27 Aug 2018

Tinkering with cameras again – old and new

More varied than any landscape was the landscape in the sky, with islands of gold and silver, peninsulas of apricot and rose against a background of many shades of turquoise and azure. Cecil Beaton

The sky in the top JPEG version was blown and an unpleasant colour. RAW development improved the sky, lifted dark areas and allowed better differentiation between the colours in the landscape.
The sky in the top JPEG version was blown and an unpleasant colour. RAW development improved the sky, lifted dark areas and allowed better differentiation between the colours in the landscape.

I don’t have much to tell you these days, as my husband has been poorly and his treatment and recovery have been a dominating feature in our lives for the moment.  But as I’ve been restricted to home for a while, I have been tinkering with various cameras and images and we managed to get away to the Lake District in June, so I’ll just post a gallery of recent images below.

I posted last time that I’d got a new Panasonic pocket camera and was tinkering with that, but since then, my lovely little DSLR has died and probably can’t be repaired economically, so I’m on the look out for a second hand one eventually, as it was just ideal for me.  In the meantime however, I’ve added a larger bridge camera to my collection and am looking forward to getting to know it soon – I haven’t had opportunity to get out with it yet and frankly, it has largely rained since I got it a week ago.

I have however been playing with some images that I’d not yet published and trying different pieces of RAW image file development.

This evening shot was exposed for the sky, but it still fell a little flat compared to reality and at the expense of the foreground. Everything was improved with some localised adjustments during RAW development.
This evening shot was exposed for the sky, but it still fell a little flat compared to reality and at the expense of the foreground. Everything was improved with some localised adjustments during RAW development.

I hadn’t been happy with the results I was getting, so decided that I’m going to have to pay for a decent piece of software, so have been trying it before I pay for the full version.

I’ve been delighted with the results and some of the images in the gallery are the result of getting a decent image from a shot that initially looked lost.  I do love that process of taking something that looked hopeless at the time of taking – usually because of an extensive dynamic range in the scene – and getting a nice resulting image from it.

I’ve been especially delighted with the results that I’ve been able to get from my pocket camera  Considering that it has a tiny little sensor, it’s astonishing to me that I can retrieve blown cloud and sky areas, as well as lightening deep shadow areas to show hidden details, from under trees and the like.  It’s a bit of a dark art and both a joy and a frustration in equal measure, but I can’t relinquish that overwhelming need to tinker with images.


I’ve published some of these photos larger than I usually do in my blog, so the pop ups when you click to view the images should be pretty much a screenful in your browser.  Some originals are also perhaps a little larger than this (especially the landscapes), so if you want to enjoy more detail, right clicking the image will probably give you the option to open it in a new window or tab.  If hovering over the image with your mouse produces a (+) icon, clicking it may make it larger still.

The photos below are just a selection of images that I’ve taken or worked on recently (hence the mix of seasons shown).  Whilst slightly disjointed as a collection, they do pretty much represent what I like to photograph.

16 Sep 2015

The English Lake District in September

By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.  Helen Hunt Jackson

We have just had a lovely holiday in our favourite spot in the English Lake District. We had pretty decent weather and got to walk out every day.  We had occasional torrential rain, but fortunately, not at any times when it interfered with our plans.  Some of the days were a bit grey and flat, which makes for lacklustre photographs, but we also had some spectacularly beautiful days, with bright sunshine and haze free, clear views, which more than made up for the rest.  Some of the areas we visited looked as fabulous as I’ve ever seen them.

So this post is pretty much just about the photographs, so I’ve set it up as a gallery.  Please click on any of the photographs to see a larger view.  I’m trying a new gallery feature for such image-heavy posts, so the images all open in a simple pop-up ‘lightbox’.  If you want to view them all in sequence, simply start with the first one and scroll through them using the left/right arrows at the edges.  I have set it to display the images at random, so if you refresh the page, they will appear in a different order.

