Thursday, 31 May 2012

Sun Gate

Machu Picchu, Peru. Sunrise, after an incredible trek to the Sun Gate to capture this exact moment as the sun greeted the ancient site for another day. Not really a lot to photoblog on about here. This place is amazing... and this photo is nothing to do with my photography skill, but more down to right place, right time. There are a hundred, thousand photos out there exactly like this one no doubt. Only difference is, this one is mine, and I thought it was about time I shared it. Enjoy.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Jam Line

Roller Derby bouting action from Sheffield. Took this while on a course, learning how to photograph this smashy bashy sport. I kinda got lucky with my surroundings as the black backdrop set the scene really well, making it look pretty dramatic. Also the pointy offical with her whistle and everyone looking poised and ready to roller attack made this my favourite shot of the day. Black and white... again adds a little more epicness. This one goes out to my good friends Cookie Cutlass and Caesar Maniac, who although not photographed, have opened up a whole new world of sporting fun to me- thanks you guys! I doubt I will make it to the track to skate alongside them (they are rather good and I can't skate, plus I think I'd just end up broken) however, I hope one day I'll get the chance to capture some cool shots of them, doing the sport they love! Just need to upgrade my kit- poor light and speedy action...Derby is tough to photograph!!  

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Delicate Whites

The arrival of Spring, my friend's garden, Yorkshire. This was taken while spending an afternoon helping out my friend in her garden restoration community project. We actually tackled, grappled, forked and dug a giant Mint monster into submission that afternoon, which had sprawled uncontrollably through a flower bed. This photo however was taken during a 'guided tour' of the developing garden and the surrounds with my Mum. She loves gardens and over the years I have somewhat taken for granted her extensive knowledge of all things leafy, green and growing. I was proud to hear her identifying plants and shrubs at a glance... She would modestly say she doesn't know much, but she knows a lot more than the average garden stroller! This photo is of some spring Blossom. I'm pretty sure on that. I might even go so far as to say it is Cherry Blossom, but I need to consult with my plant encyclopedia (Ma?!). Taken using the Macro setting, allowing a wide aperture to take in the smaller details and blurring out the unecessary background.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Boulder Field

I took a trip to the USA a couple of years ago to experience the awesome landscape and outdoor playground of National Parks in Arizona, Utah and Nevada. I was not disappointed. This challenging, tumbling boulderfield was in Arches National Park, Utah. We hiked most of the day, and then headed back later to catch sundown at the famous Delicate Arch, with beerloaded Camelbaks. Craving an outdoor adventure right now...
In terms of how I took the picture, I wasn't really paying attention- I was having far too much fun! I now look at the camera settings and I'm not quite sure how it still came out with a reasonable shot! 

Monday, 30 January 2012

Beyond Beauty

Lake Tekapo, Mackenzie County, New Zealand. Not really much more to be said here...

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Atlantic Fantastic

Plage Sud- Biscarrosse. Last blog post of the year, and it had to be a photo from here- this place has become like a second home to me. This was taken at my favourite time of day on the beach- early morning, when there are few people around. Every day while staying there, I loved getting up and going for a run along the beach, then back through the town to the boulangerie for a pain au chocolat and a latte, to bring back for my breakfast on the beach while watching the surfers, people fishing and dog walkers. The gentle morning sunlight, glistening waves and warm sand beneath my feet brought a guarenteed great start to the day, improved only by walking back up the dune and through the streets to my sister's house where I was greeted by a giddy tail wagging Charlie, a springy but curious Luna and my smiley happy sister and brother-in-law. Thanks 2011 for bringing me these happy memories- looking forward to many more.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Big Sticks

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a couple of weeks ago. I think this is a Beech tree, a fairly big old one. My favourite thing about this photo is of course the amazing Autumn colours, and the way the sunlight sets the tree alight... but most of all I like the boy in blue to the left of the tree striding out with a big stick in his hand. He could be Max on a Wild Things adventure. To me, this is what being outdoors in Autumn is all about. Big sticks, exploring and adventures. And trees, really big trees (preferably climbable- this one is decidedly unclimbable) with sunshine and leaves and mud. And picnics on a cold bench, where you have to walk super fast to get warm again. And stepping stones across leaf strewn, clogged muddy rivers. And saying close up hellos to shaggy coated horned cows in open woodland eating acorns. And best friends to share adventures with and appreciate all the great things outdoors. And heading home to a giant roast dinner of epic proportions to match the days adventures in a cosy warm house with good company... Autumn days (and big sticks) are brilliant.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Tree Frame

