Image of the month - September 2016

Birds of prey were my first ever introduction into shooting natural history images, although as they are captive I could guess you could argue that they are not truly natural history!  However who could fail to be enchanted by their majestic colours and amazing flying ability, or in the case of Chaos the Burrowing Owl his ability to run like the clappers.

Earlier this month we had a photo workshop with the Imperial Birds of Prey Academy based at Barleylands in Essex.  It was a real opportunity to not only get some static shots but also birds in flight.  One of the real difficulties of capturing a good image of a flying bird, (aside from being able to track and get it in focus), is getting the correct exposure.  If you let your camera decide the exposure, more often than not it will expose for the bright sky, capturing the bird as a dark shadow or outline losing all the detail on the underside of the bird.  To overcome this you can set the exposure compensation to +2/3 of a stop which maintains detail in the darker areas.

Interestingly Robin Lowry had a different method for getting the exposure right by taking a meter reading off the grass and then setting the camera to manual using that exposure.  This also worked brilliantly as you can see from the image of Gracie the Kestrel performing her hover.  That’s what I love about photography, there is always something new to learn.  Thanks must also go to Derry, Nigel and the falconers, as well as the birds of course!

You can see more of the birds in my gallery Flora & Fauna…

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Image of the month - August 2016

It’s going to be a bitter sweet feeling to see the start of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, there will still be the excitement and passion that the event brings, but it’s not our games that we hosted so brilliantly in 2012.

Despite, (like many others), entering and not getting any tickets through the lottery, many hours were spent on the London 2012 ticket website and I eventually got to see Olympic Hockey  at the Olympic Park and Mountain Biking at Hadleigh Farm.  The Paralympics tickets were just as hard to come by, but I managed to get Athletics, Dressage at Greenwich, Road Cycling at Brands Hatch and the most unlikely of all the Opening Ceremony for £20.12.

There was no distinction for either Olympic or Paralympic events, the atmosphere was amazing with everyone in the party spirit, cheering and shouting encouragement to all the competitors.  Nothing could prepare me for the sheer noise and crackling of excitement as Team GB entered the stadium to David Bowies ‘Heroes’, as the Americans would say ‘Totally Awesome!’

You can see more of my images from London 2012 in the gallery London 2012 & Beyond...

 

Image of the month - July 2016

After last month’s Image of the Month being a bit of a rarity, I thought that I might try to expand my flora and fauna portfolio by taking part in a summer safari session at Knowsley Safari Park.  At the time it seemed like a good opportunity with lots of interesting animals to photograph in lovely surroundings, but then I did image the word ‘summer’ to suggest a nice dry evening with a bit of colour in the sky as the sun slowly sunk below the horizon. 

Okay now the reality of a summer evening in 2016, rain, thunder lightning and a bland white sky with poor light, all the things that were not going to be helpful!  No wonder the British always discuss the weather!

Recently I’ve seen a lot of high key black and white images that I’ve really liked but never tried myself.  So I thought this is a good opportunity to give it a go and make something more creative that the rotten weather would allow. 

I began by converting the image to black and white, getting the best contrast and detail I could whilst also trying to tidy up the noise created but shooting with a high ISO.  Then added a white layer on top, adjusting the opacity until it created a misty look.  Finally I added a mask to allow the lion to show through.  This took a bit of experimenting to work out how much of the background to show through, without the lion appearing to be cut out or losing the feeling of mist. 

This is attempt five, there may be more!  As the saying goes ‘If life gives you lemons, then make lemonade!’  If you would like to see other examples of my work, then please visit my Gallery web page, roll on summer!

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Image of the month - June 2016

This month’s image is a bit of a rarity in the fact that it falls under the category of nature/wildlife, which is something I hardly ever photograph.  I’m not sure it will win any prizes as there are some stunning images of kingfishers out there, but for me it is special as it is the first wild kingfisher I have ever seen and photographed.

