One of the FPS activities that does not appear on the programme of events are the ad hoc photo shoots that take place. There was one this weekend. They went to the Boat of Garten, Lin of Dee and Falle of Feugh. Here are some of the images they brought back..
These trips are great to go on. For a start with a bunch of you taking photos with all the gear you don't feel as much a geek as you would on your own. Collectively you can find the best locations and the best angles to shoot from. You can share ideas and discuss 'how to do it' and finally its good fun.
Meantime I was doing a trip of my own to Oban for a mini family reunion. As far as the water goes I got much the same sort of shots as the photo trip guys
That was on the way there. On the second day we went standing stone and stone circle hunting and found a castle as well.
In the evening I tried to get Oban at Night without getting the killer shot
And on the way home more water an some bits and pieces
Fraserburgh Photographic Societys' 2013/4 season has kicked off. There are some new members - including two women - lets hope they stay and that more women join them. It would be great if we got some younger members as well.
North East Open Studios (NEOS)
Three weeks of the month was taken up with NEOS. Many photographers featured in the catalogue including FPS member Paul Woodburn. Interestingly there were three of the regions Photographic Clubs featured as well. Visions Camera Club, Bon Accord Camera Club ,both based in Aberdeen, and Donside Camera Club based in Alford all had NEOS exhibitions. I was only able to gt to the Visions Camera Club where there was an impressive display of work.
The Final Super Saturday of 2013
The theme of the Super Saturday on 14th September was 'Farming'. So we had sheep and tractors in Saulton Square and a bumper variety of stalls and by popular demand the climbing wall
I was engaged to take wedding photographs at the Lighthouse Museum. A lot of pressure - you have to get it right because ithe Bride and Groom won't do it again! Hopefully they liked the end results
You will see from the last of these wedding photos that it has been messed about a bit. One of the processes used was 'Tone Mapping'. This is a technique available in a program called Photomatrix. It also does HDR imaging. With tone mapping you can bring out detail in an image that is lost in the original image but nevertheless there in the digital information. Its best to use RAW images for this because RAW retains more of the digital information than say jpeg. To how you what I mean here are two versions of the same exposure. One 'straight from the camera', the other processes with tone mapping
I took these today at Rosehearty and have processed them quickly. There are an infiite number of variations of image that can be produced in Photomatrix. The on above is just one. Some club members have been using this or something similar for sometime but we have Stuart Fenty to thank for bringing it to a wider club membership. One note of caution, the process produces bib picture files.
Moray Coast Geology
The youngest daughter came to visit during the month. One of the trips we went on was along the Moray Coast looking at geological features. She had a National Geological Survey web site on her smartphone that told us what rocks we would encounter as we travelled and enabled us to find geological 'hot spots'
I did my best trying to take half decent images.
Aden County Park Vintage Tractor Working Day
This took place on 30th September and provided some great photo opportunities. Theres been a lot going on up here in the last few months.
And to finish off here are a few more images I have taken in September. By the way if you have managed to read the blog this far please make a comment. No one has since I started doing it!
After a summer break the blog will be up and running again until next summer. I hope you like the new blog layout and will enjoy looking through the site content and the new images on some of the pages.
Is Fraserburgh Dead?
According to some quoted in our local paper the Press and Journal it is. Thats not how I see things. There have been things to do for people of all ages during the summer. Here are just a few of the images of the events and places to go
Sandhaven Meal Mill
Lifeboat Open Day
Vintage Car Rally (the first image is the stall of Paul Woodburn a member of Fraserburgh Photographic Society and his partner Lisa. Paul did a roaring trade selling his prints.)
The First Super Saturday. A market with something extra. The theme was Heritage and Fishing and it brought large crowds into the town centre, some stall holders had sold out by lunchtime.
Ever been to Troup Head? Its a spectacular sea bird colony with the only mainland nesting Gannets in Scotland. I went by boat as a guest of Stuart Fenty an FPS member but you can get to the top of the cliffs as well
The theme for the second Super Saturday was 'Sport'. There was lots for the kids to try out and lots of advice for adults. Local entertainment was provided and again stalls slod out quickly/
Locals and visitors alike enjoyed the sun, sand and surf at Fraserburgh beach.
Fraserburgh RBL Pipe Band put on a good show at the contest in Aden Country Park
Great fun at Willows Animal Sanctuary
Super Saturday number three and the theme is 'Luxury Food'. Cooking demonstrations, food sampling and food to buy, you couldn't ask for more. But again the early birds ensured that some stalls had sold out by lunch time.
