Friday, 17 April 2015

First visit to the Haworth Moor

Despite visiting the beautiful historic village of Haworth a few times since I moved up to Yorkshire I had never ventured out onto the Moor until the other day. It was a lovely spring day, a great time to go and see what it was that inspired the Bronte sisters to create their much acclaimed and liked literary works of art. The moors are windswept and bleak but beautiful in their bleakness with stunning distant views all around. It was breezy (the least one can expect, I guess) with a few fluffy white clouds and the light generally quite nice for photography. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am already planning a return and a walk to more distant landmarks associated with the Bronte sisters and their work. Here is a selection of a dozen images from the walk in the order I took them. And apart from a few minor lighting tweaks they are all straight out of the camera.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

More Recent Still Life Work

I had wanted to create an image with my vintage bread bin for a long time. It lends itself well to a simple, country/rustic still life. It was relatively easy to find props that work well together. My photographer friend Jasenka says it is one of my best stills, and I feel she may be right there.

A vintage, nostalgic image created with some old postcards I had bought in Otley. The writing on the postcards is in Polish, I believe, so I assume they come from a Polish postcard collector. Loved using my Edwardian jewelry box with its red felt inside.

This is not really my recent work, I shot this a long time ago, but was not sure if I liked it or not. Recently I saw a texture that inspired me to try it on this image and I was quite happy with the result and the fact that I managed to save the image from the dark corners of the archives.

I like to think of this image as book cover-ish. I have not submitted it to any photo agency yet but it was made in vein of many simple random object images that can be found in the collections of online photo libraries. As I must have said before, I love red in photographs, and here the little red tartan bag seems to work well with the rustic feel of the image.

Monday, 13 April 2015

New Book Cover

Yay! I have had another photo licensed for a book cover for a first novel by a Portuguese author. The book cover is a composite of elements from a few different images. The barn was taken from my photo below. It is a lovely book cover and I am so proud! The photo was taken in a village near Hawes, Wensleydale, in the Yorkshire Dales.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Grand Arcade and Just Grand Vintage Tearoom, Leeds

I am ashamed to admit that I have lived in Leeds for nearly twelve years now and have only just discovered the Grand Arcade and the lovely vintage tearoom in there. And if I did not work just a couple of minutes walk from there I probably still would not know about it! Grand Arcade, where have you been all my life!?! Love the vintage feel of the shops and places to eat and drink, and am exited to explore and check out those that I haven't yet. I am delighted with the Just Grand tearoom where I had lunch before going in to work the other day. I took these photos with my mobile (I would not have the courage or impudence to use my DSLR in a place like that) and applied a vintage action (toning) in post processing. I would have liked to correct the perspective distortion in the first image a bit better but it would mean losing almost entirely the blue and green blanket on the right hand side, which I did not want. So here they are, just some snaps of my favourite place in Leeds.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Recent Still Life Work

While I have been waiting for spring to arrive I have been busy doing still life work indoors. Spring always comes to my house before it does outdoors thanks to the beautiful spring blooms you can buy in the local supermarket and which I simply cannot resist every time I am there. This year I was pleasantly surprised to see anemones for a first time ever in a supermarket. And I noticed snowdrops in the park next to my house for a first time too as I now use the park to walk to the bus stop when I go to work.

By the time I picked these snowdrops they had fully opened. I think they are very pretty looking like they are about to take off! I bought the blue checked cloth and the earthenware pot specifically for a shot with them. I like the contrast between the delicate flowers and the sturdy pot. I teamed them with a vintage mantel clock blurred in the background for some extra interest. It also helped me with titling the image - I called it "Snowdrops Time".

This is a completely unplanned and spontaneous shot. As I was tidying up after a shoot the light suddenly changed and the window became bathed in lovely soft and gentle sunlight filtering into the room through the net curtains. I quickly grabbed the vase with pink hyacinths from the dinning room table and paired it with the first thing that came to my mind - the blue and white Delft candle holder. The post processing was very quick too - just one cloud and sky texture to add to the fleeting mood of the image and the pastel colour palette.

I love flowers and I love photographing them but I am finding it increasingly difficult to come up with fresh ideas of capturing them. You cannot go wrong with a simple composition so there it is: anemone sitting on top of my blue and white vintage candle holder. The anemone was actually red but I wanted to create an image with spring shades and feel so I changed the colour of the anemone to hot pink. I processed it subtly with the lovely Pastel Painterly Flypaper Textures which I have been using quite a lot lately.

I had been looking for a vintage ring for a while and have finally found one in one of my favourite vintage and antiques shops in Otley. It is a 1950s ring with a tiger eye stone and a concealed lip balm container. I love it, and of course, wanted to do a still life with it. I thought my little antique porcelain trinket box with a lovely cameo on its lid would be a suitable prop so I placed it behind the ring and made sure the cameo is just clear enough for the motif to be discernible. In post processing I darkened the area of the image behind the box and applied a heavy vignette to keep the eye in on the ring and the box, and to add a romantic note I used lace and veil texture layers.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A Couple of Interesting Place to Eat and Drink

One of the things I enjoy doing in life is visiting unusual hospitality places - restaurants, pub, cafes, tea rooms etc. Not only am I a gourmet and a big fan of good wine and coffee, but these places also offer different photo opportunities. I don't take my camera out here as I am a shy photographer, I just take photos with my mobile phone which I feel is less intrusive than a camera. It also handles low light scenes pretty well anyway, and is quick to use.


A lovely cafe situated in an old court in Otley, full of vintage and antique decorative objects giving it a lot of charm and character. It serves delicious home made food. It is very busy and usually it is hard to get a table, but yesterday I was lucky and it was the fourth time I tried!


This is a concert venue with a rock & roll spirit present throughout the building. I got to know about it through a blog I like to read, little birdie, and it is only around the corner from where I work so it was a must to visit. I was particularly interested in its unusual feature, the roof garden, and was pleased it was open even though it was very cold. As the photos show it is an amazing place and it must be delightful in summer. The canteen only has pizza and burgers on the menu but the burger was to die for!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Otley Bridge

It was a bitingly cold but sunny winter day at my favourite Otley. I decided it was too cold to be taking a lot of photos and spent most of my time looking around the shops. I paid a quick visit to the Wharfe Meadow Park and watched people feeding swans while I ate my lunch. The sunlight on the bridge arches and its reflections in the water were very attractive so I took a few shots. When I imported the pics onto my computer I was pleased to see that the light in shady areas was blue providing a nice colour contrast in the image. Composition-wise I liked best a shot that did not contain the figure of a woman in a red jacket. However I was keen on using the figure because the red was going to add another striking colour so I made a layer of it in Photoshop and merged it with my desired shot. I added textures and a bird brush, and also some radial blur to create dreaminess and draw the attention to the woman enjoying the view from the bridge.