Ailsa Craig is a small island off the south west coast of Scotland. The island is a now extinct volcano, and currently serves as a natural bird sanctuary. This shot was taken from Prestwick beach.
Hey folks. I’ve been away visiting a friend in Germany the past week or so, hence the lack of activity, but I have lots (about 500) pictures from my travels. Some are silly and some just for my own memories so don’t worry I wont be sharing all of them! I got lots of different shots, some like this one, others of the tallest skyscrapers I’ve ever seen (taller than the ones in Scotland anyway…) and some of typical German architecture and towns. This picture was taken from up a hill near Linden – Leihgestern, Hesse, Germany. Germany is a beautiful country.
The second pic is from a few weeks back during the Edinburgh Festival, since Belen over at Artismysanity asked if she could see the colour version of one of the shots I had posted in a more edited form. This is the image with just a couple of tweaks to contrast, colour etc.
This will probably be the last set from my trip to Inveraray and Loch Fyne, because knowing there’s pics to sit in edit is not helping my motivation to go out and get some new shots, which is bad enough because of the terrible summer we’re having in terms of weather. Even for Scotland it’s been bad… We had about of a week and a half of sunshine a few months back and it has rained literally almost every day for the past month. Fun times. Still There’s plenty to photograph at night in Glasgow when the weather isn’t so important so I should probably get out again with the camera sometime soon.
The top pic is of Loch Fyne from up the top of a (fairly steep) hill we climbed on the first day, and we were lucky enough to get nice warm, if a little cloudy, dry weather. Inverary is that tiny little town next to the loch. Just below the town is Inveraray castle, which has to be the most ‘fairytale’ looking castle I’ve ever seen.
The second is a picture of the bridge leading into the town over one of the rivers that flows into the loch. The hill is the same one we climbed the day before, we were just next to the little watchtower you can see at the top. The weather on the second day wasn’t quite so good.
The third is of the pier at Inveraray harbour, where there seemed to be people fishing the whole time we were there, even when it was pouring down with rain and foggy. The loch must be teeming with fish because we saw a good few people catch something, as well as a couple of seagulls and a heron managing to catch their dinner as well.
The fourth is just one of the small fishing – style cottages in the village. I wished I’d gotten more pictures of the village itself but I got a bit carried away with all the scenery around it instead. I suppose it’s another reason to visit again.
Hey folks, just another quick post with some more pictures from Inveraray. The red boat is the Vital Spark, if anyone remembers the TV show from years ago? I seem to be the only person who does…
Sorry I haven’t had a chance to get onto everyone’s blog recently, been worked off my feet trying to save for a holiday so haven’t even been in my flat much never mind on my laptop! I’ll visit you all soon, hopefully.
Hi all. It seems like it was only a few days ago that I last posted, but I’ve just realised its been weeks! Where is the time going at the moment?
I recently took a mystery trip (I didn’t know where we were going until the day before) to the tiny village of Inveraray (population <600) and the stunning Loch Fyne, who’s sheer size only serves to make the tiny village look even smaller. Unfortunately my standard 18-55mm lens is broken, so I was stuck with my 70-300mm lens – not the best for landscape photography. Luckily though Emma recently got a really good digital camera. I’m ashamed to admit it, but her shiny new Canon Powershot point and shoot produced pretty similar results to my ageing Canon 350D. But I’m not complainig as I was able to get the nice wide angle results I was looking for from it.
These are just a couple of shots of the loch and surrounding mountains/hills. It’s a stunningly beautiful place, and we were lucky enough to get good weather on one of the days at least. Its the kind of location that looks just as breathtaking and dramatic in bad weather as it does good though. Walking along the quiet streets I constantly found myself looking around me; I could never get bored of the views there, mountains all around and the expanse of Loch Fyne opening up before you. This is the kind of photography I love the most, but my inability to drive severely limits my opportunities to get out there and take pictures of such amazing places.
I have some nice pictures of the village as well, so plenty more pics of the lochs and surrounding countryside as well as the villag to come, if I can manage to get round to editing them all!
