1. Autumn

    With autumn ‘officially’ drawing to an end I thought I’d take the opportunity of looking back over the last few months where, in between workshops and overseas tours, I’ve managed to undertake my own work. I have always considered this to be extremely important both personally and from a client/tutor perspective since unless I get out and flex my creative and technical muscles on a regular basis I don’t feel as though I am evolving, photographically, and therefore have less to offer those that participate. It enables me to stay fresh and open to new ideas which, surely, must be a good thing for all involved.

    Midley Church, Romney Marsh, at night.

    Midley Church, Romney Marsh, at night.

    I’d just completed a workshop at nearby Dungeness and with a clear sky overhead I decided to delay going home and made a detour to the nearby Midley Church ruin. It stands in the middle of a field some distance away from the nearest road and it was pitch black as I made way across. I knew the site well but I could imagine for someone not all that familiar would have had quite a job both getting to and from it! As I made my way I caught a badger in the headlamp beam. It looked up and with it just 20 or so metres away carried on its way. Romney Marsh is one of Kent’s dark sky areas and once you get above the light pollution the night sky really is incredible.

    In order to pick up as many stars as possible I used a high ISO of 6400 on the D600 which was fitted with a Samyang 14mm f2.8 lens.

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    I have often thought about purchasing a fisheye lens. There have been times when a less than conventional means of recording a subject has been called for. Close-up photographer and author, Paul Harcourt Davies, has been singing the praises of the Sigma 15mm for some time so what better recommendation than by someone who really knows what they are talking about?! The Sigma, for close-up wide-angle work is preferred over the Nikon (and Canon) in that it focus substantially closer, a very important aspect in this kind of work.

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    Sweet chestnut

    Sweet chestnut

    Slender parasol

    Slender parasol

    A few fungi species shot with the more conventional macro lens.

    Amathyst deceiver

    Amathyst deceiver

    Magpie inkcap

    Magpie inkcap

    Mycena sp.

    Mycena sp.

    When making the image, below, such were the conditions that it would have been impossible to take with the camera set up on a tripod so I took it while leaning out of the car which was rocking about quite a bit! The storm continued for a good ten minutes whereupon there was a wonderful afterglow. It’s times like these I’m glad I ‘just go and see what happens’!

    Rain sweeping across Elmley Nature Reserve

    Rain sweeping across Elmley Nature Reserve

    Rose Cottage on Elmlay Nature Reserve at sunrise.

    Rose Cottage on Elmlay Nature Reserve at sunrise.

    Arriving the day before prior to leading 2 workshops in the Peak District I spent a couple of hours photographing this abandoned lead mine which, two days later, the group thoroughly enjoyed spending time at, not least as darkness fell and I painted it with torch-light.

    Magpie Mine, Peak District.

    Magpie Mine, Peak District.

    Magpie Mine

    Magpie Mine

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    Birch bracket shot with the Sigma 15mm fisheye.

    Birch bracket shot with the Sigma 15mm fisheye.

    Back home, in Kent, I experimented with camera movement on these sweet chestnut leaves.

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    On a damp, still afternoon towards the end of November, I went out with the intention of producing a series of high key images depicting the final days of autumn which would, I hoped, result in a panel. No tripod, just a camera and two lenses, a 20mm and a 70-200mm.

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