Stanwick Lakes – Update

Stanwick Lakes - Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

Stanwick Lakes – Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

Humph – As expected, the trust that runs Stanwick Lakes have declined my request to park on the complex overnight.  I guess that my next job will be finding parking places which are not on the main road and where the car will be safe but which are not too far for me to walk to the various locations.

I guess you could say that this project just got a whole lot harder.

@StanwickLakes #StanwickLakes

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Stanwick Lakes Update

Stanwick Lakes - Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

Stanwick Lakes – Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

This has been the first opportunity to get down to Stanwick Lakes.  Over the last few days I have either been time constrained or the weather has been less than favourable.  However, this evening I headed off to one of the spots that I hope to capture.

When I arrived, the sun was still high but in the right direction.  I therefore took the long way around the lake and spied a couple more promising sites for further dates.  Arriving at the shooting site, I set up the tripod and camera, with wide angle lens and filters and watched the sun slowly head toward the treeline.

I won’t be able to catch the sun as it drop behind the horizon because that is masked by a hill and the tree line.  However, I was pleased to see the cloud formation with an interesting swirl and I was hoping for a nice sunset of golden or red light.

Unfortunately, the gold and red did not come and by the time the sun dropped over the threes a large dark cloud have worked its way into the frame and across the centre.  Worse still, a high flying jumbo jet scored a line across the right of the frame and the double white streaks never really cleared from the image.  The result above will not be making the Flickr feed or my website.

I guess that this is what we call a blow-out shoot and one to come back to another time.

@StanwickLakes #StanwickLakes

Followed by a good, good day

Mono Lake Rainstorm  – Rain teems down form the heavens over the mountains alongside Mono Lake, Mammouth Lakes, CA, USA - Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

Mono Lake Rainstorm – Rain teems down form the heavens over the mountains alongside Mono Lake, Mammouth Lakes, CA, USA – Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

Had a good week at work and I have been out scouting for some photographic landscape sites near to home and I have found a few already.  Now I just need to get permission to park on the reserve overnight.

Then, I checked my results in three online free to enter photography competitions to find that I achieved 77th out of 1305 images, 44th out of 1236 and 46th out of 1836.  No finalist places but I’m happy enough to consistently be in the top 6% and to make the top 2.5% in one of the competitions.  All of these were images from my recent road trip around California.

Paul Reiffer, you are one hell of a tutor my friend :D.

A sad, sad day.

Prate ShipNo, as much as some of you might like to entertain the idea, I have not given up on photography just yet.  However, I am sad to say that the last of my chosen images from my trip to California in May has now been uploaded to Flickr and 500px and I guess this finally puts that amazing time with some great new friends behind me for the moment.

Back in May, I was immensely grateful to find myself packing for Las Vegas and a photography road trip being run by Paul Reiffer.  I’d be on the road with The Vig and Mark Hayden and it very quickly became obvious that the trip would consist of long days at some amazingly beautiful places.  The plan was to capture one or two good images each day and, under Paul’s expert guidance, I was pleased to secure at least one good image from every location that we visited.

Yes I made some mistakes and yes I would like to return to correct those mistakes, but for now I will have to settle for finding locations around my home and in the UK more widely.  Time is my enemy right now, but a two hour walk with the dog last night resulted in a few interesting sites that I hope to try to capture over the coming weeks.  I’ll be putting into practice what Paul taught me and hopefully I will have another series of images to accompany those online at the present time.

The feedback from friends and family was always going to be pretty good, well it always is for all of us.  However, the views and comments that I have received online and from complete strangers have been motivating to say the least.  I have tentatively entered a few of the images for some online competitions and made the top 10% in a few of them – with a little more work I hope to one day place a finalist image.

If you wish to review the complete showcase form my Californian road trip, it can now be seen on Flickr.

Finally a huge thank you to the person that enabled me to take this trip and just as big a thank you to Paul Reiffer for his brilliant pre-trip advice, his expert tuition and his motivation that has taken my landscape photography to new heights.

Volume 2 – Stanwick Lakes

Stanwick Lakes - Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

Stanwick Lakes – Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

Following my trip to California, I am now making plans for several volumes of images from areas of the UK.  The first of which will be shot locally at Stanwick Lakes.  This will hopefully get me out and practicing more and more with the aim to get images just as good as those in the US.

I plan to blog my year getting out and about and this will include the highs and the lows.

So today, was the first of many days that I’ll be heading down to Stanwick to checkout possible sites and then to try to catch good light as the season change.

The Stanwick Lakes complex is made up of a number of lakes that resulted from local clay pits that were dug when the surrounding towns and villages were built.  An old disused railway line path (no tracks) runs along the back of the complex and well maintained paths run right around all of the lakes.  This makes the complex popular with walker, cyclists and runners.  Not so many dog walkers owing to the need to keep dogs on leads and out of the water.

I only had a couple of hours to play with this evening, but I have already found a few reasonable sites and of course there is the visitors centre with its modern aspect and the old barn buildings at the far end of the complex and actually out of the nature reserve area.

One thing that became evident is that I will ideally need a central base from which to work.  Because the reserve closes overnight and the bar is dropped before sunset and it is not opened until after sunrise, I might need to seek permission to park overnight – otherwise it will involve some very long walks.

For now, it’s home and time to send a quick email to the trust.

@StanwickLakes #StanwickLakes

Eclipse at Rushden’s Party in the Park

Rushden's Party In The ParkWhat a way to spend a birthday, weekly shopping in the morning and then photographing a couple of sessions at Party in the Park and some of the birds of prey as well.

The first part of the afternoon was spent photographing one of the ballet routines for one of the mums.  I’m not permitted to upload those images but it was interesting trying to shoot one of the younger girls at the back of the stage and in deep shade, whilst all around the sun beamed down.  Despite the conditions, I captured a few reasonable images and the best of the bunch is sitting on my desk drying ready for framing a little later.

It was then off to Eclipse and the main reason for me being at this years Party In The Park.  Eclipse would be performing three routines and they began with Acro followed by one of the first public outings for the Cheer squad.  Both were shot wide angle to try to capture the full width of the routines whilst sitting relatively up close.  Some of the parents got some good shots also, so I think that we have all the bases covered.

The final routine was the senior display squad.  This was all trampette work and I took advantage of some decent light for once and again got in really close with the wide angle lens to get some good action shots.  I opted for a smaller F-Stop to get a good depth of field and next time I’ll wind it out a little more to blur the large crowd that was watching.  However, I like the images with the crowd because it gives some depth and purpose to the images at this well attended event.

I was unable to stay for the second falconry display, but whilst there I took the opportunity to grab a few images of the birds or prey on their stands and resting between flying sessions.  some of those images will find their way onto my website very soon and maybe one or two onto my Flickr feed.

All in all, another successful day out with the camera and roll on the next opportunity.