Weymouth Speed Week – 3

As threatened, here are a few more shots from Weymouth Speed Week.  Previous posts can be found here and here.  It is probably best to view them as a slide show by clicking on the first image.

Sorry, but there are still more to come.  Show me your stamina.:)

Golden Cap – The View.

Recently, our good friends Bobbie and John from Nottingham visited us for a couple of days.  Living in Nottingham, they don’t see much of the sea, so when they visit, we normally try to do some coast walking, or at least get to the coast.  Obviously, October isn’t the ideal month for this and we were pretty disappointed with what the weather had to offer.

Some years ago, Bobbie had started on a walk to Golden Cap on the Dorset coast, but had not actually got there.  As the weather was meant to be dry until after lunch on the better of the two days that they were with us, we thought that we could put this right and enjoy the views from Golden Cap.

We parked in the National Trust car park at Langdon Hill and started the short walk and easy route up to Golden Cap.  It started to rain as we exited the car park but this wasn’t too bad since there was plenty of shelter from the trees of Langdon Wood.  There was also a bit of a view of the sea, looking down towards Seatown.wpid-untitled.jpg

As we struck off from the Langdon Wood circular walk, towards Golden Cap, we left this shelter, but the rain was still not too bad.  When, however, we arrived at the top of the climb, the heavens opened and, of course there was absolutely nowhere to shelter.  After some good few minutes of torrential rain we were soaked, but the rain eased and was very quickly replaced by low cloud.  The following photo shows the wonderful views of the surrounding coast that can be expected on a day such as this!  It also shows that we still enjoyed the walk, and have a sense of humour.

wpid-untitled.jpgNo tripod (again) and too much wind anyway, so I’m behind the camera.

After this, we gave up on the walk.returned to the car and went to Lyme Regis to have some lunch.

Sorry, no photographic merit in this post.  Just a reminder that we can still get out and have fun, even when the British weather doesn’t cooperate.


Weymouth Speed Week – 2

I’ve taken a couple of trips to Portland Harbour in the last week, to see what was going on during Weymouth Speed Week.  The first visit was a lovely sunny day, with a mild, but strong wind.  Ideal for the Speed Trials I would think.

I posted a few shots in Weymouth Speed Week – 1, but those were only a quick selection to prove that I had attended.  It is time that I posted a few more.  I have a few just about reasonable shots, though none are great when I compare them with the efforts of a few others that I know.  Here are the first ten in a little slide show.  Open it by clicking on the first image and then view them at your own speed.

There were a number of things that struck me about these speed trials.  The first was the apparent chaos on the water.  I was surprised that there were no serious accidents, with these sailboards and kite surfers thrashing backwards and forwards, reaching across the prevailing wind.  I was also impressed that many of the competitors could reasonably be described as quite ‘mature’.  I suppose that I was a little disappointed that there were not more of what could be described as ‘sailing boats’, but that is how it is today.  Wind surfers and kite surfers rule as far as speed is concerned.

I’m probably going to bore you by posting a some more shots from the Speed Week over the coming days.  I hope that you can stand coming back to see them.

Weymouth Speed Week – 1

Weymouth Speed Week runs from the 18th – 24th of October.  As there was a good wind today, I thought that I would have a look.  I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to get decent shots, but most of the sailboards and kites stayed pretty close to the causeway side of Portland Harbour, so I had plenty of ‘reach’ with my 70-300 mm lens.  I haven’t been having much success with this lens recently, so I wanted to try to correct some bad technique.  I think I have made a little progress, but there is still more to do.

Here are a few of the shots taken today.  I’ll look for some more when I get the time.

wpid-20141019-_A190252.jpg wpid-20141019-_A190217.jpg wpid-20141019-_A190196.jpg wpid-20141019-_A190191.jpg wpid-20141019-_A190093.jpg

Sika Deer Stag

There are a lot of Sika Deer in the RSPB reserve at Arne in Dorset and they are generally very easy to see.  Dee and I were just returning to the car a couple of days ago, when we had a surprise deer encounter which is perhaps one of the best we have had.  It was fairly late in the afternoon and we were walking on one of the main trails through the woods when I spotted a Sika Stag grazing just behind a ‘clump’ of bracken, about 5-6 metres away.  We stopped in our tracks, stood very still and he seemed completely oblivious to our presence for several minutes.  He saw us, but didn’t seem to care.  He carried on grazing, wandering around amongst the bracken and trees while I fired off a good few shots.  None of these yielded particularly good images, largely because of the challenging light under the trees.

I had my 70-300 mm (140-600 mm full frame equivalent) lens on my Olympus OM-D E-M1, and as a result was using ISO 3200 to help keep the  shutter speed up.  In the event, this shot was taken at the shorter end of the lens’ range, but I didn’t want to ‘fiddle’ with settings while I had such a good opportunity.

