Monthly Archives: May 2013

So where are they are all going…..

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They are all disappearing fast. Views and figures that is…..The big changes at Flickr have impacted on my views somewhat considerably over the last week or so. Don’t get me wrong here, I am not grumbling at all. It appears to me however that one of the pitfalls of the “all singing, all dancing” Flickr is that large previews of images are actually deterring viewers from clicking the image to view it large. Simply because they don’t have to. Enough detail is shown in the larger preview to allow the viewer a decent view. This makes me think….does this actually matter. Certain Flickr users seem to think so?

I am not in the least bit bothered by this, my regular visitors to my Flickr pages are just that, regular and I appreciate the visits folks I really do. Others may stumble across one of my images by chance and for that I will say thank you too. It’s quite amazing where my views actually come from during a full twenty-four hours. Okay, they have dropped by about 1000 per day (which is about 66% by the way) and I find this a little disappointing. My average per day was around 1500 and they currently stand at 400-500.

Today’s biggest hit is a picture of HMS Belfast on the River Thames. HMS Belfast is a museum ship, which was originally a Royal Navy light cruiser, it is permanently moored in London on the River Thames and operated by the Imperial War Museum. Construction of Belfast, named after the capital city of Northern Ireland and one of ten Town-class cruisers, began in December 1936. She was launched on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March 1938. Commissioned in early August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany. In November 1939 Belfast struck a German mine and spent more than two years undergoing extensive repairs. Returning to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar equipment and armour, Belfast was the largest and arguably most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy at the time. Belfast saw action escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943, and in December 1943 played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst. In June 1944 Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings. In June 1945 Belfast was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet, arriving shortly before the end of the Second World War. Belfast saw further combat action in 1950–52 during the Korean War and underwent an extensive modernisation between 1956 and 1959. A number of further overseas commissions followed before Belfast entered reserve in 1963.

In 1967, efforts were initiated to avert Belfast’s expected scrapping and preserve her as a museum ship. A joint committee of the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum and the Ministry of Defence was established, and reported in June 1968 that preservation was practical. In 1971 the government decided against preservation, prompting the formation of the private HMS Belfast Trust to campaign for her preservation. The efforts of the Trust were successful, and the government transferred the ship to the Trust in July 1971. Brought to London, she was moored on the River Thames near Tower Bridge in the Pool of London. Opened to the public in October 1971, Belfast became a branch of the Imperial War Museum in 1978. A popular tourist attraction, Belfast receives around a quarter of a million visitors per year.[7] As a branch of a national museum and part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection, Belfast is supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, by admissions income, and by the museum’s commercial activities.

The image is another one of my Photoshop creations I am afraid to say. It was suitably adjusted to appear very early morning when the shot was actually taken at 09:35. It worked ! Well, I think it did and judging by the comments that came in on Flickr the viewers did too.

So why a sudden interest in this image? Who knows… It may be an article in another blog that has refered to my image, it may be just a link from elsewhere or even a BOT. A little while ago I had two series of images, 35 to be precise, that took between 10-20 hits per day, everyday for one year exactly. Yes…one year to the day they started they then stopped as abruptly as they began. All the images were aircraft related but split in to two sections; one set of 20 were all images of ETIHAD Airlines aircraft and the second set were of QATAR Airways aircraft. The latter of the two always received the least views. I tried in vain to find out the source of the views but to no avail. I wondered if they were being shown at a college or university or something similar but I never found out. Sometimes it can be quite easy to discover what is going on, topical images are easily sourced by a quick google search. Only last week with the anniversary of the Dambusters some of my images were shown in results of searches. This was clearly obvious as the search terms were revealed in my Flickr statistics at the end of the day. A number of months ago when a crane toppled in to the local canal, my images took a large number of hits in the days that followed. At the time, a Google search revealed that the link to my site was the number one hit…thus the reason was explained.

