Contrasts and Colours – Experiments in Photography

As a bushcrafter I like to keep an eye on what is going on around me. As an amateur photographer – ditto. This habit of always looking for an interesting shot has led to a few comments recently about my ‘Geek’ levels 🙂

Perusing my albums over the last few months though I felt a number of shots lent themselves to this blog of contrasts and colours – Geeky I may be but I enjoy it.

In Profile

The two ‘In Profile’ pictures above are of my kids Finlay and Catherine. Both shots were in separate locations but truth be told they were well posed. It was great to walk past a site – see its potential at that moment in time and then get the shots I wanted.

Up High – Down Low

Recently I was with a group of friends in the Brecon Beacons having fun in the mountains. I spent a fair bit of time scouting around on my own to get what I think are decent shots like the top picture above. I had fun ordering the guys around on the mountain until I was happy with the shot but it was hard work.

In contrast the picture of the guys sitting on the bridge, low down in the valley was at the last moment after an impromptu group photo. They all just decided to do a ‘Bolt‘ at the end of it and I just clicked away – easy.

Woodland Wanderings

I love to photograph my children and they love to be photographed. Colourful pictures in the late autumn and winter can be hard to find at times but they are out there.

The two pictures above were shot on different days however with a bit of good sunlight coming through the different colours in the woodland really stand out – a bit of action always helps to 🙂

Closed in – Opened Up

I really liked the contrast of the two pictures above. I stalked the deer for quite a while and waited until I could get the best picture of her as she finally noticed me. The woods were very closed in with lots of underbrush and noisy from the leaf litter.

The field though was different in every way and I only decided to take this shot as I passed by. It was so quiet and open however when I looked at the picture later I could see the subtle greens of the weeds coming through. Even though the pictures are so different there are similarities with the colours of the weeds and moss in both pictures.

Curves and Corners

The ‘Curves and Corners’ pictures are stills from some video I shot at the Surrey Hills Wood Fair last October. Not the greatest quality however these were two scenes that had me entranced.

The skills needed to form the glass bowl over the log and the carving of the links out of a single trunk make my mind boggle.

Woodland Skies

I went for a walk with my family in Basing Wood at the end of last year. It was a dark and dreary winters day – the type that could really do with a great dollop of snow to cheer you up.

Not to be put off with this greyness I kept looking for something a bit cheery. I found this where the trees met the sky when the sun finally came out.

The kids woodland play park arch came alive when shot from below – its depth really stood out at this angle. The bottom picture I love because of the bands of colour you can pick out in the weak afternoon sun. My wife Alison was the one who suddenly stopped me and pointed me in this direction – so easy to just walk on by…………

Same Spot – Different Angles

Last weekend I was teaching near the River Thames and in the evening spent some time standing by the river waiting to see what happened. One Swan swept by and I managed to get a shot of him clear of all the buildings. I enhanced the evening skyline to make the picture warmer and was pleasantly surprised by the results.

In contrast the B&W picture below I nearly deleted. It was a nice enough picture in colour but nothing special I would say. A niggly thought bugged me as I hovered over the delete button so I went with it. Glad I did as the B&W version really works for me.

Alison

A single last picture – no contrast – would not dare 🙂

I love this picture of my beautiful wife Alison as she led the Christingle service at our local church – St James here in Bramley last year. I could not use a flash and relied on a zoom lens. The colours and the smile really make this picture for me and a fitting one to end on.

Good luck with your experiments.

Cheers

George

Looking for that Moment

Looking for that moment‘ – always something at the back of my mind when I am out and about. These last few months I have been extremely busy at work so my Bimbles have been severely curtailed however there were one or two ‘Moments‘ over the last few months.

The thing that the three pictures below have in common (apart from the obvious) is that I walked past each location and then purposefully double backed to get the shots – I am glad I did now 🙂 The colours came out beautifully in my opinion.

Natures Colours

As the nights have been drawing in I have tried to get a few night time shots in as well. The two shots of the moon I took using my DSLR however the Christmas Reindeer (outside Cardiff Castle) I took using my Sony mobile phone. I think I will be trying out a bit more night time photography in the future.

Light at Night

Walking in the woods on my own I find very relaxing as I can wander wherever my interest takes me however taking the kids out brings the woods more alive I think. There is something magical with the light in the autumn that the kids really love and I think it makes them more adventurous than when we have a heavy canopy of leaves – it certainly makes for easier photography.

Childhood

As winter approaches (strange saying that in January) I hope we get some snow here in Southern England to get out to explore and photograph.

Cheers

George

2016 in B & W and a Happy New Year

Over the last year I have dabbled with some of my pictures to see how they they fared in Black and White. I did look for pictures that gave me good shadows and high levels of contrast. I have no idea if that is the best way of going about it but I had fun along the way.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and wish you all a Happy New Year.

Port Beach – Isle of Lews
A Room with a View – Edinburgh
Fungi Forest – Banchory
Figure Four Deadfall – Merthyr Mawr
Fire Faces – New Forest
Family Faces – Brittany
Re-naturing – Bramly, Hampshire
Little Towers – Big Towers – Isle of Lewis
Chillaxing – Isle of Lewis

Have a great New Year Folks.

Cheers

George

Picture of the Week – Week 5

Last weekend I ended up in Dorset visiting my friend Fraser Christian from Coastal Survival. It was a stormy weekend but thankfully the wind dropped enough on the Saturday evening to allow me to sleep in my hammock.

On the Sunday morning not long after I got up I spotted this waterfall effect of Turkey Tail fungus on an old stump and was quite taken with them from a top down view – kinda glistened in the early morning sunshine.

