Category Archives: nature
I admit, a lot of my time last weekend was spent watching TV. When I wasn’t watching the TV I seemed to be watching the birdhouse in the garden instead. Too much of my time was spent doing the latter.
It was nice to see all of the birds enjoying the delicious treats we put out. There were robins, and magpies and blackbirds and a big fat wood pigeon and a squirrel.
Yes, a squirrel. We had looked on in dismay at the inelegant wood pigeon who walked around the place like a feathery godzilla, knocking over the water and sending the seeds flying. So you can image how we shook our fist in frustration at the sight of a greedy little squirrel.
I admit they’re pretty agile though, it was like watching a little ninja as he hung from the house to get the food below. I grabbed this shot through the window, and for processing I simply added a Lomo Soft filter.
Super quick post today as I’m offsite from work throughout today and tomorrow. Here’s a shot of a weird looking plant that I saw in Richmond Park a couple of weeks ago.
I have no idea what this plant is, but thought it was pretty cool looking.
Anyone have any ideas?
Uber quick post today as I’m heading out to an all day seminar.
This image was taken in Richmond Park the day I returned from my trip to Toronto, heading there for a day of photography was my way of staying awake and getting my bodyclock back in order.
I happened upon this scene where the leaf which is the main focal point was in this position, and didn’t need to be placed there by me. Though I guess it’s possible it could have been placed there by someone else, or perhaps a deer, I like to believe it happened naturally.
I did, however, place some of the leaves in the background to add to the colour. What was meant to be a passing shot turned into a whole tripod/scene setting ordeal
Well, I’m back from my travels and waiting for the inevitable jetlag to kick in. I hope everyone are well, and have been misbehaving in my absence.
Today’s image was taken in the Don Valley Brick Works Park in Toronto with the lovely 8-15mm fisheye lens. I kinda fell in love with this lens a little while I was away, and just loved pointing it down to the ground and taking shots such of this. I apologise in advance that so many of my images from the Toronto part of the trip will be taken with the fisheye
I love that autumn is here, and though it’s a rapid descent into winter the colours that it brings out in the trees is just wonderful.
This path is a long and and winding one; it works it’s way up the left hand side of the Krimml Waterfalls in Austria. It’s a tiered waterfall, but I believe the 5th largest in the world.
I’m not the fittest of folks. Generally, the only exercise is get is when out with the camera, and though I’ve been known to climb 30 odd flights of stairs on an Urbex trip that’s generally fuelled on adrenaline and rewarded with a blast of cold air once on the rooftop.
Here it was another stinking hot day in the mid 30s (I was very thankful for the tree coverage), and this simple looking path turned nasty at times with rocks and tree roots acting as giant steps. Coming down, no problem, but going up – what a beast.
On the right side of the waterfall is a simpler path, paved over and built for walking – but someone opted to charge €7 to go up that way and I’m a big fan of a workaround to unnecessary costs such as that.
My biggest issue when climbing was fluid. We left the car intending on just going to the base of the falls, and as it w as a huge tourist spot I gathered the walk there would be a simple one. It was, not an issue. However, when leaving we came across a sign pointing us upwards and the photographers inside just thought…well…it sure would be nice to see the falls from a little higher up – let’s just do the 45 minute trek to the next viewpoint. And so the upwards walk began.
After what seemed like 3 hours we arrived at a clearing where a trough was viewable and full of water which was coming out of a tap.
‘Is it safe to drink?’ we wondered
A sign behind a fence was illegible to us, but I figured it was something to do with the fence being electric or not climbing stuff, and not about the water, so in I went.
Yesterday saw a final shot of San Francisco, and today sees a final shot of Sango Bay in Durness, which is in the north of Scotland.
I just loved this location. Steve and I had driven quite far during the day (well, he drove and I sat in the passenger seat checking out the beautiful scenery Scotland has to offer). We arrived at Durness in the early evening and decided to set up camp for the night as we were going to go up to Cape Wrath early the next morning and the boat left from near here.