So, has the “Big Flickr change” had an impact on me? I can state quite categorically absolutely not ! I will keep uploading to Flickr for my benefit and should anyone wish to look at my images, then it is for their benefit also. As for the rest, well if you are unhappy then that is for you to come to terms with and to move on. May I thank you for all your comments and input and finally wish you all the best which ever way you go.

Thanks for reading, as always, comments are very welcome.

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So where have all the blog posts gone…..

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It has been a week like no other week; here I go with the excuses again. Almost every time I have sat down at the PC to actually compose something for No More Dead Pixels one of several things have happened.

1. I have been distracted and never got back to finishing anything
2. Been far too busy visiting Wheatfields Hospice
3. Tiredness (this sounds a lame excuse I know, but busy days take it out on you)
4. A lack of inspiration.

These do sound awful excuses I know. One of the things that crossed my mind last week was my commitment to writing this blog. I raised several questions in my head (to myself) that made me actually think about what I was doing. One of the things about doing a blog like this is to have a reason behind the whole project. I don’t! I don’t have a motive or a reason. No even a passion for writing really. I originally just felt like attaching words to my photography to give an in-depth explanation of my reasoning and ideas when taking a particular image.  This led to topical additions and current news of my interests been inserted here, there and everywhere. Does it work? Who knows…I have had views and comments, lots of them actually and I am yet to receive negative feed back. So I continue.

The last weeks have been spent doing things that have had to take priority in my life, in our lives to be a little more precise. Elaine is part of this too and at the end of the day I have found little time for recreation. Time devoted to loved ones is so precious and time that I will never shun or put off. My photography has been limited and the figures for 2013 are really starting to show. Compared to 2012 I am a long way behind. Current total for 2013 is 4647 RAW files in five months, compared to 2012 this is far short of the 7977 done then. So what is the problem? Like I mentioned above, time is a major factor. Cost is another, trips here, there and everywhere are expensive and are currently on a back burner. Weather is probably the number one reason, we havent had what you might call a wonderful Spring have we. The West of the Pennines seem to have faired a little better than the East but that s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Saturday was particularly nice and after several hours in the back garden with Elaine and our grand children I even managed to feel my forehead starting to burn. As the sun made its way down to the horizon, for the first time in weeks I felt and urge to grab a camera. Racing up to one of my many vantage points I tapped off a hundred images before and after the suns’ disappearance. I was actually happy with the sky that evening, it looked like Spring was here and Summer was around the corner. There was a gorgeous glow fading in to a bluer band of colour. One disadvantage of my selected location is a distinct lack of decent foreground and I was aware of this when I set off.  I knew what I was looking for and a minimalistic horizon with a few trees was going to be ample. Camera RAW offers the photographer a great deal of flexibility at the point of pressing the shutter and also back at the PC at processing stage so in front of the computer I was left with a few possibilities for this particular scene. Panoramas and photo-stitches I absolutely love and find them so much more realistic when it comes to trying to recreate what the human eye can see.

The images were taken with the panorama in mind and they were all shot within a few yards of each other.  I uploaded the results to Flickr today. Oh I forgot to say……We have a new Flickr…mmmm it seems that many are not so impressed. Me…well, I am ok with it and very happy to stay with Flickr, lets accept the change and get on with it. Others however, don’t seem to be seeing it this way but as Im not prepared to re-upload 11K images to another site then so be it. No way. So, whether the slide show facility that allows me to show a preview in WordPress will work remains to be seen….so here goes:-

Thanks for reading, all comments, as usual are very welcome

Bye for now

Call yourself a photographer……

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For the last thirty years or more I have been taking photographs…I am not just talking about photography on a particular level i.e. professional, I am talking about the day I first got interested until the present. But what qualifies you to say you are a photographer??

A runner will run. My wife runs…most days in fact…does that mean she is a runner? She certainly is an athlete and in my mind a runner too. Of course she is a runner, but that doesn’t mean to say its her profession. I have a friend who is a musician…a great one too. His day time job is so left field and way off from his musical aspirations that I feel afraid to mention it. Does that make him a musician? Of course it does.

