Landscape or Seascape

Are salt marshes landscape or seascape?

Both I guess. On this day it was landscape with some sea remaining in the gullies of the salt marshes. But with the lie of the land, it doesn’t take long for it to be covered by sea. The Loughor Estuary, situated between the Gower Peninsula and Carmarthenshire in South Wales, is a fascinating place. Always changing with the water and the light, the sunshine and the rain.

Loughor Estuary

Loughor Estuary

Loughor Estuary

This week’s featured StillWalks video is set a few weeks ahead of the current date in terms of the time of year but the flowers and activity of the birds celebrate the beautiful sunny weather of Spring with gusto and are a welcome change to the wild, wet and windy weather we had through Winter.

The video above is in 480p quality. You can use the Donate button below to pay however much you want and receive a high quality (720HD) download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Garden Park Walk – Spring” which features Clyne Gardens in Swansea, South Wales. Click the image above to watch the video. DVD Collections are also available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Pools of Light

A network of salt water gullies and holes on the Loughor Estuary.

Pools of light is a bit more poetic than puddles near Llanrhidian. Living at the northern most point of the Loughor Estuary in South Wales, I can travel up either side of the salt marshes that make up the estuary and get beautiful and spacious views across from either the Gower Peninsula on the eastern edge or the Carmarthenshire shore on the western edge.

I have heard that if any of the ponies that graze there are caught on the marshes when the tide comes in, they simply stand where they are until the tide goes out again because of the danger of falling into one of the gullies or holes.

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This week’s featured StillWalks video is set a few weeks ahead of the current date in terms of the time of year but the flowers and activity of the birds celebrate the beautiful sunny weather of Spring with gusto and are a welcome change to the wild, wet and windy weather we had through Winter.

The video above is in 480p quality. You can use the Donate button below to pay however much you want and receive a high quality (720HD) download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Garden Park Walk – Spring” which features Clyne Gardens in Swansea, South Wales. Click the image above to watch the video. DVD Collections are also available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Scheduling Posts – Winter Lakeside Walk

For anyone expecting a new post from me today, please refer to the second post that went out on Thursday – “The Great Glasshouse – Contrast in iPhonography”.

I often like to run a series of connected posts across a week and I will prepare these towards the end of the current week and set the scheduled date for each post as I go along. Whilst it is very convenient to do this, clearly I made a mistake with the date on the posts that were published yesterday.

Fortunately updates can be made (and corrections made) at any point before the post is published. However, after the post has gone out, there is not much point in un-publishing it and then re-publishing the next day.

So, short of the intended post for today (which went out yesterday), I am leaving the weekend’s post as the featured StillWalks video for this week. If you have not already had a look at it, “Winter Lakeside Walk” will remain available on this blog for the weekend.

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Winter Lakeside Walk” which features Llyn Llech Owain Country Park in Carmartheshire. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Incredible Fungi in the Ghost Forest

The Ghost Forest is a permanent external exhibition at the National Botanic Garden of Wales which features huge tree stumps and their roots from the rain forest.

The trees in the Ghost Forest, most of which fell naturally in storms and have their roots intact, are ‘ambassadors’ for rainforests worldwide,” said Ms Palmer. “The absence of their trunks is a metaphor for the absence of the planet’s lungs through deforestation.

It is clear from the exhibits how majestic the trees were when standing in their natural environment. Their contribution to a natural, sustainable environment, alongside those others in the rain forest, must have been as substantial as the trees themselves.

Hopefully, the attention that this exhibition attracts to the issue of tree felling in the rain forests and other woodlands around the world, will grow and spread like the fungi that has now appeared on the stumps in the exhibition. They are amazing objects, both trees and fungi and of course, one would not exist without the other.

These are my final iPhone photos this week from the Botanic Gardens in Carmarthenshire. The first shot was taken using the iPhone Camera app and the fungi shots were taken with PureShot. very little pst production adjustment was made to any of these photos.

NBGW Ghost Forest

NBGW Fungi

NBGW Fungi

NBGW Fungi

NBGW Fungi

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Winter Lakeside Walk” which features Llyn Llech Owain Country Park in Carmartheshire. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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The Great Glasshouse – Contrast in iPhonography

More photos from my iPhone using both the phone’s Camera app and PureShot.

Controlling exposure and white balance can be difficult in certain situations, most especially when there is significant contrast in light within the frame. One way to adjust this with the Camera app is to try out different angles and points of focus until you find a reasonable compromise and then make further adjustment to shadows and highlights in post processing with an app like Adobe Photoshop (the phone version) or Lightroom on your computer.

