Thursday, 17 May 2012

Bluebell Woods

My friend Jack and I went to see Nick Harper at the Picturedrome, Holmfirth on the Saturday afternoon of the Holmfirth Folk Festival.  Had a few pints at the afternoon concert, and a few more in the Elephant and Castle afterwards.  So when Jack's wife came to pick us up and take me home I was pretty merry.

Anyhow, when I got home I got changed and took Evey dog for a walk in the woods near our house.  I've been noticing as I've travelled around that there doesn't seem to be may bluebells this year.  I'm wondering if that's anything to do with it being a very dry spring this year, although it has been a bit wet recently.  I had my camera with me so I decided I'd try to get some images of the few bluebells that were in the woods.

So here they are.


As you can see there weren't many bluebells about.  Usually there's big areas with the bluebells jammed in tight.


However, I guess it does give the opportunity to get in close and isolate small groups of flowers.


I think with being a little bit less than sober I was more inclined to get down and lay on the ground to take some of the.shots


Also I did fall over once when I slipped in the mud.  It doesn't show too well in the photos but the ground is quite steep in places.


I used Evey in the background in this shot to provide more contrast to pick out the bluebell flowers.



It was fairly warm and sunny and by late afternoon the sun was streaming in through the trees.



It was good to get some of the flowers lit up in the patches of sunlight.


In this shot I used the dark shaded tree stump to bring the flowers into the picture.  I wasn't too sure about the twigs behind the flowers being a bit too much of a distraction.  Parts of the twig had crept into focus so I blurred them out so they were less distracting.  Maybe I should have removed the twigs and re-taken the shot.


For a bit of a change some wild garlic flowers with a couple of bluebells in the background.


Finally another wild garlic flower with lots of bluebells, but not as many as there usually would have been.


I don't usually talk much about post-processing my images but I've been using Topaz Adjust 5 plug-in for a couple of weeks so this and the previous Joan Miro post are my first experimentations, and I'm quite impressed.  The program has loads of options to use to enhance details, do things with the exposure, adjust saturation, add sharpening, make local changes etc.  It comes with hundreds of presets which demonstrate the versatility of the adjustments that can be made and you can take a preset, make your own adjustments to it and then save your bespoke adjustments to use later.  Some of the presets are weird and wonderful and theres also an "I feel lucky" button which will randomly apply a preset to you image.  Keep clicking the button until the result gives you inspiration.

In the last two posts I've been fairly conservative with the adjustments but I might make a post soon showing some of the more wacky things Adjust 5 can do.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Joan Miro at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

It was a wet Saturday afternoon and Lynne's sister and husband had come for lunch after visiting the father in law.  We had arranged to go to the sculpture park and even though it was a bit wet, it wasn't too bad so we kept to our plans.  We'd gone in separate cars as they were heading back to Ripon after the visit and the sculpture park is pretty close to the M1 to take them Northwards.  We hadn't arranged on which car park to meet at so as expected we went to completely different ends of the park.

When we met up we wandered around for a while in the rain and then headed to the visitors centre which is next to the underground gallery.  The temporary exhibitions are mostly in and around the gallery as with the Jaume Plensa exhibition last year.  There was also a selection of prints for sale in the gallery above the visitors centre.  It had started raining hard so we headed for the underground gallery to keep dry for a while.

On the way down the stairs to the gallery we looked over to one of the outdoor sculptures in the area below.  Lynne's sister, Stella, knew mainly of Miro's paintings and prints so she was pleased to sculptures for the first time.


It was quite busy inside the gallery because of the rain but I managed to take a few photos of this first piece which was near the gallery window.  Even next to the window it was quite dark so it took me a few attempts to to get the exposure acceptable.  I then found out that we weren't allowed to take photos inside the gallery so I put my camera away until we got back outside.


I must admit I didn't know anything much of Miro before I came to the exhibition and I was struck by how much similarity in style there was between most of the prints, paintings and sculptures.  The sculptures inside looked to me smaller versions of some of those outside and the paintings looked to be of the sculptures.  It could have been the other way round of course that the sculptures where representations of the paintings.  Anyhow, I liked most of the work, although not all of it appealed to me, such as the buffets and chairs with odd things attached to them.

When the rain eased of a little we went outside to look at the outdoor sculptures.  These first few photos were taken on the grassed area opposite the underground gallery.   I think this first one should be called "Does my bum look big in this?".


I guess this next one is a woman.   No further comment.


Well this chap looks pleased to see us!


Not too sure about these two.  All I can say is this one's close and the other is far away.


As you can see the sky is pretty grey and there's lots of moisture on the sculptures.  This one has a strange green glow with the reflection on the grass on the underside of the head.


Here's Lynne's sister Stella taking a photo of the far away sculpture, from a bit closer.


Here's the far away sculpture close up with a different one far away.


The next one looks to me like a soldier with a shield coming out of the trees.


Here's the soldier again from a bit closer.


This was the biggest sculpture which was located at the top end of this enclosed garden.  It's quite hard to get an idea of the scale but it was massive. I tried to get a shot with someone stood there but for a change everyone moved out of the way when I started to shoot.


Finally the last shot taken in the garden, I hope I haven't offended anyone who is a Miro aficionado with my comments on the work.  


It was a pit about the weather, but to be honest I think the sculptures look quite good with the rain on them.  This setting at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is wonderful and in other parts of the park are several works of Henry Moore and many other world renowned sculptors.  As I said in the James Plensa posting I have no association with the park but I urge everyone in the area to visit because it is an amazing setting and has had many improvements made in recent years.  The visitors centre has a wonderful range of goods to purchase from the current and previously featured artists.