There have been three big running events and numerous other sporting activities taking place all summer
And there were lots more events I didn't get to so I can't show any pictures.
Who said Fraserburgh was dead? Certainly not any of thousands of people who attended the summers activities.
Well what else have I been up to
A trip to the west coast:-
I took some photographs of a Viking wedding in the dunes at Rattray and a more conventional wedding at the Lighthouse museum.
A trip to Edinburgh calling at Scone Place on the way back
What did you do this summer?
HDR, High Dynamic Range
Here is an HDR image of a bridge over the Tay near Coupar Angus
Here are the three images that were used to make it. One correctly exposed, one under exposed and the third over exposed. (I cloned out the barbed wire). Merging these three in HDR software produces an image that takes the correctly exposed parts of each to make the final HDR image. The HDR software also allows you to tweak the image an a variety of ways and each HDR programme will differ. I am using the software that comes with Canon cameras. Photoshop provide a Photomerge Exposure process but without the ability to tweak.
Here are a couple of extreme tweaks ( I have left the wire in for quickness).
There is no right or wrong to what you do. If you like what you have created using the HDR programme of your choice then that's OK.
You can also use the HDR programme for a single exposure just so you can use the tweaky bits. Here is another HDR image that came from a single exposure which is alongside it. There may be a way of producing this effect directly in Photoshop but I have not found it.
I went to Troup Head in the week. This is an RSPB reserve and is the only place in Scotland where gannets breed on the mainland.
The flight shots were taken with with a 70 - 300 mm lens the camera set on 'Sports Mode'. This has the advantage over a manual setting of being able to maintain focus while panning and making adjustments when the background changes. The land based ones were taken with a 70 - 300 mm lens and 2x teleconverter having to use manual focus. Even with a tripod it was difficult to keep things steady.
On the way home I took these images just for fun
To Edinburgh- the long way, and back.
My other great adventure since the last entry was a trip to the capital to help my daughter move flats. I set off early and took the long route taking wildlife images on the way.
Having move the daughter I went to the Scottish Bird Fair at Hopetoun House. I attended various talks and visited few stands and went on a wildllife photography 'walk' with Laurie Campbell. (Click here to find out who he is if you don't know).
Before coming home I went round the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens
And I will end the blog with a few of the other images I have taken recently, can you see which have been HDRed. Some are easy to spot others no so easy.
It was the Societies annual dinner and presentation night yesterday. Alister Henderson got the 'Photographer of the Year' award. It was well deserved if only for the advice he has given me about slow shutter speed photography
I was the winner of the new trophy for the most points in the print and themed competitions. The report is here
There was a bird ringing demonstration at the Loch of Strathbeg at the weekend. It was fascinating to see how it was done and to find out why it is done. We were told that on harm is caused to the birds in the ringing process nor does it affect their life after ringing. It was a great opportunity to get to see the birds close up.
One strange thing was that the ringers were used to people wanting to take photographs at demonstrations. They even had a way of holding the birds in what they called the photographic pose. This was so that you could see the plumage detail.
But as a photographer I want to see the face and try to get a catch light in the eye. I know that for competitions birds in the hand would not go down very well anyway but seeing the face does make for a better picture
Here are some more images of the process. Catching the birds in a net, taking them to the ringing station in a bag, being weighed, and getting the ring.
Jill is an artist and like doing her take on wild often taking inspiration from photographs.
Anyway we were watching a programme on telly the other night about wildlife in the Hebrides and she said there good pictures can you take a photograph, so I did.
OK I was just getting something for Jill to use down in her studio/drinking parlour but with a bit more thought and so on you could probably get a half decent image of something that you normally would have a hope of seeing let alone capturing. What I want to know is 'would it be cheating?'
Here are a few of my recent images
A right mixture of a blog this time.
Daughter, her partner (Jill calls him a 'Son Outlaw' because he's not a son in law) and two grandson came for a few days. The weahter was just about good enough to get out and about.
I've been round before but thanks to a good tour guide, Micheal Strachen, I learnt some new things. We had a good lunch at the cafe as well. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Just as the tour ended we were treated to a fly past. Four jets in formation flying high over Kinnaird Head in a NE direction. I've not read anywhere that we launched a bombing raid on Norway, perhaps they are keeping it quiet.
