Howick Gardens ~ February 2020

Sophie and I have visited Howick Gardens a couple of times prior to this post, in October 2015 and July 2017, but there’s something different happening there all year round, and this time we went to see the snowdrops.

If you want the history of the gardens it’s in the first link there, if not, on with the pretty pictures!

Although it was quite cold, we had a clear blue sky, and the snowdrops were out in force. I had my FujiXT2 + my 16mm fujinon & my helios lens, with me and my Canon EOS 100 FN with a roll of portra 400 in it.

fuji + 16mm

It was lovely to see the snowdrops carpeting everywhere, and to hear the birds singing, and nice to be out in the fresh air.

canon
Canon ~ close up.
Fuji + helios

As we walked around the estate, we got a fab view of the Hall.

Fuji + 16mm

There is a church in the grounds

fuji + 16mm

and a chap on his hands and knees amongst the grave stones, macro-ing the snowdrops.

Canon

Such a sad grave stone in the cemetery

Ellen aged 11 mths 1901, Euphemia 4 mths 1908, David aged 8 1914.
Fuji + helios
Fuji + helios.

Just a short one today, nice to remember being out and about and not have to stop breathing when coming across other out and abouters!

Gothic Exercising.

The theme for my photography challenge this weekend was ‘anything gothic’! I acquired some gothic jewellery dirt cheap on amazon during the week with a view to photographing it fetchingly against some black velvet or whatever plush fabric I could come up with, but by Friday had decided it would be much more ‘gothic’ to wear it and shoot it in a graveyard. I worry about myself sometimes. Anyway it became apparent that I would need help mainly to get the bloody hand piece and the gothic choker done up as I couldn’t manage it myself :D! Hubby was working Sunday so I sent out an SOS to my pal ‘The Rev’ and he said ‘That sounds like fun,’ so we met up on Sunday and first went to the pub to discuss the shoot.  Eventually we decided the best cemetery would be a fairly deserted one down in Escombe, about 3/4 hr drive, and off we went. The weather was just right, dark grey clouds with rain when we set off.  The 1st inkling that things were not going to go as planned was the cemetery seemed empty of graves! Am sure I remembered loads more when last I visited!! Found a suitable one though after tramping through mud and grunge towards the back of the cemetery.  My first idea was to shoot myself with hands around a grave as if I was a vampire arising, so I set up my camera on a low POV using a gorilla pod for stability.  Except the ball shaped feet of the Gpod and mud didn’t really equate to stability!  Then I did so many test shots trying to get the exposure right and the camera angle right that my flash unit sucked up all the juice of my camera and I was left without any power to take any pictures! Bliddy marvellous, my spare battery was on charge at home, (note to self- organisation is the key to skill and efficiency!)  So thankfully Mike had his camera with him, but it’s different to mine, so I ended up being creative director, and Mike the camera man. Of course just to throw another spanner in the works, the sun broke through just as we began the shoot!  I did a fair few of my self in a long black cape looking mournful and hugging trees, and some of myself crawling out from under an overgrown monument, but these shall never see the light of day 🙂 but I did manage to get the ‘hands around the grave’ shot and one of the gothic earing, both of which are below.

G

The processing involved reducing the exposure to kill the sunny day sky, and then into Nik FX pro to add some graduated fog and a very small amount of detail extraction.  Then back to lightroom for some final tweaks and a medium vignette to help with the eerie light feel.

G-3_edited-1

For this shot I went straight to Nik FX to add a vintage film filter and then to PSE 11 for spot removal of my worst wrinkles 😀 and to add a dark centre to the red blobs of lippy that we used to make the puncture wounds. I did try the skin softening filter but that just looks quite false even at low opacity so left it alone. All in all a fun day out trying something very different, so a good exercise and a challenge met. Thanks to The Rev who is a most excellent photographer and chum, Next time though I’ll just get out the velvet……