Thursday, 9 March 2017

Photo Exhibition – Ashton under Hill

I was delighted to be asked recently if I would be interested to show a selection of my 'On Bredon Hill - 2016' photographs at the Ashton under Hill Open Gardens 40th Anniversary Event on the weekend of the 10th and 11th June this year. I enthusiastically accepted. Ashton under Hill lies at the foot of Bredon Hill on its eastern edge. I started out on several of my hikes throughout 2016 from the village.

Twenty four, or thereabouts, of my prints will be exhibited in St Barbara's Church throughout the weekend. Please see the Ashton under Hill Open Gardens website for more information: www.ashtonopengardens.co.uk. I aim to be in attendance throughout the official opening hours of the event from 1pm to 6pm each day.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Around the lake

The cottage where we stayed in Northumberland last week is close to a tree-lined lake. A walk around can't fail to find something to photograph, even if it isn't the lake.

The Boat House
Ivy on The Barn Door
Spillway
Looking Out

Northumberland Coast

Whilst in Northumberland we took a few bracing hikes along the coast ...

Beach Streaks and the Farne Islands
Bladderwrack
Dunstanburgh Spume
Dry Sand Streaks
Obligatory Lindisfarne Boat Photograph!

Abandonded Cars

Whilst staying in Northumberland I came across an almost derelict barn that, subsequently, I found out was used as a hangar for a local landowner's light aircraft. It now houses two abandoned cars - a Ford Capri Ghia and a Reliant three-wheeler. I spent an enjoyable couple of hours taking these photographs - a little different from my more usual landscapes. Additionally there were several animal skulls adorning the walls. I understand that this was used as a film location last summer.

Ford Capri Ghia and Reliant 3-Wheeler
Abandoned

Reliant 3-Wheeler
Not very Ghia-like!
Deer Skull
Barn Furniture


Sunday, 15 January 2017

Annecy Swan

Looking back over work from earlier years occasionally turns up a forgotten delight. This night time photograph of a swan in the town of Annecy in France in 2010 brought back memories of an excellent photo trip.


Friday, 6 January 2017

"On Bredon Hill - 2016" - finished

I've now completed my photography project for 2016. My photo-blog of the project is linked here, with the final entry being a reflection on my 52 hikes. These are two of my favourite photographs.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Frost

The hard hoar frost last night provided a photographic opportunity not to be missed. I was restricted to home today but 30 minutes in my garden yielded several very pleasing images. There aren't too many days in the year when we get such an exceptional frost.
Liriodendron Tulipifera on Box
Adiantum
Bird Bath #1
Tulip Tree Leaves
Bird Bath #2
Birches
Tulip Tree
Rhubarb

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Meeting of Minds - On Landscape 2016

I'm just back from attending the 2 excellent days of the second "Meeting of Minds" Landscape Photographers' Conference at Rheged in Cumbria. A most stimulating, informative and, above all, enjoyable time spent with other like-minded photographers. An excellent set of contributors. Thank you to the On Landscape team for all of the arrangements. Looking forward the next one ... will it be another 2 years?
After the conference concluded on Sunday I decided to stay on for a day and see if I could exercise some of the ideas I'd picked up. I ended up on a short walk/hike alongside a stream feeding into Ullswater where I enjoyed seeking out a few moving water images. And enjoyed processing them once back at home.




Friday, 11 November 2016

In Issue 124 of "On Landscape"

Four of my tree photographs from Bredon Hill were publish recently in Issue 124 of "On Landscape" in the 4x4 section. Linked here.

Leaf Litter

Autumn leaves - who can resist? Not me.

Leaf Litter

Thursday, 10 November 2016

To downsize, or not to downsize, that is the question.

This week I committed the worst possible photographer's faux pas. My photo-backpack is always kept fully packed, camera batteries charged, at the ready to pick up without thinking when I head off to do whatever my next photo-outing requires. So, when I arrived for a photo-hike on a cold, frosty and very promising dawn I removed my backpack, boots, tripod and so on from my car boot, got kitted up, then opened my backpack to find no camera!!! After a few moments of panic, I remembered that a couple of days previously I'd removed it to take some shots at home of our grandson - and failed to return it to my backpack.