This kingfisher was over at RSPB Rainham Marshes and was quite happy catching fish and bringing it back to its fledglings, although some ducks and swans kept swimming in front of its nest burrow forcing it to sit on a nearby twig until it was clear to enter.   I had my camera set to high speed continuous shooting, (approx. 7 frames per second), in the hope to catch the kingfisher in flight.  I almost managed it but unfortunately he took off and flew away from us, causing his wing to obstruct his head and two frames later he was out the picture!



If you would like to see some more images then follow the link to the Flora & Fauna gallery.

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Images of the month - May 2016

Last month I presented my panel of 10 prints to be assessed for the award of CPAGB, (Credit of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain).  The PAGB is an organisation that represents all the photographic societies around the UK and has a series of merit awards to recognise achievement by camera club members.

Assessments are held twice a year moving around the country, each federation taking it in turn to host the event.  So after a number of local advisory days, lots of image shuffling, I finally selected and labelled up my panel of ten prints ready to head up the A1 to Gateshead.

For the CPAGB, the pictures are judged on a scale of marks from two to five. Two indicates that it is not up to standard, three a near miss, four is a pass, and five is well above the standard required. Marks are awarded by each of six assessors, so each picture is rated out of a total of 30 marks, and 20 is the pass mark. Since there are 10 pictures, the overall pass mark is 200 out of a possible 300 marks. The standard for passing is meant to represent "good club photography", by which they mean that the pictures might do well if selected to go into inter-club or inter-federation competitions.

On the day 62 panels were assessed, each print only being seen for 5-10 seconds before the judges scored it and the result called out.  Luckily an image of the print was projected at the same time as the print was displayed in front of the judges and I was surprised at how tough the standard is to achieve the pass mark of 20.  Although I couldn’t see the print in enough detail to see if it had flaws in it, I was often surprised that quite a number of images that I would consider to be of a good enough standard were not given the pass mark.  This was reflected in my own scores where prints which had done really well in both club and inter-club competitions only got 17 or 18!  This made for a real rollercoaster journey, until eventually my last print was displayed and scored 24 to give me a final tally of 211 and my CPAGB phew!

My panel of 10 prints is shown below, if you would like to see the images in more detail along with their scores then please visit my Print Panel gallery

Image of the month - April 2016

I just love photographing water; it can produce some amazing shapes and effects in all its different forms.  In white water canoeing it adds dynamism and drama which complements the action perfectly.   Yet even on a small scale with some fizzy water, a vase and a couple of dice it can still produce stunning images using flash to stop the action, you just need to catch it at the right moment!

The image below was captured by setting up a couple of off camera flashes to capture the action as the dice were dropped.  A camera remote shutter release is helpful especially if you are doing it on your own.  At least with digital you can see exactly what you’ve got and keep trying until all the bits ‘fall’ in place.  Not sure that I would have tried it with film, it could have led to a lot of disappointed shots!

Have a go, its great fun and you can find some other ideas for water shots in the gallery Working with Flash...

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Image of the month - March 2016

Welcome to March Image Chasers, summer is on its way!

Last September Lee Valley White Water Centre hosted the largest international canoeing event outside of the Olympics, the ICF World Canoe Slalom Championships.  Although it had over three hundred of the world’s best canoeists on show with fierce competition for places in Rio 2016, it is not the easiest of events to photograph.  Security and large crowds make the number of good locations difficult to find, but sometimes you just have to enjoy the event and grab what images you can.

There was plenty of British talent on show including Etienne Stott with his new partner, Mark Proctor who are both featured in this image.  Etienne won gold with Tim Ballie at London 2012, but since then Tim has retired from the sport due to injury.

C2 is probably my favourite event to photograph although it can be really difficult to get a clear shot of both the competitors faces, often the person behind has their head down while they paddle or are just totally hidden from view by the person in front.  If you manage to get them both looking up then the paddle can be across their face still ruining the shot….but the one image that works out makes it all worthwhile.

Good luck to Team GB in Rio!  You can see some more canoeing images by visiting the gallery ‘Wonderful White Water…’

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Image of the month - February 2016

Following Novembers images of Kerry Allingham as a ‘Woodland Warrior’ I thought that February could be the ‘Peace & Tranquillity’ month.  Fern Maeve was the model for this set of images taken at Driver Wood Paintball, with great organisation by Gavin & Sam Hoey.

