Pontsticill Reservoir

Location

Pontsticill Reservoir, Wales – Google Maps

Some Extra Information

Camera: Sony A7II
Software: Lightroom & Photoshop
Lens Used: Sony GM F4.5/5.6 100-400 & Sony Zeiss F4 16-35
Other: Lee Big Stopper & Lee Polarizer

The Story

This year I have promised myself that I would make more of an effort to push myself further away from my home area to try and capture more epic shots. So, when I got the opportunity to work away for work in Wales there was no doubt that I would be packing my camera gear and making that trip to find that 1 shot i wanted.

After some research and looking on Google maps i come across Pontsticill Reservoir which caught my attention. It wasn’t too far away from where I was working so it seemed to tick all the right boxes.

After I had finished my work I checked the weather but it wasn’t perfect, but I still took the chance and made the trip to the reservoir in the hope that it would change even for a minute.

The first photo was taken around midday with grey clouds and very flat light, but I had an image in mind and chose to try out for a black and white image so there was less worry around the light.
Check out the image below and let me know what you think.

While I was taking the image, I managed to get a bit of luck and the clouds started to break, the sun started to move across the hills along the right, so I moved my composition and looked further into the distance and managed to bag myself this amazing show of the hills in the background.

As the light seemed to hang around, time was running out and clouds had finally broken I turned back to my original composition. If I had more time there would have been no doubt I would have tried to discover something else, although I was really pleased with how it come out and it was a good way to finish off this little trip.

Overall, I was blown away by the scenery in Wales and will defiantly be making another trip back.
I believe that not only can you find some amazing scenery when you travel around it massively helps you improve your photography, you learn more about composition and the settings.

Wales, you have some amazing scenery. Thanks 🙂

Failed Chidham shipwreck saved by Eastney Pier

Location

Chidham, Chichester & Eastney Pier, Portsmouth

Some Extra Information

Camera: Sony A7II
Software: Lightroom & Photoshop
Lens Used: Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS
Other: Lee Little Stopper & Lee Polarizer

The Story

So, Christmas is over and we are into a new decade as 2020 starts, I thought that I would take the opportunity in the break of the weather and the dank grey clouds to go for a little hike and locate a ship wreck off the coast of Chidham.
Having been to Chidham one time before i knew it was going to be a bit an hike as anyone that lives close by or has visited the site before knows the only parts you can walk is some of the roads and around the outskirts by the coast. There is plenty of signs and limitations stopping you from having shortcuts across the fields.

As a result, I packed some food, put on my hiking boots, camera and my eldest son and we set about trying to find the shipwreck.

We started the journey by parking in the Cobnor Farm Amenity Car Park

From here we followed the walking route around the coast and past the nature reserve. This alone was well worth the walk as it was teeming with wildlife and plenty of other walkers (of which all said hello).

However, this wasn’t the reason that I dragged myself out as I was on a mission to capture the image that I wanted of a shipwreck in the water. I had done as much research as I could, checked the tide times and have made sure that the sun would be setting in the right location.
BUT, after more than one and a half hours of walking and hiking around there was no sign of a shipwreck just plenty of reeds and even the tide not coming in anything close to what I thought it would.
For a moment there was a thought of ‘For G*! S&k#’ before trying really hard to find another composition which just didn’t appear.

All was not lost though as the sun come out and after walking more than half way around and going too far to turn around, we continued our walk and took in all the sites of this beautiful location.

After completing the 4.8 Mile walk as seen below, we then decided to take a drive to a different location to at least try and get one photo and kick of 2020.

So, we decided to go to another location that I have not been to before and see if we can grab the last of the light and grab one very quick photo, that location was Eastney Pier.

We got their and managed to setup the gear and although the light was not the best, the tide was great.
I took following picture with a Black and White image in mind, this is something that I am looking to do more of this year mixing up the colour and B&W images.

Eastney Pier B&W 04 01 2020

After taking this image and not really thinking that I would get anything else I had a little walk around and suddenly come across this composition. Everything that I have watched a learned by watching all my favourite photographers on YouTube suddenly come flooding in.
I grabbed my camera and started the recall as much as I could, and the resulting image was this one below.

