Sunday, 5 August 2012


This is an outtake from the recent Google+ Scavenger Hunt for the theme “Motion”. I had great fun with this theme hanging out of the side of the car holding the camera at arms length, which got some interesting looks from passing vehicles!.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Sunset over Llanddwyn

Sunset provides excellent opportunities for capturing a wonderful scene with exceptional lighting.  Such was the case when I recently visited Ynys Llanddwyn ( Porth Twr Mawr ) in Anglesey. The island has some wonderful small coves and is well worth a visit - just don't overlook high tide which cuts off the island from the mainland!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

RSPB Conwy

Birdsfoot Trefoil covers the ground at the RSPB site at Conwy in North Wales.  The reserve at Conwy is in a magnificent setting with the Snowdonia range of mountains as a backdrop.  Awesome!!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Free Samsung Galaxy Wallpaper

I am pleased to release the first batch of FREE wallpaper specifically sized for the Samsung Galaxy S2 mobile phone.  More will be added in the coming weeks, so why not bookmark the page so you can easily pop back from time to time.

Download of these images is free for use on your mobile phone - I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making the images!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Downloading wallpaper to your Samsung Galaxy S2

Over the coming weeks I will be sharing some of my images for you to download for free to use as wallpaper on your mobile.

Just in case you are not sure how to download the images to your phone:

(All mobiles are different and the instructions that follow are written for the Samsung Galaxy S2 mobile)
  • navigate to the page on the web using your mobile then;
  • select the image you want to download and then press and hold the image;
  • Once the option screen shows select Save and this will download the image to your phone;
Now back at the desktop on your mobile phone:
  • using the options button select:
    • Wallpaper; Gallery and then Download;
  • Pick the image you want to use and then resize to your desired view - either the whole image which will scroll with your scrolling desktop, or select part of the image you wish to use as a static wallpaper.
  • Once you have finished resizing, Save and you are then asked if you wish to use the image for your lock screen too;
  • Make your choice and start enjoying your new desktop wallpaper!
If you only wish to use the image for your Lock Screen:

  • at the  desktop on your mobile phone:
  • using the options button select:
    • Settings; Display; Screen Display; Lock Screen/Wallpaper; Gallery and finally Download;
  • Pick the image you want to use and then resize to your desired view - either the whole image which will scroll with your scrolling desktop, or select part of the image you wish to use as a static wallpaper.
  • Once you have finished resizing, Save and your lock screen is set.
Just to get you started here is the first set of images for you to use as wallpaper for your mobile phone.  Hope you enjoy them!

Here are two which are pre-sized to fit a non scrolling window or as a lock screen:

Over the course of the next few weeks I will add more images so please pop back and download them.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Multiple images on a Google+ post

The default image display for a Google+ post is for the post to have a single image attached to it.  But did you know you can have up to 3 images displayed in the post, albeit in a slightly smaller format than the single image.  In fact Google uses the same display area to display between 1 and 3 images.

So, how do we get 3 images inline within a single post?

1)  Share What's New

From the Share What's New box at the top of your stream Select Add Photos.

This will bring up the option for you to add an image from your hard drive.

With the exception of sharing a full album, and more on that later, at this stage it is not possible to add a single image that has already been uploaded to Google and which is now held in your albums at Picasa (however with the speed of changes in Google+ it can't be long before that option is available though!).

You can select multiple images or add a single image at a time, in which case you would then select 'add more' option to finalise your additions.

Selecting up to 3 images will place them in the Share box ready for you to complete your post.

Once you have finished typing, Share will complete the post and your images will be placed in-line in the completed post.

2) Share from the box at the top right of the Google+ grey bar.

Depending on your screen resolution, when adding 3 images via this option you may be forgiven for thinking that they will not display correctly, however complete your post, select Share and they will be placed correctly in the final post as in the previous example.

3) Sharing an album via Picasa Web Albums

If you have up to 3 images in an album in Picasa ( using the Google+ Share button all 3 images will be placed in-line in your post as in previous examples.

In all of these options if you try adding more than 3 images they will default to showing as a single large image with subsequent images as small thumbnails beneath.

Riverside walk

Well, its getting closer to Summer each day, and everywhere I look the signs are there, Cherry blossom on the trees, daffodils withered to make way for the next growth, and in some areas the bluebells and even white bluebells are showing.  This image was taken on the riverside in Edale Derbyshire, near the start of the Pennine Way.  Almost magical.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Google+ album share

If, like me you enjoy sharing images over on Google+, you may find some of the current sharing options a little too restrictive for your needs.

