Friday, May 30, 2008

30th May, and Whitby in the mist!

We're off again, this time only a short hop from home (60 miles or so) to Whitby, as we have to be back early next week for a dental appointment.
Looking out in the garden I spotted this rather attractive little flower, so naturally it had to have it's portrait taken!
We set off in sunshine and a stiff breeze, then ran into our usual enemy: a Sea Fret (fog for those unfamiliar with the term.) and arrived on site shortly after lunch: these days I usually drive round the site seeking the strongest signal for the mobile internet modem (modern times, eh?)
We snoozed through the afternoon and old stirred to drive down into Whitby for shopping, and a Fish and Chip evening meal, well, you can hardly come to Whitby and not do that, now can you?
We parked on the North Cliff to eat them, and I could see down onto the harbour entrance, and the one or two people intrepid (or stupid) enough to go for a walk in the chilling Nor,nor easterly damp wind: so the photos are intended to capture the rather sombre mood of a typical English early in the season holiday.
The coloured beach huts offered a little life into the otherwise rather bland image: naturally i could have livened it up by hiking up the contrast etc., but I felt that this would destroy the mood I was trying to record!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

26th May: time to go Home!

Homeward bound at last, but not before a last walk along the beach in the early morning sunshine.
With only the gulls for company I headed south along the beach in the direction of Beadnell, the strong on shore wind has scattered a large amount of seaweed along the beach and many birds are seeking breakfast among the fronds.
As I climbed the gentle slope once used for fishing boat launching I looked back at the now collapsing boats and huts that I remember seeing the fishermen sitting outside in the evening mending their nets, now sadly only a memory.
On the main road frontage an anchor acts as foreground to the camping club site on the corner and in the far distance you can see the line of caravans on our site.
The final picture is of our car and caravan, waiting to be hitched up and driven home, which took place immediately after this picture was taken.
We were away by quarter to nine and made good time as there was surprisingly little traffic for a bank holiday monday, though there was a strong side wind buffeting us, so I had to keep the speed down for safety's sake. I was pleasantly surprised when getting home to find that the car recorded 33.9 mpg for the journey.
Not only that but we had won £50 on the Premium Bonds! (well,it's better than nothing, eh?)

25th May, last full day of the Holiday!

For our last full day we fancied running up to Dunbar, so set off early and headed first for a fill of Diesel at the local garage, where we had found the cheapest fuel for miles at£1.159 per litre.,
We then headed for the A1 and the Oxford Farm shop for a last day treat of their nome made scones, butter and raspberry jam, before reaching Berwick and food shopping.
Once over the border we ran into fog and decided to finish the journey as we could see it was clearing away inland from the coast.
This proved to be correct and we emerged into sunshine as we crested the hilltop above Dunbar and began the descent into the town.
It's a strange old place, where you can park for nothing on the harbour side, though this time the bridge linking the inner harbour to the outer wall was up and out of use so I couldn't get the the far end of the harbour and photograph the heavy sea that was running, driven by an on-shore gale.
We enjoyed the view on the harbour, then drove a little way south to Whitesands bay, a deserted beauty spot where you can see Barns Ness lighthouse in the distance, and here We ate or packed lunch in sunshine, listening to the distant cries of the gulls and the crashing of the heavy sea on the reef.
After a very pleasant hour we continued along the coast road to an old Favourite: Coldingham Bay, here's a panorama...
This was busy with surfers and families out for the day, and the sun was sufficiently strong to take the edge off the strong wind.
On our return journey we pased the garage where I had filled up in the morning and the Diesel price had risen 5 pence a litre to £1.20 during the day!
During the evening I had intended a walk along the beach, but instead we had visitors, our friends who had come up for a few days from Bagshot in Surrey, so my last shot of the day was a sunset with the colourful caravan flags in the foreground. It had been a memorable last full day.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

24th May 2008 Kielder Water Day

Todays pictures are almost all from the Nikon D60 with the exception of the seaweed sand an foam, from the Fuji S9600.
The shots of Bamburgh and Beadnell Harbour are from yesterday and the Scenics are from today.
We drove inland through Alnwick and Rothbury to go to see Kielder water, the weather was beautiful when we set out, but became cloudy, dull and cooler with every mile we headed further inland! but to be honest Kielder isn't a patch on anything in the lake district, and heavily commercialised, though the journey there and back was through some really fine and highly varied countryside.
Also the weather became steadily better when heading back to the coast and we arrived back at the campsite in bright sunshine to find it much busier than it had been when we left it, as more people arrived from distant parts.
To our surprise, though, it wasn't completely full.
We then had a quiet afternoon and evening, I took the shot of the seaweed during my evening stroll along the beach opposite our campsite.
Walking back from the beach the tall fishing poles being used as a flagpole on many caravans diplaying flags and chinese fish and other captive kites made a colourful splash against the deep blue sky: another favourite adornment for them is small bat shaped kites that swoop and circle in the wind.

Friday, May 23, 2008

28th May 2008 Moving on today, but first!

