In Search Of Autumn Colours

First of all please look at the photographs full size. You can do that by clicking on them and you will see a better resolution as well.

Here in our little part of North Wales Autumn is finally making itself present and we are beginning to see the trees assume some really nice colours.  According to the weather guru’s Thursday was looking like a good day to go in search of those colours.  So a quick call to,  Adrian Evans, a photographer buddy of mine and a day out was arranged.

First stop, Llyn Crafnant, where the wind was blowing nice and strong and boy was it a cold bitter wind. But there’s was the occasional break in the clouds were the sun was coming through, lighting the hills up in the distance. some nice colours but maybe another week or so.

Llyn Crafnant

On the road back down from Llyn Crafnant you have to go through the forest. By now the sun was really out , lighting up those orange and greens with a beautiful warm glow. I’m sure it didn’t look like this on the way up to Llyn Crafnant, but I’m not complaining.

Autumn Leaves

Before heading into Betws-y-Coed, now there’s a great Welsh name, we stopped off at the Grey Mare Falls. Nothing particularly exciting, as we haven’t had a lot of rain recently. Instead I settled for the view away from the falls. It just looked more enchanting. All I needed at this point was to find a fairy sitting on one of the rocks. What you don’t believe in fairies? Are you sure…..?

52 in 2015 Week 43 Texture

My final photograph is the stone bridge over the Afon Conwy on the Betws-y-Coed to Blaenau Ffestiniog road. I’ve passed over this bridge hundreds of ties and never noticed the view here.


Well that’s it. Autumn is starting to show here and if you live in the Northern Hemisphere it must be time to get out and seek those colours.

Rhyl Air Show 2015

This years Air Show, two days of great air displays,  took place on the August Bank holiday which has just gone. Main attraction for me this year would be the Vulcan Bomber on one of it’s last flying days before it’s grounded for good.

All photographs were shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the excellent M Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R lens. Camera settings: Manual Mode, f5.6, 1/1600s, ISO 200, C-AF Tracking.

Just click on any photograph to see a larger version

First up the Hawk T2; a British single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft, used not only for training but also by the Red Arrows.

Hawk T2

Mainly based at RAF Valley on the island of Anglesey the Hawk is often seen flying through the valleys in Snowdonia. Don’t half give you a fright sometimes when they come screaming right over the top of your head when you’re not expecting it.

From fast jests to something more sedate. A pair of old pre WW2 biplanes also used for flying training.

Bucker Jungmann

Seen here in the livery of the Spanish Air Force the Bucker Jungmann or Bü 131 became the  basic trainer for the German Luftwaffe. Later it was adopted by the Spanish Air Force where it remained in service until 1968.

And now for something completely different. Supplied as a complete ready-to-fly-aircraft the Calidus is an Autogyro designed and produced by AutoGyro GmbH of Hildesheim, Germany.

Calidus AutoGyro

Now for some more WW2 aircraft who all put in an appearance at the air show.  The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota (RAF designation) is a military transport aircraft developed from the civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War 2.

Douglas Dakota C47

The Fairey Swordfish was a biplane torpedo bomber designed by the Fairey Aviation Company and used by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy during World War 2. Built in the 1930’s and despite having an out-dated bi-plane design it remained in service throughout the war in Europe  Designed as a naval attack aircraft, the Swordfish was later used as an anti-submarine and training craft.

Fairey Swordfish

There’s nothing like the sound of a Rolls Royce Merlin engine; combine it with the airframe of the Spitfire and I’m in heaven. It’s a beautiful aircraft, one I love to see and hear flying.


Right! Let’s shake it up a bit….literally. Our next performers at the air show provide spectacular displays of aerobatic flying. They really use the sky to perform some great stunts.

Flying two Pitts Special S-1D Biplanes,  the TRIG aerobatic team are sponsored by Trig Avionics. Regarded as one of the legendary light aerobatic aircraft it was designed by Curtiss Pitts in 1944. The design was so successful, famous teams like Rothmans and Marlboro adopted the Pitts are their display aircraft in the 1970’s.

Pitts Special S-1D Biplanes

Another Pitts Special, this time in a red and white livery.