When sharing an album Google uses the first image in the album as the album cover and will also display in small thumbnail form the next dozen images or so.

Clicking on the main image takes you into the image display on G+ and you have the left and right links to take you into the next/previous images in the album.

So how do you set the album cover and the dozen small thumbnail images that you wish to appear in your album share post?

Going into the album you want to share (Select Photos in the menu on the left and then Albums) choose the More option on the right and select Organise Album.

Select the image you want as the album cover and drag it to the first position.  Continue dragging images into the order you wish and then click Finish Organising.

Selecting Share will now allow you to share the album without G+ creating additional copies of the images. (A current issue for photographers with G+ which will hopefully be resolved one day).

Sharing the album will now allow you to create a new post sharing the album with images in the order you want.
Although the screen copy I used above does not show the full thumbnail images you should be able to tell that they are now in the order of the re-organized album.

Don't forget that you can view my full portfolio over on my Zenfolio account at

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Another Google+ shortcut.

Posting an image and submitting it to some of the themes on Google+ can be a little tiresome having to manually type both the theme hashtag as well as having to select each of the individual curators, particularly if you submit to more than one theme.

To save time you can store each of the themes you use as a hashtag together with the curators Google+ ID - store it in Google Docs or notepad or elsewhere and simply copy and paste it into each post you need.

Example for a theme of #hangouttest with myself as the curator you would type #hangouttest +117014035284065592442

This would convert the Google ID number into the relevant Name when you actually Share the post.

Even though you do not see the curators name appear in the share box when posting, subsequent checks confirm that they get a separate notification of the post in their notifications listing.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Entrance to a new life

It's nice to look back over things you have done, some pleasant memories and of course some not so pleasant but all rich learning.  Its knowing what bits to take from each situation that you can use to improve on in the future.

This gateway near Carperby in the Yorkshire Dales has particular significance for me. I was making this image when I received a phone call offering me a contract which would become my last paid employment! Eighteen months later I had finished the fixed term contract and started a new life in semi retirement! However more on that in a future post.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Sunday and time for an architectural study.

I really love some of the old Church buildings which you can find in nearly every Town. Some really ancient ones, and yet others quite modern in both design and age. Some are built in the centre of the town surrounded by the trappings of every day life - roads, traffic, shopping malls etc. Others, like this one in Edale Derbyshire stand over looking beautiful and peaceful countryside.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Wildlife Photography

When you are just starting out on the wildlife photography trail, you can start to feel inadequate when you see some of the exotic species that other photographers capture.  Well don't!  They started somewhere, and I bet most started out with images of their pet or garden birds!

Start with your own backgarden where you will find all manner of visitors such as birds, squirrels, hedgehog, fox - I bet there are all manner of creatures if you look closely enough.

You don't have a garden! What about your local park or grassland or even a farm.  What about small creatures - insects, moths, butterfly's - the list can be endless.

Hey, don't forget pets, yours or your neighbour or friends - I  bet they would love to have a nice portrait of their pet dog/cat/rabbit.

And don't think you need specialist equipment either, start out with what you have, you can get great images with just your mobile phone! Just go out and take some photographs, you will be glad you did!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Add a Google+ Timeline to your blog

I have been asked a few times how to implement the new google+ timeline created by Jari Huomo onto your blog site. This is quite easy to achieve as you just need to dabble a little in the Blogger design page - no specialised knowledge is really required.
  • First you need to go into the Design page of your Blogger site.
  • Select Layout, then “Add a gadget” and this will bring up the gadget selection window.
  • Scroll down and add HTML/Javascript gadget.
  •  Add a title and in the content section add the following text, changing my Google+ profile ID (highlighted) with your own Google+ ID.
<iframe height="600" src="" width="100%"></iframe>
  • Position the new HTML gadget to the layout position you wish on your blog.  A good position is one just below your Pages or Header gadget.

  • Save the new layout arrangement.
  • You will now have your latest Google+ posts appear on your blog!

If your new timeline has a scroll bar at the bottom as mine does in this screenshot, you will need to widen the template.
  • Go back to the Blogger design page and this time select Template and then customise.
  • Select Adjust width and select a size of at least 1200px to remove the scrollbar.

Apply the changes to the blog.
Your new timeline should now appear - Happy blogging!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Suspended in History

Conwy suspension bridge in North Wales, now a National Trust property was constructed by Thomas Telford. This view is looking towards the castle and shows the strength of these magnificent structures.

Built by Thomas Telford, the Conwy bridge spans the river near Conwy Castle and was one of the world's first suspension bridges.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Spring has arrived.

