The camera never lies… Or does it !?!?…

After Dark

Midnight Meanderings

It’s fair to say that I DO love a spot of night photography… All I wish is that night time wasn’t so darn late at night, when it’s all dark and stuff !!.. If nights weren’t so late, and mornings weren’t so early, I’d be a happy bunny mefinks..

This is Appley Tower on the Isle of Wight. The tower itself wasn’t lit unfortunately, so the shot itself had to be a 2 minute exposure to make best use of a few scattered street lights along the promenade behind me. Way off on the horizon you can also see another landmark from a previous vacation, which is the Spinnaker Tower with the ever so slightly impressive but disconcerting view..


The Sweet You Can Eat..

… Between Meals… or is that just in the UK ??…

Anyway, here’s a shot I captured whilst on holiday in The New Forest, of the original Milky Way.. and not the chocolate based snack that apparently doesn’t ruin your appetite…

80 sec / f4 / 10mm / ISO 1,000

Funny story behind this particular little series of shots, as you’d probably expect there to be when I’m involved… Seldom does one of my photomagraphicalistic outings go uneventfully… (more…)


Karma’s August Rainbow Challenge

Well here are my entries for the Rainbow Challenge… Fortunately due to a fairly pleasant summer most of the shots are all entirely new and “kinda” summery… but I had to throw a couple of old favourites in there too..

Red – and I have to confess to struggling to find any decent red shots, so you’ll have to make do with a nice little red Ferrari Dino 246 from our summer hols… Not mine unfortunately, but it was in Beaulieu Motor Museum that we visited during our summer hols, so it counts… Oh, and one of those red things from the garden too (not my garden though)…

(more…)


Quiet Contemplation

Well, as quiet as it can be when you’ve got your 11 year old daughter bugging you to take her picture too… She learnt her first lesson in photography this evening though, as we both headed out with our respective cameras… and that is to “check your battery”… lol…

First shot she see’s and turns the camera on, and then said “Oh !!.. Battery Exhausted ??… What does that mean Dad ??”…

I said, “That means that next time you’ll remember to check you’ve got a charged battery with you, just in case”… lol… Just as well I checked mine… Yeah I know I know…. I should have checked for her before we left home, but it was an ultra last minute kinda “Oooh look, that sunset looks nice… quick, grab your camera and lets go” kinda moment.. ;)

Btw, have a little photo gathering trip planned, so I might not be around for a week or so, so apologies in advance… :)


Let’s All Streak…

Firstly, a quick apology for being utterly blog absent for the past almost couple of weeks, but I’ve been suffering from broadband speeds reminiscent of syrup rolling uphill… and my patience in waiting 6 weeks for every single page to load very quickly wore almost as thin as my hair…

I’d like to say it gave me plenty of time to edit images, but unfortunately not, as I have developed the usual disinterest in shots that are more than a week old… lol… I’m sure I have plenty old shots to air, and maybe I’ll get round to them sooner or later… Speaking of which, here’s one that has been gathering dust for a while now… I’m hoping to get a few more star shots soon, as I’ve a nice little trip planned to a real picturesque area… weather and darkness permitting… ;)

As for the broadband issues… Well fingers crossed they’re resolved now, but I’m only crossing fingers, as holding my breath may result in some discolouration… It has been pretty frustrating though, as the so called “tech experts” available at the end of the phone were very quickly established to be JUST a call centre in some far away land, who’s only qualification seemed to be the ability to read the exact same list of questions from the screen in front of them… “Have you re-started your router / Have you re-started your computer / Have you unplugged your phone / Have you had this exact same conversation 10 times before / Have you realised I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about / Have you got ANY patience left at all”….. You get the idea…. The WORST thing though, was that THEIR online speedtester told me that THEY had restricted the IP profile speed on my line, hence my speed problems… and despite informing them of this particular key result, they were unable to assist, as this wasn’t on their list of “Have you turned it off and on again” questions !!!…  Every time I spoke to them, the only solution seemed to be “I’ve re-set everything, and it’ll all be fine in the morning”…. Ummmm…. NO !!!… lol… Finally they sent an engineer out, and his FIRST response to my rant was “Well yes indeed… They’ve restricted the IP profile speed on your line… That’s why your broadband is cr*p !!, why didn’t they just remove the restriction !?!?”….

Hmmmmm…. Now why didn’t I think of that !!!….

