More From the Chelsea Flower Show – Part 1

Posted on 28th May 2017 by Admin under Comment, Event, Location, Photograph
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This is the first of two posts of my images from the Chelsea Flower Show.  I have already posted my main photo of the day, but I took many more.  Once again it was a good event, although overall I did feel that it did not quite match previous years.  A number of regular sponsors and exhibitors chose not to attend this time, resulting in gaps both on Main Avenue and in the Pavilion.  The loss was particularly acute for the main show gardens, of which there were just eight.  Less than half the number compared to 2016.

Nevertheless, those who did choose to come maintained the standard one would expect at Chelsea and there was still much to see.  There was one benefit.  On Main Avenue, where previously there would have been a show garden, the RHS put on an exhbition of its photography competition winners.  Nothing to complain about there!

All these pictures are thumbnails, which can be clicked to see a larger version.

Firebird

Firebird
The sculptor Simon Gudgeon is a regular at Chelsea and always has one of the best stands. I had already seen this sculpture at Sculpture by the Lakes where he displays much of his work. I enjoyed seeing it in a different setting. It had been sited in the middle of a pond at the sculpture park. Here it appears to be bursting out of the surrounding vegetation.

 

Simon Gudgeon Sculpture

Another of Simon Gudgeon’s sculptures.

 

A bit of Mexico in Chelsea

Detail from the Beneath a Mexican Sky garden

 

Breast Cancer Garden

The Breast Cancer Now Garden: Through the Microscope. The garden reflects different aspects of breast cancer, from the illness through to a return to health. The rings represent a microscope used to examine tissue samples.

 

Texture Garden detail

Detail from the BBC’s Texture Garden, one of five celebrating the senses.

 

BBC Sent Garden

This is the Scent Garden, another from the BBC depicting the senses.

 

M & G garden detail

A detail from the controversial M & G garden. The company is the show’s main sponsor, although this was their last year. At present it is unclear who will take over in 2018.
The setting is a disused Maltese quarry and is the designer’s vision of what a garden could like like in such a location. It was unusual and not to everyone’s taste. It appealed to the judges, though. They awarded it the coveted best in show prize.
I cannot say that it conformed to my idea of a garden, but I came to appreciate it better the longer I looked at it.

 

The second instalment is here.

Photo of the Day – 24 May 2017: Chelsea Flower Show

Posted on 26th May 2017 by Admin under Event, Location, Photograph, Technique
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I have been going to the Chelsea Flower Show for a few years and it is always an enjoyable day out.  It represents the ultimate in gardening, even if everything on display is a construct.  Ephemeral, the show gardens exist for a brief period with one ultimate aim.  To be in peak condition when the judges come calling.  That said, I do wonder how many of the more fanciful show gardens are typical of what people commission from the designers concerned.  Even the more conventional ones represent an ideal; a gardening utopia only made possible through dint of expense and several months of hard work.  Occasionally, some of the gardens will be rebuilt elsewhere.  Most, though, are dismanted into their constituent parts at the end of the show.

RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden

Chelsea Flower Show
(Click on the image for a larger version)

 

My photograph is an attempt to sum up the event in a single shot.  This is the only the second occasion when I have used the colour popping technique.  In this instance, it is doubly symbolic.  The image depicts the RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden.  Its aim is to encourage greater use of plants in urban areas, turning grey to green.  On another level, I see it as a metaphor for the drabness of reality yielding to the perfection of a show garden.

As well as the garden, it is possible to see the crowds on the opposite side looking in on it.  Only the privileged few ever get the opportunity to walk in a show garden.  Assistants are talking to people and handing out details of the planting.  Further back, the BBC studios are visible; Chelsea week always figures prominently in the TV schedules.  The visitor in the foreground who obligingly, if unwittingly, stood by the opening onto the garden is holding the show guide open at the relevant page.  It was too good an opportunity to miss.

