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Showing posts from May, 2013

Last Day on Mull

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Our time on the Isle of Mull has come to an end, much too quickly!  However we have come away with so many great images after a week of glorious weather on the West Coast of Scotland that has seen sunshine on most days over the past five days.
We'll sort out the images and post some on the blog in the coming days.  However it now the final countdown for the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans. On Friday I head to France for the official test on Sunday 9 June and then the race itself on the 22/23 June.
Here is one final image from Mull, a beautiful sky over the bay here in Tobermory.  We are already planning our next visit to this beautiful island.  However check back this week to catch up on some of our Isle of Mull adventures.


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White Tailed Sea Eagles on Mull

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Today is my birthday and I was treated to a trip out with Mull Charters to see some wild Sea Eagles.  These are some of the shots I got today of the two eagles that circled the boat and dived down to collect the fish thrown over the side.






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Bluebells at Aros Castle

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It's been a glorious day here on Mull today with wall to wall sunshine.  Perfect BBQ weather!



On Mull the bluebells has started to come out and the hillsides and woods are carpeted in blue flowers. We headed to Aros Castle on the west side of Salen Bay to sit and have a picnic while watching the world go by sitting amongst the bluebells.




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Ben More Falls

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Today we went for a walk up towards Ben More, the only 'Munro' on the Isle of Mull.  A Munro is a Scottish mountain over 3000 feet (1000 metres) and there are over 250. On the way up there is a series of waterfalls and this one is probably the most spectacular.
Nikon D800 - Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 AF-S - 30s @ f11 - ISO 50 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PLEASE SUPPORT THIS BLOG BY CLICKING THE NEW GOOGLE ADVERTS
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Rainbow over the Sound of Mull

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This evening on the way back to Tobermory from a trip to the south of Mull a rain storm came over and then cleared as quickly as it arrived.  The result was an amazing rainbow that seemed to be located in the Sound of Mull.  We pulled over to take a quick picture of the scene.


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Loch Na Keal Waterfall

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Today I went out with local Mull photographer Sam Jones for an Islandscape Photography photo tour. This was one of the last images I took today.  After a beautiful sunny day a weather front moved in across the island and produced some great light.  Taken on a Nikon D800 with a Lee 'Big Stopper' ND filter to give a 30 second exposure that blurred the waterfall and the fast moving clouds.
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The Old Barn near Branston

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While out and about in the Vale of Belvoir we came across this old barn on the top of the hill near the village of Branston.  I love old, dilapidated farm building as they make for interesting subjects, even a bit 'spooky' and this building was perfect for mono images with a bit of atmosphere.


The interior of the building was very dark so the decision was taken to put a couple of remote wireless flashes into the doorway to light the interior.

The rest of our time was spent getting detail images of the building.  It will be good to return to this location late in the evening or early in the morning when the light is better, but I'm very pleased with this 'find' and have added it my list of photographic locations.










All Images taken on a Nikon D800 - Nikon 105mm f2.8G VR micro or Nikon 17-35mm f2.8
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The Winding Track to Branston

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This is a bridle path that leads down the hill to the village of Branston in the Vale of Belvoir.


Regular visitors to this will have noticed that I love images with strong lead in lines, which lead the viewing into the image.  This shot does this perfectly, pointing the way to the village of Branston on the hill in the distance.
Nikon D800 - Nikon 105mm f2.8G VR micro, 1/100 @ f16, ISO800 - Lee 0.9 ND Grad
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Dandelion Clocks

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While out and about in the Vale of Belvoir we spotted this field near Barkestone that was full of Dandelion Clocks so we stopped to get a few images before the wind destroyed the scene.


Composition was difficult with such a mass of white so with the 105mm f2.8 on the camera I set the tripod very low to get a shot across the field. With a wide aperture I was able to isolate one clock head while throwing the rest out of focus in the background.

I used the same technique with the 17-35 lens, a wide aperture to throw the background out of focus but this time I was able to include the sky to give a different perspective to the scene.

The final shot was taken on the Nikon 50mm f1.4 at the widest aperture and I singled out one clock head with just a green background.


All images taken on the Nikon D800 with a 105mm f2.8G (top), 17-35mm f2.8 (middle) and 50mm f1.4D (bottom).


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300th Blog Post: St Mark's Fly

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Another milestone has been reached as this is the 300th post since the MacLean Photographic blog was started on February 2011.  Thanks again to everyone who visits.

Spring has come very late here in the UK thanks to cold weather that has stayed for longer than usual.  This has meant the late flowering of plants and trees and this has effected the insect population.

This is a shot of a St. Mark's fly (Bibio marci) from the family Bibionidae. Their common name comes from the fact that the adults usually emerge around St Mark's Day, 25th April.

This shot was taken today in the Vale of Belvoir on the Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm f2.8 micro and a Nikon SB600 flashgun. 



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Pitstop Frenzy

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In motorsport pitstops during a race are a frantic affair, especially in sportscar racing where tyre and driver changes happen.

This image was taken last Sunday at Imola during the French GT race.  The pitlane is overlooked by a viewing platform so spectators can get a good look at the action in the pits.  Clamping the Nikon D800 to the railing - there was no room to put up the tripod - I was able to capture this scene.  The exposure time of two seconds was long enough to blur the mechanics and the drivers as they performed the quick pitstop. 

Handholding a DSLR for 2 seconds is almost impossible but by clamping it to the railing the camera was steady enough to capture the scene perfectly.  Because of the bright, sunny conditions I had to use an Neutral Density filter to give me the correct exposure time.
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Ayrton Senna Memorial

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Yesterday I made what can be considered a pilgrimage to see the bronze statue in memory of arguably the world's greatest ever racing driver Ayrton Senna. 





