A Christmas Eve walk with my partner and our dog Wallace.
Quite an odd collection of images thanks to the weather, some look like they were shot at Christmas with snow and everything while others look they may well have been shot in autumn, it Just goes to show the camera can lie but all the images were taken today the 24th December 2010 although I must confess that to the last two images were not actually taken while out on the walk, they are close up shots of our Christmas tree.
Saint Mary’s Church Ecclesfield also Known as “The Minster of The Moors” is the final resting place of Rev. Alexander John Scott, Chaplain and close personal friend of Admiral Lord Nelson. It was to Rev. Alexander John Scott that Nelson spoke his last words “God and my country.” below decks of the Flagship HMS victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson died at 16:35 on the 21 October 1805. His friend Scott lived to the age of 72 and died in 1840.
Its odd that Scott should have been buried in Ecclesfield. He was not born in the area and didn’t live in the area. He was in Ecclesfield visiting his daughter Margaret, a well known writer of the time who was married to the then Vicar of Ecclesfield Alfred Gatty, when he was taken ill and subsequently died. What is stranger is travel five miles by road and under what is now a Tesco car park is where the Walker Iron Works of Masbrough was. They cast about 80 of the 105 guns carried by HMS Victory into Battle at Trafalgar. Closer still is the village of Grenoside, only two and a half miles away, where Samuel and Aaron Walker began to manufacture Iron in the early 1740s before relocating and starting in 1746 as Walker Iron Works of Masbrough.
07:00 hrs ,as the military call it, is an early morning start at St Dunstan’s in Sheffield, this morning Im covering the beginning of a fund raising challenge 10 squaddies 10-marathons 5 days. Ten soldiers, (or Squaddies) from 39 Engineer Regiment Cambridge, and their support team. The team totalling around 14 are undertaking 10 Squaddies, 10 Marathons, 5 Days challenge to raise funds for the only charity to provide direct support, rehabilitation and training to service personnel and veterans blinded in conflict.
If the challenge of 10 Marathons in 5 days wasn’t “hardcore” enough for these members of the British Army, “just to make it a little more interesting” they will be also carrying 40lb Bergen’s and wearing combat boots” on a gruelling test of endurance. Thirty-four year old Staff Sergeant Jim Offord (the man behind the fund raiser) and nine fellow soldiers will complete a marathon every six hours, day and night, followed by six hours recovery time as they tab from St Dunstan’s Rehab & Training centre in Sheffield on the 1st of November to finish at St Dunstan’s centre near Brighton in East Sussex on the 5th of November.
“I created the 10 Soldiers, 10 Marathons in 5 Days to support St Dunstan’s as we want to give something back to a charity that helps fellow soldiers. I threw in the idea of wearing our Bergen’s filled to weigh 40lbs, plus combat boots to keep it interesting and opted to do 10 Marathons in 5 Days as I couldn’t find a record that it had been done before. Said Jim.
The original aim of the this mammoth effort was to raise £4,800 for St Dunstan’s but that target has already been smashed and the Engineers have reached £10,000 more than double their initial figure.
Monday 1 November The team left St Dunstan’s Sheffield around 8am aiming to arrive at Chetwynd Barracks, Chilwell, near Nottingham at 4pm. From there they will head for Loughbourgh University arriving on Tuesday 2 November. The second day sees the group tab to Nuneaton via Leicester before heading for Staverton Park Hotel Daventry where they will arrive on Wednesday 3 November. They will leave Staverton Park Hotel heading for Milton Keynes TA Centre and from there to Sportspace, Hemel Hempstead, Herts. Which they will reach on Thursday 4 November They will leave Sportspace at 12 noon and march into London along the Edgware Road at 2.30pm on Thursday 4 November to visit St Dunstan’s HQ in Marylebone, where they will be greeted by soldiers the charity works with, ex-Service men and women, staff and supporters. They will leave St Dunstan’s HQ at 8pm to tab to the TA Centre, Northgate, Crawley arriving on Friday 5 November. The team start at 8am to tab the final marathon, through Brighton, arriving at St Dunstan’s Rehab & Training Centre, Greenaways, Ovingdean, east Sussex. Where they will cross the finish line to massive cheers from the soldiers the charity works with, staff and supporters and the people who have followed them through the streets of Brighton.
Everyone misses a picture, even the pros don’t get every shot every time but sometimes, just sometimes there is something you can do to salvage an image you really wanted but just didn’t quite get.
The photograph below is my cousin with his niece at a family party. I spotted the opportunity grabbed the camera and the shot unfortunately having consumed the odd (double) Bacardi and Coke or two I missed one small but very important detail, the on button for the flash. Three frames later, the moment has passed and the best of the three images is the one below, rather orangey red, dark and slightly too soft.
For the technically minded it was shot on a Nikon D700 and 50mm f1.8 lens. The settings were manually set to: 1000 ISO, f4.5, 1/60th sec.
On the night I wrote off the shot as a duff one but I didn’t delete it, I never do, I think its because, back in the days of film, I was taught never throw away a negative. The next morning , well OK lunchtime, it was a great party and we did have one or two more of those Bacardi and Cokes, I spotted the shot again and considered it worthy of five minutes TLC. My first instinct was to lighten it and try and take some of the redness out. While I was pleasantly pleased with the results of lightening the photograph it quickly became apparent that recovery wasn’t going to be totally successful thanks to masses of colour noise while trying to get the colour balance right, at which point I decided to get all retro and just turn the thing Black and White. A little more fiddling this time with contrast and unsharp mask to loose some of the softness in the photograph and finally a little cropping to tighten the picture up and hey presto the result……..