Robert Pugh, one of the Olympus ambassadors, was on hand to offer lots of experience and ideas about how to capture Fern at her best using ambient light, flash and smoke, the latter very much having a mind of its own, even though there was very little wind to move it around.  The overcast day actually worked quite well for us, giving a soft even light and allowing us good control of what we wanted to light with the flash.

After the grassy clearing a thicker woodland area allowed us to capture some more atmospheric shots, with a bit of added smoke via a long cable and a smoke machine, (useful for hiding the cars in the car park behind the trees!).

At present I have put up the unedited versions of the images taken, some may have had a bit of a crop, but that is about it.  I may well choose to do more to them later, but I always try to capture a good image in the camera rather than relying on Photoshop to fix the images later.

If you would like to see more of these images or the earlier ones of Kerry, then please follow the link to the Just People gallery.

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Image of the month - January 2016

Happy New Year Image Chasers and thank you again for your great support during 2015!

Actually this month's post almost didn't occur and is actually very different from the one I had planned to do, mainly thanks to my old Windows 7 computer that had been hanging on until the introduction of Windows 10. Christmas morning it decided to throw a hissy fit and not totally stop working but just do what it wanted to do very, very slowly and then not do anything at all.

So the plunge had to be taken to start the big switchover to a new machine, which actually wasn't as painful as previously expected and now I can start the New Year with a happy PC but a different image of the month.

I must admit that I am always amazed by the fab wildlife images that some photographers are able to capture and would love to be able to take some myself. However I lack the patience needed to sit and wait in a hide for the wildlife to come to me or the incredible knowledge needed to know where to find it in the first place! That is probably why good wildlife photographers tend to do just wildlife. In that respect sports photography is much easier as there is normally a start/finish or a goal so that you know where the people are likely to be.

The image below was captured at East Beach, Shoeburyness. The grass had been flooded causing massive puddles of water to form which the gulls loved sitting in. Every now and again something would spook them and they would fly off, only to return a short time later. This fell well within my patience settings for wildlife and setting a fast shutter speed and continuous shooting managed to capture the moment of take off with a lovely big splash.

You can check out some more of my images on the Gallery page and happy Image Chasing in 2016!

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Image of the month - December 2015

In terms of photography November has been a bit of a washout with rain, wind and grey flat skies, so I thought we could all do with a bit of sunshine for a change. 

This month’s image takes us to a sunny and warm Egypt on the River Nile.  Unlike a lot of digital images this was all produced in camera on slide film, using a polarising filter pointed towards, but not into the sun.  Luckily a felucca was just sailing towards me giving a gorgeous path of golden light across the water.  

Now, by using software I could take the rip out of the sail, but I prefer to leave it as is.  Like most countries that are closer to the equator, sunset lasts barely a few minutes as the sun seems to drop out of the sky and before you know it you are surrounded by complete and utter darkness with skies lit up by stars.

If you would like to see more of my African Adventures you can find them in the Gallery, or download a free book from Smashwords which describes my first visit to Egypt.

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Image of the month - November 2015

Up to now I’ve only really used artificial light in my photography indoors, either as studio lights or speedlights but never really in anger outdoors.  Sure I’ve often used the small pop up flash that’s built into the camera to throw a bit of light into the dark areas of a picture but really that’s it.

So recently it was great to go on a workshop and find out how to balance daylight with speedlights in such a way as to make it almost impossible to tell its been used, so no harsh shadows to give it away.

Kerry did a brilliant job as our model, roleplaying an archer and a paintballer often surrounded by smoke and willing to charge through it so we could get our shots!  See if you can spot which of the images used flash and which didn’t?

If you would like to see more images of Kerry from the day, check out the Just People gallery.

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Image of the month - October 2015

Being an Essex girl and a daughter of a football loving father I was often taken to watch Southend United football club play at home and I guess that’s where my love of sport started.  However when I started at the University of Chester I discovered the wonderful world of rugby, where names like John Carleton and Graham Mourie were everyday but iconic names, (if you don’t know them, look them up!)

