Thursday, May 31, 2012
The location in today's picture is again within the grounds of Hever Castle, with the focus of this one being the Tudor Village that lies behind the castle. Now this part of Hever Castle does not actually date back to the Tudor period (1485 - 1603 for the historian buffs like me) but was created in the 20th century to house extra guests that would be staying at Hever Castle. You're not allowed to walk round it either, nowadays I believe it is specially reserved for weddings and other events. Therefore, I got this picture while stood by the castle, whilst looking towards the Tudor Village. I found it quite intriguing that there was a boy who was in and out of this boat by the village and felt this would look good as part of the picture. I'm sure he works for the castle but luckily was not wearing any kind of uniform that would look out of place in this picture.
Processing wise, this is an HDR picture taken from 3 shots and after a lot of painstaking work, I merged in a texture from a rock that I also pictured from within the grounds of Hever Castle. In the final image I did think about going a bit lighter on the texture but then I lost the authentic historical look of the buildings, which I was not prepared to sacrifice, therefore I kept the strong texture look in.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
This was taken last week as I was chasing the sunset all over West Berkshire. I was hoping to come across a stretch of water such as a lake with the sun going down on the horizon but knew I wouldn't really find it. Having driven down so many endless country lanes, I came across an elderly couple watching these cows as the sun dipped down and as I drove past, my intuition said 'that's it!'. I turned the car round and parked somewhere off the road I probably shouldn't have and took quite a few bracketed shots of these cows in the field. Now I didn't use a tripod because it wouldn't stretch to where I wanted it to go anyway. I perched on a fence that quite luckily was right in front of 30mph sign and this gave me stability and a fairly steady hold as I took the shots.
It wasn't the easiest HDR to process because of the contrast in light between the foreground and background but I think the persistence has paid off. Layer masking certainly helped eradicate the movement of the cows between the different bracketed shots.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
This isn't an HDR photo but a single exposure processed in Lightroom and then Nik Color Efex Pro using the Glamour Glow filter. I wanted it to represent the English countryside in the summer but I dialled back the vibrance of the colours as my original version I felt was a bit too green. So this way I hope to have given it a more artistic look which is the aim of most of my pictures.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
So this is Hever Castle in Kent, a place I have wanted to visit for a couple of years now. Hever Castle is best known for being the childhood home of Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn. She lived here from soon after her birth (circa 1501 believed to be in Norfolk) to around perhaps the time she was made Queen in 1533, with a 6 year gap in the middle (circa 1516-1522) during which she lived in France. She was 1 of 2 of Henry's wives to have been beheaded, the unfortunate victim in a conspiracy to replace her as Queen (almost certainly because she had been unable to provide Henry with a son). As I intend to post many more pictures from around Hever Castle in the near future, I won't go into a complete biography of Anne Boleyn now but naturally she is fondly remembered at Hever.
You can walk round inside Hever Castle, where you will quickly learn it's not really a castle at all but a large country manor house. It can be toured inside in half hour but what really makes Hever special are the gardens and landscape surrounding the castle. There are beautiful statues, fountains, streams, lakes, mazes, waterfalls...it really does go on. It's a fantastic place for the photographer and I highly recommend it. It was a fantastic opportunity to try some creative shots within the grounds of Hever Castle and as I said, will post many more of them in the near future.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Anyway, to try and get back the international feel (??) to this blog, I decided to post a picture from the Polish city of Wroclaw, which I took last year whilst visiting. I'm getting married in Poland this September in the hard to pronounce village of Krzeszow, which is a good hour or perhaps more from the city of Wroclaw in south west Poland. It is within stunning countryside though and I will post a picture soon of the Basilica we are getting married in, it is an absolutely stunning sight.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
I also knew that this was likely to be a monochrome HDR. Whereas I liked the colours the picture offered, I felt like I had already done that with my previous picture. Therefore, I wanted a bit more of a gritty, historical look to this version. After a fair bit of processing in Lightroom and Photoshop, I shipped it over to Silver Efex Pro 2 to get the monochrome look I was after. There are many great black and white options in there as you would expect (though I think Lightroom 4 can give you amazing control for your monochrome pictures as well) but I often find myself going towards the sepia/vintage look, as I have applied here.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
There are of course many lessons to be learned there but with my half glass full approach, the one that cheers me up in those situations is I think to myself 'It's better to have missed the shot, than not know it existed at all'. At least that way you can capture it another time.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Sunday, May 13, 2012
So onto today's picture then and I decided to stick in the Liverpudlian rock 'n' roll era. Billy Fury was hitting the big time just before the Beatles were and was perhaps partly successful due to his similarities to Elvis. He went on to have many hits throughout the 60's (though if you asked me to name one, I would be struggling) but sadly died of Rheumatic Fever, which he had first contracted as a child, in 1983. He was 42 years old (as Elvis Presley was when he died). Although perhaps forgotten by the international scene, Billy is still fondly remembered in his native Liverpool and this statue of him can be scene in the Albert Dock area of Liverpool. It is a single exposure, processed entirely in Lightroom 4. The clarity slider in Lightroom 4 is one of the greatest tools in photo processing software. It can make single images have a fantastic (and artistic) detailed look without straying into HDR processing.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
This picture is taken quite obviously outside The Beatles museum in Liverpool, by the Albert Dock. This was the 2nd time I have visited the place but it was the first time for my fiancé, who I was taking there. This is an HDR from 3 different exposures and is 1 of 2 pictures I processed of this scene, but this version was by far the better one.
