Wednesday, 4 December 2013

I Love Sunsets

One of my favourite subjects for photography or painting is the Sunset. Sunrise too is good but I don't often see the dawn breaking, after all I am retired now so no real need to fet up early, LOL

But this post is about sharing a few more sunsets from my backgarden, so without further ado lets see what I am talking about:-

The first two were taken from a first floor window to get above the hedge and trees which surround my garden; however the last was from outside on my lawn and includes the newly leaf-free lilac tree. This will be my next painting project.

A similar sky was included in a recent post on my painting blog

The colours are a little more vivid but that is generally what my painting is all about. Read about this painting.

See a recent post which was very similar to this one, a few photos and a painting

Sunday, 17 November 2013

New Landscapes By Creating A PhotoMontage

There is no rocket science in this technique, but it was bought home to me by an artist who gave a demo at my local art group. He created a landscape as a basis for a painting by combining two or more photos in a montage. It seemed to have possiblities that went beyond his demonstration.

Here I simply give an an example of what can be done and leave the rest to your imagination.

First of all, let us look at three of my recent holiday photos; none of them are very startling but are simply snaps taken while the camera was in my hands.

 A ferry leaving harbour

 A view of distant volcanoes (dormant)

A fort on a hillside (originally for protecting the populace from pirates)

Now to proceed ... I was going to use the centre image as my background so it can stay as it is  - for now. The ferry I wanted without any sky, so I selected the sky area and deleted it creating a transparent space above the sea/ferry line.

I also wanted to use the fort as my foreground and so did a similar thing to that photo.

I now have the wherewithal to start to build my imaginary landscape. I open the background in photoshop, and paste the other two photos as layers. The order of these layers will be as already suggested. The volcanoes are the background (and I later copied this layer to be able to adjust it), the ferry is central, ie visible above the background. And the fort is on top.

And there we have a new, imaginary landscape. A boat floating past on a non-existent lake in the middle of a desert landscape in Lanzarote. But does it look right? The boat is very large compared to the fort, especially as it is in the distance. Also the foreground might be expected to have more contrasts in the bright sunlight.

In the last image, I have taken back the contrast in the background and bought the foreground up by darkening and adding contrast.

I have flipped the ferry horizontally and reduced its size. This gave me a small problem in that it did not fit across the edges, so I had to cut and paste a strip of the sea in place, however my last edit actually removed the need for this. I enlarged the fort to make the perspective a little more realistic. Could do better you might say, but it is thte first example I have tried and took the first couple of images I came across. But I hope you can see the technique.

I will be experimenting with this and may come back with more examples and examine the possibillities in more depth.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Autumn in the UK, foliage and sunsets

Now here's a question! What is it that represents autumn to you. There are obviously many, many choices and there can be no wrong answers of course. I have to say that foliage on our deciduous trees is my first thought. And I would not hesitate to say that that probably would be suggested by many, many people. I just thought of  Police academy and thte principal, and edited this to add a few more many's. Simple things give pleasure to simple people.

Here are a couple of shots from my back door. A lilac tree with yellowing leaves and a massive cherry tree two gardens away.  White blossom in the spring, masses of red fruit for the birds and leaves like this in the morning sunshine on a November day.

However, there is one other thing which suggests autumn to me. Maybe a little strange because it could be said to happen right through the year but somehow autumn is different. The autumn sunsets seem to be the most spectacular in the UK. OK, you can argue; but remember there are no wrong answers and this is my personal choice. These were all taken over the last two or three weeks in late October / early November.

I have written a little more about these photographs on another site before putting them here so I am nnot going to repeat myself

Thursday, 31 October 2013

More Photos Taken From Around The Hotel

I guess like a lot of people with digital cameras and large memory cards, I take countless (?) uninteresting photographs with no real value. However sometimes seeing them back at home can provoke the occasional memory of a place or of an incident. All of these images come into that category, some of the memories may be personal or some are after all of a little more general interest.

The hotel we stayed in, see photos in my last post, was The Princessa Yaiza in Lanzarote. More than we can really afford but holidays are supposed to be special!

Let me show a few of these memorable images anad maybe try to explain their significance to us. BTW all photos are taken wwith ambient light, no flash was used.

This is the reception area. Your taxi arrives at the hotel and you are beset by porters who take your bags and guide you through this massively high reception area with hanging vines around the top balconies. Oh and don't forget the champagne as you are seated at the reception desk.