Rant complete… Normal service will be resumed shortly… Hopefully… :)


Is It Just Me ??

First of all I should apologise, as this is a bit of a bemused whinge and moan post, but is it JUST me who’s family appear totally oblivious that someone in their midst actually takes pictures !?!?!…

It all started a few years back when my better half was talking to a friend of ours, who’d been looking at my photos on Flickr… and my wife’s response was “Oh, you’ve been looking at his snapshots then”…. Hmmmmm…. Now I have no delusions at all that I’m anywhere near “professional photographer” standards, but I do consider myself to be out of nappies / diapers, and as such, well past the “snapshot” phase… Anywho… I let that one slide…

The worst though, and it still annoys me when I think about it, was when only last year my wife decided she wanted some portrait shots taken… So what did she do ??… Did she ask me to take some “snaps”… Nope, she went and PAID a so called “professional” £300 (nearly $500) for a “burnt while you wait” CD of 12 un-edited pictures… and couldn’t understand why I was ever so slightly annoyed / put out by this… OH, and I’m not just being unkind here, but the pictures were NOT good…

I mention this all now… as my daughter is currently doing a project for school, and she’s chosen to do it on a local nature reserve where I have spent many an hour with the camera, photographing the wildlife and scenery (as above)… and consequently have a whole host of shots from the area… Yup, you’ve probably guessed what’s coming next… Despite my collection of images of the wildlife and surrounding reserve itself, my wonderfully supportive family are currently trawling the internet looking for suitable pictures to download for use in her project !?!?…

So I ask… Is it JUST me that suffers this indignity, where those closest to us seem utterly oblivious to what we have a passion for ???…

Btw… Don’t panic… Although the facts are true, this is more of a “tongue in cheek” whinge… and certainly nothing serious… ;)


Night Lights

As happy as I was with my previous “creative offering”, I wasn’t “quite” so happy to have it sitting in such a prominent place on my blog, as it didn’t seem to really fit with the general scheme of things, so I’m hitting you with another quick post, and I’ve moved it out of position slightly… Call me fickle… lol… I’m thinking it will be the beginning of a little series of fruity posts though (or at least food based), if I can dream up a few more ideas… ;)

So here’s a night shot taken whilst on holiday a while back… Oh to live in a cottage like this, even if it was directly opposite the churchyard that scared the wotsits out of my daughter… ;)

I also need to say a huge thank you to Natalie at Phusion Photography too, or The Fuse as per her Blog, for her glowing appraisal of  one of my early flickr HDR images, and how it inspired her to try it out… although I have to admit it’s an image I’d not be entirely impressed with these days…. but we live and learn and improve hopefully… Check out her sites, as they are amazing, and if I’m in any small way responsible for the images she produces now, then I’ll happily take the credit… lol…


Up and At’em

More than enough flowers and fluffy stuff… Time for some new good ol’ fashioned modern old stuff…


A Tangled Web

It’s that time again… Time for another of my favourite subjects… Sunset…

Nothing much more to say than that… Oh, and that’s my daughter at the top, and oddly enough she wasn’t QUITE so interested in the photography aspect when their was a play area involved !?!?! Go figure !!!…


Churchyard Chuckles

Well I did previously allude to having done a few scary things whilst on holiday, and here’s another… although it wasn’t scary for me, more so for my daughter… lol… which is ALWAYS amusing… ;)

Churchyards in the dead of night are great places, I think… It’s no wonder people are dying to get in there.. *groan* !!… Sorry… lol…  I do love them though, and have spent many an entirely comfortable hour in them with the camera… (and sometimes without.. lol)… more worried about being arrested than anything else… One of my goals whilst away though was to follow in Mrs A’s footsteps, and get me some star trails… so off to the nearest churchyard I headed (what better place is there to not be disturbed)…

The previous night I’d also tried my hand at some star shots at the beach (those to come later), and my daughter wanted to accompany me, given her new found interest in photography (and the opportunity to stay up extra late !!). Well I agreed, as it’s always good to have a buddy at night… plus I find you appear much less suspicious when with your daughter, should anyone call the police about the crazy person creeping around in the dark… lol…