Senna was killed at the Tamburello Curve on the 1st May 1994 in what can only be described as the worst weekend in the modern era of motorsport.  The San Marino Grand Prix saw a series of accidents that started with a big crash for Rubens Barrichello, which hospitilised the Brazilian and then Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger lost his life in a high speed impact.  The following day the race start was interrupted after a major collision on the grid saw debris strewn across the track, however the race continued behind the safety car.  At the restart Senna's car went straight on at Tamburello and impacted with the wall. I remember watching the race at home and, like the rest of the motorsport world, was stunned when we heard the news that Ayrton Senna had lost his life.
Tamburello Curve was reprofiled from a high speed corner i…

Lead In Lines

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Most of the time the images I take are planned but sometimes an image will just jump out at you as you planning to do something else. This shot of the pedestrian tunnel under the track at Imola is a perfect example.  I was walking over the local park where the Ayrton Senna memorial is situated to get some shots and pay my respects - more on this in tomorrow's blog. The tunnel caught my eye immediately with the subdued lighting and the ribbed walls providing the perfect lead in lines.  Using the 17mm end of the 17-35mm wide angle lens the lines were exaggerated even further. But I decided I needed a focal point at the end of the tunnel to further improve the composition.  Luckily one of the spectators attending this weekend's event walked through the tunnel and I only had to wait for him to reach the optimum point so I could take the shot. Nikon D800 - Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 AF-S - 1/15 @ f7.1 - ISO 400

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The ELMS Grid at Imola

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The grid walk is one of the highlights of the weekend when all the cars are lined up ahead of the race and VIPs and invited guests can mingle with the teams and drivers as they prepare for the long race.

This shot was taken from behind the grid girls holding the ACO, ELMS and Italian flags.




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Green Alkanet - Pentaglottis sempervirens

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Not being a great gardener I don't get out in the garden as much as I should but we are lucky that we have plenty of plants that look after themselves.  This is one of them, the Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) which is a native plant that has small blue flowers on this green nettle-like plant seen by the pathside.  It does grow like a weed, it probably is classes as a weed by proper gardeners, but it does produce a big display of blue flowers in our garden.


image taken on a Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm f2.8G AF-S VR micro, 1/60th @ f5.6
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Ferrari F40 Scupture in Imola

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The stacked Ferrari F40 statue at Imola racetrack erected by the late French sculptor Arman, pays tribute to Ferrari founder, Enzo Ferrari.

Situated at the main gate this five metre high sculpture is an imposing sight but it also needs a little TLC.  While the side facing the road is OK, the image above shows the back of the sculpture and the paints is chipped and flaking.  It is a real shame because the artwork certainly draws your attention as you pull up in your car at the paddock gate to the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.




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Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari

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The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari is an auto racing circuit near the Italian town of Imola, 40 kilometres (24.9 mi) east of Bologna and 80 kilometres (49.7 mi) east of the Ferrari factory in Maranello.

The circuit is named after Ferrari's late founder Enzo and his son Dino who had died in the 1950s. Before Enzo Ferrari's death in 1988 it was called 'Autodromo Dino Ferrari'.

Image taken with a Nikon D800 and a Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 AF-S.

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Church of St Stefano, Malcesine, Italy

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This shot was taken on our visit to Lake Garda in 2010 when we stayed in an apartment at the foot of Monte Baldo near Malcesine.  St Stefano's is the main church in the beautiful medieval town of Malcesine and this shot of the clouds covering the summit of Monte Baldo is typical of the fantastic scenery in this part of Italy.


History The church of St Stephen (the patron saint of Malcesine) is visible from the lake in its position above the main town. A religious building has stood in this position for centuries - originally thought the be the site of a pagan temple, the first Christian place of worship was constructed in the time of the Franks. The current baroque building dates from the 18th century and houses the remains of two local saints, St Benigno and St Caro, who were reputed to have lived in a cave at the foot of Monte Baldo.
For more information on Malcesine CLICK HERE


Image taken on a Nikon D90 and 18-105mm f3.5/f4.5 AF-S VR lens - 1/320 @ f8 - ISO200

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Grantham Sunset

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This evening there was a beautiful sunset that turned the clouds about Grantham a deep pink so I grabbed my Fuji X100 and headed out to get a few shots before the light disappeared. 


This shot was taken with the sun behind me with the X100 on a tripod and fitted with a Lee 0.9 ND Soft Grad filter.  The shutter speed was 1/8 which was used to give some movement in the rape seed in the foreground which was being blown about in the breeze.



Image taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 with a Fujinon 23mm f2 lens.

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Tom Daley

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On Sunday 21 April we visited Edinburgh to attend the World Diving Series finals at the Commonwealth Pool.  My daughter Kate took up diving following the Olympic Games in London last summer (yes Lord Coe was right, the Olympic Legacy does work) and has got quite good at it.  So when the opportunity to take her to see her diving hero, Tom Daley, in Edinburgh, we couldn't really say no.
I decided to take the Nikon D800 and 80-200mm f2.8 along to see what I could get from the spectator area.  We had quite a good position but it wasn't that close to the boards so I switched the D800 to DX mode, making the 200mm f2.8 a 300mm f2.8 and giving me an extra 2 frames per second on the motordrive (6fps).
Diving is an extremely difficult sport to photograph, especially from the spectator area, but by the end of the evening I was starting to get the hang of it.  The problem is that 10 metres is a long way up but the divers only spend just over a second in the air before hitting the water.  

An…