Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV

What’s the best way to show the beautiful features of the ceiling in a 12th century building?

I’ve just got back from a short trip to Tewkesbury and the Cotswolds. The abbey at Tewkesbury is one of the best religious buildings I have ever photographed and the Cotswolds is famous for its areas of outstanding natural beauty. But for this weeks challenge I’m going to show you a photograph taken in the abbey.

Weekly Photo Challenge: POV

The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin, Tewkesbury, (commonly known as Tewkesbury Abbey), in the English county of Gloucestershire, is the second largest parish church in the country and a former Benedictine monastery. It is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Britain, and has probably the largest Romanesque crossing tower in Europe.

Walking round the abbey, you can find so much to photograph, I spent nearly 5 hours there. The artwork on the ceiling is very intricate, but, because the abbey is so tall you don’t half crick your neck trying to view it…

…and that’s where the mirror comes into its own. By looking in the mirror you can view the magnificent ceiling of the abbey easily.

Not the easiest thing to photograph though, I had to get a lens cloth out to polish the fingerprints off the mirror and for some reason I had difficulty getting the camera to focus sharply, but here it is anyway. A different POV for the ceiling in the abbey.

Have you ever seen anything like this? Or perhaps you’ve found something that helps to display unique features in a building?

I Need Your Help – Photograph Test

I’m hoping you can help me here. When I ran the post about Topaz ReStyle,  Adrian Pym was kind enough to point out that the photographs looked pixellated and noisy when viewed in the WordPress Reader. I had to agree with him, they were terrible.

Previously I have used Flickr to host my images but just recently I switched to Google+. In conjunction with Windows Live Writer I write my posts offline and embed the photographs into the post.

It looks like something is going wrong with this process causing the photographs not to look so good.

Sound a bit technical. Not really, but here’s what I’d like from you. I’m going to post two photographs here. One hosted on Google+ and one on Flickr. Can you look at them and see if either of them don’t look so good.

Here is the first one – it’s from Google+

Now, the second one from Flickr

Vulcan Test

I really would like your help on this so if you can help by replying please do so.

Thanks in advance – Mike


Topaz ReStyle

It’s no secret that I am a Photoshop user and that I will enhance my images. In my opinion that’s what the digital age is all about. I’m a great fan of Topaz Labs plugins for Photoshop and I have their Complete Collection installed on my computer.

Recently I did a beta test of Topaz ReStyle which is now on general release. What does it do? Hard to explain in words but you can take a photograph and apply one of a thousand different effects to it. Perhaps the best way is to show you what I mean.

Here’s the base image. Taken as the sun was setting on Talacre Beach. On it’s own I quite like it….but it could do with something a little bit extra.

With one click I can select from any one of the 1000 pre-sets and it will be instantly applied.

But you don’t have to stick with the pre-sets default setting. You can fine tune them using the control panel.

Here you can adjust the strength of the five primary colours, mask out some of the effect, change the saturation and hue of colours, even the luminosity.

Want something a bit weird? ReStyle has pre-sets  for that.  Or maybe something dark and moody?

A thousand different pre-sets is a bit much to look at but you can search by keyword. For instance, I used “blue” to find this pre-set.

Many of the pre-sets look reasonably natural, especially any that have to do with sunset or sunrise.

I’m not saying that ReStyle should be applied to every photograph, nor is it  suited to every photograph. When I was beta testing I found I got the best results from photographs where the light was kind of low and I stuck to something that was believable. i.e. the green and really red just don’t seem to gel.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

This is my 500th post on WordPress and it’s appropriate that this weeks subject should be the sea considering I have lived in coastal towns for the last 15 years. Many of my photographs are taken on the beach or the sand dunes nearby. I’ve been there in driving rain, storm conditions, beautiful sunny days, unusually high tides, sunrise, sunset and I never tire of visiting the coast and the sea. I can visit the same place time and time again, and yet get a different photograph every time.

You may be wondering what a helicopter has to do with the sea but bear with me. The Westland WS-61 Sea King is a British licence-built version of the American Sikorsky S-61 helicopter of the same name, built by Westland Helicopters. There! That’s the connection….it’s called a SEA King. But there’s more to this post.

Here in the United Kingdom, No. 22 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the Sea King HAR.3 and HAR.3A from three stations in the southern United Kingdom in a Search and Rescue role. The primary role is military search and rescue, and the provision of rescue for civilian aircraft in distress under the 1948 Chicago Convention. Although established with a primary role of military search and rescue, most of the operational missions are spent in its secondary role, conducting civil search and rescue. This entails the rescue of civilians from the sea (that word again), on mountains, from flooded regions or other locations on land.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Founded on 4 March 1824 as the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck. the RNLI operates throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Ships in distress, or the public reporting an accident contact the emergency services, who will redirect the call to HM Coastguard or the Irish Coast Guard, as appropriate. The Coastguard co-ordinates all rescues and may call on the RNLI, rescue helicopters or other agencies to take part. Can you see where this is going, yet?

This weekend was the Rhyl Air Show and each year we are given a demonstration of the cooperation between the RNLI and Search and Rescue Helicopters. In the photograph above a crew-member (usually a paramedic) is lowered from the helicopter in preparation for a transfer to a ship at sea.

The helicopter will match speed with the ship and the crew-member will land on the deck. In the photograph above he is just on the back end of the RNLI lifeboat, simulating the transfer.

WordPress Tags: Helicopter,Sikorsky,Lifeboat,RNLI,Coastguard,Rhyl