Walker plus one


An image shot in London a few months ago. A grab shot as I was surveying the reflections higher up and spotted this fellow moving into the scene.

Posted in Black & White, Seen on the Street | Tagged | 3 Comments

Water Sky

_ds85535The world would be a very boring place if it was devoid of reflections. In urban environments the use of flat glass as an outer skin for many buildings has revolutionised the way the built elements of a neighbourhood inter-relate in a vibrant and constantly changing way.

In the natural world we have to rely on water for reflection and, to my eye, there is something special about the way that water reflects the sky depending on how still or ruffled the surface is.

This image was taken last weekend on a visit to Chartwell – there was a subtle movement to the water that created an impressionistic sky, which I inverted during processing.

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The Face at the Window

Original RAW image

Original RAW image

This is an original, unprocessed RAW image captured a few days ago. The exterior surfaces of our house’s windows and doors  are being re-painted and I must thank my wife who spotted the potential in this scene and said I might like to photograph it. I gratefully seized that opportunity. This is a view of an upstairs window that was being painted. The sun was shining on it directly, and what you are seeing are the shadows of the painter and the window frame projected onto a pale yellow window blind that we had left in place to limit the dust that might otherwise have blown into the room during the prepping and painting.

What struck me immediately when looking at this, and other unprocessed files, was the flash of white light radiating from the painter’s glasses across his head. A trick of the light: a small bonus but actually so important to the overall drama of the image.

Usually I have a very clear idea of how I will process an image but in this instance an end point was not immediately obvious. I quite liked the sepia toning but I didn’t want that to be overpowering, but I also could see the obvious potential for a strong B&W image. So After some very minor preliminary work to straighten verticals and horizontal lines I opened the image in my favourite plug in:  Nik’s Silver Efex. This is my ‘go-to’ B&W convertor and is part of the Nik collection – free from Google – if you haven’t tried it yet, what’s stopping you?

When you load an image into Silver Efex (from within Photoshop CC, Lightroom or Photoshop Elements) you will find thirty-eight presets shown as thumbnails down the left side of the window. And you can very quickly step down through them to view them all sequentially. Usually one stands out. More often than not I will find a preset that I like and simply click ‘OK’ to return to Photoshop and do a little fine tuning there. Alternatively any preset can be tweaked within the plugin and a border and/or toning applied.

I stepped through the presets with this image and found myself excited by the possibilities but still uncertain of how to proceed. So I saved several versions of the image using a number of presets that I wanted a closer look at and the ones that interested me the most are shown in the gallery below. Click on the first image and then navigate through with the arrow keys. (The differences are actually quite subtle and you may find it difficult to spot the differences within the first two or three, but seen up large they do become much more obvious).

Each image is titled with the name of the Silver Efex preset.

Looking through these images will give you some idea of the potential of Silver Efex and the creative possibilities that it opens up. (The last two presets, you will notice, automatically add a white border). Occasionally I use the plugin purely as a resource to enable me to see, at a glance, a potential line of processing, that I then execute within Photoshop. And that is what I eventually decided to do on this occasion.

And below you will see my final image that I created within Photoshop. I decided that I liked a bit of Sepia toning but a rather subdued version of it, so the image was first adjusted using levels, curves, brightness and contrast and then finally the saturation of the image was amended.

img_9037_psfinalThis was an image that, to my mind, had no obvious final end point but I’m happy with the one I have chosen at present. But in a few months time I may decide to re-process it. Processing is always about personal preferences and you may well look at this and decide that you would have processed it entirely differently, or even left the original relatively untouched. What do you think?

Posted in Black & White | 17 Comments

Squirrel Nutkin

img_9094Sometimes you have to hunt for the images, and other times they come to you. This one came to me – in anticipation of being offered something to eat.

This image was taken in the churchyard in the centre of Dorking, Surrey. Previously, I recall seeing squirrels close to humans and unafraid – a sure sign that they have got used to associating humans with food. I didn’t have anything for him, but he was happily munching on a nut anyway. Not often that you get this close to a squirrel for long enough to fire off a couple of shots, not with an SLR, just with the Canon G10 – not the easiest of cameras to use in a hurry.

Posted in Animals and Wild Life | Tagged , | 10 Comments

High Up and Close Up


The view from the Mettelhorn. The summit closest to us with a cross on the top is the Platthorn. Extreme left – Dent d’Herens. Centre with triangle of snow on top is Wellenkuppe, peering over its shoulder just to its left is the Ober Gabelhorn.

I posted an image of the highest point reached on our recent holiday in Zermatt about a month ago (click here to view). It shows the rocky pyramid of the Mettelhorn

The headline image today looks down from the top of the Mettelhorn onto the final snowfield crossed during the ascent, where four tiny figures can be seen on their way down. The view from the top  is worth the lung-busting final effort. It’s the sting in the tail of a long five-hour, very nearly six thousand foot ascent from Zermatt. The final altitude reached is 11,180ft. This rocky summit is a place to linger, soak up the view, and re-charge the energy stores before a knee-jarrring three-hour descent back down.


The second image takes a close up view of the small patch of melted snow visible in the foreground of the first image. The colours of melt water, or ice, that can be found on glaciers or high in the mountains is always a surprise – blue, turquoise, green – the colour varies, but it is always a delight for the eyes and worth a pause, and of course an image.

Remember to click on either image to see a much sharper and larger image.

Posted in Swiss Alps - Summer | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Shoes Off

_ds84338Shoes off – just paddling. A simple scene that will be repeated on every beach countless times a day, particularly where the beach slopes at a gentle angle. Nothing quite like  walking lazily through the shallows on a Summer’s day when the heat of the sun has warmed the water.

A seagull was sitting on a sandbank and provides balance to the image. A small object but it acts also as a ‘full stop’ preventing the eye from drifting out of the image.

Posted in WaterScapes | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Leith Hill re-visited

_ds85455A third visit to Leith Hill on another fine day and as ever my eye was drawn to the coniferous trees that populate the flattish summit of the hill like sentinels.

Regular readers may remember the two previous visits at the start of the year, one in hill fog and the other on a beautifully crisp January day. New readers: type Leith Hill into the search box in the Rt sidebar and you will find those posts.

I suspect that every time I re-visit this hill, I will re-photograph some of these trees, and each time come away with a slightly different result.

Posted in Landscapes | Tagged , , | 13 Comments