VirtuallyGreyPhotoBlog

My musings about projects will now be confined to one blog - this one here on my website. Earlier blogs will remain accessible (until Wordpress and/or Google decide otherwise). Select 'Links' above 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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New Zealand Gallery
13th May 2018 - 0 comments
I've just added a gallery with a selection of images from my recent New Zealand photography road trip. Linked here. I've yet to add titles to each image - I'll get around to it eventually!
New Zealand’s South Island
06th May 2018 - 0 comments
I'm just back from a very successful and enjoyable four week photography road trip around New Zealand’s South Island with a friend from San Francisco. Here are three photographs from the trip. Once I’ve completed working through the 3,500 I took - and whittled them down to no more than 100 - I’ll add an NZ gallery to my website with those that ‘make it’ for me.







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Snow Blown Sculpture
02nd March 2018 - 0 comments
Unlike much of the rest of the country, here in the Vale of Evesham we’ve had very little snow though it’s been bitterly cold in the strong wind. Overnight the wind constructed this beautiful 18 inch high sculpture in one corner of our garden from the little snow we have had. I took the photograph just before it was trampled by the birds.


Snow Blown Sculpture
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The Cotswold Way - Day 13 - 23rd February 2018 - Dowdeswell Wood
24th February 2018 - 0 comments
The Cotswold Way passes for barely half a mile along the western edge of Dowdeswell Wood. So for this stretch I diverted off The Way for a few hours into the wood to see what I could find. It’s an interesting mix of conifer/pine plantation as well as beech and several other deciduous trees all on the hillside of the Chelt River valley above Dowdeswell reservoir. In just a few weeks it will be carpeted with flowering bluebells and wild garlic. Some of the trees are very large. It was a challenge in the bright sun and deep shadows to find any worthwhile images. HDR came to the rescue with some bracketed exposures.


Along The Edge


Perfectly Aligned


Old Man's Beard Stem


Sunlit Edge

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The Cotswold Way - Day 12 - 9th February 2018 - Bill Smyllie's NR to Dowdeswell Wood
10th February 2018 - 0 comments
This stretch of the Cotswold Way provided me with the kind of challenge that I like for my photography. Good images don’t always jump out begging to be captured, indeed, this stretch is a good example of this. It is my contention that there are almost always pictures to be found but it requires an open mind as to what might work, and sufficient time looking to unearth them. The path was very muddy and spirit sapping and the generally dull light (until late in the afternoon) didn’t inspire me. But in the end I found a small number of images which just about made it for me.


The Malverns


Under a Cloud


Latch & Chain


The Way Down


Sunset

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The Cotswold Way - Day 11 - 1st February 2018 - Cleeve Hill Golf Club to Bill Smyllie's NR
02nd February 2018 - 0 comments
Cleeve Common was a challenge to find something from which to make any satisfying images. The cold wind took the edge off the afternoon for me, in particular during one short episode of ice laden horizontal sleet. Otherwise there were periods of sun which helped me find the two photographs of benches looking out from the edge of the Common over Cheltenham. Just out of frame in the photograph of the two trees which sit prominently on the edge overlooking the town there are two benches but I excluded them in my composition as I didn’t see them adding to the final result.



Above Cheltenham


Bench with a View - #1


Bench with a View - #2


The Two Trees

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The Cotswold Way - Day 10 - 26th January 2018 - Belas Knap Long Barrow to Cleeve Hill Golf Club
27th January 2018 - 0 comments
The weather forecast was for 50% sun for the afternoon. In the event I saw the sun for about 3 minutes over the course of 5 hours and the 7 miles covered. Nevertheless, an enjoyable hike with the first outing for my new Sony A7RIII and 24-105mm lens.


One Oak & Twelve Poplars


Meal Time


The Way Up


Trough


The Way Down to Postlip Hall and Community

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Levadas of Madeira - On Landscape - Issue 151
22nd January 2018 - 0 comments
“On Landscape” - the very best photography publication for landscape photography - has just published, in Issue 151, a set of 4 of my ‘Levadas of Madeira’ images, along with a brief write-up about Levadas. They are included as one of the ‘4x4’ contributions - ‘4x4’ being 4 photographers each showing 4 photographs, each of which is in some way related.

On Landscape is an on line subscription magazine: linked here.
Issue 151’s 4x4s are linked here.
My Levadas of Madeira is linked here - and the photographs are below.









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The Cotswold Way - Day 9 - 10th January 2018 - Winchcombe to Belas Knap Long Barrow
11th January 2018 - 0 comments
I made a short detour off The Cotswold Way path into St Peter’s church in Winchcombe to attempt another photograph of the chandelier(?) that I last photographed in 2009 - linked here. Whilst in town I passed on the road an interestingly lit, and well worn, road sign. And towards the end of the day the four sunlit post tops took me aback as I rounded a corner on the way back to Winchcombe from Belas Knap Long Barrow. The whole landscape in front of me was in shadow as the sun sank below the hillside, except that it hadn’t quite cleared the post tops which glowed orange in the late afternoon sun.


St Peter's Chandelier - 1


St Peter's Chandelier - 2


Well Worn Way


No Cricket Today


River Isbourne


Belas Knap Long Barrow - 1


Belas Knap Long Barrow - 2


Four Poster

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The Cotswold Way - Day 8 - New Year’s Day 2018 - Hailes Abbey to Winchcombe
02nd January 2018 - 0 comments
Almost the whole of the Cotswold Way offers, to varying degrees, interesting and attractive territory for photography. This stretch however ranks low down on that scale, particularly after the rain has created thick, glutinous, slippery mud. The Way crossed the middle of one particularly muddy ploughed field (yes, the path is ploughed) followed immediately by a stretch along a sideways sloping, and equally muddy, field boundary. A real test for one’s balance and determination not to end up falling flat in the mud … thankfully I didn’t. My walking poles justified their keep. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find a few images, albeit with mud being a key ingredient.


Pair of Field Oaks


New Life for Half a Mill Stone


Polished and Wet Hand Hold


The Muddy Way

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The Cotswold Way - Day 7 - 15th December 2017 - Beckbury Monument to Hailes Abbey
17th December 2017 - 0 comments
My 3 months away from hiking the Cotswold Way has, disappointingly, meant missing the autumn and its potential for colour and light in the landscape. Today’s return was just for a short walk as part of recovering from my knackered knee. Starting at Hailes Abbey I walked up to Beckbury Monument at Cromwell’s Clump where I finished last time, then back. The forecast led me to believe that there’d be a good chance of a fine sky at the end of the afternoon with, hopefully, a worthwhile sunset. But no ... so much for believing weather forecasts, even for just a few hours ahead.


Hailes Church


The Way Past Beckbury Monument

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SNOW on Bredon Hill ... !!!
08th December 2017 - 0 comments
After a gap of at least 2 years snow fell on Bredon Hill today. The big disappointment for me on my "On Bredon Hill - 2016" project was that not once did a single flake of snow fall. It's what most landscape photographers hanker after - or at least I do. As luck would have it I was available this morning when snow was forecast so, I planned to make the most of it. There wasn't much snow, but it amounted to infinitely more than in the zero in 2016. Whilst a few flakes fell at my home I could see from there that Bredon Hill had at least a light covering. It was my first hike in more than 2 months and since receiving treatment for a knackered knee. So far so good. This is what I found during a short two hour hike ...


First One Up


Reflected Tree


Sundial Barn - #1


Sundial Barn - #2


Old Gate Post

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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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