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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

A loss in The Shire

I decided to take a walk in the field behind my parents house today, during the 'golden hour' before sunset. I got it totally wrong and the winter sun was behind the houses rather than behind my favourite two trees, where it sets in the summer.

As I had planned to take some photographs I was a little disappointed by my light failure but it was nothing compared to when I discovered the loss of one of the trees!

Near the top of the furthest-away path from the field, leading up to the Renfrewshire cycle route, is where my two trees lived. Both so close together, spread out in perfect symmetry and forming the illusion of a single tree. The trees confuse the brain in the Spring and Autumn months when the foliage and flowers/seeds on both sides form different patterns and colours - the time when I had always planned to photograph them but never got around to it.

The left tree - the prettier of the two - blooming tiny, white flowers in Spring, is no longer there and the remaining stump gives the impression that it has fallen due to decay.

I am utterly disappointed!

{The Remaining Tree: photo update 02/12/10}

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Starling Flocks

I would love to be able to photograph a Starling Flock. They are spectacular scenes of an unpredictable nature that seem so elegant and impossibly incident free.
They usually occur in Autumn, when the birds are flocking together for winter, each night before the birds settle down to roost.

Here are some images of these birds that I like.

Photograph: Fayez Nureldine

Painting: Laurent Grasso

Photograph: Massimo Cristaldi

And my favourite....
Photograph: Danny Green

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Spider webs and TLRs

I went to the Glasgow Botanic Gardens today and it was oddly colder inside than out. In the carnivorous plants section you could see your breath and I'm pretty sure that's not right. I seem to remember being really hot the last time I seen these plants. The plants were all looking a bit poorly.

I've been in the Botanics a few times but there are always new things to photograph. This time I was rewarded with an amazing sight - a spider building its web! It was at least 1meter in diameter and I nearly walked right into it.
The spider worked fast, moving around it's web foundations quickly and precise as it weaved the tighter threads.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my macro lense with me so I had to use my telephoto (zoom) which is quite slow and it was already quite dark inside. I have managed to put together a few shots to give an impression of the web-building that I was witness to.

And as if the spider web wasn't enough excitement for me today, I bought an old TLR from an antique shop on Byre's Road. I'm not sure if it works but everything seems to be fine. I just need to buy a 120 film and try it out. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Lens converted Macro

Whilst taking some photos with my cousins today, I was reminded of a way to produce macro photos without using an actual macro lens. The trick is to turn a 50mm lens back to front and take the photograph this way.

I decided to try turning my own lens back to front (18-200mm zoom) but my camera wouldn't allow me to take photographs without the lens connected (there goes my pinhole idea). So, I borrowed my cousin's 50mm and stuck it in front of my own lens at 18mm - here is what I got (this has not been altered - the circle is how the image was produced).

I then tried it again with my lens at 200mm and found that it was too hard to focus. It seemed that I couldn't get close enough to the subject with this lens and the slightest movement was caught at this focal length - here is the result (this is one of the stamen at the base of the bell-shaped flower).

You can still see the vignetting at 200mm but it's not as bad as with the wide angle. I will try a range of focal lengths and techniques on my next experiment of this type of macro shot.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Tiny Model Images

I plan to attempt the Tilt and Shift method via Photoshop on some of my images at some point, to create a model-village-type scene.

I haven't had the time to give it a go yet but I have taken a couple of images of little models on Dysart Beach, Kirkcaldy. Not for any reason, really. I just thought they looked good against the bland beach on a bleak, rainy day.

Double Exposures

Although I have not been blogging for a wee while I have been trying out a couple of things on the camera.

I asked my cousin if she fancied trying out a random Double Exposure experiment with me and she agreed. We used 35mm film and tried out both black and white and colour films for the project.

The black and white film was taken on my Centon SLR and Bec's (still to be confirmed, but possibly her Canon EOS 500).
The colour film was taken on my [Minolta] Dynax 4 and Bec's Canon EOS 500.

We did come across a few problems on the way. The first film, which I'd shot at the Glasgow Festival, jammed in one of Bec's camera's and was accidentally ruined. Disappointing but these things happen. We also had to make sure we didn't wind the film fully into the canister on completion of all exposures but I mistakenly wound back too far. After lots of research on how to retrieve the film leader myself (without buying the necessary gadget) I decided to play it safe and ask the nice processor in Penmann's, Johnstone, who kindly retrieved the film leader for me.

