Monday, May 31, 2004

RailFest 2004 at the National Railway Museum in York

Today I had chance to visit RailFest 2004 at the National Railway Museum in York, England.

The nine-day festival is to celebrate the past, present and future of rail transport.

2004 marks the bi-centenary of the running of the world's first steam locomotive - Richard Trevithick's Penydarren locomotive, as well as the 100th anniversary of City of Truro's 100 mph run.

There was plenty of sun so I was looking for dramatic views that the made the most of the well displayed locomotives, lovely light but also kept other visitors out of the frame

This strong low view is off the front of Class 47 Royal train locomotive 47798
Prince William

Time 11:32am Shutter 1/350 Aperture F11

Friday, May 28, 2004

Thai Harbour at Hartlepool Marina

This evening I visited my friend Dave’s new Thai restaurant Thai Harbour at Hartlepool Marina.

Never having eaten Thai food before it was a little bit of a culinary adventure for me.

It will come as no surprise that I photographed everything before I ate it.

Dave is just getting ready to build his website so I offered to take the pictures for him.

The most fun was taking a picture of the Chef doing his bit in the kitchen.

It’s a hand held available light shot which captures something of the excitement of Thai cooking.

Time 10:48pm Shutter 1/20 Aperture F8

Monday, May 24, 2004

Little Old Gate

Today has been one of those days when the light was good at the beginning and end of the day but it was cloudy in the middle.

Not to be put off I parked the car and had a short walk on Dartmoor at lunchtime. I had planned to take some pictures of the moors but the lack of sunlight put a stop to those plans.

Whilst enjoying the stroll all the banks of the River Dart I came across this little old gate in a dry stone wall.

By getting rid of the sky, using a long exposure, a small aperture and a tripod, I captured this pleasant country scene.

Time 1:11pm Shutter 1/2 Aperture F32

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Keeping the sky out of the frame

23 May 2004

If you are out for the day and it is cloudy still take your camera as you can still take good pictures, if you are careful.

I spent the afternoon at the Bodmin & Wenford Railway.

With cloud drifting in from the Atlantic Ocean all I was left with was a small amount of diffused light to take photographs.

The trick to taking pictures in this kind of situation is to get rid of the sky and open the aperture right up.

The final picture makes the most of the little amount of light that was available

Time 4:31pm Shutter 1/90 Aperture F5.6

Saturday, May 22, 2004

After Glow

After a day spent exploring Cornwall I returned to the beach to photograph the sunset this evening.

The best light is often after the sun has set when you get a lovely after glow.

This image was taken a few seconds after the sun had dropped below the horizon.

The exposure is too slow to hand hold so I used a tripod to keep the image sharp.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Middle of the day

The middle of the day in the summer is not a good time of the day to be taking pictures. The sun is so high in the sky and the shadows are often strong.

But sometimes. like today, you have no choice.

This little scene required some care to make sure the white wall was not over exposed and the colour of the flowers stood out.

The end result is quite pleasing and the only improvement would be to return latter in the day to make the most of the soft warm evening light

Time 11:19am Shutter 1/180 Aperture F11

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Atlantic Ocean

Not living near the west coast means I always jump at the chance to take pictures of the sea in the evening.

So when I arrived in Cornwall this afternoon I headed straight for the coast to take pictures of the sun setting across the Atlantic Ocean.

Exposure in this kind of situation is critical. You have to get the right balance between the brightness of the sun and the darker surrounding seascape.

I mounted the camera on a tripod, used the self timer to trip the shutter and went for a small aperture to keep the entire image in focus.

By using the self timer you prevent accidentally jarring the camera as you initiate the exposure which keeps the image nice and sharp.

Time 09:02pm Shutter 1/250 Aperture F16

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

You’ve just got to be out there

Today has been a you’ve just got to be out there kind of day.

When I set of this morning I was planning to visit the Gower Peninsula in South Wales.

But as I went down the M4 I drove out of the sunshine and under a blanket of cloud rolling in of the Severn Estuary.

So instead of heading west I turned North up the Rhonda Valley and into the Brecon Beacons where the sun has been shining all day.

