Posts in Category: Out n about

Capturing some autumn colours

I was a bit late in capturing some autumn colours this year. A dry, sunny, windy but cold morning provided a chance. While I might have missed the best days for this years colours I decided to go out for a walk and see what was around.

This shot was one of the old local quarries. A good example of being a little  too late.

The bracken had gone over in the above shot and there was a distinct lack of trees, but I was out and something about it appealed to me.

On the way back to the car I took this shot:

I looked at the scene and thought that (despite the title of this post) this might make an interesting mono shot.

I don’t think it turned out too bad and provides an example of keeping your options open rather than come back with nothing.

Rainbow season in Scotland

It was rainbow season in Scotland on our last visit. The nice thing about showery weather and sunshine is the resulting rainbows.

Being in Scotland can be a bit of a gamble weather wise. Your never know what you are going to get. You can have all sorts in one one day. It could start off sunny and turn a hooley or it could go the other way

Here are some shots:

And finally:

Sometimes you just have to go out and see what happens…

Some fungi

Why did the fungi cross the road?  Umm…OK enough of that.

My two things regarding fungi photography. 1. You have to search to find something that isn’t squashed. 2. Your going to be lucky if it’s clean.

Here’s my first example:

See what I mean about being clean?  There’s not much you can do about this, so I took the photo as a ‘natural’ example.

This chap wasn’t too clean either but I liked the way the shadow on the left mirrored it. Maybe I should have included a bit more shadow. Again another one of those times I should have taken more than one shot with a slightly different composition.

I got in close on this one going for a more abstract look. At first you wonder what exactly your looking at, then you start to figure it out.

All these were taken with a Lumix G Macro 30mm lens, it’s a tiny lens (for a macro) and weighs next to nothing.


Shapes are all around us, sometimes we notice them sometimes we walk straight past. Even when were driving there are different shaped road signs which we should take notice of.

Here are some shapes I came across on my adventures:

rectanglular shape of metal gate

I have a thing about converting metal gates to black and white, I think it just shows the textures better.

cross shape of metal gate

Here’s a prime example. Pitting on metal can produce some great textures and potential for images. Also looking out for paint on surfaces, wood, metal and brickwork can prove interesting with peeling or different layers.

triangle shaped rock with grass

Here’s a triangle with texture. This looks like it was deliberately placed to block the country track but I could be wrong. Either way I would say it’s been there a while.

This bridge rebuild provided a multitude of shapes and some angles:

brick bridge over dreid stream

If your out and about have a look out for shapes if that’s your thing. Could be interesting as a one off or a perhaps even a project. Shapes could appear naturally, be man made, or even in clouds (when there gone, there gone).

Talking of clouds each one is unique, but more often than not I manage to turn them into space ships from some sci-fi series I’ve watched. Much to wife’s annoyance , but once I’ve mentioned it she usually sees what I’m getting at 😀

Told her resistance is futile…

A bit of heather

I managed to get  a bit of heather in my shots this year, although 10 days later most of it has gone over now.

So here are some shots from my heather walk on a nice warm sunny morning:

In this shot I tried to convey a valley of grass with heather on the slopes either side. I think there was perhaps too much shadow on the right hand side.

I’m going to have to wait until next year to get some more heather practice in. But I did have a nice walk in sunny conditions.

Not strictly heather but on the same walk something appealed to me about this shot.

This was another of my ‘lets go out’ walks rather than a photography centric outing. I tend to find these days I’m going out for a walk and maybe taking some photos instead of going out to take photos.

Sometimes it’s nice to have a wander….

Added to the eyes down album

After catching up with my son I’ve added to the eyes down album.

Like a lot of parents and carers contact has been sporadic at best and none existent at worst over the course of the pandemic.

We managed a short outing to a nearby beach before the rain came in. Here are a couple of examples:

The rest can be found in the Eyes Down album here .

I hope that whoever you’ve missed  in your family, your managing to meet more often now things are relaxing a bit.

Out for an evening drive

When the weather is good it’s nice to sometimes go out for an evening drive. You never really know what you will see. Some of the usual spots that you think will provide a good photo can be disappointing. The clouds aren’t quite right, there’s a camper van (or two) in the way, you know the usual stuff.

A layby on a main road wouldn’t be my first choice to capture a sunset, however I think this shot didn’t come out too bad.

Sunset over fields

Yes I did brighten up the foreground a touch to provide a bit of interest.

The trouble with chasing a sunset is knowing when to carry on driving to find a better view and…..knowing when to stop and take a shot.

You could try for something better but you might be chasing unicorns….


Thought this only came out at night

Thought this only came out at night… now bear with me.