A couple of pics from Glasgow Science centre on the River Clyde in the west side of the city. This was one fo the warmest days we’ve had so far this year in Scotland, so me and my friend made the most and got out in the sun, and wit a little persuasion I convinced him to come out with me while I got some shots. Unfortunately my camera has started to break, and doesn’t always manage to take a picture without making a terrible sound and coming up with an error message, so I didn’t manage too many shots. Currently working on getting a new camera!
We decided to walk back along the river towards the town. As we approached the one of the many bridges over the Clyde we noticed about 20-30 photographers all gathered at one point on the bridge. Not wanting to miss out on what they were all so interested in we walked along to where they were all stood. This is the reason they were all at that one point…
I guess the sun only sets between the Clyde Auditorium and the Hilton Garden Plaza (the building on the far left) for a few days of the year. I think I was pretty lucky to be down there by chance. This is one of the only decent shots I got of the sun setting between the two buildings. The crane is the Finnieston Crane, once used in on of Glasgow’s many shipyards before all but a few were closed. The crane is now disused, and there has been a lot of development of luxury flats and other buildings like the Science Centre all along the Clyde. The half built structure is going to be ‘the Hydro’, a new music venue on the site of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) and the Auditorium. I’m quite looking forward to it being finished, since it looks to be an interesting piece of modern architecture, adding another element to the mixture of buildings both old and new on this part of the river.
I finished work a but early last week so I headed along to Holyrood park to catch the sunset before I got the bus back to Glasgow. Glad I did because it turned out to be a beautiful night. This is the only shot I’ve edited so far, I so much stuff to edit I keep forgetting about certain sets. Not a complaint though, it’s always good to know you’ve got some pics to edit if you’ve got a spare minute.
I’m not usually one for the over-the-top HDR processing, but with this shot I couldn’t resist. The columns and the tower are some of the monuments on Calton Hill, with St Andrew’s house on the far left and the Scottish parliament down below the hill.
Created from three bracketed shots at -1, 0, +1 using Photomatix Pro 4, and then further edited on Photoshop CS5.
The weather has been great here recently, and anyone who lives in a city will know it’s not the best place to be when the sun is out, so me and a friend took a day trip south to Ayr Beach. Ayr is right next to my home town of Prestwick and I always find that I miss the beach when the weather’s great. I know a nice spot away from the busy esplanade where there is a quiet beach out the way and an old castle ruin so me and my friend sat along there, it was a great day just relaxing in the sun so we decided to stay until sunset. It was great to get out into to the seaside for a day, just what I was needing I think. This is one of my favourites from the day, the island in the distance is the Isle of Arran, which is itself a beautiful place. Plenty more pics from this day to come.
I just realised it’s been almost two weeks since my last post, I’ve been so busy that time has just flown in. It’s a good busy though so it’s fine. I’m still enjoying the new job (I would actually go as far as to say I love it), and I’m managing to keep up with the uni work (so far), AND I’ve even had enough time to visit a few friends for a drink over the past couple of weeks, so good times all round!
Believe it or not I’m still editing stuff! These images were both taken at Cramond near the River Almond, albeit on different days. I have no idea why, but I really like the second shot. Not much editing was done on either of these shots. The first just had a few contrast and tone adjustments as well as a little sharpening. The second I edited mainly in SilverEfex, adding a slight vignette and bringing out the detail and contrast on the wooden rail.
After some problems with delivery I’m going to pick up my new tripod from the Post Office tomorrow, yay! Cue lots of night shots!
These are a couple of pictures from my cycle to Queensferry the other day, of the Forth Rail and Road bridges. They’re both a bit on the dull side unfortunately due to how overcast it was, but I’ve tried my best to correct it in post processing and decided that black and white conversions were the best as the colours were all a bit flat. I think I’m going to wait until the weather is a bit better to get some more shots of the bridges, or figure out a way to get there in the evening to get some night shots.
