VirtuallyGreyPhotoBlog

Over the last several years I've created a series of different photography blogs to cover various projects. In future all of my musings and postings about projects will be confined to just one blog location - this one here, hosted on my website. Earlier blogs will remain accessible (until Wordpress and/or Google decide otherwise). Select 'Links' above in the menu bar if you wish to see any of them. I occasionally use Twitter (@virtuallygrey) to notify of blog and website updates ... and nothing else.
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The Lake District & The Isle of Skye
23rd October 2017 - 0 comments
Just back from a week in the Lakes and a week on Skye. Only managed a little photography each week but did find one or two satisfying images. The northern lights showed up on our last night on Skye, only the second time I've seen them. Photos from The Lakes are linked here. Photos from Skye are linked here.


Aurora Borealis and The Plough (a.k.a. The Big Dipper)


A Mess of Pots


Fast and Furious


Morecambe Bay from Hampsfell

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The Cotswold Way - Day 6 - 19th September 2017 - Stanway to Beckbury Monument
22nd September 2017 - 0 comments
Another short evening walk which this time was a little less productive for my photography. And again, the evening seemed to bode well for a sunset of note - which ultimately fizzled out. But it's always good to hike. This stretch was where, on my last Cotswold Way hike project 8 years ago, I came face to face with a bull amongst a herd of cows and calves on the public footpath. The encounter was luckily located next to the only gap in the substantial hedge alongside the path … through which I dived, ripping my trousers on the barbed wire fence in the process. Otherwise, no damage done! Thankfully no bull, cows or calves this time ... the gap in the hedge has now closed.


The Malverns, Bredon Hill and Alderton and Dumbleton Hills


Once an Ash
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Quick Mask in Photoshop ...
07th September 2017 - 0 comments
I’ve been using Photoshop since 2001. I frequently use Quick Mask to make selections for localised editing. Today I discovered something about using Quick Mask that I wish I’d known 16 years ago. I’ve always used Quick Mask to paint in the area I want to edit but on converting the red masked area to a selection I’ve always had to invert it for my use. I’ve now discovered that the area painted red is optionally either the masked area OR the selected area. The option is available by double clicking the Quick Mask icon on the tool bar. Now, with the correct option selected I’ll never again need to invert the selection! You live and learn. I suspect every other Photoshop user knows that!
The Cotswold Way - Day 5 - 6th September 2017 - Stanton to Stanway
07th September 2017 - 0 comments
My evening hike - really an easy amble as there’s nothing challenging here - from Stanton to Stanway and back was all under the edge of the Cotswold escarpment with hardly any rises or falls. I was hoping for a memorable sunset to photograph which completely failed to materialise. I did however find a few smaller vignettes with which I’m pleased. I was delighted to find that the hand crafted kissing gate by Stanway watermill was still in good order since I last passed by on my previous Cotswold Way hike 8 years ago, indeed some fine restoration work had been done to maintain its character and function. Until my knees are in better shape I’ll continue to take nibbles out of the Cotswold Way rather than full bites. Now, no more references to my knees.



Footbridge


Count The Rings


St Peter's Church, Stanway


Yew Bench


Kissing Gate by Stanway Watermill


Don't Ask!

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Evening Sky - Delivered Free
03rd September 2017 - 0 comments
These clouds were delivered to me free of charge at home yesterday evening, by the breeze ...







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The Cotswold Way - Day 4 - 28th August 2017 - Buckland Wood to Stanton
29th August 2017 - 0 comments
Another short evening walk to see how my dodgy knee holds up. The sun made its presence felt for most of the walk at the end of the unusually warm bank holiday though the sunset was ultimately disappointing, photographically speaking. I found a few potential images, most of which turned out to have far greater potential in monochrome than in colour.


Evening Sky


Post, Path and Trickle


Howard's Original Zigzag Harrow


Crazy Paved Pothole


Cow Parsley


The Way and The Fence


Grazing - Northeast

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The Cotswold Way - Day 3 - 21st August 2017 - Broadway to Buckland Wood
22nd August 2017 - 0 comments
My evening's hike on The Cotswold Way was just a short one out and back from Broadway to give my knackered knee a light workout. After the walk, and only a few photos, I headed by car up to Broadway Tower to see whether the clouds would play ball and allow a shot of the tower with the 10% partial eclipse. The eclipse was due to be at its maximum at 8:04pm, 15 minutes before sunset. But no joy. The sun and moon sank below the distant cloud bank just a few minutes before the partial eclipse started.



The Puddled Way


Seen Better Days


On The Way Up


The Partial Eclipse at Broadway Tower. In progress, but hidden.

