I’m extremely pleased to say that two of my images have been awarded in the latest round of Amateur Photographer Magazine’s competition ‘Amateur Photographer of the Year’. It’s lovely to see so many familiar names in the Top 30 too, guaranteeing a spot in the magazine which will be published in the coming weeks. To see the competition results visit Photocrowd.
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. Read More
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.
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!
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.
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 🙂
This weeks image is again a little different to what I normally shoot. As I’ve been struggling to get out due to my health, I decided to have a drive down to Media City which is only a five minute drive from my house. I noticed the lights in the building casting shadows onto the walls and wanted to capture this. After finding a viewpoint that used the pillar to separate the windows from the wall and taking the picture I headed home. I like this image as the artificial lighting gives a sense of mystery and atmosphere.
To edit the image, I converted it to black and white then played with the curves and levels in Lightroom. Finally a slight crop finished the image off.
I’m really pleased to announce that ‘Southport Pier’ has won 1st Place in the Open Prints category and Best Monochrome Print in the Disabled Photographers’ Society Exhibition! I also came 3rd in two categories and got 3 Highly Commended awards. It still hasn’t sunk in that I won so many!
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Awarded images are:
Best Monochrome Print in Exhibition & First Place in ‘Preliminary Open Prints’ category – ‘Southport Pier’.
Third Place in ‘Preliminary Open Digital Image’ category – ‘Awaiting Fate’.
Third Place in ‘Preliminary Prints Nature’ category – ‘Six Spot Burnet Moth’.
Highly Commended in ‘Preliminary Open Prints’ category – ‘St Anne’s Beach Huts’.
Highly Commended in ‘Preliminary Open Digital Image’ category – ‘Llandudno Jetty’.
Highly Commended in ‘Preliminary Prints Nature’ category – ‘Pollination’.
Taken just after sunset on a very quick (less than 30 minutes) trip to Cromer last Thursday. I don’t normally travel this far but as one of my images was in the WPOTY Exhibition in Norwich I was in the area. Before leaving home, I researched seaside locations that were in easy reach of Norwich and decided that Cromer seemed like it had plenty to offer. My aim was to get to the groynes too but time was ticking on, it was quickly getting dark and I was in an unfamiliar place so decided to leave. This image is probably one of the most edited that I’ve ever done purely because there were some big industrial bins on the right hand side of the pier. To remove these bins, I created a second layer in Photoshop, flipped it horizontally and with the aid of a mask, brushed over the bins. Then I removed a couple of minor details to improve the composition and converted the image to black and white. The only thing that I’m not happy with is that the lights are not central to the Pavillion but this is because they were not straight and only a high level of editing could correct this which I felt might ruin the charm of the pier. This image was my third to be shortlisted in the WPOTY competition!
Gallery Notice : Images have either not been selected or couldn't be foundSalford Quays, Greater Manchester, England.
Some bad weather moodiness at Salford Quays.
A few more from Salford Quays, this time after sunset. I’m beginning to like architectural photography yet it’s something that I’ve never considered doing before. It was the water that drew me in to shooting here since it’s my favourite subject.
Gallery Notice : Images have either not been selected or couldn't be foundSalford Quays, Greater Manchester, England.
Decided to try something new this week. These images were taken at Salford Quays in the recent foggy weather.
Southport, Merseyside, England.
I visited Southport recently as this was a favourite beach of mine from childhood. The sand was clean and soft and the tide was always miles away from the shore so it became a game to try and reach it. On my last visit I was quite horrified at the state of the sand. There was rubbish everywhere and a greyish slime coated the surface. This slime became thicker further away from the pier and more towards the drain pictured here. I’m not sure if this slime is caused by pollution or if it’s just a harmless algae but it certainly isn’t something I would let my children play near. Maybe this was due to the tide having just gone out. All I can do is speculate but it really brought home the effects of pollution to places where we visit for pleasure. These images were taken not to show how beautiful the beach is but rather to show how ugly the current conditions make it.