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Monday, 17 March 2014

Landscape Photography Perseverance (aka Corfe Castle beat me again)

Those that love landscape photography know that it really is a game of hit and miss. That you really have to persevere to get that killer shot you've been after for a while. It can take many attempts to get the right circumstances to come together.

The current score is Corfe Castle: 3 Me:0.

If you're wondering what I'm talking about, it is the running total in the number of times I have tried to photograph the world famous Corfe Castle at sunrise with some mist surrounding it. Ok, so I have failed to capture the mist in the three attempts I have made to get there. It's only three attempts. I know guys who've been trying for years to get that iconic shot of this location, so I know I'll be back there a lot more times before I get on the scoreboard. Keep going, keep going, keep going.

Myself and my friend Mark, from Twiglet Images, left my house in Southampton at 3:45am to get to Corfe Castle in plenty of time for sunrise. We arrived there just after 5am, which meant we had over an hour before the sun would break over the horizon. When we arrived we were greeted with the usual scenario...no mist, so we were toying with the idea of setting up our gear to capture some star trails instead, but there were only small gaps in the clouds where stars could be seen. Then we decided to head to Kimmeridge Bay to see what we could capture there. Although the sky was cloudy it wasn't a total blanket, there were pockets of light beginning to seep through, so we thought that would produce some nice colour when the sun rose.

Hmmm, that was the thought process anyway. One incy wincy flaw in our plan was that we hadn't checked the tide timetable. It was high tide at Kimmeridge Bay. Kimmeridge is basically a rock ledge that slopes very gently out to sea, so when it is high tide the water comes all the way up to the cliffs at the back of the beach, there is no way to walk along the beach when it's like this. And I wasn't going to risk losing my camera gear to the sea.

So, back-up plan C came into force. We agreed to head to Old Harry Rocks near Studland Bay instead. The time was now about 5:40am, and it was a 6 or 7 mile drive there from Kimmeridge, plus we would need to walk about a mile from where the car would be parked to get to the rocks. That was cutting it far too fine to be able to get there in time, and set up our gear for sunrise. So, what do you think we did? Yep, we went back to Corfe Castle.

We were hoping that those gaps in the clouds would be kind to us and allow some lovely colours to shine through when the sun finally rose. It didn't quite work out that way. Some heavier cloud banks drifted across very slowly so we didn't see anything apart from a small area of colour off to the right. However, as we were already there, and I'm always of the belief that you make the most of any situation I changed my composition and set up to try and get a moody atmosphere coming across in my shots. I think that worked. Have a look at the image below, or on my Facebook page.


I have an idea to convert this to black and white and can see it in my mind as a dark and foreboding image, with the clouds really looking menacing. I'll work on that and post it here soon.

As usual don't forget to have a look at my website: www.kevinbrownephotography.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KevinBrownePhotography

And I always welcome comments.

Kev.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Test Valley Hampshire - a great place for landscape photography

The Test Valley in Hampshire is a great place for landscape photography. My normal route to and from work takes me through the Test Valley and I always carry my camera equipment in my car, just in case the light is right and I can grab a good photograph. The area is perfect for landscape photography, as there are so many open spaces, with interesting twists and turns.

I was driving home from work this evening and noticed a slight mist in the air. It was so faint you could almost not notice it. There were no clouds in the sky, and the sun was falling fast towards his bed. This combination made for some beautiful light, so I knew exactly where I should pull my car over and capture the light.

Just as I was setting up my gear, I could hear a dog barking and noticed a couple walking towards me with two dogs. The dogs were Beagles, and one of them sounded like it wanted to rip my head off. Now, I'm not afraid of dogs and when they came closer I simply smiled and said hello. When the barky dog got closer she came up to inspect me and have a sniff. She then put one paw on my camera bag and one on my knee and wanted a cuddle. She was gorgeous :-)

As usual this image is available as a print from my website: www.kevinbrownephotography.com


I hope you like it. I'd love to hear your comments.

Speak to you soon.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Indoor photography to the rescue

This weekend just gone I was supposed to head down to Durdle Door in Dorset for a sunrise shoot with a friend. However, late on Friday afternoon he messaged me to tell me he was having car trouble so wouldn't be able to make it. Although I was really looking forward to being out and about with my camera again, as it has been weeks, I also thought it would be good to stay at home and get a few things sorted in the house.

On Friday on my way home from work, I stopped off at a florist and bought my wife some flowers...just to say "I Love You". So, while she was having a lie inon Saturday morning and I was up with the kids I thought I'd take advantage of a sunny morning and my wifes flowers sitting beside a large window and take a few up close shots of them.

The flowers in the bouquet are red roses and pink lillies. The roses are already open of course, but the lillies are still closed, so I'll have to wait for some nice shots of the lillies.

This shot (see it on my website here) was taken with a Canon 70D, a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro and a reflector to make the most of the natural light.


I'm looking forward to being able to get some shots of the lilles, as I love their intricate structures.

If you have any comments about this, I'd love to hear them.

Kevin.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Sometimes, when my kids are asleep...

