Thursday, 31 January 2013

Snow Around the Mill Pond

At the bottom of the Close, across the road is a gate where there is a path that leads down to the old mill pond.  The small estate that we live on was built on the site of an old mill, which I don't remember being here, although there are a lot of mills in the area.  Hence the name of the village, New Mill.  Not many of them are still here and those that are are no longer woollen mills.

At one side of the path is the mill race, which takes water from the river to fill the mill pond.  The pond is now used just for fishing and I've seen some very big fish in there.  In the photo we're at the top end of the mill race which has recently been dug out because it was very overgrown.

Mill Race in the Snow
Mill Race in the Snow
At the other side of the path is the river which Google Maps names New Mill Dike.  About a mile or so downstream it feeds into the River Holme within the Holme Valley.  At this point the stream winds its way through the wooded area which surrounds the mill pond.

Snowy River
Snowy River
The path had recently been widened so it's now possible to get a vehicle down here, but it is very muddy.  I hope there are no plans to build down here as it would really spoil the surroundings.

Path through the Trees
Path through the Trees 
As I reached the top end of the mill pond I was startled by the heron setting off from the mill race and flying across the top of the pond.  I managed to get my camera up and fire off a few shots but the shutter speed was too slow to get a decent image of the heron.  I could also have done with having my longer lens on the camera but it was an unexpected appearance of the heron from behind some bushes, so no time to prepare.

The Heron Flies Away
The top end of the mill pond was clear of ice and there was little wind so it was a good opportunity to get some good reflections of the other bank.  The snow on the ground and on the branches makes the reflection more interesting.  The sky in the background was very blown out but I decided to leave it as I didn't think it detracted from the image at all.

Snow Covered Log in the Pond
Snow Covered Log in the Pond
In the next photo I moved in a bit closer to the pond to concentrate more on the reflections and get rid of the sky in the background. The small ripples on the pond surface are more visible but the reflections still look nice.

Reflections of Snow
In the next photo I have moved down the pond a little and have the same log in the foreground as I'm looking more towards the top end of the pond.  More nice reflections in the snow.

More Reflections in the Snow
More Reflections in the Snow 
I moved further around the mill pond to the end where the surface was a bit solid.  I'm not sure whether it was frozen or if the snow hadn't melted when it fell on the water.

Frozen Pond
Frozen Pond
 I'm not sure what kind of weed this is but I just loved the way the snow had built up on the remains of last year's folliage.  The shape of the snow looks like white crystal strawberries.

Snow on the Weed
 A different sort of weed with snow wedged into the stalks.

Another snowy weed
Another snowy weed
 For this photo I went back to the non-frozen end of the pond where it was a bit wider so I could feature more of the reflections.

More Reflections in the Pond
More Reflections in the Pond 
I have some more snow photos to look through and decide whether I want to post them or not.  I have some ideas about some different things for the blog or maybe I need to create a different blog.  I'll think about it.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Snow at Scout Dyke Reservoir

We've had a bit of snow, which is exciting, but I didn't manage to get a lot of photos before it went again.  Here's some from Scout Dyke Reservoir where I managed to get to just before it started to get dark.  I don't have a lot to say about them so here they are.











Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Holga Lens, Why not?

I managed to get out for a bit of a walk on Saturday afternoon and although the weather was poor and it was getting a bit dark I decided to take some photos.   I was doing a walk I've done many times before in much better weather so I thought it might be fun to make things even more difficult by using my Holga lens.

A Holga Camera was an old film camera made in Eastern Europe which has a plastic lens of, shall we say, variable quality.  The picture quality was frankly pretty poor but the beauty of them was that you got a very dreamy, fuzzy image which is fairly distinctive.  My youngest daughter bought me a Chinese Holga type lens on Ebay for not much money which fits on my camera.  So effectively you're taking a thousand pound digital camera and putting a ten pound lens on it to produce the effect of a thirty pound film camera.

As it was fairly overcast I had to use my tripod because with a low iso setting the shutter speeds were between a third and two seconds to get a reasonable exposure.   In the future I will probably make some more pictures when the weather is a bit better.  It doesn't seem to make any sense but maybe it's in the name of art so here are the pictures.

