Thursday 24 November 2011

Marsden Moor

Last Saturday was a beautiful day when we went for our "Marsden Moorland Ramble", which was another card from our "AA 30 Walks in West Yorkshire" series.  My wife wanted to go on a slightly longer walk than the usual 5 or 6 miles but didn't want to go too far from home.  Our starting point in Marsden is about 8 or 9 miles away going through Holmfirth and Meltham.  We arrived at the station car park at about half past nine and headed up the canal tow path towards Tunnel End.

At Tunnel End both the canal and the railway line disappear under the Pennines and reappear at Diggle in Lancashire.  The canal has been closed for a long time but the railway line is still the main connection between the Cities on Leeds and Manchester.  This first photo is looking at the entrance to the canal tunnel and the cottages next to it.

From here we walked past the Tunnel End Visitors Centre, then up past the Tunnel End Inn (which apparently is closed) and then along a path at the edge of the old reservoir which supplies water to the canal.  The trees have nearly lost of of their leaves but this old tree still had a few beautifully coloured leaves which were lit up in the morning sun.

At the end of the path we joined back onto Waters Road and and past the Hey Green Hotel.  From here we went down another path beside the river to the Eastergate Bridge where I took some photos but we were in the shade of the valley and I didn't think they were worth posting.  There's also a strange sculpture here and some information about the pack horse trail that we were about to follow.  Along the trail are a series of stone marker posts and this photo shows one next to the path we were walking along.  In the background is a round topped hill which the details on the card said we would be walking to the left side of later.

The path was quite flat here and then we dropped into a little valley with a stream before climbing up towards the round topped hill.  In this next photo is Lynne crossing the stream with Evey the dog watching me take the photo.  Up the path is another marker post for the pack horse trail.

This next photo is from part way up the round topped hill looking back down the path and yet another marker post.  At the other side of the hill we head down towards the Buckstones Road and just before the car park we join the Pennine Way and then started heading South towards Standedge

As with the Stanage near Sheffield that I blogged about back in April 2010 the name Standedge is derived from stone edge and the next photo has some of the stones on the edge.  In the background we're looking towards the little village of Denshaw on the far left with the Castleshaw Upper and Lower reservoirs nearer the centre.  The stones here are nowhere as impressive as Stanage but there were some people climbing them with ropes further along.

As we approached the Huddersfield to Manchester road near to Brun Clough Reservoir there was this wooden signpost for the Pennine way.  The sign point back in the direction from where we had come was missing.  On the right was Evey watching me again and wondering why it was taking me so long to get along the path.

We crossed the road and headed down the path going past Redbrook Reservoir and then on to Old Mount Road towards Hades Farm.  This next photo is looking across the golf course towards another part of the Marsden Moor Estate and Butterley Resevoir.  Further up that valley is Wessenden where I have blogged about several times and walked around even more times.

Further along Old Mount Road I took this photo of the West end of Marsden with the big old woollen mills and the little millworkers houses.

After this we dropped back down onto Mount Road into Marsden town centre and then back to the car park.  The walk was about eight miles and we took a little over four hours to complete it, including stops for refreshments and taking photos.  Which wasn't back considering that some of the pathways were pretty hard going underfoot.  It was a very good ramble and just what we needed to get away from the stresses of everyday life.

Monday 21 November 2011

Dirty Dog

We were out walking on Marsden Moor on Saturday and it was a beautiful day for late November.  I will post some pictures of the landscape later but I couldn't resist posting these photos of Evey getting herself covered in mud.

1. Charging into the muddy puddle

2. Head down making first contact with the mire

3. The big splashdown

4. Emerging from the blackness

5. Taking to the air

6. Mud dripping from her mouth

It looked like great fun but I don't think I'd like the mouth full of black muddy water.  Evey didn't seem bothered and fortunately over the rest of the walk the mud dried and most of it dropped off.  We delivered the dog back to my daughter Emma and mentioned that she might need a bit of a wash down.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

I'm Still Here

It's been over two months since my last post and I think it's about time I got back into it.  I've had an early bout of winter blues and there's little sign of getting past it yet even though we're only in mid autumn.  I feel my photography has seriously got stuck in a rut and although I've taken lots of pictures I'm not getting the urge to share them at the moment.  So this is taking a lot of effort, but I'm determined to push through before I lose the will to make pictures any more.

It's been quite mix of weather the last couple of weeks but last Saturday we had a bit of early sunshine.  So while my wife was having her hair done I wandered into Victoria Park in Holmfirth with my camera to look for inspiration.  The sun was quite low and sky was blue and I thought I might find some trees with their leaves a nice autumn yellow to make a great contrast to the sky.  It's a great combination of colours, yellow, green and blue.  But I just couldn't find a shot.

As I walked about I spotted some mushrooms growing at the bottom of an old tree stump so I went to have a closer look.  The tree stump was very dark with it being in its own shadow and the mushrooms were out in the sunshine and very bright.  I decided to make three exposures of each shot at different shutter speeds so I could merge them to makes tone mapped HDRs with details in the shadows.  I took quite a few shots at different angles and heights to make different compositions of the mushrooms and in the end I chose this ones as the best.  In the end I didn't merge the exposures because I decided I didn't want the detail in the shadow to detract from the detail in the mushrooms.  When I look at the picture now I feel I need to get rid of the grass in the background on the right because it's drawing my eye away from the main subject. Its too light so maybe I can darken and desaturate it, or perhaps clone in some more tree stump.

After the mushroom I started heading out of the park and there is a small public garden with a bench and some shrubs in the borders.  I spotted some very late blooming honeysuckle and went to have a look.  Although the weather has been mixed it has been quite mild for the time of year so there are a few late blooms around.  I quite like this picture but again I wonder if I should darken the background a bit more to emphasise the flower.  Maybe add a bit more of a vignette to darken the corners might work.

Next to the honeysuckle was an unknown (to me) bush with some furry leaves which had lots of water droplets from the overnight rain.  Some of the leaves were in the sunshine and I spent the rest of my time trying to get some interesting pictures of them.  This was my first attempt but it doesn't work too well with the angle of the shot and the busy background.  I need to seriously get rid of the contrast in the background by darkening and desaturating it all because the foreground subject is completely lost.

This next ones a bit better with having the wall in the background, but the bits of honeysuckle stem are a bit distracting.  I lowered the angle of the shot to try and look through the big water droplet and this works a bit I think.

Same leaf but from the side of the leaf this time and lower again.  Now I'm getting the shot right through the big water droplet and I quite like the effect of the light bending through it.  Maybe again I just need to get rid of the light circle near the top left because it's distracting but overall I pleased with this picture.

Same leaf again and back to the same direction as the first one but lower and closer. There is very little depth of field and I've used the exposure two stops below the metered exposure which is why it is so dark.  I chose this exposure because the background has almost completely gone and the only part of the picture in sharp focus is the big droplet.  I noticed a variety of colours in the little droplets so I boosted the overall saturation sky high and then desaturated the green so that the leaves look a fairly normal colour.  I love this picture, even the very light blurred spot in the foreground because it is on a bit of a diagonal line through the composition.  It looks even better full size on my computer screen with the weird shapes in the big water droplet and all the little coloured circles of bokeh from the little ones.

Thanks for looking at this post.  I really hope you like something here.  Writing this has been a bit of therapy for me and maybe I can get back into the swing again.  No promises but I'll try to get back to posting weekly.  Please give me some feedback in the comments if you have a bit more time to spare me.

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