New Shoots

This week I have been suffering from the dreaded flu so the only photo opportunity that arose was when I visited my mum’s house on Mother’s Day. After dinner, I went outside into the garden where my children were playing. Whilst outdoors, I spotted this ground covering plant with ‘furry’ leaves which to me summed up the beginning of Spring. I grabbed my camera and took a couple of shots before returning indoors. After enquiring what the plant was, I found out that it is called Cerastium Tomentosum Snow-in-Summer or, as it is more commonly known, Chickweed. 


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!


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.


Tree In The Mist

The Roaches, Peak District National Park, UK. 
This image was taken on a very changeable day in July 2016. The forecast was for light cloud yet I was greeted by thick fog that kept clearing and returning. It’s certainly not a ‘standard’ summertime view!


Jellyfish

The only time I left the house this week was to visit the aquarium with my children and this Pacific Sea Nettle jellyfish really caught my eye. It’s not normally something that I would shoot but sometimes creating work that is out of the norm leads to a new interest. I don’t think I’ll be abandoning my landscapes or seascapes any time soon but this week I’ve learned that subjects can be found in the unlikeliest of places!


Tracks

Bury, Lancashire, UK. 

Disclaimer: These are tram tracks in a park and were not in use on the day that I took this photograph. #safetyfirst


Tulip

This week I was quite poorly so decided to take a picture of a tulip from my kitchen windowsill. I opened the back door of my house and placed the tulip in a vase close to the doorway. With the door being white plastic and glass, it became useful as a reflector and I positioned it so that the sunlight bounced onto the flower. Using a shallow depth of field on my camera has allowed the kitchen wall in the background to be out of focus to draw attention to the gentle curves and tones of the tulip and the slight backlighting has given a partly translucent effect on the petals.
Editing this image was very straightforward as all that was required was desaturation and a slight vignette.


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!


Nine Stones Close

Near Stanton Moor, Peak District National Park, UK. 

This weeks image was taken near to Stanton Moor in the Peak District National Park, England. The four Bronze Age stones that remain were once part of a circle of nine, the fifth has been moved and now forms part of a wall behind where I was stood and the location of the other four is unknown. However, in 1847 it was recorded by antiquarian Thomas Bateman that seven stones stood in this location. The stones are quite tall, standing between 1.2 and 2.1 metres tall and so they are the tallest in the Peak District and they certainly are an imposing sight. This stone circle (or rectangle as it now is) is surrounded by myths and legends and has been nicknamed ‘The Grey Ladies’ as they have supposedly been seen to ‘dance’ at midnight on certain days of the year. Being at this location was quite strange in that I felt rather uneasy about being stood in the field and that I should walk around the perimeter rather than through the circle. Whether this was due to it being a farmers field and not public land, because of the historical nature of the location or whether it was due to mystical energy in the area could be a worthwhile debate! All I know is that it was not somewhere that I felt very comfortable so I took a couple of shots and left.
To edit this image, I desaturated the colours and then set to work dodging and burning areas to improve localised contrast.


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.


The Valley

Monsal Head, Peak District National Park, UK. 

This week I was travelling through the Peak District when I was surrounded by thick fog. It became so thick that I felt that carrying on driving on the winding country roads would be too dangerous so I pulled in at the nearest parking spot. As the fog lifted and I gathered my bearings, I realised that I was at the top of Monsal Head, a well known beauty spot. Before leaving, I grabbed my camera and found the best place to shoot from. I decided that a panoramic image would work best due to the 90 degree view. Working from left to right, I fired off 9 frames which I later stitched together in Adobe Photoshop. I then converted the image to black and white and used the dodge and burn tools to add selective contrast. A 16:9 crop completed the editing.


Flux

Dovedale, Peak District National Park, UK.

A couple of shots from the Peak District National Park found deep inside my archives.


Win Hill vs Lose Hill

Castleton, Peak District National Park, UK.

This weeks image was taken in the Peak District, UK. As we very rarely get snow at home and the roads had begun to clear, I decided to head to Castleton to see if there was anything worthy of shooting. As I pulled up on a car park close to the bottom of Mam Tor, I decided that I liked the contrast between the two hills which are similar in height and close together. Win Hill is the peak topped with snow, which looks barren and inhospitable yet Lose Hill is the opposite. Using a tripod, I took three images of the scene which were later combined into a panorama in Photoshop. This allowed me to be able to crop the image whilst retaining a high image quality. Editing the image was quite simple as I only used the dodge and burn tools along with a sharpening layer and a monochrome conversion.


Llyn Ogwen

Llyn Ogwen, Snowdonia National Park, UK. 

This week saw me driving to Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. I’ve always loved it here and knew that having a drive around the park would inspire me. I decided to enter the park from the Anglesey side and make my way home down the A5, stopping when I could. Shortly after leaving Bethesda I saw a small weir on my right so pulled in at the first opportunity as water is my favourite subject. Upon grabbing my kit and leaving the car I saw the building (boathouse?) and tree and could not resist setting up a shot. Using my 10-18mm lens, I captured a series of images which would later be stitched in Photoshop. I experimented with using different strength filters and exposure times as I wanted to capture movement in the clouds but not too much in the tree which is always a challenge in windy conditions! After around 10 minutes I was very cold so decided to get back in the car and see what else I could find, although this subsequently ended up being nothing as the light had dipped too low behind the mountains. Once I was home, I stitched 6 images together in Photoshop to create the foreground and used a wider long exposure image to create an even sky and water surface. I used luminosity masks to achieve this along with the clone stamp. This was definitely one of my more edited shots as I never normally edit an image for longer than 5 minutes but I felt that to do the location justice, a more heavy processing technique was necessary. I chose this image to use as my entry into this weeks WPOTY competition due to the length of time I spent getting it perfect and am pleased to announce that it was shortlisted! This image has become my most popular on social media networks (especially #Instagram and #500px) in less than 24 hours!


Shades of Autumn

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Rivington, Lancashire, England. 


Derwent Reservoir

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Derwent Valley, Peak District National Park, England.

Sometimes I like to go to very quiet places away from everything and just sit there listening to nature.


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