Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sky Watch Friday S4 Ep18

One from the archives today folks. I took this from the cable car above Mayrhofen, Austria in January 2009. It was weird going up above the clouds and kind of looking down on the sky!


If you want to see skies from around the world, go and visit the Sky Watch website and be sure to comment on your favourites. See you soon.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Sky Watch Friday S4 Ep17 Lake in France FHDR

Happy Sky Watch Friday people:

lake in mervent

This is a picture of the river in Mervent, France where we have the holiday place. I took this in September and recently manipulated it in Dynamic Photo HDR software. I hope you like it.

If you want to see skies from all over the world, why not check out the Sky Watch website? Remember to let people know if you like their pictures. Also, check out my Flickr page. I am trying something new with my blog so please bear with me if the posts don't come out correctly at first- I promise I will make it right!

Someone requested to see the 'before' shot, so here it is. You can now see why I love this software so much- the original (no tweaking whatsoever) was an 'ok' photograph, but with the Dynamic Photo HDR software, you can make it something completely different.

You can download a free trial here and have a play: Media Chance website.

lake in mervent (before dphdr manipulation)

Bye for a while.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sky Watch Friday S4 ep16

Hi everyone. I delved into my archives for this Sky Watch post. The photo was taken at our friends house in Lairoux, France. They have a beautiful view from their front garden as you can see! It was taken at sundown one evening in April 2009.

If you want to see more of the worlds beautiful skies, go to the Sky Watch site and click on the links- just remember to tell people if you like their photos!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pseudo HDR Images

Hi everyone. I have something a bit unusual for you today- well, not what you have been used to anyway! Here are a few photos that I have taken and manipulated with my Dynamic Photo HDR software. This software is available as a free trial from Mediachance and the full version costs about $55. This is not a plug for them- I genuinely use this programme for my HDR projects. If you need to know more about HDR just click the links. Mine are what they call fake or pseudo HDR as they are made from just one (jpg) image. I have great fun creating this type of image and generally do this when I get bored!

This first one is of some holly with bright red berries. I took this a couple of weeks ago when me and Brian went out walking in the forest for the day. It was lovely and we had a really good time collecting acorns for the squirrels, bird spotting by the river and generally enjoying the woods. This would make a great Christmas card don’t you think?

You really need to see these in the large sizes to appreciate them- Just click the picture.


This is a sunset shot from France I took sometime in the summer. I liked the original to this but I also like this tone mapped version.

tree sky_fhdr

This next one is a night scene from my trip to Austria back in January. I tone mapped it in the Dynamic Photo software and this is what I got. I personally really like this style of Pseudo HDR, others see it as far too surreal and just don’t get it- Each to their own I say!

austria at night

All these pictures look so much better in their larger sizes, available to view at my Flickr site. If you click on the photos, you will be taken to their Flickr page. Click on ‘all sizes’ above the picture and it will take you to the large or original size.

I will be back soon with some more ‘normal’ photographs!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Butterfly Park at Longleat Safari Park

*** Please bear with me for the next week or so as I am trying to change around my blog a little and things may not work as well or may even disappear! Hopefully, it will be running like clock work soon!***

Hi again people. Todays post is from my recent visit to Longleat Safari Park again. This time, from a new attraction they have there called ‘Animal Adventure’. The only part that is open at the moment though is the butterfly enclosure. I was really looking forward to that and I have to say it did not disappoint at all! The butterflies and moths they had in there were amazing. So beautiful and some were massive! I hope you enjoy these pictures.

butterfly 3

butterfly 2

butterfly 1

This yellow butterfly is apparently actually a moth- a Luna moth so I’ve been told. It had just finished hatching and was obviously still not ready to fly about yet.

butterfly hatched

The following picture is of an owl butterfly I think- eating rotten banana that didn’t smell nice at all! The good thing about the rotten fruit is that the butterflies stayed on it for good photographs.

butterfly owl

This last picture is of an absolutely stunning butterfly. I don’t know what it is but it is gorgeous and the biggest butterfly I have ever seen in my whole life! I would say it was at least 12 inches wide- at least. It is also the prettiest I have ever seen.

butterfly massive

That is all from my butterfly encounter but I will be back soon with more of my Longleat Safari Park pictures.

