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So where are they are all going…..

HMS Belfast
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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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?

Modems, Mobiles & Tablets – Who needs an excuse for a photo session? Well, it would be rude not to……wouldn’t it?

Wednesday 13th March – 03:15 The recent weeks have been pretty poor when it comes to the weather, well so I thought. Having spoken with my Mum and Dad yesterday it seemed that the little pocket of Cumbria called Haverigg had missed out on all this inclement weather and somehow the rest of us have ended up with quite a raw deal. Before they went to New Zealand for Christmas I informed my lovely mum that she was paying way over the odds for her telephone and broadband package and a better deal was to be had elsewhere. Changing before they went to the far-flung corner of the globe wasn’t really an option so it was decided to leave it until they came back. Anyway, yesterday was changeover day; well it was originally Tuesday but twenty-four hours wasn’t going to make any difference was it? By the way, had that situation been in reverse and I had needed assistance being told I had to do without my broadband for a night would have driven me mad.

Watching the weather is something that seems to have descended through the male ranks in our family. My grandfather used to watch the weather and I can go with that, like me he was a photographer and it made all the difference to have a sunny day for your images. It just makes them sparkle and stand out by comparison. My dad is just the same as his father, ruled by the weather, an outdoor person who finds been stuck indoors akin to life in a prison cell. With views from home of the Lake District mountains the Duddon Estuary and the Walney Peninsulas it has to be said that it doesn’t look quite the same in miserable weather. I find it hard to admit this, but I think I have caught the very same disease but maybe just a lighter strain of it. I will quite happily take photographs in poor weather, after all you are reflecting a moment in time and if the weather was like that on the day…then c’est la vie that’s the way it rolls. So after checking with the Met Office website and finding out that Wednesday was going to be more than suitable, it was time to set my stall out.

Sunrise was 07:12 at Windermere. I knew in my head what I was looking for but a little bit of research was in order as you cannot pause the rising sun while you move locations. Using modern computer applications can save you a lot of time and effort. Google Earth as a reconnaissance tool is fine but it doesn’t give you much idea when it comes to location and the position of the sun. What there is to offer on the wonderful www is Suncalc . This is a fantastic little tool for working out where the sun comes up and sets in relation to your current location. A screen shot of yesterdays is shown.

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As you can see, this is ideal for planning sunset and sunrise shots. My original intentions had me down for Waterhead; this is about two miles north of where I ended up at Wray Castle. I wanted some shots looking across the lake with some reflections and a nice morning sky. After using suncalc I decided that this location would have been no use whatsoever as the sun would be emerging too far to the east of there to get any decent water reflection shots. Bouncing out of bed and grabbing a quick coffe I left home at just before 4:00am and joined the A65 heading north-west towards the Lake District. I only saw a handful of vehicles in the quiet two and a half hour journey and actually managed it without stopping. I actuallt felt like I was in a race. A race against the rising sun, Jeremy Clarkson east your heart out. As I approached Ambleside the sky was already paling, I got my bearings and decided that suncalc had it spot on so proceeded to head over to the edge of Lake Windermere near Wray Castle. I followed my nose, my instinct and the Sat-Nav and found a small car park well off the beaten track near the shoreline at High Wray. The trees were very close to the edge of the water but it was perfect for the sunrise. Whilst waiting for the sun to show its face I looked around from my spot by the lake for the possibility of other photo opportunities.  As I looked towards the North-East I noticed the pink glow tinging the side of Fairfield this was a tell-tale sign that the sun was on its way. With the low light prior to dawn I opted for a tripod and got myself in position for my first shot. I knew exactly what I was looking for and panoramas were the order of the day. Below is my first attempt of the “Morning”….
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The shot above is a composite image, it has been stitched together from 6 single images hence the unusual cropping. Even without the sun in the shot it just seemed right. I had a good look around and tried different angles and in particular kept taking several images that overlapped in order to stitch them when I got back home. The whole set on Flickr seems to lean towards the photo-stitches but I quite liked the panorama effect over the lake and after all that’s what I had planned to do. As the sun rose higher the colours started to kick in. It wasn’t as intense as I had hoped but it still left a golden glow to the whole scene. As I said earlier the road where my car was parked was very close to the water’s edge, this left very little option for stepping back and obtaining some distant shots which was quite frustrating. A pair of swans made an appearance and drifted across my view… it was like they were summoned to be there just for me. I just kept tapping away and making minor adjustments to the settings to make life easier for when I got the images in to the computer. It wasn’t long before the beautiful colour started to dissipate, once the glow had gone and the sun rose above the low-lying southern fells of Cumbria an early spring like atmosphere set its stall out for the day. I can’t post all the images on here but I have included a small slide show below. Failing that head over to my Flickr page here to look at them in more detail.