General view of the RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show

The Greening Grey Garden seen from the opposite direction. The opening through which I took the main shot is visible in the background.
(Click on the image for a larger version)

 


This post is part of my occasional “Photo of the Day” series.  I publish shots which I think might be of interest and tell the story behind them.  They might not necessarily be portfolio standard images, nor the final version, but still be of sufficient interest for inclusion in my blog.  If I do not show a shot on any given day, it does not mean that I did not take any photographs, just that I did not get anything worthwhile.  For me, that is part of the fun of photography.  Not knowing what I will find on a shoot when I have nothing planned.

Photo of the Day – 17 May 2017: Misty Morning on Sark

Posted on 17th May 2017 by Admin under Location, Photograph
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I will have more to say about Sark, the fourth largest of the Channel Islands, in a later post.  In the meantime, here is a shot which I took this morning.  After a couple of days of overcast weather with just a bit of sun, the forecast of heavy rain for the day proved to be correct.  The choice was to sit around the hotel or go out regardless.  Naturally, I opted for the latter and ventured out suitably equipped with a large umbrella.

The front which brought the rain was slow moving and consequently there was no wind.  The downside that was the rain took most of the day to clear, but there were some significant benefits.  The first was that I did not have to struggle with the umbrella.  Better still, there was a lot of mist around which yielded some pleasing atmospheric effects for photography.  I’ll take that over dull conditions every time.

Misty Sark

Misty Morning on Sark
(Click on the image for a larger version)

 

Originally I had stopped to take a shot of this treelined lane with the bicycle on one side for a point of interest.  Actually, the resulting shot was a bit boring, if I am honest.  By dint of good fortune, this carriage taking tourists on a trip around the island appeared on cue.  I would have preferred to let the carriage get a bit nearer.  In the event, the driver shouted warnings that the umbrellas my wife and I were holding could unsettle the horse.  No photograph is worth causing an accident and naturally we moved to one side.


This post is part of my occasional “Photo of the Day” series.  I publish shots which I think might be of interest and tell the story behind them.  They might not necessarily be portfolio standard images, nor the final version, but still be of sufficient interest for inclusion in my blog.  If I do not show a shot on any given day, it does not mean that I did not take any photographs, just that I did not get anything worthwhile.  For me, that is part of the fun of photography.  Not knowing what I will find on a shoot when I have nothing planned.

Photo Retrospective – The Street

Posted on 13th May 2017 by Admin under Comment, Equipment, Location, Photograph
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When starting this blog just over a year ago, I was not entirely sure what I would write about.  My only idea was to do pieces on anything which came to mind and see how I progressed.  As anyone who has been following me for the last few months will observe, my main interest lies in images.  Gear, while obviously essential to photography, does not really interest me for its own sake.  Writing about my photographs allows me to document my approach and technique where appropriate.

Most of my posts have been part of my “Photo of the Day” series, where I have showcased recent images which I feel have some appeal.  Admittedly there has been some gear talk, but that has dropped off since the early days.  The least interesting thing about an image is the camera used to take it.  Sometimes it is important, which is when I include relevant technical details in addition to aesthetic considerations.

I also have a number of images taken before I commenced blogging, so I am introducing a new occasional series – “Photo Retrospective”.  I am starting with one of my more unusual images, “The Street”.  Despite appearances, it is a straight shot which I took at Whitstable in Kent.  It features people walking on a sandbar which runs out to sea and is exposed at low tide.  On this day, there was a mist over the sea which isolated the figures from the background.  Only the water in front of the sandbar is visible.  I am unsure how frequently those particular atmospheric conditions occur in the area.  Certainly, I have not seen anything similar on the few occasions when I have returned to the area.

Photo of a misty day at Whitstable

The Street
(Click on the image for a larger version)

Some Technical Information

This is an instance where it is appropriate to provide some information about the camera which I used.  It was an Olympus OM-D E-M10 with a Panasonic 45-200 lens, set at 184 mm. That is equivalent to 368 mm on full frame.  It is an inexpensive lens which cost less Read More

Photo of the Day – 10 April: Ely Cathedral

Posted on 21st April 2017 by Admin under Comment, Location, Photograph
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Ely was close to the route home from Norfolk, so I took the opportunity to stop off there.  It is somewhere I have long wanted to visit.  The cathedral is the tallest building in the area, dominating the city and its surroundings.  It is from this visibility that it derives its nickname, “Ship of the Fens”.  It  has more open, green areas surrounding it than is usual at other English cathedrals, including a park on its southern side.  I took this shot from the gardens at the eastern end.  For me, it encapsulates the feeling of spaciousness around the building.  The previous day had seen clear, blue skies but here the clouds add a dramatic effect.

