Wildflowers in the spotlight

There are fields behind our house. I took a walk one day last week between downpours, and found many more wildflowers than I’d expected. The land appears to be just grazing meadow, so meadow flowers abound, and I thought it would be a crying shame not to do something with them. Hence the camera and my enthusiasm came out. It’s a pity the light didn’t. Even with a light conservatory, it was difficult to get enough light through the lens for my macro lens and tubes. In the end, I settled for my standard lens and the macro tubes to get the details I wanted as I didn’t want to resort to artificial light.

Bush Vetch

Wild Comfrey

Hawksbit

Black Meddick

I wanted to capture the beauty others miss. Either they wouldn’t even notice the flowers, as some of them are tiny, or they wouldn’t stop to look.  Maybe some of these photos will make you look twice next time you take a walk with the dog? If you click on the photos you can see them much larger and in more detail. I’m planning a set of wildflower photos in macro for my website, and therefore for sale, quite soon. I’m not sure if these are going to be the shots. Probably not. I’ll need better light to get the top quality shots I want, and time is important, as these flowers will only be around for a short while.

Photography Blog Interview-an honour

Many thanks to Ed of Exhibitions Without Walls fame! I’m honoured to say he asked me to do a guest interview with them. This was not an easy interview, asking some searching questions, but I enjoyed the challenge. If you would like to read it, and see the photographs chosen to accompany it, you can find me here. You’ll need to click read more at the end of the visible part of my interview to see it in full.

sempervivum photograph

sempervivum

Exhibitions without walls is a website devoted to photographers and digital artists, holding competitions six times a year. It’s worth checking out if you fancy a challenge, as the quality of images is very high. It’s also worth getting your camera out  and having a go!  Nothing ventured, nothing gained. They have a blog too, which is where they showcase digital artists and photographers, and where you’ll find me. Thanks again, Ed, for the opportunity.

Explore with macro photography. It’s another world!

I’ve had time to experiment today. Macro photography is another world to explore, and I like exploring. Here are some photos from todays batch. The fine tuning in macro is time consuming and eye-tiring, I have to say.What looks absolutely perfect when focusing doesn’t always come out as clear as I’d like. So many shots are taken to get just one or two. As I’m often asked, I’m using a Nikon D90 with a Tamron 70-300mm macro lens and extension tubes.

I don’t always focus on wildlife and flowers. There are objects around the home that make interesting experimental pictures, too. Here’s a candle pot I gave the macro treatment.

Candle pot photo

Candle Pot. Height 3"

candle-pot-macro

Candle Pot Macro attempt 1

candle pot macro photo

candle pot macro attempt 2

Pretty, interesting and pretty interesting, don’t you think?

Then there’s the glass ball that is part of another ornament. It’s about 2″ in circumference and has a pattern on it that intrigued me, so here we are. I’ve played with the temperature and tint settings in Adobe Photoshop RAW to get the colours.

glass ball macro photo

Glass Ball macro 1

glass ball macro 2

Glass Ball Macro 2

But I couldn’t resist totally the lovely colours and light on some flowers and plants today, so here they are.

muscari macro photo

Muscari macro

leaf macro photo

Leaf Macro

African-Violet-macro

African Violet Macro

See, told you! It’s another world.

Photography as a record

Photography had to take a back seat while I was busy going through the trauma of moving house, but I didn’t stop taking photos, as they’re a great record of our move. I just didn’t have time or energy to update my files and pass on the photos to you. But now we’re settled, have got most things out of boxes and have a desk to work at, I’m back with you.

Photography can have many, many applications, and I use those that suit me. One of them is as an aid memoir or record of things I’ve seen, places I’ve been etc. Of course most of us use it that way. These days photography is cheap, and you can keep a record of anything you’d like. Wouldn’t you like to be able to look back on your life and recover those memories in great shots? Images that really remind you of what you did, where you were, what inspired you or made you smile? Carry that camera or phone and don’t miss opportunities to make memories. They fade too quickly without reminders! My thoughts often turn to my camera when I haven’t got it, so I’m going to re-aquaint myself with my little cannon point and shoot, as it’s now always possible to carry the Nikon kit around.

I’m very lucky. My dad was into photography and cinema way back when black and white film was all there was. We have cine film of us as children that he’s since scanned digitally to preserve it for us all. These records are rare, as very few people had the enthusiasm or equipment to do this. I’m continuing to record my life. My memory is awful! And with digital cameras, you can pinpoint the day, time and place each shot was taken, so no arguing years later when you look back on what had been, when and where!

Here are some shots of our new house and what we’ve been doing since I last posted. Photography doesn’t have to be picture perfect, unless you’re trying to sell it of course. These are records, not exercises in photographic perfection. Getting clear shots that give you the detail you want is the aim.

house move record kitchen

House move. Our new kitchen

garden record

Garden record. Now I know what needs sorting out in that bed!

