Lynmouth Weekend – 1

This is another image from our weekend with the family in Lynmouth, North Devon.  We arrived first, on a rather grey, late February afternoon.  The light was going, but we just had time for a very quick walk down from our rented cottage into Lynmouth.  This first image from a Lynmouth series is looking up the River Lyn from the road bridge.  Since the light was going and the colour image was a bit ‘flat’, I thought it would be good to try another B&W image.  It was another chance to play with the newly acquired NIK collection.  This time I picked a B&W preset from the HDR Efex Pro 2 tool and applied it to a single exposure.  Apart from the ‘halo’ between the sky and the treeline, I was quite pleased with the result after I had made some fine adjustments.  I should have taken time to remove the halo, but time is in short supply at the moment.

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Our cottage was a couple of ‘zig zags’ up the road on the left hand side of the picture.  We needed to do ‘3 point turns’ to get around the corners.

I hope to continue posting images from Lynmouth, but maybe not as a continuous series.

 

 

 

Groyne at Blue Anchor Bay

About a month ago, we were lucky enough to spend a weekend with our eldest son and family, at a cottage in Lynmouth, North Devon.  On the way there, we took a scenic route along the coast of North Somerset and I snapped this groyne at Blue Anchor Bay.

Initial thoughts on the image were not promising, but today I was looking for something to try out Silver Efex Pro 2, now that Google have kindly made it a free download.  I stumbled on this one, and found the program pretty user friendly.  I chose one of the presets which gave this ‘grainy’ look, boosted the contrast a little more and arrived at this.

I think it is much more pleasing to my eye that the original colour image.

Groyne at Blue Anchor Bay

Maybe it is an overly simple shot, being no more than a row of old wooden posts, leading off to the water, and eventually to the coast of Wales in the distance.  There are a few Gulls on the shoreline, and the grainy processing has done them no favours, but I still quite like the final result.

There would have been many alternative ways to present this shot that would have proved more attractive to some eyes, perhaps on a different day to my eyes, but this is today’s effort.

Sculpture by the Lakes

Sculpture by the Lakes is a landscaped park in Dorset, owned by Simon Gudgeon, who is a well known British contemporary sculptor.  This park provides a showcase for his work.

Last Saturday I was able to spend the afternoon there with Dee, and our friends Susanne and Ed.  I did, of course, try to take a few photographs.  The weather was cold and dry, but I still found it quite difficult to produce the quality of photograph that I wanted.  I’m going to put it down to the cold freezing my poor old brain.  Still, it was a useful opportunity to, hopefully, learn from my mistakes.

I haven’t been able to find time to post, or visit blogs recently.  I’ve got a little time available today so I thought that I would post a few photos from that afternoon, even though I wish they were better.  Any artistic value in these images should, of course, be attributed to Simon Gudgeon and his wife, Monique, who is responsible for the gardens in which the Sculptures are set.

Here is a ‘gallery’, best viewed as a slide show, by clicking on the first image and then using the carousel.  I hope that these images may inspire you to visit Sculpture by the Lakes.

 

A visit to the Sculpture by the Lakes site will provide details of this excellent Sculpture Park as well as some images which are much better than mine.  I’m looking forward to revisiting the park soon, to try to improve on these shots.

 

Monochrome Moments – 4

I rarely go back to my ‘holiday’ snaps, looking for potential monochrome images.  A recent post from Mike Osborn’s prompted me to look at some old photos from Fuerteventura, and I think that I must start doing it more often.  I found this one.  It’s not as good as Mike’s, but it does show that the sun doesn’t always shine there.  I quite liked the drama in the sky, and also the receding ‘mountains’ (really only little volcanic hills).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used a slightly ‘warm’ conversion from the Topaz presets because I thought that it might fit with the actual colours of the landscape better.  Personally, I think that the mono image is better than the original, which I have included below for comparison.  I know that the original shows the sand colour correctly, but mono shows more drama in the sky and the wind blown ‘ripples’ in the sand more clearly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFuerteventura is a barren island in the Canaries, best known for sunshine, beaches and strong winds, which give the island it’s name.  These images are from the Sand Dunes immediately south of Corralejo, at the north end of the island.

Monochrome Moments – 3

I’ve touched on Camera Club competitions before.  Well, we had another Camera Club competition last night and the theme for this competition was ‘Monochrome’, so I thought that a post about my efforts in this competition might fit the ‘Monochrome Moments’ series quite well.  I know that some ‘online photographers’ don’t have much time for Camera Clubs and competitions, and I do understand that point of view.  The Club does, however, get me out on a Monday night and it’s good to be able to mix with like minded people.  I also have a bit of a competitive streak in me, so it seems natural to enter the competitions and give support to the Club’s efforts in running them.

The Judge for this competition was very experienced, so I don’t think that there was much dissent from the opinions that he passed on the evening’s images, certainly not from me.  I thought that I would use ‘Monochrome Moments – 3’ to describe what I may have learned from last night’s judging of one of my entries.

Although sometimes I have managed to shoot specifically for a competition, frequently I find myself trawling through recent images that I have taken, trying to decide what might make a suitable entry.  For this competition I needed four images but this post will talk about just one.

None of the observations that the judge made are new.  We are all aware of the potential pitfalls that a photographer can make.  The problem is that we can also momentarily forget some of these pitfalls when we spot an image that we think just needs to be captured.  This was what I was guilty of when pressing the shutter release on this occasion.  The next image is the one that I entered although the original vision was of a colour image.

