Learning Landscapes

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. – Pablo Picasso

I love landscape photography, I’m just no good at it. Perhaps saying I’m not good is a little harsh. I know what the problem is: I just don’t try hard enough. Good landscape photography requires effort. There are only so many views of my garden I can create.

With all of this in mind, I decided to get outside and try to capture some landscape and architecture images. Something that will get me out an about, looking at different vistas, and hopefully a little exercise whilst walking from place to place. I’m not quite at the point where I’ll be popping over to Iceland to capture the glaciers under the aurora borealis, or following in the footsteps of Ansel Adams, treking through Yosemite National Park, but anything that gets me off the sofa and practicing my landscape imagery will be a good start.

I’m very fortunate in that I live fairly close to the Peak District, so one evening recently I popped out and tried to capture a scene from the landscape.

Crowden

This was taken just as the sun was setting. I was hoping that the sky would catch ablaze with the late evening colours as the sun set, but alas this was not to be. Hoping that I’d capture the most brilliant sunset on my first attempt was perhaps a little optimistic.

Next on the agenda was a long exposure featuring water. I’ve seen lots of these images where the long exposure makes the surface of the water appear flat and smooth. I knew in my mind what I wanted, and that was some clouds in the sky that would streak, a flat, still water surface, and a high contrast black and white finish. Blakemere Moss in Delamere Forest, Cheshire provided just the scene I was looking for.

Blakemere Moss, Delamere Forest, Cheshire.

At home we’re members of the National Trust. We like to visit places on holidays in the UK, and to go for days out. I’ve already written about visiting , where I concentrated on the autumn colours. This time I wanted to take a picture of the house, but also captured a little of the wildlife whilst I was there.

The house at Dunham Massey Damselfly

I know the damsel fly image doesn’t count as a landscape, but I like it and this is my blog so it’s going in. 🙂

And now that elusive sunset. I’m very fortunate in that I get to visit Scotland quite regularly. If you want a beautiful landscape, stunning scenery, or inspirational view, then there are few places around the world that can match it. Of course Scotland obliged me with the colourful sky I was looking for.

Scottish Sunset

So far I’ve enjoyed my time learning how to take better landscape images. There is still much to learn, but the journey is going to be a very interesting one, and something I am very much looking forward to.

As always, thank you for reading.

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Yorkshire Dales

After viewing Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, we decided to find out where the water fight scene between Robin and Little John was filmed. It turns out that the principal photography for the scene was in a place called Asygarth Falls in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, and not in Sherwood Forest as the film makers would have us believe. Keen to see such an area of natural beauty we found a cottage in the area to rent for a few days, packed up the car, and went on a road trip to see the surrounding area. Here are some photos from our adventure.

The journey started with tea. The people of Yorkshire love their tea. It seemed rude not to have some, and also to try some local food whilst we were there.

They love their tea in Yorkshire
They love their tea in Yorkshire
Yorkshire rarenit, made with Wensleydale cheese of course
Yorkshire rarebit, made with Wensleydale cheese of course
Lunch
Lunch

Enough of the food, how about the scenery? First stop was the planned Aysgarth Falls.

Aysgarth Falls
Aysgarth Falls
An overcast day but this does make the greens shine through
An overcast day but this does make the greens shine through

After this we decided to visit Middleham Castle.

Middleham Castle
Middleham Castle
Guards on patrol
Guards on patrol

A short drive from where we were staying took us to West Burton and the fabulous Cauldron Falls. Somewhere that I will go back to and try to create some better photographs.

This scene is crying out for a model
Cauldron Falls
Cauldron Falls
Cauldron Falls
A beautiful place to visit

Another sight that we decided that we had to see was Hawdraw Force in Hawes, Leyburn. The Internet tells me that this is England’s highest single drop waterfall. I wouldn’t know such things, but I can tell you that this is a sight to see. The noise of the water falling is quite something, and it truly is a remarkable spectacle. You can feel the water vapour on your face from 30 feet away. I loved this place.

Hawdraw Force
Hawdraw Force
England's highest single drop waterfall, whatever that means.
England’s highest single drop waterfall, whatever that means.

Entrance to Hawdraw Falls is through the back of a pub called the Green Dragon Inn. This means that this particular pub can claim the best beer garden in the world. Stunning.

I shall finish off with a couple of images taken from where we were staying, showing the nice views available of the Dales. Thank you for reading.

Nice view
Nice view
Obligatory sunset picture
Obligatory sunset picture

Abney Hall Park

Yesterday we had a day out at Abney Hall Park in Stockport. I never knew the place existed until last week. It seems the place to go if you are a dog owner, with lots of open spaces for your pooch to run around and chase after sticks. It is also a wonderful place to go for a walk, away from the stresses and strains of modern living, and get away from the city streets. Unfortunately the hall was closed for maintenance, and no doubt this is the wrong time of year to visit. There is however a waterfall, cows, plenty places to walk, and lots of places to sit and stare at just how beautiful nature can be. Definitely somewhere I’d like to go to again.

