Last summer I did some exploring round places I’d not visited before. Top of the list that blew me away was Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire. I keep leaving the shots for a few months and coming back to them. Here are the latest couple of shots which I thought I’d share with you…
If you ever get a chance to visit I’d strongly recommend it. The site is looked after by English Heritage but they were very relaxed about me wandering round with my camera and tripod.
I processed this photo yesterday which I took a few weeks back at a local ruined church. This is a cropped part of a tone mapped composite of 3 bracketed images (processed with Photomatix), but I’ve gone back and the ‘orbs’ are present on the original images. I did an internet search on these things, just for fun, and I was wondering what experience others have of them with their cameras.
For the record the shot was taken just after dawn on a Sunday morning facing towards the sun. No other light sources were used (so the reflection from my flash theory is a none starter). While the church is a ruin the graveyard is still in use but these graves were in the older part of the cemetery. Oh and there was no one else about (except the dogs in the car which was parked a little way off). Myself I’m going to go with moisture on the front of my lens as the explaination as I do remember it was damp, although it wasn’t raining.
Anyway I thought I’d share and ask if anyone else has had any of these things pop up in their images? This is the first time for me.
Sometimes I like to revisit old photos. In part because I love looking at them and reliving the memories, but also because it can be fun to re-process them. This is one reason why I use RAW files straight from my camera. The RAW format is basically all the information saved by your camera and I like to use this as my starting point for processing. Others differ in their view on this and that’s ok, each to their own.
So, this is a shot which is about 18 months old now. I had a go at processing it straight away but was never really happy with the result. It just seemed wrong somehow. However when I got home the other evening I found myself wondering about black and white.
I love black and white images, they are that one step further removed from the reality we see everyday. This is Loch Faskally near Pitlochry in Scotland. I had planned a walking, (and photography), holiday for myself and Jake the dog not last summer but the one before. Unfortunately a few weeks before we went I hurt my left knee, making long hikes a bad idea. So the planned places to visit list had to be hastily revised. A walk round this Loch was added and I’m glad it was. Jake of course approved as it involved, running in woods and splashing in water, but then he’s easy to please.
The photo was taken hand held on my old Canon 10D, ISO 200, f 16 for 1/125th sec. My knee ruled out carrying a tripod. To get to this black and white image I took the original file and imported it into Adobe Photoshop CS3. (Yes I know it’s an old piece of software and I have CS5, I’m just more used to CS3). I then converted to black and white. You can do this using the auto feature but I find the images look rather flat that way, so I adjust the different colours manually. I tweaked the brightness and contrast etc and voilà. I like this version much better than the coloured one. Part of me misses the beautiful colours of Scotland but I’m sure I’ll get to see them in other shots. You’ve got to do what is best for each photograph and in this case it was black and white…
Well I’ve made it back home from my latest jaunt away. This time to North Yorkshire and up onto the North York Moors. I remember visiting the area as a child, and many school trips to the steam railway at Pickering, but beyond that I don’t remember much. Visits to the beautiful city of York, yes – but up onto the moors… no.
This particular week was more about my mam getting a little time away than it was for me, so the destinations were chosen by her. One of which was Rievaulx Abbey a former Cistercian Abbey now in ruins and looked after by English Heritage.
Wow is all I have to say. Beautiful, atmospheric, romantic, stunning…. and a nice little tea shop where my mam and the dogs could wait while I explored with my camera. In fact I think this might have been her plan as she happily sat there sipping tea (which I dutifully made sure arrived fresh every half hour or so) and reading her new Kindle.
One of the things I loved about this place was the extreme lack of ‘keep off the grass’ type signs. I know in some situations they are essential, but that doesn’t mean I have to like them. So as I explored I became increasingly bold in where I ventured. I was a little concerned I might be stopped when I wandered down a medieval sewer, tripod slung over my shoulder, but the worst that happened was a rather primly dressed woman informing me I was in a sewer and turning her nose up. I can live with that given the fun I had and the shot I got. I mean it had been a long time since anything objectionable had been down there.
What do you think? Was it worth it for the shot above? There is only water down there now and I was able to hop from stone to stone so didn’t even get my feet wet.
The architecture of Abbeys and especially Cathedrals fascinates me. There is something about these monumental piles of stone which draws me in. In part the connection to history and their immense size, but there is also their geometry. I like things to be harmonious geometrically and the master stonemasons who built these wonders seem to have shared my feelings. I think for them it was something to so with their religious beliefs and building Gods House, I just like symmetry and balance. Oh my that all sounds very high brow and pompous doesn’t it! Should I say something laddish and crude now to compensate? Nah… I think I’ll make a cuppa tea instead hehe…