Eastney Pier and Rocks 04 01 2002

Over all what was a long day but enjoyable I was overjoyed with the image that I captured and will also remember this site for future images during the year.

If you have got this far in the blog and you are still reading I just want to say a massive thank you and I really hope that you are enjoying it.
If there is anything extra that you would like me to include in the blog please let me know and drop me a message.
Looking forward to 2020 and I hope to make this the biggest year yet in my photography and hope the bag some amazing images.

Thanks again for your support and Happy 2020

HMS Prince of Wales sails into Portsmouth for the first time

Location

The Hot Walls Old Portsmouth (The Point), Hampshire, UK

Some Extra Information

Camera: Sony A7II
Software: Lightroom & Photoshop
Lens Used: Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS

The Story

HMS Prince of Wales is the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier for the Royal Navy sailed into Portsmouth for the first time on the 16th November 2019. Its for sure an impressive piece of engineering and dominates the landscape in front of you.

Living close by it would have been wrong to let this ship sail in without heading to the coast to photograph this amazing ship sail in.

You can see some of photos taken below.

As Always, thank you so much for your support 🙂

Cornwall Visit, Family Time

Location

Crackington Haven & Bude, Cornwall

Some Extra Information

Camera: Sony A7II
Software: Lightroom & Photoshop
Lens Used: Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS
Other: Lee Big Stopper

The Story

So where have I been? I know it’s been a while since my last blog but what can I say life happens.
I did however manager to get away for a few days on a family visit to Bude, so for this I HAD to take my camera with me and take in some of the breath-taking scenery.

For the best part of the time that I was there I spent the time visiting and looking after my son but towards the end of the trip the weather cleared, and the boots come out and I hit the beach.
However, before this I did stop at a beautiful cove called Crakington Haven, it had a small pebble beach with a small river running to it. Weather was a bit cloudy and there wasn’t much going on, but I saw a composition that I liked and went for it, as you can see below.

Crackington Haven stream heading to the sea

So, I have mentioned that towards the end of the trip I managed to get out and head down to the cliffs at Bude, if you have never been there before then I highly recommend that you try and this place is amazing and brilliant for family.
The first of the images was taken from the walk up by what they call ‘The Pepper Pot’ which is a lookout tower on top of the hills overlooking Bude Beach.

Bude Breaker from the ‘Pepper Pot’

Next, I headed down the hill next to some rocks beside the breaker, the sun was starting to set although I could see that there wasn’t going to be the full sunset that I really wanted. Although with rocks and waves like it was I wasn’t worried and stood there watching and listening for some time and as the sun hit side of the rocks it lit them up beautifully.

Bude Rocks, Light’em Up

Finally, with the sun setting quickly I spotted another composition using the rocks right next to where I was standing. I was so pleased with this composition and I would say that the image that I managed to get is currently my favorite image yet for many reasons. Let me know what you think in the comments?

Sunset over Bude Rocks

Sunset from Butser Hill – First attempt at Focus Stacking

Location

Butser Hill, Petersfield

Some Extra Information

Camera: Sony A7II
Software: Lightroom & Photoshop
Lens Used: Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS
Other: PolarPro Polarizing Filter

The Story

So the weather was warm and the sun glowing bright so thought that it could be a good opportunity to test out a new location and see a great sunset and hopefully get a good picture of it.

I grabbed my camera gear, jumped in the car and headed for the hill which was about 20 mins from where I live. Climbed to the top making my way through the fields and dodging the stingers.

Finally i settled for a composition that I could test focus stacking on, it wasn’t the best composition but the testing it would do just fine.
I made sure that there was subject in the front, hills filling in the middle and come detail in the background.

I decided to also exposure bracket the images and focus stack which meant as I was using the Sony A7II was a manual job adding a little bit more complexity to something that was already new to me.

Regarding the sunset, well this was the best it got as shortly after this the sun dissipated behind the cloud bank that you can see just above the horizon and with the gnats flying in the droves above my head I decided to call it and head home.

