Wednesday 30 May 2007

What big eyes you have...

Just for my Mum, today's post. This owl was one of many we saw at the Essex Craft show on Saturday. I can't for the life of me remember what variety he is - maybe someone reading this can leave a comment and let us know? Either way though those big brown eyes were looking so soulful everyone who went near him was saying "Ahhhh!"
The weather this week hasn't been improving any - we've had rain pretty much steadily since the weekend - with tomorrow being the first half decent day we've been promised in a while. Good timing too as I'm off to the Suffolk Show during the day, and then of course it's speedway in the evening. I'm meeting Pat at Foxhall just after 9am tomorrow - certainly the earliest I've ever been up there and I'd best hope that Bob's there as early as he says he should be so I can leave my car! We'll then come directly back to Foxhall after the show for the meeting - the timings should all work out quite well.
Some slightly unhappy news on the speedway front tonight - Oxford are out of the league with immediate effect due to quite simply not being able to make ends meet. It's a crying shame - their fans have been totally mislead by one half of their promotion team and I feel for both the fans and the other promoter (Who seems to have been left to pickup the pieces) hugely. Chins up guys - you'll be back next season I'm sure and I for one shall miss my visits to Cowley this year.

Monday 28 May 2007

A close encounter...

No, not me - these guys...!

Went to the Southend air show today. The weather unfortunately stayed pretty grey and cloudy all day but the camera still saw plenty of action. I carry a large white face flannel in my bag in these conditions which works well for covering the camera while it's not in use - the 70-200mm lens is, of course, weatherproofed, as is the connection between that and the Teleconverter which I was also using today. The shot to the left is with just that combination - the first time I've used it for Aviation stuff and considering that, and the conditions, I was quite pleased with my results. The reds were due to display at 3pm - but the cloud cover was looking so low we weren't holding out much hope. At around 2.30pm the clouds lifted just a touch and the event organisers seized their chance and the Reds came in early (Early? The RAF? Well fancy that!) - ostensibly to do the flat display that is their "poor weather option" - however what they eventually did was pretty much the full display including the close passes (one of which is seen here) and the Synchro stuff.
Hopefully some more from the show to come over the next few days. I hope to get some more airshow practise later in the year as I am planning on going to Lowestoft and also returning to Eastbourne again.

Sunday 27 May 2007


No! Not the more usual "Ooooh!" "Aaaaah!" type - but this rather lovely clematis from Mum & Dad's garden yesterday. I'd hoped to do some shots of the whole garden for Mum as it's looking lovely at the moment, but the weather wasn't being terribly kind to us and frankly some of the flowers were just begging to be photographed in macro mode as the cloud cover was giving some fabulously saturated colours. There may well be some other shots from the afternoon to come yet - our plans for the Hertfordshire County show today have been cancelled due to the appalling weather and we're not sure if it's going to improve enough to make Southend an option for tomorrow either - I might have a LOT of time on my hands ove the rest of the weekend. A good thing really - I was on the centre as usual at Ipswich on Thursday, and then again at Arena Essex on Friday - as Steve Waller was unable to attend that one I had the opportunity to be the "Away side approved photographer" for the night.


Wednesday 23 May 2007


Time for another flower shot I think. This is the geranium I bought at the same time as the Pelargonium and Dahlia when I previously posted flower shots - it's taken all these weeks to come into bloom properly! Now it has it's a beauty - and seeing it looking so pink and pretty on the balcony wall the other night inspired me to reach for the camera again!

As previously - this was with the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8. It's spent more time on the 30D (other than at speedway) than any other lens recently - it's a joy to use and SO sharp! I still think a macro lens will have to be added to the "prospective purchase" list though.

There will probably be more shots to come over the weekend - it's a long one with the bank holiday monday tacked on, and we are planning to be out most of the time I think! I went to the Suffolk show last year and enjoyed it and Ben has expressed an interest in going to something similar - so as it is the Hertfordshire county show on Saturday and Sunday we are intending to head there on the Sunday. It sounds like a "plenty to see and do" day out with all sorts going on. Then on Monday we're crossing our fingers for good weather for the Southend air show.

Second shot for tonight then - the lavender to the left has survived on the balcony against all odds pretty much since we moved into the flat. It's hit the floor a couple of times thanks to the kids with their footballs but so far has survived to tell the tale - and looks as pretty as ever this year with its beautiful flowers!


Wednesday 9 May 2007

Abandoned....part 2

I had a bit of time to fiddle around with some more holiday shots this evening. I've been playing a lot with HDR (High Dynamic range) images again - todays shot has been put through Photomatix and then finished in Photoshop. I'm not so keen on it as I was the first shot of Loch Carnan I posted, but it does represent a breakthrough for me in that I have managed to get directly to a mono result which I find pleasing, rather than my more usual fiddling about for hours without ever quite achieving what I was after.

The apparent "pile of stones" in the front of the shot is the ruined blackhouse I mentioned in my previous post. You can just imagine the occupants moving across into their lovely new modern whitehouse and looking out at their old dwelling.....


Monday 7 May 2007

One from the holiday...

This shot is going down well over at Talk Photography - I posted up the colour version 
yesterday and was promptly inundated with people telling me I should pop it into 
mono to see how it looked - here is the result!

This was taken on a lovely walk we found on South Uist - it took us across from Loch Carnan to the opposite side of Loch Skipport from our favourite spot at the Old Pier (see for some shots of that) - it was nice to see the pier from a different perspective and on the way we came across an abandoned settlement including the ruins of the old school. Fascinating to see - but rather sad too thinking of all the people who would once have lived and worked there. Just in front of the house in the picture was the remains of the family's old blackhouse - they must have been so proud when they were able to move into the whitehouse in the picture - it would have represented a massive step up for them. Now it stands in ruins.