Category Archives: Roads and tracks

Walkers in a snow covered Epping Forest, Essex, England, UK

I dug this photo out after visiting the photofriday website….with this weeks topic of ‘on a walk’. I knew I had this image but was surprised I had not uploaded it to this blog.

Anyway, here it is, and it was taken in March 2013, when, instead of the temperature beginning to rise into double figures due to it being the beginning of spring….the temperature instead went down to minus 10 degrees…which is crazy for this time of year in the south of England.

It was however, a fantastic opportunity to photograph Epping Forest covered in such deep snow. I love the silent atmosphere of snow scenes, which I presume happens because the snow adsorbs so much ambient sound.

This was taken with a 100mm lens and is a multiple image stitched panoramic. I saw this image in my minds eye, and the only way to take it without seriously cropping a single image, was to create a multiple image panoramic and stitch it in Hugin software.

Countrylane in rural Wiltshire, England, UK

A countrylane in Wiltshire…

I do a lot of cycling and I take a lot of photographs of small country roads like this.

The original colour version looked dull and lifeless, as these types of photos do. It was taken in the middle of the day and the location was hardly dramatic or spectacular.

I have always enjoyed taking these pictures, because I always see a pleasant composition as I trundle around on my bicycle.

But the camera sensor generally gives me a flat lifeless image, like sensors tend to do in situations like this. They have no eye for art or composition.

And that is why I will always be an advocate of post processing. What we see in our minds eye is reality augmented with emotional feelings and imagination, and a sensor cannot reproduce that. Only in post processing can you really create the composition that you saw in your minds eye at the moment of capture. Even if that vision is a literal one, the sensor and in-camera processing can only create a generic feel to an image.

The post processing here is a mixture of layer masks to locally change brightness and contrast, and then converted to black and white using Nik Silver Efex, applying a strong vignette, before ‘dabbing’ away some of the darkness using layer masks in Photoshop. It really did only take about 10 minutes start to finish.

But the photo itself was spontaneous and very unplanned, as most of my photos are. All the elements of the frame slowly came into view as I trundled along on my bike, and I do nothing with my cameras until I get a little twinge of excitement as a composition comes into view….

A motorway in Holland

A motorway in Holland

This was a quick snap on a bridge overlooking a motorway somewhere in Holland

This was a photo taken straight from my bicycle after seizing an opportunity for a break disguised as a photo-opportunity!

when I am cycletouring in Western Europe, I always struggle because of the culture of cycle lanes….I always get hopelessly lost on cyclelanes because they stray away from the road network…and cyclists are not allowed on the roads where there are alternative cyclelanes…and car drivers will express their displeasure at seeing a cyclist on the road.

So, if you ever see someone on a heavily laden bicycle, with a camera, scratching his head….it might be me! I have never met anyone who has the same problem so I am assuming it must just be me. Local maps of course would resolve the problem, but they are really expensive and run out after a relatively short distance, and I like changing my mind. But I eventually get where I am going too…