When I got back I spent some time refreshing the steps to take, watching some videos on YouTube and then I gave it a go and below was the final image that I come up with.

Sunset from Butser Hill 01.08.19

Please let me know what you think, what I could do better next time, and generally criticise the image as it will help me improve next time.

Thank you all once again, will see you soon!

Southsea’s Latest Attraction

Location

South Parade Pier, Portsmouth

Some Extra Information

Camera: Sony A7 II
Software: Lightroom 
Lens Used: Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS

The Story

Ok, so a few weeks back when the weather was amazing and I didn’t have to think twice about dipping my feet in the sea, I popped down to Southsea or to be precise South Parade Pier.

A month or so ago there was a new Helter Skelter installed on the Pier, which really gave the Pier a lift and looking jam packed with new rides and fun for the family.
If you lived around the area you would know how close this pier was to being closed for good and sent to Davey Jones locker, but thanks to a dedicated group of people the pier was saved and brought right back to life again.

Anyway, recently I have not had a lot of time to get out and about recently with a full calendar and work taking over all my time but I grabbed the opportunity on the middle of the day (Not the best time!) to have a go at getting the shot of the pier using a bit of long exposure which i think always looks good at this location.

Thinking back over the last few week it is hard to think that the temperatures hit an all-time high as I look out the window at the gusts of wind and rain pouring down.
Still the weather might make for some shots so we will see 🙂

South Parade Pier July 2019
South Parade Pier Helta Skelta July 2019

Thanks again all. See you soon….

Portsmouth’s Shipwreck

Location

Tipner, Portsmouth

Some Extra Information

Camera: Sony A7 II
Software: Lightroom 
Lens Used: Sony Zeiss 16-35 mm F4
Settings: ISO 50 / 20mm / F22 / 6.0 Secs

The Story

Ok, this shipwreck can be found as you are leaving Portsmouth on the main road out on the left-hand side within Tipner Lake. It has been there for many years now and if you ever visit Portsmouth you have probably passed it without even noticing it.
However, to walk to the Shipwreck is a little harder as there is no safe and legal place to park that is close by so you must have a little bit of a walk to get there, but it is very much worth it.

The closest place to park would be Port Solent, if you’re not sure where that is then you might need to google that one.
The you need to follow the path around the big mound that is behind the Paulsgrove Recycling center and then follow that until you are almost coming up under the motorway. Although I would highly recommend that if you are unsure as to how to get there safely then you sign up to one of the many photo walks (That are free) which will guide you there, or you just drop me a message and I can either arrange to guide you or give you instructions on how to get there.

However, once you have walked through all the overgrown mess and walked around the crash barriers, climb rocks and get yourself into a good position you are then greeted with great sense of calmness and tranquility. Even though you are a stone throw from the M275 leaving Portsmouth it is strangely very quiet.
Then when you are all set just sit and take in the view and enjoy your time there, for a great picture the best times would be sunset, so you will have to be patient and make sure that you get to the location with plenty of time.

The photo that I took was done with a Grad Filter and an ND filter then it was taken as a long exposure giving the sea that smooth look. Over all I was very pleased with the composition of this image and the colors that come from the sunset.

Portsmouth Tipner Shipwreck

Let me know what you think of the photo and if you have ever been to this location before.

Again, Thank you!

Dunsfold Air Show “It’s a sad day”

Location

Dunsfold Aerodrome

Some Extra Information

Camera: Sony A7 II
Software: Lightroom
Lens Used: Sigma 70-200 F2.8

The Story…

So I guess first I should explain the title before I begin, for some time now it has been on the cards that Dunsfold Airshow will come to an end because of the land (Airfield) that the airshow is hosted on has been earmarked to build homes on for some time. This weekend was officially the last time the airshow will be on before the building of new homes begins.
For me this is a very sad day for a number of reasons, first of all it was one of the last airshow around the hampshire area, and secondly it was probably the best airshow for younger kids.

