Churches Thunderstorms and Museum

Thompson Church

Last week has been another busy week for me. Following on from my coverage of the Blossom & Yarn Festival involving 6 local churches to raise funds to maintain the buildings I have been revisiting some of them to have another go at photographing them during sunrise and sunsets to create different and interesting images than I have already taken.

Blossom & Yarn at Griston Church

So far one of my favourite churches have been Thompson which take about 10 minutes to travel to by car, this last Saturday I set the alarm for 4.30am to get there for the sunrise having researched the angle of the sunrise with the building. It is full of character in a beautiful setting of sitting behind a mature crop of what I assume to be wheat. 

With the sun rising from a low angle in the sky, it creates side lighting that adds depth and character to an image. Using the camera's automatic bracketing feature I create 3 images in quick succession at different exposures to later merge into one image to capture enough information in the sky, building and the field to create a complete image.

Thursday's Thunderstorm 

A few weeks ago I missed a very active and angry thunderstorm and on Thursday night another storm was forecast. The reason why I missed the first one was because I was unaware and the BBC Weather app did not predict it where I was later informed other apps did.

Determined not to miss another storm I now use AccuWeather alongside the BBC one which I check a few times a day and when a storm is predicted an app called Blitzortung Lightning Monitor is also installed on my Android HTC device to monitor a thunderstorm, im sure its also available on Apple phones. This app tracks the activity of storms which is useful to have in the "Toolbox". I am very happy on the result and I will post another blog later in the week on how I took it in more detail.

Nature walk at Gressenhall 

I visited Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum located near Dereham with a couple of other people where one had an annual pass that allowed him to bring along of up to 3 other people free of charge with them.

Old bell at a display

The aim were to visit the gardens and nature trails in the hope of photographing wildlife  namely butterflies which I have yet to capture any this year! We also had a look around the many exhibits while we were there which provided a few photographic opportunities to see vintage Victorian period items.

This time next week I be on my Annual holiday along the Norfolk Broads with family on a hire boat. While I live in Norfolk and the Broads is relatively close it's a really beautiful place to visit and hopefully I can capture plenty of sunset and sunrises during my time there and hopefully if the weather is kind some astrophotography of the night sky which I have yet to take any good images.

On order is an infrared filter which I hope it to arrive in time to try a different type of photography and another external hard drive to keep my photos safe in an additional location.

Visit my Flickr profile to see many more images not on display here. 

Cambridge Trip

Trinity Hall Cambridge University, HDR processed from three images

The camera club arranged an outing to Cambridge. Not counting the wedding I attended last year I haven't yet visited Cambridge, considering I live about an hour away is a shame.

I decided to travel light as possible with packed only the Fuji X-E1 and GorillaPod that easily fit into my backpack.  For the most part it worked well but I missed my normal tripod at times as I found the GorillPod to be very fiddly to setup at times and keeping it secure on a lamp post was challenging.

As the sky was beautifully stormy I was using a technique called HDR to capture enough detail to create an image that had detail in the sky and buildings which would otherwise be impossible to achieve with just the one picture without using filters attached to the lens. 

Bikes everywhere in Cambridge

To create an HDR image you preferably need at least three to five images at different exposures to capture the details in all parts of the scene. The sky is typically much brighter then the ground and buildings. For example If you are taking a picture of the sky everything else will probably be very dark, taking a picture of a field, beach or architecture will leave any clouds as a white or grey blob.

The series of images need to be in the exact same location, if any of the images are slightly out of alignment it could ruin the final image. Touching the camera for every picture on a fiddly GorillaPod isn't easy and this is the trade off for taking a smaller tripod for this type of photography.

What I didn't like about Cambridge were the notable amount of sales people selling boat rides which after a couple of encounters became annoying and with Cambridge being a tourist attraction getting into any of the campuses was expensive and which I wasn't prepared to pay for although there were still plenty to photograph without going in them and many of them were closed because of the exams. I were happy with the historic architecture and street life to keep my photographic eye interested for many hours and I might be tempted to revisit again in the future.