Archive for 2011

Staward Gorge at Allen Banks

Photo of the Day

I was looking for a photo that might be a bit more Christmasy to take us into the heart of the holiday season, but my more recent photo expeditions haven’t been to any frost-covered landscapes or snowy scenes, so we’ll have to content ourselves with something autumnal.

This image comes from Walks Woods at Allen Banks and features the fall colours flanking the river flowing through Staward Gorge.

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Allen Banks


Hadrian’s Wall at Hotbank Crags

Photo of the Day

Hadrian’s Wall rises and falls with the undulations of Hotbank Crags.

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Hotbank Crags


Hadrian’s Wall at Housesteads

Photo of the Day

I took this picture only a few feet away from the previous photo of the day, but the effect of it is pretty different. In the cool, purple of dusk, this shot really emphasizes the line that Hadrian’s Wall follows along the crags.

The Roman builders of the wall knew what they were doing. As much as they could, they used the natural cliffs and steep slopes of the land to form the better part of their defence. When the wall you’re building spans the length of an entire country, you better make sure you use every shortcut you can.

It would have been quite a spectacle to behold in its original form, but even today, it’s an impressive sight.

One funny detail I only noticed after processing the image: All the black cows are on one side of the wall and the white sheep on another. Can’t we all just get along?

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Hadrain's Wall at Dusk


Hadrian’s Wall Panorama from Housesteads Roman Fort

Photo of the Day

A brilliant, saturated sunrise rewarded my efforts to wake early and trek up the hill to get this classic shot of Hadrian’s Wall from near the Housesteads Roman Fort. I took plenty of shots from at or near this vantage point at various different times of the day, but I think this is my favourite. It captures both the detail of the wall and its snaking path along the crags while also showing some of the surrounding countryside bathed in a light that had me applauding Mother Nature.

I’ve now managed to process a few shots from this trip as well as more from the earlier visit to Scotland, so those will trickle through in the next the next little while and I’ll try to show off images from some of the top landscapes in the UK.

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Hadrian's Wall panorama


Google Street View Stop-Motion Animation

Address Is Approximate is a stop-motion animation project by director Tom Jenkins that uses Google’s Street View in a novel way to take some desktop toys on a cross-country holiday. It’s a clever bit of storytelling and photography and it makes me want to go on a trip across the USA.


Glenfinnan Monument Panorama

Photo of the Day

The drive up to the Isle of Skye is a fairly long one by UK standards, but it certainly has a lot of possibilities for stopping points along the way. Though this was a little bit out of the way for our route, the view is worth it.

This the Glenfinnan Monument which presides over Scotland’s Loch Shiel. The monument commemorates Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite uprising – Glenfinnan was the place where he raised his standard to begin his campaign.

I was only able to get this photo after making a couple of trudges up the hill behind the monument. When I first climbed to the viewpoint, the weather decided to be rather uncooperative. As soon as my camera was out, it started to rain. I put my camera away, and the sun briefly broke through. No sooner was my tripod set up again and the rains came back. The fast-moving clouds seemed to be taunting me.

I headed back down the hill and I wandered out to the monument with my very patient wife. On the way, the clouds parted and dramatic bursts of light dappled the loch. Back up the hill I went. I got there just in time to catch the last rays hitting the hills before being sealed up behind the clouds.

This shot was easily worth two trips up the hill.

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Glenfinnan Monument Panorama


Sligachan Bridge Panorama

Photo of the Day

On my way up to the Old Man of Storr to try to catch the sunrise, I was driving past one of my favourite sights on Skye and had to stop to catch the dawn breaking over the old bridge on the river Sligachan. Despite having gone past this place a number of times, this was the first where there was good light, so the Storr would have to wait a few moments.

I’m glad I did stop because the sunrise at the Old Man was lacklustre that day, so I happily took this as a consolation prize.

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Sligachan Bridge Panorama


The Old Man of Storr Panorama

Photo of the Day

I haven’t had much time to process many of the photos from the trip to the Isle of Skye in Scotland and, this Saturday, I’m set for another jaunt. This next trip is to Alston and Hadrian’s Wall will likely be the main subject of my photos. My hard drive will soon be overflowing and I’ll have even more images to try to catch up on.

One of the few photos I’ve had the chance to pay attention to is today’s photo-of-the-day offering from the Old Man of Storr. The Storr is a rocky hill sitting on the ridge that rises over much of the Trotternish Peninsula on the Isle of Skye and the Old Man is the jagged pinnacle you see in the photo below.

It took a couple of attempts to get this photo. The first morning I attempted the ascent to this position, the clouds swept in before I was in the right spot and no amount of cajoling would make them leave (actually, that seem to anger them and they rained on me fast and hard).

The second hike up the hill was much more fruitful than that blustery morning. The Isle of Skye is full of magical places and this might be one of the most magical for me. The pinnacles of rock are far more immense than this photo conveys in low resolution. The full res shot reveals a head-high sign on the path and it is completely dwarfed by the Old Man’s gargantuan size. Walking amongst those giants is like living in a fantasy novel. It’s quite a place.

