Photo365 – 12 Mar 2011

A Night Off Season

A Night Off Season

I have to confess that todays image is my take of an image that I have seen somewhere, but I can’t for the life of me remember where.

This is a shot of the ice cream kiosk on the esplanade at West Bay at night.  I had wanted to include another light in the foreground, but this was giving quite a bit of lens flare, and quite frankly, I was too lazy to spend time cloning out the flare in the Gimp.

This was a 2.5 second exposure, and the awful colour cast produced by the streetlights was corrected using a manually selected white balance taken from the white wood fascia around the roof of the kiosk.

The drive down to West Bay and back to Bridport took far longer than setting up and taking the image.

Photo365 – 11 Mar 2011

A Few Millimetres

A Few Millimetres

Todays shot was taken in a panic when I realised that I hadn’t taken an image late in the evening.

Its a shot of the millimeter scale on a steel ruler that I have taken at about 4x magnification using my MP-E65 lens and Speedlite MT-24EX.

Each division on the right of the image measures 1mm, so the whole section of ruler in theimage measures only 7mm from corner to corner.

Photo365 – 10 Mar 2011

Sign from a Bygone Era

Sign from a Bygone Era

Today I had an interview in Sturminster Newton in North Dorset, and as I was more than a little early, I took some time to wander around the village.

Whilst walking along the street, I noticed a familiar emblem proudly displayed on the side of the White Hart Inn.  This image shows an original Cyclists Touring Club (CTC) winged wheel, that is probably over a century old.

The CTC winged wheels date from an era when believe it or not, the bicycle was the fastest form of transport on the road.

The winged wheels were essentially a hotel and inn grading system that preceeded the AA and its ‘star’ ratings that we are all familiar with today.

Being a keen cyclist, and member of the CTC for the last 15 years or so, I immediately recognised the CTC badge, but did not know why it should be so proudly displayed on the wall of an old inn, until I did some research and discovered the Winged Wheels website, from which most of this information was obtained.

The ancestor of most modern bicycles was the ‘Safety Bicycle‘, which was designed in 1876 and was so-called because unlike Penny Farthings or Ordinaries as they were known, the riders feet were within easy reach of the ground,making it easier to ride.

The ‘safety bicycle’ caused an increase in the popularity of cycling among the richer and more leisured professional classes, and made it more accessible to people who had previously been unwilling or unable to ride the earlier High Ordinaries (Penny Farthings).

This class had higher expectations, and demanded a system of hotel and inn grading, which was the CTC Winged Wheels.

By 1881, there were apparently some 785 establishments that were under contract with the CTC, and these offered fixed tariffs, reserved rooms and exclusive lounges for cyclists to use.

The 2 ft diameter Winged Wheels such as this one started to appear on buildings in 1888 to indicate that these establishments were ‘CTC appointments’.

The “HeadQuarters” sign, such as the one on the White Hart, was most coveted by establishments and indicated that the establishment merited Tariff A, the second type of sign, which was awarded to establishments meriting only a Tariff B was the “Quarters” sign.

Much more information on the historic CTC Winged Wheel signs can be found at

Across the street from the White Hart Inn in Sturminster Newton is an old bakery, which also still displays and old sign, this time a sign announcing “Teas With Hovis, The Rule of the Road.”  These signs date from about 1930 and were apparently once widespread across the countryside.  More information can be found in a pdf document on the Hovis Bakery website.

Photo365 – 9 Mar 2011

The Burning Forest

The Burning Forest

Whilst returning home from Hythe this afternoon, I decided to take a detour across the forest rather than taking the normal shorter route home.

As I approached Beaulieu Road Station from Ferny Crofts, I noticed a cloud of dark smoke on the horizon, and decided to investigat, as I guessed there was a controlled burn taking place.

The gorse and heather just east of Boltons Bench was ablaze, and despite the size of the flames, I was assured that it was under control.

Controlled burning of New Forest Heathland can legally take place any time from October to March, but more usually occurs from late-February until the end of March, towards the end of the legally permitted period.

The reasoning behind this is that by then, the worst of the winter weather is normally over, and as a result the vegetation will likely be quite dry, whilst the round cvonditions are still relatively wet ground offering protection to the underlying peaty soil.  Furthermore, the impact on breeding birds and reptiles, is also minimised.

Burning occurs in relatively small but widely separated blocks, thus creating a diverse habitat and ensuring that there are always untouched ares nearby.

The burning not only removes old woody growth and encourages vigorous new growth, but also benefits a number of species such as the Woodlark, which tends to do well on newly bare ground, and the beautiful sky blue Marsh Gentian, which benefits from reduced competition from more vigourous plant species.


Photo365 – 8 Mar 2011

Ice Dendrites

Ice Dendrites

This morning we had a frost, and our windows were traced with dendritic patterns of ice crystals, so I decided to attempt to photograph these with the MP-E65mm macro lens.

This made me realise just how much work I have to put in to improving my technique with this lens.

So far, I’ve had reasonable handheld results using the MT-24EX flash, but as these crystals were on the outside of our double glazing, I didn’t think that this would be an option today.

This was shot at 3x magnification and f/11 using ambient light only. Shutter speed was 1/40 sec, and a monopod was used to aid stability.  In retrospect, I could have probably used a wider aperture and consequently a faster shutter speed, but I’ve learned from my mistake.

I took almost 100 images this morning, and only managed about 3-4 keepers!!

Much practice is needed, but I’m having so much fun with this lens that I’m determined to improve my technique and don’t need much of an excuse to attach it to the camera body and have a play.

Photo365 – 7 Mar 2011

Perfect Reflections

Perfectly Reflected

The weather was so nice this afternoon, that I decided to go out in search of the Great Grey Shrike at Shatterford, that has so far eluded me this year.

The Shrike was seen, though regrettably not by me.

On the way back to the car, I spotted this broken cotton grass stalk that was reflected in the perfectly still mirror like surface of this water.

Taken using my 70-200mm f/4 L IS lens and 1.4x extender.

Photo365 – 6 Mar 2011

Lesser Celandine

Lesser Celandine Bud

Todays image is a close-up of an unopened bud of a Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) taken using my EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens.

Shot at f/4 to give a shallow DOF and smooth out of focus background.

Photo365 – 5 Mar 2011

The Queen's Nose

The Queen’s Nose

Today, whilst I was out in town, I saw a secondhand copy of the childrens book “The Queen’s Nose” by Dick King Smith, which gave me the idea for today’s image.

This was taken using my MP-E65 lens set at about 2.5x magnification, and lit by a Speedlite MT-24EX.

Photo365 – 4 Mar 2011

Perfectly Framed

Perfectly Framed

Today I’d decided that the theme was going to be “abstract” and spent the morning wandering the streets of Weymouth taking various abstract shots.  I managed to get several that I was happy with over at the Nothe Fort, but when I stopped for Coffee at the Brunches Café, the striking lines formed by the bright blue piped that were framed by the café window grabbed my attention.

Photo365 – 3 Mar 2011

Just A Little Scratch

Just A Little Scratch

Todays image is a variation on one that I took yesterday.  Taken with a MP-E65 (3x mag) and Speedlite MT-24EX.  A Speedlite 550EX was used to light a white reflector behind the subject.