Of the shots that I got, I think that this is perhaps my favourite, even though it is not as sharp as I would have liked.  This lack of sharpness is partly due to having applied some noise reduction in Lightroom and partly due to cropping to improve the composition.  Using ISO 3200 is, however, something that I would have never dared to do with my E30, and indicates how much cameras have improved in the last couple of years.

wpid-20140910-_9100179.jpgWe are off to Maine soon.  It would be great, but unlikely, for us to get such an opportunity with a magnificent Moose.  We’ll probably get lots of Lighthouses though!

Please check back to see.

Dave’s Summer Snaps

This week, our Camera Club had ‘a member’s evening’.  As it was early in the new winter season, we were asked to produce short slide shows showing what we had been up to during the summer.  Happily, there were more than enough presentations, so mine was not required.  Just as well really, since it wasn’t very imaginative.  Having gone to the trouble to produce it though, I thought that I might as well publish it as a blog post.


Here are a few of the places that I have snapped this summer.

To me, summer starts in May. So here are a few snaps taken between May and September. They’re not my best photos from this summer. They’re just a few random snaps pulled from my Lightroom archive showing some of the places that I have visited.

My wife and I went to Cyprus for a week. It rained non stop for 24 hours while we were there, but I still managed a few snaps. Here is one of Archbishop Makarios, way up in the clouds in the Trudos Mountains.

wpid-20140511-_5110115.jpgOne of a ruined village snapped on the way back to base.

wpid-20140511-_5110137.jpgThe weather improved just before we came home! (This was at Latchi)

wpid-20140513-_5130176.jpgIn mid May, we visited friends in Nottingham, and whilst there we went to the Derwent Valley, where the Dam Busters practised.  This is a stitched panorama of the reservoir that they used for practise.

wpid-Derwent-Valley_Panorama1.jpgWe also visited the Papplewick Pumping Station. This is their workshop, which is a bit tidier than mine.


We also took a stroll by the River Trent.

wpid-20140519-_5190249.jpgIn June, we tried Greece for a coach tour. The weather was better than Cyprus, but not always great. I also had a fall and damaged my camera on the first day. Elastoplast held it together for the rest of the holiday.

We saw the sun. (this was at Volos)

wpid-20140607-_6070113.jpgWe visited museums (lots of them, all over the place).

wpid-20140608-_6080293.jpgAnd ruins. (This was on the way up to the Acropolis in Athens)

wpid-20140606-_6060067.jpgAnd churches.

wpid-20140608-_6080240.jpg wpid-20140612-_6120769.jpgSaw statues.

wpid-20140609-P1010143.jpgAnd mountains.

wpid-20140611-P1010356.jpgAnd bridges.

wpid-20140610-_6100521.jpgAnd lakes. (This was at Ioannina)

wpid-20140611-_6110693.jpgAnd monasteries at Meteora.


wpid-20140613-_6130841.jpgBack at home in June, we visited Lyme Regis (when the tide was out).

wpid-20140617-_6170006.jpgWe went to a Speed Hillclimb at Gurston Down (actually, we went a couple of times).

wpid-20140622-P6223933.jpgWe’ve been out on the Somerset Levels.

wpid-20140624-P6244519.jpgWe were at the Merryfield Open Evening.  This is a local RNAS training airfield.

wpid-20140625-P6254579.jpgIn July I spent an evening in Weymouth.

wpid-20130113-P1130091.jpgIn August we went to Portland several times. I love St George’s Church.

wpid-20140810-_8100049.jpgTo RSPB Arne several times.These aren’t birds but the birds kept moving!

wpid-20140813-_8130029.jpgWe also went for a walk which took in Iford Manor Gardens.

wpid-20140820-_8200086.jpgAnd Henstridge Wings & Wheels. These two should really have been in a Derwent Valley photo. Photoshop maybe?

wpid-20140823-_8230056.jpgWe were in Pembrokeshire last week, where we:

Saw some misty mornings over the water. (Cleddau Estuary)

wpid-20140905-_9050002.jpg wpid-20140905-_9050004.jpg wpid-20140905-_9050005.jpgWatched the sun set over Skomer Island. (from Martin’s Haven)

wpid-20140830-_8300057.jpgWalked some of the coast opposite Milford Haven. (Gas Tanker unloading, taken from Angle).  Another stitched panorama.

wpid-Milford-Haven_Panorama1.jpgWent to some lovely beaches. (This one is at Little Haven).

wpid-20140830-_8300012.jpgPlayed with a ‘cheapo’ chinese fisheye lens. (Near Little Haven and the Cleddau Bridge)

wpid-20140830-_8300018.jpg wpid-20140831-P8310091.jpg Met an Artist. (at Carew Castle. He was painting the Castle and the Tidal Mill)

wpid-20140905-_9050052.jpg wpid-20140905-_9050055.jpgOh, and we also did a few jobs around the house and garden!

