2014 Highlights

2014 has been a busy year for me, I try to go out most weekends, usually to nature reserves around Norfolk. Simply because they are easy to travel to and there is plenty within a 30 minute drive. 

This year I have been using social media more and sharing my work in an attempt to promote my work. I'm currently still working on increasing my following on Twitter and Facebook not an easy task.

One way which is having an effect is sharing my work with the organisations that own and manage the places that I visit. In the case of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust (@SupportNWT) they used one of my images taken in Wayland Wood for their nature reserve handbook and more of my images have been printed in their "Tern" a newspaper sent out to the members a few time a year.

What I find interesting is how people see my images differently to how I see them. Some people say they have a mood, story to them or a feeling. I am not an emotional person and I don't connect on that level. Most of the time I just see the technical aspect to an image. I can easily dismiss an image because of a flaw that no one else would even think to look for. Maybe I am too critical of my images. 

The above gallery are images that I consider to be my best images taken during 2014, Tried to keep it to a few but I do like quite a few of them and could have easily included more.

2015 ... What do I want to achieve this year? I think building on 2014 would be a good start by exploring other nature reserves that I have yet to visit. The only downside is that it would require more travel which is why I have yet to visit these or only been to once such as Foxley Wood and Lower Wood Ashwellthorpe.  

Portraiture is an area that I would like to build on, what has been limiting me on this type of photography is not knowing enough people or more to the point, not having to confidence to ask for their time to build up my skill in taking portraits. Building up my social skills is the biggest challenge and character flaw to overcome.

Since joining the Facebook group Norfolk Countryside Photos a few locations in Norfolk are quite popular like Cromer Pier and Thurne where their is a windmill that I will visit this year along with exploring more of the Norfolk Broads.

With my acquisition of the Fuji X-E1 street photography and general urban exploring is more attractive with the smaller and lighter camera that makes it easier to be more mobile and less obvious. 

Currently my photography is just an activity that I enjoy doing that does not provide an income stream, This year I intend to put myself into a position where I can sell my work, not sure how I will achieve this goal.

Happy New Year !

December Overview

December has been a relatively quiet on the photographic front due to family events and work has limited my time to go out exploring. 

Visited Norwich to see the xmas lights and then to Blakeney to see the seals, both with the camera club. It was the first time I had seen the seals, well worth the long and tiring walk along Cley beach. Walking in sand turned out to be difficult and I had underestimated on how much equipment I was carrying and really felt the unnecessary weight.

Now that Christmas is over and soon new year I can think ahead into what I want to achieve in 2015. Now I own a Zoom H1 audio recorder I can record decent audio, video blogs may soon start to appear.

Happy new year ! 

Narborough Sunrise

On Saturday I visited Norfolk Wildlife Trust Narborough Rail line. I discovered this location earlier this year while looking for butterflies. Was asked if I had a picture of this location which was "Atmospheric". Only had macro photos of butterflies and bugs, it gave me the inspiration and determination to go out early and capture a sunrise. Atmospheric, to me means sunrise, sunset and mist etc. 

The weather forecast was overcast which was worrying. Complete flat cloud would have been a disaster, by contrast no clouds would be equally disappointing and boring. Clouds provide interest during sunrise / sunset as they change colour.

I arrived at Narborough with not much time to find a spot, ideally I should have arrived a bit earlier, took my time to get up. Found myself running trying not to miss the sunrise. I found a suitable and only location near the end looking over the farmland. 

Taking plenty of images while the sun was waking up. Settled on the above picture, a panorama made up of 4 portrait images wide using a method called HDR to ensure the image was exposed correctly. The file size is almost 60 megabytes, a 70 megapixel image. 

Visiting the same place many times allows me to familiarise myself with the location so I know where to go when I want a particular image, Narborough for example is good for butterflies and bugs, I have also seen fungi growing in the grass, however not this trip which was disappointing for this time of year. 

My Addiction To Macro Photography

All cameras and lenses have a limit of how close they can focus. This can be demonstrated by using a smartphone. How close can you get the camera to the end of your finger with the camera/phone getting it in focus ? A macro lens allows you to focus much closer, effectively making a camera into a microscope. 

Getting closer to a subject allows you to get more detail out of smaller objects. Another advantage of macro is almost anything is interesting when you get closer which means you don't have to travel far to find interesting subjects, unlike landscapes where you need to allow time and research to capture anything meaningful. 

I find it very therapeutic when walking in woodland looking for fungi (when i'm not being bitten) and can take my time while never knowing what I will find. Also it takes my mind off the weekly grind for short awhile.

Trapped in a spiders web

The whole process of setting up and finding the composition is a rewarding process, there have been tools that i've discovered that has made this a bit easier such as Helicon Remote that allows me to remotely control my camera using my Android phone or tablet, very useful when the camera is laying on the ground. I also use this software to automate focus stacking, there are a few useful video tutorials on YouTube by searching "Focus Stacking" and "Helicon Remote".

Smelly Fungi at Hoe Rough

This last Sunday I managed to visit Hoe Rough, a nature reserve owned and managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. If only for a few hours. Hoe Rough is located outside of Dereham. I discovered this location only a few months ago when looking for places to find Butterflies.  

Hoe Roughin summer, open heath, small band of woodland around the edge

Being the start of October I was under the assumption there would be more varieties abundance of fungi, that didn't appear to be the case here.  That said I found a couple that were worth photographing, A Stinkhorn, as the name suggests there is an odd smell when you get close to them, unlike anything I have seen before which reminds me how interesting fungi can be and why I enjoy photographing them. 

Another is what I think is a Orange Grisette, I took one of these a few weeks ago that was younger, this time the top was covered in the small leaves that added texture. 

I hope to see many more fungi over the next few weeks as the autumn progresses.