Chanonry Point Lighthouse

Last weekend it was ludicrously hot around home – 25ÂșC after lunchtime – so we drove all the way up north to the Black Isle for a stroll around Fortrose and neighbouring areas. We started with a stroll down to Chanonry Point where the lighthouse looked good in black & white.

Life in Shades of Green

I used to make a point of closeup nature photos, simplifying the complexity of plant structure down to a few lines, in dull light. For the first time in ages, I spent most of yesterday afternoon with just the old Helios 58mm lens attached, walking around, seeing what could be seen.
Didn’t expect ladybirds to feature at this time of year.

Lone Ash Tree, Glen Devon

Thanks to my friends Fox in the Snow Photography over on Facebook for their permission to steal one of “their” favourite trees in Glen Devon as a photo location this past weekend. Less gratitude for the attendant weather, however!

On approach, leaving the car across the road, there was quite a white-out blizzard – snow blowing up the glen, everything shades of grey, low clouds. There’s a whole hillside lurking behind the tree here, not that you’d notice:

First things first, I established it’s an Ash, Fraxinus excelsior. That probably explains some of the funky characterful shapes.

I had a bit of fun exploring the various compositions around the tree. The obvious thing is to get the whole tree in the frame, from sufficiently low on the ground to obscure the road behind, letting the visible grass merge, flowing, into the background.

One idea I’d had was to emphasize the curve of the split trunk by using it to fill the frame, leaving the branches and twigs flying around in the wind during a long exposure, Medusa-style:

Fortunately the spooky mood didn’t last long, as the weather was coming and going in alternating waves of white-out cloud and brilliant sunshine flowing over the tree.

Around Auchterarder

I’m not entirely sure why, but I got it into my head to make a series of photos without reason or purpose so I spent a couple of lunchtimes walking around Auchterarder just snapping scenes. Very different to my usual contemplative landscape style – this is reactionary, street photography, with a consistent presentation style (sepia-toned monochrome). All images were shot on a Pentax 15-30mm f/2.8 lens at 30mm nearly wide-open at f/3.5 as well using a daylight whitebalance.

Funnily enough, reducing the variables by insisting on one focal-length and aperture and allowing automatic exposure left me free to think about composition – in such relatively alien territory, wave the lens around and see what looks good.

Around town:

I took the new-found constraints into the surrounding countryside:

Country 2:

All images processed using RawTherapee; uncropped, but exposures normalized and the consistency of toning arising from an orange pre-filtered black and white conversion with sepia toning to finish.

Approach Routes

Time for something a little different.

With the previous camera, I was particularly fond of an old Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 prime lens; an awful lot of my photos were made using that, especially for closeups and even some landscapes. On the Lumix GH2, with its 2x crop-factor, this was the equivalent of shooting at 100mm-e all the time, and I was very familiar with the field of view that entailed.

Now I’ve switched to the Sony NEX-7, I’m experimenting more with wide-angle field of view. It feels completely different, as though the eye is latching-on to features of a scene I would not previously have considered using, especially the idea of perspective and lines leading into the distance.

Yesterday’s photo of the day was taken in the Fairy Glen in Portpatrick:

Between Realities

Between Realities – in the Fairy Glen, Portpatrick

and today I dug out an old Peleng 8mm fisheye lens, spent a while tweaking the screws in the M42->E-mount adapter to make it focus at all, and made this image of the approach to the harbour – a 170-degree field of view:

Approach Routes

Approach Routes

Coincidentally, both images have also been processed using LuminanceHDR for tonemapping.