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: http://www.stevegillphotos.co.uk/2011/12/creative-commons.html

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.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sunset over the island

If you have been following this blog recently you will know that I recently attended a photo-walk on Anglesey with some great photographers.  Part of today has been spent going through the many images taken and processing some of them for display and sale, this is one such image.   'Porth Twr Mawr' - Ynys Llanddwyn, Anglesey is a beautiful location and if you ever get the chance to visit the island, don't miss it.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Harold Godfrey Lowe

Harold Godfrey Lowe was the fifth officer on board the Titanic, which as history recorded, sank on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.

After the iceberg had struck and some of the lifeboats had been launched Lowe, who had been placed into one of the lifeboats to co-ordinate the passengers, ordered his lifeboat to be rowed a short distance away from the Titanic. When the ship finally foundered at around 2.20 AM, Lowe had begun to gather several lifeboats together. He redistributed the survivors in the group of lifeboats he had gathered, to have one lifeboat ready for a search for additional survivors. When he returned to gather survivors, he picked up only four men, one of whom died later that night. Lowe's was the only boat to return for survivors.

Harold Lowe returned home to North Wales and later married. He died on 12 May 1944 at the age of 61 and was buried at the Llandrillo-yn-Rhos church in Rhos-on-Sea, North Wales.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Planning a photo-walk

Are you planning a photo-walk in the near future? If so you are well advised to think through several points to help make the day as enjoyable and stress free as possible for everyone. To help in your planning process I have put together the following general outline of things to consider. This is not meant to be a definitive list, rather a starting point for your planning process.

General Planning considerations:

1. Date for the walk.
Agree a date for the walk. It really is essential that this is disclosed early on to the anticipated audience as people are more likely to agree to come along if they can plan the walk in their diaries. People are busy working, attending family gatherings etc. so pick a date and announce it early on in your planning.

2. Place to walk.
You should expand your location beyond simply saying “London” or “New York” . People like to know a little more detail than simply the name of the general location. Believe me, you will probably be glad you did too. There is nothing worse than wandering around on the day, saying “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”. So get a general route plan agreed before hand. It doesn’t have to be too prescriptive and you will certainly need to allow time for some deviation in case of inclement weather or other bad luck.

3. Place to meet.
You need to find the location you wish to visit, and remember to think through who else might be coming along with you.

Pick a meeting place to start the walk, and be aware of things like parking restrictions so people can plan to car share or know how far they may have to walk to the meetup point.

Starting time - allow 15mins or so from the planned start time before you move off to allow for late comers to arrive.

4. Itinerary.
Prior research on the route is important, what to see and what kind of happenings and events are due in and around the planned route.  If you need to be aware of local high and low tides make sure you research them well in advance.

5. Ending Location and finish time
People will need to know the planned finish time of the walk. Also, if people drift off during the walk what time should they get back to the end point, or how should they contact one of the ‘leaders’ to let them know they are finishing early.

Are you planning on discussing your walk at the end of the day, or are you just saying your goodbyes and going your seperate ways? Some people plan things like downloading images and initial post processing. If you are planning on this, where will you do it and how long do you envisage it taking?
Is there a topic for the day? Some people may prefer to have a general theme for the day as it gives them ideas for taking images.

What are you planning on doing with the images? Do you want to share them as a group? If so you might wish to agree an online location such as Flickr or if you are using Google+ you might suggest they all tag the images in some way so that they can see the other participants images as well as share their own.

