the top and also redrew some of the bottom part of the window frame.  I had a few goes before it looked right and went right back to the start more than once.

Overall, Gimp was a good piece of software but no better than using Photoshop.  I’m too stuck with the latter’s keyboard shortcuts and icons, but if I didn’t already have Photoshop then Gimp would be an essential download.


This is actually the bridge from the car park to Selfridges in Birmingham and the rest of the Bull Ring which has undergone a massive rebuilding programme over the last ten years or so.  Designed by the late Jan Kaplicky, it’s a fantastic landmark but a bit disappointing when you find out its only a shop.

Perhaps it’s an example of pre-recession celebration of commercialism, the shopping experience as a work of architectural art, rendered an extravagence by the economic downturn.   In any case, it looks fantastic and its the sort of building which often needs justification if you build it outside of London for some strange reason.