Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II

An Autumn Day

An Autumn Day

A photograph of trees in autumn colour taken at Sheffield Park Gardens, in East Sussex

A photograph of trees in autumn colour taken at Sheffield Park Gardens, in East Sussex

 

The above photograph was shot in Autumn 2014 at Sheffield Park Gardens.. how I so wanted to revisit that place this year to see the beautiful autumn colours.. but I just couldn’t make it.  Sheffield Park Gardens in East Sussex is one of the places where you will find the colours of autumn in abundance.  When the leaves turn red and then brown it gives such colour to any landscape.. and recently as we have driven down the M20 to my son’s house the colours of the trees that line the motorway are spectacular and we can’t stop to get a photograph of them.. which is such a shame.

One particular stretch of the M20 is lined with tress that have every shade of red and copper you could image… it is beautiful.

Another great place to see autumn colours is Knole in Sevenoaks in Kent

A photograph of the autumn colours at Knole near Sevenoaks in Kent.

A photograph of the autumn colours at Knole near Sevenoaks in Kent.

Knole also has the added advantage of deer that graze and run throughout the estate..  The last time we visited Knole we were in luck because the deer were grazing near the main house and there was quite a few them to photograph…

A photograph of a deer taken at Knole in Sevenoaks Kent.

A photograph of a deer taken at Knole in Sevenoaks Kent.

 

We are now heading into winter.. and the landscapes are becoming barren and those vibrant autumn colours are fading fast… Here in the South East of England… it is very rare we have snow… I think the last time we had proper snow was back in 2012… and I would love to be able to get out and do some snow shots… so what I need is my hip replaced now (wish thinking on my part here)… so that if we do get snow, I can at least get out and about.  And what would be truly nice… if I can put my order in now… is for a White Christmas…

 

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Posted by Bren in Landscape, Photography, 6 comments
52 Weeks Photo Challenge: Week 12 – Face

52 Weeks Photo Challenge: Week 12 – Face

Stewie

Stewie – head on pillow.

This is my first entry into this particular photo challenge.. hosted by ‘The Girl That Dreams Awake’.. and the theme for this week is ‘Face’.  As I am very wary of putting children’s faces on the internet… and I would have loved to share photos of my grand children… but for safety’s sake I have opted for the next safest bet.. my dogs..

Dumpling

Dumpling – take my photo mum… please

 

And my last picture is of Stewie looking at what his little sis is getting up to.

Stewie

Stewie – what is she up to?

Posted by Bren in Animals, Monochrome, Photography Challenge, 2 comments
Waiting for the storm

Waiting for the storm

A photograph of a storm taken from Brightron Pier in East Sussex.

A photograph of a storm taken from Brightron Pier in East Sussex.

One July day in 2014, during the week, hubby had a day off.. and we decided to head to Brighton in East Sussex, I love Brighton seafront, especially the little train that takes you down to the Marina.  Anyway as we headed back towards the pier the skies turned very stormy.  We stood on the pier waiting for the thunder and lightning to start.  We did hear one loud thunder-clap in the distance.

But there was no lightning which was a shame… so for the above picture I decided to add some lightning.. to add a more dramatic effect to the sky..

Posted by Bren in Photography, Seascape, 0 comments
Split-Toning

Split-Toning

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriements Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W without Split Toning

I was playing around today with an image I took at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex.  As soon as I saw the image I knew I wanted to create a monochrome image of this tulip… I loved the shine on the petals.

Anyway after processing the image I thought about playing around with the Split Toning Panel in Lightroom. Originally the tulip was a red colour so I kept my image to crimson shades.

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriements Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning

I love how the split-toning gave a shine to the photograph, so I decided to take it one step further and thought about a purple tulip.  So I altered the values of the split-toning to create a purple tulip

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriements Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Purple Split Toning

 

And then I thought about a gold looking tulip… so again I just played around with the colours in the split-toning panel

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriements Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Gold Split Toning.

It is surprising how playing around with split-toning can turn a monochrome photograph into a toned colour photo.  Below are the values I used for each photograph.

Posted by Bren in Floral, Photography, 0 comments
My first week on Social Media…

My first week on Social Media…

As much as I like blogging… it has been really nice… just processing photographs and uploading them to Social Media… Many years ago I joined 500px and never really posted much to it… but with my new work flow from Lightroom, I have been posting quite a bit to 500px.  In fact I have now reached my 20 uploads a week quota… and I am in the process of thinking whether to upgrade to the Awesome package…

Ashenbank woods is close by to us… and I just love how the bluebells mingle with the trees..