The Rail Bridge is over 100 years old, something which I didn’t know until I checked out Wikipedia, with construction being finished in 1890. It doesn’t look that old does it? There are plans to put a permanent viewing platform in the middle of the bridge, at the highest point which is 300 metres above high tide. I really hope they do this as the views would be amazing!
The road bridge, in the second picture, was only finished in 1964, but there was previously a ferry service which operated from the 11th century. The ferry service was established by Queen Margaret as a service to religious pilgrims making their way to Dunfermline Abbey and St Andrews. The two towns at either side of the bridges developed because of this ferry service, their names – North and South Queensferry – are a direct result of the Queen’s ferry service.
This shot was taken a couple of weeks back from Holyrood park, looking north-west towards the Forth bridges, which you can see in the distance. The high rise flats are actually only ten minutes along the road from my flat. The river Forth can be seen winding round the Cramond Foreshore just on the right of the picture.
I’m still sorting through a lot of pictures that need editing – including some from the day this was taken. My cycle trip to Queensferry the other day didn’t yield many good shots since it was snowing/raining by the time I got there except for a brief few minutes where the sun managed to peek through, so I’m trying to see if I can salvage any of the shots. Most of them are dull and cloudy, or have big drops of rain on my lens ruining them! The cycle itself was amazing fun. I used to cycle a lot when I was younger, and decided to go through a countryside estate on the way back – queue muddy dirt roads and massive hills! I felt like I was eleven again, it was fantastic. I was half dead by the time I got back, but it was worth it! I still haven’t managed to get the mud off of everything yet though.
Since I’m such a glutton for punishment I’m going another cycle this afternoon, not as far this time but hopefully with better results photography wise since it’s a nice, clear day (and it’s supposed to stay that way!). This is my way of ensuring I actually have some photos to edit and post in a week or so when I’m so swamped with uni work that I can’t get out to get some shots, hopefully my plan works.
Hope you all have a good week
This shot I took on my cycle to Cramond the other day, just along from Granton Harbour. It was taken about half an hour before sunset, facing away from the sunset (that’s why they look a little dark). The water looked amazing, almost like glass and reflecting what looked like a rainbow of colours. Simply stunning.
This is the first successful HDR shots I’ve done in a while because I’ve been trying not to overuse and rely on the technique for good shots, instead practising getting single exposures right. As always I’ve tried to keep it as natural looking as possible though.
The island in the background is Cramond Island. I almost made it over to the island on this trip, but the causeway is only accessible at low tide. As I was about half way across the causeway started to flood! Needless to say I did a sharp about turn and headed back for land. I’ll make it over one day.
I’ve found myself with another day off today (yay!) and despite the bad weather forecast it looks pretty nice outside, so I’m going another photo taking cycling expedition. I must be feeling brave because I’ve decided to cycle out of Edinburgh to Queensferry, which is about a 16 mile round trip. To any seasoned cyclists that probably doesn’t sound like too much, but I am extremely unfit! So, hopefully I don’t die of exhaustion before I get there and back. Queensferry is the point at which the famous Forth Road and Rail bridges cross the Forth Estuary, so I’m hoping for some good shots of those as well as Queensferry itself and some of the countryside I have to cycle through to get there!
So, fingers crossed it doesn’t rain and I don’t collapse! Speak to you all soon!
I borrowed my girlfriend, Ellis’, bike yesterday and cycled along the coast to Cramond beach around sunset, I was lucky enough to get there just before sunset and capture quite a few decent shots before it got too dark/cold. Despite the cold it was a beautiful clear night, the water was very calm and there were even a few other fellow photographers out and about, as well as the odd family or dog walker. I’ll have the rest uploaded soon hopefully. For the first time in a while I already have a lot of stuff to edit after a trip to Holyrood park at sunset a few days ago as well. This might sound like I’m moaning but it feels great to have a backlog of pics to look through and edit, despite the amount of time it consumes!
This shot was taken after sunset on my way home, another one of those shots I almost didn’t stop to take. Pretty glad I did as it’s one of my favourites so far. It looks nice and warm, but it really wasn’t! You can actually see the frost (still no snow…) along the banks of the esplanade if you look close enough. Anyway I’ve got photo’s to edit, enjoy!