Ely Cathedral eastern elevevation

Ely Cathedral
(Click on the image for a larger version)


This post is part of my occasional “Photo of the Day” series.  I publish shots which I think might be of interest and tell the story behind them.  They might not necessarily be portfolio standard images, nor the final version, but still be of sufficient interest for inclusion in my blog.  If I do not show a shot on any given day, it does not mean that I did not take any photographs, just that I did not get anything worthwhile.  For me, that is part of the fun of photography.  Not knowing what I will find on a shoot when I have nothing planned.

Photo of the Day – 9 April 2017: Dawn on the River Ant

Posted on 19th April 2017 by Admin under Comment, Location, Photograph, Technique
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If you had asked me where I expected to get my favourite image during my camera club’s long weekend in Norfolk, I would have said How Hill.  The River Ant, which is the location of this photo, flows past and is a scenic spot.  We had visited the previous day and opted to return for our dawn shoot.  In particular, there is a disused windmill on the bank of the river which I visualised would make an attractive feature.  As it turned out, I could not get a satisfactory composition which incorporated it.  That will be the subject of a post I plan for a later date.  What I got instead get was this photo, which was completely unexpected.

Dawn on the River Ant at How Hill

Dawn on the River Ant
(Click on the image for a larger version)

 

Conditions that morning were promising.  There was some fog visible as we left hotel and it was really thick in places as we drove to How Hill.  It offered the prospect of some atmospheric misty shots on the river.  We arrived just as the sun was about to rise and set up our tripods.  I positioned myself at what I considered the best spot, windmill included.  In truth, there were some issues with the composition, but I thought I could make it work.  At that point, the sun was behind a hill, so it was a question of waiting for it to appear Read More

Photo of the Day – 8 April 2017: Norwich Cathedral Interior

Posted on 15th April 2017 by Admin under Equipment, Location, Photograph, Software, Technique
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Another shot of Norwich Cathedral, this time of the interior looking from the Choir towards the High Altar.  The cathedral normally opens later in the morning, but our group had permission for a shoot beforehand when there was no one else around.  The only proviso was that we did not enter until after Morning Prayer to avoid any disturbance.  That was not unreasonable given the primary purpose of the building and we willingly complied.  There is a lot to photograph in the vicinity and we took shots outside until it was time to enter.  There was one consequence which worked in my favour.  The lights in the choristers’ pews were left on and I was able to get a shot with them illuminated.  Someone turned them off shortly afterwards.

Norwich Cathedral Interior

Norwich Cathedral Interiot
(Click on the image for a larger version)

Some Technical Details

This shot is a composite of three images, merged using the HDR function in Lightroom.  The three shots were one as metered and the others two stops either side.  I do not own a titlt/shift lens, so instead used Photoshop for perspective correction.  The equivalent feature in Lightroom has limitations which restrict its use for such work.  The main difference is that Photoshop allows stretching of the image, whereas Lightroom either leaves blank areas or crops them out.  The latter can result in the loss of parts of the image which I wish to retain, as occurred in this instance.


This post is part of my occasional “Photo of the Day” series.  I publish shots which I think might be of interest and tell the story behind them.  They might not necessarily be portfolio standard images, nor the final version, but still be of sufficient interest for inclusion in my blog.  If I do not show a shot on any given day, it does not mean that I did not take any photographs, just that I did not get anything worthwhile.  For me, that is part of the fun of photography.  Not knowing what I will find on a shoot when I have nothing planned.

Photo of the Day – 7 April 2017: Cloisters

Posted on 13th April 2017 by Admin under Comment, Equipment, Location, Photograph, Technique
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This is what could be described as a “classic” shot of the cloisters at Norwich Cathedral.  A polite way of saying that others have done it before.  It would be a surprise if they had not; few worthwhile locations are unique in photography, especially in the UK.  Only the early pioneers who were shooting their subjects for the first time could have that experience.  I know that there have been others since, as I shared the shot and location with those in my camera club who were on our recent trip to Norfolk.  And why not?  Should I deprive my friends of the opportunity to take what I and others had seen before them?

