Country Lane, Ovington

A week ago Tina and I were driving around Hampshire in the worst weather we’ve seen in ages, it was pouring down and we didn’t want to be cooped up indoors all day. It was really quite dull outside but we hopped in the car nonetheless. We weren’t really sure where to go but decided to head in the general direction of Winchester. The roads were flooded in places and I had to take it a bit easy as we made our way southwards. Storm Callum was lashing Great Britain that day and other parts of the UK really suffered rather badly with widespread damage to property and people.

We at one point decided to turn off the main road to go and find a place we’d seen some time ago but daftly we couldn’t remember the name of the place, was it called Ovington? In fact later we realised it was in fact Avington, we were looking for but in the meantime we got fantastically lost!

We took a turning down this glorious road, it looked stunning even in the constant torrent of rain that was cascading out of the clouds up above. We didn’t stop because I didn’t have my camera on me, plus the dry comfort of the car was far more appealing, however I made a note of the location to revisit. We ended up in Winchester and had some lunch there in a great place called Forte Tearooms.

Fast forward one week and this morning I went back on what has been a gloriously warm day for this time of year. In fact the whole weekend has been delightful.

Side note – I have started putting together a new way of tracking locations and ideas for future photography outings, which invariably end up turning out to be great healthy walks too. I found some more locations today that I didn’t want to forget about, so they’ve been duly noted 🙂

Hampshire Harvest Festival

It’s a wet, cold and utterly autumnal afternoon but we didn’t want to let that stop us and we knew that the Hampshire Harvest Festival is on this weekend, so we hopped in the car and drove down there. Sadly the weather seemed to have put off many people, as there were some good things there, just not an awful lot of people compared to normal.

I tend to use auto ISO mode on my camera and generally shoot in aperture priority. So it has been interesting to see how my ISO performs, as today it varied quite dramatically but the end results are none the worse off for it. The above shot could have been shot in ISO 100 for all I know, it remains crisp and well detailed.

Sounds like I am writing a camera review but I’m not lol!!

Here are a few of the shots I took whilst we dodged the heavy rain showers. The whole event was situated around the Cathedral with a dozen stalls or so.

Many of the images here have had very little post production applied to them but in this case I did use a Lightroom profile on some of the images to boost them a tiny bit, not really necessary but I fancied trying it out. If anyone is interested, I may write some articles on my techniques.

I used a radial brush on the eyes of the owl because of the low light, they seemed underexposed but were the sharpest point. A little boost made all the difference in LR.

Field of gold

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The rape seed fields of Hampshire are progressing fast this year, the yellow flowers starting to fade, making way for the greener colours. I found a place to park up and a footpath to follow for a short distance. It is hard to envisage what the view would be like, because all I could see from my angle were the crops, about as tall as I am if not more so.

Once up in the air I could see the tracks left by the farmer and shot a short video. It was from this sequence that I ended up grabbing this image in Lightroom. I then edited it, adding a little bit of a graduated filter effect to the top of the frame to bring the sky back a bit more, to add some balance to the frame.

Then I decided that I should grab an abstract and from where (more or less) the previous  photo was captured, I switched the camera to look down towards the ground below. Expect to see more of this sort of thing from me, I love abstracts and to be able to zoom in or out from above is a thrill.

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It has been a gorgeous afternoon with temperatures nearly reaching 20 degrees Celsius and really feeling like Summer all of a sudden.

Talking of which…

We as a family do like to use rape seed oil in our cooking and there are a number of local producers who market their goods to many local farmers markets and even to the regional supermarkets. The demand for this crop is growing ever higher but I do wonder if we export it? I hope we do, as it is really nice stuff.

One of our favourite snacks is to get some nice bread, fill a couple of small ramekins with just enough rape seed oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Dip dip!! It goes in seconds but it is definitely one of those lovely comfort foods. It is very good for you too, well at least I think so!

