Ah, the stereotypical English countryside, how I love walking through it! What do I love about it? churches and graveyards, livestock, fun signage, postboxes, and bonus points for a pub stop at the end. Ramble with me? The first stop was a church, of which there were three on this walk, but this particular grave marker caught my eye:
Then we kept going and came to a gate. An aside to my fellow Americans, you can walk through private property such as fields here, there are a set of expectations, but it is a completely different system than the US. So, yes we went through the gate and closed it behind us. What is it with cows? I feel like I have the following conversation every time I walk through a pasture:
~Yes, hi, just passing through.
~Because this is where the path is.
~Yes, really, it’s marked.
~No, I do not have any snacks.
And just to reinforce the whole English weather stereotype, I’ll tell you that the weather was threatening rain so I took the photos in this post with a small point and shoot and my iPhone:
And yes, I did finish up at the pub with a pint. Cheers and Sláinte!
Added to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Countryside and/or Small Towns.
Just for fun, this post is a bit different from my usual posts where I talk about photo editing. This post is about a day trip in the country where I am currently living, England. Somewhat ironically, July 4th was a day off and therefore an ideal day for a short road trip. So this is how I spent July 4th in England.
I have a lot of favorite things about England, but one of them is English Heritage, which cares for more than 400 sites of historic significance. You can visit and pay for site visits individually, but for a history
nerd enthusiast, really a membership is the way to go. We have about one year before our next country move, and our English Heritage membership will run out in the Spring, so the clock is ticking…
Our first stop of the day was to the Eleanor Cross in Geddingon.
It’s in the middle of the road in the middle of town, so hard to miss, but pay attention if you are trying to take photos! This cross is a memorial to Eleanor of Castile, wife of Edward I, who died in 1290.
This is a George V postbox. Not part of English Heritage, but if I am out and about and there is a postbox, I’m taking a photo.
From there we were on to Kirby Hall:
Originally built during the reign of Elizabeth I, a visit here includes an interesting audio guide about the history and architecture of the house. Also on site:
You won’t be able to miss these guys and girls, particularly if you are having a picnic lunch. While they would love for you to feed them, staff on site would ask that you not do that.
From there it was on to Lyddington Bede House:
This shot from the interior eludes to the religious history of the site. The house has had several functions over the years, and signs around the property fill in the story for visitors. Here is a shot from the front of the house:
The church in the background is St. Andrew’s Church and here is a shot of the graveyard:
The church is not English Heritage, it is an operational, and very lovely, Church of England Church. Like postboxes, if there is a churchyard nearby, I am there taking a photo.
Our last stop of the day was to Rushton Triangular Lodge:
A really interesting folly built in 1593. It has its own blog post here.
I hope you have enjoyed this little detour road trip style post. My cameras for this outing were my Canon 80D and my iPhone. All the photos have had at least minor edits feel free to leave a comment or any questions below.
Photos of my travels are likely to turn up in my Instagram feed, as that peacock did, so feel free to follow me there:
Written in response to Lens-Artists Challenge, A Country that is Special to You.
I was enjoying a day out at Buckland Abbey and came across this lovely door:
It’s an entrance to a secret garden that is on the grounds. Beautiful, but not really easy to photograph, lots of dark shadows. Here is one of the original shots:
The color of the flowers in the original is lovely but a bit overpowering. As for the dark shadows, I decided to go ahead and make friends with that element of the photo. I was working in Photoshop here, but used the add-on Analog Efex Pro as a starting point. I ended up liking a filter that had a bit a blue tone to it. I also straightened the photo.
I posted an Instagram version here:
and have the full-size original in my Picfair portfolio.
While I often edit to make a photo look more like the actual scene, in this case I liked the darker tones. I think it makes the photo a bit more mellow and serene. Has this ever happened to you, an element of an original photo that you find bothersome ends up being its strength? Do you like the darker tones of this image? Feel free to leave a comment below!
I find that military cemeteries and memorials are an attempt to bring order to the chaos of human conflict. The neat rows of uniform grave markers, the minimalist and tidy green space, they stand in contrast to what I perceive as the disruption and disorder of conflict. On Memorial Day this year, the staff at Cambridge American Cemetery put out pictures in front of the grave markers and along the borders of the Tablets of the Missing:
Seemingly a small detail when viewed from a distance, but amazingly personal when examined at close range.
The cemetery is a sobering reminder of the human cost of war, and the display puts a face on it and makes it more personal:
Most blog posts I write are about the editing process I go through. This post is about the importance of sometimes letting an image stay in its “as taken” state. The first two images are shown as shot and I would argue tell their story without the need for editing. The last image is in the standard Instagram format with the filter I chose for it accenting the light that illuminates the name on the grave marker.
When I am taking photographs, I often am thinking about what I would like the final image to look like. In this case, I knew that I was going to want the final images to have very little editing done to them. While my usual minimum edits are white balance, cropping, and sharpening, for the first two photos skip even those steps. What do you think of my unedited photos? are there times when you skip editing in favor of an “as-is” final photo? Feel free to leave a comment below.