There is an extra treat today (because I like to go that extra mile sometimes), please take the chance to see more Beatles photos below. These are pictures I took the same day from within the museum.
|The Cavern Club|
|Yellow Submarine Artwork|
|John Lennon Tribute|
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Today's picture is one I took last September while visiting Belfast. Belfast City Hall is probably the most famous building in Belfast and was completed in 1906. There are many statues adorning the building but the most prominent one at the front is of Queen Victoria. It's an HDR from 3 exposures and I also used Topaz Adjust to bring out more details of the hall. I used Lightroom 4 extensively as well, as always.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
|The New Forest Heathland|
Now I have no doubt at all that we all got into photography because we loved the idea of seeing a particular scene and wanting to capture it as perfectly as possible. We thoroughly enjoy it and this is what has led us further and further down the photographic path. However, with all the social media and technology raging in the world these days, I am seriously starting to question whether the love of photography seems to come after the importance of raising one's 'profile'. I'm trying to figure out in myself where I fit into this as well.
Most people will know that I am an optimistic thinker and accept success in all forms. If someone is well known, they are definitely doing something right. What perhaps is bothering me a little now though is the fact that quality in the photographic internet world seems to becoming sacrificed in place of exposure (no pun intended there!).
Of course, quality art is an interesting concept to debate in the modern world itself. And yes I would love to raise my profile as a photographer as well. But the problem I find is the whole 'get your name out there' concept, which is very unnatural and awkward for me. It does go against artistic principles I know to have a blog that promises 3 pictures a week because art itself should never have a quantitive promise or restriction. It should take as absolutely long as it needs to take. One person may have hundreds of poor and unpopular photographs but if there is one picture that they worked on for years and became a masterpiece, whatever they did in the social media world would be irrelevant. Art, and particularly masterpieces, are timeless and not affected by what happens in the social media world. There are great artists who probably do not own a computer but having focused entirely on their craft their whole lives, profile-raising does not become necessary.
So I find myself again questioning whereabouts do I sit on this issue? I guess I have a foot in both camps. I have this blog site which I love working on and I also have a Twitter page which I also enjoy updating now and then. But truthfully, I know it isn't social media that is going to lead to any potential success I have. It's simply how good the photos are that I am taking. This is all there is to it. I would happily trade in never trending on Twitter or becoming part of some Google+ debate if it meant taking years to becoming appreciated as someone who worked hard on his craft. In the meantime, find me some more people on the net with perhaps little 'exposure' (sorry again) but some mind-blowing photography and you will have found yourself a new fan.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
I did mention the other day about having a lack of new material recently and that has coincided with a lot of thoughts about some gear upgrade, so watch this space! In the meantime, it's my responsibility now to go out and find more potential photographic moments and that I fully intend to do.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
I know I need to go out and take more pictures but perhaps just as importantly, I need to go back through all my pictures in Lightroom and find some gems I have perhaps overlooked. I never intend to force myself into going and getting new pictures as quickly as possible, therefore Thursday's picture will be a 'classic' picture from last year. Hope you are all still with me recently though???
I just realised, it's May 1st today. May is always a good time and generally one of my favourite months, so I'm sure good things will come...