Glacier National Park, Montana. This mighty landscape never ceased to amaze me. It's a wonder we actually left Glacier, let alone made it to our destination- Yellowstone, I could have stayed here for an eternity. This was taken on a drive out to a trail head for an afternoon hike. I had been staring out of the window longfully, following the road which tracked alongside the lake. Eventually I got too wriggly with being stuck in the 4x4 with such amazing scenery passing us by, and we had to stop to take in the greatness that was Lake McDonald. At the time of taking it, I don't think I realised quite how well the trees had framed the photo, and provided the depth, colour and varying textures within the shot. The canopy of the trees also provided some shade, which confused amature me on how to best take the picture. Sometimes I struggle to make sense of what I am seeing with my camera... I just know I've seen something that has caught my eye and I have to photograph it. Sometimes it works out, and other times (quite a lot of the time really...) it gets lost in translation. This time I think I got it.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Ever Changing

Plage Sud, Atlantic Ocean. Yep... another sundown, and yet I never tire of photographing them. Every time I visit the beach in the evenings it feels different, ever changing, just like the waves. This evening, the light was so soft and the sun was smothered with clouds, yet it still managed to draw subtle golden colours from the sand and sky. The ocean was a strangely calming, yet dark viridian green, with uneven breaks of tumbled, frothy waves. After our jaunty but short walk to the beach, my best friend and Charlie the dog wandered patiently around, allowing me time to play with my camera. Charlie was very happy to have a new companion on the beach with him as it ment he no longer had to stand still while I took my photos, he could wander, sniff, wag and woof to his heart's content. It was a great first night back on the West coast- beach walk, dinner, family and friends. One happy Me.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Casual Contest

Plage Sud Campsite, South West France. We went up to the campsite bar for an early evening beer and to watch the relaxed Petanque games going on nearby. I had a new toy this trip- my dad's telephoto lens. Not being so experienced with taking pictures of people, this allowed me to observe from a noticable distance, but without being too intrusive. Nobody seemed to mind me taking pictures while drinking my beer in the sunshine. There were games all around- families, couples... young and old, but the one photographed seemed to have the most riding on it. The man pictured clearly had a competitive spirit and an expressive game. A small group gathered to watch as he often made attacking play- opting for the aggressive lob over the positional throws. I'm unsure of the overall outcome of the overall game as they probably continued long after we left, but I was rooting for the guy above. The person to the right of the frame was his opponent, and helped to frame the shot. I also like the expression of the man watching, clearly engaged in the small pride-filled battle.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Repas en Famille

Family evening meal at my sister's and now brother-in-law's apartment, Biscarrosse. This was a pre-wedding get together of close family on our second night of being back on the Atlantic Coast. It was a perfect evening with great company, good music, entertaining stories, sharing of wedding gifts, and a home cooked feast of barbequed meats, fresh salads, oven roasted vegetables, bread... cheese... wine... french family dining at it's very best. The meal lasted hours, as all good meals should, and as I sat at the end of the table contentedly full of cheese and wine almost unable to move, I reached around for my camera, and took a moment to capture the softly lit scene before me.

Technically not an easy shot as I didn't want to kill the atmosphere of the shot with a flash. This required a slow shutter speed and wide aperture, and I didn't have a tripod to avoid camera shake/wine induced wobble, so had to resort to my often ineffective breath holding technique. I reluctantly cranked up the ISO to help with the low light conditions, hoping the noise wouldn't ruin the clarity of the picture. Thankfully it worked out great.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Movie Station

Travelling through Kootenay National Park, early evening. We pulled in for a much needed refuel, after passing through epic mountainous scenery. Suddenly everything felt a little surreal as I glanced over and saw what appeared to be an old London bus, sitting neatly in the gas station surrounds, with an almost too perfect to be true mountain skyline and dusky, soft cloud rippled sunset. The florescent glow thrown down from the pump light gave me the feeling I was standing in a film set for a perfectly lit Coen Brothers scene (or something simularly brilliant). As we were fighting the battle against fading light with no preplanned camping destination, time was not on my side, so I scambled my powershot out of the 4x4 and took just one photo. Not perfect, with the distorted post and questionable composition... but it holds the memory well. 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Tequila Sunset

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The fire had caused havoc in the North of the park most of the day with road closures, unsafe areas and Ranger warnings. The ever growing smoke tower a constant reminder of who was really in charge of the park. We hung out at Old Faithful Lodge playing Moose Farkle and drinking Margaritas (bored of beers and feeling flashy) waiting for roads to re-open so we could make it onto our next stop, but had been forced to change plans. Driving back to camp, we tried to find a decent vantage point to photograph the mushrooming marshmallow monster. The reflection in the water jumped out at me as we sped past, and we made a skiddy stop in the gravelly roadside. Shot in low light- AV mode, I wish I'd thought more about this one, but maybe it was the Margaritas tequila-ing my shot and the fact I was so blown away with the location... I did the best I could with what I had. 

