I have been asked to stage an exhibition of my photographs at Cafe Connect for March and April. When I say I was asked I think what happened was that the watercolourist who is exhibiting said that she couldn't fill the entire gallery space. This happened last week when my partner Jill was there so she volunteered me. Anyway just over a week to get things together is tight. The photos are going up n 5th March. I spent two days just trying to think of a theme for the exhibition. Over the weekend it came to me. The tittle is to be 'Maelstrom'. The images will be selected from those I took when the young people of Fraserburgh took to the streets and with the help of Theatre Modo put on a fantastic parade called 'Maelstrom'. Here are some of those images that will not be in the exhibition.
Love them or loath them wind turbines can make for good images. I suspect its a bit like the big round straw bales you see in fields. When they first started to appear they were thought to be ugly. Now no one seems to bat an eyelid when they see one. And I'd like to bet that 90% of photographers have at least one big round bale image in their portfolio.
Well, not only do we have big round bales in the field over the garden fence we now have a wind turbine up the road. Both providing photo opportunities.
Over the last week I have been experimenting using a Neutral Density filter. It is the type that screws onto the lens and part of it rotates to provide a variable degree of darkness. One of the problems that I have faced is after I have set up the shot and then need to rotate the filter to get the darkness the focus goes off. Alister Henderson, a FPS member has been giving me advice about all of this. So very soon I will be able to put up a finished image. As it is all that I can do is show you 'work in progress'
Thursday was the print competition
Paul Woodburn took a clean sweep of the places. To see the report click here. My three entries are here
The judge did not like the bloom in the background at the top of the image but made favourable remarks about the border. It scored 14.
Bring Me Sunshine
He liked to sun ray effect but the print was badly presented. It was a letterbox image on a A4 paper so there were white spaces top and bottom, and 'noise detracted from the crispness of the shot. It scored 15
The judged liked the colours but felt the printing was flat. It scored 16.
Here are a few more images I took in the past few days
Sunday 17th February
Starting bright and early three members of Fraserburgh Photographic Society, Stuart Fenty, Brian Sandison and myself together with Michelle Scott and Fiona Gordon Buchan set off on a tour of the Moray coast. Cameras, lenses, tripods , spare batteries and memory cards, clothing for any weather, and lunches were packed in the back of Stuarts five seater Mercedes van. The weather was excellent all day. The goal of the expedition was to photograph dolphins at Fort George and take in what we could on the way.
First stop was Cullen
Stuart, with help from everyone else found a spot to park that gave easy access to the Cullen Viaduct footpath. The only problem with the sunshine was the dark shadows it cast over the town.
The next stop was Boat o' Brig near Rothes. Now I know that it is inland but it was worth the detour. Stuart found it looking at Google Maps and Street View. Her two metal bridges cross the river Spey.
We stopped for lunch in Elgin. Stuart found Coopers Park. and was able to stop the van by the boating loch. Although this was just an ordinary town centre park the wildlife that it attracted made the lunch stop a photo opportunity as well. There were Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Moorhens, Mute Swans and a variety of Gulls but the star attractions were a Muscovy Duck and a Mandarin Duck. The Mandarin was so special it had made it into the local papers.
Fort George was the most disappointing part of the journey. There were no dolphins. However we took advantage of what photo opportunities there were.
Portknockie was the next and most spectacular stop. With the sun sinking fast and the light fading we made our way to the Bow Fiddle Rock. Everyone said that they would have to return and capture the atmosphere in different conditions.
And that was to be the end of the tour.... until just over Banff Bridge Stuart did a quick turn left into the car park. It was dark but he had spotted the lights of Banff across the bay and decided that this was one last chance to fill up the memory cars. By the way we did surprise a few couples in steamed up cars who were also using the car park.
And so back to the Broch and stating to plan the next photographic tour?
My apologies to Michelle Scott for doing this blog before I have got her images. I will post them when I can.
Here are some other images I took since the last posting.
Loch of Strathbeg RSPB reserve
It has been some time since I have been to the Loch of Strathbeg RSPB reserve. but I managed to get there on Saturday. I arrived at the Fen Hide car park only to meet Brian Sandison a fellow FPS member. Brian was up way before me. He had put in a couple of ours of bird watching and photography and was just leaving to go to other parts of the reserve. He showed me some of the images he had captured and hopefully he will put some on his gallery page.
When I got to the Fen Hide (after wading through the muddy path) there was very little bird life but stunning views of the reserve on one of those rare days in the NE Scotland - one with no wind.
I have set up a table with a rock and a log on top near the patio doors so that I can get some close ups of the garden birds. It seems to be quite effective but unfortunately only attracts a small proportion of the species that visit the garden. I either need to set up something with a hide a bit further away from the house and give up the luxury of being able to sit in the warm while taking the photographs or experiment with a wider variety of food on the table. At the moment I am only putting mixed seed there and a few old cranberries.
The foliage is the Christmas tree didn't find its way to the recycling but instead found a second use.
One little bit of 'other stuff' that I tried was top compose a 'funny' image of nutcrackers. Everyone tells that it isn't really funny and the image somehow don't work. What do you think?
FPS Monthly Competition No 4
Here are the images I put in for this competition
scored 17. The judge quite liked it saying that it was well shot. the subject nicely positioned it was sharp with good depth of field.
scored 15. The judge didn't like this one. Although he liked the colours it was over exposed, there is a shadow that shouldn't be there and it would have been more dynamic if it had been shot at an angle with the mast leading into on of the corners of the shot. I will go back to the Dobhran one day and see if I can make these changes just to see what its like. This was one of my first attempts at HDR having found a program in my Canon software. The very first one didn't work at all but this one did and I was quite proud of it. The lesson to learn is just because you have mastered a new skill doesn't mean that you should forget old ones.
Two Boats Tied to One Bollard
scored 16. The suggestions that the judge made for improving this one were to frame it in portrait so that is wasn't so tightly cropped at the top and so that more bollard could be included in the shot. He felt that this would have given more emphasis to the ropes leading up to the boats. He also said that the metal rail and the tube should be excluded.
Her is a selection of other images I have taken recently
I'm Mike, I am the (Self appointed!) web master for Fraserburgh Photographic Society (FPS). I started taking photography seriously a couple of years ago and joined Fraserburgh Photographic Society