Wanderings with Chris……. down the road to the nature reserve

I think this is the first wanderings with Chris post of the year, we haven’t been out very much because of ill health and commitments but it was a beautiful spring day, the sun was shining and we just had to get out of the house and go for a walk. For the past few years i have been battling with Fibromyalgia and arthritis in my hip and knee so walking is very painful and slow and Chris has had problems with his legs too so our walk down to the nature reserve was slow! Just before we went in through the gate we stopped for a look out over the fields towards Greasby and there posing majestically in the pond was a Grey Heron. Major excitement! I managed to get 20 or so shots before it flew off to the other side of the pond, i’m not convinced that they are totally in focus as i didn’t have time to use my tripod but what a beautiful bird!
The nature reserve is actually reclaimed land, back in the distant past when i was a child it was actually the local refuse tip and over time a dip developed which filled with water. I can remember during one winter taking our dog down and walking out onto the ice that had formed on the pond, looking back we are really lucky the ice didn’t break under us. When the council decided that the refuse tip was ‘full’ they landscaped and a group of local families asked the council if they could turn it into a Nature reserve. After a great deal of time and hard work they dug out the pond, planted trees and rushes, added an island in the middle and soon after the wildlife flocked to it. It’s even stocked with fish.
We had a slow walk around the pond and i managed to take quite a few photos, there was lots of blossom and spring flowers and ducks, geese etc, i can’t wait for the babies to appear, cute little chicks to photograph and be chased away from ūüôā We have a couple of buzzards which i would love to photograph but i don’t know where they roost and they fly way to high for me to successfully photograph. We had a lovely walk and on the way home bumped into a lovely lady called Diane and her horse Aztec, Diane let me take some photos of her with Aztec, i hope she likes them. Hopefully with the nice weather over the coming weeks we will get out more, with or without children, i cant wait to see where our adventures take us next.

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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.
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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/

Dyserth Waterfall

I mentioned to Chris that i  had the urge to photograph a waterfall,  i think it was because i wanted to experiment with moving water and how it would be affected when i used different techniques like filters and long exposures. I asked Chris to find me one within a short drive and he came up with Dyserth in Wales. Never heard of it i hear you shout, well me neither. I think it has something to do with the A55 and by passing places to get to who knows where. Anyway, we went. Surprisingly the waterfall is on waterfall road, you cant miss it, you drive down the hill, around the bend and bam there it is. Its only little, a trickle compared to some, about 70 feet high so it does rumble a bit. We went on a lovely sunny day, it had snowed the previous day but there was not very much on the ground though it was wet under foot, read muddy. To get to the top of the falls you have to walk up steps between two walls, i had thought it had recently been built that way but it looks like it was built for a water wheel and there had been a mill there at some point. Anyway after walking to the top we wandered around a bit, found the river, more stream really, i took a whole bunch of photos as it was really lovely and these are some of the photos. I have included an url if you want more information, i hope its of interest to you.

http://www.dyserth.com/html/dyserth_waterfall1.html

top of the fall _DSC0004_7_8_fused

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A walk in the mist with Chris

Opening the curtains to a lovely misty day i decided that i would drag my poor husband out for a walk and a photographic expedition but where to go? I¬†don’t¬†know why but i usually head down to the nearest body of water, must be my¬†fishing¬†family roots, though this day i¬†didn’t¬†want water, i wanted landscape, trees, anything as long as it was land based. So i decided to drag Chris and his sore leg to Thurstaston Hill. It is ¬†a dog walkers heaven so you have to be careful where you walk and there are always people there and we were not¬†disappointed.¬†We only realised later that the children we encountered¬†legitimately¬†had the day off for the voting and not because they were skipping school.¬†Chris is a great writer, very talented and he also likes to take the odd photo, so he wandered around snapping away with the camera on his phone and spouting soppy¬†nonsense¬†as usual. I wandered around looking and i must admit, moaning about the lack of inspiration. ¬†It took a while but eventually i started to ‘see’ and i think i managed to get some nice images. The mist hung around nearly all morning and being so high up when we looked out over the Wirral it was wreathed in mist.

Thurstaston has its own ‘Rock’ in Thors Rock. We had a wander around there, through the trees and heather and wondered at the beautiful vista of ‘The Wirral’. I think i am pleased with my photographs, i like the views over the trees. Its actually looking over to Wales but you cant see past the mist. I hope you like looking at where i live, it really is a beautiful place.

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!

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 ūüėČ

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.