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Showing posts from May, 2012

Picture of the Week: Old Wharf Building on the Grantham Canal

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The Grantham Canal goes from Grantham, through the Vale of Belvoir, to Nottingham where it joins the River Trent.  The canal hasn't been used for many years but it does provide some beautiful walks and some great photographic opportunities.  This building near Harby is one such opportunity which attached to a farm next to the canal it probably served as wharf for loading grain and other goods onto canal boats.  There is also a disused windmill in the background of the first image.




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The Roman Bridge in Verona

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Thinking ahead to our summer holidays in Tuscany this July I thought I would post one of my favourite images from our last trip to Italy in 2010, the Roman Bridge in the beautiful medieval city of Verona, famous, amongst other things, for Romeo and Juliet.

Our trip to Tuscany is planned for the end of July and will be our third trip to this beautiful country but only our first to the region.  In 2008 we visited Naples and the Amalfi Coast and in 2010 we stayed near Lake Garda in the north of the country.



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The Northumberland Coast

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Last weekend we visited Northumberland to take a trip out to the Farne Islands to photograph the Puffins and other seasbirds.  We also took the opportunity to visit the Northumberland coast, which has some of the most beautiful stretches of sandy beaches in the UK.

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A Trip Out to the Farne Islands

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The next three weekends I will be working at Le Mans for the build up and the 80th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is also the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship so we decided to head north for my last free weekend.  We've always wanted to see Puffins while we are on Mull but are usually too early or too late to see these beautiful birds. However the Farne Islands in Northumberland are just 3 hours up the A1 from here so we booked a hotel and spent the weekend just south of the Scottish border.

We booked a trip out to Staple Island, which is part of the outer Farne Islands, from Seahouses on Sunday morning.  The weather in England has been glorious but as we parked the car we noticed that we couldn't see anything out to sea due to the heavy fog.  Luckily this didn't stop the boats going out as visibility wasn't too bad and the fee of £35 for two adults and one child was also not too bad.
A trip around the various islands seeing the bird colonie…

Early Morning Walk

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Earlier this week I decided to get up at 4:30am and go out to the Vale of Belvoir for the sunrise to get some shots of the Grantham Canal for a long term project I'm working on.  There is something magical about that time of the morning, even if the sun doesn't make an appearance due to the mist.  There is no one else about and everywhere is still; it is a fantastic feeling.  I walked for nearly three miles taking shots at various points along the stretch of the disused canal near the village of Harby.  
This morning in the Vale turned out to be a recce run as the light was very flat due to the mist.  I noted the likely spots for images on my OS map and I took some shots for the file.  I will return at a later date when the light is better, but that is the nature of landscape photography, it all depends on the quality of the light and there is very little a photographer can do but wait for the right conditions or return another day.


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Three Cameras and Two Hybrid Racecars

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The following images were taken at Spa-Francorchamps at the FIA WEC event at the beginning of May.  The second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship was supposed to be the first endurance race between the Audi R18 e-tron and the Toyota TS030 hybrid cars but a big accident in testing at Paul Ricard forced Toyota to delay their race entry until the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.  However Toyota agreed to some publicity shots of the car with the Audi on the Wednesday before the 6 Hours of Spa on May 5th.  
The following shots were shot on three different cameras with three different lenses but they all produced shots that were used by the media once they were unveiled on Thursday morning.
The shots were used by The Sun, L'Equipe, Motorsport Aktuell, Sport Auto, Autosport and other magazines


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Picture of the Week: Dandelion Clock

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I came across the Dandelion Clock while out in the Vale of Belvoir.  The morning mist had left the seed heads covered in morning dew.  The shapes of the water drops on the seed heads produced some interesting patterns and with the Nikon 60mm F2.8 micro I managed to get a few different shots.






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Clematis Close Up

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I don't have 'green fingers' so our back garden resembles a jungle at times but we do have a beautiful Clematis (Clematis Montana Tetrarose)near our garage that flowers without fail every year.  Armed with a Nikon 60mm micro lens I took some close ups of these beautiful flowers.








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Aros Falls, Isle of Mull

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The fourth part of our Islandscape photo tour, which was actually to the first stop of the day.  The weather was typically Scottish and Sam Jones had suggested starting at Aros Falls as there is a covered viewing platform near the car park, which is situated just off the main Salen to Tobermory road.




On arrival I decided not to go for the 'safe' option and went off for a bit of rock scrambling to try and get a lower view of these magnificent falls.  Because of the rain during the past week there was plenty of water coming off the mountains to feed the falls and I felt a low shot would provide a great image of the power of the water.


A mad scramble on the slippery rocks got me to the vantage point I had selected and sheltering under an umbrella provided by Sam I managed to keep the camera and lens dry - well mostly.  With camera firmly fixed to the tripod I was able to select a slow enough shutter speed to get movement in the water.

