Musings of a Photographer - Oct 2015
29th October 2015
Planning a Photography Shoot
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Summers nearly finished...
21st August 2013
....but Autumns nearly here and thats what us landscape photographers like - lots of colour and not mainly green.
Been really busy the last few months - finally made a photographic trip to Scotland - Lochinver in Sutherland - a really long way north and singularly lacking in cars or much else for that matter but thats just what I wanted although with Denise ill and me with a sprained ankle for part of the time our activities were curtailed a little. Tiny place Lochinver but it had two Michelin starred restaurants and an award winning pie shop !!
Photography was very good but it took me a few days to acclimatise - so many locations to photograph - concentrated on Lochinver, Achmelvich beach Loch Assynt and a few other smaller lochans plus a visit to Stoer lighthouse

I also attended a lighting course as I'm quite keen to get into portraiture - there will be a section with samples soon but its hard to find models for practice - even the family are reluctant. I've bought most of the equipment needed - now just need to practice.

I've also become a member of David Noton's F11 club which gives you access to tutorials and other information - he gave a very good one on panoramas - like this

Really getting into this - the images are huge with the D800 but absolutely fantastic when you get it right.

I've now got the necessary number of 'likes' on my Facebook page to get feedback on who and when my images are looked at - fascinating stuff - would like more likes though and it would be nice if my increasing numbers of visitors would be so kind as to leave a comment in my Guestbook - it would be so appreciated.
Went on our first ever cruise - to Norway - tricky photographically (no early mornings or late evenings off the ship) but we did have a great time.
Also completed the Cumbria Way in May with some old friends from NFU Mutual - hard work but loads of fun and I'm working on a photo book of the trip.
My last trip with the camera was a dawn shoot at Curbar Edge in the Peak District - 2 hours of fantastic light - like this-

Hoping to go back later this week if the forecast looks ok.
Facebook Page
11th April 2013
I've created a new Facebook photography page - just use the link at the bottom of the page to get there!
Grey Sky.....
08th April 2013
....don't you just hate it - for a photographer there's no drama, no interest and little colour and I hate them and we've had an awful lot just lately.
Still there has been the odd good day albeit very cold still - not much sign of spring yet though.

Still had some interesting trips though - I've been trying to concentrate on more local locations - hence visits to the Forest of Bowland, the coast around Morecambe, Heysham and Hest Bank as well as my usual places like Silverdale. The trick is to try and show a familiar location in new light and thats the really difficult bit although the more visits you make to a location the more photo viewpoints you spot!

I also went to Wastwater for a full day staying for sunset which was absolutely freezing. Whilst there I met another photographer who had just got his new Canon 650D and admitted to being absolutely terrified of it - he was afraid if he altered anything he would not know how to put it back. I gave him quite a bit of help over the next hour or so but I realised how much I have actually learnt over the last 3 years of serious photography - from studying other photographers to workshops with Dennis Bromage, from Ephotozine - the online photo community to 500px and 1x - where the level is a bit more rareified, but also to the improvements in the level of kit I use.

I have been considering trying to sell some of my photos - probably at craft fairs to recoup some of the expenditure - need to think it through though before I take the plunge. So if the taxman is reading this I don't sell any yet!

I've a trip planned up to Scotland - Lochinver in Sutherland and I'm really looking forward to that - my only issues are the weather of course and the number of memory cards I'll need to take.