You cant make a silk purse out of sows ear, as they say, and the same goes when trying to recover a photograph like this one. Sometimes a mistake will leave you with an image that really is not salvageable, no matter how skilled you are or how much time and effort you put into it, so be realistic. This photograph will never be a technically perfect image it will always be a little soft and a little noisy but it does leave me with a satisfied smile, especially after reading mums comments about her daughters photo in my Facebook photo album.
I don’t mean in their suitcase I mean photography. Well here are a few holiday snaps from our holiday in Whitby North Yorkshire this September (2010) with what I hope you will find are some useful captions to inspire those who feel their “holiday snaps” are a bit of a let down.
We arrived in the afternoon and after settling in decided to take a walk up the hill to St Mary Church. As we wondered through the grave stones I looked up to spot this. The abbey with the Grave stones of the church in the foreground. I have never really been happy with shots of Whitby abbey from outside the walls until this one. Its shot on a wide angle to give the grave stones more emphasis and stop the abbeys boundary wall dominating the photo.
From the Church we walked down the 199 steps, headed to the harbour. The late sun was catching the the white tops of the waves and spray off the sea as you look west up the coast towards Sandsend from the Harbours west pier. The people and gulls on the beach help give sense of scale to the scene, while exposing for the highlights adds atmosphere bringing out the cloud formations, catches the spray over the distant waves and turns the figures into silhouettes.
Day two we headed up to the whalebone arch and Captain Cooks statue. Getting two landmarks of Whitby in a single picture I used a telephoto zoom to get St Mary’s Church framed in the top of the Whalebone arch.
Walking along the top of the cliffs towards Sandsend and looking down on the beach you come to the multi coloured beach huts. Again shot on a telephoto zoom lens, this picture uses diagonal composition to add interest and, although you cant really see him on this small version, if you click through to the larger version you will see there is a lone figure stood close to the waves which gives the viewer an idea of the scale.
I got a little carried away on day three when we visited Whitby Abbey. The sun, an almost totally clear blue sky and the abbey almost empty of visitors was a little bit of a photographers dream come true.
Top left: Is taken on a wide angle lens, I hid the sun behind the abbeys walls exposed for the brightest parts of the pictures turning the walls and shadows black.
Top right: Its Always worth grabbing a shot of a sign when visiting somewhere if you later decide to put together a slide show or a screen saver you can use them like the titles in a film. Don’t just photograph them straight on try a few angles and see what you come up with.
Bottom right: Ever tried taking a picture of a tall building only to find it looks like it falling over backwards when you look at the photo? You either have to get further away or buy a really expensive camera, like specialist architectural photographers use, or try to fix the problem on the computer in a program like Photoshop or Googles Picassa. There is another alternative though, you can really go for the converging verticals and strange angles to create your own very striking images.
This is Whitby photographed photographed around 5:00pm, exposing to keep the detail in the sunlight white painted buildings darkens the shadows and brings out the reflection of the buildings on the water. This is another two photograph joiner or stitched together shot which has been cropped into a long thin panoramic images. Keep in mind that just because a camera produces a particular shaped photo doesn’t mean it has to stay that shape, you can crop them when when you get home.
So you have photographed to local tourist attractions and the scenery don’t forget the wild life. Whitby isn’t exactly know for big game or exotic animals but it does have its fair share of Seagulls in this case Herring Gulls. Keep your eyes open for the common everyday things and shoot more than one frame at worst you improve your chances of getting a good image at best you get more than one good one.
What about getting the family in the pictures? Well day four was trip out to Robin Hoods Bay.
Top left: Aileen and Wallace, if you decide to pose the family up with a sign showing where you have been don’t always go for the obvious sign above their head style shot, sometimes there are other options if you keep you eyes open. This sculpture had Robin Hoods Bay 2000 carved into it so posing them up on it tells us where it was taken even if the date is somewhat misleading.
Top Right: The best family shots aren’t always the posed ones sometimes action and sometimes candid is where the real photos are to be found. Wallace heard the first click of the shutter and decided that was enough of the posing this one is the second frame as he took off to play so always be ready and never shoot one frame where two will do a better job.
Day Five found us back in Whitby. We decided it would be a good idea to take the 25 minute trip around the bay on the replica of Captain Cooks Bark Endeavour. While waiting on the quayside we were passed by the Haven Seajack One, a jack up barge, being pushed out to sea by tug work boat VOE Service and guided by the pilot boat St Hilda. It was on its way to start work on Whitby Harbours East pier. Remember wherever in the world you go on holiday is where someone else lives and the day to day things in their everyday lives can give you a photo opportunity a chance of something a little different.
Bottom left: The Seajack one being Navigated through Whitbys open swing bridge, a prime camera angle had anything gone wrong while making her way through.
Bottom right: It would have been nice to get this shot from the other side, with Whitby in the background but that means we would have needed to already be on the Endeavour, so as you see professionals don’t get exactly what they want every single time.
Day six was a day trip to Scarborough where we wandered around the shops and amusements unusually I didn’t take a single picture and so on to day seven which answers the question what to photograph if the weather is bad on holiday? The answer is the weather!
High winds and high tide combine as a rough sea crashes against Whitbys outer harbour making for some quite spectacular waves at times
If you spotted this and wanted to know what I packed well camera kit was a Full frame Nikon Body, with 24mm wide angle lens, 50mm Standard lens and 70-200mm zoom lens. nothing that couldn’t really be covered by a good quality amateur compact.
If you want to see more images from the week check the slide show below.
Welcome to my blog. It may seem strangely named but `tog is actually an abbreviation of photographer which occasionally gets bandied about in newsrooms up and down the country, while “owd” is the Yorkshire pronunciation of “old”. Not that I feel old but I was stuck for a title and “An owd ‘togs blog” just seemed to have a nice ring to it. So there you go….