Posts from the ‘news’ category

A 100 mile walk along the South Downs Way

For the past few months I been exploring the South Downs countryside near our home for two principal reasons. Firstly for my photography and secondly because in a few days time I will be starting on a challenge to walk the South Downs Way from Winchester to Eastbourne; a total of 100 miles.

Boots made for walking

The walk is in memory of my sister who died from cancer at Easter at the age of 59 and I am raising funds for a community project to build a new church hall near to where we live – The St Peter Project. My companion and fellow walker will be my sister’s son Ian.

Ian and I

Donations have already exceeded all expectations and today have reached the landmark total of just over £4,000 including Gift Aid. I am truly grateful to everyone who has generously sponsored me and offered so much support.  For more information please see my Virgin Giving Money page.

Although I am a keen walker I have never done anything like this before, so hopefully I will complete the challenge without too many blisters! It will be a wonderful opportunity for me to spend more time with Ian, and to visit and photograph parts of Sussex I have not been to previously. It should provide me with plenty of material for this blog and my website

Inevitably though this blog will go a little quiet for the next two or three weeks but it’s all for a good cause, and I am already looking forward to sharing with you many more images from this particular adventure.

Entries now closed for Landscape Photographer of The Year

The annual Landscape Photographer of the Year competition, or LPOTY for short, is now in it’s 7th year and this year I decided to enter a selection of my images in the various categories which include, Classic View, Urban View, Living the View and Your View. The last category allows a little more digital manipulation of the original image. I did enter one image in 2012 but the chances of it being shortlisted, let alone published in the book, were very slim indeed. This year it was time for a more concerted effort and after some head scratching I selected fifteen photographs to enter. Fourteen are black and white there is just the one colour shot. The maximum number of entries per person is 25.

Here are just two of the photographs I have entered. The first is a shot I took quite recently in Lavant in West Sussex. It’s a study of a field of barley with an overhanging branch of a beech tree. This has been entered in the ‘Your View’ category, although conceivably it could have been entered in ‘Classic View’. I was not prepared to risk the latter category, so ‘Your View’ it was.

Barley and beech

The second image is the only colour photograph and it’s also the only one which I have entered in the ‘Urban View’ category. It hardly needs a title as it’s a much taken view of St Paul’s Cathedral across the River Thames. I can only hope that the wonderful late afternoon light together with the ‘iconic’ London Bus, sets it apart from some of the other entries. Somehow I don’t think it’s a strong enough image but who knows?

Late afternoon light on St Paul's - colour version

This is a very well promoted competition. As well as winning images appearing in the book, there is an exhibition of selected photographs at the National Theatre in London, as well as smaller exhibitions which tour the country. The very fact that the competition has now been running a number of years means that it widely known in photographic circles.

It also has a total prize fund of £20,000, with £10,000 going to the lucky winner of the overall competition. So it’s definitely worth a go, but given the total number of entries the chances of being selected are pretty small. I will be very pleased if just one of my photographs is shortlisted. At least that will tell me whether or not I am approaching the standard the judges are expecting. Needless to say if I have any success I will be posting an appropriate entry in the weeks and months to come. Complete silence on the subject will tell you I am waiting another year!

Happy First Birthday to my Blog!

Today this Blog is one year old!

It hardly seems possible that a year has passed since my very first ‘blog entry’ – ‘Finally happy with the design’. It was not the most inspiring of entries and didn’t even include a photograph, which is a bit odd for a blog about photography……but I had to start somewhere!

In the twelve months which have followed there have been a total of 72 posts; an average of 6 posts a month. At the outset I really didn’t plan or indeed think there would be this many, to the contrary a new idea often turns into a stale one after a short period of time. What has happened in practice is quite the opposite in fact. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing these entries, the vast majority including some of the many photographs I have taken during the course of the year.

The past twelve months has seen a shift in my style of photography, mainly to black and white, and hopefully an improvement in the quality of my work. Looking back I know that I have learnt a great deal, both in terms of the taking but also the making of an image in post production. This now includes some of the skills and equipment required to produce a good print. The more knowledge I have acquired, the greater my realisation that there is even more to learn and that’s a big plus, because there are always going to be new challenges to look forward to.

