Friday, 21 December 2012

2012 closing thoughts

Good morning blogging world, it looks like 2012 was a good grounding for my new found love of SLR photography. I have had some amazing times over the course of the year and met some really cool and helpful people.
 This blog was initially set up with the idea of sharing whenever possible a photo or two of the places I go, the area I live in and the people who inspire me. It has materialized to be much more than that.

Progress.

The blog was also a great tool to track the progression of my skills, the way that I approach a scene and its composition.

To take a look at some of the landscape photos that i have taken and check to see if I have gotten any better / worse or stayed the same.

December 2011

One of the first photos that I had the pleasure to share with you all was this view of Pen-Y-Fan in the South Wales Valleys.

Whilst this shot is OK, I totally ignored the rule of thirds, there is no foreground interest and the composition is terrible. But we all start somewhere I guess.

April 2012


Taken of the Dartmoor moorlands, i can see that the composition is a little better, rule of thirds applied, still no foreground interest but we do have some focal point, even if it is a third into the scene. The colours are garish and way 'overcooked' with a heave photoshop hand.

June 2012


my first attempt at landscape HDR, and getting a little better once again. rule of thirds, check. foreground interest, check. Colouration, spot on.
 I think this was the point where my photography skills turned the corner, taking a good 6 months to master I finally believed there was some hope.
 The borders were removed from all images as I found them to be distracting, i also had a period where my watermark disappeared. That was short lived.

This image went on to be printed a couple of times through the local papers. and is one of my top picks of 2012.



December 2012

So we come to now and at this point I am thinking a little outside of the box with my landscapes. playing with tonal ranges, looking for symmetry, lead-in lines and black and white moods. I could not pick one favourite 'recent' shot so all three won the pick.

Taken from the devastating flooding of Tewkesbury, the colour of the sky and the lone tree begged for a symmetrical shot to be taken, throwing the rule of thirds out of the window and placing the horizon somewhere about centre.

By far my most successful image to date, it provokes though and wonder. Also showcasing three fundamental properties that make our land great. 
The stone work of our medieval ancestors, the typical homes of valleys people in mining villages, and our famous welsh rolling hills. 

This is the latest in a series of landscapes, this shot again goes back to basics with the rule of thirds. but now using lead-in lines, and adding people into the scot for scene of scale of the surroundings.



One other thing has emerged from all this, I now know that i totally and absolutely adore back and white photography, it provokes more thought than colour and it sets mood and conviction that cannot be captured any another way ....

 Plus its timeless.

So, I now wish you all a very merry, jolly and jovial Christmas. May you be surrounded by those that you love and you dont consume too much alcohol and food.

ValleysShutterBug.com (AKA Shaun) would like to than all of its followers for a great year. All blogging will now be suspended for the Christmas holidays and return 01/01/13.

Take care

Shaun (AKA ValleysShutterBug.com)  :)



Wednesday, 19 December 2012

London Olympics - The 'ORBIT'

My link up this week for B&W Wednesday and wordless Wednesday is of a trip we had to the Olympics earlier in the year.

this is the Art installation that was erected especially for the games, dubbed the 'Orbit' and standing at just short of 400ft you could walk all the way to the top for a birds eye view of the park.

I will upload more of the Olympic photos over the coming day to share with you.



Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Dark Days ahead

With all of the media taboo going about with the "end of the world" scenario I awoke this morning to a blood red sky.

Out the window with "red skin in morning, Shepard's warning" and in with "fire sky in morning, Mayan's warning"

Is there anyone else who has has been sucked into the whole world is going to end on Friday thing?

*Apologies for the quality of this one, its off my cell phone at the side of the road.


This one was also taken this morning (with the SLR)
F/8 @ 30 seconds ISO100

Monday, 17 December 2012

There a goose loose...

After going to the local park this weekend and all good intentions of getting some photos for this weeks blog entries.

I FAILED

After getting out of the car and realizing that i had left all of my memory cards at home, i remembered that my cars CD player has one of my old 2 gb memory cards shoved into it. I put that into the Nikon and great we are ready to go

OR SO I THOUGHT

I switched the camera on for it to read that i had 2 shots left! flipping great.

So, with that in mind and treating it like it was the last 2 photos i would ever take I managed to come up with these of some geese

Canadian goose

MR and Mrs Canadian geese.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

NEWS ALERT



Photography news update.