One more thing, thanks for all your comments you have been leaving recently. Unfortunately, as I work full time I do not have the time to reply individually to everyone’s comments but I assure you, I do visit your sites and try to leave comments when I can. So just a thank you to you all.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tigers and Lions at Longleat Safari Park

Hi guys. Today my post is about Longleat Safari Park and the amazing time I had there last weekend. If you want to know more about Longleat I suggest you visit the website The post today is just to show you the Lions and Tigers. I have this deep down love and awe for big cats and I was so looking forward to seeing them outside, not in a small cage or enclosure. I know the safari is still an enclosure but it gives them a fairly large area to roam around in quite comfortably. As we drove through each section I was getting more and more excited- like a little 10 year old girl. It was slightly odd and embarrassing but at least it was just Brian seeing me this way! tiger 1 tiger 2 tiger 3 tiger 4 Driving through the Tiger enclosure was pretty awesome- they are my favourite cats. There was this gorgeous Tiger laid down just outside my car window. Obviously, we couldn't have the windows open so all the resulting images were taken through the (slightly dirty) glass. I am particularly pleased with the Tiger pictures and when I look into its eyes I just want to cry. I cannot believe that we are killing off these beautiful creatures at such an astonishing rate. lion 2 lioness lion sleepy The lions were particularly amazing too. But they were just rather sleepy- like most cats! This last picture is just so cute, even if a bit blurry. I hope you enjoy my pictures and I will show you the other animals soon. If you can't wait, you can see them on my Flickr page.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Sky watch Friday s4 ep13 - Pink Sunset

This was taken on a Sunday evening 2 weeks ago from my back garden. It was literally just like that. I have not done any colour enhancing or anything to this photo, apart from a tiny crop. The sky that night was a talking point amongst people round here for ages. It was beautiful.

If you want to look at other beautiful skies from around the world, visit the sky watch website and be sure to comment if you like what you see!

Monday, October 05, 2009

More France Photos...

Hi again everyone. I am going to do another post about France today. I have accumulated a lot of photos with the intention of showing you what the area is like, so I am doing this very sporadically! The below picture is of the town church in a place called Vouvant. It is about 10km from Mervent but the forest we are in the middle of is actually called the Mervent-Vouvant Forest, as both towns claim ownership. The weather was nice that day- very sunny yet you can see the black clouds creeping in behind the church. church across river at vouvant This next one is a shot of the front of the old church at Vouvant. Inside the church is absolutely beautiful and worth a visit. church at vouvant This next photo is of the view from the town of Vouvant, looking over the river that runs through the forest. view from vouvant This is a huge river and we really enjoy getting out on our little inflatable and going for a cruise or fishing. We have a 3m dinghy with an electric motor which is just perfect for going out on the lakes and river and for fishing. This next shot is one I took from the river whilst out on the boat during a very hot summers day. We both got seriously sun burnt that day, we were out for 5 hours just poodling along! mervent lake from boat This is a place called ‘Green Venice’ where you get to go out in these Gondolas and the guides punt you along. There is a system of really narrow rivers that all connect up to make different routes that you can go along. The whole area there is gorgeous. IMG_8126 The next photos are from La Rochelle, on the coast of France. It is about 45 minutes from our place. We paid 3.80 Euros (about $5.50!) for a coffee there which really shocked me- that is just way too much for a plain old coffee! IMG_8233 IMG_8238 IMG_8242 IMG_8230 This last photo is of the beach that we usually go to, Les Conches. It is about 40 minutes from where we are and is so beautiful. It never gets that busy, even in the summertime. Les conches beach I hope you have enjoyed seeing the area around where we holiday and I have a post about Longleat Safari Park coming up very soon!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Sky Watch Friday - s4 ep12

Autumn Sunset
This is another shot from the same evening and from the same place as my 2 previous Sky Watch posts- Portsmouth Harbour, UK. I hope you like this one, I think it is my favourite! Remember to check these out on my Flickr site as they look great in larger sizes and I also have many more photos there. If you want to look at beautiful sky pictures from around the world, visit the Skywatch website and be sure to tell people if you like their photos.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sky Watch Friday - Portsmouth Sunset - s4 ep11

Sunset Warship Portsmouth Harbour This is my Skywatch Friday post for this week. It is a gorgeous sunset from Portsmouth Harbour with a UK Navy ship in the foreground. I loved the colours that evening and this photo really does do it justice- it looked just like this! This was taken about half hour after the previous post and this is really how much the colours had changed. Awesome! If you want to see other beautiful skies from around the world, visit the Sky Watch website and be sure to comment on the ones you like.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sky Watch Friday - Navy warship and sunset, Portsmouth UK

Sunset Portsmouth Warship
I took this photo from the ferry when I went off on holiday last week. The sunset that night was incredibly beautiful and I took a series of shots, which I will show over the next few weeks of Sky Watch Fridays. To see this photo at its best, I recommend clicking on the photo and going to my Flickr page where you can see all my photos in large and original sizes. If you want to look at other gorgeous sky pictures, please check out the Skywatch website and click on the links to people's blogs. I have found many an interesting site this way.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stag, Hoopoe and Green Woodpecker - France

