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.

 

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.

 

Playing with my Lensbaby Circular Fisheye

We were heading out to Mathon on Saturday morning. I had decided that I had enough dragonfly photos and didn’t need any more. It was supposed to be a sunny morning so I thought I’d have a play with my circular fisheye lens.

We wandered round to the pond and there close to the edge was a dragonfly clinging to the bullrushes with its wings emerging and forming in the sunshine. Despite my resolution that I had enough dragonfly shots I decided I wanted to see if I could get a good shot with the circular fisheye. It was really difficult because the bullrushes were swaying in the wind, and this was made worse by the turbulence generated by the dogs messing about in the pond. 

 

To ensure the dragonfly was a reasonable size in the shots I had to get really, really close, down to less than half an inch in some cases. The focussing was a challenge the best shot is below.

 

Balancing act
By the pond

Splat is rarely still in front of the camera, even when I’m trying to get shots of him, he comes to see what I’m doing, very frustrating. Something distracted him long enough for me to get this shot.

 

 

 

The Ups and Downs of Nature Photography

Photography can be very frustrating as at times nothing seems to work in the way you envisage. On Saturday I took my camera out as usual when walking the dogs on Malvern Common. I attached my composer pro and the Twist 60 optic. It was a bright sunny morning and I was looking forward to trying out the Twist 60 to get some good close up shots of the flowers. It’s only a few metres down the hill but it was so much winter on the common, too windy for close ups. It was disappointing.

Sunday was another bright sunny morning and I thought I’d play with the Circular fisheye lens. I need to practice with this lens when the sprinters are jumping into the pond as I could get some great shots if I get my focus and timing right. It was almost there. On the way home I was kneeling down to get a shot of a Welsh poppy, I wanted to fill the shot with the flower, when a bee appeared and landed on the same poppy. I quickly adjusted the focus, pressed the shutter button and hoped for the best. Considering the amount of time I’ve watched bees on different occasions and been really frustrated because all my shots have been out of focus I was amazed that in this instance I’d got it pretty much right first time.

Until I spotted the fingers at the edge of the frame.  I don’t know enough about Photoshop to remove them so decided to crop the picture instead. What do you think?

 

 

The Ups and Downs of Nature Photography

 

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)