Flamborough lighthouse in the landscape

It was beautiful day as I walked around Flamborough lighthouse around the area known as Flamborough head. There was a strong breeze blowing wonderful cloud formations across the sky. With it being such a lovely day there was a lot of people walking about the area. My idea was not to focus on Flamborough lighthouse but make it part of a landscape shot. I wanted to keep the shot free of people. I took a walk round and found a spot about 100 yards from the lighthouse behind a rough grass mound.

The graduated neutral density filter and set the camera aperture was set to f22. The graduated neutral density was required to balance the exposure the ground and the sky, this gives much better detail in the sky. A big depth of field was required for the shot as everything needed to be in focus from the close grass to the distant clouds. With everything set I then just had to wait for a pleasing cloud formation.

Many variations of the shot were taken but I feel this shot is my preferred shot. All three elements of the shot hold interest. The grass is lovely in its own right. The clouds have a beautiful formation with so much detail. Flamborough lighthouse is only a part of of the image but does hold your interest. The lighthouse almost joins the land and the sky together. A man made structure that blends natures elements.

Hope you like the image and go out and create some images.

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Change of name

I have had a change of name to the blog. Friends had started to call me a tramp who carries a camera so thought this would reflect nicely on my blog. I do tend to jump in the car and go off to wherever, whenever. I do love to travel about so it is a good reflection of me.

Its been a long time since I had visited Cornwall so decided to reacquaint myself with this amazing place. The place didn’t disappoint and the weather was beautiful during the visit. It has a stunning coastline with dramatic cliffs and beautiful beaches, the Atlantic Ocean rolls in and attracts surfers from far and wide. Many walkers go there to walk the south west coastal path in sections.

After a torturous 7 hour drive I finally landed at Lizard point, the southerly most point of the U.K. I pitched the tent, I am determined to have a campervan for next year, I like a few comforts when travelling. I walked down to the south west coastal path and walked towards Kynance bay. The sun was setting so I found a good spot to shoot where I could get the composition that I wanted. There was foreground detail with the rocks and breaking waves.

I put my 2 stop graduated neutral density filter on. This is to equalise the exposure between the sea and the sky. The result is an amazing sky with an amazing variety of colours, shapes and shades. The light that is there is reflected on the sea giving it a little warmth.

Going back to a previous blog about filters. I have settled on a Lee filter system. At the moment it is a bit limited but expandable to my requirements. The quality of them is superb with no colour cast.

Get out there and create some images.

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Blue is the color.

Blue is the color that I want to talk about in this post. Your images should create an emotional feeling to yourself and the viewer.  Different colors have different emotional effects on us. Blue does have some negative emotions, cold, distant, sadness. It also gives some positive emotions, harmony, faithfulness, confidence. By many people blue is regarded as their favorite color which says so much about it as a color.

I am a big believer in having a feel for an image before raising the camera to the eye. See the image and reflect how it feels in your final image. My photoshop skills are basic but I will happily play with the sliders in Lightroom until I get the image to look and feel how I want. Whatever my end image, it must project my feelings of when I took the picture. However your image finishes do not be frightened to be different. No type of art will be universally liked and it should push peoples emotions.

I was walking round the marina at Riva del Gardo whilst on holiday at Lake Garda in Italy when I spotted this shot. It was a calm peaceful scene, which is how I felt at the time. The haze gave the light an overall blue tone and the scene just had that feeling of harmony. I have increased the blue in Lightroom but hopefully kept the original feeling of the image. The jetty and the island give a sense of scale. The angles of the mountains create harmony.

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Fine art photography.

The question of what fine art photography is has no easy answer. There is no universal meaning to what it means and we all have our own view. To my mind it is something that the photographer creates in their mind. The image should be pre-visualized or visualized  when taking the image. Some people will see the image in black and white or sepia or vary the scene in color, it is a personal thing. The image should have some artistic or aesthetic quality to it.

As I have moved more into the world of landscape photography my work has moved more to long exposure photography. The effects that this has on water and clouds really appeals to me and gives me the feeling that I want in my photographs. One person recently commented on my images that they were mysterious and dreamy. Maybe that is a reflection on me and the way I see the world. For all the ugliness in the world I do like to see the beautiful side of it. As people say, I live in my own world most of the time, this is probably correct but its a happier place than the real world.

The image that I have added was taken at Betws Y Coed in Wales. It is taken using my 10 stop neutral density filter to give me a long exposure. The exposure was 30 seconds at f22 with the camera set at 100 ISO. Hopefully it has given that dreamy quality that I like to the image. If you are taking fine art based images then do not be afraid to experiment. Find out what your equipment is capable of, it will allow you more opportunities to be creative. You will be amazed at what some equipment allows you to create. The best advice that I can give is to learn to use your camera in manual and keep an open mind.

 

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Sunrise over Lake Garda.

My new post which is sunrise over Lake Garda in the Italian lakes is really aimed at insomniacs everywhere. I have to admit that I tend to take more sunrise shots than sunsets. The reason for this is I like to be in bed early but up and about early so I have lots of sunrise shots and only take sunsets in autumn and winter when the it gets dark early. There are probably many out there who work the other way round but the advice is the same. With this shot I was waiting for the sun to appear over the mountains and I knew it would glisten on the water.

