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.

 

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.

 

Playing in the snow and making friends

It’s been freezing cold all week and the snow finally arrived on Thursday and Friday. We went out on the common this morning and all was quiet. Most of the people we normally meet drive to the common but the carpark was empty. Jack and Splat love the snow, the puppy is not so sure. He doesn’t have enough fat to stay warm. We were heading home when we met Saffron, which was a good excuse for some fun.

 

As we got closer to home Evie was waiting at the gate. Tyke wasted no time making friends.

 

 

It was a cold misty morning, and I didn’t really expect to take my camera out of the bag, especially as I ‘d forgotten my gloves, so it was great to get these shots using my Lensbaby Velvet 56.

 

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

Introductions – Lensbaby Blog Circle

When Janet Broughton from Definitely Dreaming first suggested the idea of a Lensbaby Circle Blog I thought “that sounds like fun”. I decided to give it a go and this is the first post in this series.

I had no idea what I was going to write about in my first post and slowly some ideas started to come together but life got in the  way meaning I couldn’t carry them out. Just as I was struggling to think of something, life took another unexpected turn and one of the events preventing me executing my original ideas suddenly turned into a positive.

We now have an English Springer Spaniel puppy, called Tyke. So meet Tyke …

He is eight weeks old, sleeps, eats and terrorises our other dogs Jack (2 year old German Shepherd) and Splat (4 year old English Springer Spaniel).

He makes great subject for Lensbaby lenses and to get good photos I had to work with smaller apertures than normal and get out my flash gun. The photo above was taken with the Sweet 80. I need much more practice at positioning the sweet spot to capture him on the move.

I swapped to the Edge 50 and captured the following shots, where Splat has had enough and makes his escape leaving Tyke with the sofa to himself.

Having claimed the sofa he then decided it was time to fall asleep. I swapped to the Soft Focus optic and had a play while he slept in my lap.

This optic seems to capture to gentleness of his sleep perfectly. It wasn’t long before he was up and on the go again. This time playing with Jack…

and attacking my old shoes…

These were taken with the Velvet 56 lens at f5.6. This was different for me as I normally shoot with this lens at f1.6 – f2.8, but I love the way they have captured his playfulness.

It wasn’t long before it was time for another nap…

I usually shoot flowers so it was a challenge to capture a moving target. I remembered some of the basics of using a flashgun and was amazed that these worked so well. I had fun and so did Tyke. Hopefully he’ll learn to love the camera.

To see the other blogs in the circle and more great Lensbaby photos please follow the links til you get back to where you started. To see Ute Reckhorn’s Lensbaby circle blog click here.

Summer’s here!

We all have things which define the seasons for us, the scent of elderflower and the sight of harebells make me think of summer

Saturday morning on the common was a full one. It was very muggy, felt like rain and there were no signs that it was going to develop into a beautiful suny day. Suddenly a patch of colour caught my eye and when I took a closer look it was a beautiful bunch of harebells. When I got my camera out, it had the Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens on. I fired off a few shots and ran to catch up with the others.

 

I took a few other shots as we wandered round but when I was reviewing them over a cup of tea my favourites were the harebell shots. I had a play in Lightroom to create the black and white version and can’t make up my mind which I like best, what do you think? I’d love to hear from you.

 

Harebells on Malvern Common

On the common

Harebells on the common

 
Sunday was a beautiful sunny summer morning. As we wandered round I spotted lots more harebells. It wasn’t until the last minute when we were n our way home I spotted the single harebell amongst the yellow. I couldn’t resist. This time I’d been playing with the Twist 60 and the macro converters, enabling a closer focus. My favourite shot is below. I’m not sure what the yellow flowers are the looked dandelion like, but I loved the colour combination.

 

 

Yellow and Purple

On the common

 
The Lensbaby lenses create beautiful effects and produce great results when photographing wild flowers.
 
From a disappointing start on Saturday morning I got three great shots. Life is full of surprises.

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