I enjoy a little geocaching, and the one thing that I love about such a game is that no matter where you go, you can have a look at the geocaching app and find out places nearby that are interesting to visit. I have been to so many places in London that I never knew of due to geocaching, and when visiting the US it takes me to some nice local parks and points of interest. In this instance it led us to the nearby Smoo Cave which was great to see.
We then grabbed dinner, and finally headed down to the deserted beach with a bottle of wine to catch the blue hour which was really late at night by then due to how far north we were.
Awesome location and awesome light – be sure to check it out if you’re ever in that area.
Another image from my trip down to the South Coast in January; this tree is in a field at the back of East Dean along with lots of friendly sheep.
It was pretty poor weather for photography so I wasn’t expecting too much decent light as the sun was setting, and my expectations were met; however that didn’t stop me snapping away where I thought there was something interesting and this tree caught my eye as I approached it – I was walking from the distance towards camera when looking at this image. I worked my way around the tree until this form was in front of me. It’s a pity there are a few trees behind this one, as I would have liked it to be standing completely solo; there was another tree closer to me that had two branches poking into the scene but a little photoshop work with the content aware fill and cloning cleaned those right up.
Purchasing my 5d Mark II was a little like purchasing my first camera. I wanted to play with it, and spent a long time snapping anything that was within focussing distance from me. So, when I went to the south coast and took a walk in countryside, things I usually walk straight past, trees, fences, ponds, etc, were all now subjects for me and my new toy.
I think I should spend more time looking at things I would normally walk straight past, as I managed to get a few decent shots on that walk.
This is one of the ones I took, and is nothing more than a littlle branch on a tree. I was using the 24-70mm which I know has great depth of field, and it’s that I was attempting to achieve here.
Processing was done using Phototools and I wanted to make it quite a cold image, which I feel the blue does nicely.
If you have been following my blog at all this year you’ll likely know that this shot was taken on the South Coast on an overcast day, at the same place all of my other black and white shots recently published have been from
I was walking along a country path doing a little handheld work and quite liked this tree, so managed to grab it without the surrounding noise and opted to leave quite a lot of negative space at the top as it was the only thing I could think to do to, oddly, add to the scene.
I’ll sometimes give a shout out here to a blog that I follow which I feel should get a little more traffic than it currently does, and admit this may often just be friends who are starting out with blogs. There isn’t much advice I would give to someone who is starting a photo blog, and I know that there are several of my contacts who are starting to do so or are contemplating it, but here is one thing that I think is important.
Try to be consistent.
You don’t need to post daily, but if you only post 2 images a week try to do so on regular advertised days so your readers know when to expect new content. There’s nothing worse that sitting at a PC thinking ‘oh, I’ll just check out that blog where I saw that great image last week and see what’s new’ to find that there is nothing new there and no expectation on when you’ll see something new.
On that note, Dylan has been posting to his new blog for a month now and deserves a little love. There are several great images in that short space of time and I for one am looking forward to seeing what else is produced throughout the year, and for attempting to come up with different shots during our photowalks. Check out his website at dfacer.co.uk.
Well…I’ve finally gone ahead and moved to a full frame camera with yesterday’s purchase of the Canon 5d MKII – hurrah!
murphyzLaw dictates that it is now a high probability that Canon will announce the MKIII today, that really would not surprise me at all. Still, if they did it would probably just reinforce how much I want the MKII and I’ll be happy anyway.
I’m very much looking forward to playing with this shiny new toy and getting used to it and how it works. As long as I figure out brackets in the immediate instance I’ll be okay.
One thing I have noted is the increase in file size meaning I will get fewer shots on a 16GB card. I wonder if that means I will become more selective with what I shoot? I guess time will tell.
It does mean I’m pretty limited as to which glass I use at the moment as well, as I think it’s only the new addition of the 24-70 and the trusty old nifty fifty which will be fully usable on this new body. Two decent lenses though.
Anyway, back to today. It’s Friday again, already, and this first week back at work has been super busy and has flown by. The shot above was taken from Regent’s Park and is almost straight out of camera with just a few tiny tweaks in post process. As you can see, I wanted quite a lot of negative space in this one.
I hope you all have a great weekend – happy shooting.
This old rusted bike was sat outside one of the cells on the Nuclear Research Facility in Orford Ness.
