Exploring The Old Hills – Lensbaby Blog Circle

The Old Hills is an area of common land between Malvern and the River Severn. The weather and light weren’t great at the weekend as it was a typical dull November day. The visibility was poor but we could make out the outline of the Malvern Hills to the West and other key landmarks such as Worcester Cathedral.

 

There’s more areas of cover than on Malvern Common and the Springer spaniels had great fun exploring and following the different scents. The German shepherd was happy when he found a pond to paddle in. It was interesting to explore a new area, finding new landmarks and different things to photograph. The things which caught my attention included the shape of the fern bush, the old trees which looked really spooky in the light and the odd glimpses of colour.

 

The most vivid colour was the pink and orange of the spindle tree berries. I’d never seen them before so was intrigued when I looked them up. It is a deciduous tree native to the UK and Europe. It’s botanical name, Euonymus, derives from Greek and can be interpreted as good name or lucky, although in some areas early flowering was said to indicate an outbreak of plague.

 

 

To see more great Lensbaby shots follow the link to see what Janet Broughton from Definitely Dreaming has been doing this month.

 

A Dog’s life – Lensbaby Blog Circle

One of the benefits of my job is its flexibility, enabling me to work at home when I need to. Having worked at home a few afternoons this week, I was amused by how my dogs just settle down and sleep. Today I had my camera beside me with my Lensbaby Burnside lens and I tried to capture them at different points in the afternoon.

 

It was a productive afternoon.

 

For more great Lensbaby shots see John Mee’s post The Garden of Beautiful Bones

 

September Sunrise – Lensbaby Blog Circle

September and October are my favourite months of the year. One of the reasons for this is the spectacular sunrises. Living on the eastern side of the Malvern Hills I get to watch the sunrise over the mist which clings to the Severn Plain. On some days I can watch it rise up, engulfing everything or receding back to the river. As I got up the other morning and looked out, I knew it was going to be beautiful sunrise. I set my camera up and planned to use the different Lensbaby lenses and optics to play and investigate the different effects. As I was trying to do this in between getting ready for work it didn’t work as planned.

 

Before dawn the horizon was a deep red colour. As I went back and forth between my camera and getting ready the colour lost its intensity and then deepened again as the sun rose. The mist was thick on the ground and it was amazing to watch it move and change. It was like watching the waves on the ocean in very slow motion. As the sun came up the reflection from the top of the mist was fantastic.

 

The early shots were taken with the Circular fisheye and Burnside 35, the other are either the velvet 56 or 85.

 

 

At the weekend I had more time and was lucky enough to witness another great sunrise. The mist wasn’t so dramatic but the colour was special. This time I was playing with the Sweet 80 and the Zone plate/pin hole optic. They create very different effects. 

 

 

I hope you enjoy the photos and don’t forget to follow the circle. Follow the link to Stephanie DeFranco’s blog about Texas gold.

 

Hereford Cathedral – Lensbaby Blog Circle

I spent an afternoon wandering round Hereford Cathedral last week. Although I’ve lived in the area almost thirty years and visited Hereford often, I’ve never been inside the Cathedral.

 

 

Wandering round I came across the chantry chapel which contains stained glass windows by Tom Denny dedicated to the 17th century Herefordshire poet and cleric, Thomas Traherne.

 

 

The pictures below show just some of the details which caught my eye while exploring

 

The Cathedral is famous for its Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library. The Mappa Mundi is the biggest surviving complete medieval world map. Its amazing that it display the earth as round but with the points of the compass rotated 90 degrees. Hereford  (and Scotland) are located in the lower left corner, a very different view of the world!

The Chained library has an amazing collection of manuscripts, some of which date back to the 8th century

 

 

The SAS are based in the city and the Regimental Association commissioned John Maine RA to create the sculpture and stained glass window for the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the regiment. The work is entitled Ascension.

 

 

To see more great Lensbaby shots follow the circle, the next post is Janet Boughton at Definitely Dreaming.

 

Bokeh and Blur

Last week I took a few shots with my Lensbaby Sweet 35. I’d put on on my camera to take a shot for my Project 52 and that’s what was still on my camera when we went out. With such a great range of creative lenses I hadn’t used this one for a while. It was one of the first Lensbabies I bought and I love the bokeh and blur it creates. So today I wanted to have a play.

 

It was a beautiful sunny summer morning on the common. We weren’t out early but as the sun is rising later I still got some great light. When I’m out with the dogs its not possible to take as much time as I sometimes want or need to frame my shots. Not having used this lens for a while I was out of practice so I played with taking some out of focus shots. I like the effect, particularly in the woods where the bokeh was strong.

 

What do you think?

 

Here we go round the mulberry bush – Lensbaby Blog Circle

The Lensbaby Blog Circle is a group of photographers who love Lensbaby lenses. We each publish a post at the start of the month and link to one of the other posts. Follow the links at the end of each post until you come back here, who knows what great photos you’ll see.

 

Here we go round the Mulberry bush is a nursery rhyme and game I learned as a child. We sang the song and mimed the actions. It was just one of many we learned and I didn’t give it much thought. I don’t remember wondering or asking what a mulberry was. The tune and lyrics can be found on Wikipedia. We had raspberries and strawberries in the garden but I had no idea what a mulberry was. Later I remember learning that silkworms eat mulberry leaves and then there is the famous Mulberry brand.

 

Several years ago while walking the dogs on the common we noticed and watched a man behaving strangely under one of the trees. We realised he was picking something and eating it. After he’d moved off we went to take a look and found the tree was covered in deep red and almost black berries. The black ones were incredibly sweet but I preferred the tart deep red ones. Looking them up, later that day we discovered they were mulberries. We’ve picked some every year since. They make great jam and are a great addition to cereal for breakfast.

 

I had a free, nutritious breakfast on the common and ended up with sticky red juice all over my hands.

 

The next post in the circle is by Katrin Bechhold who is writing about the Travelling Burnside project. Follow the links to see lots of great Lensbaby photos.

 

Magical morning

After weeks of hot dry weather we had thunderstorms and lots of rain last night. It was cooler first thing this morning and misty. On the common the light was really changeable as the sun tried to burn through the clouds. Just as it appeared to be winning the light was magical.

 

 

The harebells are out and add a contrast to the golden colour of the dry common.

  • Harebell
  • Harebell

I’m always playing catch up after stopping to take photos. After loosing sight of the others after stopping to take the harebell shots this little guy caught my eye. My Velvet 85 was wide open and I quickly adjusted the focus and fired off some shots before he took off. I then reduced the aperture and got some more. As I often find my initial instincts create better shots. The smaller aperture shots weren’t in focus.

 

 

The last shot is one I wanted to take last weekend but I was playing with my circular fisheye and it didn’t work. Today with the Velvet 85 and the magical light it did.

 

 

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)