We have been back to this hotel a couple of times and generally go after the high season - fewer kiddies! I don't know if this is the reason but we have generally paid for a room and have been provided with uprated accommodation, usually a (junior) suite. The size and facilities in these rooms are fantastic, the bathroom for instance has "his and hers" washing facilities. There are also two showers; one walk in and one over a bath. BTW, for some reason they see fit to put one of the several phones in to the toilet, see through the open door in the bathroom.

Difficult to show the size of the rooms but this is a shot of the bedroom, a second TV at the bottom of the masive king-size bed. The window opens out on to the incredibly airy corridors mentioned in the last post. Maybe I will include a few images in a later post.

And whilst in the bedroom, this is the scene after the beds have been turned down in the evening. The roooms are cleaned daily and the beds made but every evening the maids return to turn dowwn the corner of the sheets and leave a truffle and a note wishing a good nights sleep. Sometimes, maybe if they have time (?) they also sculpt the nightclothes into these fantsatic shapes. Maybe not necessary but it is indicative of the personal service which makes you feel so very important as a guest in this hotel.

Well there you have a few phots which remind us how marvellous the hotel is and how much we enjoy beinig made to feel special. I have lots more photos but may be persuaded not to post many more, you can try.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Holiday snaps; well, photos taken on holiday

The hotel that we stayed in had several amazing and unique features which of course I captured on film (in a manner of speaking). I thought a couple of these would be interesting to share:-

This colourful scene was captured in the reception area. It is a very large, very high part of the building with a colourful dome in the roof. The dome is made of glass of different colours and at a certain time of day this amazing star within the glass could be seen traversing the floor and anything in its path.

The hotels corridors were designed to seem to be a road. These windows are actually along one of these corridors. Difficult to see from the photo (poor compostion!!) but the left hand windows are a few feet in front of those on the right. The lamp is fixed on a wall at right angles to the woodwork. There is of course another window and balcony overlooking the pool with a sea view from most rooms.

Another part of the hotel, which we called "the jungle" trees with a height equivalent to three stories, rivers and walkways - an incredible area. This statue is one of several in the jungle.

A small pool withing the jungles recirculating water system, complete with a small fountain. The system is fed from a massive array of jets underneath a bridge joining the reception and shopping areas to the restaurant areas, must be seen to be believed.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Night Shots On Holiday

I know that I need to work on my technique for this type of shot but I thought I would share these anyway. They looked great on the small (2-3inch) screen on my camera bu obviously I need to steady myself against some immovable object for this type of photography.

I did used to do this with my last camera but this new toy has anti-shake and I though it would perform better than it has. So the next time I take anything like this, I will be more careful.

Anyway, here are a few photos from the hotel pool at night:-

One of these is actually taken from the near the hotels back entrance, which opens directly onto the beach - can you tell which one it is, LOL.

I am going to loook carefully at this type of photo which I have taken with my old camera and see if they were any better, I really am sure that they were - watch this space!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

One, Two, Three, Four ... Poppies

I have a small raised bed underneath an apple tree at the bottom of my garden. I use it for courgettes an cucumbers but this year we had a very bad and very a late spring, and consequently my plants for this position did not get a very good start.In fact I ended up with one courgette and no cucumber plants. Even now in August, I am not sure I am going to get any produce from this plot.

However, because I did not weed it as my crops were not growing I have had a great display of poppies and violas. I usually put the old compost from my flower baskets on this plot as soil conditioner, with the output from my compost bin, this makes a great growing medium. The violas definitely came from self seeded plants from the baskets but where the poppies came from I simply don't know. They were however a wonderful, delicate shade of mauve.

As ever, I was taking pictures with my digital camera of the flowers in the garden and the largest poppy kept on flowering. I took a photo of the first bloom on the plant; then a second; a third and finally caught the fourth in bud. I thought this made an interesting series and so I am sharing it with you here.

The photos are fair but not great, the shade from the apple tree was a problem for my camera. Perhaps it could have been used better (a poor workman blames his tools, I know) but even after all this time I still use it on the auto setting. Perhaps I should experiment?

Answers on a postcard please!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Springtime Garden Flowers

A simple and straight forward title. I really enjoy pottering in the garden (at least when the sun is shining) and what's more this provides me with an endless range of subjects for my lens during the year. In spring and summer particularly of course we have the colour of the flowers which line the borders in abundance.

Although we are now in high summer and thinking about holidays by the sea, I am taking the opportunity to show off a few of my spring flowers. They herald the coming of the new year and the fact that the holiday season (still thinking about it!) will soon be upon us. So here they are, My springtime favaourite - or at least a few of them.

