I’m back …!

Recently my wife was going on a works evening out not too far from where we live, I thought as this was going to be in the evening and I was driving her there that I could kill two birds with one stone and take the camera and get a nice sunset capture. The night out was being held north of us in a place called Pitlochry and there is a nice Loch viewpoint not too far from there, ideal  for a sunset shot, I thought. unfortunately for one reason or another, we were later arriving at the venue so by the time I had dropped off my wife and arrived at the shot location, sunset had already happened!

Blue hour
Loch Tummel

Well, I thought, that’s a bust but as I was going to be hanging around to pick up my wife after the party I thought I might as well wait around for the Blue hour and see if there are any image opportunities arising then.

 

 

 

 

 

Bit of nerd talk here …

“Blue Hour can be defined as the period of the day when the colour of the sky ranges from blue to dark blue, followed by black sky or vice versa depending upon the time of day it is being considered (i.e. for sunrise or sunset). It is termed as BLUE HOUR based on the consideration that the blue hue in the sky lasts for about an hour. In reality, it lasts between 30 to 40 minutes approximately. Its duration also depends upon the geographical location and the season.”

Experimenting …

Trying something new today, had a spare watch and some LED fairy lights so created this composition and tried to get a reasonable amount of bokeh from the lights.

Blue hour
Blue hour

This shot was taken on the bathroom floor which has some nice shiny ceramic floor tiles, I had another LED light coming in from the left-hand side to illuminate the clock face as it was a bit dark on its own.

I did give the floor tiles a quick clean before taking the shot, it was a bit dusty :-).

 

 

 

Catch up

Hi, well I haven’t posted much on here recently for one reason or another but I just thought I would do a quick round up of what’s been going on for you.

Perth City has been hosting a number of events in town to raise the city’s profile and I have to say they have been really good, particularly since the majority were free and just in and around town, of course, the weather has been great which has also helped a lot.

One of the events was a music festival called Southern Fried, as you might imagine with that name it mainly consisted of country music style performers but there were a few others, in all, it was really excellent and everyone seemed to have a great time. I have posted a couple of photos of some of the performers below.

Something else I did was to go down to Leicester for a week to see family, whilst there we went to Bradgate Park which is a public park in Charnwood Forest, in Leicestershire, England, northwest of Leicester. It covers 850 acres.
The park lies between the villages of Newtown Linford, Anstey, Cropston, Woodhouse Eaves and Swithland. it’s really lovely there lots to do and see, in fact after leaving the car in the car park and walking for about 10 mins we came across this fella below, looking for a morning snack I imagine.
Deer
Deer

His was rummaging around in the bushes and at first we couldn’t see anything but we could hear him, eventually, he appeared and we were only about 20 feet from him and that was great. Anyway, after having a look at us and deciding, we weren’t interesting enough he went on foraging for his morning snack.

The deer roam free across the park and you never know when you are going to bump into them, such as this guy, there are certain areas of the park where you are not meant to go as it can disturb them when they have young etc and obviously dogs need to be kept under control.

But it is incredible to see how close you can get to them and they don’t seem to mind you.

Stag
Stag

Just this weekend past we had another event in Perth, a medieval theme event; this is usually an annual event and again quite interesting to walk around, in essence, reenactors set up stalls and dress the part of medieval type folk. We also had some knights in armour doing battle, not on horseback mind you but it was still pretty impressive seeing them knock lumps out of each other, they certainly didn’t hold back!

We also had craftsmen such as blacksmiths demonstrating how they made items such as cloak clasps etc, it was nice to see this as they actually heated up the base metal and then crafted into a really nice looking finished article, see photos below. 

 

Up with the lark

I hadn’t been up early enough to catch a sunrise so decided this was the day, bearing in mind most sensible photographers don’t try this in the summer when the nights are short and days long, meaning you need to get up a silly o’clock (which in this case was about 3 AM) before an hour and a bit drive to the site!

Dunnottar castle was my objective and that is about 1:15 – 1:30 hr drive from my home, so equipped with freshly made coffee I set off, getting there around 15 min before sunrise; so had to quickly find a good spot. I was surprised to see another couple there waiting to catch the same sunrise with their phone cameras, apparently, it was something on the ladies bucket list to do before her 50th!

Anyway, the time came and went for sunrise and it wasn’t the best I had seen but there were moments of clouds clearing and bright sunshine beaming across the landscape, I wanted to get a shot of the castle with the sunrise as a backdrop but it just wasn’t happening. In the end, I decided to try a silhouette effect on the castle and the sun shining through the clouds.

Once sunrise had come and gone I decided to move down to the shoreline and see if there were any scenic opportunities there, I used a long exposure method to try and smooth out the water and give a surreal effect, a few of the results are below, see what you think.

