Welcome to my photography blog where I will share with you my photographic efforts and some of the stories behind these photos. I am keen amateur photographer and took up the hobby in September 2011. In November 2012 I self published a charity photographic book on Amazon "Beating Bowel Cancer", which contained my photographic efforts to raise money for the charity of the same name. I enjoy the challenge of learning new techniques and photographic composition. I might not always get it right, but I have great fun trying...

Friday, 25 September 2015

Early Morning In London Town

I travelled into London very early doors to meet and photograph Lorraine Kelly at the ITV Studios on the South Bank for the Lives & Times fundraising book I have been writing to raise funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Click here to read about the book. I had an  hour to spare before our meeting so with the stunning Autumn early morning sunshine conditions were great to take some photographs from the South Bank. In the first photo the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben were looking majestic from my viewpoint on the Golden Jubilee Bridge, and the time on clock showing 7:50am was testament to my early start from Reading into London.

The above black and white photo of Big Ben is a cropped selection of the first photo I had taken using the camera's Dynamic Monochrome setting.

The black and white photo was taken below Hungerford Bridge just outside Waterloo Station on the short walk down to the South Bank. I liked the view of Big Ben through the London Eye, using the bridge at the top of the shot to highlight the contrast.

The final photo was taken standing on the South Bank and looking across to St. Paul's Cathedral and the City of London. In this photo I used quite a heavy contrast and a "hard" sharpening effect to achieve this crystal clear image.

I had long wanted to try out early morning photography in London, and I am sure that I will have another go at this type of photography at some point in the future.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Wargrave at Sunset

I stopped off at The St George & Dragon pub in Wargrave on my home from work as after another day of rain the clouds had broken to reveal a gorgeous sunset. The location has long held a special place for me as it is where my parents had their wedding reception back in 1960. Although the weather remained awful the flood waters had receded somewhat and I was able to park my car in the car park and get down to lower parking area to get some photos, something I would not have been able to do a week or so earlier. In the first photo you can see how the Thames had burst its banks and spilled over into the neighbouring fields. I was pleased with the reflection of the sunset on the river. The second photo is a little more unusual and just a quirky unplanned picture that I thought might be fun. I had actually walked back to my car, but as I looked back on the scene I had just photographed the shining lamps were already casting artificial light onto the car park with the sunset providing a beautiful back drop so I thought I would take a photo and see how it came out. This photo won't win any prizes, but I like it and think it is at the very least interesting.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Gathering - Llandudno 2014

My annual trip to see my favourite band The Alarm's musical weekend "The Gathering" brought the event back to Llandudno in North Wales after a few years at Pontin's Prestatyn. It was great to be back in a lovely seaside town I first visited on a school trip back in 1976. The view is from the far end of the pier and I captured pretty much the whole of the Victorian promenade in the top photo using the panoramic setting and joining the photos together.

I broke some rules taking the second picture. I climbed up a cliff which looks over the town and was struggling to keep the lens dry in the driving rain, and the intermittent rays of sunshine weren't helping either. I took the shot and I actually love the resulting reflection of the rain drops on the lens in the sunshine.

I used lo-key during editing of the photo below taken from the pier. I like the way the exposure has me looking from left to right or indeed from right to left. The reflection of the sun on the sea was a key ingredient of getting this photo to come out the way it did.

The Victorian promenade with all the hotels along it is almost timeless and apart from a lick of paint has probably changed very little over the years. This view was taken from the pier and by simply using a bit of zoom it appears that the photo has been taken from the sea itself.

Back on the cliff face and you get a great view of the pier. It is the 5th longest pier in England and Wales and having been extensively renovated over recent years it is looking in good health. It stretches out 700 metres into the sea and was opened in 1877, although it origins to a much smaller pier date back to 1858.

There are some stunning views looking beyond the town to Conway and the Snowdonia mountains. I shall be climbing Snowdon and raising funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity in September 2014.

