Night photography?

Last night i got ‘itchy feet!’

I wondered how i would manage taking photos at night, in the dark. So, as Chris (my husband is @clawfish) was at work and i had said i would pick him up at 9pm, i decided to wander down to West Kirby early and while waiting go and take a few photos, in the dark!

I had spotted that the Wro restaurant had plenty of people in, so decided to go there first. I had an idea of what i wanted to accomplish so set up my camera on the tripod across from the restaurant. I figured that if i started with a 3 second exposure and work from there, bracketing the shots, then i would surely have something to work with as i had decided i wanted to have an HDR effect for this picture. So just as i am setting the shot dont a gaggle of giggling women just have to walk in, around, under and over my view point. Sorry’s all around as they click clicked across the road and finally i can take the shot. I wanted car lights in too so i waited, didnt have long, and took the shot. (There is the cereal killer thing again) I have processed the pictures now and have come out with a b/w and a colour HDR picture.

I then wandered down to Marine Lake as i had an idea for the promenade that i wanted to see, if, it would work.  As i walked down to the sea, well river Dee, i began to realise just how dark  it actually was. Im not one to get spooked easily but when i heard multiple young voices i began to wonder if i was doing the right thing, going into a dark place with my camera equipment, on my own.  But it was a group of supervised kids walking through West Kirby, once through the gaggle of gossiping kids i then walked to the water and immediately what comes to mind? Sharks and wasnt it a good job they dont come out on to the land but the image of jaws jumping out of the water and snatching me off the walk way wouldnt go and i wasnt anywhere near the water, such is my imagination.

I set up to take some timed exposure shots of the promenade down towards the sailing club on the water side of the lake, i started with a 3 second exposure and ended with a 30 second exposure, i bracketed the exposures and after processing i have ended up with these.

As it was really dark i found it quit difficult to focus the shots and processing them i know i have ended up with quite a lot of noise, that is something i need to figure out how to clean up but overall i feel pleased with what i have accomplished and i am definitely going to  be going out in the dark again, though next time i may just take Chris!

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Escaping the mad house

I had an urge to escape the mad house i call home, i craved the peace and quiet of my own company, a letting go of the responsibility of  being a wife, mother, carer. So i grabbed my camera and my new tripod, the other one fell to pieces after only a few months. Side line, i bought a Manfrotto tripod which is pretty neat. And i headed down to Gilroy Rd nature reserve.

Over the last 12 months or so i have been photographing specific scenes there, a gate which i find fascinating, a stand of trees, the pond, all at different times of the year and using varying techniques.  The sun was shining and it was a lovely day, not overly hot or cold either, the sky was a deep blue and the clouds interesting shapes, how i was looking forward to solitude and my own company. First up was the gate, i had decided to try a multiple exposure HDR  technique as i was pretty sure it would look really great and just as i am setting up for the shot, well lets just say all of the dogs on my side of the Wirral decided to take their owners for a walk. I HATE taking photos when people are watching me, i feel like my privacy is being violated, so i waited and taking my time took the shot, sounds like a cereal killer 😉

I dont know about anyone else but when i am in photographer mode i look at things in a different way, all of a sudden even the smallest of things took on a different view and i was quickly taking  photos of anything that took my eye. I wandered down paths and around bends stopping at interesting views and looking at the wildlife flashing past too fast for me to photograph. I was so enjoying the peace and tranquility that i was very startled when a young lad walked around the bend in the path carrying his fishing gear, nearly tripping over me as i am kneeling down, butt up, trying to focus my camera. I dont know who was more embarrassed, me or him! It turns out a dozen lads had decided that the day was too good to waste on computer games and thought it a good idea to fish the pond, even though they know, im sure, that the pond is a no fishing pond. Still, they were not disturbing anyone other than the fish and i dont think they were all that successful anyway.

Several wonderful hours later i wandered back home to my responsibilities again, i felt so much better after my ME time and i knew i had several good shots, i only had to pries my laptop from a childs hot sweaty hands and i could transfer them off my memory card and ooh and ahh over the images.   I decided to use photomatix to merge the images and photoshop to tweak them, its an ongoing thing but i am very happy with what i got out of the afternoon. Below is a sample of my work, there are other images on my flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/klawrenceuk/ if you want to see them through the year, I hope you enjoy them, if you do, or not, please leave a comment.