LAVENDER FIELDS – 29

This week the photography club took a trip to the Lavender Fields in Ickleford, near Hitchin, Hertfordshire. We chose a very hot day, but the lavender looked good, the bees were humming and the occasional splash of red from the poppies added to the scene.

From a selfish photographers perspective, it was quite crowded but I managed some shots to capture the colour – and the atmsophere.

Hithchin Lavender @ Ickleford

Hithchin Lavender @ Ickleford

A busy white-tailed bumble bee.Hithchin Lavender @ Ickleford

Poppies against the lavenderHithchin Lavender @ Ickleford

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ICKWORTH HOUSE – 26

This week some members of our local photographic club travelled to Ickworth House near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

Ickworth House is a National Trust Property, famous for its Rotunda, House, parkland and church. Here are some images I got on the day. The weather wasn’t brilliant – overcast at times – but no rain. We were grateful for that.

This is the famed Rotunda. The NT ( National Trust ) are in the process of raising funds to replace 7,000 pieces of slate.

ICKWORTH by John Allen-6

This is the East Wing of the building from across the Italianate Gardens.

ICKWORTH by John Allen-5

Another section of the gardens with the Rotunda in the background.

ICKWORTH by John Allen-2

The last group are of St Mary’s Church in the grounds of the house – including two shots of the church interior. The lighting inside was superb. I just had to have a go at capturing it! I think I did. I hope you agree.

ICKWORTH by John Allen-4ICKWORTH by John Allen-3ICKWORTH by John Allen-1

There was too much to take in on one day – almost certainly worth a return trip.

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

A Week In Kent – 18

Just back from a week away in Kent. We stayed south of Canterbury, on a farm in a small village called Stelling Minnis. Came back with too many images – can’t show you them all but here are a favourite four that might just interest you!

Maybe next week I’ll show you some more. On the other hand …..

The cloisters at Canterbury Cathedral. A superb building, but unfortunately covered in scaffold for a much need clean. 01-KENT by John Allen

The White Cliffs of Dover. We were lucky enough to see a ( two seater ) Spitfire ( maybe from Biggin Hill? ) that did a run past the cliffs then came back and barrel-rolled overhead the docks. Sadly, wrong lens on the camera – I was travelling light that day!02-KENT by John Allen

Coloured chairs outside the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery at Margate. Is this ‘Still Life’? Or just a picture of four chairs?03-KENT by John Allen

The evening sky the night before we left. Not quite my last shot of the week, but it certainly made me feel good.04-KENT by John Allen

More next week? Maybe. 🙂

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

Dinosaur – 15

This week I’ve been playing with Chroma Key effects. ( If that is the wrong expression, I apologise!! ) To most of us we know this as green-screening, but my attempt this week was actually using a blue background because, in an earlier shot, I had something green that I wanted to retain in the final image – but I later dropped that idea, but stayed with the blue backdrop.

So this is how the dinosaur ended up in Epping Forest. First of all I photographed the animal against a blue background. The objective here is to get the background as evenly illuminated as possible. Not that I succeeded here, but I was able to rectify this later in Photoshop CC.

01-DINASOUR by John Allen

Then, using the ‘Select > Colour Range’ in Photoshop I selected all of the blue and using Select > Select and Mask ( again in Photoshop ) tidied up the selection and created a new layer with a mask of the inverted selection. ( Colour Range selects the background and, of course, that’s not the bit we want in our final image. ) This was the result.

03-DINASOUR by John Allen

Because this is a JPEG copy of that result, all of the pixels I masked out have now been replaced by white. If you save the image as a tiff or psd file those transparent areas ( where there are ’empty’ pixels ) will be preserved.

Next I hunted through my Lightroom library for a suitable new background. This one happens to be Epping Forest, just down the road from me. I copied the images into my working image of the dinosaur and dragged the ‘forest’ layer so that it was positioned underneath the beast.

A few tiny adjustments and ….

02-DINASOUR by John Allen

Success, I would say!!