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Gnarly Strides

Coed-y-Brenin, Welsh Mountains. Epic mountain biking trip last year with my best friend who fractured a wrist during said epicness (this can be your memento and tiny tribute to commemorate the event). Following a slow but purposeful morning start and a hearty cholesterol stacked breakfast lining my stomach to fuel our day of biking, I took myself off for a wander around the farm we were camping in. Sheep eyed me curiously and bleeted stuttered warnings as I strode stodgily through a spikey grassed boggy field towards the Far-Away Gnarly Tree. I had spotted the tree while setting up camp the night before, and took a few shots from a distance trying to figure out how best to photograph it with many failed attempts. I originally shot it in colour, but the gentle surrounding countryside and mountainous backdrop contrasting with the weathered twisted branches, I have now decided it suits black and white the best. Learning to dodge and burn in photoshop would be a handy thing to have here as I'd like to have drawn more focus to the tree. I miss being able to do that in the darkroom. Infact, I miss the darkroom process altogether. Black and white is increasingly becoming my default...

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Starry Canopy

Atlantic Coast, Biscarrosse. Taken on one of my more creative evenings, fuelled by large amounts of 1664, somehow I managed to set up my powershot for this clever photo. I'd like to claim photographic skills played a big part, but I think it was more down to being inspired by the wonderment of my surroundings. The universe looks pretty cool when lying down flat on your back by your tent, fresh from a speedy but wobbly bike ride back from the bar along the ocean front. With Charlie the dog and my sister close by to ramble onto about all things irrelevant, this goes down as a special light splintered second... or 13 seconds which was how long I had to keep the lens open for to pick up the stars. From a techincal perspective... yep it's got noise and the trees almost look to glow unaturally with their limey luminosity. I still love the (hazey) memory- click on the image to see the stars! 

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Tidy Boats

Whitby harbour, North Yorkshire. Tough blog post. Struggling to find pictures I like in my archives, and currently I'm not finding time to get out to take new ones, although I can account for a billion missed opportunities (camera keeps getting left at home- error)! I found this one lurking on an old hard drive...Taken on a sunny day trip up the coast to Whitby for a birthday adventure. Following essential coastal fish 'n chips we set off on a walk around the harbour, then up to the ruins of the Abbey. I was having an out of sorts day, and I think it affected my photos... none of the ones I took at the Abbey, or in the harbour were any good to my overly critical eye. Even this one I'm not happy with the composition, but one thing I do like is the sharpness of the image, vibrant colours and the correct use of aperture, allowing crisp focus throughout the image- even the ropes you can make out detail. I couldn't decide if these were working fishing boats, or just there for the benefit of making the harbour look more appealing.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Storm Boarding

Standing ontop of a sand dune, San Pedro de Atacama. An early evening sandboarding trip in the desert. Contending with the unforgiving altitude, heavy board and energy sapping sand, I took a moment to take in my surroundings. I noticed some way off storm clouds gathering over the volcanic range. The sun was striking the jagged rough peaks in the foreground, throwing out creeping cool shadows across the sandy basin. It all looked somehow iconically Star Wars, and I had a Skywalker moment (using the force to capture a light sabered splinter). The dramatic scenery made it an  easy shot- right place at the right time. On reflection I wish I had thought more about my camera settings... this shot would have benefitted from a smaller aperture to take in more detail throughout the frame.  Switching the image to black and white added a greater level of contrast and shows the powerful sunlight to it's full effect.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Snow Caught

Somewhere in the suburbs, late afternoon. After triumphantly leaving work in a giddy excitement of snowjoy, I went over to my friend's house to embark upon a sledging adventure (who said snow is just to be enjoyed by kids?!). I took my camera along for the fun. Heading through the overgrown pathway, we came across the ball court, snow completely undisturbed. It was caged snow waiting to be built upon, but as we had already discovered, this was the wrong kind of snow for building creations, so we left it untouched and I took a photo instead. The wintery sky made for an interesting picture, but I'm still missing that wide angle perspective a new lens would give me. I've been good Santa... honest!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Leaf Pool

The park around the corner from where I live, late Sunday afternoon. I was having one of those rare muddy-messy-walking-in-circles kinda weeks and was feeling unusually downbeat. I took myself out for a walk with my trusty camera (need me a dog...), but feeling convinced nothing would inspire me- go negativity! I walked through the all too familiar park and after being bored by the dead leaves, weak light and uninteresting winter trees, I suddenly decided to deviate from my intended path to see if the old paddling pool was still looking as shabby as ever. It was. As the weak sunlight faded into the grey cardboard sky, it briefly created a moment of paddling, scruffy beauty across the leaf smattered puddly water.  