Not sure how long it has been there for, but I’m pretty sure it’s not going anywhere in the near future. The weather on this little piece of land is pretty rough, with the harsh sea air and strong winds likely speeding up the rusting process significantly.
The sun was pretty bright this day and I used quite a few of the PhotoTools filters as well as FocalPoint to process this. Here’s one of the original brackets for a comparison.
We return to Cornwall today. I seem to have a lot of sunrise/sunset shots from this trip, even though I was only there for a few days – I’m certain there was only one sunrise and one sunset each day though.
I stood on this beach for a while, with the dogs sat on (and eating) the sand behind me. I drank a beer as the sun was going down, snapping off brackets here and there and enjoying the solitude.
For this shot I thought the moss would add a nice bit of added focus to the image, and the greens were likely to come out quite nicely in contrast to the surrounding rocks. I also took a couple of shots with the 10 stop filter on but opted not to use any of those skies in the final image as the clouds weren’t moving quickly enough to give me the motion I wanted.
Another shot from this weekend. I was surprised how well this one came out as it kind of looks like it’s HDR but it isn’t, just a simple handheld shot that has been processed with PhotoTools.
I was walking around with my BlackRapid strap and opted to take the eyecup off this time before using it, thus no issues with losing yet another one of these things. It’s a great strap, just wish it didn’t have that one flaw.
I also just want to give a quick plug of a free ebook that has been written by Anne McKinnell called 8 Types of Natural Light That Will Add Drama to Your Photographs. As we all know, light is a major aspect of photography, without which we wouldn’t be able to do what we love. I still don’t understand all of the different types of light, and not sure I ever will, but this ebook is a great way to be reminded of the various types of light and what it’s used for, and as it’s free you’ll agree that it’s great value. Thanks Anne!
Driving around Cornwall in the early morning we came across a valley that was covered in fog, and which this image does not fully capture. I love scenes where you’re looking down on a landscape and can see the morning mist settled like a blanket over the low points. It didn’t last too long, and within a matter of minutes the ever growing sun had burnt it off, but it was a lovely scene when there.
I’ve had super busy days at work this week, and today will be no different before I head out of London tonight where I’ll stay in a hotel in order to get a real early start tomorrow morning for a photography session. There will be an automatic post in place as usual.
A sunrise from Cornwall to start off the week, and this one was a speedy dash back to Lizard Point in the morning and a short walk to an area that’s called the Devil’s Frying Pan. I don’t know the area, but a quick look on Google just now and it seems that the Devil’s Frying pan is a rock arch at one particular point…certainly not something I found to photograph while I was there.
We really didn’t get very spectacular sunrises that week, but I managed to get some colour in the sky.
During our trip to Cornwall, Pilot – the hound you see here – got a little sick. I guess that’s what happens when you ride around in a car all day and eat pretty much anything you find on the beach, including sand.
During the first day of my part of the trip we had just been to Cape Cornwall to take a few sunrise shots and these cows were obligingly standing around in a field waiting for us to take photos of them. Sydney, the other dog on the trip, is an Australian Cattle dog so obviously enjoyed seeing cows more than your average dog.
As you can see by Pilot’s face here, he didn’t seem too sure of them.
Have a great weekend everyone.
I started the week with a sunset, and am ending it with a sunrise – there’s something wrong about the order of that, but that’s the way I roll.
This shot was another from Cornwall, and I hope I have the time to process a few more from this location over the weekend. It was taken at Portscatho harbour which was a 20 minute or so walk from the campsite. It wasn’t the best sunrise but it provided some nice light towards the end of it, and then we carried on walking up the coastline to get a few more shots to start the morning off.
I hope everyone has a great weekend…it’s the first one I’m going to have that doesn’t require a stupid’o'clock start so I intend to take it nice and easy. See you on Monday.
I’m back from Cornwall and pretty tired, with a lot of catching up to do.
This is the first and only image I’ve processed from my trip so far after getting back home last night. It’s taken from Great Molunan beach at St Anthony Head on the southern coast near St Mawes.