For more information on the Airshow check out the Wings and Wheels website here

Despite it being a sad day for all aviation enthusiasts the organizers put on a terrific display which started with a bang.

Some mega bangs to start the display
RAF Chinook Display Team
P47D Thunderbolt
P47D Thunderbolt
Tigers Army Parachute Display Team

Gazelle Formation
Dual of Strike Masters
RAF Chinook Display Team
P47D Thunderbolt
Westland Lysander
Gazelle Formation

This was a strong start to the event as you can see from the photos so far, although from a photography standpoint the conditions where a little bit tricky at times with the light changing frequently when the sun either shows its face through the clouds or the sky changing from white to black.

Also, the when you look at what has been on display there was plenty of changing through the shutter to have motion blur on the blades to freezing the jets in place.

B-17 Flying Fortress G-BEDF Sally B
B-17 Flying Fortress G-BEDF Sally B
B-17 Flying Fortress G-BEDF Sally B
The Blades
B-17 Flying Fortress G-BEDF Sally B
DC 3
B-17 Flying Fortress G-BEDF Sally B
The Blades

Next, we move back onto some more fast jets and the fans favourites the Red Arrows.

RAF Red Arrows
RAF Red Arrows
RAF Red Arrows
RAF Red Arrows
RAF Red Arrows
RAF Red Arrows
RAF Red Arrows
RAF Red Arrows
RAF Red Arrows
RAF Red Arrows
RAF Red Arrows
RAF Red Arrows
RAF Red Arrows

The Finale to the display was the flypast of the Hurricane which has a rich history with Dunsfold.

Hurricane I
Hurricane Flypast

Finally, thank you to everyone who helped organize the Dunsfold Wings and Wheels over the last 15 years. You did so amazingly well and brought a lot of joy to many families over the years. The display will be very much missed.

THANK YOU!

Coming home. Again…. HMS Queen Elizabeth

Some Extra Information

Camera: Sony A7 II
Software: Lightroom
Location: Between Clarence Pier & the Square Tower Portsmouth

The Story…

Not much to say to be honest, it was the home coming of HMS Queen Elizabeth after a bit of a refit in Scotland. Although this isn’t the first or even the second time it has now sailed into Portsmouth it is still amazing the crowds that this ship brings as it sails into Portsmouth.
For me it was also a good opportunity to try a different composition of the massive ship and also allow me to try and home in on my lightroom editing and come up with a color pallet that is more me.

So the first steps for me was to try and get the White Balance and the exposure correct, due to the fact that i was using a polarizing filter it actually tinted the images slightly blue (Was also using manual White Balance)
After this I pulled back pretty much all of the colors making the images almost Black and White, I then began to put back the colors of aqua, blue until i was happy with the tone.
I thought that there were some good red\orange tones that would be good to pop out and shoe a bit so i brought the color of those up a bit.
This brought me closer to the image that you can see below.

HMS Queen Elizabeth with Spitbank Fort

For the next images for me I used the same techniques but it was more about the composition for the image.

The bridge of HMS Queen Elizabeth
Close on the Ramp of HMS Queen Elizabeth

Goodwood Fly-in 2019

Some Extra Information

Camera: Sony A7 II
Software: Lightroom
Location: Goodwood Aerodrome, Chichester
Link: Goodwood Aerodrome Open Day

The Story…

So a few weeks back I noticed an event posted by Goodwood Aerodrome for a Fly In for both pilots and the public, being a keen aviation fan this was something that I had to take a look at so I popped along with the Family.

The weather was great with clear skies and sun beaming down most of the day. There was a great turnout by both aircraft and the public visitors with loads to see. I had a great time sharing my thoughts with likeminded enthusiasts and just generally dreamt of being in the skies.

Pilatus PC-12/47E

There was a whole range of aircraft on show from the standard Cessna’s to Microlight, from old classic aircraft to modern propeller-based aircraft.

Overall it was a brilliant day and I really hope that Goodwood Aerodrome bring this back as an annual event, if they do, I will be adding this as a permanent fixture in my calendar.