Higher Broughton, Salford, UK.
From my ongoing ‘Forgotten’ project.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
This weeks image comes from New Brighton beach and the concrete sea defenses. I decided to go for a minimalist approach to bring out the detail on the concrete so reduced the sea and sky by using a long exposure.
Editing this image was quite simple, I did some light dodging and burning in the sky and defenses and a monochrome conversion.
Llanrwst, North Wales, UK.
On the edge of Snowdonia National Park, this listed building is currently owned by the National Trust and used as a tearoom. I have wanted to take a picture of this building for a while but the conditions were never right. Luckily, I planned this weeks visit just as the clouds rolled in!
To edit, I cropped the image to a 16:9 ratio to even out the composition. I then desaturated the colour and boosted the contrast.
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.
Before becoming a lighthouse, this building was a railway station, taking passengers to the boats moored on the Stone Jetty. Now a grade II listed building, I felt that this would be a great addition to my solitude project. Using a ten stop neutral density filter to smooth the sea and sky, I created a thirty second exposure. After taking this image my battery finally gave up on me and it was then that I realised that the spare was in my other camera bag! Absolutely gutted I left Morecambe and drove home. Processing the image was very simple. After a monochrome conversion, I sharpened the image slightly and improved the contrast.
Three trees stand on the side of ‘The Great Ridge’ engulfed by mist. This image was taken on a very windy and wet afternoon at the beginning of February. As ‘Storm Imogen’ was beginning to hit the UK coast, I decided to visit the Peak District National Park to find this weeks image. Upon arriving at the base of Mam Tor, I could see that the weather was creating an amazing atmosphere over the hills. After steadying myself against the car door, I managed to take this image before my camera (and I!) got too soaked to carry on. I edited the scene with the sheer brutality of the conditions in mind so reflected this in the darkness of the image. A simple monochrome conversion and a slight boost in contrast is all that was needed.
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!
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!
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!