Tree Bark

We never stop seeing the world slightly differently, finding a new focus of interest unexpectedly. A few days ago I went for a slowish walk through woodland that was new to me and found myself fascinated by tree bark. I came home with around fifty images of nothing but tree bark.

Maybe it was, in part, because I was reduced to walking slowly having fallen off a ladder a few days previously. Fortunately I fell flat on my back, so the consequence was spread over a wide area of my back. A fall in a different orientation might well have had more serious consequences. As it was, I was relieved to discover I could still move my legs. For the first time in about fifty years I was forced to present myself to the Accident Department where X-Rays confirmed there was no fracture. It has not been a comfortable few days but I am on the mend, although moving stiffer and slower than usual  – I can no longer hurry (hopefully a temporary state of affairs).

When out with a camera we are prone to hurrying – searching for the familiar and in so doing being blind to the alternatives. Slowing down allows us to examine our surroundings in greater depth and sometimes we see things that previously our eyes just glossed over.

Silver Birches are known for their white bark, but more often than not their bark is fractured, distorted, damaged and diseased. And that is when the character shows through – signs that against the odds, despite the wounds that time has inflicted: the trees are still alive. Blink and you miss it. Another lesson learned on the visual journey through life.

Click on any image to see a higher quality enlargement

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Discovering the Plantation

A few days ago I spotted a Plantation of trees in the distance on the drive home. A check on the OS map showed a path that looked likely to pass close to the Plantation I had spotted.

Yesterday I set out to explore and check things out. And, suffice it to say that I have found the plantation and it has really excited me with its potential. I went armed with just an iPhone because time was short and I was merely scouting. I came home with a batch of images, three of which have been uploaded to my Instagram feed  – click here to view.

The images are now on my desktop and this is how I have processed one of those iPhone images – just for starters. [Blur was added during processing]. I will be back with a proper camera in the next few days and assuming all goes well, there will be more images to follow on this blog.

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Into the Interior

The modern concept of using glass as cladding or facade for buildings allows us to see into them to varying degrees depending on a range of factors including the direction of light, its intensity, the degree of reflectivity of the glass used, whether it is tinted or not, and the differential levels of ambient light inside and outside. And then there are additional levels of complexity created by glass acting as a giant mirror reflecting and distorting the surrounding environment.

Sometimes the views are clear, sometimes they are subtle. Sometimes they are easy to interpret and sometimes they puzzle us. One thing is for sure, the built world would be a less interesting place if so-called flat glass had not been invented.

Posted in Architecture & Buildings | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Yellow oil Part 2

One of the benefits of being part of the WordPress on-line community is that fellow photographers make suggestions when they see an image they like.

When I posted the full colour version of this, Linda Grashoff who I have known now for over five years (click here to view her blog) said she thought the image would look good in black and white.

I have to admit that I had never thought of translating an image of Rapeseed into B&W because the whole point of the image is the fantastic mix of blue sky and yellow field. But when people make suggestions I will follow them up – and today you see the results. And certainly there is drama in the B&W, provided that during the conversion to B&W a method is used that allows the tonal range to be tweaked to ensure that ‘yellow’ remains light in tone and ‘blue’ becomes dark. The way I convert in Photoshop is to use Image/Adjustments/Black and White and either move the sliders to adjust the tonal range manually or select a preset from the drop-down list.

I’ve also attached below what one might call the half-way house version of de-saturating all the colours except yellow.

As always, it would be good to hear your comments, and remember to click on either image to see a higher quality enlargement.

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Yellow oil

Rapeseed – Brassica Napus to give it its proper name – is one of the stand-out sights of Spring in the UK. For some years, finding a photogenic yellow field has been one of the challenges I have set myself each spring. In Northamptonshire, where we used to live, fields of Rapeseed were quite common, but because farmers rotated their crops each year the search had to be begun anew every Spring.

In West Sussex where we now live, fields of Rapeseed are not so plentiful – the county it much more wooded and there is less arable farming. But fields of Rapeseed are there if one keeps looking, and earlier today I visited one not too far from where we live. I always look for a stand-out feature to anchor the composition and an isolated tree often fulfils that function And so it did today.

In addition, I found a line of tractor tracks that provided a lead-in, curving round towards the tree. And the weather was perfect – a blue sky flecked with cloud. It’s that combination of yellow and blue with a hint of green that grabs my attention every time.

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It’s quite a while since I last saw a waterfall close-up, and even longer since I thought of capturing an image of one.

Yesterday we returned to Hever Castle. It was a beautiful spring day: pleasantly warm. In fact Spring is galloping through, due to unseasonably warm weather. Bluebells are already coming out and other aspects of Spring are weeks ahead of schedule.

Talk of photographing Waterfalls usually prompts thoughts of the necessity for a tripod. Not so. I never carry one. Some country gardens actually won’t allow them. I find them an encumbrance. They limit the ability to move freely and in consequence often stifle creative thinking. It’s often the case that a simple examination of the surroundings will identify a solid item – wall, rock, tree – against which a camera can be securely held obviating the need for a tripod. For the curious this was shot at ISO 100, F10, 1/6th second.

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Two plus one

Another image from our trip to West Wittering last weekend (click here for previous post). For as long as I can remember I’ve had a fascination with shooting silhouettes and the light was just right for that approach on the day we visited. This type of photography is about searching and patience, waiting for the right grouping. Sometimes one is rewarded, but there are plenty of occasions when, try as one might, things just don’t turn out quite right.

I’ve just noticed that the lady’s right sleeve ends without a visible hand! Arrgghh!


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