Iceland: January 2016

I have quite seriously decided that Iceland will be my next place of residence. I have visited twice now, and felt as if I had come home. It is a stunningly beautiful country. The marine wildlife is a big attraction for me.

I am trying to improve my photography techniques a little, and tried a few different settings with the camera whilst traveling around. Many were unsuccessful! I got a few nicer shots. Regardless, Iceland is a constant inspiration to improve my skills and technique – it is the kind of country you want to capture perfectly, and possibly never will. Some have managed it and I’m envious of their skills.

In the meantime, visiting Iceland again before I finish my degree and possibly move there is motivation to improve.

Birds Above Industry

I watched a flock of pigeons drift about in the evening sky for over ten minutes. They didn’t land in all that time. They rose and fell, clustered together and fell apart, circled and circled and finally, eventually landed on the roof of the buildings they were roosting on for the night. Those buildings provided a stark contrast to the soft skies and delicate silhouette of birds – they were flying above the steel, glass and concrete buildings of Rolls Royce headquarters in Derby, UK. I deliberately cut out the buildings.

It was a bit of a meditative experience, just watching their motion as a group, coming together and drifting apart, over and over. The image taken is a little meditative for me too – all greys and blues, with a drift of birds floating across the sky in the lower half of the image, while heavy clouds loom above them. I quite like it.

RR Birds

The Blues: Island Hopping

In August I visited the beautiful Channel Islands for the very first time. We stayed in Guernsey, and took a ferry ride across to Herm Island for a day. It was a magical experience – I came away lighter, unburdened yet bewitched and determined to return and explore further. I spent hours and hours just standing next to the ocean, hypnotised. I listened to the waves crash, the sea roar, I watched sea birds fly and feed, I watched tides rise and fall, I studied rock pools and rock formations, scrambled and climbed and came close to getting cut off at one point! I spent much of my time there taking images of the ocean and surrounding landscape – 3,000 images to be precise.

I would like to visit the Channel Islands again in 2016, during the Puffin breeding season.

Here are a few of the images taken. I primarily focused on the thing that completely captured and held my attention – the ocean. I was trying to experiment a bit with fast and slow shutter speeds, but without the aid of an ND filter at that time (now rectified). I learnt quite a bit, made many mistakes, but still somehow felt utterly fulfilled and satisfied by the experience. These are all edited to some degree. I was not shooting in RAW at the time so there is some grain and reduction in quality here and there. I now shoot in RAW (which is an experience in itself). Hopefully, these images convey the magic I saw and felt of the ocean.

Roses

I’m a keen gardener and even keener when it comes to growing roses. David Austin roses are some of the best. During the summer months, I took a number of photos of my roses (having built a special rose bed). I used close up pre-settings, mostly, to see what kind of results I could get. No macro lens – just the EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS lens that comes as standard with the body of my camera. Here are a few shots from the summer.

Plants

Being a horticulturist means I spent a lot of time with plants. There is a definite appreciation of nature, and the symmetry and beauty (and sometimes abstract nature) of plants for someone who works with them. It is only natural, then, that I enjoy taking photographs of them. I would love to purchase a macro lens and take close up images of plants – in the meantime, I utilise the close up settings on my DSLR and attempt some half-decent close ups. Otherwise, I’m on an ongoing mission to simply capture the staggering beauty and colours of a flower or a leaf. I haven’t managed to fully capture either yet.

Some of my attempts below.