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Horizon Fire (for my dad)

Atlantic Ocean, Biscarrosse. I took this photo with my Dad.  We had walked to the beach together, DSLRs in hand with the intention of capturing a firey west coast sunset, and we weren't disappointed. It was a fantastic sundown, which just kept improving with time. So much so, we ended up being late for dinner, neither of us really wanting to leave and had to stumble back through the forest in dusky shadows, chilly from the ocean breeze and disappearing sun.
My Dad is my true photography inspiration- someone who has a really natural and instinctive understanding of how to take a great photo. He grew up as the photographer in his family, and as a result we have countless brilliant photos and slides of days gone by. He had his own darkroom in his teens and learned the fundamental balance of light, aperture and exposure. Growing up on family holidays and trips, Dad always had a camera and as a kid I was always fascinated by all their buttons, and lenses and the way he handled them so carefully. It wasn't until I was in my teens that I took a real interest and was allowed to have a go with his camera- with his supervision and advice. Aligning the two focus planes was my first challenge, leaving him to set all the other variables to ensure my first sucessful shot. Since then, I worked my way through various point and shoot cameras until finally getting my first SLR. This in turn inspired me to undertake a course in black and white SLR photography and development. Dad passed on various camera bodies and lenses to me, and allowed me to experiment myself- but always taking a shared interest. We even set up a dark room one winter at his house, but his ancient enlarger was leaking light like a sieve and the results were hazy at best! DSLRs were a natural progression for Dad, and I soon followed suit after enviously looking through his great shots of his world travels. 
To this day, Dad is by far a better photographer than I am. The evening of this photo, I took what felt like hundreds of photos. Even now I am not fully satisfied with the end result. Dad however must have taken a third of what I took, and managed to get a shot just as good, if not better than this one. He also got to appreciate the sunset more, as he wasn't messing about trying to figure which things to change to further improve his shots. I think, the time may have come for me to dig out my SLR again to brush up on the basics...


Sunday, 31 October 2010

Blanket Bricks

Chichicastenago, market day. As mentioned in a previous post- this place was bursting at the seams with life. The vibrant colours and design of the fabrics traditionally used throughout this area of Guatemala were literally works of art. Being a backpacker with only limited funds, photos were my only souvenirs. I got snap happy! All the stalls were under tarp and natural light was limited so I shot this with a high ISO to avoid using flash.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Dune Dens

Norfolk Coast, late summer. The day before we had set off on an ambitious drive to the coast to chasing the last remaining days of the summer sunshine. We arrived at our destination late and pitched our tent in a relentless gale and uncertain evening skies. We awoke the following morning to the our sunshine reward. After some breakfast and nearby exploring we set off for a short walk around the coast. Hidden away from the town and harbouring boats we discovered a small sheltered beach with brightly coloured, closed up huts nestled amoung the dunes. 
Photgraphy geek explanation minus descriptive waffle:
I experimented with depth of field here aiming to keep the grass and huts in full focus. The light was tricky as the sun was high and throwing light over my right shoulder and almost clipping the frame, so I hid in the shade of one of the huts and did my best to compose the shot. A less harsh light would have made this splinter easier to capture... returning early evening would have probably have worked a lot better. The  position of the sun also meant I could not take any shots further back- so it was an all round comprimise. I had to do some touch up work on the sky before blogging as the exposure was blown out (something I hate doing as I much prefer to shoot as I see, no edits) ... a filter might have helped here. Also puzzled as to why I set ISO at 400! Despite all that- it still made the lightsplinter cut.


Sunday, 3 October 2010

Iceburg Blues

Bondi Beach, Sydney, looking out across the Iceburg pools and the surrounding bay. The day had started out dull and grey but as the afternoon sun broke through I got to see Bondi at its wave breaking best. I loved the colours and conformity of the lines of the pools with people swimming safely alongside the contrasting relentless rocky ocean breaks. This powershot splinter is an winning example of why I think I now need a wide angle lens for my SLR. So many of my shots I find I flip to the portrait/vertical because I cannot capture the depth of all the things I want to fit in the frame- in this the composition works out ok, but misses the sweeping bay and dramatic edge to the shot which the view gave me. Time get writing that wish list for Santa....