There are captions with the photographs that explain where they were taken etc.  The lightbox re-sizes to a proportion of your browser window, so if you want to see them larger, go to full screen and they’ll possibly increase in size, especially the portrait images.

Lake District Panoramas:

Some of the vistas in beautiful places like this are very hard to do justice in a mere photograph, so I love creating panoramas by stitching together multiple individual and overlapping photographs to make a single very wide view.  This requires the individual frames to be taken very carefully, with everything set manually (including focus and white balance), so details don’t change from one frame to the next to get a consistent join. If you’re interested in creating your own panos, I wrote a tutorial some years ago about my own technique, which is still pretty much how I do them now.

I note with each one how many frames form each image.  The original master images are all in excess of 50 megapixels.  In this gallery, they’ll open at the width of your browser window, even though they’re actually larger than you’re likely to see them, but if you want to see more details, there are links below to even larger versions which will allow you to scroll around the image to see more, as you’ll be seeing the image in the browser at exactly the size I uploaded it.

Larger versions:

If, like me, you like looking at the details in large panoramas, I’ve also uploaded a bigger version of each image too – I’ve put them separately so that they don’t load unless you click the links, in case you’re on restricted data.  They’re all in the region of 2.5 megapixels and around 3000 pixels on the long side and around a megabyte in data size, so they will take a moment or two to load. They’re in the same order as posted in the gallery above.  Depending on your browser and settings, they may well load initially at a reduced size to fit the window, but can probably be clicked or swiped to enlarge and allow you to scroll to view it all.

26 Mar 2012

Maybe that was summer?

Here in the UK we’ve just had an unseasonably early warm spell – wall to wall sunshine with lovely warm temperatures and the summery feel was further enhanced by the start of British Summer Time when the clocks are put forward, giving us longer evenings in which to enjoy it all.

It does tend to lull you into thinking that summer has actually arrived, but the ice on the car this morning soon put that idea to bed. But it did present an ideal opportunity to make a start on my post-winter tidy of the garden and start preparing it for summer and we took the opportunity yesterday to take a proper day off and escape to the Lake District for a day in one of our most favourite places.

Please click on any of the photographs for a larger view.

I love this particular spot, the lighting is always lovely as the path meanders through the trees, but it’s hard to do it justice; sometime you just have to be there.

We usually spend a long week over the Easter period up there and always very much look forward to it through the winter months, but this year we’re having to fore-go it for a variety of reasons; but largely because my husband has to undergo surgery shortly and they’ve scheduled him for next week, just before the Easter bank holiday weekend.

The sun was rather hazy initially as the early morning mist burnt off the sky, but through the trees that did give everything a lovely glow.

In order to minimise the time off work at a busy time of year and to protect his regular salary, we’ve decided that taking some of his recovery period from his holiday allowance is a better use of the time on this particular, unusual, occasion.

So, mindful of not being mobile for some time and not getting such an opportunity again for a few weeks and the really glowing weather forecast, we set our alarms early on Sunday morning, packed a picnic and headed to one of our favourite spots along Thirlmere near Keswick. The roads were decently busy on the way up and we expected a lot of other people to have had the same idea and thought it might possibly be busy, but we pretty much had that particular place to ourselves. In fact, we didn’t pass another soul on our favourite lake-shore walk – we usually pass at least a couple of local dog-walkers, who love that spot as much as we do.

As the afternoon drew on, the light had a fabulous golden golden glow.

So, it couldn’t really have been much better for us. If I’m really picky, the sunshine was hazier than it had been the day before when we worked in the garden and the modest spring cold I have was seemingly further irritated by tree pollen, but on balance, it was a pretty fabulous day. We did all of our favourite things – walked amongst trees, listening to the birds, took a few photos, ate a good lunch sat outside in sunshine, snoozed a little, read a little, walked some more, ate some more and headed home to a great nights sleep after all that fresh air. For me, life doesn’t get much better.