Well this night I asked her if she also wanted to come to the churchyard with me… and you could literally HEAR the turmoil going on in her head… ANOTHER extra late night, and some more photography, and time doing fun stuff with dad… against the thought of going in to a churchyard, in the dark… late at night !!!… LOL… Her first response did make me laugh though, as she responded with “But won’t there be real living ghosts in there ??”… Real Living Ghosts !!!… Hahaha… How about that for a contradiction in terms… Well after some reassurance about ghosts, she agreed… We arrived at the church, and I opened the gate, and she exclaimed “Are we actually GOING IN !!”…. Ummmmm… YES !!… lol… So we entered the churchyard, and had a walk around to find the best spots, and as we rounded the corner of the church (with her leading), we disturbed a tree full of starlings… and they weren’t best pleased judging by the noise they made.. LOL.. You should have seen her jump, and the accompanying squeal was hilarious.. Yeah I know, I’m mean.. ;)

Anyways… Enough words… Here’s the important stuff… The resulting pictures…

These were both shot fully manual at ISO 100; f5.6; 10mm and each a single 15 minute exposure…

I also did a little bit of light painting with the torch in this one, to illuminate some of the foreground and church a  bit..

Another amusing incident was with a black churchyard cat… a particularly noisy churchyard cat.. lol… Whilst we were round the darker backside of the church, we heard some rustling in the bushes… Well I knew it would be an animal of some description, but my daughter wasn’t quite so convinced… and then the glowing eyes appeared, accompanied by the loudest and strangest meowing… lol… It was a constant almost monotone me’eeew me’eeew me’eeew me’eeew… Scared the cr*p out of my daughter until I shone the torch on this little black kitty bounding through the long grass… ;)

Oh… and lastly… and entirely unrelated to this post… Here’s a link to a page of posts for Karma’s Scavenger Hunt for April…


Grow Your Own

This past week has finally seen the beginnings of spring, with some very nice weather… Even shorts and t-shirt weather for some of us… although it has to be said the evenings are still quite chilly… Yesterday evening though showed signs of being one of those stunning sunsets, and I have to confess to being a sucker for a sunset, but it’s never as much fun, nor does it feel very safe going out alone, near dark, with a bag full of rather expensive camera gear….

It appears though that finally I have a solution to part of that particular problem… I now have myself a “grow your own” shooting buddy… in the way of my eldest daughter… Now she’s always been kinda interested in taking pictures, but has never really had a camera that takes “proper” pictures… She’s only had those real cheap and nasty compacts, that take 5 unrecognisably blurred images before the battery gives out… and hence never really got in to it…

Last weekend though I decided it was time to hand down my spare DSLR, as it was just gathering dust… SO… my grow your own now has her first real camera… And she LOVES it… and can’t wait to go shooting again… I know going out with her won’t BE any safer, but it’s more fun than being on your own… and if the need arises I can always use her as a human shield, or a bargaining tool… :)

This is her btw… capturing the sunset…. Guess now I also need to hand down my spare tripod !!!….


Scavenger Hunt

So this past few weeks or so Karma has been running a little scavenger hunt, and I’ve put together a number of shots for her list of things to find… and you can see ALL of my shots here if you like… Some of them are new shots, and some are ones that I’ve had to pull from some previous outings… Hopefully that’s allowed… ;)

This one is one of the old shots I called upon from a night out in London… Have to admit there’s some pretty cool shots to be had up there…


Zoom Zoom

Ok, so I promised a streaky shot, but to be perfectly honest I’m not at all happy with this one, and seriously intend to re-do it and make a far better job of it next time around, but as I’m not sure when I’ll get round to it this will have to suffice for now… I did say there might be a streaky shot (or two)…


Full On Mooning

Tonight was a stunning full moon, with a crisp clear sky to boot, and as I’ve never had any success in photographing the moon before, I decided it was time to give it another shot (as they say)… Only thing is, once you’ve got a nice crisp detailed shot of the moon… then what ?!?!…

Well naturally you have to add it to a dramatic (but slightly lacking) night shot… and if you haven’t got a suitable night shot… then create one… :)

Here’s a more natural alternative of the above creation…

And then of course the original shot, and my first successful shot of the moon…


As The Sun Slowly Sets…

… On another year, all I can think of to say is…. “Thank goodness for that !!”…

Those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while will know that I’m none too personal or wordy on my blog, and generally just let the pictures speak for themselves where possible, with the odd bit of relevant narrative when it feels right… Well this post is kinda an exception to the rule, and in a sense a bit of an apology too…