Holga Lens Photo

Holga Lens Photo

Holga Lens Photo

Holga Lens Photo

Holga Lens Photo

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Chateau by the Lake, Bourges

After leaving Monet's Garden in Giverney we headed South to Bourges to stop at a Chateau by a lake.  As we drove the temperature started to rise from a pleasant mid twenties to a hot low thirties.  The Chateau was in a little clump of trees of a little road to the South of Bourges and was a little strange.  The rooms were like studio apartments with a kitchenette and a fridge, but no crockery, pans or cutlery so pretty useless apart from having somewhere to keep the water and tonic cool.

Chateau de Lazenay, Bourges, France
The following morning before it got too warm we went for a walk around the lake, where my first photo opportunity was this little jetty going out into the water.  I've seen lots of photos similar to this and always thought the simplicity was quite appealing, although it was quite an uninteresting jetty to have as a subject.

Jetty in the Lake
Jetty in the Lake
A bit further along was a strange looking boat which I guessed was something like a dredger but I wasn't sure.  A bit later the boat set off and I realised it was collecting weed from the lake and then dumping the weeds on the quayside.  A bit later some skip wagons came along to collect the weed.s and take them away  I wonder what they did with the weeds?

Weed Dredger
Weed Dredger
Further along again there was a bit of a beach at the side of the lake and there was this bleached log at the waters edge.  I thought this made quite a nice foreground and there was a flock of geese  and ducks in the background.

Plan d'Eau Val d'Auron
Plan d'Eau Val d'Auron
The last two photos are of the geese and their offspring.  They seemed quite friendly and came fairly close to us.  I guess they thought we were going to feed them but all we had was some water and I think they had enough of that around them.

Geese and Goslings
Geese and Goslings

Geese and Goslings
Geese and Goslings

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Trees in the Fog

One morning last March I went out walking in the fog so I could try making some eerie pictures of the trees.  The trees were still without leaves because spring was still a way off.  There are a couple of places not far from home that have some nicely spread out trees in the fields and I thought they'd be the place to go.  Even though the places weren't far away I decided to drive because the fog was starting to lift as we were getting to mid morning.

The first two photos are at the first location where there a quite a lot of trees fairly close together.  In the first photo the fog is really helping to add some depth into the image.

Trees in the Fog
Trees in the Fog

Already by the second image the fog was starting to go but I was still getting the effect I was after.

Trees in the Fog
Trees in the Fog
I decided to move on to the second place where there are less trees and they are a bit more spread out.  This third photo was really what I was trying to get out of the shooting session with the close tree fairly clear and the further away tree shrouded in mist.

Trees in the Fog
Trees in the Fog
The fog was lifting quickly now so on the third shot the main tree has even got a bit of light on the trunk and the tree in the distance is only partially in the mist.  Even the woods in the background are visible in the image.

Trees in the Fog
Trees in the Fog
Soon the fog was almost gone and there was just a hint of mist in the far background.  The sky was becoming bright and blue and the trees and grass  were being bathed in sunshine.  I seem to remember last March was quite a good month for weather and I hope it's not too long before we get some more good weather.

Trees in the Fog
Trees in the Fog

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Fruit Bowl and Cabinet

Lynne's father died last April after a long illness and when we cleared his home we kept a couple of things that he'd made.  He'd been a carpenter all his life and had an amazing array of tools from through the ages.  He was also a keen amateur film photographer who frowned upon the digital age and had a large collection of film cameras and developing equipment.  He had taught woodwork for most of his life up until retirement and also dabbled with wood carving in later years.

The two pieces that we kept were an oak stationary cabinet with a broken door and a turned mixed wood fruit bowl.  Both items were pretty dirty and unkempt so Lynne asked me to repair and clean them for her.  We hadn't realised when we acquired the cabinet that it was an apprenticeship piece that he'd made when he was sixteen in the early 1940's.  We found his original technical design drawings which had the cutting list and prices attached.  The bowl was one of many that he had made both for his own home and also as presents for friends and family.

