PhotoBeast

The Photography Blog from Beastmaster.co.uk

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Blog A Pic – Midsummer Hill on The Malverns

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Last weekend we were walking on The Malvern Hills starting from Black Hill car park and shot some photographs of the bluebells there. This week – our third weekend on the trot walking the hills – we went to Midsummer Hill where an initial steep climb was rewarded with what in my view is the finest bluebell walk in the UK. It was simply beautiful up there and we have never seen so many bluebells before. The weather this year must have been perfect for them. We got up as if it was a school day, so 8 am saw us on the hills, in glorious sunshine and with lots of wildlife out and about. There was no-one else around and the birds were singing their hearts out, it was an exhilarating start to the day and we were very pleased with the photographs we shot. It was so lovely that we extended our walk to go around the other side of an old quarry before descending back to the car, so when we then headed to Malvern for a full English breakfast in The Foley Arms, we both felt that we had earned it. Lady P was especially please with a shot she grabbed which caught the sun beaming down through the trees.

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Blog A Pic – A Walk In The Malverns

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Good Friday saw a lovely bright sun in the sky, so after a lazy morning and a sausage butty, we headed out for a smallish walk. One of our favourite walks when we don’t want something too strenuous is to head for the pond at Golden Valley in Castle Morton and do a two and a half mile walk which is a loop heading southish to the road, turning right to the hills and right again just in front of the hills and back across the common to the pond. It is a lovely walk, not steep and overflowing with beautiful scenery. Check out the cluster of orange trees in the photo above. Sheep wander freely across the common and it is a joy to walk amongst them. Finally check out the new home that has emerged phoenix like from the ashes of the old farmhouse that was there but burned down. I would love that house!

We had a camera each, The X-M1 and the X-E1, one armed with the 18-55 zoom lens and the other with the gorgeous 35mm 1.4 prime lens. Between us we feel we have captured a little of the beauty and warmth that is the Malvern Hills landscape.


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Portraits – Cross Processed

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I have added Perfect 8 to my list of Plug Ins on Aperture and i am rather pleased with it. A Google Nik alternative perhaps, as it applies lots of filters which you can then tweak to your taste. I think my current fad is to get a filmy look to my photos – almost as if they are stills lifted from a film. I guess as a phase it will pass – a bit like when you first discover HDR and you HDR everything to death – but for now I am happy to play and this look in my mind goes hand in hand with the ethos of the Fuji X series of cameras, so it is all good. Mostly candid but with a bit of subject participation thrown in – well if it is good enough for Brassai, then it is good enough for me. Continue reading


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Sources Of Inspiration – Camera Club Photo Tips – Crop and Crop Again

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I think I heard this tip at our local camera club, “Crop and Crop again.”  I think it is a tip worth bearing in mind. On the Fuji X-E1, I shoot raw plus jpeg. I like this because I have all the raw data, but it allows me to do a first crop in camera, i.e. I often select a square crop in camera. This gives me the full 3:2 image in raw and a square cropped Jpeg. Then in post processing, I have cropped again. I think it works in the example above as I like the bottles filling the image. Continue reading

The Beastie lecture


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Blog A Pic – Fuji X-E1 and the 35mm lens. Wedding Reportage

Last weekend we were guests at a friend’s beautiful wedding. The story of the day can be found on our Life Blog here. However, I wanted to say a few words from the photographic perspective on playing with the Fuji combination of the X-E1 and the 35 mm lens. Continue reading


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Photo Styles – Playing with Pics and Photo Ramblings

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As a keen photographer and intermittent blogger, I have made myself a few friends both in cyberspace and in the real world too, and seeing their photos or reading their blogs is a real source of inspiration to me.

One of my favourite photography blogs from bumbling about in the murky corners of WordPress, comes from a chap called Simon Peckham who is also a keen Fuji player and also does an excellent curator role for all things Fuji on his Scoop it site. A while back now he was messing around with the Duplex filter from Nik’s suite of photo editing software and frankly I was rather smitten with the results he was getting, which are worth looking at here. I made a mental note to look at this further but left it at that.

Then this weekend, we met up with an old chum, Andy Williams, in the real world (scary I know) who likes to capture his travels in a very definite street style of photography, usually with the latest on trend camera – he openly admits to suffering from GAS (Gear Acquistion Syndrome) – which currently is some Sony full frame jobbie. He spent some time showing us some of his photographs and they really were inspiring. I can’t show you any here – BECAUSE THEY ARE BETTER THAN MINE AND THAT WON”T DO WILL IT? – but trust me they were good, sharp, contrasty and full of pep. I could see a touch of pity in his eyes, as he watched me  failing valiantly not to turn green with envy at his pictures, so he whispered quietly in my ear, “Google NIK Collection.” I adopted the sage nod of The English Gentleman who is always the equal regardless of the reality.

So here I am in front of the computer, playing to my heart’s content with NIK’s finest, having a great time and telling myself what a cool keen photographer I am. And then that word pops up in my mind  – hipster – and off goes my mind to contemplate the role of NIK in the hipster photographer’s world. Anyway back to now and I’m playing. So…

A few weeks ago we were at the Morgan Car factory doing a little feature for our sister site AutoBeast, for its Car Of The Week feature, which you can see here and I have just revisited some of the photos and slapped a duplex filter on them. Hope if nothing else it makes you want to play – it works for me, I’m as happy as any Larry I know!

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