The Cyclist

Liverpool, UK. 

Recently I have been putting a selection of images together that show my various skills as a photographer. This selection includes macro, natural history, studio work, landscapes and seascapes. I felt that something was missing and needed an image with strong lines to finish it off. I then thought about these stairs in Liverpool which isn’t too far from where I live. I decided that a cloudy day would be the best time to visit because it would keep the glare from the metal and glass to a minimum. Luckily the day after was overcast so I made the short journey to Liverpool and positioned myself above these stairs, making sure that my camera was not at risk of falling! It was then just a matter of waiting for the right scene to unfold in front of me. I originally had the idea of a couple being in the image but when I saw this cyclist I knew that this was ‘the one’ as it is more unusual. Once home, I processed the image by cleaning up a few dirty marks from the brickwork and stairs then converted the image to black and white and added a little contrast. 
I am really pleased with how well received this image has been! It won third place in WexMondays which is a weekly photography competition and has had thousands of likes and reblogs over on Tumblr! So now I am pondering; should I do some more street photography?


Hope

As it was St Davids Day and Ash Wednesday last week, I decided that the Daffodil was an apt subject for a shoot. This was due to it being the national flower of Wales and nicknamed ‘Lent Lily’ as it flowers during the Christian period of Lent. I chose the title of this image ‘Hope’ as the Daffodil is a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings. Also, according to Welsh folklore, if you spot the first daffodil of the season, your next 12 months will be filled with wealth!


The Shell

Rossall Beach, Cleveleys, Lancashire, UK. 

Mary’s Shell can be found on the beach at Cleveleys which is just north of Blackpool, England. It is 8m long, 4m tall and weighs in at 16.5 tonnes, with words from the story of the Sea Swallow etched inside. The story tells a fairy tale that blends legend with local features, including sunken villages and the petrified forest which you can still see on the beach today.


Happy World Photo Day

Happy World Photo Day! Just want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has followed me, shared and liked my posts in this past year, you make my creative journey worthwhile! Here’s my most popular post on Tumblr this year 🙂

laura-hacking:

13/52 Standing Alone.

A trip to the Lake District resulted in me capturing this weeks image of the infamous lone tree at Buttermere Lake with Fleetwith Pike in the background. Due to the high winds that day I was unfortunate to find that the surface of the water was moving far too quickly to capture reflections of the surrounding hills in the water but think that this has led to a more mysterious image.

To edit, I simply converted the image to monochrome and boosted the contrast a little.


Hen Cloud

The Roaches, Peak District National Park, UK. 

This weeks image was taken in the Peak District National Park, England. Before I left home that day, I checked the weather apps and saw that mist was expected in this area so decided to head there to see what I could find. Once I arrived, I began taking pictures of a lone tree but found that the mist was creating huge water droplets on my lens so had to literally point, shoot then dry the glass. I then found this little spot near my car and couldn’t resist the composition above. After taking a few shots, I headed back to the car as I was happy with the ones I had and having to constantly wipe the lens was getting a little tedious plus I was rapidly getting wet.
Editing was very simple as I just desaturated the colours then used the clone stamp to remove tiny distractions such as small white stones in the foreground.


Perch Rock II

Wallasey, Wirral, UK. 

After not leaving the house for a few weeks due to being poorly, I felt that some time at the beach would wash away the cobwebs so to speak. After looking on various weather apps and tide times, I decided that a trip to New Brighton on the Wirral, England would be the best bet, plus I really like this beach as it is clean although there is the odd jellyfish to watch out for! As it was the school holidays and very hot weather, we decided to visit later on in the afternoon when the crowds had died down and it wouldn’t be quite as hot. When the tide was coming back in and it was nearly time to leave, I set up my camera and tripod and captured this image in two separate frames so that I could fit in all of the foreground and to ensure that I could use a long enough focal length so that the lighthouse didn’t seem tiny in the final picture. I captured this image then moved to my left when I took the image that I posted just before this one. After this is was time for icecream and a drive back home.

Editing the two images was quite straight forward. I selected the two frames in Lightroom and stitched them into a panorama using the very easy to use stitch function. I then sharpened the image and cropped it into this composition before desaturating and slightly adjusting the contrast.


