Using some of the Avios points I have built up over the past year, I am heading to Stavanger in Norway for a long weekend, the primary aim of which is to photograph the fjords in the area.
The fjords in Southern Norway are much more impressive than those in the North where I spent a few days shooting the Northern Lights recently, as part of a 10 day trip to Scandinavia.
Before any trip, I will have a look through my Lightroom catalogue and see what equipment I used, always trying to take the bare minimum of equipment.
Whilst looking at my images from the last trip, this image caught my attention, but I felt it was a little lacking, so pulled it into Photoshop and ‘had a play’.
I’m no Photoshop guru, preferring to do as much processing in Lightroom as I can, but a few adjustment layers and masks to target specific areas of the image left me with something that I felt was much improved over the original.
I am not holding my breath for the Northern Lights on this next trip, as we are going in the height of summer, but recent auroral activity had the lights showing even in the South of the UK, so I will be keeping an eye on the sky at night anyway.
Here in the UK, we are fortunate enough to have a number of historic and interesting properties, many of which are managed by The National Trust. According to their website, they have 575 places in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, covering the entire country.
Places to visit range from parks and woodlands to castles and historic homes, such as Chartwell, the home of Winston Churchill.
Membership of The National Trust gains you access to all of these, and at £99 for a joint membership, I think this is good value, especially when you consider it also allows you free parking at most of the places they manage.
For those with an interest in photography, these places are a rich vein of subject material, well tended gardens, stately homes and managed open spaces all provide superb places to go for a few hours (or longer) either by yourself or with the family, and spend some time enjoying the heritage and history of the UK, whilst giving ample opportunities for creating images.
To my mind, putting yourself in the right location is more important than making sure you have every lens possible, combined with every filter ever made, just to cover every situation that ‘might’ happen. If you can create the situation, you can get the image with much less gear and effort.
My first hard drive failure occurred this week and was, as is to be expected, quite unexpected.
It wasn’t even a total failure – I was skimming through my Lightroom catalogue to find an image, and noticed some coloured banding showing on images.
Naturally, I was a little concerned, so I clicked through to explorer and opened the NEF (raw) file directly using Photoshop, and the banding was still there.
This ruled out a corrupt Lightroom catalogue, and as it only affected images in 1 folder, I can only assume it is a bad sector. Unfortunately I have no idea when this occurred, so have copied the corrupt file to both of my backup drives.
At this point in time, there is seemingly nothing I can do, so I just have to accept the loss of 14 files. Thankfully none of these files were part of my better work.
I have stopped using the drive, and a replacement is already on order from Amazon.
In the meantime, I have reviewed my backup software and from now on will accept the slower backup but greater security given by data validation.
I am thankful that only a few fairly unimportant images were lost, as I have now been forced into a thorough review of my backup procedures.
As ever, I am open to suggestions for ways to improve the backup process – such as what software are you using?
On the 10th of May, 2015, I went to the Cowpie Country Show, camera in hand, as the opportunity to capture some images of farm animals, old machinery, and the farmers and workers was too good to miss.
Unfortunately, I was bitterly disappointed with the show – the entry cost was high, the turnout low and the number of animals laughable.
There were more burger vans than farm shop stalls, so my hope of getting some decent cheeses and pies was misplaced.
The whole thing left me quite disappointed, and really dented my enthusiasm for photography that day.
After barely 2 hours, I left, feeling bereft of inspiration.
So, why the post?
It’s not just to have a moan, it’s about creating opportunities.
I create images because I enjoy it, and it gives me the opportunity (some would say excuse!) to go to some stunning locations. Unfortunately, my photography cannot all take place in exotic locations, so it is important to make the most of any opportunities closer to home.
Shows and festivals provide an opportunity to shoot several subjects in a relatively compact place, and in a short space of time, so I try to attend when I can. I will not be going back to the Cowpie however.
Thankfully, there is always the National Trust to fall back on, with their collection of over 500 buildings and managed open spaces, which will be the subject of a future post.
According to the font of all internet knowledge, Wikipedia, abstracts are “a visual language of shape, form, colour and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world”.
They can be a get out of jail free card, when your chosen subject/situation fails. However, I feel the abstract is much maligned, and should be treated as a subject in it’s own right.
Below are 2 abstracts, one of which was planned, the other was more spontaneous.
I went out to shoot bluebells, however I was around a week early, so didn’t get the full carpet of blue I was hoping for – The Bluebells are nearly ready
Wandering around Nymans wood, I came across some trees that looked just right for playing with vertical blur – reasonably straight, reasonably close together, and not very well lit.
Out of the 30 or so exposures, only this one came out to my satisfaction.
Whilst it still shows woodland, it is abstract enough to make one look closely at the image as it is not immediately apparent.
This was a planned shot, I had seen this subject on a previous dive, and the underwater photography group I was a member of had ‘Patterns’ as a theme in an upcoming monthly competition, so when we revisited the site I did so equipped to take this image.
The spiralling patterns and appearance of feathers are actually from a tube worm, a filter feeder found in oceans all over the world.
By shooting close up and parallel to the radiola (feeding arms) there is little to show it is a tube worm, and unless one is a diver or biologist, it is not apparent what the subject actually is.
I placed 3rd in that months competition.