I started traveling to take photos and get outside my comfort zone. If you would have asked me 20 years ago would I ever fly out of the United States I would have said no. Since then, I have of course change my mind. I think it is the age but traveling is starting to seem less about adventure and more about relaxing. I still want to get the photo but also want to enjoy the adventure. The Peak District was not what I expected in some ways. The above picture is of Chatsworth Hall. The area was more busy than I anticipated or expected. Of course these things don’t show up on the map and I am used to traveling Scotland where the population can be less.
And I enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. We followed the guide book in the blog previous to this and found most of the places we were looking for. The difference is that if you are a native and know where things are scenic places are hard to find. I noticed that the only really quiet place we found were the Northwood Carr and Tinkersley Woods. The bluebells were just starting to bloom and finding a shot that showed the emerging blooms not so easy. Another week and the flowers would have been in full glory. However, I did get a few pictures that I enjoyed and wished I could have done it over. I had a few if only moments when I wished I would have changed the F stop and composed the shots different. Live and learn. I won’t make that mistake again. Sigh…move on.
The water reflections were incredible in many of the water locations. I tried a few abstract pictures and let the light do the magic. Plus, for the first time on a trip that I can remember to the UK I had decent light to take photos. Mostly the days can be cloudy and overcast and a nice ray of light hard to find.
But, light can make a picture come alive and shimmer, even if it is branches hanging over the water and the reflection casting shadows. I think on this trip I was able to try some new things and regret not doing some things. Which makes me regret not being able to practice photography more often. The presets of what makes a good picture needs to be automatic in my mind so I don’t forget what I like and make mistakes. Sigh…I said I was moving on. LOL
Would I recommend the Peak District? Yes. There are so many places for excellent photography you just need to make sure you have a guide book to find them. I found it to be very busy and being from the US the roads are very curvy and finding the way around interesting. (And I didn’t have to drive.) We used a Garmin and put in the codes to locations for every where we went. That didn’t mean we drove right up to the spot though, we still have to locate what we were looking for. (Tip a turnstile looks different in the US from what it means in the UK). I am glad I traveled with people who knew what to look for otherwise probably wouldn’t have found some locations. The one below we drove by and people were parked everywhere along side the road walking the path. I had to stand on the road to get that one.
But it was so worth it with the reflection and the water. Adventure means traveling to new places and learning from the area. I learned that I like more remote and quiet. Less people and more wide open spaces. Hmm now for the next adventure.
I checked the temperature today in the Peak District and I wasn’t surprised to see that it isn’t much warmer there than here in the US. On the bright side it is almost April. The Cottage is booked in Tideswell in the center of the area so most locations shouldn’t be too far a drive. The book that we are using to finding locations is Photographing the Peak District by Chris Gilbert and Mick Ryan. A very large and beautiful book filled with pictures of locations to photograph in the area.
The book is divided into districts which locations in each area and wow is there a lot to photography. Narrowing down the places that we want to look at isn’t easy. We only have so much time and don’t want to spend hours hiking to get to a location. The guide clearly gives directions to each location, where to park and how long it will take to get to the spot. I can’t imagine what it is like to have these opportunities to photograph so close to you. I wonder sometimes if people take for granted what is in there area. Then, I also think of the time and energy it took to write this book.
I am interested in everything really when it comes to photography. I like old buildings, water, landscapes and many things will catch my eye. (Don’t care for desert and the only sand I like is on a beach.). Not all are worth photographing but looking is always good. Here I notice that there is a large amount of rolling hills into deep valley type landscape as the photo above shows. Many old interesting villages with old houses and tall church steeples. Something new for me will be the mills and hopefully some interesting pictures to come from them.
I am hoping to catch the bluebells in bloom. Such a beautiful sight to see the forest covered in a sea of purple. The trees starting to bud and the light filtering through. I am ready to catch spring at its best in the trees and hope we are able to find some. Timing is always hard because depending on the weather the bloom may be early or late. I have a photo from the Yorkshire Dales of bluebells and here it is below.
I don’t get to spend a lot of time at each location but I remember this one to be magically with all the flowers. They seem to beckon me to come for a walk with them into the trees. Also, wild garlic was blooming everywhere and we could smell it everywhere we went.
Chatsworth Hall, a beautiful estate in the book and can’t wait to see it. I am told they have an excellent cream tea. My first ever cream tea was in the Yorkshire Dales. I had no idea they existed and am very happy to try them every time I go to the UK. A scone never tasted so good until smother in butter, jelly and fresh cream. I will get back on the diet when I come back.
