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?

 

Spring’s Spectacular Displays

Tulip Tarda Macro

Hyacinth Macro

Primula Denticulata close-up

Fritillaria Milleagris

Bee Fly

Spring Finally arrived, bringing colour and life into my garden. Hooray! It’s hard NOT to be dazzled by the sheer exuberance of spring flowers. They shine out even on the gloomiest of days, announcing their wares to the insect world. While taking my photos of these glorious blooms something caught my eye. I thought at first it was a busy bee. I tried to capture its image on a hyacinth, but it didn’t stay put long enough and I chased it around the flowers until it landed where I feed the birds. Here it sat, grooming itself as I watched it through my Zoom macro lens. I found out later it’s a bee fly. They sip nectar as adults, but lay their eggs in solitary bees nests, where the grubs hatch out and feed on the bee grubs. Gruesome yet fascinating. Everything seems to have parasites, once you look closely enough.

Anyway, it hasn’t deterred my enthusiasm for spring. I wish I had the energy to jump up and down about it. Writing and taking photos and smiling like a Cheshire cat will have to do. Happy spring, folks everywhere. What’s blooming in your garden?

Eden project astounding

Sculpture at Eden

Last month I did what I’ve been threatening to do for a long time. I took my camper and myself down to Cornwall to visit the Eden Project. What an amazing place!!! It’s vast, it’s colourful and loaded with information about our wonderful planet. I completley wore myself out in an effort to see everything but still didn’t. The great thing is, once you’ve bought a ticket and registered it, you can return within a year on the same ticket. I will be going back, despite the five hour journey to get there.

The Domes

Outside, I tried to get a photo of the complete complex of the domes, but despite my wide angle elns, couldn’t fit it all in.

The stairway to the top of the dome

Inside, on encountering the steps, I decided my head would NOT cope with the hights, but for those who climbed these scary steps, the veiw was, I’m told, fantastic.

And some of the exhibits were very interesting.

The Rites of Dionysus

Explanation

This place is well worth a visit or two, and photographers beware. You’ll need a full battery, probably an extra card for your camera and plenty of time to take all the shots you want. I’ll post more on my Cornwall trip another day.

If you want to see more of my photos, please go to www.caffimages.co.uk (there’s also a link in the sidebar on the right).

Books That Inspire and Inform Me

Books that Inpire and Inform me

Ok, So we had the art of seeing yesterday. I often find myself looking for inspiration, for something new. Of course, inspiration can be found everywhere (that’s my next post), but when the light has gone and I’m sat thinking in the evening and need a little direction, what do I do? Could what I do help you? I hope so. I read books, I flip through books full of pictures, and I find new ideas in old print. So in this post I’m listing a few of my favourite books I wouldn’t be without. They may surprise you as choices for a photographer, but why limit yourself to photography books which are, after all, mostly about¬† technique. It’s not the quality of camera or knowing how to use it that makes a good picture, it’s the content. What you point the thing at and how you frame it that counts. So what do you point your camera at? What do you put in and leave out of the frame? What is the picture for? Is it a news item, a family record, an artwork for your wall? Do you want bright colour, a moody look or something to make you smile?

70 mph Down the M1

Some of the photos here maybe wouldn’t stand up to too much professional scrutiny, but unless you’re selling the photo, that really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get creative and play with your camera. Until you try, you don’t know what you might be able to come up with. After all, since the digital camera became the norm, you can take and delete as many shots as you like without extra cost. So have fun with it!

Inside a Tipee

OK, the books.

The Creative Artist – Nita Leland (1993 – also later editions)

Cultivating Sacred Space (Gardening for the Soul) – Elizabeth Murray

Gothic Fantasies – The Paintings of Anne Sudworth

The Colour Eye – BBC books

And a couple of photography books –

Photographing Flowers – Sue Bishop (includes Inspiration, technique and equipment)

The Making of Landscape Photographs – Charlie Waite (not digital, but good for advice on framing and light)