That was some of our summer.

I hope that I will soon be able to start posting a little more frequently.  Please keep an eye open.



A Little Bit of Speed – 2

My last post, ‘A Little Bit of Speed – 1‘, tried to depict speed by the use of ‘background blur’.  This image is completely different, and shows the ‘motion blur’ of the subject when the camera is not ‘panned’.  This is also from the same Speed Hillclimb at Gurston Down, and shows one of the entrants accelerating off the start line.


A Little Bit of Speed – 1

I haven’t posted since early May, and I feel very guilty.  I’ve been busy and haven’t had much chance to get near my photos.  Just to make sure that I could still remember how to post, I thought that I had better make some time.

This is a shot that I took at Gurston Down Speed Hillclimb back in June.  It’s one of many, and attempts to depict ‘speed’.  With that in mind, I have given it a little help in post processing, which sadly is probably very obvious.  I’m not much good with Photoshop, still learning, or trying to.

wpid-20140622-P6223999-Edit-Blur-2.jpgI hope to produce a few more posts soon, but I am still short of time so I’m still not able to read all of the great posts on the blogs that I follow.  Sorry for that.  Things should get better soon.


An Elephant photo, treated using Topaz Detail 3

Last year, I posted ‘Elephants 3 – Another White Elephant, with Zebra (Mono)‘.  That image was shot back in 2006, when I was using a Sony DSC-H1 Bridge Camera.  I really liked the image, but the small sensor in that camera made it difficult to obtain much ‘selective focus’ and the image was too sharp from front to back.

Because I liked the image, particularly when presented in B&W, I decided to use a variation of it in a recent B&W Camera Club competition.  I’ve often said that I am not much good at using Photoshop, but regardless of this limitation, I felt that I needed to try to simulate some ‘selective focus’ in this image if I was going to use it in a Club competition.  I spent ages selecting different parts of the image and using layers to apply different levels of blur.  I wish that I hadn’t bothered.  The Judge didn’t like it, easily picking out those parts of the image that I had ‘worked on’.  I just wasn’t clever enough! :(

Last year, I purchased the Topaz Suite, but didn’t have the time of patience to learn how to use the various parts of it properly.  This week, I thought that I would have a bit of a look at Topaz Detail 3, an application intended for selective sharpening of images.  I’ve still got a lot to learn, and I still lack patience, but I have been very impressed at how this software can produce excellent results.

I thought that I would apply it to the original ‘jpeg’ file of that Elephant photo.

In this post, I have presented a series of efforts to improve this image.  I hope that the differences are clear enough to show just what a ‘pigs ear’ I made of it before moving on to Topaz Detail 3.  Here goes.

The first image is the jpeg straight out of my Sony DSC-H1

Original jpeg from camera.

Original jpeg from camera.

The next image was a B&W conversion using one of the Lightroom presets.  I can’t remember which, but I was going for a fairly high contrast result.

Initial B&W conversion.

Initial B&W conversion.

The next image is where things really started to go wrong.  I attempted to use my pathetic Photoshop skills to simulate some ‘selective focus’ in the image by using a number of layers with differing levels of Gaussian blur.  It took a long time to select the elephant layer and the result wasn’t great.

Attempt to simulate 'differential focus' using Photoshop layers.

Attempt to simulate ‘differential focus’ using Photoshop layers.

It must be remembered that these last two B&W images were produced because I thought that the image lent itself to use in a Club B&W competition.

Some time later, after investigating Topaz Detail a little, I thought that the selective sharpening (and softening) available in this program might be useful for simulating ‘selective focus’.  I gave it a try, and these next two images took only a few minutes to produce.  Maybe there is scope for improvement, but I quite like them as they are.

After a few minutes work in Topaz Detail 3.

After a few minutes work in Topaz Detail 3.

B&W conversion after a few minutes work in Topaz Detail 3.

B&W conversion after a few minutes work in Topaz Detail 3.

Here they are again in a carousel so they can be displayed at a larger size where the differences are more evident.  Click on the first one to display the slide show.  Esc to end it.

I think the attempt to simulate ‘selective focus’ in the Topaz worked images is more subtle and was certainly achieved much more quickly.  Please feel free to comment as I know that I still have a very long way to go in improving my PP skills.  In particular, I always have trouble deciding just how much of an adjustment to make.