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Skies - Home and Away
10th August 2017 - 0 comments
The sky is an important component of many a landscape photograph. Indeed it appears in a high proportion of mine. But to see it as a subject entirely in its own right is much less common. It's infinite variety is worthy of attention in its own right. And what other subject matter delivers itself uninvited to one's own door in its infinite variety just about every day of the year. My landscape photography is mostly achieved whilst out on photo-hiking projects, but recently I've started to point my camera at the sky whilst at home. In addition to my collection of skies from anywhere and everywhere I'm now building a portfolio of Home Skies. Some are rendered in monochrome which allows scope for dramatic interpretation whilst staying true to the originally framed image. My sky gallery is linked here. These three photographs were all taken from my back garden.





The Odd Couple



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New Cotswold Way Gallery
06th August 2017 - 0 comments
Now that I've started the repeat of my Cotswold Way photo-hike I've added a gallery to which I hope to add two photographs for each day. It's linked here. They may well be repeats of images from this blog.

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The Cotswold Way - Day 2 - 29th July 2017 - Fish Hill to Broadway
29th July 2017 - 0 comments
A very early start was necessary for the Broadway Tower sunrise at about 5:25am. But it was well worth the effort. Today's hike was relatively short, and apart from the sunrise and one or two other photographs, not particularly productive.




Sunrise at Broadway Tower


Cotswold Stone Wall : Work-in-Progress

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New Gallery of images from 2017 Road Trip though CA, AZ, UT, CO, NM
27th July 2017 - 0 comments
On 1st May I returned from almost 4 weeks on a road trip in the south western states of the USA. I collected an excellent set of images to add to my portfolio. Twenty six of them are in the gallery linked here.

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Bruges
21st July 2017 - 0 comments
We recently spent a long weekend in Bruges with friends from the US. Bruges is a beautiful ancient city remarkably well preserved. Its architecture and waterways make excellent subject matter for the camera.



Convent


Canal Reflection


Evening Light

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Hiking in The Pyrenees
20th July 2017 - 0 comments
We spent a week at the end of May into June on a hiking holiday in The Spanish Pyrenees. I've visited the same area in the past - both trips were arranged with "Hike Pyrenees" - see my 'Links' page. We were interested to see the wild flowers for which the area is well known at this time of year. The trip culminated with us being taken to one of only three places in Spain, all in the Pyrenees, to see Lady's Slipper Orchids.



Peaks and Pines


Pine Candles


Umbell


Cascade


Ordesa Valley Beeches


From The Bridge


Lady's Slipper Orchids

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Back from CA, AZ, UT, CO, NM
20th July 2017 - 0 comments
On 1st May I returned from a 3 week photography trip to the US. We covered about 3,500 miles in California (Joshua Tree, Anza-Borrego), Arizona, Utah (Bluff, Arches, Canyonlands and The White Rim Trail), Colorado (Mesa Verde) and New Mexico Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness) and many other places along the way. I'll update my website with a new gallery for the excellent trip before too long. Meanwhile here's a small selection.



Ancient Ruin


The Buick Eight at Twin Rocks in Bluff, UT


Well Balanced


The White Rim Trail, Canyonlands


The Green River from The White Rim Trail, Canyonlands


Upper Antelope Canyon

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On Bredon Hill - 2016 : The Book
20th July 2017 - 0 comments
My hardcover book of “On Bredon Hill- 2016” is now complete and I’ve just taken delivery of the one and only copy. I’m delighted with the quality of the printing, as I have been with all of the books I’ve made using Blurb. Blurb is one of several companies who offer the tools for me to design every detail of my book and then have them print any number of copies, even just one as I’ve done. A commercial print run could easily be several hundred to several thousand copies in order to obtain anything like a sensible unit price. This is not something that is of interest to me. I just want a record in book form of my photography project. However, for single copies or very small print runs there’s a very high price to pay. A single copy of “On Bredon Hill ~ 2016” costs £119.99 + VAT + shipping when ordered from Blurb – the only way to purchase it. As its creator the price I pay is slightly less than this. The price here includes a very small margin for me!





If you’re tempted to buy my book, even at this very high unit price, you can do so directly from Blurb by following this link where you can see a preview of a few of the pages.

It usually takes about 1 week for the copy to be printed and delivered.

An alternative to the hardback is a PDF version which is available to download via the same link for far less money: £9.99 + VAT.

The 96 page 13″x11″ hardback book is printed on a high quality semigloss paper and contains 225 photographs taken throughout the year. The photographs are presented chronologically with from two to six from any one day. None of the photographs is captioned, except to show its date.