I jumped back in my car, not literally, and attempted to get back to a more appropriate road. Preferably one that was wider than six feet, surrounded by thicket and one that I was confident would lead me south-west. I sat in the car pondering my options; do I head back towards Ambleside for some more images or find my way towards the peninsulas, my parents home and breakfast. I opted for a quick peek over the hedge at Ambleside and headed back where I had come from along the B5286. Parking is quite difficult at the best of times in Ambleside and this was 07:45 on a Wednesday morning and there was no where to park. So, I made a quick pit stop for a bladder drainage and observed the view from a small car park near Waterhead whilst parked in a drop off zone. The angle I had chosen for the sunrise images from Wray Castle had me intentionally facing in to the sun, now the sun had risen a little I was presented with a problem from this end of the lake. It was far too bright and way too “contrasty” for any decent images so I made the decision to call it a day for Windermere and turn around yet again.

It was time to head south-west and off towards the small village of Haverigg. I usually don’t have a problem getting from A to B and I have been to Haverigg more times than I brushed my teeth last year, but what I have never done before is visit this place arriving from central Lake District. I had it in my mind which way to go so I assumed that the Sat-Nav would follow suit. Err, no…it had different ideas. So off I went, exploring ! My parents were aware of my impending visit and as a result they informed me that they would be up and ready earlier than usual. I wasnt entirely sure what “usual” was for them but I reckoned on 08:45-09:00 as an estimate and a good time for breakfast too.  I made my way across the county following the Sat-Nav to the letter. I kept looking at the stunning views and couldn’t help noticing the snow adorning the summits of the higher central peaks. There were so many photo opportunities that I missed and it became frustrating as stopping was impossible. The narrow road and a lack of lay-bys, passing places and farm gates prevented me from taking up those opportunities. It really cheesed me off and round every corner a glance over my right shoulder only confirmed what I was missing. I was like a child been dragged away from Santa’s Grotto without actually meeting the big guy himself and getting a present. Still I managed a couple from the comfort of my driving seat whilst waiting for a tractor to pass me.

IMG_8861

After 45 minutes on the road I finally pulled in to the small seaside village of Haverigg. I have said this in previous posts but I will say it again, as sleepy as this village may be it always excites me. I think I am looking at that from a photographers perspective as the subject matter in this location is endless. I always think that I need to spend at least a week here providing the skies were cloudless and it was warm and dry throughout. As I came off the main coast road and turned on to  the seafront along Sea View I stopped in awe at the view.  I have seen this view a thousand times but this morning it was stunning. I grabbed my mobile phone and took an image that had my name and style stamped all over it. I shot straight in to the sun creating a very contre-jour style look. The image is below and is straight from the phone with no edit involved.

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After getting my shot I looked back over my shoulder and considered whether  should stop again and open my camera bag. All I could think was “ive got this shot so many times it would be totally pointless.” I was right to consider this as I do have this image in many variations, different seasons, alternative weather and alternative angles. I moved on and parked up outside my parents house.

It has become apparent that in this day and age that companies no longer seem interested in keeping your business. I came across this just last week and covered it well in my blog post entitled “I dont always listen to what they say…do I” I also mentioned that my parents had changed their phone and broadband contract from BT to Sky. In my opinion this was a wise move, cheaper and effortless too. My job (after a small breakfast) was to remove all the BT equipment and install the Sky modem and eventually get my mums’ lovely computer back online. In addition to this I had a number of smaller jobs that involved connecting a tablet to wireless, connecting a laptop to the same network and demonstrating how to use a Samsung Smartphone. Oh, and connecting that to the wireless network too. All in a days work for me and a piece of cake.