An early morning walk around one of my regular haunts provided a bit of a surprise. Enjoying the peace and quiet I was happily strolling along looking for potential subjects. The sun was out and the temperature was steadily rising. It was going to be a warm one today.

The route in front of me was scattered with a criss cross of tree roots, some higher than others. As the path rose this is what I came across:

hedgehog in morning sun

I dont know who was more surprised me or this little chap (let’s call him Harry). When Harry saw me he looked up a little startled. We had a bit of a stand off, probably both wondering why we were out so early. Although at about half eight in the morning I’d of thought Harry should be in bed. Anyway he obligingly posed for a few frames and then turned around.

I thought Harry would make a run for it but instead he seemed quite happy to walk in front of me for a while. I must say it was a bit surreal to be sharing a path with a hedeghog. After a few minutes Harry decided to go left up a grassy bank where he stopped and bid me farewell.

Who would think going out to take some photos would lead to experiences like this…



Some square macros

I thought I would post some square macros. As stated before my definition of macro (traditionally 1:1 or life size) also includes images that are taken close to the subject but not necessarily 1:1.

water drops on blade of grass

There are many variations of water drops on blades of grass or plants. A bit like images of clouds, you could argue that each one is unique, the water, like the clouds are transient and would be difficult if not impossible to capture at a later date.

Here is another one.

Arching leaves like this one pose a challenge to the photographer. In a form over function like dillemma, the point of focus is open to interpretation and consequently will affect the out of focus areas as a result. One way around this would be focus stacking, depending on what you are going for. Personally I’m happy with out of focus areas in my images. Others might focus stack for front to back sharpness.

Insects provide another example of being able to choose what areas you want in focus. The generally  accepted method is to focus on the eye. With macro and the resulting razor thin depth of field a choice has to be made as to at what point things become less sharp. Focus stacking can be handy here if you have an agreeable subject.

Most insects I come across tend to have a time limit on posing for the camera though 🙂

What a difference a few weeks makes

What a dfference a few weeks makes at the local nature reserve. The following images were taken seven weeks apart:

nature reserve on 10 may

natyure reserve on 21 june

The top was taken May 10th, the bottom, June 21st this year. In both cases there is a bridge slightly above centre, In the first image it is clearly visible, In the second you can just about see the top bar.

Both of these photos bring up an interesting point. I regularly revisit places to see how they change through the seasons or with different light.

Natures reserves are a good example because if you go there often enough you get to know when damselflies and dragonflies are about in summer and various birds over winter / spring. You could also include fields or forests for flowers such as wild garlic, daffodils, snowdrops and the more popular lavender and bluebells.

I once met a chap on a nature reserve who was after a picture of a specific dragonfly. He knew what time of year it would be around and where to look on a reserve of acres, to within a few feet. While talking, right on que the dragonfly appeared and flew in its usual ‘pattern’. The guy knew at once. I left him to it so I wasn’t a hindrance. For most of us shooting digital we probably would have sprayed and prayed we got something. This guy was shooting film. Theres dedication.

By returning to a certain area we become more familar with whats going on and a better chance to capture certain images. This could apply to castles and lighthouses as easily to insects or birds.

You could make a project out of photographing the same scene over a period of time. For instance, Coastal, urban or woodland shots could be a great starting place.

You might not be the first person to do this, but you might capture some great images showing how a view changes with time. More importantly you can make it personal with your local beach, town or wood.

I didn’t set out to make a project of the above shots, I just happen to take the images from a similar place. To close, here is a photo I took in March. Just slightly to right of the two above. The bridge is on the left hand side of the frame.

View across nature reserve in March

Unfortunately I never bumped into the dragonfly hunting film photographer again. I hope he got what he wanted 🙂


Along the riverside

Along the riverside – a calming walk by a Scottish River. We are fortunate that (barring pandemics), the TMMA household get to have at least a couple of breaks a year in the Scottish Highlands. There are vistas galore to explore, in the car, by bike, walking or even if you like trekking over mountains (which I don’t really do).

The views change with the light, the weather and the seasons. On our last visit one very warm and sunny afternoon I managed to spend some time along the river bank. Away from the tourist hotspots you may not actually come across anyone else.

Being one to burn easily I have to be careful how much time I spend in the sun. On this particular walk I took advantage of the numerous areas of shade and just listened to the water.

I took in the sights and sounds as I slowly ambled along. The water rippling over the rocks, the sheep baaing (hope that’s a word) away in the fields. The wind rustling the branches of the trees and keeping things cool.

The water looked very inviting but I refrained from paddling.


Ok so no competition winners here but that doesn’t matter.

Glorious surroundings, great weather and a camera in hand… what more could you want?