We didn't pre-arrange the photographs prior to shooting. We simply took the shots randomly before swapping the films over. I think that many of them turned out quite well but you can decide for yourself.

IceSkates and Daisies

Car rear window and Kirkcaldy Harbour

Portrait by my cousin and Kelvinbridge Underground Staircase

This project will continue, with further experimentation this space.
More of the doubly exposed images can be seen on my Flickr site - AnneMarie's Flickr

Monday, 14 June 2010

West End Festival (and bloody photographers!)

I went to the West End Festival in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, on Sunday. The weather was great so the park was mobbed with people, animals and.... photographers.

I don't know if this has always been the case at these types of events and I've just never noticed before or if it's the advance in photo-technology that makes everyone suddenly want (be able) to be a photographer. They were everywhere!! Most annoyingly, they were always in my frame!!!

Every shot I tried to take, there was a photographer in sight. Worst of all, if I tried to take a shot of something without people in it, a PHOTOGRAPHER would jump in my way. One guy even looked at me, saw I was trying to take a shot, but just stayed there, staring at me. How rude!!

It did occur to me that perhaps I was in a lot of photographs but I do try to stay inconspicuous. I would prefer to have a sneaky, little Leica to snap away at scenes without anyone's knowledge. Or a medium format, TLR camera where I can hold it at my waist to take shots. Scenarios where the audience are caught unaware are always better for capturing true emotion and genuine activity, in my opinion.
I know some people would object to this approach as it does seem a little 'peeping tom'-ish but I would try not to be imposing.

In hindsight, I should have simply taken all the photos that I was going to take, with the photographers in them. It would have made a pretty nifty little project - something I might toy with for future events (starting next Sunday at the Mele in Glasgow??).

There was a female who was taking photographs of the bmxers at the ramps whilst the Beatles tribute band were on. She wasn't so obtrusive like the others. She even saw me taking a photo and smiled.
As I watched her give her card to the best biker of the crowd I realised that my problem, perhaps, isn't so much with all those invasive photographers but with competition.


Here are some shots I took of the day on my dslr (Sony A100) - [still to come].
I also used my 35mm camera (Centon), with colour film, for part of a project I am doing with my cousin - all will be revealed in a future blog....

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


Delicate hand (Printed in the Wet Darkroom - no negatives used)

Working hand (Printed in the Wet Darkroom - two negatives used)

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Star-trail attempt at Beecraigs

Travelling for a while in the pitch, black of night, Dhana and I finally reached Beecraigs Country Park where we thought we would have peace and quiet to take our 45minute long photos of the starry, night sky.

Your hearing picks up when you can't see a thing and I could hear people talking. I was convinced there were people in the woods but, how could I have heard people as we were in the middle of nowhere? Wind in the trees, perhaps?

We set up our cameras as quick as possible and got ourselves back into the car, lights off and doors locked. I had a small baseball-style bat with me the whole time. We got the flask of hot-chocolate out, which is almost impossible to pour when you can’t see what you’re doing, and ate about 2 crisps before things started getting exciting.

FIREWORKS!!!! In the field, right next to where we were. It does explain the voices that I heard, which makes me feel less of a paranoid scaredy-cat. We decided to keep the cameras running as the fireworks weren’t going into the sky but were flaring all colours at low, ground-level. They were behind the cameras and far enough away from us that they shouldn't affect the shots.

15 minutes later and a car comes past with full headlights on (understandable as we were sitting in the pitch black). It saw us, slowed down and I thought it was going to stop but it went on a bit. The shots were ruined so we got out of the car to retake the shots when we saw the car reversing. 'Get in the car....GET IN THE CAR!!!'
The two of us failed to get our tripods down quick enough so we stuffed ourselves and the fully-open tripods with cameras on the top into the car and locked the door. Not without a bit of a comedy struggle, I might add. The car went by us slowly but drove away. Phew!

We'd been laughing about taking some 'rabbit in the headlight' shots for some of Dhana's Reportage images, as well, but there was not a chance that we were getting out the car again. LOL!!!!

When I think about it now, it was probably just a voyeur hoping to see something fun but I think a safer location is in order for the next attempts of star-trail photographs.

