The Viaduct

Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District National Park, UK.

Been trying to have a clear out of ‘rubbish’ images on my computer’s hard drive today. I say trying to because I kept finding pictures that I wanted to edit instead of finding ones to delete! This one of Ashopton Viaduct is just one example of my procrastination. I bypassed this image when it was taken back in December but finding it today made me realise that it had potential. I’m probably not the only person to have around 2TB of ‘rubbish’ lying around on my hard drive. Do you?


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. 


Peril

Fleetwood Marsh Nature Reserve, Lancashire, England. 

One of the shipwrecks (fishing trawler?) on Fleetwood Marsh at high tide. The tide was so high when I got there that I had to wait for it to start going out so that I could see the safe route through the water! Would have certainly given passersby a good giggle if I fell into one of the deep channels…


The Barn

Near Castleton, Peak District National Park, UK.

An iPhone shot taken on a very wet day in the Peak District which led to a lovely moody atmosphere.


Awaiting Fate

Crosby Beach, Sefton, UK. 

One of Antony Gormley’s iron men from the Another Place installation at Crosby. 


Broken II

Heysham, Lancashire, UK. 

This broken lighthouse is near Morecambe, UK. It’s been a while since I managed to get out with my camera so I thought that this lighthouse would sum up how I’m feeling regarding my health lately.


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.


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.


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


Stormy Beach

Morecambe, Lancashire, UK. 

Storm light gives a surreal edge to mundane scenes. Photos were taken within a few minutes of each other.


Shipwreck

Fleetwood Marsh, Lancashire, UK. 

The remains of an old fishing trawler lie abandoned in their final resting place on the Lune Estuary near Fleetwood, England.


Closed for the Winter

Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, UK. 

Beach huts on the promenade near Blackpool, England. During the summer there is a buzz of activity here but during the winter the tourists are nowhere to be seen.


Alone

Colwyn Bay, North Wales, UK. 

A lone figure stands at the end of an old jetty surrounded by fog in North Wales, UK.


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.


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 🙂


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.


Published – Amateur Photographer Magazine

This morning I opened my weekly issue of Amateur Photographer magazine and was delighted to see that three of my ‘Salford Quays at Night’ project were on page 33! I was contacted a few weeks ago asking me to send in a CD with ten photographs on it for selection which shocked me quite a bit, I mean, I’ve only had a ‘proper’ camera since September! Anyway, I sent the pictures in and here’s the result. This series of images has also been requested by City & Guilds to be hung in the reception of their brand new Head Office alongside my classmates!


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