Dandelion, Two Ways

I’m finally writing this post on my PC, which I set up yesterday amid all the other unpacking and organizing chores. It’s only a minimal setup for now, with one seat and one monitor. The rest can wait. It will have to, as the second seat will now need to go on the other side of the room, so I have to decide how to wire up DVI/HDMI and USB over a length of several meters. The printer, too, will be a thorny problem. Mostly likely I’ll set that up somewhere else for network printing.

Seeing that it’s a day for things-long-planned-and-postponed, I decided to share a pair of dandelion photos I took in the spring. I took these photos a month apart (to the day, as it happened), and always wanted to share them together. They weren’t planned as a short series, but it feels silly to write separately about them. The first, below, was taken in Scathes Wood at Ightham Mote in Kent. It was early spring, and the flowers were just starting to bloom. While they’re very common, I look forward to the time they show up each year – I find their colour is so bright and sunny one cannot help anticipating summer.

Dandelion (1844)

The next I took a month later, on a short walk around Broad Water in Surrey. This was my second time to that pond, and we chose that location because it is so close to where we lived, and evening was approaching. I came across the dandelion on our way back to the car; light was low by that time, and so also very soft and rather bluish.

Dandelion (2035)

There is something rather melancholic about dandelions at this stage, with their seeds blowing away in the wind (when there is any). It’s odd that this comes as summer approaches and the air is warmer. I’ve come to associate this with a summer-is-here feeling.

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

St Paul’s

St Paul's (1990)

It has been a busy and eventful week, and have finally started settling in. There are still a few more critical things to happen, but at this point at least life has started taking some sort of order again. With some luck I’ll even have my PC set up soon. Meanwhile, I can’t get used to this heat. I can only hope I’ll be able to enjoy the seaside before work starts again. At least that will be some relief.

Until then I can look back at the many photos I’ve taken in England. Today’s photo is from a quick short break in London a few months ago, visiting my brother (affectionately called J2 in R’s blog). I was lugging around my usual gear, which I’m sure R and J2 found baffling and amusing in equal measure. Now when I carry that stuff in the countryside it never really bothers me. There have been walks where I didn’t even take my camera out, and still wasn’t frustrated with having carried all that gear around. In a city, however, it feels different. I have no idea why. Anyway, on this particular day I really wanted to try my hand making some photos of various architectural landmarks. This is arguably the most recognizable of the lot. We approached St Paul’s cathedral from the south bank, crossing the Millennium Bridge. There is something I really like about this view of the cathedral’s side. Perhaps it’s the arrangement of ramps and stairs that leads up that way.

This was late afternoon, so there were a lot of people around. I set up on a tripod with a strong ND filter to take long exposures. The main reason was to blur people out. I find these filters also help soften the light and reduce contrast, which tends to be a good thing with architecture. In post I corrected perspective, and applied the usual selective curves layers to adjust exposure and contrast. I cropped to a 4×5 layout, which I find works well with perspective-corrected photos.

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

Hobbit Country


This will be my last post before I leave the UK. So figuring out which photo to share took some thinking. In the end I decided on one that I took last year as I felt it appropriate. Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of walking about a considerable stretch of south east England. Basically anywhere within an hour or two’s drive of where we lived, depending on other plans for the day. It actually is a pleasant land of gentle rolling hills, and I have found the countryside a great place to recharge. It is also rather Tolkienesque. Today’s photo was taken during a walk in Puttenham, which is only a short drive away but still feels rather ‘out in the country’. I couldn’t help but feel the association with The Shire, with the pastures, ponies, fences, and all.

I took the photo handheld as a single exposure. At the time I don’t think I had bought the filters yet, so I generally went about without a tripod. Post processing involved the usual selective curves layers to balance contrast and exposure.

There will still be a number of photos from the UK that I’ll be sharing over the coming months, including a few that still need to be processed. Eventually I hope to add some of life in the Mediterranean.

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


Veil of Rain

Veil of Rain (1392)

As I write this I can hear the patter of rain outside and smell the fresh fragrance release as it hits the grass. We’ve had a rather unusual long streak of sunshine in the UK for the last several weeks, and it seems the rain has finally caught up with us. I read it may be too bad on Sunday for a walk in the country, but we’ll see. I’m not ruling out one last walk before heading to Malta.

The photo above was from early spring, on our way back from the hike I led for the photographic society. We were lucky with the weather, and we only had rain at the end of the day. As we approached Guildford from Pewley down, we could see the rain clouds depositing the wet stuff on cathedral hill opposite. I still had my telephoto lens on my camera, so could act quickly.

I took the photo handheld as a single exposure. Post processing involved the use of 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.


Solitary Oak

Solitary Oak (1330)

A very quick post before I head off for some climbing. Today’s photo is from Newlands corner, taken several months ago during a hike I led with the photographic society. I had to check: it was just the beginning of spring, though it’s clear that the tree is practically still bare. On this walk I took my zoom lens and I thought I’d experiment a bit trying to use it for the kind of detail shots in landscapes that I really like. I wasn’t so satisfied with quite a few of the resulting photos, mostly for technical reasons, but this came out quite well.

I took this photo handheld as a single exposure. I didn’t plan so initially, but in post I decided to process as B&W. If I remember correctly I used a (digital) red filter to increase contrast in the sky, and the usual 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.



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