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After the worst of the snow….

I got adventurous this morning. Well, who needs an excuse for a photograph anyway. The sun was out, blue sky all over and I made my mind up to make the most of it. A short 10 miles journey through Otley towards Fewston and Blubberhouse Moor is what happened. It wasnt intentional if I am truthful….I had planned on nipping down to the local canal at Apperley Bridge but this went in the trash when I got to the end of the street as I set off from home and saw the queuing traffic. I made a left turn and heading North towards the airport. That’s when I had this idea of Otley and the fields beyond.

The minute I got to the other side of Otley I knew I had made the right decision. The snow that had blocked the roads just days before was still there in quantity but the very same roads had now been cleared. Walls of snow higher than the car bordered the way route. It was quite staggering to see and had I been able to stop then I would have had many more images. I kept climbing out of Otley and headed for Fewston. By late morning the sun was beginning to feel quite warm and it was a total misconception that we are only a couple of days away from April. It almost felt like it should be mid-winter.


The view looking towards Menwith Hill

I pulled over just before the bridge at Lindley Wood Reservoir and grabbed a couple of frames. The light was absolutely perfect. I was now in “greedy” mode and wanted more. I jumped back in the car and headed further down the road. As I went up the hill at the other side of the reservoir the snow got deeper and as before the road cut a channel through the embanked snow on either side. As I headed out on to the top of Jacks Hill it flattened out and looking at the view I decided it was time for some more photography. There were so many opportunities I was like a kid in a sweet shop. Everytime I moved the car I ended up stopping again within minutes.

I eventually found myself at Norwood, a tiny hamlet about 10 miles north-east of Otley where I spotted the ultimate foreground subject in snow. Bring in the red retro style telephone box. I tried a few angles but with the sun facing in to my camera lens I was a bit restricted for anything of quality.

If you know me and my style of photography you will also know how much I love creating photostitches and panorama’s. This was an ideal opportunity and I must admit, as I wrote this blog entry I took quite a few; not all panorama’s…some were just stitches made up of 10 to 15 images. Snow shots look great in monochrome and with the sky being blue with plenty of white fluffy clouds it just set up a great scene. I shot them with the intention of doing the mono conversion when I got back home. Nik Software Silver Effx Pro is a great piece of software for taking care of this. Adding a red filter deepens the sky and makes it almost black giving a great atmosphere to the shots.

It seems pointless adding each image in to this short post so I have included a small slide show with some of todays offerings. Failing that, head over to the set on Flickr here. As always, thanks for reading and in this case looking too.


I think it happened again……

A very memorable quote from an epic film…..The Hangover II … Anyway, the film really has no relevance only the quote “I think it happened again”.  The events this morning and finally the way I feel about the event of this morning.  YES IT DID HAPPEN AGAIN! Sorry for shouting and using anything but the queens english but this has seriously pissed me off.

Let me set the scene for you. I live in a small three bedroom terrace house on a reasonably quiet street in a suburb of Leeds, seven and a half miles from the city centre. I am unfortunate in the fact that my car has to be parked on the roadside as there is no room to put a small driveway in the garden. Actually, there probably is just enough room, but as it would have to be level and the house is slightly lower than street level then it would mean building it higher therefore blocking all light in to our dining room. In 2009 I owned a black Vauxhall Vectra SRi…I must admit it was one of my favourite cars. I had only had the car since April 2008 and it was well looked after, you know the got washed and cleaned every week (weather permitting) and I was very pleased with it. Anyway, below are a couple of photos

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Ever since that day, the 2nd February 2009 both my wife and I have been extra careful and observed the weather forecast for icy and snowy conditions. Last night wasnt exactly a classic example, the forecast was for rain turning to sleet and at the time we climbed the stairs to bed there was only a slight snow covering. I did actually consider moving the car to the opposite side of the road. But this was dismissed as the temperature was supposed to increase over night and would have caused the snow to melt. The reason we move the cars to the other side of the road is simple; there is a camber on the road and hard braking down the hill always carries cars in a slide towards the driver side kerb….right where my car is parked in the base of the hill.

I slept quite badly last night, very lightly and in a little bit of pain. I was up and about at 04:30 and came back to bed again about an hour later. I then slept quite soundly until 06:30….when…BANG !!! I thought I was dreaming at first and somehow my dream had managed to incorporate a loud crashing noise. I sort of woke up and all was quiet so let my head fall back on the pillow. That was when there was a loud knock on the door and reality sunk in. I knew exactly what had happened. I had been hit again!

I know this is no consolation, but my car faired a lot better than his. So, it was back to the once familiar routine of informing the insurance company, notifying the RAC, arranging the courtesy car. How one small thing can change your plans.  I did however, get a phone call from the driver of the other car and also his insurance company accepting all liability and fault. Not that it’s any consolisation…it has certainly steered my day in a certain direction.

Meanwhile, I will just wait for my courtesy car and a phone call later in the week to see if she will survive. If the subframe is bent, who knows?

Thanks for reading

Finally, some light

After the atrocious weather over the last few days and only a slight dusting of snow overnight it was a pleasant surprise to see the sun this morning. Ah yes, sun I here you say? Remember, that spherical object that sits in our universe providing light and heat to our world.  It made an appearance this morning, and in style too. In fact it was so nice that a proper camera was taken out of moth balls as Elaine and I proceeded to have a very gentle saunter around the dam (also known as Yeadon Tarn). On a side note, don’t get me going on this one, apparently it doesn’t matter what I call the “puddle of water” I always get it wrong.