Shrubs and perennials are what I mainly grow in my garden, low maintenence plants which just require a quick pruning or division to propagate new individual plants. Weeding becomes the only real work.

To start with one of a beautifully coloured hellebore,
I had this as a "moveable" plant at first. I grew it in a
large pot. But I left it in one place too long and the roots
must have decided that they liked the ground and now it is 
a permanent fixture.

Now this is a real beauty, Forsythia.
Brilliant yellow flowers in early spring
without being hidden by leaves which come 
after the blossom. And cuttings are so easy.
One year I used some pruned sticks as supports 
for my peas after they had been lying around for 
a long time. They actually started growing and 
sprouted new leaves - I was amazed, life after death!

A Japanese Quince, unfortunately not an edible variety.
Each year the bush is filled with these tight little red 
blooms, before forming hard fruits.

You may not immediately ecognise this as a Magnolia,
but it is a variety called Magnolia Stellata. Or the Star 
Magnolia because of the shape of its flowers. A very 
welcome early flowering shrub, a little short lived but
beautiful flowers when they are on the plant.

Just to be different, this Christmas cactus (aka Easter cactus, 
depending on the weather?) was on my mom-in-laws kitchen
windowsill for many years. As she passed away recently we
gave it a home and it is still flowering away happily in our kitchen.

I will be posting a few more photos of the flowers in my garden and maybe even some of the photomanipulations which I have created using them. Its all great fun. And look out for some of the wild life in the garden coming up. Birds, amphibians (frogs and toads) and insects including some beautiful butterflies.

Keep taking those photographs and remember - HAVE FUN

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Rollright Stones and Avebury

Just back from a visit to Wiltshire, famous for its neolithic megalithic monuments. Of course I took my camera.

 Adam and Eve, part of the Avebury monument

 The Swindon Stone, Avebury's largest standing stone

 The king's men at Rollright Stones

A close up of some of The king's men

I guess it has been a while since I posted here, but to be honest i have found a new venue for my writing, where I can write about all the subjects which I blog about and get paid quite handsomely for it. What is more people actually come to look at my posts and connect with each other.

Should you feel like trying this new site out visit Bubblews I have almost decided to mothball my several blogger blogs including this one for the immediate future at any rate.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Images of Cleeve HIll

Spent a couple of beautiful days (for early March) at Cleeve Hill, at one of our favourite hotels. The weather was too good to miss an opportunity for a little photography even though we have many images of the area.
It was very sunny with a heavy haze shrouding the distance. Cleeve Hill is the highest point in the Cotswold hills and offers a view of 90 miles on a clear day. This weekend the view was very much curtailed by the haze but nevertheless, the camera was used frequently.

Wonderful place to live, at least in the summer.

 The Hill, just behind the hotel, is a favourite for a very rich source of subjects. A wide variety of natural beauty and architecture, many images from here litter this blog. For example, architecture and scenery at nearby Winchcombe. Although looking back for a couple of links, there really aren't as many as I thought. Mmmm, something to put right!

Higher up the hill, limestone craggs.

Because it was so early in the year, sunset came early and almost surprised me, I took the first of these shots from our hotel room - throught the window - and the second as the light faded and lights came on in Bishops Cleeve below the Hill.

Bishops Cleeve at twilight, the line at right is the M5 motorway

The haze is still apparent in these photographs, but I think it adds to the charm, don't you.

One photograph on the Hill, which I later played with in Photoshop, was an image of a stand of trees. I was playing with all sorts of effects and this one, INVERSE, struck me as very interesting. An air of mystery pervades the image.

Finally for today, I have an image taken of Hailes Abbey, which is just down the road near Winchcombe. Unfortunately closed for another two weeks or so but I managed to take a few photos over a fence at the rear. A very interesting ruin, built in the thirteenth century, currently owned bby the National Trust.

I really must add more images of Cleeve Hill, I can't understand why our favourite weekend spot has not been better represented in this photo journal. Back with more soon.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Buzzards, a new sculpture in Malvern

Visited Malvern this week (bought lots of second hand books) and saw this new sculpture in Rose Bank Gardens just above Bell Vue Terrace. It was added in November to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee as the gardens were being updated. We saw the sculture from well away and I couldn't resist find what it was all about.

As a complete contrast, here is a photograph of a lilac tree after a recent small snowfall.

It wwas actually taken thru the kitchen window with a 10x zoom, when I thought I saw a small bird in the branches. It was actually a blue plastic hook from a chinese lantern which had blown away in the winter winds. I photoshopped it out. LOL

Another failed shot....................