A waterfall of Turkey tail fungus
A waterfall of Turkey tail fungus

Cheers
George

Picture of the Week – Week 4 (My 200th Post)

Today found me out and about with my family at The Vyne National Trust Property near Bramley in Hampshire. The day started wet and overcast but we still managed to get out and get muddy.

Stick Fun
Stick Fun

I took lots of pictures but this one of my son managing to have fun with just a couple of sticks on an old wooden fence really put a smile on my face. He likes his X Box but thankfully likes to get muddy just as much.

This is my 200th post on my Bushcraft Days blog and I have had fun writing every one – Looking forward to the next 200.

Thank you to everyone who follows my little adventures.

Cheers

George

Picture of the Week – Week 1

So begins a New Year and I was considering where my photography would take me this year. After a long hard thought (about 10 minutes really) I came to the conclusion my photography could go wherever it liked.

So I plan to have a post once a week with what I consider my best or most interesting picture.

On New Year’s Eve I took a bimble around our village and was seeing lots of signs of spring (a bit early if you ask me) when I spotted this leftover morsel from last year.

Forgotten Hazelnut
Forgotten hazelnut

Normally the squirrels beat me to these little nibbles so I was surprised to see some still left over from last year’s crop. This hazel tree was overhanging a reedmace-covered pond so maybe it proved too precarious a perch for the little fellas.

Cheers

George

Memorable Moments 2015 – Family Time

Carrying on with the Memorable Moments theme I thought a post on my favourite family pictures of the year was due. Each of the 12 pictures I have chosen have some special memories for me.

Starting off with my beautiful daughter Catherine who has the most amazingly curly hair. I captured this picture early in the year of her backlit by the morning sun. The moment caught individual strands of hair framing her perfectly.

Mad Catherine Hair
Mad Catherine Hair

We had a lovely day trip to Winchester in the spring. While we were relaxing in one of these small cafe’s you find in the Medieval backstreets  I caught Alison  looking perfectly relaxed with a cheeky little Finlay snuggled up to her – quite a beautiful moment you could say.

I Love my Mother
I Love my Mother

One of my favourite pastimes is to head out for a Bimble around our village of Bramley. I spend a lot of time photographing what I find. Catherine spotted some Chicken of the Woods fungus one day and was really taken with its colour.

The resulting picture taken in such a dark coniferous woodland I found both striking and beautiful.

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Bramley Bimbles

A moment of joy is how I would describe this picture. We were visiting our friends Tracey and Neil on an RAF base one day and after a lovely barbie Alison decided it was time for for some gymnastics with the kids.

This picture reminded me to always be on the lookout for the unexpected – excellent style by the way Alison.

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Taking a Turn

While visiting our friend Fraser from Coastal Survival we spent an afternoon on Chesil beach in Dorset. Someone had decided to build themselves a mini Stonehenge on the beach. Myself and the kids were very taken with it and it made for some great pictures.

Once I got down low to the mini monument the whole look of it changed transforming it into a picture I wanted to keep.

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Mini Stonehenge

When we go camping as a family we can mostly be found sleeping in hammocks. Alison insists though that before she gets up that a cup of coffee is produced. It is a bit of a tradition now this coffee business but one I am happy to maintain – needless to say Alison is in full agreement with me.

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Quality Hammock Time

Last June I took part in the 30 Days of Wildness organised by the Wildlife Trust. I blogged about my nature adventures for 30 days. On one of these little adventures I was exploring the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre at Silchester with my daughter Catherine.

We stopped for a rest and Catherine spotted a beautiful thatched cottage through the trees. She sat there and told me later that she had found her ideal home. To me this picture is like a painting and I can sit and look at it for a long time without getting bored.

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30 Days of Wildness

As memorable moments go there are plenty to be found at the BCUK Bushmoot. We go every year and it is a great location for families.

I caught my son Finlay mucking about with some stocks ( they belong to the Live Action Role Players who use the site as well) and as I took the picture the parachute set up beside it suddenly  puffed up with the wind. Not your typical outdoorsy picture but one I felt lent to a bit of B & W manipulation.

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Moot Time

I took a lot of pictures while on holiday in France this year of some really beautiful places however it is this simple picture that sticks with me.

We were walking through a small industrial estate to get to a river walk when I grabbed this picture of the kids walking along holding hands.  A little moment in time so easily missed you could say.

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Brother and Sister

My friend Paul Kelly runs his own canal boat hire company called Thames Boat Training and I have been out twice this year  to photograph his boats for his web site. On the last trip we moored up waiting for a lock to  open when I snapped this little moment in time. I like the picture for its feeling of depth and sheer peace.

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Reflections afloat

Remembrance Sunday was a lovely day in Bramley. After the service I took some group shots of all the Scouts, Cubs and Beavers however my daughter Catherine wanted to take some pictures with her iPhone.

I think Catherine has an eye for photography and I am keen for her to explore this talent of hers. Catherine took this slightly dark picture of Alison and myself with one of these Instagram filters you can load onto your iPhone. Not often anyone gets what I think is a good picture of me and I think Catherine did well here – As for Alison, well – she always looks good 🙂

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Remembrance

I started with Catherine so I will finish with Finlay. He has been keen on Karate now for a year now and I was very proud to watch him recently get his Orange belt. Finlay is only 7 and can be as mischievous as any other young lad however when he applies himself to something he can show some excellent self discipline – so well done son.

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Orange Moment

The next instalment in the Memorable Moments series will be on some of the nature photography I have taken this last year.

Cheers

George