22 May 2011

A hidden gem we’ve walked past many times

I’ve just realised that this is my 100th blog post here – I had intended to mark the occasion with something more in keeping with the milestone, but it’s nearly midnight on a Sunday evening and to be blunt, my imagination and flair has totally deserted me, so apologies that it’s not something more worthy.

Please click on any of the photographs to see a larger view.

Whilst we were away over the Easter period the Fuji bridge camera I had been given for a recent big birthday to use as a walk-around camera when I didn’t want to be weighed down with the bug guns, had developed assorted faults and is currently back with the manufacturer to be looked at, under warranty. There is clearly something amiss with the sensor and a whole collection of small, somewhat intermittent, but increasingly frequent, niggly problems – like it won’t switch off or on, won’t change mode etc. At first I put them down to quirks of the model, but when you lose shots because of them, or get home and find that several frames you took that day were totally out of focus, something really has to be done with it.

The fabulous gardens as Sizergh Castle in the Lake District – I have already published a photograph of this scene from a JPEG file – but having opened up the RAW file and seeing how much better the tonality of it is, as well as how much further detail I have been able to bring out, it has made me question my workflow all over again.

I had been happy with my Easter photos until I opened the ones taken with my DSLR. But considering this camera and lens combination cost about 7 times the amount of my new camera, it jolly well should show it up.

None of the very many photographs I took of this scene with different cameras really did it justice, with the low early evening sun filtering through the spring foliage and warming up the fragrance from the bluebells.

So whilst I’m without it, it has given me the opportunity to work on some photographs I’d taken recently that I hadn’t done anything with yet and to give further thought to some of my concerns over the image files I get from it – and my perpetual quandary since getting it on how best to use it – I’ve never quite been able to get colours right in landscapes (which I think my Easter collection helped me to make decisions) and can’t settle on just working with out of camera JPEG image files, or to do the extra work of using RAW files which give better results, but are more work – and the software provided for doing so is rather clunky to use, somewhat discouraging that approach and the frustration it invariably brings.

Bluebells nestled amongst bright spring green emerging foliage – one of my favourite things.

I was pretty happy with the photographs I took over Easter (largely as JPEGs) until I worked on both some images I took with the much larger and heavier DSLR (which at the time of buying, the cost – with the ultra wide angle lens I like to use – cost about 7 times this other newer camera, so it jolly well should show it up) and also some of the frames I took with the bridge camera in a RAW format and developed into images myself using software – a slightly tedious process, but certainly yielding better results.

So whilst I’ve been tinkering and trying different post-processing settings, which has been a really worthwhile process for me, I found a series of photographs I took before we went away at Easter and had temporarily forgotten about. We moved to this area about 29 years ago when we got married – we commuted to the area for work for 3 months initially, whilst we looked for a house and planned a wedding, moving here properly when we returned from honeymoon.

The area surrounding the reservoir was once farmland with assorted cottages and farms and it’s always fascinating to see the gateposts and walls remaining from such previous occupiers. I wonder how many modern gateposts would withstand the passage of time in this manner

On the moors above us is a reservoir which has a 2Km walk around it and we do this lap very often, having walked it many, many times in those 29 years. And regular readers will know how much I love walking in woodland and how important being amongst trees is for me.

Off to one side is a steep narrow path disappearing into the trees and we only recently set off up that path to see where it took us. I’m actually now pretty cross that we’ve walked past it dozens of times without ever realising that it adds an extra loop into the walk through a most unexpectedly gorgeous wooded area.

It just goes to show that even little gems like that can be right under your nose without you knowing, or appreciating it. I can’t see us missing out that loop many times in future – although I think it might be tricky walking if it’s especially wet or icy – which it often is when we do that walk.

The leaves were just emerging when we were up there in April, but I hope to be back there very soon when I expect that the green will have exploded from what you see in these photographs. I’m really looking forward to it – and to my camera coming home too – I’m sorely missing it.

Turquoise dyed magnesite beads with double coiled antiqued copper. I wanted something with smaller beads to match the large chalk turquoise beads I use in necklaces, for those that prefer a more discreetly-sized earring.

Work-wise this last week I’ve been a good girl and caught up a little on photographing my backlog of finished pieces. I can seemingly make much faster than I can photograph (that’s no doubt more to do with my motivation, making is so much more fun) and list pieces and I find the perpetual backlog really tiresome. But I set myself some deadlines last week and actually met them. I’m hoping to reward myself with some quality bench time to tackle some new ideas this week.