So what would qualify you as a photographer?

Do you think been able to produce a useable, saleable photograph when put in any situation to record an event would constitute this? I do……afterall isn’t that what a client is looking for? I think so….

For years I have wanted to call myself “a photographer”. My self-image was that of a professional image maker who spent all his waking hours either shooting images or editing images; solving visual problems and listening to customers own creative concepts and translating them into photographs.  I would be great to say that I have made a good living from it, but I havent. It doesn’t mean I am a failure because as far as I am concerned I have been successful in the field I am involved in. Juggling two jobs at the time was a challenge in itself let me tell you…

I remember my first “real” shoot back in 1988. In hindsight it wasnt really what I would call a commission. I actually got a toe in the door and squeezed my way on to the scene with sheer cheek and determination. I was working as a Freight Forwarder at the time in Bradford and photography was a back seat thing, something I “just” did. I tried to make it known to as many people as possible by handing out small business card style slips of paper. A simple name, address and telephone number type with a hand drawn graphic of a strip of film. It’s easy to laugh, but it worked. I managed a few family shoots and cash from the jobs paid for new equipment.

The CARTEL International Rally in February 1988 was part of the Shell Oils British Rally Championships. My brother Paul was really “into” Rallying and he and his mates were often attending these events and they were even know to partake in the lower rounds of the lesser known rallies. I used to watch the highlights on BBC Rally Report ….. I cannot resist putting this link below…so excuse me before you watch it.

They (Paul & Co) often disappeared in to the middle of the night to go watch Rallying, be it in Scotland or the North Yorkshire forests it didn’t matter, it was all part of the fun. I never really knew what going to view them really entailed. I was a comfort person back then and would quite easily take up position on the sofa as opposed to wandering through the Dalby Forest at 2am. Given the choice I selected the warmer and drier option. What it didn’t do, was stop my intrigue. An intrigue that later would hand an opportunity to me, on a plate.

I had picked up on certain snippets of information from Paul, his friends and the local newspapers that the Cartel Rally was to start and finish in Bradford this year. I’m not sure why I did this but I am glad I did; I carefully composed a letter (handwritten first) to the sponsor of the event (Cartel) asking for trackside access to shoot some images and in return I would supply them with the rolls of film. I never really expected a reply, let alone an offer but lo and behold that’s exactly what happened. I was asked to shoot at the Parc-Ferme in Bradford City Centre the night before and then at Thackley in Bradford for the first special stage the following day. I was completely staggered.

The local football club at Thackley (Thackley AFC) was somewhere we were used to visiting. Matches on a Saturday afternoon, parties on a Saturday night and a refreshment stop after watching local Sunday morning football. Which ever circumstances we visited the club it was a friendly place and a place I enjoyed for a few years to come.  I often used to stand on the touch-line at first and reserve team games and take photographs. I found it a great practice arena for capturing action photography without having to get it right first time. I had no one to submit it to so all mistakes were just a learning curve.  The first special stage of the Rally was to start this year from the Football Club on the Avenue outside the main gates. It would then proceeded down the hill in to the Esholt Sewerage Works and the myriad of long straights and sharp turns through the Esholt estate. Incidently, I have looked all over for the stage map but cannot find any trace of it on the web. So here goes… this is my version of events..or event in this case. A map image from Google Earth below shows the start and finish….

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You can clearly see the long straights of the sewerage works on the map. This and the long bend after the starting straight on Ainsbury Avenue were ideal for photography. With one or two humps in the road it was also ideal for some “aerial” action too. This event in the British Open Rally Championship was to be sponsored by a company called CARTEL. I have looked on the net for this company and as it was 25 years ago the branding has changed but I believe this is the same outfit here.  In the days long before emails and websites the only way to make contact was to write and post via snail mail. I don’t think they were as choosy back then about letting amateur photographers in to events like this but my grovelling introductory letter obviously did the trick.