Am I excited to travel again, absolutely. I need some new photos for the State Fair competition and my wall needs filling in. What makes it so worth it is when I go with photographers who love to take photos and adventure out. I know I keep going back to the same country but it has so many unique places to see. I will give you a report on how I do and photographs of course.
I am going to let you in on a little secret….a photographer takes a lot of photos before they find the right one. Suprised? I know you are not but I was scrolling through my Iceland photos and caught myself thinking. I looked at a series of shots that normally no one would ever see because I am looking for the right shot. Plus, I like to try things because you never know what you are going to get unless to try. Failure is not failure it’s just finding out what doesn’t work. I will take pictures of things people will walk by because most times those are the pictures that are most interesting.
Picture one in a sequence. I like the color in the sky and the tuffs of grass on the beach. Not enough interest here to get a good photo. Now I could crop it down to the grass and the sky but the sky is ok. Note I didn’t do a lot of editing to these just to show you photos in the natural off camera look. The next photos come from me standing in the same spot and turning to find what I want to shoot.
Photo thinking shot number 2. I have just pivoted my camera on the tripod. As I am looking thinking ok I could crop it and it might not be a bad shot. I was using my Canon 17-40 wide angle so I have a lot of picture to work with but I could take some of the sky out and some of the black beach. However, it does feel it is missing some story on the edges with the mountains.
Picture Three in sequence. No cropping or editing other than bringing some of the shadows up. I like this shot the sky needs a little work but overall I am getting the eye to be drawn in and the mystery of Iceland fills the picture. The beach fascinates me being black and the wild grass that survives amazing to look at.
Picture Four. I have turned my camera in a circle from where I was standing. I have a person in this photo that will have to be removed or not. (I would remove.) I would crop out some of the sky and some of the beach but overall this is not a bad picture. The footprints lead your eye around the sand and there is plenty of interesting things to take in. This is probably the photo that you would see on my website and with a little work number 3.
I know we see beautiful photographs on the websites but they all started out in the field thinking and trying. Sometimes it takes a lot of trying before we succeed but half the excitement is in the trying. Opening up Lightroom and revealing what I have after a weeks shoot is like Christmas. Many times I wished I could do things over and I have to remind myself to slow down but when that really good photo comes alive on the screen…wow. The excitement and beauty of nature keep me going. I hope you go out and do some thinking photos and see what you come up with. That’s all right I don’t have to see them.
I finally invested in a professional looking watermark. Photolog.co was having a sale and to me, that is the best time to invest. I have white and black and they can go on different corners of the photos. I had to set it up in Lightroom to pull my logo but it was so worth it. This is an example of the old watermark I created. Not bad but really doesn’t add to the photo with any style.
Now the photo with the new watermark to the side. The watermark just adds the finish to the photograph and I feel people connect a person to the work that way. I realize as photographers our cameras do a lot of work for us but without us, there would be nothing to see. Everyone takes a picture differently and looks for what they like.
These pictures were taken in Iceland with many other photographers standing around. Not one of those pictures was exactly alike. So show off your individuality with a watermark. I am glad I did.
As photographers, we get a scene for a picture in our heads. Mine was the road scene with the trees golden and orange with filtered light. The road needs to curve and disappear on the horizon to draw me in. I found it this year while I was out testing a Gimbal tripod head. The light was really bright all day and I had to wait until 3 pm to head outside. The river was my destination and I hoped to see some eagles but the day was warm and the chances were not high.
Normally, the last few years the color has been dull to disappointing. If the weather has been too dry the trees are lackluster color and throw down the leaves early in protest. This year we had a deluge of rain in October and that fueled the color and the above picture.
Light and shadows make a gorgeous photo. The way leaves hover crowded together on a branch and then the light filters through, catching your eye. I try to look up and shoot into the canopy to get the right leaves at the right time. I took many bad shots just to get this one. The camera had to find a focus point and the leaves needed to give you something of interest to look at. I never really know what I have until I get home to my big screen. However this one with the lights darks and color speaks fall in volumes.
Many times have I tried to take a picture of this bridge and have been disappointed. I would tell myself it was just an ugly old bridge after many failures. OK, so the problem was with me and getting what I thought did the scene justice. There was alot going on in this photo but the main point is the color and the silhouette of the bridge. The drama of the water was an added bonus and I was using the long 600mm lens. (Still looking for the birds.) This year the trees and the color produced a scene that does that bridge justice.
