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

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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. ­čÖé

Latton Common & Woods – 46

An early morning walk across a local common – Latton Common near Harlow – gave me these images.

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The light was amazing – the sun was creeping up, but there was mist amongst the trees, giving the woodland an almost fairy tale feel! I travelled light – just the Olympus EM-1 and a Pro 12-100mm lens.

Early morning has to be the best time of the day – especially when the photography is followed by coffee and porridge in the local coffee shop!

A MOUSE TALE – 44

I was lucky enough back in April to be invited along to witness the flying of a Tawny Owl in a privately owned bluebell wood.

At the end of the display the owl was rewarded with a meal of a mouse – and I was rewarded with a sequence of images that show the bird manipulating the meal and then swallowing it head first having initially, I am told, crushed the mouse’s skull with its very powerful beak.

A MOUSE TALE by John Allen

All taken on the Olympus EM-1 MkII + 40-150mm f/2.8Pro lens, ISO 2000, f/3.5 and 1/125sec in natural lighting.

EPPING FOREST WALK – 43

A walk through Epping Forest this morning just after a short rain shower.

The forest had everything – colour, sunshine, bright red fungi, old trees with nooks and crannies and the blazing oranges of autumnal ferns.

All images taken on the Olympus EM-1 with a 45 – 150mm lens. I travelled very light.

EPPING FOREST WALK BY JOHN ALLEN-1EPPING FOREST WALK BY JOHN ALLEN-2EPPING FOREST WALK BY JOHN ALLEN-3EPPING FOREST WALK BY JOHN ALLEN-4EPPING FOREST WALK BY JOHN ALLEN-5EPPING FOREST WALK BY JOHN ALLEN-6

Is there a better way to spend an autumn morning?

SPIDER ALERT!! – UNINVITED HOUSE GUEST – 40

LOOK AWAY NOW IF YOU DON’T LIKE SPIDERS.

Overnight this uninvited guest moved in and built a huge web in the hallway of our house. The web was anchored to a lightbulb, one of my shoes and a plastic shoe tray.

It was a magnificent piece of engineering – but it had to go – as did the spider!!

SPIDER by John Allen-1SPIDER by John Allen-2SPIDER by John Allen-3

All images taken on an Olympus OMD EM-1 MkII with a 60mm macro lens – and some extra light from a small LED torch.

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.

Moorhen Family – and an Apple – 36

Walking along the New River near Stansted Abbots last week, we spotted this clutch of Moorhen chicks.

Moorhens by John Allen - 1

Mum was close by with a more mature – but, we think, still young – sibling. Mum had found an apple floating in the stream and she had managed to move it from the middle of the river to the bank, close to the chicks.Moorhens by John Allen-2

By grabbing hold of the stalk on the apple – with her beak – after several attempts Mother Moorhenpulled the apple out of the water and on to the bank.Moorhens by John Allen-3

The older Moorhens then enjoyed an apple treat. The younger ones were unable to take part in the feast. But great to witness this piece of animal/bird behaviour.

NEW iPHONE – 35

I’ve just purchased a new phone – an iPhone 7 plus – my old iPhone 5s died as a result of premature battery failure – and lack of working memory ( but that’s another story ).

Following the advice that the best camera you own is the one you have with you, we ventured out along part of the River Stort where it runs through Harlow. And I grabbed a couple of shots along the way with the new phone.

I have always – because of the limitations of most phones – ┬ácaptured phone shots as jpegs and then imported them from the Camera Roll into Lightroom Sync ( part of the Adobe CC package ). ┬áBut I have discovered, quite by chance, that Lightroom Sync ( on the iPhone 7 plus ) now has the ability to record images in RAW format and then sync them directly back to your main Lightroom Classic CC catalog!

The three images below were all taken on the phone as RAW images using the Lightroom Sync App.

BRACKET FUNGI by John AllenHARLOW LOCK, RIVER SORT by John AllenRIVER STORT by John Allen

As you may, know RAW images shot in Black and White still retain all of the colour data, and I also shot some B&W’s in the Lightroom app ┬á( later in a coffee shop and not included here ) and sure enough – I’d never tried it before – back at home I could convert those images back to colour!

Suffice it to say, that I’m quite pleased with the combination of the iPhone’s camera and the Lightroom CC Sync’s new ability to record in RAW. Isn’t technology great!!

HATFIELD FOREST, EARLY MORNING – 33

A couple of mornings ago a friend and I got up early ( 4:00 am ) and drove up to Hatfield Forest near Stansted Airport to catch the dawn. And what a morning it was! A mist hung across the whole lake when we arrived, and then the sun rose and the mist struggled to survive – but was eventually dissipated by the increasing temperature.

Here is just a sample of the images we captured.

SwanSWAN by John Allen

FloraFLORA by John Allen

The LakeHATFIELD FOREST LAKE by John Allen

Boats In The MistBOATS IN THE MIST by John Allen

Light In The ForestLIGHT IN THE FOREST by John Allen

We must go back!!!