Light

Photography and the Art Of Seeing

As a photographer how many times have I heard the words ‘crikey, where did you spot THAT?’ Sooo many. So I thought it was time for a blog on the art of looking. We most of spend our days, heads down, storming through life just to get through the day without ever looking at what’s around us. Did you spot the colours of that butterfly that flitted past you? Did you see the patterns in that rusty old door or peeling paint? Did you miss the sunset? Did you ever look in a puddle at the reflections? Years ago I studied art. Drawing, painting, textiles, sculpture. My art teacher, Val, took us out into the yard one day and gave us a project. She had us sketch every detail of one square foot of the car park surface. That taught me a lot. The textures of the little stones and gravel, the muddy bit that was smooth and dark, the dead fly that had met its end on my bit of car park. I saw details I’d never noticed before.

Bottle and light idea

I was only an average artist, but as a photographer, this was great training. I learned the art of looking and seeing. My partner caught me trying out some experiments on a piece of still life and said ‘haven’t you got that upside down?’ I replied that if you always look at something from the same angle, you’ll always see the same thing. It’s true of everything. Walk around your subject. Bend down, lie down and look from a different perspective. Get on a ladder and look from above. Look in a mirror or via a reflection in a pool/lake/river. What would it look life in different light? What would it look like at night? what if you get closer/further away? Turn around. What can you see that you’d missed because you were focusing in a different direction? If you want to take good shots that show your take on the world, first learn to see the world in your own way, then start shooting.

Tree and shadow

The couple of photos I’ve put with this are illustrations of what I’m talking about. The first is a bottle I filled with coloured water. I put the water in so the bottle would bring colour into the room when light shone through the window. Then I noticed one night what happened where the light hit the wall. This picture shows you my idea. I haven’t yet taken the final image of this, but I have several ideas to try just because I noticed this effect of light. The second is simple enough. I was on holiday, went to a pub for a drink and sat outside. I looked up into the tree in the pub’s garden. What interesting shadows were cast in the evening light! So, I got out my ever-present camera and started shooting. Cultivate the art of looking, and your photography can only benefit.

Fire Photos Fan my Flames

Burning Man

Whew! It’s hot in here. I’ve slaved over a hot computer for two days to sort out my website. I’ve finally got organised enough to put some of my work up for sale. Building a website, for a photographer who is not a geek, has been a labour of titanic proportions. I thought starting off with just one set of postcards, already in stock, would be a good way to start. I tried to think through the steps needed to get this up and running. Add the pictures and relevant text, set up Paypal, follow the instructions on my site to make payment possible. It seems simple when put like that, but crikey, what a job! I’d far rather be behind the camera. But nowadays, no-one else is going to sell your stuff for you. I tried agencies, but they really don’t do a good job for most artists, as competition is massive and they tend to concentrate on the photographers that are already selling. That seems a bit short-sighted to me, as they risk losing their best earners and won’t have replacements if they don’t back newcomers.

Still, now I’ve chosen to do it myself, I’m less worried about agencies and their foibles and more worried about my brain going into meltdown figuring out how to make my website work! The heat is now on. Smouldering fire images adorn my site along with a payment method. Hooray!!!

Now I’ve learned how to do it, I’m going through my site, picking out the best images and they too will soon be on sale. I know how well they look from past prints I’ve had in exhibitions and given as gifts. I’m happy with the top quality printing service I’ve found producing Fuji acid free, guaranteed prints, so that’s as close as I can get to ensuring my customers will also be happy with my work.

Now all I need to do is cool down, get on with it, ¬†and somehow let the world know I’m here. Wish me luck!

You could help, actually. If you have time to look through my photos, you could let me know which are your favourites. Which might you buy? Just follow the link to my site, caffimages.co.uk (link below) and leave me a message, either on here or via my site’s contact page. Thanks!

Spiral

I’m an exhibitionist – go to Fabrika, Leicester to see my pics

Just to say I have three photos in the open submission art exhibition at Fabrika/The Art Organisation in Humberstonegate, Leicester.

The exhibition runs until 16 May.

One is a Eurasian eagle owl shot; the other two are a dahlia and a crocosmia. You’ll find all three images in the galleries over at my website.

Good stuff there in the exhibition as a whole, from oils and acrylics to strange mixed-media pieces (as of course my photos!).

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