It’s been a busy week. Today it’s back to England weather, but last week was gorgeous; my unprocessed photo folder overflows, a beautiful problem to have. This weekend included a walk with friends that went through a barley field:
This panorama, taken on my iPhone, originally looked like this:
The edited version was produced in Lightroom. In the crop tools there is an “angle” option which allows you to drag a line along what should be the straight horizon and then creates a crop from there. As with many edits, I sometimes think that I am gaining and losing. In this case, the edited photo is straighter. The original however, has a quirkiness to it that I kind of like. I’ll point out also that this photo is breaking one of the rules of photography. Generally it is considered bad form to include part of a person, you should either include the whole person or crop them out entirely. It’s a good rule, but I think there is a carefree feeling to this photo that allows that rule to be broken.
From that same walk is an Instagram photo that reminds me that flowers and insects form important friendships as well:
What is your thought on my panorama, is there a version you prefer? Can you believe that beautiful sky was in England this weekend? Feel free to leave a comment below.
A few weeks ago I was visiting Salisbury Cathedral. The font they have is also a beautiful reflecting pool. I created this image from the photos that I took:
The font was created by William Pye and installed in the Cathedral in 2008. This link will take you to the website of the Cathedral which has a photo that shows how the font is situated in the Cathedral. It’s a beautiful work of art that I think has an interesting way of interacting with its surroundings, something that the link will give you a feel for. The image I created is more of a close up and so is missing that perspective.
My take is more on the font as reflecting pool. For a few moments, there was sun and the reflections of the nearby windows in the font were beautiful. The original photo was taken on my iPhone. There were a lot of people around that through cropping and Photoshop have been removed. I removed the people for two reasons. One was that I was trying to still the image a bit, there is a lot going on and I wanted to remove some of the “busyness”. The other was that some of those people were children. I am not a huge fan of images posted online of children where they or their guardians have not been informed.
But back to the scene itself. I created a black and white version, but was not completely happy with it because ultimately I thought the color of the windows was an important part of the image. This final image gave me a muted color, but one that left enough in it to show the beauty of the reflection.
I’ll be honest, I love religious art, how do you feel about it? if you are not religious, do you still appreciate it for the sake of art, or is that too off-putting for you? How do you feel about removing people from a photo? It can change the story of a photo pretty dramatically, what is your take on that? Feel free to leave a comment below.
This week’s photo challenge starts with “Have you traveled anywhere exciting lately?” Oh boy, travel is a topic maybe it’s best not to get me started on as “going to see things” is a bit of a hobby for me. It also happens that I was on the road just a few weeks ago. I visited a few well-known spots that pretty much everyone has heard of. This post though is more about something I really love about traveling, and that is visiting some spot a bit off the tourist path and being utterly charmed by it.
I do enjoy history, so I often find myself at spots of historical significance. I will admit though, if it has to do with World War II, it’s probably because my husband found it. That’s how I came to be standing here:
Where am I? The Upottery Heritage Center. Here’s a Google map link, if you would like to see a map of the area. Why was I here? Well the Band of Brothers left from here for Normandy; that was my husband’s interest. He had been in contact with Robin, a volunteer at the center, who had agreed to open the converted hut for us to take a look around. This is one of those museums that has been put together by people who care about the history of the area. It’s a small space, but there is an incredible amount of well researched detail here. My husband talked to Robin about those details. For me, it was the photographs, look at all the photographs! Our youngest child was traveling with us and found the stash of newspapers from the time. Eventually, it was time to drag ourselves away from this room. The driving tour was next. Robin was willing to take us around to show my husband where the old airfield was. For me the highlight of the driving tour was this:
During the war it was a guard station. It’s the last remaining one in the area and now if functions as a Remembrance memorial. A beautiful tribute if you ask me.
Part of the tour took us through farms that are currently in use, so from my Instagram, I have this shot.
A cleaned up version of that shot is in my Picfair portfolio.
This morning in Upottery was a highlight of the trip. The well known places were good too, but this was unique, something that will stick in our collective family memory. In terms of the photography, I stuck with my iPhone for this visit and was pleased with the results. Have you perhaps had the experience as well, that a lesser known place ended up being a highlight of a trip? Can you believe how lush that grass is in the Instagram photo? That’s a no filter photo. Feel free to leave your comments below.
There are times when I think about how we as people can’t help but change the world around us. It’s like we can’t help but interpret the earth around us, even if that means altering it. Our generation is not the first to do this:
When you walk around Stonehenge you can’t help but wondering why people did this. There are no shortage of theories, but not a whole lot of definitive answers either. That makes it more intriguing, but even if we had all the answers I think this site would still be awe inspiring.
Stonehenge is currently administered by English Heritage, and while there are a few different ways you can visit, we were in the area by car and did use the walking audio tour. For this photo, I used my Canon 50D and took several shots with the thought of stitching them together in Photoshop to create the panorama you see above. The main thing to keep in mind is to attempt to shoot as level as possible. The first version of the panorama had some people in it. I removed them using the healing brush and the Edit-Fill-Content Aware features of Photoshop. I also did a white balance correction using the eyedropper in Levels, and sharpened the photo. I am adding my Flickr version below that you can click on to see a larger version:
It is also available as part of my Picfair portfolio.
Below is an Instagram version, this version, shot with my iPhone gives a slightly different perspective and an idea of how many people I had to remove from the version above:
Do you ever find yourself wondering about how the landscape has changed over the generations? or why people do the things they do? How do you like my panorama, do you think I did a good job removing the people? Feel free to leave a comment below.