Overall it was a fantastic experience and one that I will never forget. I was quite literally thrown in at the deep end as I had no Motorsports experience and I will be the first to confess that as well as not knowing what to actually expect I didn’t really have the best equipment for the job either. The memories however I will cherish forever. Sat on an upturned milk crate at the side of Ainsbury Avenue with a Ford Sierra Cosworth racing towards you at 100mph is quite exhilarating to say the least. Trying hard to capture images with two tonnes of rally car heading your way kind of tests your powers of concentration if you know what I mean. With no auto-focus it was a matter of timing and focusing on a point on the floor. Then it was just a case of pressing the shutter just before the car reached that spot. The autowinder worked overtime and the rolls of used film piled up in the bags pocket. As ever car passed me all that could be heard was turbos popping, Cosworths chattering and the chicka-chicka-chicka of shots being fired off and the autowinder doing its job. After the attending the pre-race event the night before and then the special stage at Thackley that was my job complete. I had nothing more to do other than post the rolls of film back to the sponsor.

The rolls of film were duly sent off the same day and I heard nothing more for quite a few weeks. Then, one spring morning a letter thumped on to the doormat from the sponsors. It was a letter of thanks and enclosed were a set of prints which were duplicates of the ones they had decided to select for use. There was something missing….a cheque! No, there would be no cheque and no glittering prize. I had volunteered to do this for free. The experience though, was priceless and for that opportunity I am truly grateful. Thank you Cartel.  It proves one thing, however hard it is to get access to events….you don’t get anywhere if you don’t ask. Never be afraid to drop a message to someone, there is always a chance they may take you up on your offer. You wont regret it….I didn’t.

But did it make me a professional? No it didn’t……it just gave me another string to my bow and the ability to say “I’ve done that”
Did it make me a photographer? Of course it did….I had taken some images and they were subsequently used in publications. Under the image it said Photographer: Mark Winterbourne so of course I call myself a photographer, I took the photos didn’t I?

Thanks for reading

Dambusters 70th Anniversary

Today, Thursday May 16th 2013 marks the 70th Anniversary of the raid carried out by 133 airmen in 19 Lancaster bombers from the specifically formed 617 squadron, was an attempt to cripple a major part of the Nazi war economy by carrying out attacks on three dams in the industrial heartland of Germany. Fifty-six of the men did not return from the top-secret mission, which required them to fly the Lancaster bombers at just 60ft above the ground – incredibly low when compared to the 250ft aircraft must fly at nowadays – in the dark across northern Europe.

The planes, armed with scientist Dr Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bombs, flew to the Ruhr Valley either side of midnight on May 16, 1943. The Mohne and Eder dams were breached during the raid and the Sorpe damaged. The Derwent reservoir, in the Hope Valley in Derbyshire, was used for practice runs by the elite crew of 617 Squadron as they prepared for the groundbreaking mission. The pilots practised the dangerous low-flying manoeuvres they needed to perfect in order to drop the new “bouncing bomb”, designed by engineer Barnes Wallis, at the exact height and level necessary for it to skim across the water and explode against German dams. Three dams in the Ruhr valley, Nazi Germany’s industrial heartland, were destroyed in the raid on May 16-17 1943. Tragically, 56 of the 133 airmen who went on the raid did not return.

Today, the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and 617 Squadron recreated history by flying over its twin towers, before continuing on to Chatsworth House to carry out a fly past.

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Today, the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and 617 Squadron recreated history by flying over the twin towers of the Derbyshire reservoir. The flypast, carried out by RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) and 617 Squadron, was one of a number of events taking place around England today to mark the raids 70 years ago.

The Dam raids, named Operation Chastise, now have a legendary status not only because of the skill and innovation needed by the pilots to carry them out; they had to fly at 60ft above the ground – incredibly low when compared with today’s pilots who must fly 250ft above ground – in the large Lancaster aircraft, in the dark and at speed, but also because of the problems it caused Germany at a crucial point during the Second World War.