Photographing rugby at that time was fairly impossible for me as being a poor student, (ahhh), I couldn’t afford the camera and long lenses needed let alone the cost of the film…..yes it was in the days of film!  However just watching the games and understanding the flow of the play gave me an all important advantage now I do have the opportunity to photograph the sport.

So in honour of the World Rugby Cup, (Come on England!)  I thought I would post some images of a match that I photographed earlier in the year between Westcliff RFC v Tonbridge RFC.  Unusually it was a bright sunny day so fast shutter speeds were not too difficult to achieve and with the added advantage of a 100-400 mm lens it was quite easy to get amongst the action. 

I liked this image in particular because of the three guys standing on the touchline which helps to give the picture a storyline.

If you would like to see more images from the match then check out my sports gallery London 2012 and beyond…

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Image of the month - September 2015

Sometimes monochrome just works better than colour.

It was a glorious summer's day with brilliant blue sky and lovely white fluffy clouds....every photographer's dream you would think with good strong sunlight. Actually most photographer's hate strong sunlight, perhaps with the exception of it creating lovely shadows.

I had decided to only take a wide angle lens out with me and try to capture the dockside around the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. Working with one lens makes you think in a different way about the shots you take and can lead to some different images.

The Spinnaker Tower gave lots of opportunities for different images, but when I came home and started to look at them I felt somewhat disappointed that they didn't really stand out or have any impact. I thought this was down to the strong colours overpowering the impact of the shot, hence I had the idea of turning them into monochrome.

Pre digital, it was a well known trick of black and white workers to use filters to bring out details and change the intensity of the sky from grey for a blue sky to almost jet black just by adding orange or red filters. Now in Photoshop it is just as easy to do the same, increasing contrast to make the white clouds and the Spinnaker Tower really stand out and give a lot more impact.

Check out my Just Monochrome gallery to see other images that work well in black and white.

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Image of the month - August 2015

I’ve seen this type of shot so many times and always wanted to have a go to recreate my own.  The hardest thing was trying to find a clear bulb with a filament and I particularly wanted a screw thread fitting as I though it was a bit more interesting than the bayonet cap.  With a bit of help from my trusty electrician Mike, we managed to set the bulb up in the holder with a dimmer switch to control the amount of light.

With the camera set up on a tripod I tried a couple of different brightness settings of the lightbulb and f-stops to control depth of field, eventually settling on f20.  Next I needed a shot of the screw thread and I also noticed that the lightbulb holder hid the cap so I shot the thread from a low angle to make it easier to match up with the lit bulb in Photoshop later.

In Photoshop I opened the two images, changing the Hue/Saturation of the screw thread image to match the colour cast produced by the lit bulb so they would match up when I joined them together.  After a bit of cut, pasting and rotating I had a whole light bulb, which despite me cleaning thoroughly before the shoot, still had an amazing amount of dust specs inside and out which needed spotting out.  I created a black background and rotated the lightbulb to look as if it was laying down, copied and flipped the layer to create a reflection.  Reducing the opacity of the flipped layer and erasing some of the image made it look a bit more real, (hopefully!)

Hey presto…No Wires!  You can see the original images used to create 'No Wires' in my album ‘Playing in Photoshop’ along with pleanty of other things to try.

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Image of the month - July 2015

I just love the way this piece of urban art has cheered up a bland wall in Chinatown, San Francisco.  Originally I took the shot with the pathway running alongside the base of the building but looking at it again I decided to crop the path out to make the art stand out on it’s own.  I liked the symmetry of the windows and the way the fire escape clearly shows that it was part of the buildings facade.

I would have liked to take more shots but this was literally a grab shot as we drove past the building on a tour.  That’s the joy of travel photography you just don’t know what to expect, so it’s always worth having a camera handy.  The down side….you don’t always have an opportunity to go back and get a second chance, so sometimes one shot is all you get!

If you would like to see more of the diversity of the West Coast of North America then please check out my album Canada and the USA.