A photography of Ashenbank Woods near Cobham in Kent

A photograph of Ashenbank Woods near Cobham in Kent

It is a great place for an afternoon walk with the kids… and there are lovely picnic areas..

My next two photographs are ones that we took whilst in Scotland… the first one is of a Quarry in Ballachulish, Scotland that has been turned into a country park…

Ballachulish Quarry

A photograph of Ballchulish Quarry in Scotland

My next photograph was taken also in Scotland and it is of the rapids of the River Coe, near Glencoe in Scotland…

A photograph of water rushing over the rocks heading towards the River Coe in Glencoe, Scotland

A photograph of water rushing over the rocks on the River Coe in Glencoe, Scotland

 

To get this shot I had to send him as trying to walk over uneven ground was definitely a no-no for me. I just love how fierce that water seemed to flow over those rocks… and it was so crystal clear.. you could see the riverbed…

Over the last week…. I have been experimenting with abstract photography… by simply turning a normal photograph into a piece of art using twirls and spirals in Photoshop… It is a 8 step process… so I have broken the steps down into three stages and created an action for each of the 3 stages…  If you would like the actions please click here (note for step 7 make sure you are on the background layer – this action will only create the twirl effect to the background layer. To complete the creation of your artwork select the top layer and change the blending mode of that layer.)

I really love this form of artwork.. and it is something that I definitely will be continuing with…. an added bonus of this form of artwork is that you learn how to do things in Photoshop… things that you would normally by-pass.  Plus once you have created your Twirl looking photograph.. you can go further by using other filters and creating duplicate layers and flipping that layer horizontal or vertical…  The only thing stopping you is your imagination.    Here are a selection of photographs that I have created this past week…

 

I have found by cutting down on my blogging that I have had more time to experiment and find something I really like to do… and I am looking forward to next week’s post…. and I can guarantee there will be definitely more abstract art involved somewhere in that post.

Have a good look everyone…  and if you don’t want to use the actions in Photoshop… here is the process for creating twirls… with many thanks to Julie Powell for instructions

1.) Open your image in Photoshop

2.) With your background layer selected > select Filter > Pixelate > Mezzotint. Set your mode to “Medium Lines.” OK.

3.) Next select to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. Change settings to Amount 100, Blur Method zoom, Quality best. OK.

4.) Repeat step 3 as many times as you like. I ran mine about 3 times.

5.) Create a duplicate layer [CTRL/CMD J].

6.) With the background layer highlighted, Select > Filter > Distort > Twirl. On this layer you want to use a positive number ie +200.

7.) Highlight Layer 1, select > Filter > Distort > Twirl. For this layer we need a negative number ie: -150. OK

8.) We now need to blend these two layers together, select Layer 1, and change your blending mode, try darken and lighten, Exclusion and Difference, it really depends on your image and what effect you like. Try all the blend modes, some will work, some wont.

9.) Now flatten or stamp your image (Ctrl, Shift, Alt, E) and transform it (flip horizontal or vertical) and use another blend mode, or even the same one, to create a really great piece of unique art.

Posted by Bren in Abstract, Landscape, Photography, 8 comments
Chiddingstone Castle

Chiddingstone Castle

Chiddingstone Castle Framed - IMG_9497

 

If you are looking for somewhere to go.. then a trip to Chiddingstone Castle should be on your agenda… and will close on the last day of October this year…. the grounds are spectacular and there is so much to do there… I have to admit the tea-rooms are lovely… Yes the entrance fee is a bit pricey especially if you have children but this wonderful castle does need to be kept in tip-top condition.

Chiddingstone - Prices

Chiddingstone Castle is also a lovely venue for weddings…  As you stroll around the grounds you can see right over to the bridge that leads you into Chiddingstone Village.  You can see more of our photos of Chiddingstone Castle by clicking here.  The above photo was taken from the woodland area looking towards the rear of Chiddingstone Castle… and the interior of Chiddingstone Castle is breath-taking and what I liked about our visit was, you were allowed to take photographs.

Posted by Bren in Architecture, Photography, 0 comments
26 Weeks Letter Challenge: ‘M’ – Morris Motor

26 Weeks Letter Challenge: ‘M’ – Morris Motor

Minor- IMG_9886 - Framed

 

Doesn’t a week fly by so quickly? It hardly seems seven days since the last 26 Weeks Letter Challenge and the letter for this week is ‘M’.  Well the above photograph has four M’s in it…  It is a Morris Motor with Mirrors and is coloured Maroon.  I picture four M’s..  Once again thank you to Lori for hosting this challenge..