So, not stolen or lost, but, regretfully, a case of forgetfulness. I could have returned home to collect it, but that would have been a 40 minute round trip meaning I'd miss out totally on the promising sunrise. So, making a virtue out of necessity, my contingency plan swung into action. I always carry a pocket camera (a 6 year old Canon S95) in my backpack as a fallback in the event of equipment failure or for occasions when carrying a lots of kit just isn't practical. So, I left my back pack and tripod in the car and hiked several miles unencumbered. Just my pocket camera for company. What a revelation. Whilst the camera is just 10MP compared with my usual 24MP full frame camera (Sony A7II), it shoots in RAW and is a very capable camera with a 28-105mm equivalent zoom. I quickly found that there's an unexpected freedom and pleasure when hiking light. And equally quickly I found that I was taking the same photographs I imagined I'd be taking with my full frame gear. On return home I processed my images and found to my delight that I'd achieved a similar hit rate to that which I achieve with my full frame equipment.

There are, however, two downsides to this revelation. The dynamic range of the little camera is significantly smaller than I'm used to, and smaller than I often need, and the smaller pixel count means the maximum size of images is smaller than I'd really like. But I must ask myself, what do I really need? Nowadays I produce far fewer prints than I ever did, and those are invariably smaller than in the past. And most of my work is now seen via the web on computer screens and tablets rather than in print form, for which far smaller pixel counts are more than sufficient.

So, I thoroughly enjoyed hiking unencumbered by a load of kit. And, I found that I can achieve (almost) everything required for prints of A4/8x10 size, and at a push A3/12x16 and absolutely everything for posting on the web. And stitching images allows far larger prints. I need to give some more thought to whether my faux pas will give rise to me changing what I carry for my photo-hiking projects. My ageing Canon S95 has shown me once again the pleasures of lighter hiking. I'd already downsized a few years ago from hiking with a 5x4 film camera and all of the weight that entailed. I'm now thinking one of the latest compacts with higher capabilities might be a serious proposition.

But, if I downsize does that stop me being a 'serious photographer'? Hmmm ...


Thursday, 27 October 2016

TED Talk about Clouds - update

Over three years ago (6th August 2013) I wrote the blog post (repeated below) about Gavin Pretor-Pinney's TED Talk about clouds. At the time it had been viewed over 200,000 times. I've just taken a look and the count is now 1,189,793 times.

TED Talk about Clouds

I often photograph the sky - it's always available, often interesting and sometimes fascinating. Gavin Pretor-Pinney founded the Cloud Appreciation Society to which many sky watchers, like me, submit photographs. I've been lucky over the last few years to have several of mine published on the CAS website. Recently Gavin gave a talk about clouds at TED Talks in Edinburgh which, the last time I looked, has been viewed over 200,000 times. Do watch it, linked here, it's well worth all of the 11 minutes. I was delighted that he used one of my cumulonimbus photographs as one of his illustrations.

If you've not yet come across TED I would encourage you to take a look. The short talks on and about every subject under the sun are splendid, challenging, inspirational, thought provoking, funny, infuriating, ...

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Levadas - Maderia

We're just back from our second visit to the Portugese island of Madeira - a steep sided (and hopefully) extinct volcano located about 300 miles from the Atlantic coast of Morocco. The island's agriculture is supported by the capture and distribution of rainwater by well over 1000 miles of levadas or rainwater channels. That's a lot of levadas given that the island is only about 300 square miles (800 square kilometres). They have been built over the last several hundred years and deliver water from around the island to where it's needed for agriculture. Many of the levadas have paths by their side so can be walked, and as they're almost on the level they are mostly very easy. Except that, because they run around the contours of the very steep volcano, in places they have precipitous drops - often without guard rails for protection. And here and there they flow through tunnels, some of which are easily long enough (many 100s of meters or more) to require a good torch. So, not for those a little unsteady on their feet or who don't have a good head for heights, or who would feel claustrophobic hiking through very dark restricted height tunnels.

This is a selection of images from this year's trip plus one from 3 years ago.