Thursday, 12 September 2019

The Iron Bridge of Ironbridge

Until writing this blog entry, it hadn’t occurred to me that the town of Ironbridge had a different spelling to Iron Bridge, the bridge made of iron located within the town of Ironbridge. Ahem.
Anyway, for those that don’t know, I shamelessly lifted the following from Wikipedia:
The Iron Bridge is a bridge that crosses the River Severn in Shropshire, England. Opened in 1781, it was the first major bridge in the world to be made of cast iron, and was greatly celebrated after construction owing to its use of the new material. In 1934 it was designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument and closed to vehicular traffic. Tolls for pedestrians were collected until 1950, when ownership of the bridge was transferred to Shropshire County Council. It now belongs to Telford and Wrekin Borough Council. The bridge, the adjacent settlement of Ironbridge and the Ironbridge Gorge form the UNESCO Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.[1] The bridge is a Grade I listed building, and a waypoint on the South Telford Heritage Trail.

I recently had a mosey on down one summer evening whilst visiting my family who live ten minutes away. The lighting wasn’t as nice as I’d hoped it would be. Greedily, I was rooting for one of those colourful skies and long shadow kind of evenings, but what I got was nice-ish but pretty flat.
The Iron Bridge underwent a lick of paint in 2018 in a dark red colour, thought to represent the original paintwork of the bridge when first constructed.



All photos of The Iron Bridge in Ironbridge were taken on the Fuji X-H1 with the Fujifilm XF16 - 55mm f/2.8 Lens, processed from RAW with Capture One. Please visit the rest of my website, www.lukebennettphotos.com for much more content, including further landscape and nature photography from the UK and visit my Print Gallery to buy high quality prints of my UK landscapes.
Also, if you are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer in Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, the Midlands or Beyond, please say hi! Finally, please Help Support This Blog by Buying Photography Equipment on Amazon via this link and following me on social media.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Wheat Fields and Sunsets and Why I love IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilisation)

I’ve been enjoying the balmy summer evenings of late and whenever possible I try to get out for a stroll in the warm setting sun. It’s probably my favourite part of the day and there’s something calming about watching the world around you slowly winding down for the night as the light gradually fades.

On this occasion, I took a walk through Berkswell, Warwickshire (the small picturesque village perhaps best known for its church - St John Baptist Anglican - parts of it dating back as far as 1150 AD) and it’s wheat fields.

As on most occasions when I’m having a walk, I had a camera with me, and I was lucky to be rewarded with a beautiful sunset. I love these big impressive trees and think they make for great subjects against the colourful sky.

Now, camera nerds are a funny bunch… I’ve noticed a lot of debate around the merits of IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilisation), with some people saying it’s a pointless gimmick and a waste of time, only serving to compromise image quality and add extra size and weight to your equipment. “Why bother? I have a tripod!” they smugly exclaim. These people, clearly have no imagination, foresight or lateral thinking, because there are plenty of scenarios where IBIS is massively useful to have.

Take these shots below, for instance. At least two of them are shot handheld at 1/50 of a second. Whilst not a really slow shutter speed to be shooting handheld, certainly one you’d want to be holding your breath for, ensuring good technique and keeping as still as possible. With IBIS enabled, I feel confident that I won’t see any camera shake at this shutter speed, and so I feel comfortable to click away without a tripod. No lugging one out, adding extra weight to my bag, no setting up, adjusting the height and angle and composition. Just quick and easy handheld shooting with no restrictions.

If that’s not a reason to have IBIS as standard, I don’t know what is.
All wheat fields and sunset photos were taken on the Fuji X-H1 with the Fujifilm XF16 - 55mm f/2.8 Lens, processed from RAW with Capture One.
Please visit the rest of my website, www.lukebennettphotos.com for much more content, including further landscape and nature photography from the UK and visit my Print Gallery to buy high quality prints of my UK landscapes.
Also, if you are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer in Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, the Midlands or Beyond, please say hi!
Finally, please Help Support This Blog by Buying Photography Equipment on Amazon via this link and following me on social media.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Oat Fields and Storm Clouds

The weather in the UK, as everyone here will know, has been a little bit erratic of late… One minute we’re experiencing record breaking temperatures, the next we’re enduring months worth of rainfall in a couple of hours.
Personally, I love it. I think the extreme weather keeps things interesting (although I am lucky not to live within a flood plane). Much like when snow hits the country, the extreme heat forces you to slow down and abandon your usual routines. This can either prove stressful and frustrating, or, if you’re prepared to embrace it, it can be strangely liberating!
Lately, in an attempt to embrace the stormy conditions, I’ve been desperately hoping for thunder and lighting. I have a couple of locations planned out where I really would love to capture some extreme weather on camera. Sadly, the lightning seems to be hitting everywhere but near me. I’m still hopeful though…
In the meantime, last weekend I ended up in an oat field near Kenilworth after taking a chance on a footpath I’ve driven past multiple times but never explored before. The sky was looking incredibly moody, threatening some of those vast showers I mentioned earlier. I exaggerated the stormy effect with a Lee Circular Polariser and 0.9 ND Filter to save the highlights in the clouds, and I’ve made a black and white conversion to my own tastes in Capture One.
All storm cloud photos were taken on the Fuji X-H1 with the Fujifilm XF16 - 55mm f/2.8 Lens, processed from RAW with Capture One.
Please visit the rest of my website, www.lukebennettphotos.com for much more content, including further landscape and nature photography from the UK and visit my Print Gallery to buy high quality prints of my UK landscapes.
Also, if you are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer in Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, the Midlands or Beyond, please say hi!
Finally, please Help Support This Blog by Buying Photography Equipment on Amazon via this link and following me on social media.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

The Benefits of Working From Home: Part II

In what might become a regular feature of this blog (- returning readers may recall the very first post advocating the unexpected quirks of working from home), I've continued to have fun watching the wildlife out of the little window to my left as I perform my photography post-processing duties.