A quick blog this morning as we shall be swapping campsites at noon:
Here is a shot pretty much "as is" of Lindisfarne Castle taken on the Nikon D60.
I remembered seeing the boxes of Souvenir Fudge in the gift shot, so thought why not try to recreate the "Chocolate Box" effect for a bit of fun, and here are a couple of images with it applied.
The effects were done in the GIMP and also a very old Photoshop Elements version 1.0!
Basically a sample is taken of a small area of the sky and the saturation and the density of the colour is adjusted: it has the saturation increased and then it is darkened.

when this is done, the levels command is used on the whole image. The limit slider on the dark end is brought in till it touches the end of the Histogram, and the mid tones (middle) slider moved towards the lighter end of the Histogram to darken the mid tones.
Good fun, why not try the effect yourself?
Until getting home late monday updates to the blog will be subject to the amount of power my jury rigged recharging system can put back into the laptop battery, as where we are going there "ain't no power"
We made the move successfuly then into Seahouses for a very enjoyable (though un-finishable as too much was provided Fish and Chips and mushy peas, then enjoyed a lazy afternoon.After tea we went for a walk along the beach at Bamburgh, where I took these two (and many other) pictures on the S9600 bridge camera.
Look at the detail in the handful of shells, and in the distant castle in the second shot...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

22nd May 2008 Lindisfarne Day

Today's crop of images were all taken on the Fuji s9600 bridge camera, and we begin with a hand held 300mm equivalent shot of the countryside near Alnwick. Our journey today took us first to Berwick and shopping at the supermarket, and then just a little further north to to Hilltop viewpoint called "Conundrum" and here is the view from there down onto Berwick and beyond to the Lindisfarne, then Bamburgh Castles.
A little morning mist still clings to the town, but hasn't the Zoom lens of the Fuji done a fine job? and all shots by the way are hand held, no tripod!
The next image is on Lindisfarne as we walked past the harbour in the direction of the castle, which we see here in the distance, again this was taken at the 300mm setting.
Now a couple taking a rest with the magnificent bulk of Bamburgh castle stacked up close by the 300mm Zoom.
As we approached the castle I clambered down among the rocks and used the 28mm setting to use the coloured rocks as a foreground,
A little lower towards the tideline and these weather beaten and eroded poles make another striking foreground for the castle
And finally a badly cropped shot (Where's the flag?) included only to demonstrate the sheer quality the fuji lens at 300mm can provide, even hand held

All images were shot in RAW, converted in Faststone Viewer; and sharpened, resized, and a drop shadow added in the same software.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

21 May 2008 And beautiful flowers in the Cragside formal Gardens

Today was taken up with a return visit to Cragside to go round the formal gardens, but on the way we drove down to Embleton Links and photographed Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance. This was done with the Fuji S9600 set to 300 mm to relate the oil seed rape with the castle.
This time of year some of the wild plants have already set seed, I couldn't resist these as the seeds seem to dance around the plant head, so rather than stop the action with flash I let a little blur add a sense of movement: Fuji S9600 zoom at 150mm and macro
We continued towards Alnmouth and passed the river, where it winds long ond slow on its final miles to the sea, very picturesque!
Fuji S9600 Zoom at 28mm processed with the LOMO filter in the GIMP
There follows a series of flower images from the Cragside gardens, all but the last two were with the S9600, the fonal two with the Nikon D60
Why so many on the bridge?
Because it has a much greater depth of field for any given F stop, and this is a big advantage when shooting flowers!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

20th May 2008 Berwick and beyond!

First a comment on processing: one of the members of the BCUG was experiencing difficulty with RAW images converted on FastStone viewer, and at first glance there did seem to be a problem, but after a bit of rummaging and mucking about with the controls, I have found it to be a very handy and competent piece of software: the problem with it is that there is no real assistance provided in explaining the functions it has, and unless you really know what it has available as functions, you don't get good results.
(Sounds like a famous camera manufacturer I know!)
The first group of photo's were shot in Fuji RAF format, and the second in Nikon's NEF format: Faststone viewer handles them both with equal ease!
We begin with two shots on the beach opposite Annsted Farm, yesterday evening, as you can see, Northumberland beaches are gorgeous and deserted too!

The next shot of the returning Eyemouth Lifeboat was shot on the Fuji S9600 in RAW (RAF) format, and there is plenty of fine detail well rendered in this jpg conversion
And so to today: the next shot is a Nikon one (NEF) of Pat enjoying one of the superb Oxford Farm shop freshly baked scones with their home made Rasberry jam and butter.

Followed by the view from the Ramparts of Berwick Looking at the town Hall Nikon (NEF)

And here's a shot of the cannon facing out over the mouth of the 'Tweed (Nikon NEF)
We decided as it was such a nice day to go St Abbs again to take advantage of the better light, and the next images were taken with the Fuji S9600 in RAF format.,

The final three images were taken with the Nikon D60 in NEF format before conversion.

Every image on today's blog was processed and the conversions done with FastStone Image viewer, and rather interestingly, the same settings used as standard between the RAF and the NEF files!