Flowers and Water

When visiting the Botanic Gardens (NBGW) the natural course to take on a walk is up the main path from the entrance towards the fountain at the end of a small lake. From here you have a number of options in terms of direction but if you have children with you (or even if you haven’t), the temptation is then to follow the twisting miniature stream set into the centre of the walkway.

Eventually, at the top of the path, you reach the simple but attractive water feature that feeds the meandering stream and you can look back down the way you have come and scan some of the other areas of the gardens.

water feature

All but one of the photos I am posting this week are from our walk here near the end of  September. However, I had to look to my archives for a shot of the twisting footpath stream and this one is from June 2011. My youngest daughter once said a few years after the gardens opened in 2000 that this was her favourite place in Wales – I am sure that this magical twisting trickle had something to do with it.

NBGW entrance walk

flowers and grasses

A Visit To The NBGW

Towards the end of September we visited the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW) – it is a place we go whenever the opportunity arises as it is so beautiful and has a wide range of environments. The weather was excellent on this particular day, so I hope that you will join me on this week’s walk posts and enjoy some of the details of the gardens.

The gardens are visited by many photographers, professional and amateur alike, as it gives such a good opportunity to photograph the wide range of plants both in the grounds and in the Great Glass House. My photos this week are a selection of those I took on this September visit and although they are mostly shots of plants and flowers, you can see a wider view of the gardens through their film or virtual tour on their website.

peeling tree bark

white flowers at NBGW

Day Lily

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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Autumn at the Gardens

The Green Fayre at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea on 24th and 25th November is the next event for StillWalks. Last weekend’s Christmas gift fair at the Botanic Gardens went OK overall as long as I remember that it is about meeting people and getting StillWalks seen as it is about making direct sales.

Having said that, Saturday wasn’t a bad day for sales – Sunday was a better opportunity for taking some more photos of the gardens myself . . .

. . . here are a few – more are on Flickr and if anyone is interested in buying any prints, you can do so through the website by clicking on the Photobox Prints button or going direct to Photobox Gallery here.

NBGW Great Glasshouse

NBGW Great Glasshouse

Inside the Great Glasshouse, NBGW

Inside the Great Glasshouse, NBGW

NBGW

The heating grill inside the Great Glasshouse, NBGW