Aden Country Park
Another good day out. Another good lunch in the cafe. We seem to be good at that sort of thing in Buchan. The tree stump seemed to be the best bit for the kids.
And I have got to remember to use fill in flash when taking picture of people on bright sunny days.
On the Beach
And in the garden
Flying kites. It was the big kid that had all the fun, the two little ones hardly got a look in.
The next biggest thing to happen was my purchase of a new (second hand) Canon 70 - 300 mm IS USM lens. As I have only had it for three days I am still getting used to it. Here are a few of the first images.
Yesterday was the 'Grampian Eye' competition for all the camera clubs in the region. This link will take you to my report of the event. It was held in Stonehaven so four of us took advantage of visiting Dunnottar Castle. Armed with my new lens and the 18 - 55 mm lens as well these are some of the images I took. Stuart Fenty has posted some on Facebook as well.
And in time honoured fashion here are a selection of other images I have taken recently
This Sunday four intrepid members of Fraserburgh Photographic Society embarked on the second photographic road trip of the year.
With Stuart Fenty at the wheel, Alister Henderson, Lewis Duthie and myself set out from thr Broch just after 8.00 in the morning. Having consulted the weather map the fearless band avoided the forecast rain of the upper Dee Valley and instead went towards the micro climate of the Moray Coast.
Our first call was at an old railway bridge at Garmouth on the river Spey. Stuart had found the location using Google Maps/Google Earth. As he said 'just driving down the road you qouln't know it was there'
You can see from the raised umbrella that the Moray Coast micro climate was not treating us that well. The rain fell in spits and spots all morning, but in the afternoon we had to endure sunshine. This played havoc with getting exposures right.
Boat o' Brig
From Garmouth we went to an old haunt - Boat o' Brig - avid followers of this blog will recall that this was on the itinerty of the first of these photo trips. Alister complained that there were too many trees!!
Now the expedition ventured further inland and following the Spey up river our next stop was Craigellachie Bridge and more spits and spots of rain. Ther was so much photographic choice here that I'm sure I missed some good opportunities. Well I know I did because Alister has put a great image on facebook of a snowcapped Ben Rinness looking through one of the arches leading up to the main bridge. I suspect he found the view as a consiquence of sheltering from the rain.
We saw the snow covered mountains when we were at Garmouth but the were not to be seen at the Boat o' Brig, here they looked a lot closer. My images of the bridge and snow take a wider view.
Bridge of Avon
Continuing towards the source of the River Spey we stopped of at the Bridge of Avon. For anyone who knows the A95 this is a spectacular place. The road twists and turns going down hill and you are confronted with this view of a great little bridge spanning a gorge with a gatehouse at the other side. Just a few metres further down the road there is a 'Swiss Chalet' of a building in green and white. You know where I mean now don't you. Stuart our driver and navigator had [pre planned the visit and turning off to the right just before the bridge parked at the gatehouse (ignoring the no entry signs). More should be made of this place. There was one family group looking around but no one else ( I hope the tourism powers that be take note of this). Alister was still complaining about too many trees.
Old Grantown Bridge
Continuing up the Spey valley our fourth stop was the old Spey Bridge at Grantown on Spey. So ignoring the signs 'No parking beyond this point' and 'Wear you life jackets' we searched the area for the 'perfect shot'. The weather had now brightened up , as the forecasters at the met office had predicted, and with bright sunshine in line with the bridge it made it difficult to fine the right place to take photographs. This was also the welcome lunch break.
Every adventure, no matter how well planned must have a little surprise. Dava and the bridges over the Dorback Burn was the one for this trip. Leaving Grantown on Spey we headed over the moors to the Findhorn Valley. We were all looking for the photogenic lone tree in the moorland but if it was there it eluded us. Coming off the moor we arrived at Dava and noticed the road went over a deed gorge. Something inside Stuart says 'Bridge' on these occasions, and he was right. Not one but two. A small road bridge over a deep gorge as pretty as any you care to mention and an impressive railway viaduct. It is a 'must go back' place. None of us had taken a tripod when we went to explore and we know that if we had there would have been better images to come away with. So there is a lesson for us all - go prepared for anything and everything.
The next stop was planned - Logie Steading and Randolphs' Leap. Logie Steading is a tourist stop. There is a cafe, antiques shop, designer furniture, a book shop, an art gallery, childrens' play park, gardens and riverside walks leading to Randolphs' Leap. (It also had some welcome toilet facilities). Apparantly it was Alastair Cumming who did the leaping but as is the way of things it was Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray who won the day so it's his name that is remembered. The Leap was across the river Findhorn where the rocky banks are very close.
