Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Abandon Hope...

I've been very busy over the last week, so apologies for the lack of new entries.  I'd also entered the following set into a Projected "Portfolio" Competition under the title of "The Darker Side of West Kirby:  Abandon Hope..." and wanted to wait until after the event itself before posting them.

Needless to say, the judge didn't like them!

They've all been very heavily processed to bring out the gloomy and rather desolate aspect of a seaside town out of season.  Not everyone's cup of tea, I know, but I still think they're quite powerful.  Especially the last one, which originally reminded me of the Star Wars credits when I first saw it, but which has now been transformed into something far more sinister.  Needless to say, the judge missed the solitary individual who had clearly ignored the warning aimed at all ye who enter here...

[For the technically minded, these are all single images processed in HDR Efex Pro to enhance the sky and add "grit" to the proceedings.]

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

New Brighton

After the PAGB Championships, we headed to New Brighton to photograph the lighthouse as the sun went down.  I've tried processing the pictures in various ways, but I'm not sure which I prefer yet.

It isn't often I get the opportunity to take pictures as the sun goes down, so I'd forgotten how magical it was photographing in twilight.  The following pictures range from 30 seconds to 5 minute exposures.


The only downside of our trip to New Brighton was that the Fish & Chip shop was closed by the time we got there.  Tedious people...

Monday, 7 November 2011

Connah's Quay

The PAGB National Print Championships took part in the Deeside College.  Actually they took place in a building which looked (and felt) like an aircraft hangar, and had the same kind of charm.  It was an indoor running track with automatic lights (not ideal when projecting!) and - apparently - absolutely no heating.

There were five of us from Cambridge Camera Club including me.  The picture below shows Ann, Miles, Mike and Sue going from left to right.

The entries in the championships were projected onto a big screen so that the assembled multitudes (around 300 people) could admire the work - some of which was absolutely stunning.

Cambridge ended the day in fourth position, which is an astonishing achievement for an "ordinary" club.  Below is a picture of a highly chuffed Sue collecting a Silver Medal from the PAGB President, Peter Cheetham.

The good news is that we get automatic entry to Connah's Quay next year too.  Better start packing the thermal undies now...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

West Kirby

Cambridge Camera Club reached the finals of the PAGB National Print Championships in Connah's Quay (Deeside, North Wales).  After an uneventful drive up the M6, Ann and I decided to spend what remained of the afternoon at the seaside: West Kirby, to be precise.

Not the sunniest of days, but one with the most amazing cloud cover which worked particularly well in Infra Red.

To give a sense of scale, the middle photograph shows a power station and a paper mill on the left, and the new bridge which spans the Dee on the right.  The bottom picture shows circular patterns in the mud caused by some kind of vehicle.  See below for a guess as to the possible culprit.

West Kirby has a rather strange causeway across the mud-flats which forms the boundary of an enormous boating lake.  It's obviously a favourite walk for couples, dog walkers and the like.  When the tide is in, there is the rather surreal sensation that these people are walking on water, when viewed from the Promenade.

The machine which we think must have generated the tracks in the mud is - well - we don't really know.  It's operated by the RNLI and has caterpillar tracks to stop it sinking without trace.  More strangely it has a couple of wooden benches attached to the back, so either it's designed to give joy-rides to tourists or - more likely - to rescue people who have been stranded by the incoming tide.

Whatever else, it clearly needed a good hose-down at the end of the working day...

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Stratford Patterns

The final few pictures from the Olympic Park trip were taken once the group had split up at the Westfield Shopping Centre.  I was rather taken with the patterns in the buildings and the bus/DLR stations.

The final picture was taken from a moving train as we departed after a highly enjoyable - if exhausting - visit.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Westfield Shopping Centre

In the area around the Olympic Park, it's impossible to avoid the new Westfield Shopping Centre: a temple to Mammon which forms, I believe, what will be the official entrance to the games in 2012.  Hating such places I confess that I didn't go inside.

More interesting than the shopping centre was a bridge which linked it to the nearby DLR station.

Security is so tight at Westfield that cars are searched when entering and leaving the car park!

The final picture gives some sense of the gathered multitude who were worshipping at the aforementioned temple.  Not one of my favourite places...

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The Viewing Platform

As part of the 2012 London Olympics preparations, a viewing platform was built so that visitors (including the all-important International Olympic Committee) could see the whole site and the progress which was being made.  This "platform" is, in fact, the equivalent of a Portakabin which has effectively been glued on top of a 21-storey block of flats!

Being so high results in a truly panoramic view of the whole of the Olympic Site - and most of London, in fact.  It was a hazy day and I was shooting through glass, but the results are still fairly spectacular.

More than one person commented on the fact that the tower block was swaying slightly in the breeze, which is yet another reason why I don't think I could live in one of those things...

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Grunge and Graffiti

The whole of the area around the new Olympic Park is covered by graffiti in one form or another.  Although not HDR in the true sense of the acronym (i.e. each image below is a single exposure) I felt that the subject matter called for treatment which added an element of "grunge" - something which HDR Efex does extremely well.

I'm afraid, when I saw the next image, I couldn't resist giving it the title Union Jack.  Sorry...

The colourful graffiti also works pretty well in almost-monochrome infra red too.