Dandelion

This is quite a different subject for me as I have been quite poorly so haven’t been able to get out. I chose the dandelion seeds as a subject due to their softness and they also bring back childhood memories of blowing the seeds off the stem and making a wish. Finding a suitable specimen was quite straightforward and once I was happy that the dandelion was in focus and well lit, I took this picture. Simply desaturating the colours and cloning out a few blades of grass is all that was needed to finish off this image. 
I am pleased to announce that this image was shortlisted in this weeks WPOTY competition!


Before The Blizzard

Stanage Edge, Peak District National Park, UK.

The conditions at Stanage Edge on Thursday were extremely changeable and cold. When I got out of the car I could see rain developing over Mam Tor which is to the right of this image (and a few miles away). I thought that as it only just looked as though it was building up, I would have plenty of time to get to the millstones, grab a few pictures and get back to my car before it came my way. How wrong was I! Needless to say, the fine yet heavy hailstone and ice cold winds soon had me retreating back to the warmth of the in-car heating! Luckily, this is an area which I have visited before so had the composition in mind before arriving. This image was taken in the five minutes that I was at the location!
Editing was quite simple for this image. I used the heal tool in Photoshop to remove a few parked cars on the horizon and a bit of sheep poo that was distracting! I then desaturated the image and used the dodge and burn tools to boost the contrast. A slight vignette and crop finished the picture off.


I Spy

Morecambe, Lancashire, UK. 

This weeks image was born out of frustration and a chance encounter. On Tuesday, I went up to Morecambe to shoot some long exposure seascapes that I’d tried to do a few weeks ago (on that occasion I’d left my spare camera battery at home & the one I had was almost drained). Upon parking my car and setting up on the promenade I came across three words on my camera screen which hit my heart like a lead weight; ‘insert memory card’! Absolutely devastated, I then realised that I’d taken the card out of my camera to upload my previous shoot to the computer and that i hadn’t put it back in my bag. I also realised that my box of spare cards was on my desk, also at home. It’s typical as the conditions at the beach were perfect. The lighting was just right, the tide was at the right height, the clouds were moving nicely etc. Frantically I opened Google maps on my phone and located a Morrisons supermarket around the corner, they’d sell SD cards surely… After searching the store and finally asking a member of staff it turns out that they don’t sell them(!!) Feeling like my day had been ruined, I left the store, preparing to drive the 90 minutes back home. Luckily next door was an Argos! Praying that they had some cards in stock I went in and there they were, hanging on a rail at the checkout! I quickly paid for one and headed back to the promenade, my day wasn’t ruined after all! Or so I thought. When I arrived, I realised that the tide had moved a lot in the thirty minutes since I left and it was now far away in the distance. I thought about just packing up and going home as it really seemed as though the odds were against me! However, I noticed that the sea was just about still swirling around the stone jetty, the water rushing over the mounds of sand and clearing before the next surge arrived. As quick as I could, I made my way there hoping that I could find something to shoot. Whilst looking at the channels of water slowly making their way across the sand and into the sea, I noticed the bench at the end of the jetty (which seems more like a stone pier to me). As I was finding a good composition, two older ladies sat down for a few minutes. Thinking that they would make great subjects, I set up my camera and decided that a couple of seconds exposure time would blur the clouds and sea sufficiently yet hopefully I could time the capture just right so that they remained motionless. As soon as I’d finalised all of my settings, they stood up and left. This was not my day! I then noticed the gentleman who is in my final image. He had been stood at the other side of the jetty and now made his way over to the bench, setting his bicycle against the railings beforehand. A rush of relief then hit me when I saw the binoculars in his hand as I knew that he would remain almost statuesque at some point whilst observing the birds. A three second exposure is all it took to achieve my final image. Something a little different compared to my usual work but yet still felt right to me.
Editing was quite simple. I converted the image to black and white and adjusted the tones to achieve a light yet balanced atmosphere. I then chose a 5:4 crop as it seemed to fit the composition better than the standard 3:2.
After all this I have realised that even when plans don’t work out, there is always a subject to be found 🙂


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