Wanderings with Chris…… a mad dash down to the beach

Driving back from Birkenhead on Tuesday evening i turned to my husband, my partner in crime and coo’d over another beautiful sunset. With a weary sigh i wished i had the energy to get my camera and go down to West Kirby and take photos of the beautiful sunset that was in front of us.
I haven’t taken any sunset photographs in over 12 months, we live in a delightful coastal town and the sunsets are glorious so you can get a bit sunset’ed out and i had made the decision not to take anymore pictures for at least a year.
We have had some lovely weather over Easter and i had watched some glorious colours in the evening sky’s and this evening i finally gave in and made my mind up to drag my camera down to the beach.
We got home, i grabbed my bag and we dashed off to West Kirby beach, a mere 3 minutes away and as i had an idea for my photographs we set off at a trot or as much of a trot that you can manage with a leg that doesn’t work properly, to where i wanted to be. Have you noticed how quickly the sun sets when you have a sore leg, are walking on sand and have to walk far enough to get your shot? I didn’t think i was going to be in time but i was! I collapsed onto the sand, luckily in the correct direction to make the shot and as happens sometimes my first shot was the best.

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I wanted something different from the usual ball of colour and scarlet sky so i concentrated on the spartina grass and kept the colour well in the background, i think it works really well and out of the five photos i thought the best i just love the very first i took. What do you think?

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Adding a little something extra to your photos….

I have found a really cool website quite by accident when i was looking for ways to add depth to the colour in my photos. I had gone out to Eastham with Chris to photograph autumn colours and i didnt use a polarizing filter. The website below had a tutorial which worked really well and i also had a go at the cross processing too.
http://www.bernskiold.com/2011/07/22/mimicking-polarizing-filter-effect-photoshop/#more-3172
http://www.bernskiold.com/2011/07/06/faking-cross-processing-photoshop/#more-3144
Here are a few samples of the cross processing, it was fun!

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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.
DSC_4632

Can’t sleep………………………………………………..

I can’t sleep. ¬†Not quite an unusual occurrence as it may seem. My daughter brought it on tonight, she is 11 years old and has hit puberty with a wallop, i don’t like her at the moment sad to say, she is nasty, foul mouthed, contrary, if i say it’s black she say’s it’s white, parents every where will understand. She also has problems sleeping, it all stems from her having to sleep in our room until she was 6, our house is on the small side, 3 adults and 3 kids and only 3 bedrooms, until we went up into the loft. The boys are up there and she now has the box room, read ‘cant swing a cat room’ and she has tried! I think she misses the company, tonight she went to bed at 9pm and was still not settled at 11.30 so now i can’t sleep because of worrying about her, it’s school next week, big school, that doesn’t help. I worry she is going to be sleep deprived in senior school like she was all through year 6, it affects her work and now she is going into serious study she needs her whits about her, it’s not time to be messing up, so i worry and i cant sleep. I have fibromyalgia and one of the awful components to it, for me, is not having the greatest sleep patterns, so i have to be careful of stress at bedtime, so tonight i cant sleep. I am stressed because my mum has cancer, my aunt has just passed away, my husband is not well, my kids are, well kids, so i cant sleep. Grrrrrrr it’s 3.40am and i cant sleep! So, i write. ………….. I went for a ‘wander with Chris’ on Tuesday evening, we went down to the beach and had a walk around the marine lake, well a bit of it as i got cold. We went so i could take some photo’s of the sunset, we have great sunset’s here, legendary, and Tuesday’s was golden!

Funny how a good sunset bring’s out the photographer’s, i want to consider myself a promising and talented photographer, i think i am right in saying it, I’ve sold stuff, been in magazines etc and i have put together quite a good kit and know how to use it ūüôā and when i go out, camera slung around my neck, i laugh like a loon inside as i walk around, past other camera slung people and we are all trying hard not to scope each others kit out, is their’s better than mine, look mine is more sophisticated, wish my lens was that big and you can see them out of the corner of your eye doing the same to you as they walk nonchalantly past you. I’d love to see what their photo’s look like, are they better or worse? Who know’s because no one ever stop’s to chat, they just scuttle on past with a quick glance to make sure their camera is better than your’s. sigh………………… Wednesday Chris and i wandered over to Hilbre Island, i haven’t been there in year’s, it was a killer walk it really hurt but it was worth the pain,

i am processing the photo’s and i think i have some good one’s, one’s that please me, finger’s crossed. So really i should be able to sleep, now i can guarantee i will loose half the day catching up, vicious is this circle.

