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topsyrm’s latest blog : 52 for 2021 week 29


52 for 2021 Week 29

25 Jul 2021 10:19AM  
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This week’s jaunt took in the Prehistoric Stone Rows at Merrivale then we climbed Kings Tor before moving on to the hidden jewel that is Swelltor Quarries before moving on to the more popular Foggintor Quarries.


We parked at the Rundlestone car park (the copse in the distance in the photo above) which is surrounded by trees that gave us some welcome shade given the day was one of the hottest so far this year.


We set off for the Stone Rows, Vixen and Pew Tor can be seen in the distance.




From here we headed out to Kings Tor, Kings Tor has a lot of Clitter surrounding it and the route up was…… interesting.



The Clitter was home to several birds, Wheatears mainly.



Kings Tor itself had some interesting Rock Formations.



As have many of the Dartmoor Tors Kings Tor has a lone tree.


On this trip I was also carrying an old Yashica TLR loaded with Kodak Tri-X so I shot the tree on film.


From Kings Tor we set off for Swelltor Quarries a proper hidden gem.


But popular with Climbers.


It has the remains of the old Mine Captains house still distinguishable.



Swelltor Quarries are bigger than the map gives credit for with several “annexes”


And a water feature.


From here we headed over to Foggintor Quarries which is a much more known of and popular spot with easy access from the car park nearer Princetown.


There were several groups of people BBQs Tents swimming the whole package for a hot summer’s day, it was difficult to find shots not full of people.


Foggintor also has it’s ruined Captains house right next to the approach track.


I took the opportunity to shoot it on film as well. Yashica and Tri-X.


Foggintor had it’s share of birdlife, again mostly Wheatears (there were Stonechats but they wouldn’t pose for me).


Oh and the ubiquitous Dartmoor Ponies were abundant.


From here we wended our way back to the cars.


The way back started easy along the Foggintor track.


Once we passed Yellowmead Farm the going got a bit rougher.


Water features were abundant as we crossed the rough ground.




That’s all for this week folks.

Landscape and travel
Foggintor Quarries Dartmoor

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dudler’s latest blog : it?s all about me

dudler's latest blog : art, snap or reportage

It’s all about me

25 Jul 2021 2:12AM  
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Unique : 69


Anyone who writes articles or blogs will realise but it’s all about them. Of course, it’s the same with pictures – every picture we take reflects our own likes and dislikes, our prejudices and preferences.
I keep going back to the late Roger Hicks’ pieces in Amateur Photographer. They reflect his experience as a writer, as a photographer, and as a human being. In that sense, they’re all about him: but he’s always rather in the background. Every one of them is a careful analysis of a single picture and he’s incredibly wide-ranging in the material he draws on.

Often, there’s something about the technical side of the picture, the depth of field or the shutter speed, and how this was essential to the overall effect that the picture creates. Always, the piece is literate and humane: Hicks treats every human being with the same respect, and uses language in the way that would draw the approval of any English teacher. He gives details of the historical context of the picture, of what it might have meant that the time that it was taken and what it means now. He reflects on why the photograph might have been taken and the resources needed to produce it.

There is usually something about the composition of the image, and there’s often a comment about how it fits into the work that the photographer was produced over a period of time. In the article in front of me now, he writes ‘it is recursive: the photographer takes the pictures, and the pictures influence the photographer.’

You can produce a checklist of these things that Roger Hicks seemed to put into every article with the appearance of effortless grace, but writing something in the same way, covering all of these points is far, far harder. The many writers who have filled the last page of Amateur Photographer since Roger Hicks died have generally failed abysmally. One or two of them have come close to the high standard that the set. But many of them seemed to have got lost in a well of their own experience.

Hicks had been a professional write for most of his adult life, and an AP columnist for a good while before the start of the Final Analysis column that excites my admiration so much. His writing is never less than competent, and he and his wife, Frances Schultz, take the credit for numerous photographic books where they were contracted to provide text as part of a publisher’s series of themed volumes. His AP columns were the ultimate product of many years’ accumulation of knowledge and understanding, and they often achieve wisdom, I believe.

The nature of a blog is that it starts from the writer’s experience: and I have no other way to see the world but from where I stand and threw my eyes. That doesn’t mean that I have to become fixated on my own experience or feelings, unless they of the subject of the blog. I hope that by setting out what I see as the extreme professionalism of Roger Hicks’ writing I shall remind myself of what I need to do, and possibly suggest a better way for the terminally self-involved (if they ever read other people’s blogs).

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dudler’s latest blog : ultraviolet

dudler's latest blog : art, snap or reportage


24 Jul 2021 10:05AM  
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Unique : 49


The title of a British TV series about vampire hunting – vampires are allergic to UV being the basis for the whole thing. Subsequently used elsewhere as a title…

My full spectrum Sony will record UV, but it needs two filters to do it – one to exclude visible light, and another to block IR wavelengths. I’ve finally bought a pair, after wondering what to put them in front of: the problem being that glass tends to block UV light, so one needs either a monstrously expensive UV-Nikkor, or a lens with three elements or less.

