Weekly Photo and Travel Theme Challenges: Fresh Spring Flowers

Early Spring at RHS Wisley Gardens

Weekly Photo and Travel Theme Challenges: Fresh Spring Flowers

I spent a lovely afternoon at RHS Wisley Gardens on Wednesday to capture these fresh, early Spring flowers. The two challenges this week were perfect to link together for this! I also spotted lots of wonderful birds which I will share with you all soon. For now though, I have also made a short video on my Sony phone whilst wheeling around the gardens! Watch out for my friendly robins in the Wildwoods 🙂

This stunning crocus display was all planted last October during the Half Term Holidays. Mylie and Zach were two of the many who helped to create this wonderful spectacle.

Camellia, Hellebore, Magnolia and Azalea are big colourful blooms in the woodland!

Blossoms are everywhere, bringing out the first bumblebees of year.

There’s so much glorious ground-cover around the gardens!

Life is bringing colour back to the bare wooded areas. The birds are loving it!

And don’t forget the daffodils!

One Four Challenge: March Week 4

One Four Challenge: March Week 4

One Four Challenge: March Week 4

I’ve gone all nostalgic for the last installment of this month’s One Four Challenge, hosted by Robyn Gosby at Captivate Me. Dartmoor brings back many happy childhood memories for me, of climbing the tors and seeing the gorgeous Dartmoor Ponies. My mother’s family come from Devon and she, herself, grew up on the edge of the moors. There’s a real sense of peace and tranquility that comes from being out in one of the UK’s great wildernesses. The montage that I’ve created is a romanticised imagining of an early, plate photograph that, perhaps, I might have found in an old trunk or at the bottom of a desk drawer in an ancestor’s home. You’ll find a gallery of all my edits after the list of processes, and a poll if you would like to choose a favourite! As April is our review month, please do let me know if there’s a One Four image of mine that you think could do with a rework and what suggestions you have for me. Thanks all 🙂

Colour Efex Pro
Tonal Contrast Fine – increase all
Detail Extractor 20% Exclude from Sky
Dynamic skin softener on Blue Sky Tone
Classic Soft Focus Diffusion on Sky
Fog – Method 3 20% Excluded From Foreground
Graduated ND -20%, 30% Blend
Polarisation 80%
Pro Contrast 10% 15% 20%
Glamour Glow 15%
Save to Lightroom
Apply Noise Reduction

Silver Efex Pro 2
Brightness 20%
Contrast 34%
Structure 12&
20 Control Points to age image
Red Filter 27%
Ilford PAN F Plus 50 Film type
Sepia Toning 20
White Frame 2

Photoshop CC
Add Horses and Birds Edited As Above Using Polygonal Lasso Tool
GTG Clean Edit Base 50%
Amelia Bedelia 10%
Super Fudge 15%
Tickle Monster 10%
Fog Brush 80% across rocks, sky and foreground grasses
Flatten Image
Painterly Rich 50%
Flatten Image
Use Low Opacity Blur Tool to soften features as necessary
From Library use Crumbled Paper Brush to age edges

Basic Edit
Clarity +15
No Sharpening
Noise Reduction 25%

Analog Efex Pro 2
Add More Age Using:
Dirt & Scratches Eroded
Photo Plate Streaked
Lens Vignette Rectangular -25%
Frames White 27%


Blue Monday: Blue And Gold


Blue Monday: Blue And Gold

In The Princess Of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens there is a viewing area for visitors to see the tropical, freshwater fish that live in the aquaria. Amongst their number is this Oscar! A cichlid, found wild in the waters of South America, he’s very handsome and enjoyed showing off for my camera.

Weekly Photo and Travel Theme Challenges: Fantastic Walls

Davies Alpine House

Weekly Photo and Travel Theme Challenges: Fantastic Walls

On Mother’s Day we had a family day out at Kew Gardens. I was originally intending to post about the older glasshouse structures until I this one stopped me in my tracks! This is the Davies Alpine House, built in 2006, it’s walls of glass are not just fantastically beautiful, they are also very cleverly designed to provide the perfect climate for the plants on display. The glasshouse is set at the entrance to the Rock Gardens providing a wonderful contrast between the modern glass and old rock walls. Pure magic 🙂

“The Davies Alpine House was designed to create the cool, dry and windy conditions that alpine plants favour, without using energy-intensive air-conditioning and wind pumps. Its architects employed traditional practices and the latest technology to achieve this.

How the glasshouse works

Although the glasshouse is only 16 metres (50 feet) long, its roof reaches ten metres (33 feet) high. This creates a stack effect that draws in cool air through permanent openings on either side and releases warm air through vents in the roof. Meanwhile, a fan blows air through a concrete labyrinth beneath the ground. The air cools on its convoluted journey and is released into the glasshouse through steel pipes.

The panes of glass are 12mm thick and have a low iron content which allows over 90 per cent of light through. Meanwhile, fan-like shades on the east and west sides of the glasshouse protect plants from the most intense heat of the summer sun.”

One Four Challenge: March Week 3

One Four Challenge: March Week 3

One Four Challenge: March Week 3

There’s a magical, timeless quality to the moors that I wanted to try to convey with this week’s edit for the March One Four Challenge, hosted by Robyn Gosby at Captivate Me. I could have replaced the original sky with another from my files but I decided to see just what I could do by using adjustment layers and the original image only. I’ve attempted to create an ambiguous scene; sunrise or sunset, the start or the finish, now or then?

Photoshop CC
Use HDR Background
Add Black and white Adjustment Layer modified Red Filter
Use Multiply Blending
Select Foreground using Polygonal Lasso
Layer Via Copy
Create Copy of Background Layer
Use Cloning Tool and Brush to extend sky over foreground
Duplicate Layer
Radial Zoom Blur 55%
Duplicate Layer
Radial Zoom Blur 80%
Luminosity Blending 75%
Apply Adjustment Layers for Hue and Levels to Foreground
Merge Visible

Greater Than Gatsby in Photoshop CC
Clean Slate Foundation
Golden Sunset Burst with Multiply Blending
Create Sunset effect using four radial gradient layers with appropriate colours, reducing in scale
Vignette Federal 55%
ND Gradient
Soft Light Blending
Merge Visible
Painterly Rich 25%
Flatten Image
Add Canvas Border