Here is the only shot I have, affected by the car headlights. It would have been such a good star trail shot if I'd had the full 45 minutes (except for the pylon lines that I thought I’d managed to avoid). Sigh!!

Hopefully we’ll try this again soon and with more success.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Dhana in the park

Dhana (a friend from college) was kind enough to pose for some photographs in Almondell Country Park today. Thanks Dani :)

I'm trying out a different technique in-camera and in Photoshop. I happened upon it by accident but I'm quite liking the results.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Liquid Motion

Something different with the camera today.

I set up the tripod next to the window as the light was quite bright and got the macro lens onto the camera. The subject (an 80’s, coloured-liquid toy) was placed on the window sill with a sheet of white paper behind it to diffuse the harsh backlight.

Getting the shots was a bit of a challenge. I had to turn the object upside-down to start the liquid motion and to capture the droplets/bubbles in action I had to have a fast shutter speed. This meant I had to have a small depth of field and trying to get the image focused every time that I turned the object was so difficult. The toy is also pretty small so the time-frame for this was only seconds.

Another problem I encountered was, even with the continuous frame setting on, the shutter release cord wouldn’t always take a photograph. Sooo frustrating. You would think it was a matter of life or death the way I was carrying on, hehe. “Shoot, SHOOT Dammit!!!!”

I missed a number of amazing shot opportunities, like a droplet forming with loads of tiny bubbles inside then bursting slowly!!!! I am so gutted I missed that one – damn camera!!!

However, lots of swear words and several shots later, I managed to produce the following images.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Creative Image Making

I tried a few techniques in the darkroom today with the only negatives that I had with me. I was quite disappointed in my results because it was really hard. At least, the solarising was hard. It was a lot of fun, though.

Here are my [rubbish] attempts (there has been no fixing in Photoshop so that all flaws are visible).

Monday, 19 April 2010

Film Developer Trials

Yesterday I shot a roll of Ilford B&W HP5 (ISO 400) - pushing it to ISO1600 - using my old 35mm Centon camera (50mm lens).

Today I split the film into three different development tanks and processed each film section with the following developers.

Sink taps - Microphen (fine grain)
Wine bottle - Perceptol (speed-enhanced; not recommended)
Kettle - Ilfotec (general purpose)

These images have been scanned from negative as I didn't have time to complete the prints in the darkroom. I think the differences in the results will be clearer on the prints but, looking at the negatives through the eyeglass on the lightbox, i think I like Perceptol best. Although it's not recommended, I am quite partial to the grainy result that it produces. I will confirm my findings after I produce some prints.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Star Trails

Tonight I tried something a bit different. Star trails.
I left my camera on for about 10 minutes (bulb setting) at aperture 3.5mm just outside in the backgarden. I knew I'd have a problem with light pollution but I was just testing to see what I would get....and here is the result (with a slight bit of fixing in Photoshop for the sky and ignoring the house detail - the house is only there for a reference point).

Now that I know how it should be done I will be venturing out to less light polluted areas for my next attempt.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Wet Nose

I'm going out to photograph using film today so the images won't be available for a while.

In the meantime, I'll show you a pic that I should've included in my last post to show you the detail brought out by the macro lens. It's a bit grotty, to be honest, but it's nature. My little Cat Features nose :)

I'm not sure cats are supposed to have wet noses, though, are they?

Sunday, 11 April 2010


I was trying to take some photographs out the back today as it was so sunny but Cat Features (Chloe) wouldn't give me any peace. Tail in the face. Head under the lens, bopping up just as I'd be pressing the shutter release button.


Well, I got my own back on her. When she decided she wanted to lie out and enjoy the sun-rays, comfortable in the knowledge that Spot (her nemisis) would never dare enter the garden to annoy her when I was around, I got up close to take some photographs of her happy, little face. I managed about 3 images before she got annoyed and left the scene.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Garden spider

It took quite a bit of patience and steady hand to take this image. There was a little bit of wind that caused focusing issues and I didn't have the tripod out with me. I've learned that, when using the macro, it doesn't matter how high the shutter speed you will still need a tripod. I can't believe that even less than a millimetre of movement can throw the subject out of focus. It's absolutely amazing.

