Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sunset over Loughor Estuary – Gower Peninsula

It had been a long day. After a 4.00am start to reach the location for a longterm project I am working on for my own entertainment, getting up Cilifor Top to get these images seemed a bit harder than normal. The heat didn’t help, plus I had more equipment than I needed for these images in the camera bag. I could have emptied it out and left some in the truck, but I am always wary of it being stolen. Plus I’m the sort of person who carries two kitchen sinks with them, just in case one isn’t enough!

The sunset had been quite spectacular the previous few evenings. The air had been very clear with no haze or pollution and the colours had been very pure, maybe a bit plain for some with no clouds to add interest, but still worth a photo or two. I like photographing at the end of the day and I don’t get too hung up on trying to retain detail in all areas of the image. I am quite happy with solid blocks of colour and a more graphic quality to the images.

When the sun is above the horizon, the level of contrast in the scene is very high and usually detail in the shadows is lost. Once the sun has dropped below the horizon, you get much less contrast, but also a brief period when light levels actually increse for a short time (as mentioned in other posts).

I hadn’t realised at the time, but there were not very many lights switched on in Llanelli and Burry Port. Within 10 minutes of packing the gear up, they were all lit up. I was tempted to unpack the gear and take a few more images, but tiredness was too much and I needed to get home to sleep. Hence the influence for the image below. The clear sky allowed an almost distortion free view of the surface of the moon. Goodnight.

Macro Day – Ilston Valley, Gower Peninsula

Typically it turned into a sunny and slightly windy day for the Macro course. Ideally we would have had some cloud, but it allowed me to show a few ways of over coming the light and weather conditions. We had a great choice of floral subjects with Ramsons, Bluebells and Wood Anemones, amongst others, in bloom. Unfortunately insect life was limited to one bee and a few flies, but bark textures and back-lit leaves gave some variation. Roger spotted some resin oozing out of a felled tree trunk, which on closer examination had a myriad of colours reflected in it, from the blue sky above to the orange of the underlying wood. It shows that with your eyes fully open to the opportunities around you, the macro world is a great place to spend some time!

A quick demo of the portable field studio, my portable “cloud” i.e fold up reflector and the use of extension tubes were the only interruptions, apart from lunch in the Gower Inn,  Nigel, Malcolm, Jeff, Sandra, Rhian, Steve and Roger who joined us later had to put up with while they took their own pictures. I only took about 10 images, so haven’t got a huge variation to choose from, but these are some from the field studio and how to take macro pictures without a macro lens demonstration.

The different tones of green this time of year make an interesting subject in their own right and hopefully a few more images will be possible for my dominant image colour project.


(For those of you wondering on how to take macro pictures without a macro lens, it requires extension tubes and ideally a fixed focal length lens to make life easier. Images above taken with 300mm F2.8 lens and stacked 36, 20 & 12mm extension tubes)

Park Woods, Gower Peninsula


I was visiting Park Woods to get a few photos together for examples of the various techniques that we will be covering on my Macro photography day course. It proved entertaining for the walkers, as I was most commonly found lying in a ditch or flat out amongst the woods framing up a wild flower or two.

The above image was taken with the outdoor studio technique promoted by Scottish nature photographer, Niall Benvie. Using two off camera flashguns you can get a studio look to images taken out in the field. As the power of the flashguns has increased over the years, it is now quite amazing what you can do with them that previously required the use of full studio flash kits. It was never fun lugging these around the countryside for outdoor work, plus getting power was always a problem.

A little bit of audio for you to give you a sense of the environment:

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The variation of green leaves at this time of year is very apparent, as the new growth comes through. Later on in June/July, they start to loose this and blend into similar shade of green and becoming less interesting.

I had other plans to produce some other images, but a bout of vomiting and diarrhoea, then a heavy cold and sinusitis put paid to any more photography. I must be getting old as I normally never catch anything!