Joe Cornish, the great British landscape photographer, advocates taking most of your photographs no more than thirty minutes from your home. So, here's my blog featuring pictures either thirty minutes drive or walk away from my front door or from the place where I'm staying for a few days. I'll also be writing about photography in general from time to time. Please enjoy!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

From a Riverside Balcony...

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The snow returned on Friday sprinkling its magic over Cheshire. Here's a scene from the balcony of a good friend's home looking out over the River Dee towards Chester; a delightful view enhanced by the snow and beautiful sunlight.

This is four images taken with my compact camera, which were then stitched together in Photoshop Elements. They were then tidied up using Adobe Camera RAW and finished off back in Elements where the brightness was tweaked to bring a a little detail in the trees on the left. 

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Sailing Home

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Another Anglesey sunset... this one is a photograph from the original Menai Bridge looking west along the Straits. The sun had just dropped below the horizon when a small boat passed under the bridge and into view creating some lovely foreground interest.

Hand held for a change and very minor tweaking of the levels and saturation. 

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


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An odd piece of graffiti... in the style of Banksy but stapling a drawing instead of using a stencil as a template. And what a subject <smile>... a Zenit E from way back when. A great camera in its day; my first SLR was a Zenit (upgraded from a Zorki 4, comrades!) in the late 1960's, which I eventually traded in for a Pentax Spotmatic at Jessops in Leicester. They were a tiny company then with just a couple of stores in Leicester.

This is one of the many derelict shops in Crewe and I might just change the theme of my project and photograph some more of the deserted premises.

Adobe Camera RAW

For a while now I've felt rather hamstrung when editing RAW files by the fact that the Adobe Camera RAW 5 (ACR) editor in Photoshop Elements is a cut down version of the program found in the full Photoshop package. I suppose that one shouldn't complain too much given the price differential in the two packages but with just about every digital photography book and magazine encouraging the use of RAW for digital capture you'd think that Adobe would be kind enough to give all their users the full ACR hit. 

There's some useful functions in the full version of ACR not least of which is the spot removal tool; the ability to have a fully cleaned up image (i.e. all dust spots removed) at the RAW processing stage is a real boon and reduces the need for additional layers once inside Elements.

What I'm about to say next may well be common knowledge but I can't recall having read it anywhere or heard mention of this little trick: you can access the FULL version or ACR through Adobe Bridge! Deep joy! Bridge is used as the library function in the Mac version of Elements as opposed to the Organize program, which is used in Windows versions. 

It's simple to access, too. When you're organising your library in Bridge simply select the RAW image you want to process and click on the icon on the toolbar (top row of icons) that looks like a lens diaphragm, which is second from the right, and the full version of ACR 5 will open. You can also open JPEGs, TIFFs and other supported file formats in ACR 5 in this way.

So, if you're a Mac user and running Elements 8 with Bridge you get the real bonus of the full ACR program. Hurrah!

Just another great benefit of being a Mac zealot...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

I've Known Mornings White as Diamonds*

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Tuesday dawned cold, clear and crisp with a sharp hoar frost so I packed a lightweight camera kit and set off on the numerous footpaths near home in search of things to photograph. I shared my three hour trek with robins, blue tits, rabbits, lapwing, fieldfares and assorted other wild things exploring a couple of footpaths I'd not been along before. This lovely scene - yes, the sky really was that blue! - was a bit of a challenge to expose correctly. I think this is the pick of the images I took during my walk. I hope you like it.

*White as Diamonds - Alela Diane from the album "To Be Still"

Snow and Ice

On the way up to Cwm Idwal (see the last entry) I took a number of photographs of Tryfan, Pen yr Ole Wen and Llyn Ogwen with my compact camera. Once downloaded onto my computer I saw that there was enough images to make another panorama. This one's a bit of a monster; there's ten images in total stitched together with Photoshop Elements.

Anyway, here it is for your enjoyment....

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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Winter Bites...

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I have much sympathy with those who for the past ten days or so have been snowbound, stranded, missed holiday flights, school and a whole lot more. Where I've been there hasn't been so much snow but below zero temperatures and freezing fog have been much in evidence. Brrrr!

Two pictures for you from my recent travels; above is the majestic Pen yr Ole Wen, 3,209 feet of Welsh mountain. I'd been to Cwm Idwall and just before I turned for home the clouds cleared and the sun shone on the snowy summit.

I've been tinkering with panoramic images over the past few days and the picture below comprises two images of a frozen Llyn Idwal. Photoshop Elements did the stitching of the two images and I'm quite pleased with the results.

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