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Tuscan Roadtrip – 20 Photographs To Make You Want To Drive Around Tuscany

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The car we used for this road trip around Tuscany was our MINI JCW Coupé. He performed in sterling fashion and the Italians loved him. The owner of the castle where we stayed loved him and when we pulled up in roadside lay-bys for a drink at a roadside café they would admire him too. It added to the fun.

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The Mille Miglia Revisited


Last May we were at the Mille Miglia in Brescia and  we had a lot of fun photographing the event and generally soaking up the wonderful atmosphere in the weekend. This week I revisited the photos and found a few that I had not touched, so decided to do the post processing and see what came out. While in Venice back in February of this year we stumbled upon an art shop that specialised in car photography. The artist liked to get up close to the car and make it almost burst out of the photograph by saturating, sharpening and ramping up the dynamic contrast. I loved the resultant photos. In the above picture I was recreating this modus operandi from a post process viewpoint, although not being close enough to the car I wasn’t going to ever achieve the full effect. However, I like the larger than life look of the car and I love the background rammed full of people, giving a real feel of how Brescia is on Mille Miglia weekend. Cars are just littered all over the streets and you can see this here by spotting the number 34 on the front grille of a wonderful Alfa Romeo. For me this photo typifies the event – larger than life cars surrounded by crowds of admirers! Continue reading



Blog A Pic – Midsummer Hill on The Malverns


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


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


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