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The Cotswold Way - Day 1 - 17th July 2017 - Chipping Campden to Fish Hill
20th July 2017 - 0 comments
I started my first day's photo-hike in the late afternoon and finished after the 9:20pm sunset. It was something of a challenge to find anything to photograph to start with, but once I was well under way a few possibilities emerged. The sky was uninspiring until about 15 minutes before sunset when the sun emerged from the thin cloud layers to light them with a spectacular orange glow.

As on my previous photo-hikes I cover the distance in both directions, always hiking there and back. I sometimes start in the middle but always get to both end points. Dover's Hill, the site of The Olympick Games (est. 1622), was my starting point for this stretch.


Both Ways


Chipping Campden Market Hall - 1


Chipping Campden Market Hall - 2


London Plane Tree and New Cotswold Stone Wall


Radiant


Tracks


Through the Wheat Field


Sunset at Dover's Hill

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The Cotswold Way - 2nd time around
20th July 2017 - 0 comments
On 28th May 2009 I set out on my first long term photography project. I hiked The Cotswold Way fully in both directions (just over 200 miles) taking landscape photographs in black and white with my large format (5"x4") film camera. I made blog entries with photographs for each day that I hiked and produced a hardback book of the best of my photographs.

I followed that with another significant photo hiking project on The Thames Path, also in both directions (almost 400miles), and with blog entries for each day hiked and a hardback book to complete the project. The Thames Path was my first project with wholly digital capture. Forgetting for a moment the great advances made in digital photography, I was just relieved to be carrying far less weight than with my large format camera and all of the additional kit that it required. My knees and back welcomed the much lighter load.

The "both ways" of these two projects was not continuous hiking all the way out then all the way back. I achieved this by hiking on one day every week or two. I'd drive to where I completed my previous day out, hike onwards for half the day, then turn around and hike back to my car. My next hike repeated the pattern. On the face of it this might seem repetitive and boring, but for my photography it was priceless. Returning over the same ground was always in different light, the weather had often changed, the same 'things' were approached from the opposite direction and, perhaps more importantly, my mood or frame of mind had often evolved from the earlier part of the hike. All of this makes for finding new photographs as well as for different interpretations of earlier work.

On 1st January 2016 I started my third substantial photo hiking project, this time much nearer to home (so, much less driving). I photo hiked on Bredon Hill, the centre of which is about 6 miles from my home near Evesham. My aim, which I (almost) achieved, was to photograph on Bredon Hill once a week on average throughout 2016, in all seasons, all weathers and all times of the day as I became progressively more familiar with the hill and its 50 miles of public, permissive and concessionary footpaths. The exceptions were that I avoided torrential rain, that I didn't do any night photography (although I was out well before many sunrises and well after many sunsets), and, though I desperately wanted snow not a single flake fell on Bredon Hill on any of 2016's 366 days. So no snowy Bredon Hill photographs. I was invited to hold an exhibition in June 2017 of my "On Bredon Hill ~ 2016" photographs in Ashton under Hill, one of the several delightful villages that surround Bredon Hill, and I have now produced a hardback photo book of the project.

I've often thought that one day I would like to reprise my Cotswold Way photo hike, and that is what I am now about to embark on. I'm looking forward to the familiarity of the path, albeit that it and I have aged by 8 years, and the different photographic possibilities facilitated by digital capture rather than on film. The last time I covered the return journey in separate 23 days over the course of about 6 months. This time I plan to spread the project over a full year with a view to being somewhere on the path during every season. I missed out completely on winter and spring the last time.

So, here goes ...

Links to my earlier projects and their blogs are given in the previous post.

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My Photo Blog is now located here ...
20th July 2017 - 0 comments
Over the last several years I've created a series of different photography blogs to cover various projects. I've decided in future to confine all of my musings and postings about projects to just one blog location - this one here, hosted on my website.

These earlier blogs will remain accessible until Wordpress and Google decide otherwise.

www.virtuallygrey.blogspot.co.uk : my all purpose photography blog
www.thecotswoldway.blogspot.co.uk : my record of photo-hiking The Cotswold Way in both directions in 2009.
www.malverns.blogspot.co.uk : my record of photo-hiking on The Malvern Hills throughout 2012.
www.photohikingthethamespath.blogspot.co.uk : my record of photo-hiking The Thames Path in both directions in 2014/15.
www.onbredonhill2016.wordpress.com : my record of 52 photo-hikes on Bredon Hill throughout 2016.

I'll be posting a final entry on each blog linking to this one for all future blog entries.

This blog will be a mix of all sorts of photography stuff that interests me as well as the location for project posts.


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