After cleaning, repairing and varnishing the pieces I made a few photos of them.  As tribute to my father in law I converted them all to monochrome.  I hope he'd approve.

I had to take the varnish back to bare wood on both items and I had to glue one of the doors together on the cabinet.  The door had been broken for some time but he had been too unwell to fix it so the broken door had beeen stored in a cupboard.  There is a big stain on top of the cabinet which I couldn't completely remove but Lynne said it gave the cabinet some character.  I put the bowl over the stain for this shot.

Cabinet and Bowl
Cabinet and Bowl
Inside the cabinet one of the drawers was damaged and I had to glue one of the white plastic knobs back on.  The inside of the fruit bowl was also stained where fruit had gone soft and soggy and I could remove the marks completely before varnishing over them.

Cabinet and Bowl
Cabinet and Bowl

I decided to colour this one sepia too to make it look older than it is.  Love the range on textures in this image.

Apples and Pears in the Fruit Bowl
Apples and Pears in the Fruit Bowl

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Andy Goldsworthy at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Last year I went on a few visits to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and West Bretton which I have blogged about a few times before.  In 2011 there was the Jaume Plensa exhibition and in 2012 there was the Joan Miro exhibition, plus other visits which were just around the park.  Apart from the temporary exhibitions there are also some longer lasting pieces in and around the park.

In the woods on the valley side at the other side of the lakes there are a number of Andy Goldsworthy pieces which are very rustic and I find very beautiful.  I think it's because they combine wonderfully built stone walls with amazing pieces of trees within and going through them.  I love stone walls and they are the subject of many of my photos as are trees, both as complete with leaves but also without leaves or the remains of old dead trees.

I have put three of my photos of parts of Andy Goldsworthy's sculptures in this post which I hope give a glimpse of what there is to see.  All three are looking down into rectangular pits which should be viewed from all angles to appreciate   the complete piece.  As I've said before I have no association with the park but I urge everyone to go and visit and experience the setting and the sculptures if ever you're in the area.  Or even make a special trip, I think you'll find it worthwhile.  So here's my snaps.

Andy Goldsworthy at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Andy Goldsworthy at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Andy Goldsworthy at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Andy Goldsworthy at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Andy Goldsworthy at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Andy Goldsworthy at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Canon 17-85mm Deceased

I've had two Canon 17-85mm lenses and they are both now well and truly deceased. Both of them had the same initial problem where the zoom jammed at 17mm.  The first one was a couple of weeks before we were going to France on holiday so I decided to buy the same lens again because I was used to using it and didn't have time to research obtain an alternative in a hurry.  After we returned from holiday I found that this was a common problem with this lens where a screw comes loose on a spigot in the zoom mechanism.  I found a website which gave step by step instructions on how to disassemble and fix the problem so I gave it a try and fixed the first lens.  I did think about selling it on Ebay but decided that was a bit dishonest so I kept it.

A couple of years later the second lens got the same problem so I started to use the fixed one and set about fixing the second one.  Again the same dilemma about putting the second fixed one on Ebay but again I resisted.  Then the first lens went wonky again, this time it just gave an error on the camera after a couple of shots but worked again after turning the camera off and on for a couple more shots.  So I started to use the second lens again which went awry this year whilst in France on holiday this year where it wouldn't get focus and just kept hunting.

Fortunately I had taken my Sigma 10-20mm, my trusty Canon 50mm f1.8 and my Canon 70-300mm so I managed Ok on the rest of the holiday.  But anyway it was the last straw with the 17-85mm lenses so I did some research and bought a Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 instead, which is an incredible lens so far.  As for the Canon lenses I disassembled them again, this time to destruction with no thoughts of any resurrection and used my new lens to take the photos.  Here's the first one in the final staged of disassembly.

Canon 17-85mm Deceased
Canon 17-85mm Deceased
Just noticed that Aperture is reporting the lens as a Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 in the Exif data, which is incorrect.  I wonder how I can change it?

