Tag Archives: beginners

Red sky at night

This is a quick post, I found some shots from a couple of years ago when I really didn’t know what I was doing ( or less than I do now!).

I’d seen this fantastic red sky around 4pm out the window around Christmas time, when we were staying with relatives in Yorkshire, and knew I had to try and capture it. I leapt in the car and drove to the edge of the village where this glowing salmon-pink sky was looming over the fields.

Unfortunately the image is very low-res as over the past two years I’ve got rid of the RAW file ( I said I was really green back then!). I’ve also had a go at removing the phone lines out of the picture with Content Aware fill from Elements.



Brownsea Island part 1

Back from the New Forest ( on England’s South Coast) where armed with my EFS 17-55 2.8 ( which I’ve said is generally my walkabout lens),my 50mm prime and an EF 70-200 3.5-5.6(which never made it out the bag as it’s huge) I used everything I’ve learned over the past few months and I can see an improvement since my last trip.

I’ll post the best few of the trip over a few posts, but this post is also about where I’ve been experimenting with B&W vs colour as well.

This shot is from Brownsea Island which is off the coast near Bournemouth and Poole, again on the south coast. It can only be reached by a small ferry, and is a nature reserve. It’s a real mix of landscapes even though it’s only a mile across- marshes, woodland and beaches. I looked specifically for interesting shapes and textures while there to convert to monochrome and the shot below works best I think. I’m no software whizz so all I did was desaturate in Elements to convert to B&W.




Here’s the original for comparison.


Will share more in the next few days.

Love is in the air

It’s that time of year again folks, where Valentines can mean anything from a 10ft high teddy bear and a 2kg heart shaped box of chocolates on your doorstep, to a microwave meal for one in front of reruns on Dave (repeat channel here in the UK).

However it also gave me some opportunities to try shooting some different stuff than what I had lying round the house. I bought some heart chocolates and polyester rose petals( all for £3, don’t say I’m cheap!) and set up a table in the spare room.

These are some of the best I came up with. As I’m on a budget I experimented with a shoot of polystyrene (from the leftover packaging when we bought a wardrobe a few months back) as a reflector and a table lamp as side lighting with a sheet thrown over it. I’m only just getting to grips with trying to control light but can already see the difference these homemade aids have made to the shots.

Taken at around f5 if I remember rightly. This was with just overhead light and the reflector on the left. ISO at 1600 and on a tripod.
As above but with side light too.
Side light only, fairly obviously.


This next one is my attempt at an optical illusion! I layered the petals and the chocolates against a 10x magnification mirror. As I was focusing on the mirror I shot at f/25 so that the foreground wasn’t just a blurred blob of red. The shot underneath is just side light only.





And a quick go at Cupid’s arrow but I ran out of chocolates ( no-one ate any honest….)



Will try these ideas again with different props next time.

It’s a small world…

Not much opportunity to use my camera this week but I did get a free gift (ie one of my friends was having a clear-out) and she gave me a 7MP point and shoot camera that she thought I might find useful.

I’m hoping to put it to good use on trying some macro shots in the near future, as a macro lens is way out of my budget, although I do have some close up filters that I bought a while -ago for £20 to use with my kit lens. My other lenses are an EFS 17-55 2.8 and a EF 70-300 3.5-5.6 which I’ve tried to use for close up but with very limited success!

I did use the close-up filters a few weeks back and thought I’d share some of the best of the bunch with you. The main bugbear was the massively shallow depth of field. This definitely isn’t helped by the filter quality either (hey how much do you want when you get 4 filters for £20?!) but even with using a tripod it was hard work to get the focus point exactly where I wanted.

 I’ll try again with the “new” camera soon and see how they compare.


PS budget constraints meant silk flowers not real roses…


Landscapes through the mist…

or drizzle of an English summer, I should have called it!

Yet again it’s been ages since I posted. To be honest I’ve probably bitten off more than I can chew, what with trying to regularly update a blog, still finish the photo course I signed up to a year ago and overseeing a house build as well! Stll, I said I’d do it so here I am!

Anyway we took a few days out last week from being cooped up in the rental that we’re in at the moment ( while the house is built) to go to North Yorkshire for a few days. Yorkshire is known for its dramatic landscapes, stormy skies and inclement weather!

We visited Castle Howard while we were there, where the film adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited was filmed a few years ago. (It’s also well known in the UK for the TV adaptation of the same book, filmed there also,   in the 1980’s.) I took a few snaps when it wasn’t raining and thought I’d share them.

Hope you enjoy them.







Gaggle of Goslings

Is that the right term for a group of geese?

Another long gap since my last post, life is pretty hectic at the moment! And it’s half term here in the UK so the kids are off school, meaning time is really at a premium!

Anyway, before the school holidays started I managed to get out and take these pics on a rare sunny day ( ie not raining). I knew of a village pond in one of the villages nearby and next time I drove up there, randomly on a trip to the dentists, I went to check it out. When I saw the little family on the pond I knew I’d have to come back and bring my long lens- nobody wants an angry parent goose close up with a 17-55mm lens!

All photos taken with my EF 70-300mm 4-5.6 lens.

IMG_7652b IMG_7655b IMG_7673b IMG_7675b IMG_7680b IMG_7694b

I was definitely getting the eye from the parent by the last shot so I went back to the car!

First post!

I’ve been meaning to do this for ages and finally, that day has come- start a blog! (Well technically I started one a couple of years back ,but that petered out….less said about that the better.)

Anyway…about 3 years ago I bought my first digital SLR. I’ve always been interested in photography, even as a kid, but never really had the time or inclination to take it any further. When my daughter was born that was our motivation to buy one, but as most people new to photography, had no idea how it worked.

Eventually I decided, rather than having a very expensive paperweight on my bookshelf, I should really look at doing a photography for beginners class. So I signed up to a 2 day course at a local photographer’s studio and- I was hooked! The power of this little computerised box of tricks in your hands- it was amazing! ( Especially if you flunked art at school like me.)

Of course, that photographer had his own studio for a reason- he’s good! And I am….interested in photography. I plan to be that good one day though! So this blog is basically a platform for me to share what I’ve learnt over the past couple of years ( not much but I’m better than I was) and for you guys to share what you know as well.

I suppose I should share the first picture I took with it, if I can find it-



So yeah, the white balance is wrong and there’s reflection showing ( I’m not daft, I didn’t climb in with it!), but it was a start.

Hopefully, with your help, we can all improve our photo skills. I’ll be sure to pass on any tips I’ve picked up and any I learn in the future.