This was something that 70 years later makes us proud to be British and undoubtedly deserves a mention. I couldn’t get to Derbyshire today to grab some images so instead I have decided to post some from the 80th anniversary of Leeds Bradford Airport. On this day a Lancaster Bomber serial PA474 (the same frame as todays flight) performed several low passes of the airport.

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Thanks for reading…. If you would like to see some more images from this day, I have a set on Flickr here.

 

Photography in the rain…..?

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Today’s blog entry is dedicated to a good friend of mine Liz Ellis. Liz is a survivor of cancer after battling with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2011. She is a great craft artist/photographer and has recently upgraded to a DSLR. If you get a chance take a look at some of her images on Flickr or have a read of her fight with cancer in her blog “Hope Floats“.

Its been a miserable Spring hasn’t it? With only a few weeks left until the official start of the “Great British Summer” things are not looking good really I don’t want to sound like a doom-monger…. but come on… if the last few years have anything to go by then the track record for the “GBS” isn’t too good with very few prospects of changing. Just for clarification the above image of the aircraft landing at London Heathrow was taking in August 2010…..case closed. Or not?

As photographers the weather is our friend. A cloudy but bright day is good, a day with scattered clouds and intermittent sunshine is better and a sunny day is just perfect. I was chatting to a friend just now who is shooting a wedding today and obviously his concern is the weather and how to get the shots that will justify him completing his contract with the bride and groom. This is a difficult one isn’t it and a potential problem that is totally out of your hands. Everyone dreams of waking up to a blue skies on their big day, opening up the door for an awesome wedding with some superbly lit images for the final album. In the event of bad weather, making use of the things that are a certainty is probably the only option. Use coloured umbrellas for the bride and groom, I know colour popping is a little clichéd these days but one sure fire way to rescue colour on a dull and wet day is to convert to monochrome and let specific colours show through. So let the rain be your friend; use the rain as one of the images elements. Afterall, against the happy couples wishes the rain has now invited itself to the wedding…how rude! But as an uninvited guest it must be made to work…

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Most of us head indoors when it rains, others seek shelter or use an umbrella. Then there is the occasional lunatic that believes he’s an amphibian and is totally oblivious to water, walking along wet streets in a deluge wearing nothing but shorts, t-shirt and a pair of gym pumps. There is always one. It is instances like this that present opportunities for a photographer, once in a lifetime chances that shouldn’t be missed. If you are watching it happening then its too late..whne you envisage events like this unfolding the trick is to watch, previsualise and then do the rest through your viewfinder. Before you know it you have over one hundred images on the card. The more you shoot the more chance you have of capturing that special moment… that jump over the puddle with the water drops flying… that knowing look of a person in the crowd ( This one is not in the rain but take a look at the image below taken at a race in Leeds City Centre) or that chance opportunity of spontaneous incident.

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Shooting in the rain adds a whole new dimension to photography; it gives the subject an added pzaz and that extra interest. Unfortunately with the adverse weather comes a lack of light, in turn impacting on the quality of the images. Not a big problem but something to consider all the same. Pushing up the ISO will give your more scope to play with. Failing that why not try some slow shutter speed action shots…kids playing and splashing in puddles are a great subject matter, but remember to ask permission first. Last thing you need is a confrontation with an angry parent, especially when its raining.

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If you don’t like the idea of getting wet and an umbrella doesn’t quite fit your ideals as the height of fashion accessories then why not head back indoors. Shooting images whilst sat in a cafe or restaurant is great. There’s nothing I like better than going to sit in a coffee-house with a camera. If you sit near the window then images of passers-by and people chatting in the street are a real challenge. Every now and then you will get noticed and a response will present itself for a photo. Some will shy away, some will pull a face whilst others will just carry on with their business. Which ever way the opportunity appears, its yours for the taking.