Bow Fiddle Rock
Bow Fiddle Rock was the final stop of this epic journey. It is a place you can never tire of, it is different every time you visit. Surprisingly neither Alister nor Lewis had been there before. I suspect it ill not be their last.
Avid blog readers will recall that this was a stop off point on the last trip. Just to show how different a [lace can be here is an image from that trip
And so we arrived back in the Broch, exhausted but better for the experience. And here are my fellow travellers taking photograph
No doubt anyone who has got to the end of that epic tale is as exhausted as we were so no more of the blog other than to follow custom and show you a few of the images from the last week or two.
The Sovereign is a wrecked fishing boat off Cairnbulg Harbour. It has featured in this blog a few times. In the 'Perfect Storm' of 15th December 2012 it was shifted by the waves some 200 meters closer to the harbour. The other day when I was down there the tide was a long way out and I thought thet I would be able to walk right up to the wreck and get some good close up photos. Alas there is a deep channel that stopped me getting really close. However here are some of the images I took.
My other mini photographic jaunt was to Peterhead where there is a flock of up to 50 Waxwings feeding on apples put out in the garden, other birds also took advantage of the feast.
Waxwings breed in the conifer forests of the high north. They winter further south and a few find their way to these islands and are regular winter visitors to Aberdeen where they eat berries from ornamental shrubs in gardens and other open spaces. Sometimes there are 'eruptions when several thousand reach these shores.
Here are some more bird pictures I have taken over the past few days
You will see elsewhere on this site that the winners of the 6th, and final monthly competition of the season were announced you can see the winning entries by following this link. It was interesting to see that five of the entries, including the winner 'Mandarin Duck, Elgin' by Stuart Fenty, came from the photographic tour of the Moray coast on 17th February. There is a write up on the tour in the 19th Feb blog.
Here are my entries to the competition
I'm please to say that the Oystercatcher image is now being used as the banner on the World Seabird Union Facebook page
Finaly here is a selection of images from the past couple of weeks
Well just one actually. Every so often you just have to move everything from under the bed and give it a good old clean. I did that a few days ago and came across a mummified bat. After a bit of detective work it has been identified as a pipistrelle. How it got there is any ones guess. Mine is that it was roosting in the loft, went for a walk about and couldn't get back. Before Christmas we had insulation fitted so it may have been disturbed by that.
Definitely the plural. We get up to fifty starlings descending on the bird table every morning. They polish off most of the food within minutes.
But for some time I have been trying to find out where they roost at night so I can see and hopefully photograph a murmuration. Well recently I found one not far away and got my pictures
Then a couple of days later on my morning walk I came across another morning murmuration occupying a pylon
The other place where I have seen large numbers of starlings is Cairnbulg Harbour
The themed competition held recently was about 'Weather' and there has been a lot of it about. I got First, Third and a joint fourth place for my three entries.You can see the first and second here . I took quite a few images of the weathher before deciding on which three to put in. Here is the third one
and here are a few of the ones I did not use
Here are a few miscellaneous images I have taken in the last couple of weeks
The Results of the 5th monthly competition were announced on Thursday. To see the report and see the winning images click here. The reason for including it in the blog is for you to see the images I submitted.
The kittiwake scored 16 out of 20. The judge said that the composition was 'not too bad' 'nice detail in the feathers' 'I might have waited to see if the bird would have turned a bit towards the camera'
George Richie scored 11. disparagingly described as 'a record shot of a this guy leading the walk' 'hands are too dominant' 'I would like to have seen a full frontal on the face'
Zach scored 9 out of 20. 'This is ore an art type than photography' ' to be quite honest I find it quite distracting' 'This is not for me and certainly not for competition'
So there you have it.. Take photographs full frontal and when you do don't over manipulate. I wonder what he would have thought of Andy Warhols work?
Just a quick reminder that my exhibition of 'Maelstrom' pictures is now up in Cafe Connect
Loch Muick and ND Fliters
In my last blog I described the difficulites I was having with my Neutral density filter. These are the things that produce the milky water effect like that on Paul Woodburns 'Aberdeen Beach' currently on the home page of this site. Well I took the filter, and all my other gear to Loch Muick and I think I may have got the hang of it. Here are some water photos
And to round off the blog a selection of other images from the past two weeks
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