This little garden spider (not fully sure what the actual species is) was only about 1cm in length. His web was in a prime spot because he seemed to be catching all the greenfly. Unlike his friend, whose web was empty. He was running about like crazy trying to fix his little web, which was obviously in a poor position compared with Mr."wind-blows-them-here-first". I wonder which spider built his web first!!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Macro =)

I am now the proud owner of a macro lens!! I haven't had the chance to give it a good try-out yet but I did take a couple of shots of Cat Features last night (that's what I call her, hehe) to see how it copes in darker conditions.

So far I'm loving it just as much as I expected and I can't wait to try out some more images on the plants and beasties outside.

I've included a few of the images that I took of Chloe (Cat Features). I love the darkness and grainy quality to them. It's becoming a regular theme in my photography.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Ancient Yew Tree of Fortingall

Depending on the website you refer to the ancient Yew tree in Fortingall is the oldest in the UK, Europe or possibly even the entire world. At an age of between 3000 and 9000 years old this is a magnificant tree to visit.

The trunk is a mere shell of what it used to be (16 meters) due to fires and other mishaps over the decades (centuries, even) but there are markers to show where the entire trunk would have been.

A wall now surrounds the Yew to give it further protection, which made it difficult to create a nice photograph to show you. I have decided to show you a new, budding section of branch in my beloved bokeh style, which captures the beginning of spring and the fact that this tree is still very much alive.

For those of you who are religious, or even just curious about the tree and other holy landmarks in Scotland, you can read more about the Yew Tree on this site - Sacred Connections

Friday, 19 March 2010

The original and the best!

There was a time when people used to ask me if my hair tasted of Irn Bru. A joke from some - a serious question from others!!!

Time has darkened my hair and thickened my skin (to some things at least) but, despite my deteriorating memory, I will never forget the stick I used to get for having 'ginger' hair.

I thank God that the internet wasn't around in my youthful days as I have come to learn that there is a 'Kick a ginger' day. In Glasgow (and most likely even further afield) this would really involve more than one kick - or perhaps worse. I have been threatened at knife-point more than once in my life, all because of the colour of my hair. How I managed to escape, I just don't know.

Anyway, I don't get that much harrassment these days as my hair seems to be getting quite dark - it's more like a lovely auburn now (in my opinion) - so you can all put away your tiny violins. I don't know that I'm happy that it is losing its vibrancy. It makes me feel like I am supposed to calm down in my life since my hair is calming down to a dull, uninteresting shade. There are always dyes, though, watch this space :)

So, now that I have a few public followers (and a few hidden) I am going to make a concerted effort to updating this site with something [hopefully] worth looking at. I'm really chuffed that people are having a look on here and I thank you all for giving me the time of day :D

For now, I will leave you with a photograph of a vintage Irn Bru can that I bought from the college machine just before Christmas. Remember these?

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Aira Force Money Tree

On our journey back from Lake Windermere we stopped at Aira Force, near Lake Ullswater in the Lake District, to see the waterfall. It was very pretty indeed but what caught my attention most was the Money Tree.

A dead tree trunk, lying on the route to the waterfall, had many coins hammered into it. Apparantly vistors to the area hammer in coins and make a wish. If their coin stays in the tree then their wish will be granted. If it falls from the tree or is taken by someone (not easy) then the wish will never come to fruition.

I cannot use this tree for my Higher project because it is in England (I stated I would be using Scottish trees), however I would like to visit Loch Maree, if I get the chance. There are similar money trees (oaks, I think) up there and I can perhaps get a shot of them.

In the meantime, here is the image from Aira Force.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

From high above.

I absolutely love the work of Masao-Yamamoto. He prints his photographs onto specialised papers and uses dyes and inks to create the images as though they were paintings.

I aim to, eventually, experiment with papers and dyes but for now I am using Photoshop.

This bird was taken from the spare room window and I cropped the image to include only the very top of the tree and then manipulated it in Photoshop to give the following result.

(I am aware that my framing skills will have to improve dramatically!!!)

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Pentland Hills!

After a lovely walk through Dalkeith Country Park we decided to stop by the Pentland Hills (Hillend) to have a look at the Juniper Trees for my project at college.

Although they look quite amazing while they are bare and wintry, I will go back in March to see how they look as it gets closer to spring. With any luck I will be there when there is a gorgeous sunset.