The day had started with a decent breeze, but by early evening, it had either dropped or changed direction and Thirlmere was beautifully calm and the reflections were quite fabulous.

Further work with Copper Clay this week:

I’m really enjoying my continuing tinkering with copper clay this week – it has been a steep learning curve and it is evident that my tried and tested routines and methods with copper sheet and wire will need some revision when using the clay for components, but it does add a lot of new facets to what I can achieve and opens up a whole host of ideas to try – like my mind doesn’t already overflow with more ideas than I have time to make reality.

Copper clay flat ‘button’ beads given an uneven shape and a light imprint of a flower design, double wrapped on a balled headpin.
5 Mar 2011

Fresh air, peace and quiet – just how we like it!

As regular readers will know, I am totally besotted with the English Lake District and spend as much time there as bank balances and work schedules will allow. We weren’t expecting to spend any time there until our regular Easter holiday but a lovely opportunity to do some photography work up there, as a return favour I owed someone, came out of the blue and at short notice, but it didn’t take much effort for me to be persuaded.

Between the work I had to do we did manage some quality time in some of our favourite places and that was a real bonus. The weather was decent enough for February too, so we managed a couple of nice walks and to gawp into our favourite patches of trees. It was incredibly quiet – just how we like it – and we haven’t had a winter break up there for some time and it was different to see it with bare trees, we saw all sorts of things normally obscured by foliage that we’ve not spotted before. I’ve had a run of health issues recently and the fresh air, peace and exercise did me a world of good and despite the work I still need to do finishing the project, was very well worth doing.

I’ll just leave you with the odd assortment of distinctly average photos I took over the weekend. If anyone sees my photography mojo, will they please pop a stamp on it and drop it in a letterbox back to me – I’d really rather like it back. I’m not even sure where I had it last.

Please click on any of the photographs for a larger view.

One of our favourite walks along Windermere starts along the lake side. There was a sailing race taking place at the time – I couldn’t fathom what was going on – it looked incredibly confusing, but looked like a perfect day for it with the colourful spinnakers billowing.

I hope that they know where they’re going!

Once the race had finished it went very quiet on the lake. All you could hear was birds and the occasional creaking tree in the breeze. I always kick through the leaf and timber detritus at the water edge and this is where I get most of my driftwood pieces as photography props and I picked up a beauty. I always carry a tie handle plastic bag with me for collecting such ‘treasures’.

It’s a relatively recent practice in managed woodlands to allow fallen trees to stay where they fall (unless there is a safety hazard) and for the natural ecology of the woodland to take over. I love to see how many things take up residence on logs like this. It becomes a fascinating little world all of its own.

I love the abstract design and textures of fungi, mosses and lichens, they’re worth getting a close look at them, they’re often complex and fascinating structures.

It was a bit muddy underfoot, but with the peace, sunlight through the trees, lack of people and abundant fresh air, it was just about perfect.

This photograph was somewhat about ‘the one that got away’ – it had been preceded a few minutes earlier by a passing over of the incredibly fast, loud and flying vertically on its wing-tips, Typhoon Euro-fighter – I’ve seen them in this spot over Thirlmere many times, but by the time you hear them, they’re almost out of sight. It was so loud Mr Boo actually swerved the car and we both ducked, although I have no idea why instinct should make you think that would help in the circumstances. Thankfully, this transport helicopter a few minutes later was going at a slightly more sedate pace. What a fabulous way to visit the Lakes. I stuck out my thumb but they weren’t for stopping. Note the heat from the exhausts blurring the trees behind.

The last dying colours as the sun sets behind Thirlmere

I love the colours of beech woodland; at any time of year.

We woke on Tuesday to a perfect clear deep blue sky and deep frost. As some of the work I had to do included exterior shots, I got out early to do them while the sky was so perfect and the undisturbed foliage where the sun hadn’t yet reached was dusted with delicate ice crystals – even the hairs on the stalks are frosty.