A bit of a playful one this time. 
Sometimes, when my kids are asleep, I sneak into their rooms and steal some of their toys so I can play with them myself. 
My eldest son loves playing Skylanders Giants and Swap Force on his Nintendo Wii, so last night I grabbed all the Skylanders figurines he's got and put together a picture for him that I'm going to get printed into a poster for him, for his birthday.


This is made up of 8 individual images aligned beside each other. The finished image dimensions are 6ft wide by 1ft tall, and the low-res version is 22MB! The finished Photoshop file is 240MB!!! Just a bit too big for Facebook.

On these miserable wet days its always good to crack on with an indoor project.

Speak soon]]Kevin.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

At last, a break in the storms

Most people will know we here in the UK have suffered some pretty horrible weather lately. Not the extreme snow that the US have had, or the hurricanes that can decimate some parts of Asia, but for the UK these storms have been something very much out of the ordinary. Weeks and weeks of torrential rain and damaging high winds have both brought severe flooding that have ruined peoples homes and businesses, have caused chaos on the roads and rails, and will take many months to completely recede.

I am lucky that my house has not been hit by the floods, I feel so sorry for the many families that have had their homes ruined, I can't think of anything worse. Yes, my house has been affected by leaks and fences have been blown down, but that is minor compared to what others have to put up with.

Today was a very welcome respite from the horrible weather though. It was sunny with only very light breezes and was actually quite mild for February. We didn't think twice. We checked the oil and engine coolant on our Volkswagen campervan and packed the kids in there and headed off to Calshot for a walk along the beach to get some fresh air in our lungs. The clouds even played ball and gave me some nice light to take some pictures. One of them is below, and I'll be uploading a few more over the next few days.



I'm starting a new job in my existing company over the next few weeks, while trying to maintain progress on my current job until someone is found to take over my role. I'm going to be moving onto managing the construction of over 800 wireless network sites for a new Smart Metering network my company is building in Scotland and the North of England. I think that'll keep me busy for a while, but hopefully I'll still be able to get out with my camera regularly.

Have a great week everyone.

www.kevinbrownephotography.com

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset - A very rewarding photographic experience

After my last photo trip to Dorset a couple of weeks ago, I was struck with the bug to capture a photograph of Corfe Castle peaking out of the mist. After checking the forecasts on about three different weather apps last night myself and my friend Mark were pretty certain we would be rewarded with something good. So, it was agreed that Mark would get to my house in Southampton by 6am and I would drive us down to Corfe Castle.

Well, as many photographers who have tried the same thing at Corfe Castle on many occassions, and failed, we were to face the same result. Not a hint of mist, and very few clouds in the sky. So, having photographed there only two weeks before and the conditions looking very similar to that last trip we decided to head to Kimmeridge Bay for something different.

This was my first time at Kimmeridge, and I must admit to being slightly excited as I had seen so many wonderful images of the place on sites like Flickr, Facebook and 500px. I had looked it up on Google Maps yesterday, but what you don't realise from the satellite images is the sheer vertical cliffs that surround the beach, with only a couple of pathways leading down to the rocky beach. Once down on the beach it was very easy to see how shallow it actually is, as the flat rock formations very slowly slope downwards on their way out to sea. The tide was on its way out, but one good wave would bring it all the way back up to the high-tide line and we would have to move out of the way.


When we arrived there was barely a breeze and it felt very mild, considering it is meant to be January. The sky was clear, apart from a thin line of faint cloud on the horizon. We set up the tripods to capture one of the lines of rock acting as a leading line in the images. 

The small building you can see on top of the hill near the top of both of these images is Clavell Tower, which would make a great foreground subject for a star-trail image I think :-)


There are so many photographic possibilities at Kimmeridge that I am really looking forward to getting down there again. In the panoramic image above you can make out the tilting remains of a World War II Pill Box, which appears to be slowly making its way down the beach. This in itself could be a very interesting subject, as well as the chances for some close-up work on the interesting rocks and pebbles to be found on the beach. 

So, on my first trip to Kimmeridge I am really impressed. It is a location which could produce stunning photographs at any time of day, not just sunrise or sunset. I will definitely be back.

Oh, and on a different subject, I'm looking forward to getting a printed copy of Hampshire Life magazine so I can see what my photograph looks like on the front cover. I'm in print. I'm published. Ha ha :-)

Until next time, have fun.

Kevin.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Magazine front cover photo

Just a bit of an update to my last post.
Those of you who read my last blog post (here) would know that I got an email from the editior of Hampshire Life magazine asking if they could use one of my images in their February issue. You will also know that I of course said yes.

Well, the update on that is that the editor emailed me again a few days later and said the image would work really well on the front cover! After a few back-and-forward emails and a quick phonr call I sorted out the correct sizing of the image for the front cover and away it went. I'm really looking forward to seeing what it looks like on the cover. I might just be buying more than one copy :-)

As if that wasn't enough, the lovely editor asked for another image for the inside of the magazine. TWO images in one magazine...I'd better stop, my head is going to get too big ;-)

When I get a sample of the front cover I'll post it here. In the meantime here are links to the two images being used.

Front Cover: Sunset at Brately View in the New Forest
Inside Image: Long exposure at Milford-On-Sea

Until next time, with HUGE smiles

Don't forget to sign up to my blog for automatic updates, and share with your friends.

Kev.