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.

 

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.

 

Walking to Work – Lensbaby Blog Circle

For me, photography is a hobby. I have a day job which funds my photography. I’m lucky enough to live approx. a mile and a half from the office, so it’s walking distance. I break my work day by going home to let the dogs out and since the spring I have been walking back to work, rather than use the bike. Its amazing how much more I notice when walking and not flying down the hill. On a day I was fed up about something ( I can’t even remember what) I realised not many people have a walk to work like I have, so I thought I’d share some of the sights.

 

It’s a short walk to end of my road and then down a path by the side of All Saints Church onto the main road. There are always flowers in some of the gardens and the path by the  church is beautiful at this time of year. The bench on the church driveway is a new addition. The gas lamps line the main road.  They were gas powered until quite recently buut today the gas has been replaced by more modern safer lighting. CS Lewis spent time in Malvern and it is said the Malvern gas lamps provided inspiration for his Narnia novels.

 

 

I then cross the main road and continue down the hill, along the side of the common. On the day I decided to take my camera I met Prince and his owner who kindly obliged with a photo. The road is flanked on one side by the open common and views of the Malvern Hills and on the other by large Victorian houses with great gardens. After crossing the railway I turn along a wide residential street. On the corner is the old Victorian post-box and a bench under the tree. As I approach work I pass site of the old Reception building, which has now gone and the disused carpark. The poppies appear every year and when I take time to explore its amazing the variety of small plants and weeds which grow there.

 

 

Of course it looks different when the dark clouds are clinging to the hills, but still equally amazing. Maybe in another post when the weather is very different I’ll take you with me again. Deciding which lens to put on my camera was difficult. I was torn between the Burnside 35 and the Velvet 85. In the end I went for the Velvet 85.

 

Follow the links and complete the circle to see lots more great Lensbaby shots.  The next blog in this month’s circle is by Ute Reckhorn “let’s meet in real life”.

 

Playing on the common – Lensbaby Blog Circle

In the first Lensbaby blog circle post I introduced Tyke. He was two months old and very cute. He has grown very quickly and is now as tall as our older springer. He’s yet to fill out but runs around the house, garden and common with the others. I was playing with my Velvet 85 when we were all on the common at the weekend and I thought it was time to get some shots of Tyke in action. What do you think? He’s the one with the white stripe down his face.

 

 

Please follow the circle to see more Lensbaby shots from some great photographers. The next blog is by Ute Reckhorn, at Californialover.com

 

Between the showers – Lensbaby Blog Circle

We had a few glorious sunny days last week and suddenly the colour has appeared in the gardens, parks, commons and countryside, but this week it’s been back to April showers.

Having treated myself to a Lensbaby Burnside 35 I was desperate for some good light to play with. I love the shots I’ve seen taken by others using this lens  and I was keen to see how it performed with my macro filters.

It’s amazing what you can find to photograph without going far from home. I put the Burnside 35 on my camera, added my x10 macro filter and had a wander round the garden. It’s a reasonable sized garden but I’m not a keen gardener so there aren’t many plants. Despite my best efforts there area small bunch of primroses which persist and some viola which appear in a different place or tub each year.

I’ve no idea how long I was up in the garden but I got totally immersed in taking the close up shots and was amazed to find I’d almost filled a memory card. I was shooting wide open and this combined with the macro filter created a very shallow depth of field. The background effect in these shots interests me almost as much as the subject.

The best shots from the evening are shown below, I hope you enjoy them.

 

This is the first time I’ve been pleased with close up Primrose shots.

Please follow the circle to see the next blog and more great Lensbaby shots by Melita Kyle

Primroses – Lensbaby Blog Circle

Welcome to the third post in our Lensbaby Circle Blog.

Primroses are a flower I’ve always struggled to get good photos of so I thought I’d have a play using different Lensbaby optics and lenses. Their delicate colour is difficult to capture and when I try post processing the results the colour doesn’t seem to look real. I got my tripod out along with my macro converters and lenses enabling me to get really close. The colours are straight out of the camera. Despite taking notes I still managed to mix up which lenses and optics I used. I need to get more organised.

I am pleased with the results below, I hope you enjoy them.

I did have the Sweet 80, Plastic optic, Single glass optic, Soft focus optic, Edge 80, Twist 60 and Sweet 35 out.

For more great Lensbaby Images follow the link to Stephanie’s blog and the others til you’ve completed the circle.

Spring Flowers – Lensbaby Blog Circle

It was one of those beautiful sunny winter days which was also freezing cold. A great day for capturing the spring flowers which are beginning to come out. Tyke can now go out , and all week I’ve been walking him round the block, past a fantastic array of snow drops and crocus, wishing I had time to go get my camera. Today I left Tyke at home and went out with my camera and Lensbaby Velvet 56.

Having had some fun there I went up the garden to the bunch of primroses which are growing in a shelter spot by the steps. My favourite shots from the day are below. I hope you enjoy them.

Follow this link to see Keri’s great photos

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