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LOCKdown – SHUTTERrelease

Despite the restrictions on travelling in the UK, and moving around in my local area, I have had a productive photographic Autumn/Winter – below is a selection of this recent work.

I am a member of the local Hay Camera Club . During the last year of "lockdown" the club has evolved into a very vibrant, weekly, on-line meeting where regular competitions motivate myself and members to photograph, display and receive critique for their work.

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If my images don't appear razor-sharp, its not my work its the website!

September gave a little respite from the lockdown and the Club had an outing to the Camarthen Fans. The weather was perfect for hiking and shooting with several members making the stretch to Picws Du Cain for the sunset.

Llyn y Fan Fach – an I.R. image shot before the hike along the ridge.

Sunset near Picws Du – I climbed down the steep slope a little to get this aspect of Llyn y Fan Fach

Three weeks later I went back to the area and stayed 2 nights in my camper-van – a long exposure of Llyn y Fan Fawr as the heavy morning cloud started to lift.

Sunset over Llyn y Fan Fach taken from below the steep face of Picws Du.

Lockdown permitting I am always on the mountains close to my home in Hay-on-Wye. I prefer evenings as the sun gives better light from the West – looking East across the Wye Valley to Twmpa, Hay Bluff and England beyond.

I set out before sunrise from Gospel Pass in thick mist. I envisaged the mist slowly evaporating from the waters of Grwyne Fawr Reservoir – alas I was too late. A stiff (bitingly cold) breeze cleared the inversion before I reached what I had in my minds eye for possible images.

On my way down the valley, almost to the reservoir; the clearing inversion in the distance.

A long exposure reflects the azure November sky in Grwyne Fawr Reservoir – the Bothy centre right where I had morning coffee.

Another – (socially distanced, I met one member!) Club outing to the magnificent Elan Valley to capture the Autumn colours.

Sunup – perched on the 1x2 meter stone pilar at the end of the Garreg Ddu dam bridge, I waited for 45 mins (I was cold) for the sun to break through the early morning cloud. This light lasted about 3 mins – I got the shot I wanted!

Later in the day – exploring the rivers between the reservoirs.

Tangle-wood – a small eco-system isolated from the river banks...

"Could be Ice" – a long exposure calms this somewhat cluttered scene.

The base of Pen Y Garreg Dam

A flash of early light illuminates this woodland scene.

Late November – I was determined to capture some images of the misty landscapes that occur at this time of the year. An early start and a climb through the dense mist up Cockit Hill to catch the sunrise.

"Pink Mist" – wonderful contrast between the blush sunrise and the emerald farmlands crusted in heavy frost. The glory of Pen y Fan and its siblings breach the inversion – Llangorse Lake in the middle shrouded in the misty morn.

The sun soon flattened the sculptured landscape and this shoot was done. Llangorse Lake was still covered in the dense inversion as I reached the car so I made the short drive to explore.

The sun straining to breach the mist on the flooded lake. In order to clear the debris and the clutter of the lake shore, I waded into the freezing water up to knees and waited for the ripples to calm – next time bring a longer lens :-)

As I turned to get back to dry land, this scene emerged from the mist. The composition lasted barley 30 seconds as the boat drifted in a circle in and out of the rolling mist.

December brought snow to the mountains. If the cold spell lasts its always a challenge to get to the nearby mountains by car. The very steep road to Hay Bluff and Gospel Pass, my nearest access and the highest vehicle mountain pass in Wales, quickly gets iced up making it impossible without a serious 4x4 with winter tires – I decided to give it a go!

Twmpa 690m -7° – late in the day the last of the light showing great promise. I was the only footprints on the trail up to the summit, the snow drifts pristine. It's difficult to walk around and not spoil your images trying to get the best possible aspect, at the same time the light fading very quickly at this time of the year.

Just before the sun disappeared behind the thick clouds in the West, I managed this shot of pristine sculptured snow.

Ive been observing this Oak for a Long time as I often walk with my kids and their dogs. On this day I had a camera; the late afternoon light lit the entwined branches for this stark image.

A break from days of persistent rain: the Wye Valley once again flooded, here the water table reaching the fields sown with winter crops.


I am often asked what image processing tools I use. Lightroom for storing, catalogue and very basic RAW image processing. I then further process in Photoshop using Luminosity Masking.

I discovered these tools over 12 years ago and have always used them for serious image processing since – Tony Kuyper Luminosity Masks – they are not an easy fix, it takes time and lots of effort to learn, but offer complete control over digital image processing.

Also its a different way of processing an image; instead of sliders which offer a "lets see what I get" approach, this method makes me think about the image when I took the shot. What did I see? Then use the tools to create, sculpt the image as a piece of art; not easy for sure.

This guy Sean Bagshaw teamed up with Tony Kuyper years ago and his brilliant teaching videos are in my opinion the very best in the vast sea of digital image processing out there.

If you got this far, thank you for looking at my images, comments are always welcome.

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