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Image of the month - June 2015

What I love about photography is that there is always something new to learn and try out.  My recent exploration into the world of flash photography means that things I never though about photographing before suddenly become very interesting. 

For example while I was sitting by the pond feeding the fish I noticed a number of dandelions in various states of losing their seeds, including one totally complete.  So suddenly from photography being the last thing on my mind I was now carefully gathering dandelions and setting up my macro lens with an off camera flash, to try to capture the seed heads.

With a bit of experimentation I found that it was quite difficult to get a big enough depth of field so that the complete seed head was sharp.  Instead I decided to shoot five images with different points of focus so they could then be image stacked to produce a single sharp image.

Next I wanted the single seeds so I could montage them together, now this was really fiddly!  Just laying them on a black background meant that the flash produced shadows making it really difficult to separate it later in Photoshop.  However the photographer’s friend Blu Tack came to the rescue and with the aid of a pair of tweezers and a lot of patience, I managed to stand the seeds upright and photograph them away from the background.

Finally it was just a case of putting all the images together in Photoshop and converting it to monochrome to produce the final image which I called ‘Fly Away’. If you would like to see some other ideas of things you could shoot using a flash, then please see my new gallery Working with Flash.

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Image of the month - May 2015

A triptych is an image that consists of three different images that usually relate in some way. Why three? Well items grouped in odd numbers are usually more compositionally pleasing and you can use three shots of different things or split one image up onto three separate panels. Generally the image is presented so each shot is given the same space / shape to sit in on the canvas and they are evenly spread out.

Triptychs are a great way to combine multiple viewpoints of the same place into a single shot so you can better tell the story of the scene you captured. It's also a good way to present images of a similar theme you've captured over time.

The images you use need to link to each other some way but this doesn't necessary mean it has to be of the same subject. They could be linked by colour, for example, or you could have applied the same treatment to them during post production to make them appear similar.

Images taken at the same focal length tend to appear more balanced when put together, however this rule isn't set in stone as the triptych below shows.  Although all three images depict Hong Kong at night, the outside two images were taken from Kowloon with a telephoto whilst the middle image of the Bank of China was captured with a wide angle lens.

All the images were shot using a tripod with a long exposure of 20 seconds.  I liked the idea that the two tall buildings were holding the edges in and the landscape in the background moved diagonally up through the frame.

You can check out some more ideas for Triptychs in my gallery.

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Image of the month - April 2015

Photography has been part of my life for as long as I can remember but one massive hole in my photographic experience is studio photography.  It simply did not appeal to me, still life verses action, action wins every time.  A portrait of someone set up in a studio verses someone doing something meaningful in their natural surroundings, the latter of course! 

However, having said that, whatever you photograph you are capturing the effects of light, be it on a landscape, animal or insect or even a canoeist!  Studio work is not just about putting someone in a pose and saying ‘smile’ but enables you as the photographer, to have complete control of the light.

That simple fact is the one thing that intrigues me, because up to now all my experience has been capturing the image by using my camera to control the available light through aperture and shutter speed. 

Now by learning to use speedlights under controlled conditions, a new world of photographic experience is opening up to me.  This means I can capture movement and moods in objects and people that would be very difficult to do under ‘normal’ conditions.

So this month’s image is of a musician called If-E doing his thing, lit by a softbox and a flash in the background to create a bit of rim lighting and give the image some mood.

You can check out some more images from this studio shoot in my gallery Just People, as well as some environmental portraits!

For more information on If-E please visit his Facebook page.

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Image of the month - March 2015

With the advent of digital photography, people have got used to the idea of manipulating and changing images in post production using software such as Photoshop. However this is not a new idea, photographers have always manipulated images, either as black and white prints in the darkroom or using slide copiers to montage and create new images.

The digital revolution just means we can do a lot more of the same and even push the boundaries further than before. The main advantages are that it is easier to see the effects as we create them, undo or modify them further until we are happy with the final image. In the darkroom you were working on a white surface and projected the images into the space you judged to be appropriate, only to see the final result when the print was developed. If you got it wrong, you did it again....and again until it was right at great expense of both time and money.