Posted by Bren in Photography, Photography Challenge, Transport, 4 comments
Rework the Lupin – ON1 Software

Rework the Lupin – ON1 Software

Taken by Bren Ryan

Taken by Bren Ryan

 

I don’t know about you but sometimes when you process photos.. you primarily use Lightroom and Photoshop and simply forget about the other software programmes you have.  I have ON1 Photo as well as Topaz Adjust and Nik Collection, so yesterday whilst playing around with the Lupin photo I did for a Photography Challenge, instead of using Photoshop and Luminosity Masks by Lumenzia to add texture, I thought I would use ON1 Effects…. and I love what that software did.

Perhaps it is time for me to implement other software programmes into my editing… If I don’t like it I can always reset or revert to a previous stage.  It was only up until recently I adventured into Photoshop… and I have to say.. I find now I am using Photoshop more and more.. especially for cleaning up photos.

If you don’t want to go out and purchase the software without giving it a try there is always On1 Effects 10 Free to try.  But believe me it is worth every penny and at the moment (as of today, for a limited period, you can get ON1 Photo 10.5 (photo editing made simple) AND ON1 Photo RAW (the next generation of ON1 photo – Coming Fall 2016) for $89.99, which is a bargain.

Posted by Bren in Floral, Photography, 0 comments
26 Weeks Letter Challenge: ‘L’ – Lupin

26 Weeks Letter Challenge: ‘L’ – Lupin

Taken by Bren Ryan

Taken by Bren Ryan

 

This week’s letter for Lori’s Photo Letter Challenge is the letter ‘L’.  Originally I was going to post a photograph of a lake.. but then as I was going through my collections I found this Lupin. I didn’t like the background on the original photo… so using Photoshop I changed the background to a graduated filter using two colours from the flower and then created a layer mask to allow the flower to shine through.  Again thanks has to go out to Lori for hosting this challenge.. now to think about next week’s letter ‘M’…I think that might be a bit of a challenge.. 😀 😀

Posted by Bren in Floral, Photography, Photography Challenge, 2 comments
Little Egret – Blue wash

Little Egret – Blue wash

Taken by Bren Ryan - Final Image

Taken by Bren Ryan – Final Image

 

Yesterday at Northward Hill Nature Reserve we had this Little Egret who was quite contented to pose for photographs… the clicks of the camera didn’t bother him at all… and as we had the camera’s set to High Burst Mode… we have loads of photographs of this bird.

Taken by Bren Ryan - SOOC

Taken by Bren Ryan – SOOC

I wanted to create something different… and I knew that Photoshop would be used… so I did some of my processing in Lightroom before I exported my photo to Photoshop.

The first thing I did was Crop the photo using the Crop Tool in Lightroom.  In the Basic Panel  I played around with the Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Blacks and Whites.  I then added some Clarity and Vibrance before lowering the Saturation a tad.

In the Details Panel I added some Sharpening and Edge Masking.  After that I did some Noise Reduction.  And finally in the Lens Correction Panel I ticked the Remove Chromatic Aberration and Enable Lens Profile boxes.  After that I then pressed the shortcut on PC Ctrl+E to send my photo into Photoshop.

Taken by Bren Ryan - Sent to Photoshop

Taken by Bren Ryan – Sent to Photoshop

Once in Photoshop, using the Spot Healing Brush and the Content-Aware setting I removed some of the grasses from the water… After that, I then added a New Layer and to this layer I added a Graduated Filter in two shades of pastel blue.  I then changed the Blending Mode of this Layer to Color.

Using a Layer Mask and a very soft Brush I then painted over the bird to remove the Graduated Filter from the bird.  When using my brush I used low opacity and flow settings and gradually built up mask…

5146 - Layers PanelOnce I was happy with the mask… I then duplicated the layer and changed the blending mode to Divide.

My next task was to add some sharpening to the bird… To add this Sharpening I used Lumenzia and then set the radius to 4.0.  After that my next task was to only add the Sharpening to the bird.  So I used the shortcut of Ctrl+I to Invert the Mask and then using a soft Brush I just painted gently over the bird and the reflection.  Then I saved my file and it exported itself back into Lightroom.

Once I was back into Lightroom I then added a couple of Radial Filters one to increase the Exposure where the bird’s legs went into the water and another to darken the area around the bird.  After that using a Local Adjustment Brush and a very small increment in the Exposure I then added some brush strokes to the bird.

In the Details Panel I then did some more Sharpening, Masking and Luminance Smoothing.  Then in the Effects Panel I added a small Vignette.  The object of processing this photograph was to use mainly blue tones and white for the bird… and I quite like the effect I have created…

Here is a 12×8 version of the above photograph in a frame

12x8 photo in frame - Little Egret - Blue Wash

Posted by Bren in Before and After, Photography, Wildlife, 4 comments