Kingdom of Madness

You may have notice that I have changed the title of the post this week from the generic “Photographs #XX”. This is because the titles didn’t give any indication of what was in the post and didn’t give a reader a mental link to the photographs featured. I hope that this new will work better in helping people remember some of the images.

This week it’s back to black and white again with 3 more photographs taken at the National Trust property at Stourhead. All images were taken with the Nikon D800 and Nikkor 24-120mm F/4.0 combination.

The first image was taken with flash inside a very dark grotto within the gardens. I used the pop-up flash on the D800 set to a -1 bias so as not to over-lighten the statue.


The Halls of the King


The second photograph was taken as I walked under a small arch over a footpath. I metered for the light area on the other side of the arch and then darkened the edges in post processing. This gives the illusion of a tunnel leading out of the earth.


Out of the Earth


The last image was a tangle of trees just off one of the footpaths. In post processing, I lightened the trees and branches whilst darkening the frame edges and the floor.  I then used Photoshop to add distortion to the edges of the frame giving a tension and movement to the image. There is also a feeling of instability and a nightmarish quality to the picture hence the title, borrowed from the band Magnum.


Kingdom of Madness

Photograph #21

I have three colour images for you this time. All three were taken with the Nikon D800 and Nikkor 24-120mm f/4.0 lens.

The first is a view across Weston Super Mare towards Brean Down which you can see on the horizon. Brean Down is a promontory extending one and a half miles into the English channel and at its highest point is 318 feet high.

The sun had started to come through the rain clouds as they drifted inland, and the sea sparkled and glittered like shards of glass as the sunlight caught the tops of the waves.


Splintered Sea


The other two images were taken at the National Trust property of Stourhead with the same camera and lens setup as the first photograph.

The first image is a shot across the lake to the Pantheon which has just been refurbished. This image reminds me of the great landscapes that appear in the background of great painters like Gainsborough. The whole view almost seems too perfect, too arcadian and this was obviously the intention of the great gardeners, such as the owner of Stourhead, Henry Hoare and his architect Henry Flitcroft.


Arcadian Idyll


The last photograph is a statue in the temple of Apollo within the gardens. I love the colours and patina on this sculpture. I experimented with showing the statue upright or at an angle, but decided I preferred it with the right side of the alcove level with the right-hand frame edge.


Tarnished Gaze

Photographs #20

You will all be pleased to know that the three images into today’s post are the last images from the Weston Super mare shoot.

Two of them centre on the famous Weston Pier, which was built in 1903 and opened in 1904. The original theatre situated at the pier’s end was destroyed by fire in January 1930 and a new pavilion was built and opened in 1933. In 2008, another fire destroyed the pavilion and it took two years to complete the rebuilding and to reopen the pier once again.

The third image is of the causeway from Knightstone Island to the headland.

All photographs were taken with a Nikon D800 and a Nikkor 24-120mm f/4.0 lens





Clearing Skies


Divide and Conquer


Photographs #18

Today’s images are again from the Weston-Super-Mare shoot. Despite the weather (or should I say because of it), it was such a great day for photography. The light was that really translucent type that seemed to just emanate from everywhere.
These next three images are again in the 1:1 or square format that I like so much and also once again they are in monochrome.

The first image was taken whilst I was standing on Weston’s pier. I notice the man walking on the sand just in front of the lapping waves. He stood there smoking for a while, just watching the waves lap up the shore. I decided to meter on the wet sand on which he stood to render him in silhouette.



Modern Canute


The second picture is of one of the vendors that stand along the seas shore at Weston. Obviously not expecting to sell much on this chilly and windy day, the owner had not opened his stall. I liked the incongruity of the stall and its motif sitting against the background of the Bristol Channel and the stormy sky. The two flat tyres of the trailer on which the hut was sitting also gave it a sad, forgotten feel.


Closed like a Clam


The third and final image today is of one of the warning signs letting beach-goers know that there is sinking mud on that part of the beach. The angle of the post draws the eye to the depiction of the figure on the painted sign holding its arms up in alarm.


That Sinking Feeling

Photographs #17

Ok, I make no apologies for showing some more photographs that I took on the trip Mrs M. and I went on down to Weston-Super-Mare. I got some great pictures on that trip. As I have said before, the weather was stormy and the first photograph below shows the magnificent display of clouds we were lucky to witness. I like the effect that the sun, which was struggling to push through the clouds, has on the whole picture.  The sea and sand were bathed in a semi-light which gave a great ambience and some of the clouds have been lightened by the sun too. This photograph was one of the ten I submitted to the Royal Photographic Society to achieve my licentiate distinction.



Storm Walk


The second photograph was taken from the famous Weston Pier looking inland to the town. The storm clouds had just begun to clear in the Bristol Channel and were moving over the back of the town. The brighter clouds and better weather were pushing in from the west. I love the swell of the wave at the bottom of the frame starting to get larger as it moves to the beach.



Rolling Calm


The final picture was again taken from the pier looking to the town and you can see the rain clouds hanging over the town. You can see them twisting and rolling over the roofs of the hotels and houses. The pier was a great place to photograph from with all the fabulous clouds blowing in from the west.

All the photographs were taken with my Nikon D800 and a Nikkor 24-120mm f/4.0 zoom lens.


From the Pier



Photographs #16

Following on from my last post, these are some images taken from the visit that Mrs M. and I made to Weston-Super-Mare during September. The weather was stormy and very, very changeable. The clouds were boiling over the sea and pushed by a brisk wind were heading for a collision course with the town.

These three photographs were taken in RAW as per usual and then in post processing converted to my favourite square monochrome format. The images feature little slices of interest that I saw on the beach before the rain (and hail) swept in from the Bristol Channel.

The first image is of a warning post sunk into the sand and tracks of vehicles that driven across the beach. The second photograph is a small boat anchored on the beach, with the waves starting to get higher as the wind from the incoming storm pushed them inland. The third is a capture of a small dog that was having the time of its life running along the sand, galloping around its owner and barking.

All of the photographs were taken with a Nikon D800 and a Nikkor 24-120mm f/4.0 lens.


Lines in the Sand




Enjoying Life


Photographs #15

This collection of images were taken on a short break in the west country during September. The weather as is usual in the United Kingdom was variable. Indeed, on that break, we encountered warm sun, as well as torrential rain, a hailstorm and buffeting winds. The upside to this was that the cloud formations were absolutely incredible and on my black and whites only needed some tweaking in Curves to bring out their majesty and in some instances their threat of storms.

The first photograph is of a tree I encountered in a field on our way to the coast. I love the symmetry of its canopy and the sky above it was boiling and growling – a precedent of a heavy rainstorm which followed. The sky was enhanced in post-production to add to the drama.

The next two images were taken in Weston-Super-Mare as MrsM and I spent the best part of a day walking through the town and along the seafront. The weather was very changeable with blocks of sunlight travelling quickly through the landscape as in the photograph “Low Tide” followed by ominous storm clouds that came in across the Bristol Channel and over the town heading inland, as can be seen in “Waiting for the Storm”. Immediately after this image was taken heavy rain lashed down followed by a hail storm. We took refuge in one of the numerous and curiously British shelters along the promenade, but not before we were soaked.

All photographs were taken with a Nikon D800 and a Nikkor 24-120 f/4.0.



Natural Symmetry


Low Tide


Waiting for the storm