You’ll no doubt have noticed that my posting / commenting has been a bit sporadic to say the least of late… and for that I apologise… To be honest 2010 really hasn’t been a good year at all for me… There have been far too many negatives for my liking, and even the odd positive turned out to be more for someone elses “hidden motive” benefit than my own… Sure I’ve had some laughs, and made a few friends along the way, and lost some too unfortunately… but it’s been very much stacked in the odds against…

I’ve taken barely a handful of shots these past few months, and haven’t touched my sketch-pad for what seems like months either… Just haven’t felt the inspiration or motivation… To be honest, this year has pretty much kicked the stuffing out of me, and it’s now time to take a bit of a break from it all… So this is forewarning that I’ll not be around much, if at all, for an undetermined period of time… No plans on how long or how complete my break will be, but just felt it might be an idea to let you know I will be taking one of sorts…. lest you wonder where I’ve gone… I’ll still be getting your posting updates via email, and will likely sneak in and throw the odd comment around when the mood strikes, but please don’t feel offended if I happen not to comment on yours, but do someone elses… It’s nothing personal.. It’ll just be a right place / right time kinda thing…

So anywho… was listening to this record tonight, and thought it quite fitting… hopefully… lol… I hope 2011 is kind to you all… See you somewhere down the road… :)


Properly Pickled…

This is a pretty unique view in the heart of London with the mix of old and ultra modern architecture all in one place… The building you see in the background is 30 St Mary Axe, which is more famously known as “The Gherkin”, hence the title… It’s in the main financial district of London, and the view you see here “may” have been shot by accidentally sneaking in to a private gated area, just off of Bishopsgate… Well the gate might have been unlocked, and I may have slipped and ended up on the wrong side of the fence… but hey… if no one saw me, then it never happened… :)

Apologies for being very scarce on here of late, but things have been rather insane to say the least….


Celestial Sunset

Just another quick sunset from the frantic 10 minutes spent looking for a shot before the colour disappeared… It was a nightmare though waiting for the clouds to clear the moon before the light went… I LOVE Sunsets… lol…


Looking Up

This is another from the night spent cruising the streets of London… and even though the weather itself was rather uninspiring, this particular building was the highlight of the evening… and where the two absolute extremes of security personnel were met within minutes of each other….

You may recall the national security threat I posed when standing on someones step… Well this was that very same building… and the curved building you see here directly opposite was where the complete antitheses in security guards resided… I guess they have to work that closely so as to maintain the security balance….

I was just setting this shot up when he came out… and there was me wondering exactly which toe had set in motion the next cataclysmic event of the evening…. when he took me completely by surprise by informing us that the lights on the Lloyds Building go off at exactly 10pm… so we have only 3 minutes in which to get any other shots we might want before darkness descends…

And he was right… On the stroke of 10pm precisely the lights went out…

So proof that they do exist…. elusive as they may be to find, there ARE some nice security guards…


Zoom – mooZ

So I know this is an old old shot, and I really must take some time to recreate a far better version, now I have a better camera, and have learnt far more about photography… but for now I decided to throw this one on here, as I was reminded of it yesterday by a similarly titled shot… lol… But this is a Mazda, so I’m actually allowed to say zoom zoom… lol…

This was created by setting the camera up in the car on an extremely stable tripod, and wrapping the seatbelt around it too, to avoid any accidental shots of the whole thing flying through the windshield… This was set up as a fully manual shot…

Firstly I switched to manual focus and set it to focus on the A pillar… I did this to avoid having the camera hunt for a focal point in the low light…

The aperture was set to f11 to give me the prime dof for the lens, and an adequate shutter speed to capture the light trails…

The focal length set to 10mm, to incorporate as much in the image as possible…

The ISO speed was set to 100, to again give me a long enough exposure time to capture the light trails, and also to maintain the best quality and avoid any high ISO graininess…

Finally I set the camera to bulb mode, and using a remote shutter release exposed for (in this shot) 30 seconds… I tried other exposures, but given the previous manual settings this gave the most acceptable result…

In my next attempt ideally I want to obtain better colour, as the sodium lighting threw the colour balance so far out that even editing the raw in photoshop was unable to bring it back to where I wanted it…. That’s the plan at least… We’ll see….


