Forward Planning

This is an old and picturesque Scottish lighthouse which I believe was originally lit via a log fire, never an electric lamp. So there is only stonework, through which the setting sun just happens to be shining.

I had actually planned this picture long before by using a smartphone app that showed exactly where the sun would set on the days I was in the area. Very very fortunately it was a sunny day and I was in position at the right moment, perhaps less than a minute, when the sun shone through the lighthouse.

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Light and Recession

For photographers, recession isn’t about the economy. It’s the gradual fading of the landscape into the distant haze.

This is a view of Peckforton Castle on a rare day when the combination of hazy weather and sunlight made the castle visible, in silhouette anyway. Normally Peckforton lurks invisbly in the shadow of the higher hills beyond. So this picture is the lucky result of the right light and the right haziness on a not very nice day.

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Bunbury Impressions

Recently I was in the area around the village of Bunbury and created some pictures that use elements of the countryside but not necessarily all in the same place at once. It’s interesting glueing an image together in this way, perhaps it’s even realistic in that it gives a better atmosphere than the basic photographs?
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Not So Warm Anymore

Well the nights are now long and dark and the air temperature is low. Ideal to return to astrophotography. But it’s not very pleasant outside when it’s cold, so instead I am presently sticking to sunny-day photography. When the sun’s out it’s time to leap into action and look for autumnal subjects. This one’s in a nearby abandoned garden.

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A Change of Scene

After all that astrophotography I’m getting a crick in my neck looking upwards so much. So back to earth for a while. This is a peaceful countryside scene I saw by the roadside. Often it isn’t possible to stop anywhere nearby safely but in this case there was somewhere to turn the car round and enough space to pull off the road. I think, I hope, the almost-mon treatment does the scene justice. In colour it was perhaps overwhelmingly green; like this one can concentrate on the lines and textures instead.

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Back to the Skies

While everyone is viewing the comet Neowise, don’t forget we currently have great views of Jupiter (above) and Saturn (below). I took the photo of Jupiter and its four largest moons while waiting for Neowise to appear out of the glowing Northern sky, similarly for Saturn which is parked just to the left of Jupiter.

Both of these are, as with many of my astro photos, made with my Nikon D7100, 300mm lens and 1.4x teleconverter. It’s at the limit of what can be done with this combo but still a nice thing to do.

I also saw the ISS fly directly overhead, really bright, while looking around and awaiting Neowise.

Eventually I saw Neowise. Well the camera saw it. At this point it was still not visible to my unaided eye so I had been taking pics in the right general direction till one showed it and I could home in.

That’s a closer view. Not as good as many other I’ve seen but I’m not doing any tracking, stacking, RAW imaging etc.

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During the enforced stay at home we have had a long spell of amazingly sunny days, ideal for creating cyanotypes. I have posted a few on this website over the last year but this has been a great opportunity to spend time taking advantage of the bright sun and free time trying out different materials.

Cyanotypes look best when viewed as prints, especially those on art paper or fabric, but they also look great on screen; it’s something about the deep blue colour! A few have other colours; this is staining picked up from the flowers and berries pressed against the printing paper. These original cyanotypes are one-of-a-kind prints; they can’t be duplicated as prints.

I’ve collected my recent, prints into a gallery; have a look!

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Just in Time

The most recent full moon didn’t appear on the horizon because of clouds but did climb over them after some minutes and looked very nice with some orangey wisps of cloud around it. This is still quite close to the horizon and still has the nice orange appearance that goes as it climbs higher.

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Summer Skies

The skies are still the main theme here as we’re still stuck at home. It’s been a bit more cloudy recently but there are still clear evenings. This is a star trail of about 2 hours in total. Could have left it out all night but you never know if it will rain and I’m not dedicated enough to stay up till dawn.

The picture looks best if you can open it separately; it’ll be larger.

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New Moon

It’s not long since I was photographing the full moon (see the last-but-one previous post) but now we have a new moon. Well almost; the newest of new moons coincided with a cloudy day, so this is the day old moon last night. It was a lovely red colour in contrast to the almost monochrome full moon.

Making the photograph showed how unreliable the histogram on the camera back is; this is about 3 stops less than when the full-image histogram showed nothing anywhere near being overexposed yet when I zoomed in to the edge of the moon suddenly highlights appeared. So I think you can only trust your own instinct when looking at high contrast subjects like the moon.

And as with the full moon it looked nice with a tree in between.

Finally another picture of Venus. Very small but you can see it’s not a dot but a disc partly in shadow like the phases of the moon.

As with most of my recent pictures all of the above were taken on an APS-C crops sensor camera with a lens-converter combination giving the 35mm equivalent of a 640mm lens.

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