I didn't climb up to the top of the hill as it was starting to get dark and cold but I did take a photo of a sihouetted tree against the moody clouds that were setting in. I've squared off the image and added a texture ( courtesy of Visualogist - I don't think the tree is a Juniper, unfortunately, but it looked lovely all the same.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Trying something new!

I thought I'd try my hand at the mini-planet effect tonight.

I used a photograph I took of Chloe-cat, sitting at the window in the living-room this afternoon. I love the repetitiveness of the vertical blinds and I thought this would look great in the 'round'.
The photo was taken on my Nokia N85 but the final result is still impressive (I think).

This second image is of Doune Castle (where part of Monty Python: The Holy Grail was filmed - yes, I did knock the coconuts whilst riding my pretend horse up the hill). I think the finished result of this image looks brilliant and it has inspired me to look for bizarre scenes that may fit this type of effect.

I think I could improve this image a lot even just by cropping inside the 'circle'. However, this was my first attempt so I can only get better....

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Studio - Portraiture!

I'm not sure if I like working in the studio, yet, or not. Even if the lighting was mastered (I have only been shown two simple lighting set-ups) there is still the skill of getting your model to look natural. I guess it will come with practise for putting the model at ease and knowing which poses suit which type of person best.

One thing, for sure, is that I cannot afford to be shy if I want to get the image I want. I've only taken shots of a few people so I have a long way to go before I exude the confidence of a professional photographer!!

I wish I could have more time to try things out that are not for my assignment. Test out the scope of the flash lighting. Vary the intesity and all that malarky. It doesn't help that my Sony Alpha 100 DSLR does not have a synch connection or the correct hotshoe attachment for the wireless transmittors. I have to share the college's Nikon and the buttons are in all the wrong places!!!

Here is me at work, using fellow student Laura's Canon that she kindly let me borrow for my shots (photo taken by Laura Ledbetter)

and here are a few of my images.

Saturday, 30 January 2010


A colour assignment for College....

My Plan A (window reflections) didn't really work as too many things went wrong.
I was 'grilled' by a drunkard who wasn't happy that I might be taking his or anyone else's photograph without permission. I couldn't be bothered putting him straight about the laws but did try to explain that, as my camera was pointing up near the top of the 5 story builing in front of us, no-one would be in the photograph. It didn't stop him from trying to be in the shot as he moved from left to right while he tried to figure out just where to stand so that the lens was facing him. His comprehension of physics was obviously skewed by his alcohol consumption but it was quite amusing to watch him dance around for a while. He got fed up trying to get in the frame and came back for a second mega-rant. Time to move along, Ams, before this gets too scary!!

Even more of a problem was the fact that the beautiful Arch windows that I had spied, from a distance in the car, didn't actually have glass in the frames. Even the drunk guy would know that I could never get a reflections shot from them. Gutted!!

By this point it was too foggy to be able to see anything, anyway. Back home to mope about my lack of success.

Returning to Glasgow another day for Plan B (reflections on water) and I completed my second roll of film. Only after taking all, bar 2, of my shots did the reflections become really colourful so I'm not sure how this will turn out on submission. Acceptable? I hope so.

Here are two of the images, scanned from print. Both are taken at the River Clyde in Glasgow.

BBC Building

Finniston Crane [Clydeport] and the Squinty Bridge

Sunday, 24 January 2010


A friend once described me as a Woody Allen film. I am not against such a comparison but I think (hope) it was a slight exaggeration.

However, I have been thinking, lately (again), of re-kindling an old hobby - playing the clarinet. I have a few ideas related to this resurgence of an old passion but I will be keeping them under my hat for the time being.

I wonder how this venture will turn out.

(Photo from federicavalabrega@wordpress - click on title for link)

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Catch a falling star!

"Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket,
Never let it fade away!
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket,
Save it for a rainy day!

For love may come an' tap you on the shoulder,
Some star-less night!
Just in case you feel you wanna hold her,
You'll have a pocketful of starlight!"
Perry Como

Monday, 11 January 2010

Fun with christmas lights

I know they should all now be in the loft but I just love these red ones so they have been left downstairs in the living room until I can find a new home for them.
In the meantime, I had a bit of fun with them.