1. Just around the corner

    As I write this it hardly feels like spring given that it’s a dark grey, rainy morning but in our woodlands, right now, nature is simply bursting into life! Wild daffodils and primroses are in flower and soon, there’ll be wood anemones and sorrel, too. But, like so many that enjoy photographing the countryside, there is one flower in particular that often gets me out of bed at an unearthly hour, the bluebell!

    Having always lived in Southeast England, I guess you could say I am spoilt with the sheer volume of bluebell woods that I am surrounded by and, since my closest is less than ten minutes away, there has never been a year when I haven’t spent time photographing these stunning flowers. It suits my ‘close to home’ approach to nature photography well where, aside from the workshops and tours that I lead, at least three quarters of all my photography is undertaken not more than 20 miles from my home. This enables me to not only have repeated access to species but allows me to visit nearby woods, downlands and marshes even during office-bound days.

    Finding new ways to capture bluebells is always a challenge but, regardless of the time of day I choose to visit or the lens which I fit onto my camera, it’s always less about the photography and more about just simply being there.

    bluebell_001

    bluebell_002

    bluebell_003bluebell_007bluebell_009bluebell_008Bluebell (Endymion non-scriptus) close-up of flower, Kent , England, April.bluebell_006bluebell_010Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), flowering at twilight, Kent, England, may

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  2. Twilight

    The Twilight project (for now at least) has come to an end as I now have other projects I wish to concentrate on. Its been one of the most challenging projects I have done to date from both a technical and artistic standpoint and, as a result, has been all the more enjoyable and worthwhile.

    Rather than post all the images singularly and having seen the effectiveness of Niall Benvie’s Panels and the work of Matthew Chase-Daniel, I have decided to produce a panel of my own which, I feel, gives a cohesion to the series.

    So why did I choose to undertake the project in the first place? Like many others, I’m forever striving to improve my photography and try out different techniques in the hope of producing something fresh and original, to draw the viewer in and look more closely as opposed to merely moving from one image to another. From what I could see, few images had been created during this period and that was all the motivation I needed! It, also, wasn’t weather dependent and subject matter lay all around and so if I’d spent the day at home processing images I could still pop out for a couple of hours to a nearby woodland and look for subjects there, thereby ensuring I remain productive.

    Ultimately, I want people to appreciate and care about our immediate environment and for photographers not to think you have to travel to far flung destinations to obtain rewarding images. My ethos has always been to work close to home and this project is a testament to that where all were taken less than 5 miles from where I live.

    Click on the image to see the panel in its entirety.

    twilight

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  3. Prague in spring

    Last week I retuned form leading a wonderful workshop to The Golden City or The City of a Hundred Spires or….just plain old Prague! But plain it most definitely isn’t! A, virtually, untouched city for hundreds of years and with architectural styles ranging from Baroque to Art Nouveau and Romanesque to Gothic, there are picture opportunities around, quite literally, every corner.

    I have been visiting Prague for many, MANY years but it’s always a good idea to reacquaint yourself with those familiar places and to, generally, get a feel for the city prior to the workshop so I arrived 3 days before. I had met all, bar one, before and, indeed, 5 had accompanied me on other photo-tours to Lapland and Poland so strangers they were not and, if those trips were anything to go by, I knew we were going to have a lot of laughs. I wasn’t to be disappointed! 🙂

    Here’s a few images I took before everyone arrived.

    Charles Bridge at night

    Charles Bridge at night

    St. Nicholas Church, Mala Strana, Prague.One of Prague's most stunning interiors which, on the group's last day provided a shelter from the pouring rain and supplied endless photo-opportunities.

    St. Nicholas Church, Mala Strana.
    One of Prague’s most stunning interiors which, on the group’s last day, provided  shelter from the pouring rain and supplied endless photo-opportunities.

    Prague Castle during the day is, unsurprisingly, teeming with tourists. Go there at night and there’s hardly a soul to be seen! I really had no option, here, but make do with the converging verticals as the widest lens I had with me was a 12-24mm and my back was up against a wall! Sure, I could correct it, to a degree, in CS or LR but then in doing so you crop quite a lot of the image and I like the curve of the building on the right and the inclusion of the Czech flag. A 6 stop ND filter was used to give added interest to the clouds by accentuating movement.

    St Vitus Cathedral

    St Vitus Cathedral

    Statue of St.George, Prague Castle.

    Statue of St. George, Prague Castle.

    Entrance to Prague Castle

    Entrance to Prague Castle

    Once the group arrived, I hardly took a picture as my focus was to assist with their photography, keep a handle on catching the metro and trams and doing a head count! 🙂 I did, however, manage to sneak the camera out for the following images.

    Charles Bridge at dawn

    Charles Bridge at dawn

    With a clear sky forecast and everyone eager to “bag” a sunrise, I arranged for us all to meet 45 minutes before sunrise, being 4.45! Everyone was there, albeit a little bleary eyed, and so we made our way onto the bridge and waited for the inevitable.

    charles-bridge-sunrise-2

    charles-bridge-sunrise-1

    prague-sunrise

    charles-bridge-west-towers

    Thank you to Elaine, Bea and Mike, Chris, Denise, Sarah and James for making my job an absolute breeze (apart from when one or two decided to wander! :)), for allowing me to “show off” a city I have grown to consider my second home and for, generally, being jolly good sports!

    prague-workshop

    If, by reading this, you are tempted to join me next year to this magical city and you rather like the idea of hopping on and off trams, venturing into “secret” gardens and exploring Prague by day (and night), then please register your interest with me at rmcanis@msn.com

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