The Bridge

Yup… It’s London Bridge… No… I mean Tower Bridge… No, London Bridge… Errrrhhh… Tower Bridge !!…. YUP… Definitely Tower Bridge… Oh… and at night too… :)

Now this is a shot that I’ve wanted to get for quite some time, but now that I have it, I have to confess that I REALLY don’t like it… I’ve messed with this soooooo much to try to make it “work”, that I’m not entirely sure what it is anymore… Cropped it, coloured it, tinted it, desaturated it, pointed at it, called it names, blah blah blah….

I wanted some punch, but can’t seem to find it… Anyways… I thought I’d post it for now, and at least then I’ve done something with it, and can delete it at a later date and not feel that I wasted my time entirely… That’s the plan anyways… :)

Or maybe it’s the simple fact that it’s 3am here now that is affecting my sense of reason… Guess that’s more likely…

**Edit**
Here’s the sooc shot, to give a better idea of how difficult a shot this was to edit…


National Security Threat…

Yes… That’s pretty much what we were last night… Armed and dangerous, and very much a threat to national security with our cameras and tripods…. lol… Maybe the tripods were confused with missile launchers… ;)

I mean seriously… Exactly how much damage can you do to a piece of architecture with a camera !?!?!…

So last night the City of London was due a nocturnal visit, and I was severely reprimanded by a power-hungry security guard, obviously looking for a quick kill…. And for what reason you may ask… What high security government complex did I infiltrate… What national armourment access codes did I steal… Hmmmm…. Well funnily enough, all I managed was to stand on his “step”, just to see if there was a different angle for a shot…. which there wasn’t…. So I stepped off again…. and walked away…

Black and White or Colour ??..

He tracked me down though a few minutes later, and started spouting the section blah blah blah rules of trespassing…. and how I’d “stepped on to their property !!!!”…. I was polite and apologised, saying I didn’t realise, as there was no delineation between public / private property…. but he was off on some power trip, and started spouting how my house was private, and he’d not walk in to my living room the way I “stood on his step”…. Lol…

Then he pointed out some tiny studs buried in the paving, and said “If you see these studs, then you’re allowed to stand THAT side, but you’re trespassing THIS side…. Then he radio’d in to head office how he’d foiled a major security breach…. LOL…. They are SUCH idiots…. He was one of many last night, all on the same power trip…. Give them a badge and a uniform and they’re like the next Fidel Castro… ;))


Health Warning…

Yeah I’m sorry, but I thought I’d better issue the relevant health and safety precautions with this one… It’s not pretty, and certainly not for the faint of heart… And I don’t want anyone suing me that’s for sure… So as an extra safety measure, and last warning, here is the obligatory “take me to the kittens” link… although I have to confess, they’re not strictly kittens per-se…. No libel actions over that one either please… :)

So I have the opportunity to try out some night portraiture shooting for a very good friend of mine…. She’s agreed to let me experiment on her…. lol… (some people just never learn)…. ;)

Anyways… Before I experiment on her, I decided that maybe I should have a play around with myself first…. Oooooh…. Ummmmm…. Maybe I should re-phrase that…. Conduct some “personal research”… That sounds MUCH better… :)

So here ya go… You HAVE been warned…. It’s not too late to run away…

I know the single off camera speedlight probably isn’t ideal, but at the moment it’s all I have, so will have to do…. Hopefully at some point I might be able to acquire some candles… and if nothing else, at least the smoke will obscure my ugly mug… :)

Sorry… lol… But sometimes you just HAVE to make someone else suffer…. Consider yourself lucky, I have to look at me every day… ;)


A Load of Old Rubbish..

Yup, that’s pretty much what sums up this shot the best…. Just a load of old rubbish, in a ditch… Can’t really add much more than that, only that I’m surprised there weren’t more shopping trolleys in there… or ANY come to think of it….


Cosmic Crossings

I don’t get anywhere near enough opportunity to do these, but every once in a while the conditions seem to be too good to resist… No wind (not me), no clouds, no crazy star ruining atmosphere, not “much” light pollution and bright stars…. Well tonight was one such night when I had to take a shot I’d been after for a while…. and using the tried and trusted layering technique … I blended this from 18 x 30sec exposures… Well it didn’t come out quite how I envisioned it, but it will have to do for now…

I’m not entirely sure though why some stars appear white, and some vivid blue, when they all look pretty white to the naked eye…. Anyone know the reason ???… lol…


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