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?


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.


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


Waiting

Crosby Beach, Merseyside, UK. 

One of Sir Antony Gormley’s iron men from the ‘Another Place’ installation at Crosby. As these statues have been here for a while now, they’re beginning to become covered in barnacles etc.


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.


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.


Lone Shopper

Had a go at street photography a while ago, it’s not something I’d really considered before but this shot stood out as a “keeper”.


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.


Guiding

 

Crosby Beach, Crosby, Merseyside, UK. 

This week I travelled to Crosby in Merseyside, England to capture images of the iron men statues by Antony Gormley which are installed on the beach. When I arrived, the tide was crashing over the sea wall so I looked around for another subject whilst waiting for the tide to recede. This huge wooden marker stood out instantly so I played around with compositions until I had the above shot. I was constantly having to wipe my filters as the sea spray and damp air were causing havoc with them, leaving water droplets before I had even taken a shot! Luckily the above image wasn’t too affected by this. Unfortunately, arriving at the beach just after high tide meant that by the time I left, the iron men were still hidden under the water which was still lapping over the sea wall. Although I hadn’t got the image that I went for, I’m still happy with this one which shows that if things don’t go to plan, there is still potential to find something to shoot.
Editing the image was quite simple. I adjusted the crop to a 16:9 ratio as this gave the emphasis on the marker and sky which led to a cleaner image. I chose a symmetrical composition simply to create something a little different. The colours were then desaturated and I burnt the top section of the sky to give balance to the sea.


Guardians

Wallasey, Wirral, UK. 

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.


Flux

Dovedale, Peak District National Park, UK.

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


Tu Hwnt i’r Bont

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.


Thalassic

Salford Quays, Lancashire, UK. 

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.


The Disabled Photographers Society Exhibition 2015

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’.


The Lighthouse

Morecambe, Lancashire, UK.

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.


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!


Monochrome Moods

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Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, England.

Some bad weather moodiness at Salford Quays.


Salford Quays at Night
Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, England.

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.


Fog at the Quays

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Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, England.

Decided to try something new this week. These images were taken at Salford Quays in the recent foggy weather.


Shades of Autumn

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Rivington, Lancashire, England. 


The Lifeguard Station

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Ainsdale, Merseyside, England.

Take on a hazy yet sunny day, the beach was surprisingly quiet enough for me to grab this shot without anyone in the scene.


Ribblehead Viaduct

Batty Moss, North Yorkshire, England.

Unusually for me, I found myself drawn to a non-water/seaside based subject as I was travelling past Ribblehead Viaduct a while back. The freight train was waiting at the end of the viaduct so I quickly grabbed my camera and crossed the road to grab a shot as it went across. The sky was really dark and it was about to rain so it was the perfect weather for me. I feel that this is one of the rarer shots of this well photographed place.


Southport – What a Difference!

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.


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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