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The Keep

Guildford Castle Keep

The Keep

This wasn’t my intended entry for the Fotospeed challenge today but it’s alway good to have a backup plan! It was my hubby, Simon’s birthday on Saturday so I resolved to leave the cameras packed away and refrain from doing any work. We went into Guildford for lunch at Meat The Greek in Castle Street. Wonderful little place with proper gyros and Greek lemonade! Simon dropped me off nearby while he went to park the car, so I went for a little wander through the Castle Grounds. It all seemed rather sombre under the grey skies, with bare flowerbeds and no visitors! Of course when there aren’t any visitors it’s actually a good time to photograph the castle. Well, I still had my phone. I love this pathway through to the dry moat from the arched underpass. The way it reveals and frames the view up to The Keep is like a little bit of magic. So yes, I did sort of work on my husbands birthday! He understands 😉 I took five images with my Sony Xperia Z5 and the sent them to the cloud so I could merge them and process the scene in Photoshop and Nik Software. I really like how it turned out, matching the mood of the scene that day. We did have a lovely lunch and a family meal out later on, saving Simon from having to do any cooking on his birthday! Exactly as it should be 🙂

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Araneus

Spider

Araneus

My Fotospeed challenge entry this week is of the humble garden spider, araneus diadematus. Our garden is almost overflowing with them at the moment! Fortunately I’m not afraid of spiders, they genuinely fascinate me. I’ve been meaning to try focus stacking for macro images for quite a while now. This spider was in a sheltered spot on the back door, keeping nice and still for me to get close with my 30mm and capture 20 frames, handheld, manually adjusting the focus. I combined the images in Photoshop, using masks to brush away the unfocused areas and reveal much more detail of my subject than I would have been able to capture in a single frame. I have a long way to go to get to where I’d like to be in this area of photography and processing techniques, but I feel like I’ve made a relatively good start. Lots to learn and even more equipment to acquire! Any advice would be gratefully received.

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The Imposing Facade

St Paul's Cathedral

The Imposing Facade

I get very used to seeing images of St Paul’s Cathedral from the river, showing the famous dome. It’s truly iconic! There’s so much more to see around this incredible building. This is the facade from the front entrance. I have memories of standing here as a child, beneath the statue of the stern monarch, feeling very small and intimidated. I wanted to try to recreate that feeling of awe within this image. I crouched at child-height beneath the monument to capture the shot and then turned a bright, blue-sky day into a dark monochrome. This is my choice for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. I’ll have a few more scenes from St Paul’s to share soon that show a few more unusual views of this London landmark.

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Preening

Young Swan Preening

Preening

I made a bit of a beginners error on Saturday morning when I left the house to travel up to London’s Hyde Park. I forgot my main camera! Oops. To be fair I was rather distracted by the prospect of Swimming The Serpentine for charity again (here’s a link to my fundraising page), remembering the wetsuit, goggles, entry tags, swim cap, timing tag and my waterproof camera. So at least I did have ONE camera with me! I didn’t get much from in the water though as it was quite choppy with the huge numbers of swimmers. There were 5000 swimmers over the course of the day, including myself and my mum. Colder than last year, both in and out of the water but nevertheless, absolutely brilliant! The wildlife in Hyde Park is wonderful. A sanctuary for nature and people in the heart of London. Swans are such enigmatic birds and I love swimming alongside them in open water. This youngster was busily preening its’ feathers after the latest rain shower. I was really pleased with how my waterproof Olympus performed for me in capturing this shot! I still WISH I’d had the Sony and Fuji kit there though. I really must try to get up to the park for a purely photographic outing sometime! This black and white edit is my entry for the weekend photography Fotospeed challenge.

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Autumnal Richness

Pheasant

Autumnal Richness

Late afternoon sun, glowing through the trees and highlighting a foraging pheasant. This scene last week typified so much of what I love most about Autumn; golden sunlight, warm colours and wildlife stocking-up on food ahead of the Winter months. Late at RHS Wisley Gardens and I think I was the last visitor to leave; actually, I admit it, I know I was the last one there as I would have been completely locked in if Christina hadn’t still been working in the membership offices! I love being in the grounds when it’s quiet. Even more wildlife appears! It’s magical. I thought that I would share this captivating scene for the Wex Mondays challenge this week.