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

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Men At Work

Girls in an abandoned girls school !!… Who’d-a-thought it…


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… :)


Karma’s Scavenger Hunt – June

I unfortunately really never had time to get any shots for this months Karma’s scavenger hunt, apart from one purple flower thingy wotsit, so I’ve pretty much had to trawl through my archives… But in an attempt to compensate for my lack of time and effort, I’ve included a couple of shots for most of the required themes…

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The themes were…

A Colourful Bird
And as I wasn’t allowed to post a “proper” Ladybird.. lol… Well… I had to just plump for a few old pics of some colourful birds…

A Grad (of any sort)
So we have Peppa Pigs Class of 2010… and they DID all graduate… Honest… ;)
We also have me graduating in the basics of simple science, thanks to the teachings of Aswirly, and YES, I DID graduate… Honest… ;)

A Dad (of any sort)
Well I was going to plump for an old fave Swan shot of mine, but I’m thinking that it’s likely a Mother and baby, and as I’m not sure how to (or brave enough to) determine the sex of Swans… well… I went with an old clone shot of Me(s) and my Daughter(s) and Cat(s)…

Something Purple
Well this is the one shot I actually did manage to take for this month… and it’s one of those flowery type things… The PointyPurplePettalus… I think..
Oh, and one of my favourite “purple’y BLUE” shots, of The Lloyds “inside out” Building in London

A Butterfly
Well this was “nearly” a shot from this month, but it was from a trip last month to a wildlife centre with a tropical butterfly house, and unbeknown to my youngest daughter, one of the largest of the BF’s in the house landed on her hat… and sat there for some time, happy to just ride around, much to the amusement of everyone except my daughter (who couldn’t see it)… Oh, and a couple of other butterfly shots for good measure..

A Funny Face
Well, you can’t beat a cow at close quarters for a funny face methinks… especially as close as this shot was… This is a pretty old shot, and using the wide-angle lens I was, I had NO idea exactly how close said cow was… That was until the tongue came out and covered my lens in cow spit… Which was nice… lol.. And as a special bonus, there’s the shot a friend took of me capturing the cow spit shot…

A Cow
Well if the first two cow shots don’t count, then there’s an additional one of some cows on a rather moody day in the Lake District… This one was captured without having to endure additional cow spit, but if you look at the sky, you might be able to figure I got pretty wet shortly after taking this shot…


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 !!!…


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 !!!….


Pensive In Pencil

Just a little bit of what I’ve been doing whilst not blogging…

This is a sketch of my youngest daughter, from this photo of mine taken last year… And there was me thinking the photo itself was tricky to capture, given my daughters utter disinterest in posing for the camera… But now I know photography is a whole lot easier than drawing… I spent quite some time on this one though, seriously tweaking it numerous times before this incarnation… I completely altered the shading, tweaked the nose, changed the hair completely, added her freckles.. and some more to boot… I think I’m pretty pleased now though, and I think this is the finished article…

I’ve also spent some time today trying my hand at watercolour painting… for the first time ever, as far as I can recall… and it didn’t go too badly.. mefinks… lol… Look out for that some time soon…

Btw… This isn’t necessarily me back.. but for today at least I’m gonna have a mooch around to see what I’ve missed… Consider it a minor relapse… ;)

OH… And thank you all so much for your well wishes on my previous post… They were ALL very much appreciated… :)


The Look II

Ok, so I know I promised no more drawings after my last sketch proved none too popular, but you’re gonna have to put up with at least one more I’m afraid… Guess who ???…

This is only the second portrait I think I’ve ever sketched, and have to confess to initially not being at all happy with it when I first began sketching… You see, it’s a new sketch pad, and the paper is coarser than I’m used to, and as such I couldn’t adopt my normal sketching style of smooth even shading… To stand any chance I had to “line shade” or whatever it’s called… which is a style of sketching I’m entirely unfamiliar with… The intention was to just use it as a test, and then scrap it… and buy a finer sketch pad…

I have to confess though as I went on, it began to grow on me… and I’m now real pleased with the finished sketch… Hopefully my real good friend and beautiful model likes it too… :)


Almost Classic Perfection

So finally I’ve managed to sketch a proper portrait… I think… and it’s only taken me… ummm… more than lots of years of trying… lol… It’s the first one at least that doesn’t look as though it’s been sketched by a one legged spider on crack…

Honestly, I gave up trying to draw people back in my early teens, as I never ever could achieve any real likeness to the person I was trying to sketch… I don’t think I’ve achieved that here either if I’m honest… but at least it looks human… so I’m reasonably pleased with it…. It’s a sketch of a very good friend of mine Classic Perfection, (hence the title), and was based on this shot

