Monday, 30 January 2012


I know it's still January, but it seems like a long Winter this year. 

We finally had our first thin layer of snow today but the days are getting longer, and it is light at five most evenings. However there's a long mountain to climb until it's Spring.

So here as compensation are some bare twigs I false coloured earlier.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Wedding Speech

Oh dear. It's that point in the procedings where the Wedding Speech is due.

Fortunately on this occasion the Bridegroom's speech was wonderfully short, being delivered in mere seconds. 

Surely a lesson to us all.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Big Cloud

A cold front passed over here yesterday and gave us this lovely dusk. A giant cloud hung over the horse exercise yard at the end of the day.

A cold front changes the weather in a magical fashion from dull and grey to bright, cold and showery. The cold over warm arrangement of the air makes for an unstable situation. Rising cumulus clouds propagate and expand, and can form a giant anvil that brings on a thunderstorm.

In this case the cloud ran out of energy at the end of the day and restricted itself to heavy showers.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Hard light

It's a while since I indulged in a high contrast texture picture. Back in my film and developer days I was a slave to hard contrast paper and those rich blacks and dazzling whites.

Spotted this week in the barn: straw and canvas.

This is an example from the film years. Beach huts in Herne Bay

This begs a question. When you print an image, you know how it looks. When you show one on the web, the image will only look as good as the viewer's monitor. Are the blacks really black? 

This is why I put the monitor test strip on my blog :-)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

In Depth

Visual cues are everything. The out of focus background, the sharp foreground. These cues hint at depth in a picture.

Artists know that hills and trees gradually fade towards the colour of the distant sky as they march towards the horizon. In this case, the mist between the viewer and the trees contributes the shades of grey and blue that give us the cues of depth

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Lichen it

Another macro image from the Pen E-PL3 and ZD50 lens combination. The depth of field can be so shallow that nailing the focus manually is a real challenge. Fortunately digital film is cheap, so you can take several attempts.

This might be a subject where focus stacking would help. I must try that one day.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Study in Brown

This is part of a short sequence using the Olympus Pen with the Zuiko 50mm macro. This combination is capable of producing very sharp images, and was well suited to the sharp low lighting at the weekend.

Last year's leaf trapped in the greenhouse.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Solid data

Yesterday's post dealt with nanoseconds. Here is a picture of a solid state data log that measures in centuries:

This huge but healthy tree was blown over in the gales recently and was sawn up to recover the paddock where it fell.

Careful ring counting shows that this monster was about one hundred and twenty years old. It remembers Queen Victoria, the first motor car, the invention of the flying machine, Penicillin and the Atom Bomb and more wars than you can shake a stick at.

It is only fitting that such a heritage be presented in sepia tint.

Saturday, 21 January 2012


I've been busy this week, down amongst the nanoseconds* measuring signal timings with a new oscilloscope. 

I've seen so much change in my working lifetime since I first wielded a soldering iron for money in 1968. In those days half the measuring equipment used valves (or tubes if you prefer) and everything needed half an hour to "warm up" before it could be used. Transistors and chips were the new wave, no-one designed with valves any more. The smallest transistor was the TO18 tin can package and the smallest resistor was 1/8th watt. The digital revolution was just around the corner, and the fastest signals I encountered were measured in microseconds.

Now everything is a thousand times faster (nS not uS), uses a thousandth of the power (mW not Watts), an hundred times smaller and a million times cleverer.

But after forty years I am still designing, soldering and measuring, it's just that everything around me has got smaller, even the signal timings.

*A Nanosecond is roughly a Light-Foot

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Grey Wave

Something odd, almost abstract for you all today. This strange grey wave breaking on a black sea.

It's the delicate remains of burnt straw on the farm bonfire. The first rainfall or breath of wind will flatten this transient sculpture.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Winter Widescreen

Water, Ice, Air

Fence post and frost

Two experiments with 16x9 aspect ratio crop

Monday, 16 January 2012


There's a Victorian chapel next to the road near us, an unassuming and humble thing. It is now used by a local amateur dramatic company.

Approaching it from an unexpected direction yesterday I caught its tiny bell tower between the trees in this shot.

It contrasts starkly with the white modernist church next door complete with solar panels...

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Patriotic Parking

Well, if you are going to park on the Village Green, it's best to park patriotically...

Saturday, 14 January 2012

The Bonfire

Down the end of the lane is the Farm Bonfire. When the pile of hedge cuttings and tree stumps is large enough, it gets burned.

When I see this I reach for the camera for the backlit smoke brings the ivy covered tree into sharp relief.

I really want a farm worker leaning on a rake in the shot as well, but that will have to be another day...

Friday, 13 January 2012


A lull in the weather, and the Thatchers are in the village working on a cottage. 

Did you know that thatch is not often fully replaced? If possible, the rotten thatch is removed, but the layer underneath is retained and new thatch is added. In this way the roof can slowly grow over decades.

It's good to see that old crafts still survive.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

First Light

First movement, first breeze,
Silent sky: Empty trees
The first bird, the first flight
First cloud, first light.

Monday, 9 January 2012


The Winter gales proved too much for this monster. Fortunately it fell in the paddock and missed the resident horse.

It seems to me that tree roots are clearly not big enough. When they fall over like this, they reveal just how puny the root system is compered to the height of the tree. Someone should explain basic mechanics to them.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Fractal Tree

I know that trees can look great in Autumn, but I think you only get to see trees properly in the depth of Winter. It is only then, stripped of foliage, that they reveal their true shapes.

How do they manage to look so random yet so regular? Each tree seems similar but they are all individual. 

This example has clearly been experimenting with fractal mathematics...

I shall call it Julia.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Looking back

Well: 2012. Who would have thought it. Another year over and what have I acheived? I remember thinking this a whole year ago, and the year before that. Time marches on, the seasons come by so fast, it fair makes you dizzy.

Oh dear, look at me now. Overweight, starting to turn grey and full of regrets about all those things I'lll never manage now. 

I do what I'm told, I try to be useful, but I still reckon that horse gets more attention than me.

Maybe things will be different next year.

Friday, 6 January 2012


One of the stable residents, caught in contemplative mood at lunchtime yesterday.

I am told you tame a horse by convincing it of one big lie: That humans are stronger than horses.

If only they knew.

Here's a different treatment of the same subject. Contre Jour lighting. Monochrome conversion with hard contrast. Narrow depth of field. All the usual tricks....

Thursday, 5 January 2012


Looking rather like some stainless steel nightmare, this weird portal into another dimension is in fact completely flat.

It's also rather small.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Winchester Cathedral rises triumphant into the January afternoon sunlight, freshly scrubbed and cleaned* 

I needed to wander around like a nutcase until I managed to juxtapose the Moon, the Rook and the West Face correctly. Wandering around like a nutcase should come naturally to a photographer.

*The Cathedral, not the sunlight...

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

American Acre

We gave an acre of England away to America in the sixties.

It's here at Runnymede near the M25 and is home to the John F Kennedy memorial, so when you walk up the hill, you are in fact on American soil.

Strange, yes?

Monday, 2 January 2012

Free Pew

Not an unoccupied pew, but one you don't have to pay for.

Right at the back of our 16th century church with it's Victorian woodwork are a pair of free pews. These date from the time that the local worthies would subscribe to the renovation of the church, and pews were set aside for them as a result. The churchwardens arranged for some pews to be available for the poor of the parish as an act of charity.

The pews are, however, right at the back of the church, in a corner. Not quite so charitable after all?

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year

Twenty Twelve already! It only seems a moment ago we were all agonising about the new millenium. 

How time flies.

Will this year be different to all the others? Only you can say.