An ongoing series of photos taken around the Benderloch area of the Scottish West Highlands. If you would like more information about the area, including tourist and "where to stay" info please visit the Benderloch website - link on sidebar. Enjoy the pictures, and remember that if you click on a picture a larger version will open. Steve.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Loch Etive

Looking east up Loch Etive towards Ben Cruachan. The church on the far shore is Ardchattan Kirk where there is a Scottish Homecoming exhibition of local historic photos and memories open all summer 2009.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

St Modans Church, Benderloch

St Modan's Church, Benderloch, taken in January with standard lens. The church is on a bend in the road with only a narrow pavement opposite as a place to stand and get the photo. I think the human eye takes in the scene more like the image below.

St Modan's Church, Benderloch, May 09.
Taken from almost the same spot as photo above.
Wide-angle lens effect without a wide-angle lens - achieved by taking nine photos in three horizontal passes and stitching in two dimensions using Autostitch (see post below for more info about the procedure).

Friday, May 15, 2009

Connel Bridge

This is the standard view of Connel Bridge from the south side.
Its OK-ish but doesn't show the whole bridge and the clouds could be more interesting.

This was the more pleasing result I got from a set of fourteen photos which I stitched together. (Click image to enlarge.)

For those wanting to know how I did it here's the boring bit.
How to get a wide-angle shot of Connel Bridge?
Not easy when you don't have a wide-angle lens and have to photograph from fairly close to the bridge. The answer is to use a Panorama Stitching program, but most of these only work with all the photos adjacent to each other in the same plane. The results are usually good but they tend to miss out on sky and foreground.

So this time I used a newish program called Autostitch ( still in beta) It works in 2 dimensions to basically put a "jigsaw" of photos together, matching objects in the photos and adjusting for varied exposures. To complicate matters a little I wanted to emphasise the clouds and didn't have a polarizing filter. So I used my polarising sunglasses and corrected the colour cast later!

I took 14 overlapping photos of the scene (with an inexpensive hand held digital camera).

Just for interest I put them into a layout program and arranged them manually.

The photos laid out roughly in order.

The Autostitch result.
There's no laying out involved with Autostitch - you start the program and tell it which photos to work with, optionally adjust some settings then sit back and let it work. It takes a couple of minutes at the default, small file size settings but for a complex, large image it can take much longer (about five minutes for this on my 1Gb RAM laptop).

Autostitch has rather a lot of settings to adjust but having used it a few times now I'm finding which produce a good sized (therefore detailed) image.
At this stage you can see the way it has merged the photos, adjusted curves and tonal values. The orange tint is from my polarising sunglasses.

Then I took the Autostitch image and put it through Photoshop to crop it down, cloned out a piece of litter and my shadow and finally removed the colour cast. The result is a 34mb TIF file which should print up nicely.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wave action - Tralee Beach Benderloch

I selected these from a series of shots this evening. I liked the subtle sunset reflections on the clouds contrasting with the drama of the breaking wave. Having got unsatisfactory results with single shots I set the Nikon to take high-speed continuous pictures and selected these three of breaking waves.

Looking at the wave I spotted this bubble which I thought interesting enough to show by itself.

Sunsets Tralee Beach Benderloch

Photos taken this May evening after several days of stormy weather.

Looking up on the way to the beach

Through the gate to the beach

Walkers with dog - I had hoped to get myself in position to silhouette the walkers against the sea but I wasn't quick enough!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe

Two views over Loch Awe towards Ben Cruachan showing Kilchurn Castle - probably one of the most photographed castles in Argyll after Castle Stalker.

Garden birds

A pair of Goldfinches on the feeder which were chased away by this aggresive Siskin.