Norwich Cathedral cloisters

Cloisters
(Click on the image for a larger version)

 

Creative seeing or merely copying?

In his book “The Art of Photography”, Bruce Barnbaum describes how he first encountered English cathedrals in 1980.  Until that time, he had had little interest in architectural photography, but these monumental buildings were a revelation.  He changed his itinerary to visit as many as possible during his two week trip and returned the following year for five weeks specifically to photograph them.  There are many examples in his book and they are beautiful pictures, reflecting both the skill of the artisans who built them and the craft of the photographer in capturing their essence.

Barnbaum can scarcely claim to have uniquely discovered the magnificence of English cathedrals.  After all, many of these buildings can trace their origins back nearly 1,000 years.  Indeed, he makes no such assertion.  What he did do was encounter them for himself and recognise their potential for photography.  In shooting them, he applied his own interpretation of their grandeur.

Compare Barnbaum’s experience to that of Michael Freeman, who was one of the first photographers to depict Angkor Wat after the Khmer Rouge regime collapsed.  The ruins were known to the Victorians, but the political situation in Cambodia meant they were Read More

Photo of the Day – 6 April 2017: Tracks

Posted on 12th April 2017 by Admin under Equipment, Location, Photograph, Technique
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Recently, I went with my camera club on a long weekend to Norfolk. It is a part of the country I have not visited since childhood when my parents regularly took the family on holiday to West Runton, near Cromer.  Those were idyllic days as the owner of the cottage where we stayed owned a large tract of land.  This was a place where we children could roam safely and unsupervised.  It takes the wisdom and experience gained from age to appreciate fully the freedoms enjoyed in those carefree times.

This time around, Norfolk was a revelation.  True, it is largely flat and lacking the hills and mountains normally associated with dramatic scenery.  In its own way, though, it is just as appealing and has a quiet charm.  Early spring was a good time to go.  The blossom was out and the buds were just appearing on the trees, yet leaving their outlines still visible.  Simply driving through such attractive countryside was an enjoyable experience.  That the roads have so little traffic was an added benefit.

A Norfolk field

Tyre tracks and a ploughed field
(Click on image for a larger version)

 

For my first photo of the trip, I have chosen an image which encapsulates much of the Norfolk landscape.  The location is close to Barton Broad which, understandably, is one of the flattest areas of the county.  What attracted me to the scene Read More

Photo of the Day – 29 March 2017: Nesting Swan

Posted on 5th April 2017 by Admin under Location, Photograph
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There cannot be many jobs which have not changed over several centuries.  One such is the position of swanherd at the Swannery in Abbotsbury, Dorset.  It dates back at least to the 14th century, with the first written record in 1393.  In practice most likely predates that.  The swanherd was originally a member of the Benedictine Monastery of St Peter’s.  It was established in the 11th century before the Norman conquest on land given by King Cnut.  He, of course, is better known as the monarch who demonstrated that his regal powers did not extend to commanding the incoming tide on a beach.

Swan nesting at Abbotsbury Swannery

Nesting swan
(Click on the image for a larger version)

 

Mute swans are usually very territorial and will aggressively defend an area of around half a mile in extent on a river or lake.  However, conditions in the Fleet lagoon which is behind Chesil Beach are so good for rearing young, wild swans congregate there in unusual proximity.  During the spring and summer, there are likely to be 500 or 600, many of which are nesting pairs.  The monks took advantage of this phenomenon to rear birds for the table.  Hence the presence of a swanherd to ensure that as many cygnets as possible survived during the breeding season.  As a result, it is the largest managed colony of wild swans in the world.

Apparently, swans do not make for very good eating.  The meat on the adult birds is too tough, so it was only the cygnets which the monks consumed.  Even that has a fishy taste,but it suited the monks.  During the Middle Ages, the days of the week on which meat could Read More