Out and About

Well, the weather this weekend has been great and the forecast for next week is just as good if not better, so I decided to go on a minor trek Saturday up to Moncrieffe hill, which is just a mile or so outside of Perth. It is a beautiful area of woodland (and hill) with a couple of hill fort sites from the stone age I think, although there is not much left of them to see, however, once you are up there the view is extraordinary!

 

Still life

Sometimes I forget the camera lenses I have and their different points of value, mainly because I tend to keep either of 2 lenses on my camera, a telephoto zoom or wide angle for landscapes.

Recently I dug out my 85mm and 35mm fixed primes and took them out with me, I had honestly forgotten how sharp the images can be from these lenses and the amount of Bokeh available, see photos below.

Knitting
Knitting
Knitting
Knitting needles

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are not going to win any competitions but they do serve as a reminder to me not to neglect the kit I have in favour of something that I think may be better, each to their own as they say; they all have their own pros and cons depending on the subject.

All in a day

This morning started well enough, set off for work around 7.15 and on the way spotted the Virgin balloon just rising above the skyline, it often takes off from a local park when the weather is good (which it was again today) and made the walk to work a bit more interesting.

Balloon
Virgin Balloon

 

 

It was nice to think that someone (several someones!) had to get up earlier than I to be able to get airborne by that time of the morning, is that bad of me?

 

 

 

My job today was on the face of it a fairly simple one, drive a customers car back to them in Inverness, well from Perth that’s around 110 miles or 2.5 hours in the car; a fair distance sure, but with the benefit of passing through some stunning Scottish scenery. So I set off on my journey, only to find after about an hour there was a problem with the car meaning I had to return to the garage to have it checked out. I duly did this and then set off again, only for the same problem to arise again, resulting in another return, only this time there would be no third attempt today, car needs to be looked at in more detail!

Anyway, it was not all a total loss as I said, there is some really nice views I drove through and stopped (of course) to take a couple of photos off, see below.

Highlands
On route

 

Layby
Layby

Scone Palace

Scone Palace near Perth recently held the International Medieval Combat Federation world championships (IMCF), that’s a bit of a mouthful! So, we went along for the day, it was largely a nice day weather wise and there was plenty of action going on with the various competitions.

The battles take place in a traditional arena which is called a ‘List’ and range from one on one fights up to fights between 2 teams of 16.

Combatants
Combatants at play

This is what you might call a bit of a rammy going on in the centre of the field, literally last man standing team wins!

More images from Scone Palace.

 

Night Wanderings

I decided (last minute) to try out some urban landscape photography, at night, something I haven’t really done much of. So this week I popped out around 10 PM on a dry but chilly evening into town, there were a couple of buildings nearby I was quite keen to have a go at.

The first seen below was the Concert Hall in Perth, the area this is located in has been refurbished recently so is not looking too bad at all, luckily for me this evening was fairly quiet, although to be fair I suspect the concert hall had only closed a short while before.

Concert Hall
Perth Concert Hall

Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring my lens hood so I picked up a bit more lens flare in the images that I liked, I needed to do a little post-processing in Lightroom to try and get rid of as much as I could.

 

The other location I wanted to capture was the council offices of Perth & Kinross Council, it’s a very attractive building inside and out I think, at night it is beautifully lit up with various coloured lights.

PKC Offices
Council Offices

I chose to use a wide angled lens for both of these shots although, for the council building I used portrait orientation on the lens, a tripod, of course, was also necessary for both images as they were going to be long exposures (around 20 sec) for each.

As a first stab, I don’t think things went too badly, noting of course next time the need to bring my lens hood!

 

Scone Palace

So I was set a task this week, by persons who shall not be named, that is to get some photos of a peacock, preferably with its tail spread out. So where better to find peacocks than Scone Palace, just up the road from us, so off I went.

Scone Palace is an amazing place and set in some beautiful scenery, there are various animals as in highland cows, various birds etc including some lovely and reasonably friendly peacocks.

Peacock tail
Peacock with tail showing

Scone Palace was the crowning place of Scottish kings where Macbeth, Robert the Bruce and Charles II were once crowned.

 

 

 

 

 

When the feathers are opened up they are really quite lovely, its obviously part of the mating ritual for the male to display his feathers so not quite sure what to think of him when he opens them out form me taking a picture, maybe he wants me to put them on a dating site for him. 🙂

On the way home I stopped off at a nearby burn where because of the recent rains I knew the water levels should be half decent, I wanted to see if I could get some long exposure shots of running water in the woodland.

Waterfall
Long exposure of a local burn