Even with an old Ludwig Meritar (50mm f/2.9, three elements and undoubtedly the worst standard lens ever available for an Exakta) and bright sunlight, exposures were not within normal ranges – 6400 ISO gave me 1/40 at f/8… Put the filters in front of an ordinary camera, and you’ll be looking at several seconds. The trick of using an unconverted sensor and a filter just about works for IR, but it’s a dead loss for UV, I think.


The bit of a portrait (it has to be a bit, as the overall result’s awful, technically, and unflattering) shows the reverse of the IR effect on dark glasses. The shades in this shot are actually clear glass for very short sight, with not the faintest tint. On a sunny day, two layers of window were allowing so little UV indoors that I was working at ½ second and 102k ISO. Yes – over 100,000 ISO…

Early days yet. I’m told some flowers have enticing UV-visible patterns to lure bees to the pollen, and that male portraits can be very craggy indeed. We shall see…


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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : a selection of landscapes

johnriley1uk's latest blog : the cameras with the wonderful lenses

A Selection of Landscapes

23 Jul 2021 2:59PM  
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Unique : 72

Last night we had an ADAPS Zoom meeting, sharing images this week, with the subject being Landscapes. It’s an idea that has served well during lockdown, although the end is in sight now as the clubrooms get their Deep Clean ready for real, live photographers to arrive in person. So here are the images that I selected to share:

Cheshire Garden Landscape. I think this one is Abbeywood Gardens, the one so close to Joddrell Bank and its radio interference that cars will not lock properly with key fobs.

River residence. Found between Anglesey and the mainland of Wales, it looks like a great place to live!

Menai Bridge.

Woodland at Astley Hall.


South Stack and Ellin’s Tower.


Woodland at Damhouse.

Storm over the Cuillins, Skye.

Skippool Creek. I thought the technique suited the image.

One of my infrequent forays into the excesses of HDR programs.


The Quiraing, Skye.

Woodland Pond, Heaton Park.

Gorse Hill nature Reserve.

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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : the detail reveals the clues

johnriley1uk's latest blog : the cameras with the wonderful lenses

The Detail Reveals the Clues

21 Jul 2021 12:20AM  
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I am researching the house where I was born and raised, known in the family by the shorthand description “Number 1”. I have often thought that in the future the concept of a family photo showing old Aunty Bessie in Cleethorpes, or whatever it might show, was being reduced by digital imaging to something that really would be lost forever on some defunct hard drive or some obsolete floppy disk or CD. Who would bother to fire up a computer to view thousands of pictures that would maybe or maybe not be of interest?

In the same way, I have been scanning and looking at a mass of old negatives that I found hiding in the shed when we demolished it. One of these has revealed some more clues as to the lie of the land at the back of Number 1, although to decipher it I might have offer some help to the viewer. The image itself is barely there:

So I decided to annotate what we were looking at:

As you can see, I have recognised various points in the image, for example the boundary wall on the left, as it was in the 1930s. By the time my childhood came along in the 1950s that wall had been reduced to less than half its height and the bricks used to build features in the garden, behind us in the picture. At our feet in the image lies the old alleyway that I discovered covered in a lawn, in the days that I did the gardening. The observant will notice a ghostly yound lady (my mum) on a swing that has been erected just beyond the wall. Unless of course it was a gallows, but I don’t think my mum and her sister were that badly behaved…….

The next phase also came to hand in that I have also found the deeds to the house, which includes maps of the whole area as building plots, dating back with details to 1899 or so. Amazing stuff. And to think that the further reesearch was motivated by scanning an old discarded negative; what were the chances?

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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : at sea in the great war

johnriley1uk's latest blog : the cameras with the wonderful lenses

At Sea in the Great War

20 Jul 2021 1:02PM  
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WWI was designated The Great War, or even the War to End all Wars. We would beg to differ, but for the historians amongst us, even slight historians like myself, images from these times evoke all sorts of emotions and give us all sorts of information.

I was looking through our family archive and, apart from getting heavily side-tracked by lots of other things, I found an album that I would date from around WWI. The naval images look really interesting, but they were not annotated so I have no idea what ships these are, nor where they were situated. If anybody does know, please let us know. I have also added a few family images from the same time period. Many of the people I do know of because other images elsewhere have been titled. In some cases I knew the people, when they were old and I was very young. I take the family history very seriously and have kept everthing that has come my way, and hopefully it can be kept together in the future.

So for today, some images from the 1910s, some 110 years or so ago…..







Ernest, Arthur and Tom FitzGerald (Ernest is my Great Uncle)

A nurse at the Fever Hospital, probably Soutport.