Record of winter snow

Record of this winter's snow piled at my back door.

local-fields-snow-record

The beauty of our local fields under snow

Record of our first fire in our new hearth

Hungry Robin Record

Record of a hungry robin

Druids Temple or Folly? – a photographic trip into the past

As you know if you follow my blog, we travelled a lot this summer around the UK. One trip was a camp with friends that ended in a rather special treat. Our good friend Pete took us to one of his favourite spots. A so-called Druids Temple in Yorkshire. Built in the 1800’s, we think it was used by the wealthy family for ceremonial purposes but can only guess just what kind of rituals were performed here. Some say it was just a folly, but the scale, detail and magnificence of it gave me the feeling it really wasn’t just a showpiece but a large piece of working kit. What do you think?

My Friend Pete proudly waiting at the entrance

A First Glance Inside. Scale.

Inside the Temple Space. This thing is huge!

The Inner Ring-not visible when you enter, with cave-like structure

Taken from above the 'cave'

Inside the Cave Structure. The standing stone in front of it shields it from view.

Friends above and behind the Temple - barely visible through the trees. Well hidden!

This is one set of photographs that was hard to pick out for you. In the three hours we were there I took over 100 shots trying to capture the flavour of a very mystical space. I hope these do it justice. A hidden gem from the past still there for us to enjoy. I look forward to visiting there again, probably next summer. Come on, what imagery of unusual place have you got on that hard drive of yours? Care to share?

 

Inspiration for Photography – Where does yours come from?

Where do you find inspiration when you take your camera out? Do you shoot friends? Do you concentrate on wildlife? Architecture? Do you experiment and see what happens? Are you willing to think outside the box? Personally I can’t help but keep trying new ideas. I can’t help shooting anything that takes my eye. When you look back on this blog at previous posts, you may be forgiven for thinking that all I’m interested in is flowers and animals. But here are a few of my experimental shots. I’ve never done night photography before, but on holiday this year, high on a hill overlooking the Brecon Beacons I was wending my way back to my camper when I stopped, looked and felt compelled to return with my camera. I’d been at a wedding all day. Then our camper had got stuck on the way back up to the site and I’d trekked, still in wedding gear, up the track to the site and across the field to our new found friends. They’d wrapped a blanket around me and the farmer helped get our van back on site. By now it was one in the morning so I was very tired But I had to try to capture what I saw for my own memories of the place. The wonderful, scenic place we’d found ourselves in after booking over the internet. Memories of my partner’s son’s wedding, memories of the friends we’d made on that hill around a camp fire in the dark. We’re still in touch, months later with those new friends. And the memories of the place are preserved.

Brecon Beacons at Night

This was the place during the day. Still beautiful, in not the best of weather conditions for a brilliant shots, but these aren’t intended for sale or for competitions. They’re for me and my partner to fondly look back on and share with friends and family.

Brecon Beacons

We left Wales and crossed the Severn Bridge. I’ve never been over it before and was interested in getting pictures of it but slightly worried because of my heights phobia. So I focussed (pardon the pun) and got busy with my camera. Of course you’re not allowed to stop on the bridge and my partner was driving. I could only point my camera out of the window and hope I was getting a good shot. I didn’t want our slightly grubby windscreen to interfere with the images, so used auto focus and kept my fingers crossed. I’m pretty pleased with the results.

Severn Bridge

Then I went for some more obscure angles, to see the structure of this wonderful bridge.

Bridge detail

Severn Bridge detail

No, they’re not perfectly composed. No, they wouldn’t be judged as great pictures. Does that matter? Quite frankly, no. What matters is that I have my memories and I have experimented and got interesting detail of that bridge I couldn’t have otherwise captured.

Wellies

When we reached our next destination on our trip, we were greeted by these in the entrance to our campsite. This is an image that was inspired by someone else’s inspiration to brighten up their site. If only more people helped to make the world a brighter, more recycled place. Delightful!

So where does YOUR inspiration come from?

Abstract perspectives in photography

It’s difficult to choose a subject with over 1,000 to process currently, so I’ll concentrate on one tiny aspect of what I’ve been up to. As I’ve been running around on my travels I’ve been inspired to do some abstract photographs. There are always lots, of course, but some things just strike you as worthwhile the time and effort to shoot. When looking at objects, move around them, or of they’re small, move them around. Look at them from different angles. try to obscure or leave out any distracting elements. Play with that camera! Play with colour and light. Experiment. It costs nothing to press delete of you don’t like the results, and you might get something special.

abstract spades

abstract fishing

fishnet abstract

old rope

Look for a good composition, balance, colour and interest. The technique you use should be creativity. Forget which lens, which filter or which camera even. Just LOOK until you find that composition. Then you can play with equipment.  Try different shots from different perspectives of your abstract until you find something you’re happy with. Think outside the box! Above all, have fun with that camera and find your own image of the world.

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