Wanderings with Chris…………. and Lizzy and Meg to the Black Pearl

Bonfire night, gun powder, treason and plot. I find it kind of strange and exciting at the same time that we as a nation celebrate the plot to blow up the houses of parliament in the same fashion as those who tried to destroy them. I look forward every year to the beauty of fireworks, the noise, percussion, colour and the fact that i will be among so many other people all looking to the heavens, waiting, wondering what the next explosion will bring. Some years i don’t get to see and feel the excitement because i cant get away from looking after family, the kids wont go or i remember too late, this year i have made sure i remember and if the kids wont go, well they are old enough to stay at home while Chris and i go and ohh and ahh at the pretty fireworks together. For a couple of years the Captain and his crew have been building a sculpture of the Black Pearl (Pirates of the Caribbean) on the sands in New Brighton, we have watched it develop, get washed away in storms, develop again, we have chatted to the Captain and his crew, photographed them and generally enjoyed the way The Pearl has become such a lovely tourist attraction. We discovered, thanks to the power of facebook, that there was going to be an informal fireworks display at The Pearl on the 5th and decided we had to go, fireworks, a walk, nigh time adventures for anyone wanting to come with us, a photographic expedition in the dark, heaven! Middle kid (A) doesn’t like the percussion of the fireworks,( the best bit ) so it was just Lizzy and her friend Meg accompanying us. So we (the nesh adults) wrapped up warm and headed out. When we arrived at The Pearl we were quite surprised at just how many people had come out, several hundred people in my estimation had come down to join in the fun. Some had brought their own fireworks and added them to the crew’s bundle so we had quite a show. I took the opportunity to take some photographs, of course, it’s what i do, i photographed the sculpture decked in fairy lights and children, Liverpool’s sky line and of course the fireworks, i had such fun!

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I am very pleased with the way my photos have come out, the colours are wonderful and i am pleased with myself for having the knowledge, experience and remembering it, putting it all together and actually coming away with 30+ usable images. I wonder what the guy who was stood by me with his camera, tripod and very long lens got, i used my kit lens for all of my shots and have only had to crop one image and that was because of an adjustment in camera raw’s lens correction. I wonder if with modern technology we have lost the ability to just stand and watch, it seemed that nearly everyone had a phone aimed at the sky, watching through a screen what was taking place in front of their noses, only the very young, running around and having fun watched first hand what was going on which was a shame. I think it is very important that at times you just stand and watch and record the event in your mind not on a memory card, after all that is how happy memories are made.

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last nights storm

We had a storm a few nights back, well quite a few now and i dragged Chris out to New Brighton because i thought it would be a good idea to photograph the lighthouse during the storm. I wanted to try a night time/twilight photograph with a slow shutter speed to get the smooth action of the waves around the lighthouse. It rained and the wind howled and i found it very difficult keeping the camera, which was on a tripod, still. I only got a few shots in before it became too wild and we retreated back to the car. This is the best of the lot.perch lighthouse in last nights storm
I also had a few mistakes and this is the one i liked the best.
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Oh the trauma!

Once upon a time i was content with a book then we entered into the computer age. I was content to read, well anything really. Now it doesn’t seem right if i haven’t been on some kind of computer gizmo during the day. So when my laptop went blue screen imagine how it felt. Empty hands, still fingers, inactive mind, blank stares. Three whole days without facebook, twitter, wordpress, photoshop! I had managed to steal some time on Saturday, last weekend, and fought my way down the promenade in New Brighton to take photos of the spectacular tide and then there was no laptop to process them, oh the trauma! Now however my laptop is back, working so much better, damn you McAfee, all i need know is time. Time to download, process and fall in love with my new photographs. As soon as i have you will be the first to see, until then, well, they are a well kept secret. ūüėČ

What makes an image?

A good question. Does it mean, what is in the image, who took it, what did they take the image with, how did they process the image or how did they ‘see’ the image?

My secret, ‘shhh’ is that i ‘see’ the image i want to create, only in my head. I think it stems from art college and being told to ‘see’ the image i wanted to either draw or paint. So this means i have to travel around the Wirral, where i live, trying to ‘find’ my image. Once it is ‘found’ i then set about recreating the image from my mind and i may do this by ‘bracketing’ my exposures and using photomatix to merge the images or waiting for the ‘right’ kind of weather conditions. There may be a bit of post production using photoshop, or not. I use a Nikon D3100, so i manually bracket the exposures, occasionally i may get a good image with my phone camera, they do go through photoshop as they are generally either over or under exposed.

I feel sometimes that unless you are a ‘name’ then it¬†doesn’t¬†matter how good your images are and its a kind of snobbery, if you¬†haven’t¬†had the exposure and your name¬†isn’t¬†known then no one will take a chance and say ‘ well hey, actually this image is pretty good!’ This is a shame as there are plenty of unknown’s out there waiting to make their ‘name,’ its such a slow process.

Here are two images of the same lighthouse, can you tell which is the bracketed image and which not?

Image

Image

I want to be able to recreate the image my eye see’s rather than just a flat replica of what is in front of me, so i have been experimenting with what makes an image and i have decided that i ‘like’ the end result of ‘bracketing’ exposure’s and combining the images. The images seem more alive, they have more depth, so for me, at the moment, what makes an image? is best answered as ‘being able to see the image, using exposure bracketing and then combining the images together with photomatix and a little bit of photoshop too.’ ¬†It’s a bit more complicated than just point and shoot but i think it is so worth my while. I just wish people would buy my work!

If you are interested in bracketing exposures and how it works, this is a great article.                       http://www.thephotoargus.com/101/how-to-use-bracketing-in-your-photography/

A chance find on youtube and Photomatix Pro is my new toy.

On Monday i dragged my poor husband Chris (clawfish) down to New Brighton. Why? Because we had the most fantastic high tide at mid day combined with high winds, sunshine and beautiful cloudy sky’s. ¬†I have recently stumbled upon a youtube video of a guy teaching a group of¬†photographers how to make HDR photos in Photomatix Pro. I have been using photoshop and the HDR tool in that program, however i was not getting the results that i wanted. ¬†I wanted outstanding images, i know you need great images to start with and i knew i could get those but how would i get the finished image that i craved. And then along comes BHphotovideopro and shows me in a short video what i needed to do. ¬† ¬†¬†So taking my poor husband, my Nikon D3100, which i have just discovered does not take bracketed exposures :(, and my tripod we headed off down to Fort Perch lighthouse knowing we would come home with some great images. What we didnt realise was that we would also come home covered in sand, froth from the water and with totally windswept hair.(Well me not Chris, he is a bit follicly challenged, sorry Chris.) ¬†I was so excited to load the pictures onto my laptop. I shot in raw as i believe this is the optimum for your images, opened them in Photoshop Bridge and was really pleased at my results. I chose the three images i needed, loaded them into Photomatix Pro and let it do its thing. A couple of the images came out, well wonky but I¬†got six images that i am so pleased with, i know they need some work in Photoshop but until i figure what to do with them, then they are the best HDR images i own. I have shared them on facebook and twitter and had a lot of views and likes, one thing bothers the hell out of me though, why¬†doesn’t anyone comment on them! How do you learn if no one tells you their opinions on what you produce. I would love to hear what they think and feel i am grown up enough not to be gutted when the idiot tells me he can do better than me, lol. So, if you have a comment, can give me constructive advice, i will appreciate it, give it a go and if it works, great. If you dont like my work tough! Its my style, my take on the genre and really i am the only one who has to be proud of what i produce. ¬†Take a look at the images, feast your eyes on the wonder of New Brighton beach and please, let me know what you think. Thanks. x