Looking for reflections is another subject matter in the rain. Distorted reflections of people walking, buildings in the pavement and even faces if you look closely. All these are possibilities and opportunities. The world is your oyster so why not open it. Since the advent of digital photography along with mobile phones nearly all of us have access to a camera whilst going about daily routines. Many of us just don’t use them for what they are good at. Most are capable of at least six mega pixels which gives excellent picture quality. So go on, get out there and try some images in wet weather, you wont regret it.

Finally, the lazy option…stay at home and gaze out of the window. Be it rain dripping from the leaky gutter, water drops battering the window pane or water dripping from leaves. All these can be done from the dry, comfort and warmth of your home without stepping one foot outdoors. Often a look out of the bedroom window can lend a whole new perspective on a scene. Approaching weather fronts can make the surrounding scenery look totally different. Try it! The next time you are stuck indoors with nothing to photograph, head upstairs and look at the opportunities from the upper floor. Things look different from an aerial perspective don’t they?

I am going to close this small “weather” related piece by showing you an image of a weather front from my upper floor. The image shows a rain storm heading south-east from the Pennines across the Yorkshire city of Bradford.  Far from a summer shot but it illustrates that photography is possible in the rain. Thanks for reading. As always, comments positive or negative are welcome. Thank you.

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Well that was a nice surprise for a Tuesday.

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Well that was a nice surprise….

After finally coming round and managing to open my eyes my instinct is to look outside at the weather (don’t worry, this comes from getting up for far too many sunrises). The brightness blinded me; the sun glaring off the window took me by shock as I could have sworn I heard rain through the night. Ah yes, of course it’s nearly summer. What would the great british summer be like without rain? Answer: Summer. As normal I reached out for my iPad and began to download the morning paper and whilst in the progress of doing this numerous emails start firing in to my inbox. Just for a split second the notification bar across the top of the iPad catches my eye and the words ” Flickr Editorial”. Oh, that look interesting I thought….not one of my normal emails first thing in a morning. I usually get about 80-90 messages a day from Flickr stating that people have commented on one of my images or even that it has made the Flickr Explore page. This one was different; this one was a personal email from a proper email address not one that look like “mumbo jumbo” (e.g. xdfhjsaksl-autogen@flickr.com) … I am sure you get the picture.

The message read Flickr would like to feature your beautiful photo as a background image for the upcoming update to the worldwide Flickr.com”  They went on to say that they would like to ask permission to brighten, darken, crop and make minor edits to the shot but will be respectful to the original.

The image they selected was a row of coloured beach huts. It was taken last year on a day’s photographic trip to Whitby. The idea behind the image was to show compression and the separation of the different colours whilst holding continuity with the verticals and the door handles. Not an image I would have selected but then again it’s not my decision.

Well, that was a nice surprise…..

Now what did I do with 2012’s RAW files……let me think?

Watch the birdie……

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I started this post a few weeks ago and never got to actually finish it let alone upload it. This is more of a “Story behind the image” paragraph as opposed to a normal blog post.

My love for aviation photography hit its peak in the mid 2000’s. You will know about my obsession with aircraft and aviation if you have read my blog before but if you havent please take a look here . The hours I have spent at airports watching aircraft, logging registrations and taking photographs have accumulated and if I had the means to calculate a total I think it would make grim reading. Over this time I have seen some strange things, some funny events and some sad events too. I have seen Deer, Foxes, Rabbits, Hares, Kestrels, Falcons, Buzzards, Rats, Mice, Stoats and Weasels to name some in the animal category. I have seen fires and floods, bad landings and good landings and believe it or not crashes too…and before you ask they all walked away.