I seem to have a thing about lampposts. There is a great lamppost you can see at the Sacre Coeur in Paris, which was my inspiration for this photo.

Finally a similar photo to the lo-key view earlier. This shot was also taken from the pier, but in this instance the lighting is totally natural and in fact I didn't even adjust the setting son the camera to reduce the exposure. It shows that editing and reliance on it is not always a necessity for a good photo. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Norfolk Waterways

A rather rude 5:00am alarm call got me up and running for a work trip to Norfolk. Lashing rain on the way there fortunately cleared as daylight came and I was able to enjoy views of the vast array of waterways and open countryside. It's a wonderful part of the countryside and somewhere I would like to visit properly in the not too distant future. The early start meant I was back at work by lunchtime, but a combination of making excellent time and having to give the dogs a couple of pit stops meant I had a brief photo opportunity in the village of Upwell where the River Nene intersects the village with houses either side. Alas time didn't allow me to spend much time here or indeed find the best photographic locations, but I stood on a small footbridge over the river and took a photo in each direction.

Monday, 6 January 2014

UK Floods January 2014

Once again this winter the River Thames has burst its banks at Medmenham where I work and the water is not too far away from the estate, but hopefully we will spared flooding. I always feel a little guilty photographing flood water as for those people affected by floods it is absolutely devastating. The recent rains over the Christmas period have simply fallen on a pretty full water table and there is simply nowhere for the water to go. It's pretty much the same situation the length and breadth of the country.

For the first photo I got as close to the water as I could without sinking into the mud. The poor dogs were not impressed at having to wait for me to do my clicking! I used the intelligent auto setting on the camera and then in editing I converted the photo to black and white using the low key setting in Photoshop Elements.I quite liked this effect as it made an already dramatic scene a little more brooding and sinister.

In the second photo I used exactly the same editing effects, although I shot in RAW mode using the landscape setting on the camera. The sun had disappeared just behind the clouds and there was a decent colour to the sky with blue and threatening great skies fighting it above, but once again I felt the low key black and white effect gives the scene an extra dramatic edge.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Fallen Tree

The December storms in the lead up to Christmas swept pretty much across the entire country, and even in the Thames Valley we experienced torrential rain and gales bringing down trees and causing localised flooding. This tree had come down on the A4155 right outside the entrance to my work estate between Marlow and Henley. Its quite difficult to get a sense of scale when trying to photograph this kind of scene, so I tried capturing it from more than one angle. I think in the first picture the fact that the tree is blocking half the road shows it was a pretty big one and fortunate that it hadn't hit a vehicle.

The view from across the road in the second photo tells a  slightly different story as from 20 yards or so the scene completely loses any sense of scale for me. However it does reveal a little bit about the road. This stretch of road is a notorious section where cars put their foot down and do some pretty daft overtaking. The view of the bend is going towards Marlow and cars approaching it from Henley have a long straight where they really go for it ignoring the 40 mph speed signs. From the Marlow end going in the opposite direction cars can barely wait to negotiate the bend before hitting the floor, and even whilst I was taking these photos I saw a car overtaking in a dangerous manner ignoring a complete lack of view due to the fallen tree.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Now That's a Pond!

One can only dream of owning a house with a garden big enough to accommodate such a large and stunning pond. When I lived in Buckingham a few years ago I was proud of my pond with a couple of koi in it, but it as absolutely minute compared to this one. The setting is a few miles to the north of Kirkby Lonsdale in the heart of Cumbria where mum was visiting friends a year ago. There are two views of the pond with the first photo taken looking from the back of the house out towards the hills and countryside. I was pleased with this effort as I took care in the composition, and for me it has layers from the reeds at the front, followed by the pond and trees right to the hills at the very back. The second photo was taken from the other side of the pond looking back towards the beautiful house. There is never a shortage of photo opportunities in this part of England and on this particular late autumnal day we were blessed with a lovely sunny day. And yet driving up 48 hours earlier we had to divert off the motorway due to the snow!