Wanderings with Chris………….Wilson Trophy 2013

Having been really busy all week Chris and I escaped the family and wandered down to a local park in West Kirby, Ashton Park,  http://www.ashtonpark.btck.co.uk/History/AfullerHistoryofAshtonPark    as i wanted to try out  my new camera.

I have exchanged my Nikon D3100 for a Nikon D7000 and i am really excited about using it, there are lots of new buttons to learn ūüôā and remember. This camera does trip me up though as i keep forgeting to put back the memory card as it doesnt tell you that there is no card in the slot ūüė¶ and i took some lovely photos the other night of the sunset without a memory card, luckily the following evening was a similar sunset, this time with a memory card!

racing the sunset 70dpi

Anyway getting back to our wanderings, we wandered down to the park on a lovely sunny day. I took some photos of the trees, then we wandered down to the lake and i took some photos of the birds and while we were chatting to a waitress at the coffee bar she let slip that it was the Wilson Trophy on Marine Lake.  Last year we had stumbled upon the race and i had taken some great photos with a Nikon D60 that i had borrowed, this year i had my own camera and a 55-200mm lens which did the job nicely.  We have had ideal conditions for the racing this weekend and there were plenty of nail biting moments. Wessex Exempt won the trophy, well done Ben Ainslie and his team.   http://www.wksc.net/wilsontrophy/

Wanderings with Chris. Hesketh Bank

Hesketh Bank, hmmmmm, not really one of the places we would go back to unfortunately. An agricultural village north east of Southport, its flat, its farm land, its a steam railway and it has this amazing bank of, well, mud which runs along side the tidal river.

The West Lancashire Coastal Plain is a large area in the south west of Lancashire, England. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Lancashire_Coastal_Plain)

The plain stretches from the Rimrose Valley in Seaforth, near Liverpool on the Mersey, to the south, to Preston on the Ribble, to the north. To the east, the plain is bounded by the foothills of the Pennines, while the western edge of the plain is separated from the sea by sand dunes. It is very flat, and much of it is only a few metres above sea level. The terrain is mostly glacial in origin. The area has been inhabited since neolithic times, though large areas would have been marshy.

The day we were there was lovely and sunny though there was a very cold wind coming down the river, we met a handful of walkers, some fishermen and lots of sheep and birds. There¬†wasn’t¬†really a lot to see, just field and water. I did my best with what was around but we will have to mark this one up as a learning experience,¬†disappointing¬†in the least.

Talacre Beach

As i mentioned in the previous post Chris and I like to get out at least once a week. On our recent adventures we went to Talacre beach. ¬†If you look hard enough you can see the beach from West Kirby and the lighthouse at the Point of Ayr and i had made it a point to remember that the lighthouse was one i wanted to add to my collection. When we arrived in Talacre it was such a lovely day, the tide was just going out and after a tramp through some¬†disgusting¬†mud and wet sand we made it to the beach. Standing on the sand dunes and looking across to the lighthouse i could just see where i wanted to be to take my photographs but oh, someone was already there, lying right where i wanted to lie. Being told to ‘budge over’ by a strange female is not usually something that happens i’m sure but that’s what i said to Mike Hardisty and very kindly, he did! He even lent me his tarp to lie on while i took my photographs and while i was snapping away Chris was busy chatting to Mike, finding out if he was on flickr¬†http://www.flickr.com/photos/deeferthedog or if he had a blog¬†http://mikehardisty.wordpress.com/ I got some great shots and i think i am going to have to pay a return visit as i am sure there are so many other photographs waiting for me to take them.

_DSC0187_tonemapped _DSC0184_tonemapped tree branch on the beach2 talacer lighthouse and path talacer lighthouse and path3 talacer lighthouse

 

http://bit.ly/Xzf590 This is a great site with information regarding the lighthouse which was originally built in 1777 and was bought by James McAllister in 1983. James has taken the time to restore the lighthouse and if you walk right up to it you can see a steel man sculpture right up at the top by the light.

 

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