Checklist for scheduling the meetup
  • General arrangements
    • How big is the group likely to be?
    • Do you need to set a limit on numbers?
    • Is the route suitable for people with a disability and if so what are the available disabled facilities?
    • Is there a cost for attending the walk? Perhaps you are planning on giving some tutorial input to the attendees during the day.
  • Agree meeting arrangements
    • How will they know you - “I am the big guy with a Blue Ford Reg No.”etc.
    • Give them your mobile number so people can let you know they may be late, or phone if they get lost.
    • Are there adequate parking facilities?
    • Are the parking facilities time limited? - nothing will disappoint more than finishing the walk and then finding the car park closed for the night with someones car still inside!
    • Are parking fees required or should people prepare to car share?
    • Give them all a Google map location or post code for the meeting point
  • Planned route
    • What is the planned route - have a general plan for the day and if possible give everyone an copy of the general route.
    • What is the length of the planned photo-walk - in distance or time or both.
    • What are the available Toilet arrangements on the route.
    • Are there any eating facilities?
    • Do attendees need any special clothing or footwear?
    • If you are visiting a location off the mainland and accessable only at low tide, do you know the tidal times?
    • Are there any events planned in the vicinity of the walk? If so there might be some interesting shots available!
  • Do you plan to visit any locations which have entry restrictions such as a National Monuments or historic houses?
    • Is there a cost of entry? If so can you arrange group rate discounts for entry?
    • Is photography allowed?
    • Do they have disabled facilities?
  • Meeting after the walk?
    • Where will you meet?
    • Anticipated finishing time for the walk.
 On the Day
  • Arrive early at the meetup location to allow for traffic and other delays.
  • Bring an attendance sheet to check off numbers so you know if you’re missing anyone before you set out.
  • Greet members as they arrive, particularly new members.
  • They generally have questions, and some may not have any expectation of what lies ahead for them so they may need a little extra time and attention.
  • Be prepared to answer any questions about the photo-walk itself before you set off.
  • Once the meetup start time arrives welcome everyone and briefly describe how the photo-walk will proceed.
  • Make sure everyone knows the anticipated finish time.
  • Make sure everyone knows the general route and know what to do if they get lost.
As an example of prior planning, here is an initial photo-walk brief from my good friend Ger Hughes which he drew up whilst we were planning a recent photo-walk on a small island off Anglesey:
  • SatNav: Post code for Newborough Post Office is LL61 6TA then follow signs for"Llys Rhosyr" or "Llanddwyn Beach" This is a toll road so you'll need £4 (I think) in coins for unattended slot machine(car share?).
  • The tip of Llanddwyn island is approx 1.5 miles from car park over uneven ground and sand.
  • There are toilets in the car park but none on Llanddwyn Island.
  • There is a small chance of getting wet when getting off the island (if staying for sunset) due to tide times so bring spare socks, shoes and trousers. Also if staying for unset a torch may be handy!
  • Don't forget your tripods for sunsets!
  • The Island is exposed - need to dress for cold, wind and rain (and cross fingers for sunshine) and maybe think of rain protection for your camera and bags.
  • Not many places to sit down so a plastic bag or two will save you getting a wet bottom if you need to take the weight off your feet.
  • No refreshments available beyond Newborough - bring packed lunch or stock up int he small store opposite post office prior to setting off.
In addition he also gave some other useful information:

Daily Image
Llanddwyn island is not quite an island as it is only cut off from the mainland at high tide, Llanddwyn island is part of the Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve on Anglesey in North Wales.

Share from Blogger to Google+

If you ever wonder how to keep up with all the social network sites, when posting in each one can sometimes be one job too many, well Google have now made it easier - you can now share a post direct from your Google blog into your G+ stream.

Its easy to enable this function:
  • Go to your Blogger control panel
  • Select settings 
  • Select Posts and Comments 
  • Enable the Share to Google+ option.

Hey presto, next time you create a post you will be presented with the option to share to Google+!
Now the final piece of the puzzle - switch between images.

The default image shown is generally the blogger header, now you may not want this image to show on your posts if you have another image on the blog page.

  • To select another image on the blog page use the arrow keys to switch between all images on your blog page.
  • Decide if you want to leave the description or remove it.
  • Add your comment as you want it to appear on Google+
  • Decide who you want to share it with, just as you would in Google+

Easy Peasy!

Image of the day
Walking in Dickens Woods at Alderley Edge, the sunlight breaking through the trees picks up the golden autumn leaves peaking out of the snow.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Painting the light

The canal view in Marple Cheshire needs a painterly approach some times, at least in my palette!  This view is of Top Lock House at the last lock on the series above Marple. Top Lock house overlooks the canal and marina.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Storage boxes at Roman Lakes

I found these old railway cabins at Roman Lakes Leisure park in Marple Cheshire.  Now broken, rusted and abandoned they look as though they have had an interesting and multi-functioned life.  Lovely rust colours mixing with the green setting provide an interesting opportunity for an image.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Photo Gear

I am often asked what photo gear I use for Landscape photography so I've put together a list of the gear I am packing for my next road trip.

I'm going fairly light as you can see, so taking:

Canon 5d Mk II
Canon 20d - my old faithful as a backup
Canon EF 17-40 mm f/4.0 L USM Lens
Canon EF - Zoom lens - 28 mm - 135 mm - f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - my workhorse and general walkabout lens
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens
Canon shutter release to help avoid camera movement.

Manfrotto tripod 
Set of Lee filters
Sekonic Digitalmaster L-758 Digital Light/Flash Meter

Spare batteries and chargers
Canon 580ex Speedlite - you never know when you need extra light!
CTO gels for the flash.
Headlight - have you ever tried to find your gear at night, in the field with no lights (I have and its not a pretty sight!)

Lowpro bag - on the lookout for an upgrade at the moment, so watch this space!

Inside the Lowpro:

  • Spirit Level for camera hotshoe
  • Spare memory cards
  • If you are likely to be walking in damp conditions then a couple of plastic bags can help protect you and your gear from all but the worst weather conditions.

For after the trip:

  • Laptop loaded with Lightroom & Photoshop - make an initial backup of images.  I won't delete any until after I get back home and copy all images to my backup storage solution.
  • Sensor cleaner - don't do this often but occasional cleaning my sensor has saved me hours on post-production work.

I would love to hear what you take on your road trips?

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Guadalest Sky

Guadalest is a small town in Valencia, in a mountainous part of the province of Alicante, Spain and provides a perfect backdrop for the summer skyline.