Spring Sun and Tree

Spring Sun and Tree (2080)

These last few weeks have been rather hectic, with the move back to Malta proceeding in stages, and a lot of loose ends to tie at work. So my updates on the blog have slowed down. At this point I have a ton of photos waiting to be processed, but that can only happen once we’re settled. In any case, most of these will be of the personal-memory kind, not what I usually share on this blog.

Today I’m sharing another photo from the walk near Tichborne earlier this year. It was a very sunny afternoon, and I really wanted to capture something of the feel of the British summer. Yes, it does exist! You never know when it will happen, but you generally do get a few weeks of warmth and sunshine, particularly here in the south-east. And when they do come, they’re glorious. It tends to be warm, but not so hot as to be debilitating, bright, but without the glare of the Mediterranean sun. And this year was particularly special, as everywhere was more luxuriantly green than I can remember, probably because of all the rain we had this winter.

In any case, I came across this tree as I was walking on a path across the fields. It was a rather large oak, though probably not too old. As I looked back I saw the bright backlit leaves and the sun high above, and I decided to make this photo. I set up on a tripod, with a wide-angle lens and a combination of filters: an ND grad to balance the brightness in a sky a little, and a polarizer to reduce glare, enhancing the colour of the sky and foliage. I also used a small aperture to emphasize the starburst.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.

Rowe’s Flash and Boat House

Rowe's Flash and Boat House (1934)A quick post today, to share a photo of the classic view at Winkworth arboretum, of the boat house at the end of Rowe’s flash (i.e. the lake/pond). I took this when I visited for the bluebell displays in spring. It had also been raining, as I recall.

I took this photo handheld as a single exposure. Post processing was simple, involving the usual selective curves layers to adjust contrast and exposure.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.


Old Lock


Last week I promised Leanne Cole, whose photography blog I have been following for some time, that I’d try to find a photo to share on her regular Monochrome Madness series. Right now my computer is in the hands of the shipping company, hopefully finding its way home, so there is no way I can process any new photos. Instead, I’m sharing something that has been a long time coming.

I took this photo at Nymans gardens in West Sussex, surely one of our favourite places in South East England. This was more than a year ago, when I was playing with black & white film. This is the roll that was not correctly developed, so frankly it’s surprising there is an image to share at all! The error resulted in a lot of grain, in what should be a silky smooth film stock. Thankfully, given the subject I shot, this unplanned effect actually added something to the mood of the images themselves, and they quite worked out, I think.

For this photo I used Ilford Pan F Plus film stock, with a 50mm lens, I think at its largest aperture (f/1.4). I took this handheld on my Elan II camera. The film was developed in Rodinal 1+50 solution, though something went wrong here (likely a chemical contamination in the developer solution) and the film developed very thin. I scanned the negatives and did the rest digitally. Post processing involved mostly scratch and dust removal, as well as correcting away some Newton rings. As usual I used curves layers to adjust contrast. Eventually I retook this image digitally at a more recent visit – I still need to process that, and when I do I’ll share that for comparison.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.

Cream Rose

Cream Rose (2183)

Looking back I realize I’ve been generally posting two photos a week for past few months. And I still have lots to share. This is a good thing for me, as it means I have taken more photos than usual this year. However, recently things have slackened a bit. I haven’t been walking much, and most of our recent outings have been more of the meeting-people kind.

Still, last Sunday we managed to get ourselves down to Chartwell in Kent for another visit. We wanted to go somewhere with a nice garden and were looking forward to the rose displays. Our original plan was to head further south-east to Sissinghurst, but between the longer drive and our GPS refusing to work we settled on Chartwell. Not that it’s a second-best or anything! There are many places close by with beautiful gardens and plenty of roses, and choosing between them is always hard.

Anyway, my plan this visit was to focus on flower photos, and it makes sense to share while they’re (hopefully) still in bloom. This particular rose caught our attention as it looked white from a distance, but revealed a deep colour between its folds. Although it was sunny, there were enough clouds in the sky to soften the light, even in the early afternoon.

I took this photo handheld with my 100mm macro lens at its largest aperture. Post processing was minimal, involving only some selective curves layers to adjust contrast and exposure.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.


Daisy (2133)

Lately I’ve been using the macro lens rather more than usual. With flowers in abundance I guess it’s a good time to be doing so. I remember when I started with photography I really enjoyed using the telephoto lens as it allowed me to isolate a subject and focus on a particular detail in a scene. I still like the effect (commonly called “intimate landscapes”) but I haven’t been too satisfied with my recent attempts, mostly due to technical issues. I find that using a macro provides a very similar experience, except that one must be much closer to the subject.

I took this photo on a recent visit to Newlands corner. Daisies are rather small, but they seem to burst with happiness. The summer countryside would not be the same without them. Technically, the trickiest thing I find with macro shots is to get the focus right. I took this particular photo handheld, and to make sure focus was just right I used the live view at a decent magnification on the critical area. Also, since I was so close, the depth of field was really shallow, so I had to narrow the aperture quite a bit to get the effect I was after. Post processing was very simple, involving only the use of curves layers to adjust exposure and contrast.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, and of course feel free to share the link.

If you’ve made it this far into the post, I have something to ask of you. I’m sure you’ve realised that I generally divide my photo posts in two: a first section with some context to the photo, and a second with some technical details. I suppose the latter are only really of interest to other technically minded folk, so I’m not sure if they bother everyone else. I would appreciate if you tell me what you think.


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