It always pays to keep your eyes open when photographing a subject as there is so much more going on around you. In the case of the aircraft above it was just another day at Leeds Bradford Airport and the Britannia Airways flight to Palma was preparing to depart on runway 14 to head south. One of the key things about aircraft photography that I discovered later in my years of being interested in this hobby is that you should make this personal. Many fellow enthusiasts concentrate on preparing images for upload to various aviation related websites where there are rules and regulations that must be conformed to. I prefer to do “my own thing” and upload either to my personal site, Flickr or on to this blog. This way I am my own judge and therefore set my own rules (if any at all). The image above was taken on the 8th May 2006 (just seven years ago…..seems like yesterday doesn’t it?) and in the midst of my time of conformation.

Like I just stated, at this time I was conforming to rules and uploading to a couple of the major aviation related websites. The initial image that I took, which would have matched the criteria of the particular site was just of the aircraft and quite normal, head on and aimed strictly at an aviation audience etc.

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I noticed the Swallow doing its own personal acrobatic performance for the captain and first officer whilst I was looking through the lens. If I am completely honest it was probably more luck than judgement and the matter of timing was pure coincidence. In the closer image you can see the two pilots have clearly seen the bird and as we all know, birds and aircraft are not a good combination. It was quite a hot day and there was a lot of heat haze as it was three o clock in the afternoon as a result the close up image of the aircraft nose was never going to be the best quality. However, I was very happy with the actual composition.

As photographers we all dream of capturing that one image that stands out from the rest. You know what I mean, the one that just screams of the photographer. A number of years ago I managed to capture an image of a cat drinking from a swimming pool in the Canary Islands. I was sat by the pool one early morning and the feline walked in like he owned the place. He sat down by the edge of the pool and craned his neck to reach the water. I held my shutter finger until just the right second when the cat’s tongue made contact with the water. The image was acquired by Pedigree Pet Foods back in the eighties when it was a lot harder to market your photography but not as easy to capture something special.

The image is a scan from a negative hence the quality is quite poor by todays standards. However, it’s just  a personal record for me as it was one of my first sales.

Always carry your camera…. you never know what you are going to see.

Thank you for reading, as always all comments, good or bad are welcome.

Take care.

…and the numbers keep dropping

Disappointment !! Now there is a word…it will sit alongside frustration, annoyance and other choice vocabulary as words that could be used to describe my feelings within my photography life. I shouldn’t complain at all really. It has been a good week in terms of output. First was an hour down at Rodley by the canal which produced some lovely images, then the sunrise on Sunday with some coverage on BBC Look North and that was it. The week dried up in terms of images, but not on the weather front. Only this morning I am hearing that Scotland has snow forecast for next week. Snow in May?? Is this heard of? Yes it is, a trawl through the archives of the internet reveals that May 17th 1955 was probably the most notable May snowfall on record. Much of England and Wales was affected by several hours of snow, including two to three hours worth in the London area. I think it is best that we don’t go down that route and let’s try forget about snow until the end of the year, if at all.

So, to drop all thoughts of cold weather and howling gales lets move on. I did make a mad dash down to Rodley on Saturday morning as the weather was wonderful. Warm enough for t-shirts and I even stretched to a pair of cut-offs too. I am not sure why I selected Rodley but when I show you the handful of images that I got from the side of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal you might understand why. I am sure you will all admit that it’s no where near as easy to just set off and travel miles just for the sake of a few images. A few years back I would have not thought twice about getting in the car and setting off to the Lake District to get some photography under my belt. If the weather was right it was a great feeling to be spontaneous and just go. Today, that’s not quite so easy; not because of personal travel restraints or my ability to get to the places but for the sheer expense of the journeys themselves.

For the married man with children (and grand children) prioritising time and money puts certain things in ascendency over ones leisure activities. For me, this is just the case. My love for my wife and children, my family and my own well being will always come first over any activity that could be looked at another time. Is this normal I think? I am sure it is.

The Rodley visit wasn’t meant to be anything special. Every other Saturday a couple of hours either side of lunchtime I have some “me” time and if the weather is good I usually get out with the camera. The canal side in Rodley is ideal, close for parking and seating too. What more could I ask.