Yeadon in the snow

Yeadon in the snow

But that’s another story, one I wish to try to avoid for fear of upsetting the locals. The water was 90% frozen and covered in a thin layer of snow and how pleasant it was. The sun appeared to be generating some winter heat and before I knew it the gloves were off and stowed away in a spare pocket and the fleece jacket zip was lowered to half mast. I took a staggering 176 images this morning which considering I took 1700 in January 2012 as a whole and bearing in mind that this is the first outing this year I don’t think I did too bad. There was plenty to see and capture by camera too; far too much for me to demonstrate on my blog. If you head over to my Flickr pages in a few days time I will have uploaded a whole set from this morning. The light was sublime; an ideal winters day for a landscape photographer. Crisp, clear, long shadows, plenty of contrast all set against the blue. I was in my element. I had expected exactly that and my only failing was leaving the tripod behind.

Yeadon in Winter

Yeadon in Winter

I always carry a tripod with me, even if it’s just in the boot of the car. I have been asked why so many times. The answer, well I am quietly confident that any photographers will already know the solution to that question but here goes anyway. The use of a tripod has an obvious answer and a not so obvious answer. I am going way back now and digging up this from the bowels of my photography history so here goes. The tripod is one of the photographers best friends; but not something you see being used everyday. Ask yourself the question…when did you last see a photographer? I don’t mean someone with a camera, I mean a “Photographer” with a tripod? That’s because it’s not such a common sight anymore; all down to the advent of digital photography combined with upgraded equipment and image stabilised lenses. Its true, why spend time trying to create something in the field when you can do exactly the same thing back home in the warmth of your living room using Adobe software. Makes sense doesn’t it?

Yeadon in the snow

Yeadon in the snow

There are a few uses for a tripod, as much as they are a bind to carry around. Firstly, they are fantastic at holding the camera still for you; preventing movement and increasing stability. I am only joking, they are THE best thing for holding your camera still. The ultimate objective of the tripod. When the ground is covered in snow or wet from the rain, the little hook on the centre column is great for holding your camera bag whilst you fiddle around with your camera settings. A tripod is also handy when it comes to getting the horizon or verticals completely level, once you have set it up using the spirit level, Bob’s your uncle. Another one for you….close up and macro photography like taking photos of small objects close-up can require a lot of skill, and minor movements will be crucial to a perfect image. Using a tripod will noticeably reduce unwanted movement of the camera. My ultimate reason for using a tripod, to increase depth of field in landscape photography. By closing the aperture down to f27 or similar and slowing the shutter speed down to match your landscape images take on a whole new meaning. Sharp and clear from front to back. So there you go, a few benefits of the tripod. The next time you head out of the door, consider taking her with you, that’s the tripod by the way.

Thank you for reading today’s short blog. I hope you like the images and also understand why it was an opportunity not to be missed.

S N O W …… yay. I do not think so.

It is my worst nightmare….let me explain. A number of years ago my lovely, shiny new Vauxhall Vectra was parked on our street, kerb side, overnight. Nothing wrong with that I hear you say. Well, you would be quite correct under normalMy worst nightmare...."watch that car mister"circumstances except that very night the snow came down heavy. As we live on a steep hill,  drivers not familiar with the area often decide (ego related) that they can challenge the snow-covered hill as it’s a shortcut. A quick route from Harrogate Road and Green Lane through to Yeadon. To the ambitious driver it must be some ill-fated attempt at competing in their own version of the RAC Rally. As a resident, its down right annoying and even dangerous too.

On this particular day in question, the 2nd February 2009 I was the owner of a very nice Vauxhall Vectra Sri in Black. The car was 9 months old and in lovely condition. It was 8am and the kids were getting ready for school. I was just about to get out of bed and the cry came from the upstairs landing “someones crashed in to your car”….ouch! I thought this was a joke at first as I looked at Elaine. No jokes please, I’ve heard them all.

A car had come down the hill, in thick snow,  hit the camber of the road, slid to the right under very poor braking action only to find a stopping place at the other side of the road. This stopping place can only be described one way: My car ! Enough said. My lovely new car had been subjected to torture by a careless individual who didn’t appear to have the slightest concern what so ever.

You can understand my feelings, I am sure you can. Those are words best kept away from public domain. Elaine and I have a philosophy now; park the cars on the other side of the road when it forecasts snow. This way, any car driver that appears to be one sandwich short of a picnic and dares to drive down a hill that is 1:5 can crash in to a kerb-stone and damage the steering and wheel rims instead of our cars. Last night, in hearing the weather forecast I moved my car to the opposite side of the road, where it has been parked all day.

Looking at the damage, I suppose you can understand the problem and the trouble it causes. It’s not just the damage, it’s the cost of the insurance advance, the inconvenience and then the hassle of getting a hire care that’s so small I will need a can opener to get in and out. On top of that, I need to rip the front seats out of a Fiat Cinquecento and sit in the back, all this so my feet will reach the pedals without having them wrapped around my neck twice. I’m exaggerating I know, but that’s what it feels like. Anyway, as I write this blog post, I can hear the snow melting. My car is on the other side of the road, keeping Elaine’s’ KA company for a change. Where it will stay until the danger has passed. Its forecast freezing temperatures this evening so it could mean an icy start for all in the morning.  As for my car, well.. I will be much happier if it stays in one piece.

Thanks for reading….Night all.

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