The wonderful clouds we had disappeared as the sun was setting, which was a shame, but once it had almost died out I grabbed my 10 stop filter for this shot. I’m still trying to get used to the 10 stop, knowing when and how to use it. In low light I seem to always get a vignette and in bright light I never get the movement I want. I guess it may just take a little more time and practice before I can make full use of it.
For those into topography, and with knowledge of where I have traveled to this year, you will possibly guess that this particular spot is in lovely Scotland.
This particular burn looks deceptively shallow from this shot – but it isn’t. Sure, it’s not too deep, but I did wander in there to try and get a few shots looking upstream and the water pretty much came up to my knees in places, and was full of both very sharp, pointy stones and a slime which made it very slippery indeed. I had to use my tripod/camera to ensure I didn’t end up flat on my back – and every step I took left me praying that I didn’t fall over and take the camera in there with me.
As this goes live I may actually be stood in another stream…or up a hill…or in an abandoned factory of some sort. Who knows, as I’m in Cornwall.
Well…I’m probably actually in the pub waiting for the rain to pass to be honest.
On Saturday I decided it was about time I went to see the London Street Photography Exhibit which has been on at the Museum of London for the past few months. I had attempted to see it when the exhibit had first opened, but being the opening day it was just too busy, and the queues too long, that I didn’t bother. This weekend just gone was the last weekend it was going to be open so it was very much a ‘now or never’ situation. It wasn’t amazing, but it was good to visit and I’m glad that I went to it.
After this I had a few hours to kill so walked around randomly; at one point I stopped on a park bench to have a cup of coffee and snapped this image from that location.
I was shooting hand held, having opted to walk around without my tripod or large camera bag. I have just bought a Black Rapid camera strap which I already love, and enjoyed walking around with this and not having to lug my heavy gear around, which the tripod is the main culprit.
Back to the far north of Scotland for today’s shot, and a beautiful isolated beach section which was covered in interesting looking rocks which I ran between, splashing around in the ocean as I subjected my toes and my tripod to the harsh sand and sea.
My toes loved it, apart from the fact the water was so cold.
My tripod didn’t seem to mind the temperature, but hated the sand for the rest of my trip.
I would happily spend night after night on this beach if I lived in this area, and this sunset and blue hour was pretty darn beautiful with some of the best light I’ve been able to shoot in to date.
After I had been down to the beach the other week to watch the sun rise and take a few shots I had turned as I walked back to the hotel and saw the lovely golden light that was now being thrown onto the scene.
For something that had been a little bit of a let down this lovely light started to make up for it. I had already put my tripod away but was still carrying the camera, so I did a couple of handheld brackets while leaning against a wall.
As the sky is the main point of interest I cropped off the beach and water that was in between me and the pier – it added nothing of interest and detracted from the scene by being so boring.
It’s a bank holiday in the UK today, and as this goes to press I’m not sure if I’ll be tucked up in bed or stood on a rooftop…hopefully the latter, in which case you’ll likely see some sunrise over the London rooftops shots in the near future.
I can’t believe that my trip to Scotland was a month ago already!
As I may have mentioned; we were extremely lucky with the weather on our drive around this beautiful country. For a location that has a reputation of being thoroughly miserable we had sun pretty much all the time we were there; extremely lucky when I wanted to spend my time taking photos.
The only downside to this, if indeed there is one, is that I always envisage the mountains to be shrouded in mist and menacing cloud formations and not lovely blue skies. Blue sky is nice…but sometimes you want a little more for your images.
To provide a sense of scale…the rock in the foreground of this image was around waist height. The rocks in the background were much, much higher
I’ve been pretty poor at geotagging my images from this 1400 mile trip, so I have no idea where in Scotland this actually is. If you recognise the big rock in the foreground please send location to me in a comment, email, postcard or back of a dead animal to the usual addresses. Thanks.
It’s amazing how many tools are available to the modern photographer. I admire those who go out there and compose wonderful shots which they then post without any real treatment, and who are able to catch an image as they wish without resorting to technical trickery. I also admire those who take a photo and use this as the canvas for which they then create their digital vision. Take a look at Flickr and you’ll see numerous examples of both of these.
