The Sundowner

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 158mm, f/13, 1/160

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 158mm, f/13, 1/160 – Mellow Yellow

A long lens landscape overexposed by +1 stop.  It seems counter-intuitive to over-expose a sunset, but the bright light of the sun fools the camera into under-exposing and so increasing the shutter speed by a stop helps to bring out the texture of the rock at the bottom of the frame.

I used Live View to take the shot so not to roast my retinas looking at the sun through the viewfinder.




The Dance of the Waves

Taking a break from tiling the bathroom, which is nearing completion, we went for an afternoon stroll around the pier the other day. This is our morning walk usually. The bright, clear, late-afternoon light was so different from that in the morning though. The cliffs that I usually see in shadow were illuminated and the sun was behind me, reflecting off the foaming sea. The tide was high so the choppy waves were crashing on the rock creating lots of spray.

I had my telephoto zoom attached as I had set out intending to capture a particular bird that I have been unsuccessfully trying to shoot this week. I have always liked using the telephoto for panoramic shots as I get the wide-angle of the stitched images as well as the foreshortening effect of using a long lens, so distant objects still seem much nearer than they would have done had I used a wide angle lens.

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 89mm, f6.3 1/1000

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 89mm, f6.3 1/1000

Taking a panorama of the sea is tricky as the waves move between shots and that maybe too much of a challenge for Photoshop to cope with.The secret is to shoot the frames quickly and include still foreground and background features. Because the aspect ratio of my camera is 4 x 3, I can get away with holding the camera in landscape mode when shooting, which I always find more comfortable than portrait orientation. With an APS-C/DX sensor, turning the camera  into portrait yields far better results.

After developing the raw images in Lightroom, I open them into Merge to Panorama in Photoshop (Photomerge  Panorama in Elements). I use the reposition setting when choosing the method of blending the images. Photshop invariably does not choose the photo of the rock when it has a wave breaking against it, so I carefully show and hide the best bits of the different shots by painting into the layers masks.

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 100mm, f/6.3, 1/1000

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 100mm, f/6.3, 1/1000

I finished these images in Perfect Effects 8 and sharpened using the high pass filter in Photoshop.

(The song has to be the Lou Reed classic, Perfect Day.)

The Take Off

I took this shot back in February. Even at 1/1600th of a second movement is visible in this tiny wader’s wings. I kept very still as it walked towards me and then it decided I was close enough and it took flight… Up, Up and Away. (I had no idea how the Fifth Dimension looked until I saw that video.)

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 263mm, f/6.3, 1/1600

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 263mm, f/6.3, 1/1600

The Seal

We’ve been rebuilding out bathroom this week. We took everything out: bath, toilet, wash basin unit, stud-work wall and started again from scratch. The previous owner had fitted a shower very badly and a seal behind the plasterboard wall  had been slowly leaking causing lots of damage, Everything had to go. We removed the old bath, toilet, sink, shower and wall and are now completely refitting the room.

The walls and the floor have been relined with waterproof boards. We built a new wall to take the shower and have been busy doing the plumbing, making sure it doesn’t leak. We are over halfway through the project. The bath is plumbed in and tomorrow we fit the new wash basin unit and install the other side of the partition wall into which the shower is mounted. There has not been a lot of time for photography, alas.

We took a break for a couple of hours today and headed out to sea to see the puffins and seals. It wasn’t a great  photo-shoot because the light was mostly flat and the puffins were too far away to get decent shots. This was the best I got today. Not as good as the photos I got this time last year. I hope later to get out to the Farne Islands and get really close to these beautiful birds.


The seals were eager to pose.

Olympus E-5, ISO200, f/7.1, 1/500

Olympus E-5, ISO200, f/7.1, 1/500

I used my flash set to full-power, high-speed synchronisation to get a little bit of light into the seals’ eyes, which are very dark.

Oly,pus E-5, ISO200. 300mm, f/7.1, 1/500

Oly,pus E-5, ISO200. 300mm, f/7.1, 1/500





The Red Spot

Usually I say that a photo of a bird just sitting there isn’t that exciting. It’s far better to see one in action. But, I could not resist snapping this pair of herring gulls.


Sadly, like so many birds, the populations of herring gull are in decline and they have red protection status. There are about 140,000 breeding pairs in the UK, although more than half of these are restricted to ten sites around the country.

Every time I photograph a bird I check how healthy their populations are and it always seems that their numbers are declining. We need to start to Handle With Care our world before it’s too late.  At least 10,000 species go extinct every year, this is the highest extinction rate of any time in Earth’s history. The extinction rate is thought to be well over 1000 times higher than the background extinction rate. Scary stuff. (Like how I got that song in, challenge followers?)

Herrring Gull

The  photo was taken with my 70-300mm zoom at 169mm with the aperture wound down to f/6.3  to give enough depth of field to keep both birds in focus. At the same time I wanted to slightly blur the choppy, wind-swept water to reduce its distraction, but not so much to hide its texture completely as I wanted to keep the context of the shoreline setting.

The camera was hand-held at 1/640 second.

Oh, the red spot? It’s on the gull’s beak and is there as a target for the young to tap when they want the adult to regurgitate food,



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