Flower Dreaming

Just lately I’ve been frustrated at my attempts at photography. My complaints have revolved around not having access to amazing landscapes, not having access to much more knowledgeable photographers and their skills, not having the best camera and lenses… and then I realise that with macro and plant photography I can just step outside into my garden and shoot some flowers with a cheap 50mm lens and produce personally satisfying and fulfilling images.

The purple lilies were my birthday flowers. The others are Echinacea and Anemone. The camera was hand-held (I pondered using a tripod and may try again using it), and there was a slight breeze. Despite it being annoying as it moves the subject about thus making sharp images much more difficult, a breeze also creates some nice blurry bokeh and movement in the background. In fact, I’m falling in love with blurred, arty backgrounds achieved with extremely shallow depth of field. Would it be too much to make a collection of images of just smooth and silky backgrounds produced by using the crazy depth of field possible with a 50mm lens? I may find out.

 

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Mull, Scotland.

I spent a magical week in the Isle of Mull, Scotland, visiting Staffa island and Iona too. It was an opportunity to capture images of Scottish wildlife, and to practice photographic techniques.┬áIn that sense, it was a relative failure. My equipment wasn’t up to my requirements, and my abilities aren’t up to the standard I needed to make the most of photographic opportunities. However, it was a learning process, to some extent, and made me see how much I have still to learn.

Staffa island blew me away – I had not expected to get so close to puffins and was completely surprised by their proximity (and some people’s willingness to get far too close to puffins and their nests), which meant I was then unable to focus on getting the best images possible of the puffins. I would like to go back and re-try. I was fairly unlucky with sightings of eagles and other birds of prey, not getting close to any large birds. Even the herons were determined to make life impossible for me!

However, I loved it in Mull and plan to go back again, very soon. These images were the result of a couple of late night and early morning drives out with my dog to see what we could get close enough to and capture, and some are from Staffa island.

Moon Phase: 28th December 2017

I took the new (second-hand) lens out into the garden to try to capture a closer shot of the moon than my very old 75-300mm lens used to allow. I stacked three of the clearest shots in Z stacker. I’m not sure how effective that was, as the stacked final only looks marginally clearer than the original sharpest image. I have compared it with an old shot of the moon I took in September with my old 75-300mm lens.

I’m looking forward to taking more images of the moon, on clearer night than this (it was a bit hazy).

The original images (below) was f/9, 1/100, ISO 100, at 400mm on a semi-cloudy night.

2017-12-29-00.21.13 ZS DMap-1_FINAL

Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire

Replacing an 11th century Norman fort, the Peverils erected a 12th century castle on the site, which was later replaced by a larger castle, stables and manege, and a much later ‘little castle’ designed for luxurious entertaining of guests. Both castles (now owned by English Heritage) stand empty, the ‘little castle’ at least maintaining a roof, some furnishings and a maintained garden, whilst the larger castle is in a state of ruin. Both stand high on a hill overlooking Bolsover and provide impressive views of the surrounding areas of Derbyshire.