Sunday, 30 December 2012

Sunrise over Ladybower

Sunrise over Ladybower by craigand
Sunrise over Ladybower, a photo by craigand on Flickr.

We got up at a ridiculous hour this morning to watch the sunrise over Ladybower. This is what we saw. Definitely worth it.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Festive Fir

Festive Fir by craigand
Festive Fir, a photo by craigand on Flickr.

Abstract photo of a christmas tree taken using cunning and exceedingly clever lighting tricks. No post-processing.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Bridge near Castleford

Bridge near Castleford by craigand
Bridge near Castleford, a photo by craigand on Flickr.

I pass this bridge every time I take the all-stops train at 7:18. Ideally I'd take the 6:48, but if I am delayed then it's a handy second option. The journey to and from Castleford is always quite pleasant, with canals and fisheries and boats and ponds scattered apparently at random along the way.

This morning, for the first time, I remembered to take the camera, to sit on a seat by the correct window, and to actually be awake and alert when we went past.

While the scene is quite crisp, although muted by the wintry mists, it was difficult to capture that in the image. The dirty train window, the mist outside and the speed of the train itself meant that I had to turn up the ISO to 1600 to get a high enough shutter to freeze the motion and avoid camera shake.

I had the camera butted right up against the window, tilted slightly to one side, to avoid reflections and the grain of the dirt splattered up the outside of the glass from showing up. The result was a very low contrast, low saturation image with a lot of noise. If I were stationary, a longer shutter, lower ISO and hence less noise would have been achieved. On the other hand, I would also have been run over by a train. You take what you can get in this game.

On the whole, it pretty well captures the crisp, cold bleakness of the canals and rivers between Leeds and Castleford.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Leeds canal, early in the morning

On a grim, bleak Tuesday morning I found myself, once again, in Leeds. Something that seems to happen on a daily basis. That's because I work there. Well, somebody has to!

Behind my office there is a canal, and every so often when I have a few spare minutes in a morning I like to walk that way rather than taking the short route through the rushing crowds of commuters. And on the way this morning, I took some photographs.

The wonderful thing about grim weather is that conditions are really, really stable. All of these pictures except the last one were taken with the exact same settings; f/4, 1/125th seconds, ISO 800. For the last one I knocked the shutter speed up to 1/200th, although it didn't make much difference.

The old, the new, the wet ... older canal-side buildings on the left, the railway crossing in the middle,
and in the background the new office buildings of Wellington Place, one of which is mine.
A handy barge for carrying scaffold. Behind it the locks are being renovated.
The railway crosses the canal. The labelled tracks above filter the trains onto the many
 and various platforms of Leeds train station. 
Under the bridge the puddles and dim lighting are eerie. Water is reflected on the top of the tunnel.
Under the bridge ferns and other plant life grows on the stone walls.
Electric lighting gives the whole place a rather peculiar glow.
Looking down the canal the railway curves off towards Wakefield.
Beyond the old stone walls, some greenery starts to make an appearance.
The river is rather swollen from the large quantities of rainfall of late.
The new blocks of flats beyond Wellington Place curve off into the distance. Peculiar looking
 buildings making a rather oppressive looking channel between the looking architecture.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Metal and Morris

Sunday at West Street Live saw a most peculiar gathering. Folk and alternative metal from Northern Oak, Andraste and Setsudan combined with morris dancing from Boggart's Breakfast! You can see my full write-up, such as it is, at The Mix Eclectic or look at the full set here.

It was a tricky gig to photograph, overall. The actual bands were very easy; I cheated all over the place and use shutter priority. 1/100th seconds, auto aperture, auto ISO. Most of these photos were shot between ISO 1600 and 3200 on my Fuji X10, so thank Fuji for noise reduction algorithms. They clearly work! Fortunately the house lights were also on, although dim, and it really helped with focussing.

Taking pictures of the Boggarts was a difficult task, though. Out of 40 pictures, about 30 were out of focus or badly exposed. Taking pictures of fast moving black objects in a darkened room is never going to be easy, and I ended up pushing it to ISO 6400 just to try and get a reasonable shutter speed. Ended up settling for 1/60th, which is why many have lots of motion blur. Ideally you need to get close for this sort of thing, but when there is a real possibility of being smacked around the head with a large stick, it's probably best not.

The only way I could think to get clear pictures was to take pictures of the boggarts that weren't leaping around at any given point, but that would be no fun, would it? Better to capture the motion of the moment than have pictures of people standing still, I think.

Boggart's Breakfast

Setsudan


 
 


Andraste


 

Northern Oak


 

To top the evening off, some of the Boggarts were convinced to dance a Waltz!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Nightwish @ O2 Apollo, Manchester

Hot on the heels of the 3rd of November folk power metal extravaganza, the 4th showed no sign of letting up with the Manchester night of Nightwish's UK tour. After the controversy of former vocalist Anette Olzon's sudden departure and the drafting in of symphonic metal stalwart Floor Jansen to take over vocal duties, it was destined to be an interesting night.

Given Floor's previous experience in After Forever and ReVamp, there was no doubt she could carry the tunes, and sure enough the performance was everything I hoped it to be. After the previous night's frantic leaping about with Sabaton it was a major step down in the liveliness ranks, and Emma commented that she would have preferred some of the more up-tempo numbers. But that's not to take anything away from the night, and is mostly a reflection of how exhausted we were by that point! They played most of my favourite tracks, and even had a rather lovely acoustic version of Nemo in the middle.

Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


Nightwish


See the full set.

Chapeltown In The Mist

It was a particularly foggy, frozen morning and I found myself with some time to kill before the train arrived, so here are a few snaps of Chapeltown in the early morning mist.

DSCF7085


DSCF7087


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DSCF7094

Friday, 16 November 2012

Eluveitie & Sabaton @ HMV Ritz, Manchester

November 3rd 2012 saw us venturing to pastures new, a venue we didn't even know existed. The HMV Ritz in Manchester which, we were reliably informed, has a sprung dancefloor, was to house an evening of folk metal and historically accurate power metal courtesy of Eluveitie and Sabaton.

First up were Eluveitie, with their many instruments.

Eluveitie


Eluveitie


Eluveitie


Eluveitie


Then straight on to Sabaton, with their stompy awesomeness.

Sabaton


Sabaton


Sabaton


Sabaton


Sabaton


Sabaton


Sabaton


Sabaton


Sabaton


Sabaton


The sprung dancefloor was a reality. In stomping, jumping and bouncing about to Sabaton we were repeatedly catapulted up and off the ground. The atmosphere was the best I've experienced at a gig for ages. A definite highlight of the year.

See the full set for more.