A trio of black and white

A trio of black and white images at one of the local reservoirs. These were intentionally taken as black and white rather than thinking afterwards if it should be converted.

black and white barn

I actually saw this on the way up to the reservoir (technically across the road) and thought straight away there was a picture here. The colours weren’t too bad either but I wanted an intentional monochrome image. For some reason part of me thinks this is more reminscient of rural North America rather than rural North England.

This bridge is at the inlet end of the reservoir. The levels have gone up a bit but still remain low. It would be interesting to get a shot with the water a lot higher.

Shutting the gate I noticed this pattern made by the steelwork. These old gate and fences can have some real photographic potential, a lot of them lending themselves to suitable black and white images.

For a challenge when out and about think if your subject could benefit form the monochrome treatment. This could be easier if like me, you’ve shot monochrome before. If not, why not set your camera to black and white and see what you think. It may not be for you or you might quite like it. Who knows until you try?

Or perhaps capture images in a different format. You don’t need to go out and buy a huge and heavy medium format system to get square images. I must admit that can be a lot of fun if you want to get into film and maybe developing and processing at home, but if you just want to ‘try before you buy’ see if you can set your digital camera to record square first. Some can, some can’t, fortunately my current camera can. All is not lost however because you can always crop to square in post processing. It might just be a bit harder to visualize at capture.

Personally I’m leaning towards shooting square for a while, but we’ll see what happens……

If you want to explore black and white, film and different formats check out this chaps website and You Tube

Tracks trees and bridges

Tracks, trees and bridges ended up being the subject instead of snow in May. Yep thats right we had snow. In May. Can’t remember the last time that happened.

Anyhow I thought I’d pop out and get some snow scenes, then discovered it was very localised. Knowing I was up against some cloudy weather moving in I decided to go to plan B.

lone tree with line of sheep

Looking across this field I envisaged a lone tree shot, until the sheep decided to form a line and head towards the farmer at a gate out of shot to the left. Not sure if it was feeding time but they were very excited. I think I will ‘adopt’ the tree for future potential images.

At the time I thought there was a shot here, but the image didn’t really work. Better to take something than pass it by though.

small arched bridge

Couldn’t quite decide the angle on this one. Perhaps a little to the left would have been better. Should have worked the scene a bit more. I’ve  said that before haven’t I ?

disused railway bridge across river.

This old railway bridge will probably look better when there are more leaves on the trees, maybe even Autumn?

Railway track curving into distance

Again some more colour in the foilage and brighter conditions might result in a better image.

railway bridge and track

This shot combines all three elements of the title.

Lastly a shot of the tracks curving beyond the bridge.

I actually passed where all these shots were taken on my way out when the light was better. I headed off thinking I might have got some better landscape images somewhere else. As it turned out it would have been more advantageous to stop here first. Live and learn.

So what’s the take away from this? Well the shots weren’t bangers, but it has given me somewhere to return to in better conditions.

I had a good time exploring a previous unknown area and got some exercise in the process.

After the last 18 months it’s just nice to get out……..

Windy day at the coast

A windy day at the coast. Not too surprising as generally you do get a bit of a breeze where the sea meets land.

View to the Larne Islands

This is a view across to the Farne Islands, just off the north east coast of England.

In the other direction we have:

Bamburgh Castle and coast

This is Bamburgh Castle. Normally shot from the other side, but I thought through the dunes added interest. Although it was windy there was enough heat haze to result in some distortion. I didn’t really notice it at the time. If it had been a decent shot the blue tent on the left would have received a good cloning.

Another shot affected by the heat haze.

This one could have done with some more space at the top. Thinking about it now I should have either gone for the castle or the rocks but not both.

As lockdown restrictions are gradually eased there will be plenty of opportunities for us to get out again, see friends and family and venture further afield to capture images. We’ll be able to polish up our photography skills and maybe even enjoy a pie and chips or pint (or both) at the coast. Mmmmm.

After the lockdowns we have all endured, I for one will relish the simple pleasures……


Levels at the reservoir

Levels at the local reservoir on a recent outing were quite low, including the water.

low water level at the reservoir

The UK is known for talking about (read complaining) the weather. It’s too hot, cold, wet, dry, frosty. You get the idea. As evidenced above we could actually do with some rain. When you think about it we don’t seem to have had much rain recently. A warm spell during April lulled us into a false sense of security with what now feels like a cold start to May.

fishermen at reservoir

These fishermen seemed to make the most of the early morning conditions. The other level alluded to in the title is light. I was really hoping the light would turn into something more than the meh in these scenes. Unfortunately it was not to be.

boats on the shoreline at reservoir

There is a better image here than I managed to capture. With the right light I think this scene has potential.

bench against wall

Even black and white couldn’t save the day from the flat overcast light.

Black and wwhite brick building at reservoir

I’m putting down this outing as a scouting expedition. 😉