Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturation

How often have you looked at a Black and White photograph and thought; “I’d like to see that in colour”?

Why would anyone want to photograph an indisputably colourful world in monochrome? If colour film had been invented first, would anybody even contemplate photographing in black and white? – Russell Miller

I know I much prefer working in colour but I have to be careful when I’m creating an HDR image in order not to make it too saturated.  This week all of the photographs were taken during the early evening or night time and that is one of the times I think you can get away with over-saturated images. OK! Let’s get started…

A Symphony of Lights  is a synchronised building exterior decorative light and laser multimedia display, featuring 44 buildings on both sides of the Victoria Harbour of Hong Kong accompanied by music.

Hong Kong Skyline

The show is organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and displayed every night with good weather at 8pm Hong Kong Time. An orchestration of music, decoration lights, laser light displays, and pyrotechnic fireworks, the multimedia light and sound show lasts for about 14 minutes.

Hong Kong Skyline

I’ve been to Hong Kong twice and managed to catch the light show on both trips. It’s a great experience and a photographers dream, if you’re ever in that part of the world make sure you don’t miss it…and make sure it’s in colour.

For nearly three years I lived in Berlin when the wall was still up. The wall meant that there were many places in the former East Berlin that I couldn’t visit to photograph. One of those was the Brandenburg Gate, I could see it, but from the wrong side, so to speak. The Brandenburg Gate (German: Brandenburger Tor) is a former city gate, rebuilt in the late 18th century as a neoclassical triumphal arch, it is probably one of the most well known landmarks of Germany.

Brandenburg Gate

It is located in the western part of the city centre of Berlin, at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße, immediately west of the Pariser Platz. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building. The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees, which formerly led directly to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs.

When I was a youngster I lived in Glasgow in a district called Knightswood which was on the north bank of the River Clyde. Greenock on the south side of the river at the “Tail of the Bank” where the River Clyde expands into the Firth of Clyde seemed so distant.

Clydeport Greenock

Last time I visited Glasgow I made it to Greenock in about 20 minutes. I wish I could have made it to Perth, Western Australia in that amount of time. It’s such a long journey, fortunately I broke mine by having a stop off in Hong Kong.

Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. It is the fourth most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 1.9 million living in Greater Perth.

Perth at Night

Perth was originally founded by Captain James Stirling in 1829 as the administrative centre of the Swan River Colony, and gained city status in 1856. The city is named after Perth, Scotland, by influence of Sir George Murray, then British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The city’s population increased substantially as a result of the Western Australian gold rushes in the late 19th century, largely as a result of emigration from the eastern colonies of Australia.

My final saturated image comes from a wild and stormy evening in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. I was out on the sea front trying to shelter from the driving wind and rain, whilst trying to get a photograph of the waves washing over the causeway.

Weston Storm

The hardest part was trying to keep the camera steady enough to get a photograph. With low light you need to take longer exposures and use a tripod, but the wind was so strong it was shaking the camera on the tripod. In the end I had to hold the camera steady for about 25 seconds to get  the photograph.

So, was Russell right? Do photographs look better in colour? I believe they do but I have always stayed away from over-saturated colours. This weeks challenge has forced me to look at colour and the affect that increased saturation can have on a photograph.


I Am Not Amused

I am Not Amused
The “Grumpy Old Man” posing for his admirers

The “Grumpy Old Man” was on a road trip yesterday to the seaside. On the way he stopped off at the now disused Hadlow Road railway station, which has been preserved to give an authentic 1950’s look.

The station is designated by English Heritage as a Grade II listed building. It is one of two visitor centres on the Wirral Way, with the other at Thurstaston where the platforms remain in situ, but the station has not been restored.

52/2013 Week 39

Grace darling
Made from the remains of a fallen beech tree, the Grace Darling can be found on the shore at Hoylake, near the lifeboat station

Grace Darling (24 November 1815 – 20 October 1842) was an English lighthouse keeper’s daughter, famed for participating in the rescue of survivors from the shipwrecked Forfarshire in 1838.

In the early hours of 7 September 1838, Grace, looking from an upstairs window of the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands, spotted the wreck and survivors of the Forfarshire on Big Harcar, a nearby low rocky island.

She and her father William determined that the weather was too rough for the lifeboat to put out from Seahouses (then North Sunderland), so they took a rowing boat (a 21 ft, 4-man Northumberland coble) across to the survivors, taking a long route that kept to the lee side of the islands, a distance of nearly a mile. Grace kept the coble steady in the water while her father helped four men and the lone surviving woman, Mrs. Dawson, into the boat. Although she survived the sinking, Mrs Dawson had lost her two young children during the night. William and three of the rescued men then rowed the boat back to the lighthouse. Grace then remained at the lighthouse while William and three of the rescued crew members rowed back and recovered four more survivors.

The Forfarshire had been carrying 62 people. The vessel broke in two almost immediately upon hitting the rocks. Those rescued by Grace and her father were from the bow section of the vessel which had been held by the rocks for some time before sinking. Nine other passengers and crew had managed to float off a lifeboat from the stern section before it too sank, and were picked up in the night by a passing Montrose sloop and brought into South Shields that same night.