I churned out just nine decent images from about 50 or so that came through the camera. Overall, I was pleased, especially with the lone tree in a monochrome edit.

And that was it, the week that was……As my passion for image making goes, ranking it against the Football League this was at the foot of the table….The Conference Table.

Enjoy your weekend….

BBC Look North Weather… Blink

I missed it !!! I havent sent the local BBC weather programmes an image for a while so after the success of the recent sunrises I took a chance. I uploaded it quite late in the day and it wasn’t until I got several messages from friends and relatives did it become apparent that I had missed it. It may have only been on-screen for a few seconds, but I had done it….with a sunrise too.

Sunrises and sunsets are quite a clichéd subject with the photographic community; something that appears to have been well trodden if you know what I mean. Unless you can come up with something a little bit special your image would normally be cast aside and placed on the pile labelled “normal”. I know this, I have been there, done it and obtained the T-shirt….more than once.

In this day and age (I hate that expression really) any publicity involving your own images is normally a good thing and something we can sometimes capitalise on; not just financially but as a medium for making progress in this dog-eat-dog world we come across as photographers every day.

Keep on taking the photos folks….the weather forecast for West Yorkshire over the next few days is not brilliant. Since when has that stopped you?

Thanks for reading this short post.

They keep coming…but then again, I keep going…

I have discussed this many times in my blog and let me apologise in advance if this is covered territory. I am now going to admit a personal addiction live on the internet. Are you ready? I cannot resist the temptation to photograph the rising or setting sun. If you regularly read this blog you are probably thinking right now “Well that’s nothing we all didn’t know”….and you would be correct, as I have mentioned ir many times prior to this….I appear to be obsessed.

There is something about being outdoors first thing in the morning…it probably stems from doing milk rounds and paper rounds as a boy. The feeling of being the only person up and about, the solitude and the experience of seeing the rising sun as it breaks the horizon. Maybe those are not the best choice of words but they flow from the heart.

Since last months snowfall and prolonged cold snap the opportunities to grab some morning sky shots have been few and far between. With an improvement in the weather and some clear mornings I took the opportunity to get out and attempt to restore that “Morning” feeling.

The position of the rising sun moves quite quickly as the summer months approach. Below is an image showing the calculations for sunrise and sunset. This is a great tool for calculating the position of the sun in unfamiliar locations.

suncalc

As the sun moves further to the east as the summer approaches it gives me an opportunity to visit my local water feature and obtain images accross the water. There are a few months a year where this opportunity presents itself. Between the months of October and February it is almost impossible as the view of the horizon is restricted.

Moving on to the images from Sunday morning; the weather was ideal, cool and clear but a few scattered clouds. I knew this was a great opportunity. No one likes getting up at 04:45 but sometimes it has to be done. If you have a passion and a fire in your belly then you just go with the flow. I have had this passion for a long time now, I dont need to go in to detail as I already have a page on this blog that details this, please take a look here. I drove the short distance to Yeadon Tarn/Dam in the dark and could already see the sky paling. The view I was about to capture was looking straight down the Tarn towards the end of the airport runway in an easterly direction.

The conditions were perfect, just the prefect combination of cloud and sky, the water was quite still but just rippling slightly to create some interest for the image. The birds were waking up and there was plenty of activity on the water, everything from Gulls to Canada Geese, Swans to Mallard Ducks. Even a lone fox showed interest in the goings on. As the sky started paling it was almost pinpointing the location I should be aiming towards. It was exactly as planned. My ideas were about to come to fruition. The sky changed quite rapidly as 05:10 approached, colours changed every minute and now was my time to shoot. I fired off over one hundred images, some single, others aimed at photostitching in Photoshop later. The opportunities were endless, even after the sun broke the horizon giving way to the daylight more images presented themselves. It was sublime.

Welcome to Sunday Mark….

People say to me….”Don’t you get fed up of taking these images” ….. “No….I don’t…every one is different, just like every day”. Take a look for yourself at the image below……

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