PureShot allows easy adjustment on screen of the area within the frame that is sensitive to the light when taking your shot. This means that it is much easier to use the angle and composition that you want with little compromise to white balance and contrast. And of course further tweaking is possible in post production. I like the mobile Photoshop app for post production on the phone but another good app I use is SnapSeed.

The first photo (of The Great Glasshouse at NBGW) was taken with the Camera app. Although there was significant contrast between the light coming through the glass roof and the “landscape” inside, it was easy to adjust the angle satisfactorily to allow a good distribution of light or white balance.

The second and third shots were both taken with PureShot as TIFFs, with its exposure control making it possible to handle the contrast between sky and land and inside the glasshouse, “table” and darker plants surrounding it. For detailed info on using either app, I refer people to Emil Pakarklis’ iPhone Photography School.

Botanic Gardens

NBGW

NBGW

Memorial to the project architect of the Great Glasshouse

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Winter Lakeside Walk” which features Llyn Llech Owain Country Park in Carmartheshire. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Plants in the Glasshouse – Absorbed in iPhonography

I was absorbed in taking the photos and absorbed by the look of the plants but I made a mistake, one I make too often! I forgot to get all the information I would want about the things I was photographing – information I would want when writing this post.

I would like to be able to tell you what these fascinating and exotic plants are but all I can say is that they are in the Great Glasshouse in the National Botanic Garden of Wales. I can also tell you that the first photograph was taken in JPEG format (see yesterdays post for info on formats), and the second in TIFF.

Unfortunately that probably doesn’t give you information that you really want whether you are interested in photography or not, so I must apologise for the omission of this information and ask if anyone knows what they are, to post it in the comments. Thank you.

NBGW

NBGW

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Winter Lakeside Walk” which features Llyn Llech Owain Country Park in Carmartheshire. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Witch Hazel – Keeping Information (Lossless and Lossy formats in iPhone Photography)

That new app I have on my iPhone (PureShot) allows HI_Quality and MAX_Quality  jpeg photos and also TIFF lossless photos. The TIFF format in this case is not only lossless but is dRAW which means there is no in-app post processing done and no compression applied.

For those of you unaware of the ins and out, ups and downs of formats in photography, suffice it to say that the JPEG format takes away information gathered by the camera to a greater or lesser extent, thus the photographic information is compressed. TIFF is a lossless format which, although giving bigger file sizes, means there is no loss of information and, therefore, greater control for the photographer over how the finished image looks as well as (theoretically) a higher quality of image (at least in terms of the number of pixels used).

The image of the Witch Hazel below was taken in TIFF dRAW format and the close up of another Witch Hazel in the Botanic Garden of Wales was taken in JPEG format. Obviously you cannot make a straight comparison between the two formats here because the images are different but one thing I would say about the PureShot app and the Apple Camera app is that whilst it may be true that PureShot allows more control at the shooting stage (and I was very pleased with the results I got with PureShot), the Camera app is also very good.

There are many things that need to be taken into consideration when taking photographs but as far as the kit and applications are concerned, having a decent lens is probably the single thing that makes the biggest difference. Apple (and I am sure other high end smart phones with which I have no experience) made the right decision when they installed a decent lens in the iPhone.

Witch Hazel at NBGW

Witch Hazel at NBGW

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Winter Lakeside Walk” which features Llyn Llech Owain Country Park in Carmartheshire. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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The Rough and the Smooth – iPhonography at the Botanic Gardens

Last week we had a walk at the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW), taking advantage of free entry during January. It is easy to think that there is not so much to see in a place like the Botanic Gardens at this time of year but, of course, that is not true – it is just that things look different.

I had downloaded a new app for my iPhone 5c, namely PureShot, and I was keen to try it out. This camera app allows more control than the standard iPhone Camera app as well as having options to use TIFF images and different quality JPEGs. The photos below were both taken using PureShot and it gave good results. However, as will be seen through other shots I will be posting this week, it is not always the best app to use.

I discovered PureShot through the a post by Emil Pakarklis and the iPhone Photography School and would recommend his website as an excellent aid to anyone interested in improving their phone photography.

Another discovery I made when looking at images of Silver Birch bark was esdesigns – I liked the silver birch bracelet in particular!

Silver Birch Bark

NBGW Jan 2014-1

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Winter Lakeside Walk” which features Llyn Llech Owain Country Park in Carmartheshire. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Looking The Other Way – Local Landscape

To start this week I am looking again at the landscape around me. This early morning shot is looking the other way to that which was posted last week.

Looking north west from Graig Fawr the view takes in Carmarthenshire in late Autumn with the coniferous trees of the forest at Fforest on the left – see this week’s featured video below.

View from Graig Fawr

This week’s featured StillWalks video shows another representation of the woods in the previous featured video – the woods at Fforest in a snowy Winter.

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Forest Walk – Summer” which is at Fforest, Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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