Now digital photography means that getting that final image is more forgiving than before, however one thing that never changes is the importance of getting a good image in your camera first, rather than trying to make it good in Photoshop!

The image below is actually four images put together from a studio shoot, involving lots of coloured water being flicked in the air out of a wine glass and being captured using flash. The flicking motion creates the half a heart shape, (sometimes!) so flip another similar image to create the other half. The final job is to remove the hand holding the glass and replace it with a photo of just the base.

The four images used to create the final 'Love Wine' image can be found in the 'Playing with Photoshop' gallery along with some other examples of Photo shopped work!

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Image of the month - February 2015

Often as photographers, we travel vast distances to get a different perspective for our photographs and capture something new.  However we often ignore what’s on our doorstep, as it’s familiar to us and we see it everyday.
 
However one advantage of this is that we see our local environment under many changing conditions as it endures weather and time.  Sometimes when we are looking for an image and the light is dull we find something that we may have ignored any other time, in this case fishing nets taken at Old Leigh.  The brightness of the woven rope and the intricate patterns just called out for a close up shot, carefully arranging the main strand across the frame to give the chaos a bit more structure.

Please check out my other images in the gallery Beside the Seaside, all taken within a short distance of Southend-on-Sea.  We are so lucky to have such a wide variety of coastline, woodland, parks and nature reserves within the surrounding area. So don't be surprised if you see a wide variety of images.

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Image of the month - January 2015

One of the advantages of having the Olympics in 2012 is that we now have a wonderful range of top class venues on our doorstep. The Olympic Velodrome is now known as the 'Lee Valley Velopark' and was the host for the 2014 UCI Track Cycling World Cup where these images were taken.

Although the medal sessions are good for the atmosphere of the event the qualifying sessions are just as intense and run all day rather than just a couple of hours in the evening. This gives me a better opportunity to get lots of different shots as well as a bit more freedom to move around the arena.

This shot was taken during the Men's Keirin, first round Repechage. Only one place is available to progress through to the next round and this is the start of the final lap where riders are powering up to the big sprint finish. The current World Keirin champion Francois Pervis of France is gritting his teeth and fighting to hold off Jason Kenny of Great Britain who is coming through on the inside line. Kenny crossed the line first to progress to the next round.

The amount of available light make it difficult to get the fast shutter speeds required, riders here are travelling well in excess of 50 kph. Hence the ISO was pushed up to 2500 which makes the image a little grainy. As I was shooting right against the edge of the track I found my 70-300 mm lens to be a bit closer than needed so switched to my medium telephoto of 24-105mm which ensured that the frame had a bit of breathing room around the riders.

If you would like to see more of my images taken at the Track World Cup, then check out the gallery London 2012 and Beyond.

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Image of the month - December 2014

Back in the days of film photography I always had a yearning to try some infrared photography, but it was quite time consuming and fiddily. Firstly the exposures were long with a really low ISO, which meant a tripod. Secondly the focussing point was slightly different and was shown by a mark on the focusing ring, you couldn't just focus as normal. Of course then you also had to shoot a whole film and then develop it yourself.

Now in the world of digital you can get the infrared effect in a number of different ways, for example in Photoshop or adding a glass filter to the lens. In my case I had an old Canon EOS 50D body sitting around not doing anything so I decided to send it away to be converted into an infrared camera. Hence now when I take a shot I can actually preview what I am getting and the focussing is as normal.

So what is infrared light? Well normally we see what is called the 'visible' spectrum of light and this is what our cameras pick up when we take photographs. The infrared spectrum is invisible to our eyes, but when we take a photo with a camera that can see infrared light the world can often look very different from that we are accustomed to seeing. Colors, textures, leaves and plants, human skin, and all other manner of objects can reflect IR light in unique and interesting ways, ones that cannot be mimicked with tools such as Photoshop.

Below is one of my first images taken with IR at Hanningfield Reservoir, just to try it out and see the effect of the greens turning white. Plenty more fun days to come experimenting with how to get the best subjects and images.