Abney Hall Park entrance
Abney Hall Park entrance
Lone leaf
Lone leaf
One of nature's more beautiful creations
One of nature’s more beautiful creations
Trees in the throws of autumn
Trees in the throws of autumn
Vivid green moss
Vivid green moss
All the leave are brown
All the leave are brown
Couple taking a stroll
Couple taking a stroll
Waterfall
Waterfall
Dogs at play
Dogs at play
Woof!
Woof!

The power of a celebrity retweet

Green spider

On Saturday Professor Alice Roberts started talking about spiders on Twitter, spawned the #SpiderSaturday hashtag, and more interestingly to me, started retweeting pictures of the eight legged cuties that people sent to her. I thought I’d get involved.

Perusing through my Flickr Photostream I found a suitable image to sent to Alice, the small green arachnid you see here. On the off chance that the professor decided to retweet the image I made a note of how many views the image had recorded against it on Flickr. One hundred and seventy seven views. 177 views since June last year. Not my most popular image by a long way, but not a bad total number of views for me. I sent this tweet to the professor:

and then I waited to see if she would retweet it. To my delight the retweet came and I excited looked to see how this would effect the view count on the image, if at all. At the time of writing, just 24 hours later, the view count has rises from 177 to 524. That’s almost a 300% increase. 177 views in fifteen months, and 347 views in 24 hours. This is quite impressive. These kinds of figures are by no means earth shattering in global terms, but on my small scale this is a massive increase in traffic to my photostream.

If you have an important message that you need the world to see, then a celebrity retweet can really help.

The best camera …

Scottish Sunset

Scottish Sunset

As world famous photographer Chase Jrvis says, the best camera is the one that’s with you. I now understand what he means. I was out at the local shop picking up a few ingredients ready to make dinner when I noticed a great fire in the sky. Mother Nature was treating us to a magical display of colour as the sun set. I didn’t have my “good” camera with me, but I did have my camera phone. I took these pictures with it. I’m very pleased with the results.

Colours of sunset

Colours of sunset

Norcliffe Chapel

Norcliffe Chapel
Norcliffe Chapel

With spring on it’s way to the northern hemisphere, the changes all around are quite remarkable. The sun is shining brighter and longer, and it is getting noticeably warmer. Make no mistake, winter is still hanging around, but spring is slowly pushing it out of the way. We took advantage of the early morning sunshine that has been all too absent this winter, and had a short trip to Norcliffe Chapel in Styal, Cheshire, and the woods behind it.

Cross on top of the chapel
Cross on top of the chapel

Tree

Tree roots

Tree Stump

Wood Nymph

Reflections

Time-lapse of the night sky

I am fascinated with the night sky. If you saw my Star Trails post then you will know that I do like to try to photograph the stars despite living in a highly light polluted area. Well I’ve made a video that hopeful you can see above.

It is a short 15 second video, but hopefully it will give an idea of the type of video I would like to make. I know this isn’t going to win any awards, there are much better examples of the genre available. However it is an important part of the learning process. When I do get to a dark sky place hopefully I will know what I’m doing and will be able to make something better. Always learning.

Dunham Massey in the Autumn

Dunham Massey is a wonderful National Trust site, and is perfect to visit anytime of year. In autumn however it is just beautiful. The late afternoon sun shines on the yellow and golden leaves, and if you are lucky enough to see the deer feeding on the last of the season’s acorns then you are in for a treat.

A deer gets closer than I would have imagined
Deer
A deer is snuffling through the undergrowth looking for tasty acorns
Deer eating acorns
A leaf appears to be basking in the late afternoon sunshine
Leaf
A lovely place to stop awhile and watch the world go by
Bench
Yes, I did take my camera to the cafe. I am one of those people.
Cake & Coffee
Some birds feed by the water's edge
Birds
A swan floats past, eyes closed against the late afternoon sun.
Sleeping beauty

Colours of Autumn

Leaves, turned red and yellow by autumn lie on the ground
Autumn colours

It was a cold morning today. The sun was shining brightly, but in the northern hemisphere we’re just too far away to avoid the frosts at this time of year. Cold it may be, but the world around just looks so beautiful at this time of year.

I took an early morning stroll, well wrapped up against the chill, and took a few images of the glorious display of colour available to see. If you have the chance you should get out and enjoy the final throws of autumn just before the winter approaches.

A solitary leaf is seen in the foreground, with a street fading off into the distance behind
Solitary leaf