Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

How many times have I said “no photograph is worth taking chances for”? Yet today I broke my golden rule and paid the price for it. This weeks challenge is to show our interpretation of descent and I can do that in more ways than one.

Llanberis Pass

The Llanberis Pass descends from Pen-y-Pass to Llanberis and flowing down through the pass for about 6km is the Afon Nant Peris which has it’s source at Pen-y-Pass (359m) and finally ends at Llyn Peris (105m). And this is where I broke my golden rule. Stupidly I decided to step onto some rocks to get a better view down the river before taking another photograph. I slipped, straight down, flat on my face, my camera came up to hit my sunglasses, forcing them into my eye area. Fortunately my camera seems fine, but I have a bruise the size of an egg and the best shade of eye-shadow a man could ever want.


Not pretty at all. I’m sore all over and all because I was stupid enough to break my own golden rule. So there you have it……descent in more ways than one.

It’s Halloween

Depends where you live in the world you might have a different name for tonight’s fun and games. Round our way we don’t have any of the “little darlings” banging on our door and squealing “Trick or Treat”. I think the trick I played on them a couple of years back has scared them all off. Anyway to celebrate I thought I’d show you some pieces I have created over the years for posts about Halloween or ghouls and ghosties.

First up is this piece I created with a mixture of Photoshop Brushes and a photograph of the moon.


I really would like to credit the creators of the brushes but this piece from my archive is so old that I have long since forgotten where they came from.

The next piece I would like to show you is my old friend the red monk. I have used him in several digital art works and my thanks goes to Marcus J Ranum for allowing the use of his extensive stock collection of models. His works are available from Deviantart but you do need to be logged in to view them.


It is a bit dark this one but that’s how I wanted it, with just the highlights on the monks face and belt.

It’s time to play a game of chess and I hope you will join my next friend. But don’t lose…it could be the death of you. Once again I am indebted to Mr Ranum for the use of the model. The room is a stock photograph from Fotolia and is one of a series of twenty-five that I was allowed to download for free when I bought a version of Corel PhotoPaint a long time back. I specifically chose rooms as they are always good for use in Digital Art.

grunge industrial background

Another brush artwork coming up. Once again from a long time ago but I do remember that the background was made from  a set of Galaxy Brushes by the very talented Sunira. As to the rest I am not sure but if you happen to view this and recognise your brush sets let me know and I will credit you.


One more to go. The background of the trees is from one of my photographs. Lightning and birds are brushes. The young lady is from the stock collection of Persephonestock on Deviantart and I think she is called Miranda


That’s it from me. I hope you enjoyed this series of digital artwork. Please feel free to use them in any way you like as long as it’s not for commercial purposes.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art

This weeks challenge photograph or should I say Digital Art is a composite made from several photographs, textures and text layers. Winter is a coming in and during the winter months I usually end up creating several pieces of art work sometimes from my own photographs and textures or from freely available stock. As usual when I do this I will cite at the end of the article where I sourced the stock from.

The challenge this week was to create cover art and I decided to go with a book cover, probably science-fiction, but it could probably fit into other genres as well.

The old stone building with staircase and entrance

You can see the separate elements here, the monk, the clock, the arch and stairs. Add some textures and a bit of text, then blend it all together in Photoshop to produce the final result. My thanks to Marcus J Ranum for the use of the Red Monk which I have used before in other artwork. The Archway and Stairs was a piece of stock that I got free a long time ago from Fotolia. The Clock Face is from a series of textures provided by So-ghislaine on DeviantArt. Other textures used came from the excellent addition to Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 called Adobe Texture Pro. Other than those I’ve already mentioned everything else in this piece of work is the product of my imagination and Photoshop.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

I’ve been experimenting with long exposures this week by sticking a 10 Stop ND Filter on the front of my lens. These filters are almost black and cut down the amount of light reaching the sensor which means you have to keep the shutter open longer to capture the same amount of light. For example, yesterday was a sunny day with clouds, without the filter my camera was saying that the exposure should be 1/500 second. With the filter in place the exposure time was two seconds. That’s enough to give blurry movement of the clouds. With me so far?

Wild Talacre

But maybe not enough to give me a “dreamy” look. I wanted a longer exposure and one way of getting that is to use HDR. The other way is to by using a smaller aperture in conjunction with the ND Filter to let even less light hit the sensor. In this case you would have to keep the shutter open longer to get the same amount of light. Do you understand the relationship between “f number”  and the size of the aperture in your camera and how it affects the final picture. I have a simple rule of thumb that I use. Nothing scientific. The higher the aperture number i.e. f22 the smaller the opening will be in my lens, therefore the longer I will have to keep the shutter open. Of course I don’t have to calculate it, the camera does it for me, most of the time. Want to understand more? There’s an excellent article with simple diagrams about Aperture and Shutter Speed on Face The Light that you can read. Of course using longer exposures means that you need to use a tripod to keep your photograph in focus. Well the non-moving parts at least.

ND filters come in two types, circular ones that you screw to the front of your lens, or square ones that you place in a filter holder that screws onto the front of your lens. They also come in various price ranges from cheap and cheerful through to extremely expensive, but one thing they nearly all do is leave a colour cast to the final result. Usually it’s red or orange, but if you shoot in RAW that you can compensate by adjusting the “White Balance” temperature.

I use a cheap and cheerful one that I ordered from a company called SRB Photographic, mainly because I’m only experimenting. Also I had seen a review of the filter from a photographer called Brad Kalpin who had recently bought a 10 Stop ND Filter from SRB Photographic and he was quite positive about it’s use. For me reviews are a great way of helping me make a decision about future purchases. What about you? Do you use reviews?

While some people are afraid of snakes, others have phobias about high places – I’m scared of long exposures. – Ralph Bartholomew Jr.

Not me! Now that I have tried long exposure photography I want to do more. I can see the potential for taking photographs that look different and i can’t wait to get out and try that 10 Stop with moving water.