As we roll on into summer the dawn starts become even earlier but at least its not as cold so hopefully the exposure count will continue to rise.
2013 and about time....
05th February 2013
....I updated this blog. I don't get many hits on this website at present but it pays to be patient( people keep telling me!)
The weather has been very up and down (photographically speaking) and some planned shoots just didn't work - due to the forecast being wrong or the conditions not quite right. At those times I tend to experiment with camera settings, try different compositions etc. I really must make an effort this year to be bolder with my photography.
One area I have wanted to get into is portraits so one of my Christmas presents was a location lighting course with Studio Sphere in Nelson - thats coming up in April so hopefully there will be some images to check out after that!
I also want to spend more time shooting in Lancashire and the North West - its my home area but I've tended to speed up to the Lakes more often than not. Some of my latest images are of Silverdale - I love that place - not many other people venture there apart from dog walkers so I often have it to myself.
I've also worked on a Facebook page and tried to keep it updated with new work - although I am a bit supicious of their terms and conditions which remove some of our rights as photographers.
I'm going to revisit some locations with the D800 and update some of my images and as my photoshop/lightroom skills improve I'll improve some of my existing images.
All in all should be a busy year.
D800 - A big Step Forward
05th October 2012
Have now had the camera for 6 weeks and have got used to most settings (at least as far as landscapes are concerned!)
I was a bit concerned about the diffraction issues which stops use of small apertures if you want really sharp images - I think its overblown actually - I've taken images at F16 and printed at A3+ and can barely see the difference. Time to stop worrying and take more photos I think.
I've uploaded some recent images from the Lake District - we're coming into autumn now and the colours will be fantastic so I'm making sure I go up there regularly.
Its been very wet recently though so some of my favourite places are under water, impossibly boggy or the rocky foregrounds that I like to use have just been submerged under water.
I'm going to try some greetings cards this Christmas - just have to find a paper supplier first.
New Camera
23rd August 2012
After months of deliberating I have finally taken the plunge and bought a new Nikon D800.
Very expensive, very heavy and quite a stretch photographically but I already love the camera. Photographers will know that its a full frame camera (meaning its similar in sensor size to the old 35mm film negative)
Its going to take me a few months to get used to this new beast - a lot more to learn and I'm sure a few mistakes to make!
The first images from the camera are now in the latest Images section of my gallery.
Lighthouses and Boats
26th June 2012
What with evrything going on - football, holidays etc not been out as often as I would like but had two really good albeit different trips out with the camera. Penmon Point in Anglesey has been well photographed but not by me so I went on a beautiful June afternoon - the sun even shone and it was warm too. Plenty of photo opportunities here - the rocks and lighthouse of course but also cliffs (albeit a little small!) and wild flowers growing in and around the rocks. Not much cloud interest but some fantastic light and as always I left too early - the twilight was almost surreal but regretfully I only saw it from the car!
Another place I have visited before but not with the camera at the right time is Sunderland Point near Heysham. Its a small place but was once a thriving port - it can only be reached at low tide via a causeway and if you leave it too late you could be stuck for hours. There are plenty of boats in the estuary along with rocks and pools. Lots of flowers around but as always on this coast when the tide goes out it goes a long way!
I've placed shots from both places in the 'Latest Images' portfolio - if you do like what you see please leave a message - it makes me feel better and feeds my ego!!
Heysham Shipwreck
20th March 2012
Went up to Heysham last week to shoot late afternoon light on the rocks and then to take a sunset. I had been reading Pete Bridgwood's article in Outdoor Photography about achieving perfect composition and thought I would try a few things out. I've never quite been with the 'shoot to the right' brigade as the image just doesn't look right in camera but heh who am I to argue with Pete Bridgwood!
Whilst wandering around the rocks on the foreshore I spotted what looked like a wrecked ship at the waters edge - I wandered over carefully as there are quicksands around here and took a few shots of the wreck - its in three main pieces but the timbers are in surprisingly good condition as it was sunk in 1903. After some research when I got home turns out the ship was the 'Vanadis' which had a bit of a chequered career and was finally sunk in heavy seas in 1903 - all the crew were saved and the wreck actually sank into the sand for many years to emerge in the mid-1990's. The timbers are now covered in barnacles/mussels but makes for a very interesting subject.
Although Heysham and surrounding area is not far from my home I don't know it very well so it will be one I'll come back to over the next few months.
I've uploaded a few images of the wreck and that nights sunset.
New North Wales Portfolio
17th February 2012
New North Wales portfolio is now active - I know there are only images of one location but heh - had to start somewhere. Hope to add to this area in the coming months.
Peak District Re-visited
12th January 2012
Finally got out with the camera and after checking the weather forecast found that there was likely to be good weather in the Peak District. There was but it was very very windy making picture-taking very hazardous - the tripod almost went over a couple of times but the biggest problem was holding it steady so that the images stayed crisp and sharp.
I had just read an article by Pete Bridgwood about ensuring images were always sharp using hyperfocal focussing and infinity focussing - a new one on me! I always use hyperfocal focussing for my landscapes but its handy to have a brush-up on technique although the conditions were not perfect.
I find it difficult with my Sigma 10-20mm anyway as the live view image is not always clear - not like the Nikon 24-70mm which is incredible!
Hope you like the new images - first of them just uploaded.
Winter Arrives
13th December 2011
Had a trip up to the Lakes on Friday - the visits during the summer really pay off at this time of year as you know exactly where to go and what will be safe to get in and out of. I visited Kelly Hall Tarn in August for a dawn shoot - its very close to the road - about 10 mins walk. Found it quite difficult this time to get decent foreground interest as the heavy rain had flattened much of the surrounding vegetation.
I was looking for snow on the distant hills (the Coniston range) and the 'Winters Tarn' shot was exactly what I had planned for. A little more sky interest would have improved it but I think the mainly blue sky adds to the wintry feel.
Derbyshire Visit
02nd December 2011
First photographic visit to Curbar and Baslow Edges in Derbyshire's Peak District. The light just before sunset was incredible and needed toning down a little in processing - the results are in my new Peak Distict portfolio.
Twistleton Landscapes
26th November 2011
Visited Twistleton Scar for the first time last week - what a wonderful place for a photographer! I've posted a few images in the Yorkshire gallery and I'm certainly looking to visit there again quite soon.
Still working on it!
19th November 2011
The site is still a little rudimentary - I'll add images and stats bit by bit over the next few weeks. Still out and about taking photos but the weather has been a little unkind recently. Went out to Silverdale last night - some decent light but I was experimenting with long exposures so don't think there is much I can use.
New Website
12th November 2011
11/11/2011 - well the new website is up and running although it will probably change quite a bit over the next few weeks - I've plenty more images to load yet and one or two may disappear. Would welcome any feedback.