As with most landscape shots I used f22 for the depth of field. Really what my advice in shots like this is to take notice of the light which you should always do as a photographer. Take notice of what is reflected on the water, there will be more than your eyes can take in, you can pick this up later in post production. Experiment and see how you like the image. Remember that you should be creating an image rather than just recording so make the image something that you like.  Just be wary that the sun isn’t too bright and you damage your eyes looking through the viewfinder. Use your live view facility on your camera the sun is too bright.  As a photographer or artist then train your eyes to see the light.

If you would like a trip to Lake Garda then I can highly recommend it. Not only are there some beautiful places on the lake but the Dolomites, Venice and Verona are only a day trip away.

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In a local park.

You do not have to travel miles to get lovely landscape photographs. The image that I am showing here is from a local park about 3 miles from where I live, it is at Nostell Priory which is owned by the National Trust. It was shot one afternoon on a public holiday, I tend not to travel far on public holidays as the roads are very busy. I went to the park later in the afternoon when I knew the crowds would be dwindling. The light that day was very good so I headed to a part of the park that was fairly quiet. It really is worth getting to know your local area well as you learn when the light will be good and what will look good.

I wanted a gentle stroll so reduced the equipment to just camera and my standard 24 to 85 zoom. The sky was beautiful blue with lovely white clouds. As I walked down to the little pond which is really a drinking pond for cows, I could see that the scene was reflected beautifully in the pond. I usually shoot at 100 iso but but when out just to see what I can come up with the iso is set to 400. The camera was set to f22 for the depth of field, this gave me a shutter speed of 1/2ooth, fine for hand held shots. The tripod is used below 1/60th to be certain to get sharpness in the image.

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Out on the trail.

As I have moved more into landscape photography, I decided I needed to put a little more thought into how I was doing things. Often I am walking solo in very rough terrain, often the trails are strewn with rocks where tripping and breaking a leg or worse is very possible. Often no mobile signal is available so especially as I love photographing waterfalls which tend to be in very inhospitable places. I have decided to put a little more care into the way I was doing things.

The first thing that I have done is purchase a Manfrotto rucksack where the top part is for personal goods and the lower half is for the camera gear. A must is a good tripod carrying facility which this bag does well. I am concentrating on the top half here, first in goes my waterproof coat. I have also purchased a pack of mylar blankets and a safety bivvi bag to put in. In case of emergency these will be invaluable and very cheap to purchase. A few other bits like a torch, a whistle, water and some snacks to eat.

I cannot leave you without an image so as I am talking about safety I have put on a waterfall which made me think about that safety. It is Thomasson Foss at Beck hole in the North Yorkshire moors. The path to it is treacherous with rocks  surrounding the waterfall but the beauty is outstanding and worth the trip.

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Reflections of Fountains abbey.

I am a great lover of reflections, they seem to give an image extra life, though if you know what to look for they are easy to find. Bright sunny days are where they stand out best. The shot that I have put on here is about 100 yards from the abbey so you don’t have to be too close to the thing that you want a reflection of. Sometimes it is a matter of searching out where you will find a good reflection. The problem that I had with this shot was that it was a breezy day creating a ripple on the water. The ripple was spoiling the refection that I wanted so I put a 10 stop neutral density filter on the lens. When using something like this it is better to put the camera in manual, set everything up and work out the exposure then put the filter on the lens. The filter in this case gave me an exposure of 30 seconds at f22, I needed a small aperture to give a lot of depth of field. The effect of the long exposure on the image was to smooth out the water creating a better reflection. Often with filters like this you will get a slight color cast, depends on the image whether you adjust in post processing or keep it in. Also with reflections I often give extra saturation to my images in lightroom to make them stand out more.

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Urban portraits 2.

Rather than in the previous urban portrait which I made high key so reducing the color in post processing, with this one I have saturated the color to emphasize the color in the brickwork. The place is an old railway arch, water has run down the walls to create some amazing colors as a backdrop. A good tip is when you look at color, see what you can do with it rather than always just as it appears.  The clothes chosen were to match in with the backdrop. Saturating the colors in Lightroom also added the emphasis to the girls red hair.

When posing someone in this type of scene, look for something that adds interest to the scene rather than just a straight pose. Urban portraits should be a little edgy not like classical portraits. The great thing about an area like this is that the light is lovely open shade which in nice and soft and allows you to vary things as you require.

To turn your photography from recording an image to art is making a scene your own. Look at the scene and see how you would like it look to look then make it happen. You will find plenty of tutorials on You Tube about working with your RAW files, watch and learn from them.

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Lumb falls in Yorkshire.

Lumb falls in Yorkshire is a little off the beaten track but well worth a visit if you have chance. Basic directions are follow the Keighly road out of Hebden Bridge then take the Haworth old road after about a mile. This is a single track road and you watch for public bridleway sign on your left. There is only room to park 2 cars. A good pair of walking boots are required to walk down the rocky path. You can get to the base of the falls with care if you cross the bridge.

A plaque at the falls shows that the former poet laureate Ted Hughes wrote his poem ‘Six young men’ at the falls. This is a poem about 6 young men in a photograph that went to war and they had all died 6 months later.

It was using my lightweight tripod and the exposure was half a second at f22. The big difficulty with the shot was the extremes in brightness between the shadow areas and the highlights. I did quite a lot of work in lightroom to balance everything out but do hope you think it was worth it.

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