Queen Elizabeth Country Park Star Trails

Loving the clear winter sky’s recently! Snapped this beauty at Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Horndean earlier this week.

Milky Way over Hurst Castle

The Milky Way is something I’ve always wanted to photograph but needed to enthuse myself to get out and do it.

Recently on a camping trip in the New Forest I trekked out to Hurst Castle at about 1am and finally captured one!

This has ignighted a growing spark for astro-photography and I hope is the first of many!

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Inspiration from the sky

Took a trip to London at the weekend which is always fun and while our way to our intended show we came across an exhibition of aerial photography hosted at the Royal Geographical Society.  The collection consisted of many exciting photographs of parts of the United Kingdom taken from the air.

The thing that excited me most about this series of images is that it did not entirely consist of the beautiful ‘chocolate box’ views of this country that one would expect.  It instead had a wide range of subjects from the stunning examples of coastlines to the overwhelming views of power stations doing what they do.

The body of work really goes to show how diverse and historical this country is and that one doesn’t need to spend a fortune just to see some amazing and truly outstanding sights!

The show is free to visit and is hosted in the Royal Geographical Societies gardens until the 12th of July.  As it is an outdoor show, maybe pick your day depending on the weather but certainly worth a visit.IMG_3107IMG_3106

The Power of Filters

I love a good filter, whether it’s doing something fancy like extending your exposure or serving a purpose like a UV filter to protect the front element of your lens.  One of my particular favourite filters is a Circular Polar.  They serve a whole range of purposes which include helping to remove a shine from a surface like a glass cabinet (below) or to help pull some definition out in your landscape photographs.

The particular example, below, is from a recent and ongoing project photographing clouds but that’s a whole other series of posts.

You can buy ‘Polarising’ filters which serve the purpose of a Circular Polar filter when fully applied however I feel that the Circular variety allow for a lot more flexibility.  The image on the left of the above pair is an example of a Circular Polar filter being rotated to a position where it is not serving a purpose.  The clouds are softened and the blue of the sky is dulled slightly.

The example on the right of the above pair shows the filter fully rotated in to position.  The clouds are more defined and the blue is a lot richer. The image ‘pops’ a lot more.  The principle of a polarising filter could be compared to wearing a pair of sunglasses.  Next time you are outside on a sunny day, try taking your sunglasses off and on repeatedly while looking at some clouds.  You’ll notice a very similar affect to what we are doing here, but why do it?

In the image below I used a Circular Polar filter to add loads more drama to the sky while shooting this wedding.  The results are superb!Watermark-48

As with many filters, the type you buy is crucial! Although cheap filters can be desirable if you’re on a tight budget, you can never replicate the capabilities that can be obtained by a more expensive ‘branded’ filter.  I use a combination of Hoya and Cokin filters.  Hoya for ‘screw-in’ filters such as UVs or Circular Polars and then the Cokin square system for Neutral Density and a whole host of others to be covered in future posts!