I don’t think I will be making portraits my subject of choice though… lol…

Anyway, not sure I should really be showing the workflow of my etchings, but this was quite the challenge for me to do, and I really wasn’t at all happy with the initial draft of it… and ended up tweaking the eyes, nose, mouth.. and.. ummm… the hair too… So it went through a tiny bit of adjusting… lol… Here’s the outline sketch, and the first pass too… before I finally achieved something I was relatively happy with…


Butt I Said…

After I posted my parrot sketch, I was asked by an old friend if I could sketch her portrait for her… Her words “Draw me pleeeeeeease… I’ll give you a quid if you do”…. Well I’ve never had much success with faces, but there was a quid at stake… so I asked if I could sketch an “alternative” portrait… lol… Sooooo…. Ummmm…. Well what can I say, except here it is…

In my defence though…. errrrrh…. Yeah ok, I guess I have no defence…. lol…. BUT, the results have kinda given me the impetus to try a proper portrait next… Watch this space… Well, not THIS space, as this space is just a butt… :)

Still waiting for my quid btw !!!….


What The Dickens

Is it real, or is it a model ???…. Well actually it’s kinda both… lol… This was a scene shot in Dickens World, which is an indoor life-size representation of  Dickensian Britain… complete with Dickensian actors, and extracts acted out from some of the many novels of Charles Dickens…  and enough to entertain the kids for an hour or two, which is always a plus… ;)

It’s not really large enough or involved enough to provide much more entertainment than that though, but it has given me a taste for re-reading some classic literature that I never really “got”, when I was forced to read it back in school… Great Expectations here we come…. unless anyone can suggest a better Dickens novel to read… :)


Wet ‘n’ Wild

Well it’s been quite the weekend here as far as the weather is concerned… We’ve had torrential rain / brilliant sunshine / high winds / high tides / warmth / cold… but trying to get the perfect combination for what I had planned took a few wasted trips to the beach…

Finally though all the favoured elements combined this morning, and I spent quite a few lucrative minutes slowly freezing in the wind and sun… Oh, and I got yet another opportunity to play with my new toy… :)


Super Furry Animals…

So yesterday I finally had the opportunity to put my new toy through its paces… and I’m glad to say I was rather pleased with the results… So we spent the day at a wildlife park, which naturally was PURELY for the benefit of the kids… and was nothing even remotely to do with me wanting to play with my new lens…Nah-ah…

This is a small selection from a host of images I will be picking from in posts to come hopefully… providing I don’t get bored with them before I post them… Despite the title though I have to include one feathery not furry shot, as there’s a story to convey about this wee feathered friend of mine… I inadvertently pulled a bird…  ;)

This particular wildlife park has some real nice access to many of the animals, from walk through enclosures to open perches for some of the birds… to other animals roaming completely free within the grounds… Well, in one particular area I noticed how friendly one particular bird was as he was allowing himself to be petted… Well never one to miss an opportunity of some petting I decided whilst it was quiet to go make friends myself whilst the rest of the family were… ummmm… seeing to other natural requirements…

I checked first to make sure there were no “This animal bites” signs… but only saw a “Do NOT pick this bird up” sign… so figured he wasn’t in to removing fingers and the like…. Well I was giving him a good scratch behind the ear and under his chin (or whatever birds call their chins) when my daughter returned… and as I turned to look at her my new-found friend took full advantage of my momentary lapse in concentration, and promptly stepped on to my hand, and RAN full speed up my arm and round the back of my neck…. and perched himself firmly on my shoulder, and proceeded to nuzzle my ear and neck…. lol…

My first thought was “OH CRAP !!”…. “How the heck am I gonna get him back on his perch ??”… As from his demeanour I was pretty certain he wasn’t intending to return of his own free will… So a small crowd begins to gather… and I hear one woman whisper to her friend “I’ve seen him do that before, He won’t get him back very easily”…. OH THANKS !!!…. Lol…

And right in front of me is the huge sign “DO NOT PICK THIS BIRD UP”…. Ooooops…. Well it took some patience and cunning, but I finally managed to get him back on to my hand, and then literally peeled him off, and back on to his perch.. At which point my daughter said “Tickle him again Dad”….. NO WAY !!!… lol…

Anyway… I wasn’t the only one… When we walked through the Lemur enclosure there was a keeper in there making sure that people didn’t stroke the Lemurs, but just allowed them to get on with whatever they wanted to do… Well my daughter knelt down to get a closer look at some of the baby ones, at which point one came running up and jumped on her lap, and just sat there looking at her as if to say “Well !!!.. What have you got for me ???”…. lol…


Mini Days Out…

Strange isn’t it how great minds think alike… I had plans yesterday of taking some shots with the sole purpose of doing a fake tilt-shift…. and it would seem that Angelcel must have had exactly the same tilt shift ideas too….