I think I sit somewhere in the middle. Give me a camera and I’ll happily snap away, but I unfortunately think it would be rare that I get a straight from camera shot that I am happy with, nor do I actually go out there and try to actually take a perfect shot from one single click. It’s a digital camera, and as it’s the first camera I have owned I haven’t had the experience or expense in learning with film. I’m happy to therefore snap away and use what is good and put aside what I don’t want.
My aim when I go out is to try and capture something which is appealing to me. This could be anything, and I see things that other people don’t see on a shoot (dead people not included), and I very much miss things that other people see. When back at the PC I flick through the images taken waiting for one to grab me and say ‘pick me for processing…pick me’ and there’s that little something that makes me spend further time on it. I wish to simply get something that I can work with, not a finished product.
Unfortunately, my skills with image manipulation – although improving – are pretty poor in comparison to some people. I love those creative soles who can piece an image together and bring it to whatever is in their mind. I’m not there yet.
Looking at myself realistically I think I am an okay photographer. I can get some basics right in composition and lighting and such. I think I am quite good at basic processing though (not great, but quite good) and this is something that I’m improving with. Eventually I hope to be a great manipulator of images as that’s where I would see myself heading creatively.
I’ve always been quite creative, but never had the artistic skill to fully display it. With my photography I am able to do that a little more, and am building up the tools and the skills I need to progress with.
I have many ideas running around in my head, and many concepts that I would eventually like to turn into proper images. I have a particular series in mind that I would just love to pull off, but know from my current skill level and knowledge that this is just not feasible, but hopefully in five years it might be.
The image above is a scene in Scotland which I tone-mapped after my holiday but never returned to as I didn’t know how I wanted to process it. For a bit of fun I played around with Phototools by OnOne Software and quickly processed it four times using the various filters they had based around Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Very little work was involved from my side really, and I didn’t spend much time on it. However, I think it’s a great example of how the tools available to us can change an image in many ways. I could spend a little more time on it to bring out more of a difference between the Spring and Summer panels as these aren’t drastically different, but love how the Autumn and Winter panels look in comparison to the others.
This also goes to show there are many ways that you can process a single image to produce a different look and feel to it. There are few limitations to what you can do with an image nowadays, and your imagination is one of the only things that provides these limits. Sure, it may take time to build up the skills and to buy the tools that you need to get there, but you can work towards it. It’s something I certainly aim to do.
Back to Scotland for the start of this week, and to a small place called Wick. We were on our final castle ruin of the day before heading on a couple of hours drive back to where once was my home, and to a an actual house with home cooked food and running hot water which, after many days sleeping in a tent, it was a welcome thing to be driving towards.
The Old Wick castle wasn’t anything spectacular, and though I have a few images of the place I’m not sure any are worth processing…perhaps sometime in the future if I revisit them. I was determined to get something from this spot, and by this point a picture of a dead mole was looking to be the only interesting thing.
Working our way across the narrow hill towards the ruins I had seen a few of these flowers and thought they would be nice if I was able to get a shot with something behind them. My initial thought was to have the castle ruins, but none were positioned quite well enough for me. However, on the way back to the car the setting sun falling over the horizon proved to be suitable. Just behind these flowers, and in between me and the large rock formation in the background is a very long drop to the sea. I’m at one end of a horseshoe really, with the rocks in this shot being the other end, and the open section immediately ahead and to the right.
I used the 8mm fisheye and got down close to the flowers. The wind was pretty strong so getting 3 exposures of the flowers was impossible. Therefore, during processing I only used three exposures for the background mountain and sun, and a single exposure for the flowers.
You may notice that I’ve redone the header of the site slightly. I’ve introduced new images to each of the sections and added a couple of links to my 500px and Google+ accounts. I like the fact I can change the site a little just by changing the images and editing just a little of the code, and without having to redo the whole thing. If you’re on either of those sites please go ahead and connect with me…and if you’ve already done so and I haven’t added you back I’ve likely missed the notification so please send me a tweet or something to nudge me. A far less likely scenario is that I don’t like your work…but that’s unlikely as 95% of the stuff I see from people visiting me is pretty darn good.