A wide range of my monochrome images can be seen in the gallery Just Monochrome.

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Image of the month - November 2014

During last month I took part in a 31 day Photo Challenge organised by Wild Arena. Each day you were given a different theme which you then had to submit a photograph that reflected that theme.

The first day's theme was 'The World I See'. To reflect this theme I wanted to show an original image and then the post production that turned it into the final image, (which I hoped I might get when I pressed the shutter button).

I decided to use the original image of 'The Walkers' taken at Hockley Woods for my backgound image. Next I took a photo of my camera on a tripod, cut it out and placed it within the background so that it looked as if it was actually taking the shot. Luckily now all digital cameras have a preview screen on the back of the camera, so I decided to drop the finished image into this, giving both views in one frame. One final touch, adding a smaller image into the viewfinder and making it slightly opaque so that it looked right.

The full set of images and themes can be seen in the gallery 31 Day Photo Challenge.

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Image of the month - October 2014

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Colonel's Review which is the full dress rehearsal to the Queen's Birthday parade Trooping the Colour. The salute was taken by Prince Charles and the only difference was that the Queen was not present.

The weather forecast wasn't brilliant but stayed dry until the first guardsman stepped onto the parade ground and then the heavens opened! I have rarely seen rain like it and couldn't even get my camera out of the bag to put it into it's own little rain jacket. After a good hour and a half of solid rain the clouds departed to give a small burst of sun enabling me to get my camera into action.

The Horse Guards and Royal Artillery horses had been so well behaved standing on the fringes of the parade ground during the ceremony, but this one brown officers horse kept raising its front hoof as if to say 'are we going yet?' I wanted to make the horse stand out even more from all the things going on in the background so colour popped it. Don't you just love the British weather?

Some more images of London can be seen in the gallery Just a bit further from home.

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Image of the month - September 2014

Sports photography is one of my favourite topics, simply because the camera gives me the ability to stop the action in an instant. Canoe slalom has the added element of being able to show the battle of the canoeist against the water, in such a way that you would never be able to comprehend without being able to stop time with a photograph.

Lee Valley White Water Centre, which was built specifically for the 2012 London Olympics, provides an excellent venue to enable me to get close to the action with few restrictions. Luckily the weather has been very kind, with glorious sunshine which really brings out the colours of the water and the competitors canoes.

This image was taken during the 2014 GB Canoe Slalom Selection Trials and features Jasmine Royle. She has just come down the first major drop at the top of the course and just been hit by the backwash of a huge stopper creating water splashes everywhere.

You can find some more Canoe Slalom images in the gallery, Wonderful White Water, or check out Jasmine's website.

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Image of the month - August 2014

In total contrast to the bright and vivid colours of last month, this  image relies on texture and contrast.  The weathered door was almost a monochrome image before I converted and toned it to enhance the texture and detail even more.

This image was taken at the Mission San Xavier del Bac, which is a historic Spanish Catholic mission located 10 miles south of downtown Tucson, Arizona.

It would have been easy to walk past this, but I just loved the simplicity of the image, cropping in close and using the rule of thirds to help composition.

If you would like to see some more monochrome images then please check out the gallery, Just Monochrome.

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Image of the month - July 2014

Welcome to the new Image Chasers website, with lots of new areas for activities and updates, I hope you enjoy it?

This months image is of a small tortoiseshell butterfly, (Aglais urticae) , which was taken at the RHS garden, Hyde Hall. It just proves you don't always need macro lens to take good wildlife or nature images, this was taken using my 75 - 300 mm lens at the full focal length of 300 mm.

When it's warm, butterflies are difficult to take pictures of as they are always moving around. So set your cameras autofocus to servo, (continuous focusing), and continuous shooting. Keep a fairly high aperture of f8+ and a quick shutter speed of 1/500 second. (I was lucky, as this butterfly was fairly settled and not moving around much, so got away with 1/200 second).

Now is a good time to find these lovely creatures...so get out there and make the most of it!

There are more butterfly and other wildlife images in the gallery, Flora & Fauna.

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©Jane Barrett CPAGB