Walking my dog Storm this morning along our usual route, (up the hill through the cemetery and down the hill back home) walking through the cemetery the sun was shining, it was a bit too warm when the sun shone, Storms an Alaskan Malamute after all, just think of that lovely fur coat it surely gets very warm and the breeze blew the scent of the mown grass at us and I was immediately engulfed and taken right back to summer time when I was a school. As it happens my school is actually just across the road from where we walk and I was whisked back to sports day, laying on the field watching my friends race and waiting for my turn, the scent of fruit juice and ice lollies, the roar of little voices and parents shouting on their kids, it was a good memory. My Mum came to mind, coming to sports day in a white pants suit and leaving with small smudgy handprints all over her legs, (white to a sports day, she was looking for trouble!) We stopped for a short time and just breathed in the scent and I took the time to just bathe in the remembering of a good childhood. Is there a scent that takes you back to a happy time?
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.
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?
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 🙂 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.
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.
I also had a few mistakes and this is the one i liked the best.
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 🙂 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.
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.
So we have had the longest day and it is getting darker earlier as we head into winter. Did i get my ultimate autumnal photograph? Well in a word NO! I have looked and looked, there have been some beautiful trees here on the Wirral but they were in totally the wrong places. I would drive along the road and see lovely colour, yellow, gold, brown, red but at the side of a boring road or in someones front garden where it made an uninspiring image. So i will have to be content with the images i have managed to get and wait 12 months for next autumn. I gave it a good shot and tried different places and these are what i think are my best.
There are others i could choose but i like these, especially the leaves. I am now going to turn my camera lens towards Winter images, so bring on the cold, frosty mornings, oh yes and the snow!
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?
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/
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.
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