As far as setting up the equipment goes, this was like taking candy from a baby and I had it done in less than fifteen minutes. I even had the PC online and wireless up and running within another five minutes. The fun and games started when setting up the email address. Instructions were fine for setting the primary user but were not so clear when you wanted to change the email address generated by Sky’s computer to something a little more user-friendly. Rumplestiltskinsunderpants1245@sky.com doesnt exactly make things that easy when you are stood outside Tesco chatting to a friend you havent seen since school and he or she asks for your email address. By the time they have typed that in to their phone you could have emailed it yourself, packed up the car with the shopping and gone home. So my first job after getting online was to create a new one. I did it, but it took a phone call to an operative to complete the task. Instructions were not that obvious and the help facility online ranked much closer to “unhelpful”. By the time all this was done I needed to stretch my legs and get some fresh air so I persuaded my dad to drive me a couple of miles down to Devonshire Road. This location provides some excellent views looking inland and eastwards towards the Lake District fells. The location (Borwick Rails) used to be a harbour as around Millom there was a local coasting trade in coal, iron and slate. The discovery of large quantities of iron ore led to a huge increase in shipments out of the area from the Hodbarrow Mining Company’s pier at Crab Marsh Point (Borwick Rails), with almost 600 vessels using  it in 1864.The ironworks of the Cumberland Mining & Smelting Company Limited began production in 1867, and in the following year started to build their own pier at Borwick Rails, only a stone’s throw from the mining company’s pier. Millom Pier grew to be nearly half a mile long, and included the original harbour. On one day in January 1892, eight steam vessels shipped 4400 tons of ore from the mines. The last shipment took place in 1940, and the pier was derelict by 1951.

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This was a place that I had been to a few times before, as a child and in recent years too. I always seemed to leave my camera behind or bad weather would hamper any opportunity for a photograph. Today, I was half way there. The sun was out on the distant fells but a large mass of cloud blowing from the north-east put my chances of getting a sunlit foreground as slim. We waited for about thirty minutes and then gave up. The cloud was swirling and moving very slowly, it was very difficult to work out exactly where the sun would emerge which made it very difficult to predict its appearance at all. I decided to make the best of a bad situation and grab some images anyway. The shot above is a composite image of twelve individuals and as you can see the foreground is very dark. I wanted to create this “HDR” look despite it not actually been an HDR image. I was reasonably pleased with the outcome.

The loitering, lingering and very dark cloud that spoiled my images from Borwick Rails continued to hang around for much of the afternoon. I had hoped it wouldn’t. For years my journeys to Haverigg usually involve a routing from Leeds to  Kirkby Lonsdale and then the A595 along the southern tip of Cumbria. This is a beautiful part of the world and the view from one particular point in this journey is absolutely spectacular. The panoramic view from the hill above Grizebeck near the Burlington Slate Quarry is somewhat stunning. A very old friend, Richard Sugden captured an image from this location that caught my eye and all I could imagine was how this scene would look like at sunset? I feel a challenge coming on !

I checked the sunset times and gauged my departure time from Haverigg to co-ordinate an arrival at the quarry for the setting sun. I got it spot on too, I kept looking in the rear view mirror whilst en-route and could see the sun from only a couple of spots on the main road. The mountains and fells in this location are high enough to block the sun from the valley roads especially in Winter. As I drove up the hill out of Grizebeck I could see the sun about to dip behind fells and the sky was turning in to a gradient from blue to orange. The clouds were illuminated by the golden light and looked like lampshades lit by an orange bulb. The scene was perfect. I turned in to the entrance of the Quarry at the top of the hill, this was uncharted territory for me. I kept driving, there were no barriers or security gates. No bollards or warning signs. I kept going, over the cattle grid and climbing even higher. I reached the summit and pulled over on the right. There is only one word that describes the view from up here…. WOW ! I will let you judge for yourself when you see the image below, but I am confident you will agree with me. From the north I could see a snow storm blowing across the mountains. This would be spectacular if the storm would blow across the setting sun. Would it move fast enough, it was a race between the sun and the cloud, would it be quick enough for me to capture the setting sun and the storm in one shot. It was leaving a haze on the sky that almost looked like fine smoke from a grass fire … oh if this was to move fast enough and cross the path of the setting sun I would be in for a treat. I wasnt so lucky, I did however manage to capture the blowing snow in the right hand side of the images.

There were a combination of elements that in my opinion would make this image look special. In the valley the Duddon Estuary was calm, still and reflecting the glow of the sky against the black of the shadows. To the North was the impending snow storm, and to the south was a bank of cloud with a rim of iridescent reds and oranges contrasting against the blacks. This was perfect, a perfect end to a perfect day. I will say no more, other than I arrived home 18 hours and 225 miles after leaving with 300 images that were well worth the effort. Oh and mums’ broadband is working too. I hope you enjoy the images, I did. Remember to look on Flickr as they are many more.

