Tonight I noticed some mentions of an Aurora storm going on and being visible as far south as Tayside. With that I grabbed my camera and took a quick test shot out of my bedroom window.
Imagine my surprise to see what the camera picked up while there was lights from a few neighbours houses. Sadly I couldn’t go far, as I had the car battery on charge so I grabbed the tripod and a warm jacket before heading off to see what I could see. I really should have taken a torch but forgot so ended up wandering around the fields/country lanes out the back of my house on the edge of Dundee, not easy to change settings etc in the dark! That’s my excuse for not really liking these images but I share them anyway for anyone else that didn’t manage to see it for themselves.
Here is a selection of the images I got tonight:
I even managed a couple of selfies:
So whilst out at the Dundee Observatory a few nights ago I wasn’t exactly inspired by my surroundings. Because of this I deliberately started bracketing my shots with the aim of playing around and creating some HDR images. I’ve done a little of this in the past but haven’t been overly impressed with my results.
Here is an example of the sorts of images I was getting in the past:
Not very interesting and certainly doesn’t grab your attention. To create this image I was simply using the HDR feature within Photoshop but I’ve kept hearing that this doesn’t give good results, certainly against other software. So I finally decided to go and find something else to try.
I’d heard about both Photomatix and HDR efex Pro, but as soon as I saw a video showing how well HDR efex Pro works with Lightroom (almost seamlessly) I knew that was the one I wanted to try first. I downloaded a trial and here is a couple of images I created using it:
(Using the same 3 images as the Photoshop image before)
They may still not be very inspiring and I could do with spending more time learning how to better use this software but it is faster to use and even the basic images created are far better than those produced using Photoshop.
I am very happy so far with my little experiment and I can see myself using it more and more in order to create some different images to what I normal produce.
This week a few of us headed out for an evening shoot. Seeing as my lovely wife is very near her due date we couldn’t venture too far from home for me, with this the Dundee Observatory was suggested and as non of us had been that’s where we went.
Turns out that there is no views to be had from up on the hill, too many trees, so it doesn’t make a very good daylight location. This shows by the lack of decent images any of us got. We did all come to the conclusion that it would make a great winter/dark night location to light up the building or do star trails.
Anyway the images I took that are keepers:
Today was a bit of a special day for me and one I’ve waiting on for a long time. Yes you might think I’m sad but I don’t care, why? I’ll tell you why.
I grew up in a house that overlooks the main East Coast mainline (that’s the railway for those that don’t know) but more specifically overlooked a big shed that housed an express passenger steam locomotive – the Union of South Africa (60009). So for years everytime the engine was being taken out it sat where I could see it from the living room window for a couple of hours heating the water in the boiler until it was up to steam. Of course being a kid watching from a window wasn’t good enough when I could be out there over the road watching it up close. And that is what I did many times during my childhood. Until one sad day, the day I watched this loco being loaded onto a flatbed truck and driven down south, that day way sometime in May 1994 and I haven’t seen that engine since…..
That was until today. Today was the first time she has come north of Fife, today was the day she hauled a train from back from Aberdeen to Edinburgh and today the first time I’ve seen her in almost 20 years.
Unfortunately she wasn’t hauling the tour up to Aberdeen but I thought she was still going up with it. It turned out that she got hauled up an hour before by a diesel loco so sadly at lunchtime I had to make do with a Class 5 loco pulling the Great Britain VI:
But I did know that later the Union of South Africa was hauling the train on the return trip so I took position at the south end of the Tay Rail Bridge and waited. First to appear was the diesel loco that went north with the Class 5 earlier:
Then a little while later I heard the distinct whistle of the A4 class locos before seeing her in the distance making the approach to the north end of the bridge. Robert (Robert Garside Photography) who was with me managed to get a good spot looking right along the bridge:
Meanwhile I was on higher ground and balancing one foot on a stepladder the other on a very shoogly fence post:
After this we jumped in the car and made the most of the 20minute stop at Leuchars so found a position towards Dairsie further down the line so we could get another pass:
Ok so some of you might still think I’m sad, but I don’t care as I’m happy 🙂
Note – most of these images and others are available to order either direct from myself (using the contact page) or via Photo4Me
Had a rare opportunity to go for a wonder around an abandoned and derelict mill in Dundee.
The building has sat empty for as long as I can remember but it’s clear that it’s not only pigeons that have been in over this time. The mill is due to be converted into flats (as so many mills in Dundee have) so it was good timing to visit now.
Here’s a selection of images but more will be uploaded here later:
Whilst out on a shoot with a mate I took the opportunity to take some quick shots of a few Dundee landmarks. Why? Just because I could and I just thought I’d share them now:
It was another cold dark wintery night, sounds about right for an evening shoot with the folks over on PK Perspective and Baked Tatties. This time Dundee was the destination (not far for me to travel then) mainly the Tay Road Bridge both the Fife side and the Dundee side down at City Quay.
Given how dark it was there was little to shoot on the Fife side other than the bridge itself and the views across to Dundee and along the coast to Broughty Ferry beyond the docks, with a few stars through in:
Back on the Dundee side of the bridge there was more to capture, ranging from the Apex Hotel, the Frigate Unicorn, another footbridge across the harbour, the listed dock sheds that are now mainly places to eat or offices, the Clock Tower that has just been refurbished into luxury flats to, surprise surprise, the Tay Road Bridge again:
Not exactly the images I had planned to get (I had visions of finding a high point about a busy road and trying out long exposures of the traffic passing by) but I did get some I really liked. My other ideas can wait until another day and another shoot, preferably on a warmer night (i.e. not when it’s 2 degrees again!).