Capstone Project

•December 23, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I have a strong interest in the world around me, particularly in photographing how humans change their environment and, in equal measure, how nature changes and recovers from these human interventions. For this project I decided to photograph how nature, given enough time, can recover from the ravages of heavy industry. When I first thought of this general theme I planned on heading to the disused steelworks of Sheffield or docks of Liverpool, site of heavy industry conducted over the last couple of centuries with little concern for the environmental impact for most of that time. Then I realised I had an equally interesting, but far longer story to tell within walking distance of my home.

My photos come from an area on the edge of the south-east corner of the Peak District National Park in England, some taken just inside the park, some just outside. While the park is protected for its natural beauty the landscape is the result of a complex interaction between nature and heavy, destructive industry. This is an area that for most of the last 2000 years has earned it’s living from mineral extraction in the form of lead mining and limestone and gritstone quarrying and is one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution, recognised as world heritage site ( My project aims to document the power of nature to recover from the ravages of 2 millennia mineral extraction industry.

My photographs take you on a journey back through time. First a still operational quarry currently extracting thousands of tonnes of stone a year back to limestone quarries last worked around the end of the 20th century. Then to gritstone quarries from the 18th and 19th centuries and finally to what looks to be an ordinary English hay meadow. However this last scene is not all it seems, the flat land in the foreground is the top of the spoil from a lead mine shaft, described as ancient on the 17th century maps, hidden by the darker patch of nettles in pretty much the exact centre of the frame. As you view my photographs I hope they show you that whatever we do to this planet today nature can bounce back if we stop trying to destroy it!


Mobile edits

•May 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

More from my wanderings in search of dinner while on the powerboat course. The orginal photograph was taken using the built in camera app on my Blackberry Q10, owing to the tiny screen and lack of compatible apps I transferred it to my Google Nexus 7 tablet and edited it in Pixlr.
I am spending the weekend at Plas Menai and tonight had a wander round Caenafon, this scene of a derelict boat framed by 2 modern yachts appealed to my love of capturing the unusual in the everyday.
In Pixlr I carried out a number of adjustments, first I added a “dirt” frame, I then added a second photo using double exposure. This second image is of a star chart etched into granite at a modern stone circle near my home (Click The Stardic if you want to see it) which I made transparent,finally I added a Sophia colour overlay.
My original intention was to set the derelict free to sail amongst the stars however as I worked on it the old boat disappeared into the background so plans change and now the yachts sail the stars. I am not sure if the new image is still a photograph or now digital art.


•May 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I love travelling to new places, learning new things and finding slightly out of the ordinary things to photograph. A couple of weekends ago I was in North Wales for a powerboat driving course but this has given me chance to re-explore Caenafon, a town I haven’t visited for several years. Much as changed and there were lots of interesting new things to photograph.
On first coming across this huge anchor on the quayside I was struck by the sense of purpose the symmetry of its design conveys which , coupled with the compass rose design it sits on,  I think overcomes the asymmetry of the background. The eye is drawn from the points of the times along the shaft and out to sea, echoing my love of travel.
A shift in perspective and the anchor takes on a very different character, this time as the strongest element in a rule of thirds composition. The eye of the anchor catches the eye first positions at one of the intersections of the thirds grid pointing out to sea, then the distant misty sun but also to the directions sign on the one third from right of frame, reinforcing the longing for travel and exploration this now forever land locked anchor conveys.

Depth of field

•May 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

For the depth of field assignment I revisited this old railway wagon a mile or so from home.

Motion Blur

•May 16, 2016 • 2 Comments

Back to the flamenco dancer, this time showing the dynamism of dance and total focus of the dancer.


Freeze the action

•May 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

For this assignment I took a shot of Flamenco dancer, aiming to contrast the swirling motion of her dress with the fixed intensity of her gaze.Flamenco

Colour compositions

•May 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Here are my photos from the first week of course 3, focusing on colour. These photographs are part of my ongoing project recording the out of the ordinary on my doorstep, in this case 3 little scenes playing out within a few feet of each other on the footpath outside and window of junk shop a couple of hundred yards from home. In the picture of the carved figures I was struck by the contrast of the contrast of the strong colours of the figures, stool and jugs compared to the pastel of the floor and walls emphasising how these are objects out of their place and time. With the copperware is again a contrast but this time in the mind, between the soft warm copper and gold colour of the blow torches and coal bucket and the intense hot yellow flames they would have produced when used for their intended purpose. The third photo is yet more colour and contrast, between the unnatural colours of the model and natural wood as well as within the model between the monochrome buildings, boring man made constructs, and vibrant colours of the fantasy trees, plants and grass.

Nice to Meet You

•April 1, 2016 • 1 Comment

Here is my submission for the first assignment in Cameras, Exposure and Photography.

This photograph actually a building next door but one to my house, while the building itself is only just over two hundred years it is home to one of the oldest industrial law courts in the world. The Barmote Court which building is home to governs lead mining in Derbyshire and even though lead mining almost completely ended around 100 years ago the court still sits every year as it has done for over 700 years to deal with legacy issues. In framing this shot I tried to capture something of the grand history and imposing power of the court in the perspective I shot the courthouse from.

MoothallbThe top left is was way overexposed owing to the sun being there which also caused the rather annoying lens flare but I decided those were a price worth paying as I’d been taking pics of this building all day and this was the only one that got the lovely warm colour of the sandstone so nicely.

A Course taught by Peter Glendenning!

•April 1, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Here is the place I’ll share my assignment pictures and anything else I do related to the Michigan State University Mooc Specialisation Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR

Excercise: Focal Lengths

•August 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

For this exercise I was using the 5D and 24-105 and 100-300 lenses though didn’t get quite to explore the full telephoto range as I had to get out of the way for a lifeboat launch!

First off a scene shot at 24mm

Sunset over the river Arun in Littlehampton with a traditional  fishing boat pulled out onto the mud flats to be worked on. Hard to see in a shot this wide angle but there are a couple of interesting looking buildings on the far bank that we will zoom in on over the course of the exercise.



Next lets zoom in a bit, more or less  a standard lens view at 58mm:

The interesting buildings are starting to show in the pictures now, a white house pretty much dead centre and something else a little to the left of that.






Next is the last one with the standard zoom, 105mm:

Ahh, now it becoming apparent the other interesting ‘building’ is looking like it is really a boat on tributary we can’t see from here.






Time to swap to the 100-300 and see what else we can see. Lets zoom in to around 140mm:

Yes that is a boat, so lets zoom in on that to see what we can see.







160mm to see what difference a little zoom makes

While I was lining this up the chaps on the traditional fishing boat dropped its boom hence the disappearance of the rather distracting ropes that appear in the previous frames, while they are a nice feature of the wide angle shot once the context of what they are is lost to the tighter view they become an annoyance. Here is as far as I got before the doors on the lifeboat station behind me opened and I had to get out of the way but one last shot at 300mm taken from a little further along harbour wall confirms what we have already seen about the detail in the centre remaining in proportion and simply being magnified by the zoom.


Cropped a little as I’d got the lens hood cross threaded and it had intruded onto the frame, note to self, if the shot is important spend a few seconds checking for howlers on the camera display even if the kids are yelling for fish and chips!