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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : desert island camera kit

johnriley1uk's latest blog : the cameras with the wonderful lenses

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Desert Island Camera Kit

19 Jul 2021 1:59PM  
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We’ve selected our seven Desert Island Discs for when we’re stranded there (probably a red list island I wouldn’t wonder) so as we obviously have electricity to play the discs we have electricity to recharge the camera batteries. Probably have a laptop as well, which again is fortunate as I’ll need to post my daily picture on ePHOTOzine. So in the spirit then of needing some camera kit, what camera plus one lens might we take?

I suppose that one answer would be a good compact or bridge camera, because then we would have the ability to shoot almost anything from wildlife to macro. Some might even prefer a mobile phone. Others would use their DSLR/mirrorless combo, which for me would be DSLR plus standard zoom, probably APS-C with 18-135mm or something like that. No point in lugging a full frame DSLR round a desert island. So what would you take with you?

While we’re all thinking about it, I’ll put together some images from my favourite DSLR comination, well, one of my favourites anyway as I love them all…..













The place: Lavenham

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robert51’s latest blog : is it time to start shooting in the raw…

robert51's latest blog : is it time to start shooting in the raw...

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Is It Time To Start Shooting In The RAW…

19 Jul 2021 3:40PM  
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Unique : 28

As much fun it may be to shoot naked this doesn’t need for you to take all your clothes off.
This is about taking the step to shoot in the RAW format and time to ditch the JPEG. For years like most I shot in jpeg which allowed me to shoot more images on my SD card. Now the price of all these cards have come right down, is it time to switch.
This may sound like a major step for most but with Adobe Camera Raw as a free download and all the updates they have done it’s a good time to switch or at lease give it a try. Just change your camera over to shoot in RAW and after you have taken a few images open them in camera raw.
At the top there is an auto button which now does a great job (at last) and something you can use as a starting point if you want to make further changes, it’s only pushing a slider. If not press Auto and save.
Your find I hope this will make a big difference to your images and something you wish you had done years ago.
Below is an image of Kinston Lacystraight out of camera shot in raw, below is the Auto adjustment in camera raw. Looking at the image I think it was a good shot to start with and the Auto only made some very minor changes.


If or when you starting using the other adjustments in camera raw you will also be able to use Lightroom as they are very much the same now.

So now you can all put your clothes back on and go and give it a try, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Camera raw
Getting started

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dudler’s latest blog : production pictures

dudler's latest blog : art, snap or reportage

Production pictures

19 Jul 2021 11:09AM  
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Unique : 23


It’s been a long time since I did proper production photographs – that is, shooting at a dress rehearsal and producing prints for display on the first night. I did it when I was at school, and I suppose it’s that experience that shapes my view.

The normal pattern for amateur dramatics is that the dress rehearsal is the day before the show, often in the evening. That presents a real challenge with film, as you arrive home late in the evening with several cassettes of film that need to be developed, washed and dried. Logic dictates that you do this before going to bed, so that the films are dry the following morning…


Printing in a darkroom isn’t a rapid business, and on more than one occasion I ended up with prints drying as the audience looked at them on the way to their seats… My more recent experience has come through my daughter (who was assistant director for school plays, so the results are available in the school archives, and nowhere else because of child protection policies) and son (who acts in some amateur productions).

Fortunately, the school drama teacher did other things in theatre, and that has led to a good deal of other image-making. These days, I tend to take pictures and hand over the files for others to compile into posters and so on – much more relaxed!


As I think of the fun that production pictures have provided (and the negatives deep in the filing system from the Seventies and Nineties) I wonder if I could take that on again. It’s easier now than then: I have wider lenses, and 3200 ISO films as well as far more cumulative knowledge and experience (sometimes abbreviated to ‘CAKE’). I’d be far more aware of the stresses – but I might also manage to plan better, and decide on some things to avoid doing.



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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : places – gorse hill nature reserve

johnriley1uk's latest blog : the cameras with the wonderful lenses

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Places – Gorse Hill Nature Reserve

18 Jul 2021 9:42PM  
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Unique : 59

Gorse Hill is in Ormskirk, along a small lane that runs from the town and soon is within the folds of more open countryside. We kept seeing the people who run in at various shows at martin Mere, and every year we would take the leaflet, promise to ourselves that we would go and have a look and duly fail to do so. Today was open day as part of the National Gardens Scheme, the one admission also giving accesss to another local suburban garden in the town.

Dusting off the Pentax K-3 II and SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm WR lens, Sue and I made our way to Gorse Hill a little earlier today. It was hot, probably around 32C, which I describe as being “outside my engineering tolerances” – too hot for me in other words. Nonetheless, walking under the canopy of trees was very pleasant and positively cool by comparison and some images were made. First a few from Gorse Hill.










The second destination, the suburban garden, was just someobody’s back garden, but small though it was it was also very well made.









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