Southend Sunday – 16

Last Sunday we took a ride out to Southend-On-Sea. It was a busy, bustling place – everyone encouraged, no doubt, to be outside in the lovely weather!

Passing the fairground near the shore-end of the pier we noticed this agitated crow – apparently concerned by the rumbling of the inverted people passing by on the yellow track.

03-SOUTHEND SUNDAY by John Allen

We then discovered why he was agitated – the crows had chosen to build their nest inside the metalwork of the roller-coaster. Not a great shot, but you can just see the crow standing on its nest INSIDE the framework! We guessed this was the first day that the ride had been opened this year – and we wondered how long it would be before the nest was abandoned?

04-SOUTHEND SUNDAY by John Allen

But at the other end of the pier things were a little more peaceful – but we were a couple of hours early for the anticipated ‘Folk Music & Beer’ event. ( Not its official title – and we didn’t stop for it.)

But we did spot the young Turnstone on the end of the pier. He (?) seemed a little distraught and kept calling but seemed to be completely alone. Lost or abandoned, I wasn’t sure – but I managed to get quite close to him and get these two shots. My favourite is the second one. Just a bit more movement!

02-SOUTHEND SUNDAY by John Allen01-SOUTHEND SUNDAY by John Allen

Spring In The Park – 07

Images of spring flowers taken this very morning on an early(ish) walk through our town park.

I won’t attempt to name them – I can just about recognise a Snowdrop – but all were taken on my Olympus EM-1 Mk II with a 60mm macro lens; all natural light with some ‘tweaking’ in Lightroom.

And followed by breakfast in the Park Café. A perfect morning.

Ice Patterns – 05

These fantastic patterns appeared on our conservatory windows one morning earlier this week. To good to miss, I took the opportunity to take a few shots using a 60mm macro lens on the Olympus EM1 Mark II – and a tripod.

All backlit with natural light from the garden – and tweaked ( a touch ) in Lightroom Classic CC.

01-ICE PATTERNS by John Allen

02-ICE PATTERNS by John Allen

03-ICE PATTERNS by John Allen

04-ICE PATTERNS by John Allen

Flash In The Garden – 02

One of my previously broken New Year’s Resolutions was to get to grips with off-camera, outdoor flash photography – away from my usual safety net of a home studio and lots of time!

So eventually, a couple of days ago, I ventured outside into the garden with my Olympus OMD MKII, a 60mm macro lens and flash gun ( on an extension lead ) to catch whatever was about.

The first three images are of a clump of fungi Daphne had spotted growing in a sheltered corner of the garden. Fungi in January? A little unexpected – but then our winter, so far, has been quite mild – nothing to the atrocious weather that has struck parts of continental Europe. Our thoughts go to anyone who is suffering as a result!

01-garden flora by john allen02-garden flora by john allen03-garden floraby john allen

The final image is of grass growing in the crevices of an old tree stump (thanks, Trevor!!). This is probably the result of bird food left in the stump for the passing wildlife – but then again, we’ve not seen much of that over the past few weeks. They are obviously being fed somewhat better further down the road.

04-garden flora by john allen

Studio Flower Shots #2 – 50

Not much incentive to venture outside in this cold grey weather. So I’ve hunkered down in my (Slightly) warmer garage/studio and taken more studies of shop-purchased flowers.

Fairly weak on identifying  which is what, but then it’s the image that counts. Hope you agree. 🙂

Orchid
Orange
Purple Macro

The ‘Purple Macro’ is a single shot. I’ve just rediscovered my Sigma Ring Flash and dragged it out for this shot. With the flower-head just a couple of inches in front of the 60mm macro lens, even lighting is always going to be difficult. There are still some dark shadows in the centre of the image, but I think I can live with those.


Ornamental Kale?

The “Ornamental Kale” shot is a focus-stacked image – 18 individual layers, merged together in Photoshop CC to give the deeper depth of field.

All taken on the Olympus E-M1 MkII with a 60mm macro lens. Will Olympus ever bring out a macro lens in their Pro Lens series?

Connaught Water – 48

An early morning walk in Epping Forest took us to Connaught Water, a large stretch of water near Chingford.

Not great light, but thankfully the rain held off. The second image is of some tree branches close to the water – a 25 second exposure taken with a ‘big stopper’ filter to give the water that soft, creamy look.

Connaught Water
Shapes
Texture
Old Tree
Fungi

Flower Portraits – 47

It’s been much colder this week – and the light outside has gone grey and flat.

So I’ve retreated into my small studio in the garage and been experimenting with studio shots of shop-bought flowers. Maybe as Winter passes and Spring arrives I’ll try something similar with the seasonal wild-flowers as they appear during the year. Maybe even try to achieve this outside where the plants are growing. Maybe!!!

Flower by John Allen-1Flower by John Allen-4Flower by John Allen-3Flower by John Allen-2

All taken on the Olympus OMD EM-II with a 12-100mm Pro lens and a couple of flash guns. Plus a little bit of Photoshop magic. 🙂