The sun was low, the scene was peaceful and I really loved the reflections.  I wanted to capture these reflections.  I also wanted to use the path to the Mill as a ‘lead in’, and I spotted the small boat pulled up on the shore on the right hand side, thinking that this might add interest to the scene. Click!

Carew Tidal MillGo on – pull it apart.  Well, the Mill isn’t ‘on a third’, which I thought was acceptable bearing in mind I had already considered what I wanted to show.  The power lines and poles hadn’t really been considered.  I think I knew that they were there, but didn’t think them an issue at the time.  The judge last night did appreciate the reflections, but thought that the right hand end of the image was not worth keeping.  He would rather have seen the Mill depicted in a portrait configuration, which would have had the benefit of removing ‘the ugly post on the right’ (his words).  Sometimes ‘less’ is ‘more’ was a message that he passed several times during the evening.  I couldn’t get a ‘vertical’ crop without loosing the ‘lead in’ from the bottom left, so I opted to try a square crop. Carew Tidal MillSince the judge didn’t like the power lines and the post on the right, I took the opportunity to remove the rest of them.  Here is a ‘letterbox’ crop like the original effort, but with the offending electricity removed.

Carew Tidal MillHaving listened to the judge’s words, and taken another critical look at the image, I have to agree with him.  I do now think that the square crop is best, even though I do still like the original ‘letterbox’ crop.  What I have learned is that I do need to be much more critical at the stage where the image is recorded, and also that it is well worth exploring the options when preparing an image for competition, posting or printing.  Available time is of course the thing that will likely make me forget what I have learned.

That’s it for Monochrome Moments – 3.  Perhaps another of my entries for last night’s competition will make it into Monochrome Moments – 4.

Monochrome Moments – 2

The next one in this series is also from our walk around London at the end of October.  Having walked through the City, we were returning to the South Bank over the Millenium Bridge.  Having just fitted my Samyang Fisheye, I thought it would be worth a bit of a ‘panorama’ looking downstream towards The Shard.  I guess that I could have used this image in the Fisheye Fun series, but having done a mono conversion, I thought that this series might be more appropriate.

Although it is not so far, the fisheye lens makes Tower Bridge appear miles away.  The B&W conversion was done by ‘fiddling around’ in Topaz B&W Effects.  I can’t remember the actual adjustments now.

From The Millenium BridgeI guess that if I could have worked out how to do it, this could have been an entry into the five days black and white challenge suggested by Mike Osborn in his comment to my Monochrome Moments – 1.  I may just go ahead and post a few more on a daily basis anyway.

Pembrokeshire – 3

The third image in this Pembrokeshire series (also see here and here) is also in the Carew area.  This photo shows both the Castle and the Tidal Mill at Carew, but this time they are not really the subject of the image.  We had arrived at our  rental cottage about an hour and a half before sunset on a clear day, so as the forecast for the next few days was awful, we decided to have a quick local walk and finish by trying to capture a sunset over the estuary.  This was the best I could manage.

wpid-B050090-Edit_1-Edit_2-Edit_tonemapped.jpgThe weather didn’t cooperate.  The clouds rolled in from the west, obscuring the sunset.  Wait for the sun to light the overhead clouds is the usual rule for photographers.   We waited and waited, but this didn’t happen either as the clouds dispersed before they became high enough in the sky.  I haven’t cropped this to ‘letterbox’ as I usually tend to, because I quite liked the expanse of twilight blue.  If you look closely, it is possible to see a couple of wispy clouds in the top third of the frame, but they didn’t light up orange as I had hoped.  They were just too thin.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Culbone Panorama, North Somerset

There has been a lot of attention to the Somerset Levels of late.  Well, not all of Somerset is flat, and below sea level.  Last Thursday, we set off on one of our fairly regular walks with our good friends Annie and Roy.  We normally try to follow the weather and the forecast suggested that there would be more sunshine on the north coast, than there would be on the coast of Dorset, so the decision was taken to drive to Porlock Weir and do what was described as a 6 mile circular walk, with some steep inclines.  We started with a quick snack in the pub, and then set out for Culbone Church, which I’ll cover in another post.  After that, we decided that we had enough car parking time to complete the circuit so off we went, climbing nearly continuously.  Thankfully, there wasn’t quite as much sunshine as forecast and the weather was very pleasant for walking.  The sun did shine for this panorama, which was taken from Culbone Hill, at an altitude of about 1250 ft.  Our walk peaked out at just over 1300 ft before we started to descend.

wpid-Culbone_Panorama1.jpgThere were several times on this walk where we thought that we wouldn’t make it within our car parking time, but we did, with about 4 minutes to spare.

The panorama is an accumulation of 9 images, stitched in Photoshop.  As always, a blog post can’t really do justice to a panorama, but with enlargement, the coast of Wales can be seen very clearly.  One feature of this walk was that we saw a truly huge number of sheep with very young lambs, some of which I am sure were new born on that day.  The field on the right is full of sheep without lambs.  Although not visible without enlargement, the fields in the centre, and further down, were where the ewes with their lambs were.

When we arrived back at Porlock Weir, we decided that this hike was probably enough for a couple of septuagenarians and their wives.  The muscles were certainly aching.  Maybe I should return to walking the Somerset Levels. 🙂

I’ll try to post about Culbone Church soon, so please keep a look out.