"Photography roof topping man dies in Chicago"

Whilst claiming a 44 storey chimney stack a man falls in and dies

To read all about it click on the following link


Or click on the news tab at the top


Shaun

Friday, 14 December 2012

SkyWatch Friday

Linkin up with Skywatch Friday

In the depths of the Wild Welsh Valleys


Review - Polaroid close up kit


This is the 4 piece macro close up kit from Polaroid, excellent for when you need to get that touch closer but dont want the cost of a dedicated macro lens.
Cost: £12.99
Available from: most good photography stores

Overview

Upon first inspection all looks good, The filters are wrapped up nice and neatly inside a canvas bag measuring approx 6" x 4". Secured with a pretty tough and durable feeling velcro, the case opens out to reveal the four close up filters.


After opening the case you are greeted with a pleasing sight, a nicely laid out set of filters. Not shown in the next photo, the filters come individually wrapped in little cellophane sleeves for protection.
 Each of the filters is held within a slightly elasticated mesh fabric to keep them securely in place. I instantly thought though, 'what filter is what filter'? i wished that they had tagged each compartment with the respective filter magnification.




here are the four filters removed from their sleeves. The kit comprises of the following filter types
X1, X2, X4, X10
These are all indicators of the amount of magnification that the filter will give. What i did like, and did not realize that it was possible for the filters to be stacked to increase the magnification amount. The maximum magnification amount with all lenses stacked is X17, although this is some serious magnification. you do tend to loose sharpness after about X14

Sample images

The following images of "Marcus" show the levels of magnification from each of the filters as a stand alone, and then stacked.

Camera settings for the shots

Mode: Manual
Focal Length: 55mm
Shutter speed: 1 sec
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO: 100
Shooting RAW
WB: Auto 









X1
















X2













X4







X10



Stacking the Filters can get some pretty impressive results.







X11





X12





X14

Conclusion

There were some pretty impressive results from these close up filters, to be honest i was not expecting much for the price tag. But they did prove me wrong. They are by no means a replacement for a dedicated macro lens, but if you want to try out macro photography for the first time and get some great results then these are just the ticket. 
 The mesh sleeves in the pouch do look like they could scratch the filter glass, they could not but its just cautionary.

Overall Rating: 7/10


Thursday, 13 December 2012

NEWS ALERT


Photography news update.

"57 reasons to love photography"

This is a cracking extract about the top 57 reasons why we loved photography in 2012

What was you Top moment of 2012 to photograph? Comments please

To read all about it click on the following link


Or click on the news tab at the top


Shaun

Caerphilly Castle

Well it would be rude to go the the medieval market and not visit the castle. This black and white work is really taking hold of me !!!!








Wednesday, 12 December 2012

A lone child


What is he thinking?

Linking up with Black & White Wednesday and Wordless Wednesday

12/12/12 @12:12pm. Happy all 12's day

Hello fellow bloggers. I would like to mark this monumentous occasion, we well never.... Ever ever see this time/date scenario happen ever in our lives again.

12/12/12 @12:12pm

Leave a comment to mark what you were doing on this monumental occasion.

Please feel free to pass this post on.

Happy all 12's day every one !

Caerphilly Medieval Market

This weekend just gone I found out that there was a Medieval market in the nearby town town of Caerphilly (k-eye-filly). I needn't need know anymore and I was there. Anything that holds a Bow, shield, spear or sword is enough to send the pulse quickening. I have shown below a few of the characters of the Faye, all in Mono conversions. If anyone would like a personal copy in Mono or colour pleas email to let me know.

Within Caerphilly is the most awesome historic war torn (by war I mean in the era of cannons and trebuchets) castle. But more of that tomorrow, today is all about the personalities of the fayre.


Some freaky woman dressed as a dancing pagan bull. Children didnt like this


The master of dragons, didnt catch his name but i bet it was a classic !!
These next three photos are all members of a Historic archers society called "Sons of the Dragon"

Gerald King - Captain of Archers

 Vernon Mills

Helen Urtiaga



And probably my favorite image of the day. This little guys was sat looking out from the castle walls over the valley. Makes you wonder what is he thinking.?


Linking up with Black & White Wednesday

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Worcester Cathedral

The morning after the market the night before we headed bright and early into the cathedral for a look around.

We done the same last year, as a comparison and to see if i have gotten any better at this photography lark.

From last year i know i can be definite on the following:

I now ONLY shoot in RAW
I always shoot MANUAL
And ISO is my new best friend.









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