Spring has finally arrived and instead of the usual image of daffodils, wild flowers, spring lambs and all things, well Spring, I thought I would share the last view of winter snow we had in the Manchester area.  We had so little snow this winter.  

This is Alderley Edge in Cheshire on a cold, misty morning.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

How to search for an old post on Google+

If you have ever wanted to search for one of your own posts and dreaded the thought of scrolling down page after page of old posts?   Well, here is a simple way to search for one of your old posts on Google+.

You can enter a simple search term composed of your name together with the search term - just remember to surround your name in quotes.

Here is a sample search I did recently: "Steve Gill" and "Sunset on Llanddwyn". 
Select Google+ posts to see the results.

Through my Lens
Down in the woods near Penmachno in North Wales you can find a scene that looks like it could have come straight out of Lord of the Rings.  Now where are those Hobbits?

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Sharing via Creative Commons license on Google+

Do you want to share your images on Google+ under a Creative Commons license? This is actually a fairly easy process and there are only a few steps needed. Here is the process I followed:

1) Decide on the type of Creative Commons license you want.

There are 3 main decisions you need to make:
  • Allow commercial uses of your work?
    • The licensor permits others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work, including for commercial purposes.
  • Allow modifications of your work?
    • The licensor permits others to copy, distribute, display and perform the work, as well as make derivative works based on it.
  • Share Alike?
    • The licensor permits others to distribute derivative works only under a licence identical to the one that governs the licensor's work.
2) Set the options in Picasa
Picasa is the image bank/engine for Google+ and that is where we set up the license type.

  • Select Photo Settings and then select Privacy & Permissions.

  • Tick the box to allow any visitor to Download your photos.
  • Set the Creative Commons license type you have decided to use. 
  • Save the changes
All done!  This change will now apply to all images uploaded to Google+.   At the time of writing this blog post Google+ does not display the license details when viewing the image, so until they do you may wish to add a further layer of information to the viewers:

These next two steps are not totally necessary but add that additional layer of information, making the point once again that there is a Creative Commons license involved.

3) Picasa - So you want to make it even clearer!  Marking the album display
  • In Picasa go to the album you wish to mark
  • Select Actions, then Album Descriptions
  • Type the details you wish to display in the Description box.

  • This will then be shown at the top right of the album view in Picasa
4) Google+ - add a description to the image in G+ including details about your choice of  Creative Commons.

If you want to find out more information about my choice of Creative Commons license arrangements you can read them here:

EDIT: Thanks to   for this update:
You can change the global setting applied for a single image or video by setting the "Photo Reuse" options against the image.  Once again this is accomplished in Picasa.

Through my Lens:

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Photo-walk in Goyt Valley

Do you fancy a Photo-Walk in the Goyt Valley?

Where: Goyt Valley in Derbyshire.
When: Sunday 15th April 2012
Start Time: Sunrise.
Finish Time: approx 12:00

If you fancy coming along on my next photo-walk to what should be a great day, leave a comment to show your interest and give me an idea of numbers and return here nearer the date to see the finalised details.

Only have a mobile phone?  If it can take photographs then bring that, some great images can be captured using a mobile phone.

What we might see:

Part 1: Meet at the first car park area (Yellow marker).
  • Sunrise - never guaranteed to be a spectacular one of course, but should still provide great opportunities to get some reflections and mood shots over the reservoir.  
  • Approx 1 mile walk, through woodland and passing via the ruins of Errwood Hall. This is off road and not wheelchair friendly unfortunately.
Part 2: The second part of the morning will centre around the second car park area (Red marker).
  • Waterfalls, Woodland & riverside walks.  The area here is more suited to people who have mobility difficulties.

Car Parks are free. 
Toilets are approx 1 mile away at the location marked on the map but I am not sure of their opening times, so best arrive with an empty bladder!

Please note: from the second car park area the road is a one way system so you can't return from whence you came!  Egress is then via the A537 road.

View Goyt Valley in a larger map

If you would like to be part of the photo-walk but haven't yet put your name down, just leave a comment here or on the post on Google+ which you can find here.

If you want to plan your own Photo-Walk you can use the planning suggestions I use and which you can find outlined here.

Wondering what equipment to take?  Well I live by the maxim, if you haven't got it with you, then you will definitely need it so I take most things I might need and just be prepared to carry it.  My typical photo gear back pack is outlined here.  If you haven't got this type of equipment but still want to join in the fun with your point and shoot camera or smart phone, thats fine, there is no right or wrong list of equipment - just bring what you have or want to carry.

Some images from previous visits to this area.