PANSHANGER PARK -28

On Friday we took a look at Panshanger Park, near Hertford. More info here Panshanger Park

Plenty of walking space across open fields and through wooded areas. To cover the whole are you’ll need a few hours – downside to this : no toilet facilities ( that we found ) and no refreshments ( that we found ). But still, a place to visit.

Some images from our trip : The Osprey Lake

Panshanger Country Park by John Allen-4

A colourful Peacock butterfly, sun-basking on a rough path.

Panshanger Country Park by John Allen-2

Cardinal Beetles securing their future

Panshanger Country Park by John Allen-1

Be careful what you say – these trees have ears.

Panshanger Country Park by John Allen-3

All taken on the Olympus EM-1 Mk 11 with a 12-100mm Pro Lens

From Austria – 23

Just back from Zell am See in Austria – a little late with the post, but I’m trying to catch up. We’ve only been away for a week and there seems so many things to do!!

Anyway – up near the Großglockner mountain ( Austria’s highest ) in the Hohe Tauern National Park, the snow was still stacked pretty deep!

DEEP SNOW by John Allen

The Krimml Waterfall – absolutely stunning – too high to walk to the top – but you can get quite wet just by stopping to watch the water. Apologies for the water droplets on the lens. Perhaps i should have taken an underwater camera mount!!!

KRIMML by John Allen

And a perfect reflection in a small tarn, as we would call it – or is it a reservoir? – just above Zell am See where we were based for the week. Some twenty seconds later the breeze came up and the reflection was gone!!

REFLECTION by John Allen

So, just three of my 700 plus images – and some bits of video. A fantastic week – and I travelled very light – my Olympus EM-1 MkII and a single lens – my 12 -100mm f/4 Pro lens. I did take a wide angle (8mm) and a macro lens but they never left the hotel room

Thro’ A Crystal Ball – 21

I’ve been photographing black and white geometric patterns through a crystal ball. In fact, two crystal balls in the second image – a small ball balanced precariously on top of the larger one.

The challenge proved to be getting the shot without reflections for the lights. I ended up using a long exposure and painting in the lights with different torches and video lights.

The Live Bulb exposure facility on the Olympus OM-D EM1 was very useful here as you can see the image build as well as being able to monitor the histogram develops

Crystal Balls by John Allen-2

Crystal Balls by John Allen-3

Crystal Balls by John Allen

All taken on the Olympus EM-1 with a 12 – 100mm f4 Pro lens, imported into Lightroom Classic CC  and then tweaked  and cleaned up in Photoshop CC. The background pattern was also created in Photoshop and then printed out as an A3 image.

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

SHOOTING GLASS (2) – 12

As a follow on from last week’s post, I’ve re-tried the image of the wine glass against the dark background.

Most of the shoot was taken up with trying to eliminate the reflections in the bowl of the glass – the difficulty I highlighted last time! And I think that I got there, apart from those two ‘vertical’ ( ish ) lines near the centre of the frame. I think they are reflections of the light source – maybe even reflections of reflections – the glass being curved, there must be light being bounced all over the place.

All of the other reflections – of what was either side and behind the camera ( the contents of me garage – were eliminated by draping a black cloth over the whole set and down behind the camera. It made it a bit difficult to fire the camera – perhaps I should have used a remote or tethered it to the computer ( but I didn’t ). Anyway, here’s the result!

Wine Glass by John Allen

Still one to come back to, I think!

SHOOTING GLASS – 11

This week I set myself the task of getting to grips with photographing glass. From a photography viewpoint ( pun intended ) glass is, by its very nature, invisible. Somehow we need to capture the shapes and the textures but all to often reflections spoil the outcome!

There seems to be two basic solutions: one is to shoot against a very dark background – and the second is to shoot against a very bright background. In both cases the glass is back lit with a largish light source diffused through some some type of ‘diffusion’ material – a lighting soft-box, a plastic shower curtain ( often quoted in the literature ) or a piece of translucent white perspex. That’s what I used for these shots.

The light source is a matter of choice – continuous light or flash both work well! The first image, of the wine glass, was taken using diffused flash – the others were taken with medium sized LED light panel through the white perspex.

This is the wine glass was taken against a piece of black foam board and standing on a piece of reflective black perspex. Nice enough, and quite satisfying, but those reflections don’t help. More on the lighting set-up for this one later.

01-GLASS by John Allen

This is a glass jar taken against a bright background – that same diffusion material and light source, but no black foam board. This time the the jar is standing on a piece of white reflective perspex.

06-GLASS by John Allen

And this is the set up – taken from further back to show the light source which has been masked off with black card around the jar . You can see the unmasked corners of the diffusion material in the top left and top right of the image.

05-GLASS by John Allen

This time we have the jar against a black background, exactly the same set-up as I used for the wine glass shown above – but now using continuous lighting.

04-GLASS by John Allen

An arty touch……..

03-GLASS by John Allen

And here’s the set-up. Now the black foam board masks off the light from directly behind the jar which is only illuminated by the light coming round the board to pick out the edges of the object.

02-GLASS by John Allen

So am I pleased with the results? I think I am. I just need to work on how to eliminate those unwanted reflections in the wine glass. Why didn’t they show up in the dark background version of the glass jar?  Mmmm …..

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. 🙂

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!