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Bike Shower

Biscarrosse Plage, early morning. Sleepily rolling out of bed, pulling on some clothes, grabbing my things and heading out of the door. Walking through the cool, still, light flecked pine forest- the sun just clipping through the outer edges and warming my back with its soft rays. Making my way down the quiet road passing creamy painted beach houses with slumbering occupants, walking in the cold sun shielded shadows. As I reached the top of the dune, I awoke from my sleepy walking state - greeted warmly by the gentle morning sunlight, empty stretching beach and breaking ocean ringing in my ears. The low sun created long shadows and soft golden light spilling around me - perfect for photos. The composition of this shot might not be right, and the depth of field slightly off, but the atmosphere of the light and shade and the colours are what makes it worth a lightsplinter. 


Sunday, 22 August 2010

Hoodoo Vista

Bryce Canyon, Utah. Looking out across the eroded adventure playground we were teased by gentle altitude and a never ending rim trail denying us access to the descent into the canyon. The clouds swept across the sky allowing the sunlight to momentarily fall upon hidden rocky carved tunnels and towering stripy hoodoos. Once we finally began our decsent we excitedly bounded,whooped and soared down the twisting switchback tracks through light dappled dusty hollows and wind sculpted passages, occasionally staring upwards in awe at the growing wobbly towers and narrowing gap of blue above our heads. Arriving at the bottom of the canyon the trail opened out to a dramatic ampitheatre of majestic orange columns and contrasting clumps of dark green pine trees. Using a fast shutter to capture the racing clouds, but with adequate depth of field to pick out the canyon features I was able to capture the epic layers and textures of this incredible wind eroded landscape.


Sunday, 8 August 2010

Retro Glow

The road I grew up on, in the big snow at the beginning of the year. When everything around me was so blizzard white, I looked up to see an old street lamp flickering on. The contrast of the lozenge shaped orange glow against the winter black bark and white clustered snow really caught my attention. Not many street lights look like this anymore- they all give out a harsh stark searching light, unlike the alien orange gloomy light of times gone by. As more snow was on its way I didn't really think much about how to take the picture, just made sure the composition was as I wanted it, using the zoom on my powershot.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Morning Bugle

Early morning Hayden Valley, Yellowstone National Park. September, and the Elks were out in full force. This male Elk was away from the main group, and observing his competition from afar. Away to the right, (out of shot) the bull of the herd was bugling and displaying his prowess to the grazing female herd, while the photographed elk stood stoicly watching. I got the impression his time was yet to come, and he knew it. This was taken moments before the gentle sunlight crept down the hillside onto the waking valley, and it's one of those shots that I was just in the right place at the right time for- not so much about my skill as a photographer. I often find myself thinking that the photos I take are good pictures more thanks to the amazing places I have been. I just hope I manage to do them justice. As this shot was taken in low light, I did have to work to set my camera to capture the little light there was avaliable- high ISO and wide aperture to take in the surrounding landscape.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Rooty Tangle

Burnsall, River Wharfe. I had this idea in my head, that trees could be as big below the ground as they are above it, considering the massive network of knobbly roots they burrow deep into the ground to secure their lofty presence. Trees are pretty awesome all things considered. Of course my rooty idea is not entirely true, but this shot almost captures that thought and through using black and white creates a simple but effective image to reflect upon. 

Monday, 21 June 2010

Ocean Stacked

Great Ocean Road Twelve Apostles, Victoria.  Watching the sun slide beneath the horizon from a rocky outcrop with a sharp wind numbing my fingers and body. This was one of those times where I almost did not appreciate quite how staggeringly beautiful the view was until I got home and saw the pictures again months later through a fresh set of eyes. The ocean erroded limestone coastline, with the pink candyfloss clouds and cobalt blue water- I went into photo overload. Not really a clever or admired technique but it was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities I didn't want to miss or mess up, and felt that one of the pictures I took would give a close representation that would match the one I'd sellotaped in my head forever. It is also nailed on my bedroom wall. 

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Super Market

Market day in Chichicastenago and an acknowledged spiritual day in the Mayan calendar. The plaza put me into sensory overload with the vibrant colours of the rambling endless maze of stalls, busy purposeful people, the ringing sound of market trade, hot bright sun and the smoky sandalwood incense drifting across the square. I sat down for a while on the church steps to allow myself the time to take it all in. I thought it would be a good opportunity to attempt some people photography- something I am not so familiar with. I soon realised why a zoom lens would be very helpful for future attempts. The woman photographed had just left the church with her shopping and small cannister still smoking from the incense she had just burnt while observing her ancient ritual. Depth of field was used to blur the background and focus in on the subject.