Hi everyone. I have been on holidays in France again and this time I am just so excited about what I saw that I have to show you now! The pictures here are not that great quality as I have had to crop quite heavily. They were taken with a 600mm L series lens that I borrowed from a friend for My Canon 450D. That lens costs about £8000 ($13000 roughly), so I will never be in a position to buy my own! The best thing about the lens is that I could see these amazing birds in the trees when I couldn't actually see them with my naked eye. I did take many more photos but you'll have to go to my Flickr site to see those as I won't be posting them all here I'm afraid! This first picture was amazing for me and Brian. stag 1 Brian spotted the antlers through a hedge next to our garden there in France and I was luckily playing with the camera and huge lens. I took the pictures of the stag and he was not scared or concerned at all. He stood posing for a few seconds then disappeared into a hedge. I have never seen a stag before so was chuffed to bits! He was so close it was unbelievable. The next 2 photos are of a Hoopoe. I don't know if you guys have Hoopoes in your countries, but we don't in England. I was really happy to get a picture of this gorgeous bird. It is from the woodpecker family I believe and has a gorgeous crest on its head. You see the crest better when it flies rather than when it's sitting. hoopoe 4 hoopoe 1 The next photograph is of a green woodpecker- we do get those in England, just not right where I live. I was also really happy to get a photo of this bird as we hear it all the time in the garden in France, and flying over but we've never managed to get a photo til now. green wood pecker 3 This following photo is of a dragonfly at my friends pond in her garden. This is the first time I've had a dragonfly stop long enough for me to photograph it! Dragon Fly I was really pleased with the next photo, even if it is a bit plain, as I had never seen Lapwings before- only on TV. Imagine how excited I got when I realised the flock in the air that I was watching was indeed a flock of Lapwings! They make the most beautiful yet odd sound that kind of mesmerised me a bit. Lapwing Flock The final photo I have for you today is of a Heron just as he was landing in a field. I had gone on a walk by a river whilst the boys were all fishing, with the intention of finding some ringed plovers, lapwings and all these other amazing creatures. I walked for a couple of minutes and came to a field with some huge bulls in and had to turn back! I have a very irrational fear of cows and it is for that reason that my final picture is of a heron and not something more interesting! However, I do believe he is a very interesting looking heron and I got him in a great pose. Heron I hope you've enjoyed looking at my holiday photos this week. I was a good tourist this time round and have some great pictures of some of the local atractions and cities near where we stay including of La Rochelle. You can check these out on my Flickr page if you can't wait for my posts. I also have some awesome sunsets shots with some UK Navy ships in harbour on Flickr so check them out. I will post again soon.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday! #33

Hi guys. I thought I'd have a go at something new- maybe some of you might like this one. I love yellow, it's one of my favourite colours so I thought I'd take part in Mellow Yellow Monday. I know, I know, it's Tuesday but it was a Bank Holiday yesterday here in the UK...! **Sorry for any formatting issues on this post, I can't seem to get it right! This is my new car. Igot it a couple of weeks ago and I adore it! It is a Fiat Punto 1.9 Turbo Diesel HGT. (HGT is the top sporty version) I saw this and new it was meant for me, so we went and saw it and went home with it that day. Every time I drive it, I get out smiling from ear to ear because I just love my car. I have called him the yellow devil.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and having a good laugh at my yellow car!! Check out other peoples Mellow Yellow pictures here: MellowYellowMondayBadge

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mervent, France - Our holiday place

Hallo everyone. For a while now I have been promising to do a post showing our little holiday place in France and the surrounding area. It is a beautiful part of France and I have been trying to get some decent shots to do it justice. Here are just a few. (Click on the links if you'd like to learn more about the areas I have mentioned) This first photo is our little place in a town called Mervent. It is in the middle of a huge forest in the Vendee region. It’s a very small building but we’ve changed it a bit on the inside so we now have a toilet, 2 bedrooms and the main living area with a kitchen. house This is a view from near the bottom of the garden, it is a 2000m2 plot so round about half an acre or so. view of garden from bottom This shot was taken through the fruit trees from the bottom part of the garden. We have over 60 fruit trees there- apples (eaters and cookers), quinces, peaches, cherries and a huge walnut tree. fruit trees This is a photo from near the front of the plot, by the side of the house. In the middle of the picture, between those two trees, is the well, hidden by bushes. garden view This is a picture of the well and the pond that we recently put in. There is still a lot of work to be done in this area! garden The next shots are of the closest town to us, Fontenay Le Comte. It is a beautiful place and nice for lazy walks on market days or for meals out. This is a shot of the river that runs through the town. river at fontennay Another shot of the river from a different part of town. fontennay river And this is a picture of a very cool house I spotted at the side of the bridge. house on bridge at fontennay I will do another post with more pictures of the area soon, showing our closest beach and parts of the forrest of Mervent-Vouvant. I have more pictures up at Flickr so check them out there.