I tried to do a few sunset pictures last year with varying degrees of success, using an ND Graduated filter to reduce the glare of the sun. However the sunsets in East Anglia, dramatic as they can sometimes be, do not really allow you to include the sea because you are by definition on the east coast, much to my frustration.
So I was really excited when I got lucky yesterday – work took me to Sidmouth on the Devon coast – some 5 hours drive from home, and I arrived at the hotel just in time to get out of the car, stretch my tired legs and take some photos on the beach. The temperature was already near freezing as I got there, but it was a beautifully clear day and it was too good an opportunity to miss.
As you can see, there were also some surfers in the water – I don’t know how they stood the cold, even in wetsuits. The water looked icy. So, here are my favourites.
Phew, long time no posts, eh?
Sorry about the break – you know the kind of thing. Work, real life, tonsillitis – but tonight I’ve decided to post some things just to get me back in the habit again. August was such a great month for FR – I was acually exceeding one post per day at one point – and then…only one for the whole of October!
Not much commentary with these as I had originally felt that they didn’t make the cut – but I think I was also getting a little to technical – precious about my shots as well, and I had forgotten that a picture can be worthwhile even if it’s not technically perfect. So….they do at least convey, to me at least, the end of summer on the bleak Suffolk coast – the crowds have gone, the temperature is cooling, the clouds have obscured the sun, and the leaves are starting to drop. Some are HDR’s but the people on the beach one is just a single exposure.
It’s a long haul ’til next spring…
And finally, moving north-west again,I took this one in my New Brighton Beach set which I posted last month. To some of you it will be horrendously over-cooked, and that’s why I held off from posting it. However I have just looked at it again and I think it’s worth posting – it certainly conveys that ‘end of summer’ feeling, although some might say it’s more ‘end of the world’……if you have an opinion, use the comments box below to let me know!
My recent tour around England’s North-West took me in an exotic loop from Runcorn, through to Salford via a weekend at a friend’s house in New Brighton, just a short ferry from Liverpool across the Mersey. I took some shots on the beach on a sunny afternoon, because the sea front has unique qualities. The sea can retreat at low tide for maybe a quarter of a mile, leaving a vast sandy expanse; yet at other times it can seem as if it is trying to breach the sea wall and flood the [reclaimed] sea front. Here are some photos that I took with a no.8 graduated ND filter and my trusty circular polariser. A couple are HDR’s, the rest just normal.
Above: The ‘Lifeguard’ hut is a great subject for a shot or two. This is actually an HDR of four shots at varying exposures.
I love the way the clouds seem to radiate from the centre of this picture – it gives it some dynamism and almost makes it look as if I meant to get this effect!!
Above – testing out the depth of field technique of focusing ‘one third in’ to the picture.
Above” This is the sea wall and where I am standing is often under water – so the wall has acquired a nice patina.
Above: That rather dramatic sky again, captured in Black and White.
Above: Looking out to sea from the gap at the top of the steps, this is an HDR rendering of four shots taken at varying exposures, the given a ‘pop’ in Topaz Adjust.
Back to Barcelona now, if you don’t mind. I’m slowly working through the mass of photos that we took, and applying some post processing effects to some of them. There is no real theme to these posts, it’s rather like a wander around the city taking random snapshots. I hope you enjoy.
Above is a shot of Jenny in the most wonderful book shop in Barcelona, which extended into many, many rooms full of books, including some English language versions, and a very impressive music section, featuring books about many punk and alternative bands [Husker Du biography, anyone?]. There were also lots of cool gift-type things and I bought my daughter a very nice little ipod sock.
Above – now a night shot. This is a continuation of the walkabout in my last post, where we wandered through the Fiesta Major de Gracia – a whole district basically holds a massive street party lasting from lunchtime until…….whenever you feel like giving up. This shot was taken under the customary canopy of rope lights that get hung the length of every street in the barrio.
Above – the same Fiesta, but in the early afternoon. A major Domino tournament had clearly started, and the elderly participants took up tables and enjoyed the shade. I got the impression that these gatherings [the tables were used later on for massive sit down meals] are actually for the people who live on that particular street, so it’s a little bit like a massive old-fashioned street party, the likes of which we used to get in England before people decided that it was both more profitable and more enjoyable to loot their local retail park of an evening.
Above: Returning from a trip to the beach. Because Barcelona is a city adjoining the sea, you enjoy the rather surreal experience of being able to head off to the sand by underground train! In the evening, the trains are packed with people carrying towels, beach bags and inflatables! Fabulous! The underground system is also cheap [ish], fast, reliable and most wonderful of all, air-conditioned.
By taking the underground, you can get to the Funicular railway that takes you up to Montjuc, a hilly district which contains the most beautiful gardens and affords views of the whole city as well as containing the Stadio Olympico, a massive stadium used for the Barcelona Olympics for which I believe we have the fascists to thank. These flowers were commonplace, and look rather lovely.
Above: And finally for this installment, more of those lovely botanical gardens in Montjuc. We’ll be heading back to the market for the next installment.
A few weeks ago I did a post of some photos I took at Southwold on the Suffolk coast. Since then, I have been playing around with a few plug ins for Photoshop, the most notable of which is NIK Sharpener Pro. This tool is, as its name suggests, a bit of software for adding sharpness to a photograph, and the effects that it gives a photo are, quite simply, stunning. There are not that many applications I can think of which would make you gasp when they have been applied to a good photo [and it has to be a decent photo, of course, to start with!] – but NIK is one of them. I picked it up through the excellent ‘Stuck in Customs‘ website. Have a look at these previously posted images and see what you think.
Finally, one I took at nearby Felixstowe as a three-image HDR effect, which I rather like.