Friday, May 31, 2013

Focus Stacking a Daffodil

This picture was not taken in my garden
One spring afternoon, with nothing much better to do, I decided to go and pull up some unsuspecting daffodils from the garden, to use in a diabolical experiment.

Once I had procured the hapless flowers, I picked out the finest example, cruelly tossing away the outcasts and leaving them to make their own way in this pitiless world of ours. And then set up the terrified champion on a table, with my looming lens just millimetres away from its quivering bloom.

I wanted to try my hand at a bit of focus stacking. Often when getting close to an object, even with a dedicated macro lens, the depth of field, or, more importantly, the lack of it can make getting a sharp image from front to back a real challenge, ranging from impossible, all the way to unattainable.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Exhibitionist clouds over Burford

Those pesky clouds have been up their old tricks, namely showing off and generally acting up again.

I happened to look out my window the other day and wouldn't you know it, they were swaggering across the sky with such pompous bravado you'd have thought they owned the place.

Well, I'm not one to sit back and let such pretentious affectations go undocumented, so I immediately grabbed my camera and took to recording this unfettered tribute to garishness, with a view to shaming them into behaving with a bit more respectability next time.

So once you have fortified yourself, with a strong drink in one hand, and a sternly disapproving look in the other, I would bid you to peruse the following images with caution.

I would also suggest you carry out this investigation whilst seated, I cannot be responsible for any injuries you sustain as a result of swooning at the outrageous dandyism displayed before you.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Zoom Blur

The other day, whilst wandering aimlessly about, camera in hand, wondering what to do with myself, as I often am, I stumbled across this row of trees with a rather fetching sky behind them. The sun was fast disappearing and it seemed somewhat churlish not to get a photo, what with the sky going to all that trouble and everything. 

So I did.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Evening Light over a Cotswold Town

I happened to look out my window the other day and what did I observe? Well the usual things, as you would imagine, seeing as my window is in the same place it’s always been, and the things outside, such as trees and walls etc, are well known for their inclinations to stay put. 

So it would come as no surprise to you if the answer to my question about what I observed was ‘I saw exactly the same things in exactly the same places as I always see when I look out of that exact window’. And your lack of bewilderment would be well founded, because that is what I did see.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lake District - Day 6

This morning I drove over to Ullswater, the second largest lake in the district after Windermere, and one which many regard as the most beautiful of English lakes, comparing it to Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. It is a typical Lake District narrow "ribbon lake" formed after the last ice age when a glacier scooped out the valley floor and when the glacier retreated, the deepened section filled with meltwater which became a lake.

And here is that very Water, taken that afternoon
The origin of the name 'Ullswater' is uncertain. Some say it comes from the name of a Nordic chief 'Ulf' who ruled over the area; there was also a Saxon Lord of Greystoke called 'Ulphus' whose land bordered the lake. The lake may have been named Ulf's Water in honour of either of these, or it may be named after the Norse god Ullr.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Lake District - Day 5

Woke up to a fair amount of cloud, but by the time I left the weather was starting to look promising and boding well for the rest of the day.

I started with a drive over the Honister Pass that would take me to the southern end of Buttermere. At 1,167 feet it is one of the highest and steepest in the region. Passing the Honister slate mine and YHA situated at the top, I made my way down the other side, stopping for a while to wait with my camera for the sun to creep downwards over the precipitous valley walls, crags and boulders that are strewn about the valley floor. 

It took a while, but the sun started to creep across the fells in the end
It was fairly early in the morning so traffic was few and far between and the place was beautifully quiet, it really is an atmospheric place.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lake District - Day 4

Yet again, with an embarrassed sun rising behind a thick smog of grey cloud, the morning weather looked ridiculous. I headed over to the Borrowdale Hotel, to deliver some choice words on the subject of Photoshop techniques to the lucky people who were part of the Lake District Image Seen workshop group. And by the time I had enlightened all with my sparkling presentation, the weather was looking a lot better, so I took the short drive up to Ashness Bridge with an idea to get some images of this most resplendent of Cumbria’s icons. 

As it happens so had quite a few other people, all of whom it seems, were taking part in some kind of bizarre contest to see who could wear the most garishly coloured cagoule. So I tried my best to get some photos of the bridge and lake beyond, while at the same time doing my best to exclude the rabid pack of flamboyantly hued hunchbacks crawling all over my view.

I was aware that I too was probably featuring heavily in their photos, standing right in front of the bridge as I was. So I could well imagine that they had similar misgivings about my presence there, although to make one thing absolutely clear, my jacket was a pleasantly tasteful neutral colour, so they could have no reason to suffer distress on that regard. But the thought of them taking issue with my attendance made me curse them doubly, and I vowed to fight them and all their kind to my last breath. 

After a bit of judicious waiting around on the day and a small amount of tinkering
on the computer I managed to make this a cagoule free zone

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lake District - Day 3

Woke up to yet another heart achingly miserable morning, with rain and wind of the likes I’ve not seen for many a long year. Decided to go into town and get a few bits, and stopped in one of two local photography galleries to have a browse of the incredible photos on display. Having the Lakes on your doorstep must be quite amazing.

After walking out in a dishearteningly sombre mood, the profound feeling that I will never, ever be able to get images like those coursing through my troubled veins, I picked myself up with a visit to Booths, one of the finest shopping emporiums I believe has existed anywhere and at anytime, in the history of all worlds.

Well, maybe that’s a slight overstatement, but let me make it quite clear, this is a very fine supermarket. Very fine indeed. In fact I think it should be the template for all supermarkets across this land of ours, perfectly laid out, very keenly priced and a genuine pleasure to purchase life’s essentials from. I seem to remember that the last time I was here it was a tawdry dump, so whoever was responsible for such a positive sea change should deliver themselves a hearty pat on the back.

Ashness Jetty with Catbells behind