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The Old Man of Storr Panorama


Panoramic View of the Cuillins from Elgol

Photo of the Day

The Cuillins seen from Elgol on the Isle of Skye in Scotland stand as one of Britain’s classic views. The jagged peaks rising directly from the ocean make for an impressive sight.

In shooting a panoramic, I had hoped to capture both the forbidding Scottish peaks on the other side of the water and also the rocky coast in the foreground to give a wider sense of what it was like to be there that evening.

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Elgol Coast


Adding Rendered Objects into Photos

Another fascinating tech demo today shows some new tech used to add rendered 3d models into existing photos:

Rendering Synthetic Objects into Legacy Photographs from Kevin Karsch on Vimeo.

Very cool. If product manufacturers have CAD designs of their products, get them rendered and drop them into whatever background you like. Instant photo shoot!


Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera

Well here’s a clever little idea. It’s a ball with 36 cameras mounted inside it that take a photo when tossed into the air. The result can be stitched into a 360 degree panorama with a unique viewpoint.

It seems like a pretty fun way to capture a moment. I just hope their stitching software improves a little bit and some of those stitching seams go away.

I wonder how sturdy the thing is? I’d love to have a game of basketball with it – you’d get some great photos!


Photoshop Deblurring Sneak Preview

Check out this video on a plugin for Photoshop that removes blur from photos – a potential feature in future versions of Photoshop just might make you gasp in awe as it did for this audience at Adobe Max 2011:

It looks like photographers may soon be able to rescue images from previously unusable states of blurriness. I don’t expect this to be a substitute for good shooting technique, but everybody makes mistakes. If this software can help fix those mistakes, as Rainn Wilson says, people will love this. If nothing else, it should raise the quality of drunken iphone photos on facebook.

Cross your fingers for this to be included in CS6.


Loch Slapin on the Isle of Skye

Photo of the Day

A recent trip to Scotland’s Isle of Skye was accompanied by some predictably damp Scottish weather. What I hadn’t predicted was that the tail end of a hurricane would be sailing overhead and drenching the land beneath.

For a couple days, the driving rains kept most sensible folk inside. Apart from a few stubborn moments that resulted in unusable photos of raindrops on a camera lens, I was sensible too.

But on the day of this photo, the rain had started to abate, so it was time to start exploring in earnest. While coming back from a drizzly stop in Elgol, the clouds briefly parted and illuminated the hills behind Loch Slapin and I jumped from the car excited that I might actually get to take a photo without having to hold an umbrella over my head.

A rainbow bloomed to the left and yellow light bathed patches of the landscape and this panoramic shot is the end result.

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Loch Slappin


City of Arts and Sciences #15

Photo of the Day

And for the last instalment of this series, here’s a shot of the other side of the opera house at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia Spain.

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El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía


City of Arts and Sciences #14

Photo of the Day

Clouds gather in the evening at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia Spain.

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City of Arts and Sciences


City of Arts and Sciences #13

Photo of the Day

Curved bridges arc in front of the opera house at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia Spain.

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City of Arts and Sciences


City of Arts and Sciences #12

Photo of the Day

L’Hemisfèric looks a bit ominous in this photo of the building at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia Spain.

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L'Hemisfèric


How to Save Dogs’ Lives through Photography

I had the opportunity to do a couple of shoots with dogs last week and I loved them both. Though it can be sometimes an exercise in patience when photographing pets, the rewards typically outweigh the hassles. If I get to play with a dog, I’m happy.

Even better would be to make a difference with that photography. Dallas pet photographer Teresa Berg is doing just that. After seeing too many unflattering photos on the websites of dog rescue centres, she took it upon herself to volunteer her expertise and paint the pups in a better light. The result is more adoptions and more lives saved.


City of Arts and Sciences #11

Photo of the Day

The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain.

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The City of Arts and Sciences


City of Arts and Sciences #10

Photo of the Day

Just as unusual from the other side, here’s another shot of the Queen Sofía Palace of the Arts in Valencia.

Click to see the image on a dark background:

Queen Sofía Palace of the Arts


City of Arts and Sciences #9

Photo of the Day

Today, we have another shot of El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain. This time, the organic forms of the building are lit up in the evening.

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El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe


City of Arts and Sciences #8

Photo of the Day

Today’s photo of the day is the organic, abstract spines and ribs of the top of El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain.

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El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe


City of Arts and Sciences #7

Photo of the Day

We continue our wander around the City of Arts and Sciences with another shot of the strange shapes of the Queen Sofía Palace of the Arts opera house.

Click to see the image on a black background:

Queen Sofía Palace of the Arts


City of Arts and Sciences #6

Photo of the Day

These abstract forms come from the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe (a.k.a. the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum) at Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences.

Click to see the image on black:

El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe



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