It's been fascinating watching the blue tits using the feeder and rearing their young. Over the weeks across spring and summer I've seen the offspring going from being fairly dependent on their parents,  all fluffy and uncoordinated, being brought and fed the seed, to developing a full plumage, mastering the art of flight and learning how to pick, sort and break into the seed for themselves.

I've also witnessed a fairly lucky slug managing to avoid becoming the lunch of an oblivious blue tit. I can confirm they did drop down safely to the ground without being eaten, shortly after the final photo in that sequence.




A lucky escape


A young blue tit learning how to operate the bird feeder



A young blue tit still being fed by their parent

All garden bird photos were taken on the Fuji X-H1 with the Fujifilm XF50 - 140mm f/2.8 Lens, processed from RAW with Capture One.
Please visit my website, www.lukebennettphotos.com for much more content, including further landscape and nature photography from the UK and visit my Print Gallery to buy high quality prints of my UK landscapes.
Also, if you are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer in Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, the Midlands or Beyond, please say hi!
Finally, please Help Support This Blog by Buying Photography Equipment on Amazon via this link and following me on social media.


Thursday, 25 July 2019

Photos from The Clent Hills

Last Saturday I took a trip to the Clent Hills in Worcestershire, near Stourbridge and Halesowen. Amazingly, it's somewhere I've never been before, despite being a big hill fan (read that how you will).

I was pleasantly surprised to find that in reality they're much more impressive than I'd assumed they would be in my head for so many years previously and I definitely will return for a longer exploration some time soon.

Embarrassingly, I had agreed to meet friends there, but in some bizarre episode of self sabotage, my brain was convinced that we had agreed to meet at the Lickey Hills near Birmingham. So upon arriving at their visitor centre and finding no one I recognised therein, it dawned on me - I simply had not listened properly. For any potential wedding clients - I will listen to you intently and will not turn up at the wrong venue.
Anyway, eventually I arrived at the correct hills, where my friends had already set off on their route, so I headed for the highest point to take some photos.

It was quite an overcast day but visibility was pretty good still. I only brought one lens with me to keep weight down - the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0. It's not known for being a landscape lens or even focal length, but I must say it performed really well, providing good clarity and definition.








All photos of the Clent Hills were taken on the Fuji X-H1 with the Fujifilm XF35mm f/2.0 Lens, processed from RAW with Capture One.
Please visit my website, www.lukebennettphotos.com for much more content, including further landscape and nature photography from the UK and visit my Print Gallery to buy high quality prints of my UK landscapes.
Also, if you are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer in Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, the Midlands or Beyond, please say hi!
Finally, please Help Support This Blog by Buying Photography Equipment on Amazon via this link and following me on social media.


Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Deer at Charlecote Park

As a proud National Trust member, I’m lucky that Charlecote Park in Warwickshire is only 25 minutes away from where I live. It’s become one my favourite places to go for a relaxing walk throughout all the seasons as it’s always teeming with beauty and wildlife. 
 On this most recent visit, I set off hoping to see some young fawns as I’d heard that the does had recently started giving birth. I knew it was a long shot as they’re timid at the best of times and ultra cautious with their newborn calves. 

 The stags, however, are totally the opposite. I’ve found that if you approach them slowly and calmly and take your time to just stand and observe, they’ll often let you get really close. On this occasion I gradually found myself surrounded by a particularly confident group of young bucks who didn’t mind my mellow photography taking style. These young males all had velvet antlers growing having shed last year’s hard calcified efforts.







 At the end of my walk just as I was winding down from the photography, heading to the exit and checking the activity on my phone, at peace with the fact that I wasn’t going to see any fawns up close, I looked up from what I was doing to see a loan calf and her mother, unaware of my presence only about 30 feet away. My camera had already been switched off and the lens cap reapplied, ready to be put away for the drive home at this point, so the quiet scramble in quickly getting the shot set up wasn’t ideal, but I’m pleased that I manage to fire a couple off in focus in the few seconds I had available.
During this time the mother deer did a runner, leaving her baby looking kind of lost and confused before she eventually ducked down into the long grass to hide. I didn’t want to cause them any more distress at this point, so I carried on towards the exit, but I’m really glad I had that encounter.  






All deer photos taken on the Fuji X-H1 with the Fujifilm XF10-24mm f/4.0 Lens, processed from RAW with Capture One.
Please visit my website, www.lukebennettphotos.com for much more content, including further landscape and nature photography from the UK and visit my Print Gallery to buy high quality prints of my UK landscapes.
Also, if you are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer in Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, the Midlands or Beyond, please say hi!
Finally, please Help Support This Blog by Buying Photography Equipment on Amazon via this link and following me on social media.


Until writing this blog entry, it hadn’t occurred to me that the town of Ironbridge had a different spelling to Iron Bridge, the bridge mad...