The picture of the fern is something I didn’t plan to take but I came across because I was out there.

So next you have a nice day just get out there with your camera and see what you find.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Its not just about the gear

When I am out taking pictures I have a standard set of kit I which I always have in the boot of the car.

Kodak Slr/n 14 million pixel SLR camera.

Zoom lens - 28-300mm F3.5-6.3 Compact Aspherical IF Hyperzoom.

Wide Angle Lens - Sigma 17-35mmF2.8-4 EX DG Aspherical.

Telephoto Lens - 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO Aspherical.


Spare battery and plenty of 1gig Microdrives.

Off camera flash.

Laptop computer with Wi-Fi and DVD burner.

Of course you don’t need all that gear to take a good picture –you just need some nice light.

The picture on the left was taken with my mobile phone and the other with the Kodak Slr/n.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

It's Behind You

This is a little bit of an extreme example of what I call the “It’s behind you problem”

Often when we are out walking we only look in front but not behind

I know I am guilty of this myself

The view on the left is very pleasant and offers a lot of possibilities.

Turn around and you see one of the most famous views in England, Warwick Castle.

So don’t forget when you are out walking – look both ways !

Saturday, May 15, 2004

It’s all about the light!

As a spotty teenager at school my photography teacher at school, Mr Mallon, taught me many things.

Basic concepts and techniques where drilled into me whilst awakening within me a passion for photography.

One lesson I didn’t learn, which might have been because I wasn’t paying attention, is the one tip I give to anyone whoever asks me about photography

It’s all about the light!

The two images above, taken of Lichfield Cathedral, show what I mean

Image One – Time 07:36 Shutter 1/180 Aperture F5.0

Image Two – Time 08:04am Shutter 1/350 Aperture F6.9

The first image was taken whilst the sun was behind the clouds and a bank of grey cloud was covering the sky. The image has some colour but it is very washed out

Less then 30 minutes latter the cloud had burnt of and the sun had come out. The picture is totally different with blue sky and plenty of colour.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Location, Location, Location

14th May 2004

I the UK there is a TV programme called Location, Location, Location. Well I am just like the programme producer, always looking for great locations to take pictures. I spotted this view in my rear mirror as I was driving south down the M6 motorway.

So I came of at the next junction and drove back to an over bridge which let me take this picture.

Twilight is a great time of day to be out with your camera. The key things you need are a sturdy tripod, warm clothes and to be taking pictures whilst there is still some light left in the sky.

I use the cameras timer to fire the shutter so there is now chance of me accidentally moving the camera

Time 21:25 Shutter 8 seconds Aperture F7.4

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Ash's New Album

Ash's long awaited 4th full studio album 'Meltdown' was released 17th May 2004.

Ash, in case you don’t already know, are a successful indie punk rock band, with many number one hits to their name.

Above you can see the album cover as well as the original image on the right.

To block out any distractions I moved in nice and close on the flames.

The brightness of the fire made the background go black even though it was 10:20am in the morning.

In all I took 91 frames as the flames danced in front of the lens.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Always shoot more than one photo

Professional photographers always take several shots of the same subject to help ensure perfect results.

So always shoot more than one photo.

If you have a digital camera all you have to think about is running out of memory so make life easy and always take a spare memory card .

If you still enjoy film then just carry some spare film.

Sunday, May 09, 2004


At this time of year the sun is setting around 9:00pm

So the ideal time for taking this twilight picture will have been around 9:30 to 9:45, whilst there was still some light left in the sky

This is a great view but it has been taken about 1 hour too late

The sky is too dark and there is too much black in the picture

On this occasion I put friends before photography

Time 10:42pm Shutter 8 seconds Aperture F4.5

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Back Lighting

As a general rule, you should always have the sun behind you when you are taking photographs.

But sometimes, if you are careful, you can break the rules to good effect.

This scene was taken looking into the sun

I have used the shadow of a tree, out of the frame to the left, to stop the sun shining on the front of the lens.

I have also used a higher view point to keep the sky out of the frame

The use of natural back lighting is a useful tool

Time 2:22pm Shutter 1/350 Aperture F5.3

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