I’ve been doing this blog for almost a year and somehow I’ve managed to avoid posting a picture of Edinburgh Castle, or at least a picture where the castle was the main focus. I love the blue lights they have on the castle, seems an appropriately cold colour for winter!
Unfortunately this will probably be my last night shot for a while because I broke my tripod, but never mind. I’m going to have a bit of a hard drive clear out anyway and see if there’s anything I haven’t posted or that I can salvage with photoshop.
This is another shot from Berwick, about 20 minutes after the sun had come up. It’s an HDR composition but as usual I’ve tried to keep it as natural looking as I can.
Finding the time to post or even get out and get pictures these days is a struggle, so apologies for the sparse updates. Third year at uni is really hitting me hard! I have a job interview on Monday as well, which i really hope I get, but it could mean more distractions from photography unfortunately On the upside the dark winter nights are well on their way, which means no waiting about until 10pm for sunset, it sets as early as 4pm for a couple of weeks in December. Also the snow should be on it’s way soon> Edinbugrgh looks amazing in the snow so I can’t wait!
I spent the weekend in Berwick with my girlfriend and her family. For those of you that don’t know Berwick-Upon-Tweed is an English town just on the border with Scotland, it actually used to be part of Scotland a few centuries ago but the English recaptured it. It’s a strange place because although Berwick is an English town their football team play in the Scottish league, weird eh?
Anyway we were staying near a beach and cliffs so I couldn’t help going down to get some shots at sunrise. There should be a few more pics from the weekend posted once I’ve got round to editing them.
Hey folks, I finally have internet again after almost two long months (it feels like longer). After a couple of days of technical difficulty I finally managed to get it online, yay!
I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve seen pictures of this part of Edinburgh before, Cramond Causeway and Cramond Island at the end of it are probably one of the most photographed places in Edinburgh, in a non-tourist sense anyway. When I took this picture it was only the second time I had been there in the two odd years I’ve lived in Edinburgh, and I regret not going before as it’s a lovely place, right on the North West edge of the city far away from the busyness of the city centre. The causeway itself is only accessible when the tide is out so you can only get over to the island at certain times. I still haven’t been for fear of getting stranded… This picture was taken at night, that’s actually the moon not the sun, and I had to use a 30 second exposure time. I think I was quite lucky to find the moon in that position, while the tide was out as well, completely by chance.
My Photoshop is playing up at the moment (or possibly my laptop, it’s getting kinda old), so the editing isn’t the best on this shot, but I still have the use of SilverEfex thankfully! I have to save the picture every time I want to see changes, which is extremely annoying. Also I can’t see the previews of effects, so it’s sort of guess work. It’s fun, not!
Anyway, it feels good to be back. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up at least weekly posts. I’m now in third year at uni so the workload is getting pretty stressful! I’m looking forward to getting back into everyone else’s blogs as well, so expect a visit from me soon. I’ve missed everyone else’s pictures, and I’m looking forward to finding some new blogs too.
Also thanks again to everyone for still visiting despite my long period on non-posting, you lovely patient people!
Another picture from my outing to Newhaven with my new ND filters. This shot isn’t as dark as the picture in previous post (it was taken about ten minutes beforehand), and you can actually see a little bit of detail on the rocks and under the water. You can just see the last remnants of the suns light, which looks like a flame, reflected in the water. This wasn’t technically a long exposure picture, I was just lucky enough to get the water when it was really calm.
Some people where asking about how to do long exposure shots, so I’ve decided to give explaining the technique a go. Bear with me, this is my first attempt at a ‘how to’…
1. First off you need a tripod, because you have to use a long exposure for this type of shot. If you try and hand hold past about 1/30 sec, you just get a colourful blur, believe me I’ve tried! Also a shutter release cable is good, because you don’t want to press the shutter button and make the camera shake. Most cameras also have a timer that you can use to avoid having to touch the shutter button right before you take the picture.