Monday, 7 January 2013

At last it's stopped raining

Finally managed to get out for a walk and take some photos yesterday (Saturday) for the first time this year, so I went somewhere wet.  Snailsden Reservoir is about 5 miles from home on the edge of the Peak District and up the valley from Winscar and Harden Reservoirs.  It's quite isolated and I very rarely see anyone else there when I go.  It was quite windy and although not raining there was a lot of cloud being blown about so the light was a bit variable.

The photo is the run off from the overflow showing it going through a lovely arched bridge.  There's some beautiful craftsmanship in the stonework in many of the local reservoirs and I think this is a good example.  I have a few more photos from the walk which I may post later.

Overflow from Snailsden Reservoir
Overflow from Snailsden Reservoir

Saturday, 5 January 2013

View of Castle Hill and a Tree

Back in September we actually saw some blue sky and sunshine and here's a view of Castle Hill from a path through the farm.  There's a lot of paths between Farnley Tyas and Almondbury near Huddersfield and we were taking a circular route from the Farnley Cock towards Castle Hill, then down through Mollie Carr Woods and then back to the pub.  Some of the time we were walking on the roads but mainly we we walking on paths through farmland and woods.

Two photos today, the first is a view of Castle Hill from the stable fields below.  The structure is called Victoria Tower and was built in honour of Queen Victoria for when she visited the area back in the 19th century.  I've taken more photos of the tower recently so I might dig some more out another time.  It's quite a rich archeological site and there's evidence of many centuries of habitation around the hilltop.

Castle Hill from the Horses Field
Castle Hill from the Horses Field
The second photo is a bit of an experiment with monochrome using a plug in called Topaz Adjust.  I've mentioned Topaz in previous posts and actually both photos were post processed using different elements of this application.  In the first photo I have increased the detail and desaturated slightly and in the second I've used the Black and White conversion and then added some tone to the image.

Tree near Farnley Tyas
Tree near Farnley Tyas
There is a lot of detail in both photos and I need to print the second one out on a big piece of paper an put it up one my study wall.  I think it might also make a good canvas print or a framed print, maybe even sell it.  I love the lines in the field where the seed for next years crop has been sown.  Might be good to go back in the spring and summer and take some comparison photos or make a triptych.  Given time and some decent weather I could get into this photography lark.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Saint Jehanne in Bourges Cathedral

I never got around to posting more photos from our holiday in France last year so here's a continuation from the post of Monet's Garden.  We stopped for a couple of nights in a Chateaux next to a lake on the South side of Bourges.  While there we visited the Cathedral in the city where I took this photo of a plaque of Saint Jehanne.  I just loved the way that the light from the window lit up the metal.  Unfortunately the exterior of the Cathedral was partially covered with scaffolding and although I took some photos, I'm not sure if I want to post any at the moment.

Saint Jehanne Plaque
Saint Jehanne Plaque

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Rainy Day at Digley

The weather has been pretty miserable for the last few months but I've still tried to get out and make a few images.  I've photographed around Digley Reservoir many times in all sorts of weather but not often in the rain.  Here's a shot from the waters edge.  It's drab and gloomy with the leaden sky heavy with the rain clouds. It did brighten up a bit later but it's pretty wet here.  I had to keep my camera under my waterproof jacket and just pull it out to take a photo.  I notice now that the pine cones look a bit like little birds in the tree at the top left.  Hope the weather improves as we move into 2013.  More flooding in York yesterday, hope the river levels go down soon.

Rainy Day at Digley
Rainy Day at Digley

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Mushrooms at Fountains Abbey

As it's a new year I thought I'd start making some quick posts with single images so I have no excuse for not making several posts a week.

Back in October we went to Fountains Abbey for a walk on one of the few sunny days of the year.  It hadn't been  sunny all day, in fact in the morning there had been snow.  We were stopping at Lynne's sisters house at Ripon overnight so we didn't have far to go to get to the Abbey.

As we were walking around one of the paths I saw these mushrooms growing on an old piece of tree.  We were in the shade of the trees so I had to use my pop up flash to light the mushrooms. I like the bit of green moss in the corner and the texture of the rotting wood.  We saw more mushrooms later in the walk so maybe more another time.

Mushrooms at Fountains Abbey
Mushrooms at Fountains Abbey