I wanted to mark this day with an image taken just a few days ago. It had been a glorious summer’s day and the evening light was just beautiful, as it illuminated the trees lining the footpath and the yellow field of oil seed rape. This is now a common scene across the country, a really colourful feature of the English landscape at this time of year. In a few days time the flower heads will be gone but they are sure to return again next year.

Evening light, Idsworth
Evening light, Idsworth

I can’t be sure how many people have read this blog over the last 52 weeks, however, irrespective of the number of visits, writing a blog was always intended to be a journal about my photography, which I could look back on as I chart my photographic progress. It was never about reaching out to a wider audience. After all I have no control over who does and who doesn’t visit the site anyway.

My enthusiasm for this hobby has grown and grown, so I will continue to post more entries as I learn fresh skills, try new techniques and make more images.  This way, when I celebrate it’s second birthday, I will be able to review another year to see how far I have come. All I do know is that if the second year is as good as the first, it will be a lot of fun…..and that’s what a good hobby should be all about!

Thanks for reading.

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Last club meeting tonight…….

It’s been a good club season as far as I am concerned and I do feel my photography has improved as the year has progressed. Tonight is the last meeting of the year and it’s the evening when a judge chooses the Print and Projected Image of the year. Last year I was fortunate enough to win the PI of the year. I doubt I will be so lucky tonight – but who knows?

Its been a tough choice deciding which two images to put forward in each category. As long as they were submitted for club competitions this season, then how many marks they scored is immaterial. After all one judge can give a photograph 10 out of 10 one evening, whilst another judge might give the same image 8 out of 10 the next. It’s that subjective and whatever the score, I don’t think I or others should be discouraged by  a poor mark, any more than we should be too elated when awarded the highest score. It’s only natural that we would all prefer 10 marks and not 8 – just don’t lose too much sleep over it though.

What’s more important is taking or making an image which pleases you, the photographer. If it gives pleasure to others and scores well in club competitions, then all well and good. If you like the image and enjoyed all that went in to producing the finished result, then I think that is the best result of all.

So here is my selection.

Firstly the two Projected Images.

Sand dunes at East Head - version 2 'flipped'

…..and secondly the two prints.
Arches in Reflection - Salisbury Cathedral

An Artist drawing one of the Silver Arrows

And the winner is? ……. the results will be posted in the next blog entry.

PS – Did anyone mention that of course I would like to win!!!

Now for sale on Getty Images

Just over a week ago I received a very unexpected email. It was from Getty Images via Flickr and it simply said that they had identified twenty of my images which they would like to licence for sale through their Getty Images site.

My initial reaction was one of surprise, then I felt flattered after which I started to think about the implications. I had obviously heard of Getty Images, it’s world famous, but the number of images for sale must run into millions, so the chances of one of my images being selected by a buyer or publisher must be very slim.

Then the questions started. Did I want to enter into a legal agreement with Getty? What would be the benefit? How much might I earn from a single sale? Would it be worth all the bother for little or more likely, no return? Were there better photo stock libraries I should consider using before making a commitment? Would I need a model release for any of the images which included people?

I talked to a few people I knew and read the pros and cons on one or two forums on the internet. In the end I decided that I had nothing to lose and that I would register as a Getty Contributor and in effect ‘go for it!’ After all, photography is not my profession, I am simply a very enthusiastic amateur and if I receive any royalties, at least it would help fund what is turning into a rather expensive hobby. Given how much commission they pay the photographer, it will definitely not make rich.

I also established that if I wanted to publish a book of my own work in the future, that providing the numbers sold didn’t exceed 500, then I could include images which were licensed to Getty. Chance would be a fine thing I thought! I could also enter a ‘Getty image’ into a competition,  – LPOTY for example – without it contravening the agreement.

So today I started the process of uploading the first few images of the twenty they had selected. This proved to be a quite straight forward process and now the first of my images is for sale on their site……and just to prove it, here is a screen grab of a Gardener at West Dean Gardens which I shot lost year.

20130503-Getty west dean garderner screen shot.jpg

I shall continue uploading some more images, and keep my eyes open for the first sale…….I will not be holding my breath though, nor giving up the day job!

I have of course been wondering how they came to notice my Photostream on Flickr. Well it has to be the ‘Lone Sheep’ image on the Flickr Blog which appeared a week of so ago and I wrote about in my last blog entry.

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