2. It is a long exposure that gives the ‘milky’ or ‘smoky’ effect from the water in these kinds of pictures. For this shot I used a relatively fast shutter speed, but for the picture in the previous post I used a shutter speed of about 50 seconds, meaning that the shutter was open for 50 seconds, hence the need for a tripod (although if you want everything to be perfectly exposed so that you can see details in rocks and stuff you will need to expose for longer than this). To let as little light into the camera as possible I used the lowest ISO setting of 100, and set my aperture to f/22 (so that it is closed right down rather than wide open). One problem with using a low f/stop is that your image won’t be as sharp as it can be, but that can be fixed using smart sharpening or the unsharp mask in Photoshop.
I also used two neutral density filters (or just ND filters), darkened pieces of glass which screw onto the front of the camera lens. You get different strengths of filters and you can stack them to let in less light.
As well as ND filters I also used a polarising filter. The main purpose of this filter is to give deeper more vivid colours and also to cut reflections on water, glass etc, and it is adjustable by twisting the ring on the lens. A side effect of this filter is that it also lets in less light.
3. Getting the exposure right for the whole image is tricky in landscape pictures. I used evaluative exposure metering for this shot and exposed for the water, because it wasn’t much darker than the sky. The water turned out perfectly exposed, but the sky was a little bright so I lost some detail and colour. There are a few different ways to fix this. You could use a graduated neutral density filter (or ND grad filter), which is essentially a piece of glass that is dark at the top and gradually becomes transparent towards the bottom so that the top of your image is darker that the bottom. The filter is held in a holder which screws onto the front of your lens, although I think there are also screw on ones available.
A cheaper way if you already have Photoshop/Elements is to shoot in RAW mode. Process the picture in RAW format in Photoshop so that the foreground is properly exposed, then open the RAW file again and process it so that the sky is properly exposed. Once you have both the images processed and open in Photoshop then copy one onto the other so you have two layers on top of each other. Create a layer mask for the top layer (e.g. the properly exposed sky) and then invert it so it cannot be seen. Then use a black brush and paint over the layer mask and it will reveal your properly exposed sky on top of your properly exposed foreground. Here’s a great little video tutorial on layer masks.
If you have Nik’s ColourEfex Pro 3 plugin for Photoshop then there is a graduated neutral density filter in the plugin which does the same as an ND grad filter but in post processing rather than when you take the picture, and also lets you choose how dark the grad is, what angle, how far down the image etc.
4. When actually taking the picture my camera only goes up to a 30 second exposure so I had to use ‘bulb’ mode, which I think most DSLR’s have. This mode allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you want. This is where the shutter release is really essential, because it allows you to lock the shutter button, meaning you don’t have to hold it down to keep the shutter open.
Guessing how long to keep the shutter open is a bit tricky however, it’s just a bit of trial and error really. If you are only just underexposed on the exposure meter (e.g. only a few stops to the left of the middle of the meter) on the camera’s LCD display, and your camera’s max exposure is 30 sec, then maybe use 40 or 50 sec exposure. If it is further to the left of the centre of the meter adjust accordingly. like I said it’s just trial and error.
Well I hope that explains it well enough and clearly enough. If anything needs clarified just ask. Also if you think the way I’ve explained things could be done better or if I’ve left anything out then let me know and I’ll be happy to fix it. If people find this helpful I might do more in the future.
Hope this helps!
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Some more pictures of Newhaven beach (I’ve sort of ran out of places to take pictures of, in case you haven’t guessed!). It’s been a while since I posted a sunset picture, even though you can’t actually see the sun in this shot (it’s a few minutes after sunset). It was more the water and the colours, rather than the sun, that I wanted a picture of anyway. I’ve been wanting a nice serene water shot like this for ages, so I’m glad I managed this one. I have a few more so expect more of the same over the next few days, I’ll try and keep them varied though
This shot was taken using two ND filters stacked, an ND4 and an ND8, as well as a polarising filter (because it also lessens the light hitting the sensor, and gives more vivid colours). I also used the highest f stop on my camera, f/22, so that I could get a nice long exposure to create the smooth water effect. I ended up using a 50 sec exposure for this shot.