Grace Darling died of tuberculosis in 1842, aged 26.


Digital Art

Vintage paper with plenty of copyspace for text

Way back in the dim and distant past I used to create a lot of images like this using backgrounds I had created and photographed. I would then add the subject such as the lighthouse and blend the two together.

In this one I have used a stock image from Fotolia and then blended in one of my photographs of Talacre Lighthouse.

I had forgotten how much fun it was, playing around in Photoshop to get the effect I wanted, blending layers and brushing in/out parts of the various photographs.

In fact I enjoyed it so much you might just see some more like this. But what do you think? Should I feature more digital art?

Lines and Patterns

Regular readers will notice that I have not used Weekly Photo Challenge in this weeks title. The idea was first suggested by RJ Silva in his blog post An Unusual Point of View and having seen this weeks challenge title I’m going to join Rolando in doing the same. So to this weeks challenge.

Lines and patterns are everywhere it’s just a case of seeing them for what they are.

You are the conductor ~ Your orchestra are shapes, textures, stories, objects, patterns, emotions, design, moments, depth, focus, rhythm, shades, colour, movement and light. It is your performance. It is your vision. – Steve Coleman

Every morning and evening if the sky is clear I get to see lines of vapour trails from aircraft as they head across the Atlantic towards the USA and Canada. But I also see aircraft going to and from the UK and Ireland. On clear moonlit nights silver trails light up the sky.

Vapour Trails

As I’m talking about the skies I thought I’d ask this little question. Why do military aircraft have disruptive pattern on their underside? I can understand the upper part of the aircraft being camouflaged to look like the ground but surely the underside should look like the sky?


Anyway this is the last flying Vulcan Bomber As a part of the V-force, the Vulcan was the backbone of the United Kingdom’s airborne nuclear deterrent during much of the Cold War

The only combat missions involving the Vulcan took place in 1982 during the Falklands War with Argentina. This was also the only time V-bombers took part in conventional warfare. The Vulcans flew 3,889 mi (6,259 km) from Ascension Island to Stanley on the Falklands. On  the 1st of May, the first mission was conducted by a single Vulcan that flew over Port Stanley and dropped its bombs on the airfield concentrating on the single runway, with one direct hit, making it unsuitable for fighter aircraft.

Interestingly, in the early 1980’s, Argentina approached the UK with a proposal to buy a number of Vulcans. A letter from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Ministry of Defence in January 1982 stated that little prospect was seen of this happening without ascertaining the Argentine interest and whether such interest was genuine: ‘On the face of it, a strike aircraft would be entirely suitable for an attack on the Falklands.

Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands less than three months later.

Blue Pillar

For a subject to be strong enough to be worth photographing, the relationship of its forms must be rigorously established. Composition starts when you situate your camera in space in relation to the object. For me, photography is the exploration in reality of the rhythm of surfaces, lines, or values; the eye carves out its subject, and the camera has only to do its work. That work is simply to print the eye’s decision on film. – Henri Cartier-Bresson

This stone pillar is located in Wells Cathedral, Somerset. The colour of the stone, forming those lines all the way to the roof with its intricate patterns, caught my eye the moment I saw it. Using a tripod I placed the camera at the base of the stone looking up. Rather than go straight up I decided to put the pillar at an angle. What do you think…good decision?

I was looking through my back catalogue the other day and found this photograph from 2009. Its one of those photographs.


I know I like it but I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s the line of posts giving a feeling of perspective? Or maybe it’s the pale colours?

Time for some more patterns and these are from the magnificent tiled floor in Tewkesbury Abbey which is made with Encaustic tiles.

Tewkesbury Abbey Altar

These are ceramic tiles in which the pattern or figure on the surface is not a product of the glaze but of different colours of clay. They are usually of two colours but a tile may be composed of as many as six. The pattern appears inlaid into the body of the tile, so that the design remains as the tile is worn down.

In both medieval times and in the nineteenth and twentieth century Gothic Revival, tiles were most often made for and laid in churches. Even tiles that were laid in private homes were often copies of those found in religious settings. Encaustic tile floors exist all over Europe and North America but are most prevalent in England where the greatest numbers of inlaid tiles were made.

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is located in Glasgow, Scotland. The building houses one of Europe’s great civic art collections. Since its 2003–06 refurbishment, the museum has been the most popular free-to-enter visitor attraction in Scotland, and the most visited museum in the United Kingdom outside of London

Kelvingrove Art Gallery

It is built in a Spanish Baroque style, follows the Glaswegian tradition of using Locharbriggs red sandstone, and includes an entire program of architectural sculpture by George Frampton, Francis Derwent Wood and other sculptors. The centrepiece of the central hall is a massive Pipe Organ installed by Lewis & Co.

There is a popular myth in Glasgow, that the building was accidentally built back-to-front, and the architect jumped from one of the towers in despair, when he realised his mistake. This is only an urban myth. The grand entrance was always intended to face into Kelvingrove Park. I know when I was a boy living in Glasgow I thought it was back to front and in those day the entrance was what is now considered the back of the building, even although it faces onto the main road.