Greig Houghton Photography
Landscape, Street and Travel Photography

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Irish Landscape and Travel Photography Blog

Autumn

Autumn is well and truly upon us now.  

Last weekend I visited our photography's club (South Kildare Photography Club) new exhibition whichwas being held in the Newbridge Credit Union to coincide with a local festival celebrating the  200th birthday of the town.  It was fantastic to the great work from the members of the club in print.  It is credit to the members that we have such a variety of talented photographers in the club and the print quality of the photos was brilliant.  Thanks especially to the members who organised the event and spent a number of days erecting the images in the Credit Union.  A big thanks also to Newbridge Credit Union for hosting the event.

On my way home I stopped off at Victoria Bridge which is a small piece of natural woodland next to the River Liffey in County Kildare.  This strip of woodland, probably no more than 10m wide, sandwiched between the river and a road and contains an inherent beauty.  However, it is extremely difficult to capture this beauty in a photograph.  I have tried and failed and so have other members in my club.

My mindset for this shoot was clear from the start.  I was inspired by a macro image of a frosted golden maple leaf covered in the morning dew by the wonderful Varina Patel.  The leaf was isolated from the golden background using a very shallow depth of field.  Today I was going to look at the smaller picture rather than the big picture.  This is another slight deviation for my normal photography but a worthwhile challenge nonetheless. It would also provided me with an opportunity to get a shot for my  competition entry for the South Kildare Photography Club October competition which had the theme of nature.

 It didn't take me long to find a nice patch of mushrooms which I thought I could make a a feature of.  I started with a bit of gardening to make the scene more Autumnal. The mushrooms were growing in a thick patch of  green moss which ordinarily would have been nice but shooting with the seasons I wanted more.  I grabbed a handfull of the fallen leaves and started to spread them out.  I am starting to learn that while photoshop is an amazing tool, sometimes it is easier to spend 5 minutes cloning out at source rather than 15 minutes on the mac at a later time.  I removed a few blades of grass and 'tided' the natural scene, but of course there were one or two items that I missed that I sorted later.

I tried to isolate a mushroom the best I could while choosing a specimen that looked good with no rough edges or chunks missing.  To get the stem of the mushroom I had to use a really low composition with my camera nearly on the ground.  This is where I got lazy.  I had my tripod with me but decided not use it which is pretty important if not essential for macro.  To capture this shot with my tripod I would of need to invert my centre column and mount my camera upside down to get it so low to the ground.  I decided not to and the result is probably not as sharp as it could have been.  However, I heard a great tip recently for making autumn colours in photoshop for watching a Kelby Training Webcast on youtube called 'A Walk in Paris'.

Change the colour space to LAB mode by going to the image menu, mode then LAB colour.  Then go back to the image menu and click apply image.  Change the channel to b and then then blending mode to soft light. Click ok and you are done!

For my second image, I isolated an autumn leave on a mossy green bed.  I used another handy trick which is to bring a bottle of water with use and use it for creating water droplets on subjects.  The wind was starting to pick up which proved difficult as it can create the smallest of flutterings in the subjects you are trying to capture, so it a case of being patient and getting your timing right.

The following day would provide an early start but an opportunity to seems some wild stags in the Wicklow mountains.  A chance I was not going to miss!