Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Right Track

Crops are grown with great precision these days. 

Sometimes they are sown, sprayed and harvested by machines with identical widths. So, it makes sense to have fixed tram lines down the field where each machine drives in turn. These thin sections of crop are sacrificed, but the result is that the field is processed from seed to harvest with no missing parts.

It's probably all done with GPS satellite control I expect.

In my day the fields were intersected with tractor marks at random angles and bits of the field would be yellow while the rest was lush and green.

Another unintended consequence is the local wildlife has multiple parallel motorways intersecting their narrow world. These Pheasants looked distinctly worried, as they should be - a monster sprayer was lurking just over the brow of the hill.

Friday, 30 March 2012


Everything needs a name these days:

I grew up in the countryside, living on farms until I left home to start work. As a result I have a deep love of countryside. 

We keep our children indoors these days in case something bad happens to them I suppose. So they spend their lives on the Internet or playing War Games where clearly nothing bad ever happens.

Apparently this breeds a generation with something new, called NDD, or Nature Defecit Disorder

So, here's some Cognitive Flower Therapy for your Nature Defecit Disorder, delivered to you via the Internet, so now you don't need to go outside...

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Lurker

So many of the views in North Hampshire are blighted by high voltage electricity transmission towers.

Some say the alternative would be to cover the landscape with wind turbines, but does not appeal either. 

Here's a radical thought. Perhaps we should all just use less electricity.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Heads Up

Backlit and apparently in hiding, these heralds of Spring lurk at the end of the horse exercise yard adding a nice splash of colour to an almost monochrome scene.

"If you see it, snap it"  - that's what I say...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Black back

Here's an exercise in minimalism. I spotted this back lit blossom yesterday, backed with a shaded wall. 

This required some fancy footwork with the camera to get the exposure correct: 

I used spot meter for the blossom combined with +1EV compensation to get the right range of tones while keeping the background nice and black.

Quite often, less is indeed more:

Monday, 26 March 2012

Leading line

One of the composition tricks in a photographer's aresenal should be the leading line. Something about the picture that draws you into the shot. A corner to peek round, a path that you want to follow.

Well, in that frame of mind, there are some pictures that just demand to be taken...

OK, so there was more to this than frame and click. I had to place the footpath through the new crop in the right part of the frame, and then I had to wait for the cloud to do exactly the right thing to the field below. 

They say all things come to he that waits.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Shiny Hands

What do you do while you hang around outside the ladies changing rooms in a department store? 

I am assuming you are a bloke and you are waiting for your wife to try new clothes on: If you hang about outside ladies changing rooms for other reasons, then maybe this post isn't for you...

Personally, I spend my time on those occasions observing the retail shop dressings and I am particularly interested in these strange mannequins. 

If you think back, these would once have to be reasonably lifelike with painted eyes and lips, and the more they tried the less lifelike they seemed.

So, over the years they have become more and more abstract. Our local store introduced featureless models in shiny white last year, but now I see they come in black and even chrome.

This would be a downright disturbing presence in our home or down the pub.... 

So why do we accept a chrome humanoid with no face as acceptable store dressing? 

Why don't I get out more?

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The lowdown

Get down man, get down on the same level as your subject. 

Dog pictures look better shot from dog height, and it's the same with toddlers.

When it comes to daisies, well you have to try harder, but we must suffer for our art. In this case I took the wrong camera.

The venerable E-1 doesn't have a tilting rear screen (in fact it doesn't do live view at all..)

Friday, 23 March 2012

A typical view

The atypical view below is a typical view of a back street in Halifax. The serried ranks of Victorian mill workers cottages may appear uniform, but they come in a surprising variety of designs. 

The least sought after are back to back with no front yard. The posh versions have a front yard and a back yard that leads to a cobbled back street like this one, straight out of Coronation Street.

I find it amazing that this scene is commonplace in twenty first century Britain. I can only assume they built them well a hundred years ago.

Sunday, 18 March 2012


The village green has sprouted daffodils a plenty this past week. What a cheerful sight they are after all this Winter we've been having.

This is a classic context picture. I framed it to include the church in the background and I selected a viewpoint that brought the daffs closest to the camera, Next I adjusted the zoom to get the right relationship between foreground and background, and finally I chose an aperture that gave me narrow focus on the nearest blooms while leaving the church recognisable.

Here is a similar picture, but the narrow focus has been emphasised further. Click on the DOF label to see more..

These pictures are in memory of Dad, who had a soft spot for Daffodils, and for Mum who died recently.

Monday, 12 March 2012

New speak

A bank employee was trying to tell me there was quite a queue, so there would be a delay before someone could see me.

"I'm not saying we can't deal with your case, I'm just managing your expectations"

Managing my Expectations? 


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Walk About

We had a couple of nice days earlier this week, and timing my walk to miss the passing clouds, I managed a quick walk down the local farm lane..

Crows nests, as high as they come, add points of interest to this big sky wide angle picture.

Here's a forgotten corner of the barn. Aah, that smell of oil, diesel and hay all mixed together, captured in a nostalgia image.

No day is complete without an abstract picture if you can find one. There's a pile of discarded tiles in the hedgerow aligned like a modernist sundial.

This old tyre (on an Allen Scythe) must have been here for decades and has rotted away. Perfect for a texture picture.

And finally, the rusting barrow with it's Ivy passenger makes for a diagonal composition snap.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


There are layers of countryside on display here. 

In the foreground is a ploughed field, not so common in these days of minimum tillage. Next we see commercial woodland and the green contour of Winter Wheat. Finally looking down on all this is Watership Down.

The countryside struggles to be all things to all people. It tries to be romantic or wild, but much of it is in fact an outdoor industry.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Head in the clouds

There's an Elephant in the room. There's a Monster in the Mist.

Standing foursquare it the far end of the field, the giant Transmission Tower (they are not called Pylons by the way) hums and buzzes to itself in the thick fog.

Usually I avoid these things like the plague, and remove them from my images if I have no choice, but today I think the monster has some metallic mystery about it...

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Crow Flies

It's much shorter as the Crow flies....

It there any evidence that Crows really fly in straight lines? The local Rooks don't fly in straight lines. They swoop aimlessly from tree to tree wheeling and calling in the sky, rather like kids on skatebords in the park. They are indulging in motion just for the sake of it.

A still day with fog from dawn to dusk, softening the lines of the landscape and muting all the colours.

Thursday, 1 March 2012


Up here the fields are open and the trees are enclosed. Strange, no?

Most of the land around the village is either small paddocks for horses or huge arable fields with no hedges. You don't need barbed wire to keep a crop where you planted it.

The trees, however, need protection from an invisible enemy. Deer range across these open acres in the dead of night unseen by all but the nocturnal Poacher and his dog.