Yesterday we decided to take a trip to Southend… Yeah I know it’s a real cliché English seaside resort, and doesn’t appeal to everyone, but my Dad came from there, and I’ve not been there for  such a very long time… and my Mum fancied a trip down memory lane… and plus the kids LOVE it… even though it’s the first time they’ve ever been… The worst of it is though that we can SEE Southend so clearly from my little Island… It’s probably no more than 6 or 7 miles as the crow flies… but to drive there is a whole different story due to a small river called The Thames… which extends that 6 or 7 miles to closer to 65 miles each way… lol…

Not sure how well-known this fact is either, but they have the worlds longest pleasure pier… It is reportedly 1.341 miles long…. and even has its own trains to ferry the less hardy to and from the end of the pier…

Sadly though a fire tore through and destroyed most of the original head of the pier back in 2005, but fortunately it has now been pretty much restored… To save me writing oodles and oodles of stuff on here though that no one wants to read, I’ll just throw in the ever faithful Wikepedia Link… which always comes in very handy…

It certainly is quite the pier though, and hopefully this view helps to give you a sense of how far out to sea it really is… Not sure I’d fancy being out there in more inclement weather though…


Bookworm

Ummmm… What can I say… Apart from “someone” needs to be much more careful… lol…

LOVE doing these… :)


Check-Mate…

Well it has been SUCH a long time since I’ve done one of these mini-me clone shots, but my daughters recent request of me to teach her how to play chess inspired me to get a wee bit creative again… and here’s the result…

Btw…. I know she’s only 10, and has only played about 4 games in total… EVER… but she’s not beaten me yet… My longest winning streak to date… lol… ;)


Meet Gollum…

Now I have to say it is very rare of me to ever post any shots of my kids… as there are far too many strange people out there…. but this one I just had to share…

There are two specific reasons why I had to share…. Firstly it is so unusual for her to have a clean face… but secondly, and most importantly… it is virtually unheard of for her to actually look at the camera when anyone takes a picture… She will look everywhere BUT at the camera… This time though I caught her unaware… lol… Clean AND looking at me…

You may also no doubt be wondering about the title too… Well that’s her name… Ok ok… Not her REAL name, but a name that for some reason she “likes” to be called…. along with Stinky, Stumpy, Lumpy, Ugly and Dobby…. I know… Strange child….

Oh and obviously I couldn’t post a picture of my youngest without also including my oldest somewhere… so here’s another… I’ll not repeat what the oldest usually gets called though… ;)


Me Next… MAKEUP !!!…

So, as much as my blog tends to lack much in the way of animals and stuff, this is more to do with me mostly taking the simpler more inanimate options…. and leaving the chasing stuff through fields and forests to the more committed… Plus I find that trying to photograph bears with my 10mm poses one or two minor risks… Not that we have too many wild bears in the UK…  I think my cat scares most of them away… Well it’s either my cat or my rotting banana-skin hat (It’s a classic bear deterrent dontchaknow… and works a treat)… ;)

I DO however love taking pictures of Swans, as we have quite the abundance of them here, and almost anywhere where there’s fresh water, then there’s bound to be a small bucket or two full of swans….

PLUS… You don’t have to do ANY chasing, as they’re so vain, that whenever you arrive with a camera then they’re sure to come pose…. Either that or they’re just plain greedy, and assume my camera bag is full of pickle sandwiches (yeah they like pickles… and marmite)… :)

Maybe I should do a Swan Series… Wodyafink ???

Oh, and as a warning… I have a flower shot… of JUST a flower… that may find its way on here at some point in the future… You have been warned… :)


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….


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… ;)


Days Out

Well the other day I had the pleasure of doing a portrait session for a real good friend, which was kinda a first for me…. as although I’ve shot people plenty of times before (not literally you understand.. lol), I’ve never actually gone out with the sole intention of JUST taking people shots… Here’s just 3 of my fave shots from the day…

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We took LOTS of shots, and must have been out and about for a good 5 hours in total…. and man was it coooold out there… but it was one heck of a fun afternoon, and I’m pretty sure (given the right model again) that  it’s something I’d love to have the opportunity to do a lot more of…. It’s given me yet another bug… Just need some more willing volunteers… ;)


Hmmmmm…

Well ok… I know it’s not pretty…. But this was more an experiment with lighting than anything else, and in the absence of a better looking model I had to resort to the only option left….

It was either this or a pile of old laundry…. That’s my excuse anyway…. :)

EDIT.. Ok, so by special request, here’s the maniacal grin version… with different lighting and processing… See, I’m nothing if not accommodating… lol… ;)

And I even have all my own teeth and hair (or some of it)… for now at least… I’m just growing too tall for what’s left of it…. :)


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