Pitts Special S-1D Biplane

The Extra 260 was designed and built in Germany by Walter Extra, an aerobatic pilot.

Extra 260

My final aircraft and star of day 1 of the show is the Avro Vulcan (officially Hawker Siddeley Vulcan a jet-powered delta wing strategic bomber, which was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1956 until 1984. After retirement by the RAFXH558, named “The Spirit of Great Britain” was restored for use in display flights and air shows.

Vulcan Bomber

But sadly, this year 2015, is the last year of flying. There are several reasons for this. The airframe and systems are 10% above the hours flown by any other Vulcan. More importantly the expertise required to maintain the excellent safety record is becoming increasingly difficult to find.

That’s it! I hop you enjoyed the photographs.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Creepy

Another week and another challenge. I suppose it’s inevitable that at some time the  challenge theme is going to repeat.  On the 1st of November 2013 Cheri asked us to write about something Eerie. It’s not too hard to jump from Eerie to Creepy which is this weeks challenge theme.

A long time ago I used to experiment with composite images and digital blending. Some of the creations I would come up with were quite creepy; like this one of a stone gargoyle from the side of a church blended with a set of human eyes. I was also into framing all of my work at the time.

Looking At You

Later I developed a more dark and sombre mood  as you can see from this next one.

The Red Monk

The good thing about this type of work; I was teaching myself to use Photoshop, blending  layers, lighting, brushes etc. All of which were to come in handy later. This next one was a composite of so many of those techniques I mentioned above. The background is a photograph of trees in the fog, layered with a blue cast and some dark textures. Next the girl was cut-out from her original background and blended into the photograph using a slightly transparent layer. Brushes were used for the lightning and the flying birds.

Girl in Blue

Talking of brushes. The next two works were created solely using Photoshop brushes. Oops! I tell a lie. The moon was mine. but everything else came from various Photoshop brushes


Definitely all brushes this time. Can you see an underlying theme to all of these works?


Finally, I give you… “Come Play With Me”. Once again, it’s a composite made of several layers of photographs combined with Photoshop brushes.

grunge industrial background

Here’s what other bloggers are writing about this subject;

Hard Hitting Footage Of A Fatal Collision Between Motorcycle And Car


Norfolk Police in the UK have released hard-hitting footage of a fatal collision in a bid to get motorcyclists and drivers to think seriously about road safety.

WARNING – Viewers are warned that this video contains content which some may find distressing, but it does not show any graphic images of the rider during or after the collision. The decision is yours whether you want to watch it or not, I have, several times now, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

I don’t often publish anything like this but I feel the message has to get out there even to other countries.


Topaz Glow

Over the last month I have been beta testing a new product from Topaz Labs called Glow. The software works either as a standalone program or as a plugin for Lightroom or Photoshop. Topaz Glow uses fractals to get some interesting results, very similar to Redfield Fractalius. Topaz have released a short product video showing the interface along with some before and after photographs.

I’m sure over the next few days there will be plenty of tutorials released so I’m just going to show you some of the results I achieved using Topaz Glow.

Electric Sky

Glow is not one of those plugins I would use on every photograph. I’m more likely to use it when I am creating some digital artwork and I want to bring in an electric sort of look. Topaz Glow has lots of ready-made presets that you can just click and apply but my personal method is to choose a preset and then adjust the sliders to get more of the look I want.

Engine Bay

Like this engine bay from a Ford. I still wanted to maintain a lot of the detail and by adjusting the opacity and blend modes of Topaz Glow directly in the plugin or standalone program I’m able to get the look I want. Similarly in the photograph below I used blending an opacity levels along with fine tuning the preset to maintain the ripples in the sand but add a bit of light and texture

Purple Haze

Applied carefully you can get a painterly look to your photograph. look at this one of a blue tit sitting on a branch.


Admittedly Topaz already have a paint plugin called Impressions but I quite like the effect that Glow brings to this photograph. The tree below is so simple but Topaz Glow has added just that little bit of texture


Disclaimer: I have been a beta tester for Topaz products for well over a year now and as such I am give copies of the software for testing which has often resulted in my receiving a free license when the product is brought to market.