It’s Been A While (12 January 2016)

Yeah OK it’s been a long time since I last wrote on my blog.  I’ve not been photographically idle during that time, although my wife would probably tell you that I’ve been idle in all other respects!  I’ve actually spent quite a bit of the time revisiting some of my early images from last year and applying my improving post processing skills in Photoshop and Lightroom to improve the edited results.

 I thought it might be interesting to show how far an image can go from the original photo as captured in the camera, via my early inexperienced editing, to where I’m at now.  I’m certainly no expert by any means but I hope anyone who’s interested and who is early in their photographic experience might take some encouragement from seeing how much it is possible to learn in just a year.  

This photo of Finnieston Quay & the Squinty Bridge in Glasgow is a panorama made up of 4 individual photographs stitched together in Photoshop.  Apart from combining the images there has been no processing done on this image, this is exactly how it came out of the camera (a bit on the dark side!)

My original editing was done mostly (in fact I think almost exclusively) in Lightroom as I was scared of Photoshop back then and would only use it where I had to.  At the time I was extremely happy with this result…

With a year of exploring Lightroom and Photoshop and watching countless videos on Youtube I found that I was able to do a lot more with each photograph, and that I was doing less twiddling the sliders and being surprised at the results, and more of the thinking of how I wanted it to look and being able to use the software to acheive that more reliably, which is how I came to this as my finished image….

Did I go too far?  Obviously this edit is a long way from what the camera captured, but for me, what the camera captured is a long way from how it felt to be there that evening, so in my opinion no I didn’t go too far.  When I look at the image now I feel a much more emotional connection with the memory I have of being there with my camera as the sun set and darkness fell.  Capturing those feelings is what I aim to achieve in my photography. 

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Swimming Against The Stream 26 Oct 2015

I bet you think this is going to be me being all introspective & moody talking about how I’m such a rebel, and my photographic style & attitude in general is at odds with the majority….Nope I just wanted a catchy title that had something to do with the photos I was taking last night.

I stopped off at Anchor Mill in Paisley on the way back from a busy day’s shopping in Glasgow just around dusk.  It was a cloudy day with not much interest in the sky, and with all of the yellow glow from the streetlights I was planning to process the photos in black & white.  

A nice guy stopped for a chat while I was set up taking some shots from the bridge.  He was reminiscing about the days when he used to process his own films in the darkroom.  This is one of the photos I took while we were chatting.

Unfortunately I had to excuse myself from our chat as I wanted to move down next to the river where the White Cart rushes over the rocks.  The next image was taken with my wide angle lens as as a series of 5 shots combined into a panorama in Photoshop.  

It was while I was taking photos in this location that I first noticed a Salmon trying to leap up the waterfall making its way upstream to spawn.  Only the second time I’ve ever seen this and I found it quite interesting watching and waiting for them to jump while the camera was busy with its 30 second exposures, and that folks is the reason for the title of this blog post!

Wow, Just Wow! (8 October 2015)

I got home from work at about 8.30pm last night.  Checking Facebook, as you do, I saw a photo that someone had posted of the Aurora Borealis at Loch Lomond.  Of course  Eileen, being a good wife had my tea almost ready & the kids were in their pyjamas ready to go to bed.  When I suggested that we should take a run out to have a look after the lovely chicken dinner,  (Eileen does sometimes read this) I half expected there to be several hundred obvious reasons that I had overlooked which would make this the most stupid idea I’d ever come up with,  (I’ve got form apparently according to Eileen.)  but no, she agreed and we bundled the kids and blankets into the car.

Heading for Loch Lomond my eyes were on stalks looking from the road to the sky & back again.  I couldn’t help noticing the slightly bemused look on Eileen’s face.  I’d never noticed before how when she’s as excited about heading out on an adventure as I am that she wears a bemused look.  Anyway we saw nothing in the sky at all until almost in Balloch when I saw a green glow looming ahead.  “Is that it?” I asked, only to realise almost immediately that it was a streetlight shining onto the leaves of a tree.

Only moments later though, the glowing patches becoming visible in the sky were definitely the Aurora.  Of course at this point we’re in a built up area with lots of streetlights, but we keep getting tantalising glimpes of the sky being illuminated as if by moving searchlights.

 On leaving Balloch we’re out into the darkness and the light display is even more clearly visible in between trees & hedges & twists & turns in the road.  I’m now looking for somewhere safe to pull over and turn off the lights so that we can really appreciate the spectacle, but there’s nothing until we reach Gartocharn where we turn off down a side road and find a spot with a good view of the northern horizon.

The Aurora forms an arc like a shallow rainbow, and the lights dance and shimmer mainly green but with a few areas of pink along the arc with occasional shafts shooting up vertically.  At this point I can’t believe that we actually made it, and we’re witnessing a spectacular Aurora.  I set up the camera and this is the result…

After a while the intensity of the lights reduced and we decided to try to find another location with a different view.  I had in mind the view across Loch Lomond from Rowardennan so that was where we stopped next.

The Aurora wasn’t quite as vibrant here but I did like the view across the loch towards Ben Lomond.  I was surprised that there was noone else taking pictures there, but on the way home we stopped off at Duck Bay and the place was mobbed with photographers.  

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