CORMORANT & CATCH – 39

On our trip to Berwick-upon-Tweed I decided to walk down the river to get underneath the famous railway viaduct. ( More of that later, perhaps.)

On the way I came across this cormorant that had caught itself some lunch! A huge flat-fish of some type, that seemed far too large to swallow. And, indeed, the bird did seem to spend some time trying to decide how it was going to eat its meal. Note also how much of the cormorant in the first two shots appears to be under water!!

Eventually, as shown in the final image, it swallowed the thing whole! Amazing!

CORMORANT & CATCH by John Allen-1CORMORANT & CATCH by John Allen-2CORMORANT & CATCH by John Allen-3CORMORANT & CATCH by John Allen-4

It sat for a while on the water, made a couple of attempts to take off, and on the third go it flew along the river and under the arches of the viaduct. What a catch.

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IN THE WORKSHOP – 34

A still-life set up using many of my father’s old tools, including the wooden tool chest.

IN THE WORKSHOP by John Allen

Lit with a single continuous video lamp, through a cardboard snoot and a couple of layers of tracing paper to soften the light. The lamp glow was from a small torch behind the lamp – but the resulting very blue light needed significant ‘warming’ in Photoshop.

I hope it was worth it!

SEED POTATO – 31

I took the first images of this potato back in January ( Resting Seed Potato – 03 ), just after it sprouted ‘eyes’ and began to look a touch more interesting than just a plain spud. ( My apologies to the vegetable-lovers amongst you. )

SEED POTATO by John Allen

Since then its sprouts, or shoots, have grown incredibly long! All this time the potato has been sitting in my garage with little TLC given to it – in fact, very little attention paid to it at all.

Recently however I noticed that it was collapsing in on itself, and it looked as though it was very much on its way out. So I took this final image before it was consigned to the food-waste recycling-box.

Taken on the Olympus EM-1 MkII with a single flash head and reflector. Post-production in Lightroom with a touch of Photoshop.

BLOOD MOON – 30

BLOOD MOON by John Allen

Not taken at the absolute full moon – or at the eclipse, unfortunately, when East Anglia appeared to be blanketed in cloud, preventing any view at all of the moon.

This was taken two nights earlier, using the Olympus E-M1 Mk II with a 300 mm lens ( 600mm the 35mm equivalent ) ISO 2000 to give me a shutter speed of 1/500 at f/8, all on a secure tripod and triggered with a wireless remote. I wanted that high shutter speed because it’s surprising how quickly the moon appears to move when you are looking at it through the viewfinder of a camera!!

I also had to play with the White Balance to get the colour in the image. At Auto White Balance it kept recording at almost black and white monochrome.

RUSTIC FLOWERS – 19

RUSTIC FLOWERS by John Allen

Another still life.

Here I was looking for the contrast in textures and colours – mainly between the old food can ( six weeks in the garden, filled with water, to make it go rusty ) and the beauty of the flowers. But I think the muted, soft tones of the background also help.

Key, of course, is the lighting which really makes the image pop – although, at the same time, it is subtle and not overdone. One strobe with a soft box as the main light ( from the left ) and a second light, also softened,  overhead to light the background.