Recommended Links

http://www.coldpressedoil.co.uk/

https://leckfordestate.co.uk/produce/rapeseed-oil – Ooh I should write more about this one, it is a great place to visit the whole year round

King John’s Castle

Having watched one or two videos by my fellow photographers that featured Odiham Castle, I decided to hop in the car and visit the location myself. The closer I got to my destination as I drove into the gorgeous evening light, the more stormy it started to look in the distance as I cruised down the A287 from Farnham towards Odiham. I was conscious of the fact that I may be heading for a storm front, I knew it was too good to be true, an otherwise horrid week of torrential downpours had subsided and had led us all into a fanciful dream that Summer was back. I decided to press on nonetheless in the hope that if the heavens did open once again, it would probably be brief and the sun would pop out again. All photographers know that when that happens, you can sometimes witness an incredibly clear, crisp form of light.

Suffice to say, the rain didn’t arrive and as I pulled up near the Castle, the weather was actually looking like it was on the mend but I had lost the best of the light. Oh well, I shall make do, I decided and made my way down the canal towpath.

The walk isn’t at all far from the nearest parking spot and it is a lovely stroll. I highly recommend it for any time of year, as you get to appreciate Nature and all of her seasons. The Canal incidentally for those of you who don’t know the area is The Basingstoke Canal. We plan to shoot and film more along it’s entire stretch wherever we can in the years to come.

I decided that I will use my DJI Mavic more for photography than video, as photos tend to be quicker to edit and to share on the blog. I shall also collect up as much footage of a location as possible and to take my time over that. Film editing is a longer process, especially if I want to go a little more to town on it, adding music, cutting clips, recording voice overs etc. So I plan to share more video once I have enough to produce a series of mini documentaries. Got to be ambitious!!! Will I follow a theme? Yes, probably quite a few over the course of time and as I practice my flying/filming skills too!

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I joked over on Facebook that I had miniaturised the castle in order to take this photo. In many ways it does feel like I have or maybe I became a giant with a humongous tripod to match? Joking aside, the ability to position a camera anywhere in three dimensional space is still boggling my mind. It is so exciting and I have a head full of ideas for future entries on this blog. So much so, I think I have a firm theme for this site now, which I didn’t feel I had lost at some point in time whilst writing this blog…. I digress!

The DJI Mavic can shoot both RAW and JPEG at the same time. The photos on this page were all shot in DNG format and when I got home, I imported them into Lightroom. All I changed at this point were the white balance as that was off by a long way. I then applied a preset called “Punch” and finally some sharpness to make it look really crisp. The images off the camera were all shot with no sharpness or very little. So it is a very similar process to editing photos taken off my Nikon D7000. The cameras are of a very close resolution too.

The photo below was taken as a test but it clearly shows that on the DJI Mavic, you have the ability to focus and control your depth of field. It is one of the first to offer this and that is pretty incredible. The older drones all featured cameras that are single-focus (I think, correct me if I am wrong) and also suffered from fish-eye distortion. This lens is closer to something like a 50mm with an aperture of 2.8. This makes it a great drone for filing or shooting photography that is quite tight, you can fly through tight spaces using the amazing “Tripod Mode”

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So that pretty much wraps up today’s post, how about a video of Odiham Castle? That will come another time, I want to go back a few more times and shoot some more sequences over the seasons.

Last but not least

It was great to meet fellow bloggers Johann and Roberta Briffa last weekend in Guildford along with two other friends of theirs. The Briffas hail from the sunny island of Malta and regular visitors to this blog, yes there are many of you (joke!) will know Tina and I love the Maltese islands and the people. We look forward to catching up with you Johann and Roberta the next time we visit Malta or when you come back to visit the UK!

Please do check out their blogs, they write frequently, more so than I do and I enjoy every post they share.

https://jabriffa.wordpress.com/

https://chorizoandthyme.wordpress.com/

Roberta, you asked me to blog more, hope this is a good start? 😉

The Spinney

The following short film came to me in a moments inspiration whilst I was out researching a location for both filming and photographing. The light was bursting through the trees in this small woodland “Spinney” and it struck me how beautiful it was.

This kind of shot would traditionally have been created with a camera mounted on some kind of mechanical pulley or rail system. No need for that when you can use a drone. I set my Mavic up to use “Tripod mode” which changes the behaviour of the drone when you fly in a sideways direction to operate at a very steady speed, providing the operator with more control over the smoothness of the resulting video.

I also turned off sharpening in the recording, favouring doing that in post-production. I am liking the D-Cinelike mode which provides for a greater lattitude when editing later.