As a photographer, I always lean toward that splash of color that makes a scene pop. I look at other photographers to see what I like and don’t like. What catches my eye in their work that would make that photo a good picture. I think today we are trying to be so artistic with our work that we forget that photography is about connection. How we see a scene and take the picture so others can connect to it. We don’t have to prove were artists we already are…I realize that everyone has a camera at their fingertips but that doesn’t mean the photo will be any good.
Photography at the end of the day is an expression of our vision. The photographer is the one who sees and tries to bring you into that world. The only one you compete against is yourself.
Clark Barn Stockport Iowa
Today I took a drive with my camera for a Fall Harvest Historical Barn Tours. I noticed most of the people were older this morning and maybe that was just the time of day. Everyone had the same look on their faces coming to see these old buildings. It’s like we are trying to cement in our minds what lives were like before the age of computers. Not many buildings are left and many have been torn down. Most young people really don’t have an idea what life was like in the error of the farm barn.
What is it about fall and nostalgia. Every year I have to watch “Hoosiers” with Gene Hackman at this time. The scenes remind me of growing up and what small-town life was about. As the weather turns cold and the corn starts to turn to a light sand color, and I think about my childhood on the farm. I never would have thought to say I miss those days but I do. I miss the farm and everything it represented: family, hard work, fields, God, and love.
Dorothy Barn Keosauqua Iowa
The inside of a barn for a child is a magical thing. I remember light streaming in through dusty windows and kittens tumbling down over bales of hay. The heat rising from animals and the tools hanging from the walls. A barn represented a place where work would get done and animals would get fed. Lives were built around everything kept or stored in barns.
And the barns and what they held help build the midwest. I remember so much of my time as a child focusing on the home place and the buildings on it. They stored the machinery and stored the grain. Our family barn burned down due to lightning. I find it so sad that little by little they are disappearing from the landscape to be replaced. The farms don’t even look the same anymore because they don’t raise as many animals like they used to.
Wickfield Farm Sales Pavilion Cantril Iowa
If the barns could talk do you wonder what they would say. A testament to the rise and fall of each generation and whether a family is able to build for the next generation. A barn represents big dreams, hopes, and the future. You only need a barn if you have something to store. I saw a lot of farms on my tour today as summer shifts over to fall. I remembered my family and my father’s dreams as a farmer. When I go who will remember what life was like?
The first time I visited Scotland it felt like home. I travel many places to take photographs but something about the grandeur and the misty morning sticks with me. The light is different here and the weather in fall comfortable, windy and wet but Scotland. I think what I like most are the wide-open landscapes and the big skies. The sky always provides drama with clouds rolling in and clouds rolling out. The above photo was taken on an early morning drive to the Ullapool Ferry. We left early just to see if we could get a sunrise but we ended up with some really nice light.
When I started photography as a hobby with a Kodak Easy share I never thought I would be standing in the places I have. The art form grabbed my heart and it hasn’t let go. I do have certain things I like to take photos of and every person does. I love water, mountains, mist, sea and it has to have trees. Which is why the United Kingdom suits my interest so much. I only get to travel a couple times a year and after every journey, I swear I am going to quit. Usually, after a rest and forgiving the train and airlines, I reset and get ready to go again.
When I go with friends I usually end up being the navigator. Which means research on locations and how to get there. The research is just as fun and dreaming about the location before I even get there gets my excitement up. Except, finding the places is easier on the computer than with Garmin, maps and guide books sometimes. We learned that Garmin stops at a certain point just before your destination. This time I took a hiking Garmin that showed roads the driving Garmin didn’t know existed. Priceless. Which means we could still get home since it tracked us also.
In my head, I have things I want to see and explore before I die. I call it my bucket list. Everyone has one. A dream of an adventure that needs to be fulfilled, well part of mine was seeing the black houses on the Isle of Lewis. It is now checked off the list.
The best part is I get to do this with friends who enjoy it as much as I do. It really matters who you take on trips when you take photographs. They need to understand that taking good photos is going to take time and want to be up at all kinds of hours and weather conditions. You need to be fit because you are going to want to climb that hill to get that shot. I have walked on sheep trails right on the edge and decided the way back would be a different path.
If I were to change anything it would be the long flights and jet lag. Ugh…..JET LAG. Takes days to adjust coming and going. The days start to merge the longer I am there and my eyes fill with sights and beauty hard to descibe. When light hits for a few fleeting seconds and the car can’t get pulled over fast enough to catch it. Or the herd of sheep walking on the road and you jump out of the car to get a picture. All those are memories stored on a card taken by my Canon camera. Why? Because something in my heart says that the beauty of Scotland can only be captured one photo at a time.