I then headed back up to the viewing platform to…

The Quaraing, Isle of Skye

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This was taken in August 2009 after an early morning start was rewarded with some beautiful Scottish light bouncing off the low clouds. The Quaraing is one of the most visited and photographed places in Scotland, and quiet rightly so. However I love to try and get something a bit different from the picture postcard views and this black and white image hits the spot for me.  I hope it does for you too.


This shot was taken during a climb with resident wildlife photographer Tom Hodgetts (www.tomhodgetts.co.uk).  We are heading to Skye for Tom's wedding at the start of June when he gets married to Beccii in Elgol and yours truly is acting as the official photographer.  Can't wait!
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From the Archives - Ruffed Lemur

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I'd love to say that this shot of a Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata) was taken in Madagascar but it was actually taken at the Parc Zoologique Cerza while on holiday in Normandy in 2006. It was an open enclosure where you could walk alongside the lemurs so I was able to get some images close up without any fences getting in the way.





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A Supporting Role

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For landscape photographers a good tripod is essential and I love my SLIK PRO 400 DX. However when travelling on business I have found it to be, quite frankly, a pain.  For my fortnightly two day trips to France I like to travel as light as possible and so I pack a camera body, three lenses, spare batteries, filters and a Hama Traveller Mini Pro tripod.
This little tripod has provided my camera with support on the last three trips to Paris when I've been out and about at night at the tourist spots and also to Florida when the FIA WEC raced at Sebring.  
It is lightweight, weighing in at just 740g, and only measures 400mm folded, extending out to 1150mm.  It isn't the sturdiest of tripods when fully opened out but I tend to use it folded up, or with one leg extension used, and in this configuration for long exposure shots at night it has proven to be a winner.  I actually got this tripod as a free gift when I subscribed to Practical Photography magazine but I have checked with so…

Croig Harbour, Isle of Mull

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Part three of our Islandscape photography tour of Mull took us to the natural harbour of Croig on the north west side of the island.  A very picturesque place, with the heavily laden sky adding a bit of drama to the scene. I chose my first scene as the shot looking out to sea from the top of a small hill next to the fisherman's quay.


Next I turned my lens on the rusty chains and lobster pots that littered the area surrounding the quay.  Some close up shots using the 60mm Nikon micro produced some interesting images.


I took the next shot from the wall of the quay looking inland towards the hills of Mull.


We then walked a short distance up the road on the right back towards the  wrecked trawler that lies beached on the shoreline.  Not as well known, or photographed, as the three wrecks at Salen on the north of the island, the wreck at Croig is still an interesting subject to photograph.  Mull is littered with boats that have reached the end of their working lives and have been stripped…

Picture of the Week: Cormorants on Staffa

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One of my favourite shots from the trip out to Staffa on the West Coast of Scotland in 2010. The Cormorants were resting on the rocks, some drying their wings after diving for fish, but they were lined up like they were waiting for the boat to come in and pick them up.


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MORE IMAGES CAN BE VIEWED ON  FLICKR

Competition Winning Picture is Hung on the Wall

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Jeff Carter's winning image of Tobermory Harbour has been produced as a 70cm x 50cm photo canvas, courtesy of Jessops, and now hangs on the wall at home.

The photograph, entitled 'Early Reflections', is now available to buy as a limited edition photo canvas in two sizes - 40cm x 30cm (16"x12") and 60cm x 40cm (24" x 16") - in the online shop on the new MacLean Photographic website at www.macleanphotographic.co.uk

New Website Goes Live

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A new look MacLean Photographic website has gone live today and includes an online shop where visitors can purchase limited edition prints.  The site also includes links to the MacLean Photographic / MacLean Communications Facebook, Flickr and Twitter feeds, as well as a link to this blog.  Please check the new site at www.macleanphotographic.co.uk


Cnoc Fada standing stones, Dervaig

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While on our recent trip to Mull I went on an Islandscape photography tour with local photographer Sam Jones.  Last week I posted about the Tobermory Chicken Shed that produced some great images and one of the other areas that Sam took us to was the standing stones at Dervaig on the north of Mull, which I'd never visited before.  

Listed by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland as the Cnoc Fada standing stones, or sometimes by the more unimaginative Dervaig B standing stones, they are situated In a clearing in trees at the south end of Cnoc Fada, 850m E of Dervaig and 230m NW of the road from Dervaig to Tobermory. There is a linear setting of basalt blocks extending over a distance of 18.3m, with only two of the stones remain upright.

These shots were taken in late afternoon on an overcast day, which produced a diffused light that was almost perfect for taking images in a clearing of trees of this ancient monument.


There are ancient monuments all ov…