Here are some more pictures from our our outing to Duddingston Loch the other day, by way of the Innocent Railway tunnel. I wasn’t actually able to get as many pictures of the loch as I wanted mainly because I would have had to get down low on the ground and it was covered in something the many, many Geese had left, and because the sun was in the wrong position. Every shot I took had a glaring fireball and some terrible lens flare in it. I should probably plan these trips a bit better! I’m hoping to get out there at sunset/sunrise for some shots at some point, but since the sun currently sets around 10pm and rises around 4:30am, I’m going to wait a while.
As far as I’m aware the geese are Canadian geese. This is the first time I’ve ever seen them up close, and there were loads of them! They were totally oblivious to us (as soon as they realised we didn’t have food), except for one little gosling which squeaked at me when I got to close and ran off to its mummy/daddy goose. I felt quite bad about it.
The shot of the loch is an HDR, but the ones of the geese/gosling’s are just straight up captures which have only been cropped and sharpened, with a little adjustment for contrast and brightness too.
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This picture was taken a few weeks ago at the Shore in Leith, it’s the old harbour bridge which is only accessible to pedestrians these days as it can’t handle vehicles. There are boring looking modern style flats at each end of the bridge so I deliberately made sure they weren’t in the shot and ended up with this weird composition.
It’s actually sunny today, wahey! And I’m off work, double wahey! After exploring one side of Holyrood Park so much I’m going to explore the other side today, apparently there’s a Loch and stuff so I’ll hopefully have some nice pictures of that to post. There is also an old railway tunnel (now turned cycle path) that is 517 metres long so I’m going to check that out and try for some motion blur shots of some fast moving cyclists, or just some creepy tunnel shots.
Anyway hope you like this shot, I was a bit unsure about it but it’s grown on me.
I took this picture ages ago, I can’t even remember the exact month. I wasn’t so sure of it at the time but I gave it a bit of a tidy up and now I’m quite happy with it. It was taken in Princes Street Gardens, that much I can remember! I was on a wander about the city with my little brother (I say little, he’s about an inch taller than me) and we had stopped to take a breather in front of these two tree, so I got the camera out.
The gardens were created in the 1820′s, so these two trees were side by side for almost 200 years before I stumbled along with my camera to take this shot.
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It seemed like I hadn’t been down Portobello beach in a while, so I convinced Vicky to take a walk along the coast with me for some shots. Having recently got an ND filter for my camera I’ve been trying it out to get some of those ‘smoky’ water shots that you see of piers and bridges and stuff, and since Portobello beach has plenty of little pier/jetty structures I though it would be the perfect opportunity. One problem though, the tide was out, something which I had slightly overlooked…
Never mind though, I settled for some HDR shots of the colourful sunset sky and the piers anyway, and they turned out quite nice. After hanging around for a bit I did manage to get a sort of smoky water effect shot, but I’m still working on it in PS.
The more observant among you may have noticed I’ve changed my little logo thing again. Didn’t really change it for any real reason, other than I get bored of things far too quickly, you’ll probably see a different one in about a month or so!
I’m going to try doing at least one post featuring some concept photography every 1 – 2 weeks, since the last post went down pretty well with everyone. I’ve already got an idea for a shot, and not so staged this time either.
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I don’t usually go for concept photography, but I was down at Seafield beach and I found this old chair in amongst all the other crap people have dumped down there (grrrrr…) and came up with this shot. I started trying it out in different spots and when I sat it on this rock it made me think, which has got to be a good thing, right? I think this could possibly be considered reverse concept photography, since I didn’t go out with an idea in my head, but rather found the chair, played around with it a bit and then developed ideas during and afterwards.
I was going to tell you what this picture makes me think about, but I decided I would rather know what this picture makes you guys think about. Plus I’m not so great with self-expression and words… What does this picture say to you?