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Lincolnshire | Tornado’s, Typhoons & A very early lunch | The Photos

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Some images relating to my earlier post. Enjoy, as always comments welcome

My Photos on Flickr Explore

Sunset - Haverigg | 28th July 2012 [explored]The Deep | Detail [explored#388]Pier-side | Hull [explored]Yeadon Tarn | Stormy Skies [explored]Black Eagles T-50 [explored]Yeadon Cemetery Ver.2 [Explored]
Silecroft Sunset | Letterbox Crop Versions [Explored]Henley-on-Thames | Jubilee [Explored]River Lazy | From the beach [Explored #492]Beach View [explored #311]Eggborough Power Station [Explored]The Frecce Tricolori [Explored]
Yeadon Saling Club [explored]Power [explored#495]Tarnfield Park [explored]Tarnfield Park [explored#4]LY-COM [explored]Mute Swan [explored #317]
G-TCDA [explored #482]G-LNKS [explored #363]A6-EDU [explored#90]A6-AFB [explored#412]AP-BID [explored#416]Heathrow Heron [explored#310]

My Photos on Explore, a set on Flickr.

Well, a nice surprise this evening. Another image selected for Flickr’s unexplained “explore page”

What is it?

Flickr has many unique features and applications that can help you easily locate interesting photographs and images, including the feature Flickr Explore. This feature not only gives you a look at pictures recently posted to the site, but also tracks what it deems the most interesting pictures that have been posted since August 2004. For people who want a visually stimulating array of pictures, Flickr Explore will provide a diverse range of subjects.

How Flickr Chooses Explore Photos

Flickr Explore relies on an impartial judge to distinguish which photos on the site are the most “interesting.” A complex algorithm calculates something Flickr calls “interestingness.” Photos are picked based on many different aspects, like number of times the pictures appears on users’s Favorites, times a picture is saved or downloaded, captions and comments associated with the picture and the number of times a photo is viewed. Throughout the day, the algorithm runs, taking into account all new pictures added since midnight Pacific Standard Time that morning.

Flickr ensures that everyone has a chance to be displayed on Explore by occasionally changing the factors used in the algorithm. By changing the algorithm, Flickr can vary the types of pictures and artists that appear on Explore. Some other aspects Flickr has changed include increasing the number of pictures featured from 50 to 500, and the calendar view was not part of the original version. If you want to increase your chances of getting a picture in the top 500, do not add the picture to many different groups, this will actually hurt your chances of being chosen.

I’ve come back….a fresh look too

It’s been a while, May 23rd to be quite precise. Considering it’s now Wednesday the 2nd January 2013 I suppose I would have to come up with a mammoth excuse for not pressing one teeny-weeny blog in 7 months. Hang on a teeny minute….May 23rd but 2011…..yes, Two-Thousand and Eleven….thats disgusting Mark. Excuses at the ready for not housekeeping my blog……one answer, one excuse, one word = F L I C K R

flickr-logoFlickr is  – almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world – has two main goals: We want to help people make their photos available to the people who matter to them. We want to enable new ways of organizing photos and video. If you have never had the pleasure of uploading a photograph or a video to Flickr then go on, give it a try….you will not regret it. I am currently heading towards one million views on my photographs. This is far more than I could have expected in two years of uploading.

I never considered that putting images on the www for others to see could be addictive, but its a two-way street; literally minutes after uploading I get comments from people all over the world offering their opinion on my attempts at proving I can actually produce an image that is attractive to someone other than me.  The comments are mainly positive but every artist, be it digital, photographic or even the good old drawing and painting has to be prepared for critique. That I am !

I won’t ramble on about Flickr as it features a lot in my image making but if you are new and would like to take a look at some of my images on Flickr site, there is a link at the top right hand corner of the blog. As stated, all comments, good or bad will be welcomed with open arms. No one should be afraid of opinion, after all its how we learn.

So then, the Dead Pixels…..well, Dead Pixels are useless; so that may sum up it all up in a nutshell…I still haven’t set a directive for this blog, which is useless. Isn’t it? Say it….go on, I know you want to. No, seriously I think I am going to post gingerly and talk about what I know and what I like. I may show you what I have done, what I like most of all, I may even re-blog (is that an actual word? No it is not, the spell check just told me) …. I have ideas for varying subject matters that are close to my heart. So, please subscribe and you will receive updates for my posts. I am hoping I will have more time to blog than edit photographs, so you should have something to read as well as see too…..

So for now, thank you for getting this far… there are a couple more pages on here that were left from my previous attempt at telling my audience about Winterbournes’ World…so if you havent fallen asleep then I applaud you.

Bye for now…  oh, a last word….the spell check wanted to change “Winterbournes'” to Intercourses ….explain that

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