Maple Leaf

September, I just got to know you and now you are gone. 

For those that poo-pooed my "it's autumn" post at the start of September, for sure it's autumn now, look at that leaf, you don't get that colour from an Indian summer. Or maybe you do, I don't know, I'm not a botanist, but the 7 degrees this morning tells me that winter is on it's way!

October looks busy for me, lots of training courses on (Python, QGIS, PGAdmin) and new projects; building an interactive map using Leaflet (a javascript library) for this website. I am going to update it with locations of where I have taken photographs. I am thinking that it would probably be easier to use a database of locations than program every location into the code, which would also allow me to have a date, meta data and a link to the photograph. Eugh, suddenly my brain is bursting with the thought of how much work that would be. Perhaps I'll use it for new photographs from the time I get the map running and use the GeoJSON that it supports out of the box. Maps...so much fun.

I spent Saturday night at the Forth Bridges (yes, again) took some photographs and had coffee at the Hawes Inn. The coffee was required because it was cold because it's Autumn. I got three shots that I like that I have included below. I like the photograph that shows the three bridges that I managed to capture using a wide angle lens. I like the way that there is still some light on the left side of the photo that eventually fades to black at the right side of the photo, there are also a few stars that can be seen (faintly). This is also the first time I have visited South Queensferry since the Queensferry Crossing has been opened.



The creative process

I have a process that I like to go through before I go out to take photographs. I like to clean and make sure my lenses have no marks on them and do the same for any filter that I am taking with me. I make sure I have a charged battery for the camera and that the memory card has been wiped clean and that I have a couple of spare ones in my bag. I know also check that I have at least one tripod with me since an ill fated trip to Loch Lomond. There are a couple of other things in my bag, but as long as I have the essentials above I am good to go.

I like to think about where it is I am going and what I would like to capture, already visualising it in my mind, thinking about best positions to take shots and looking at other people shots if it is a place that has been photographed a lot, primarily to see if I can get to a different angle or area to shoot from, to make the photograph my own. Uniqueness is hard to attain, often impossible.

So that's my creative process. It works about 1% of the time. In fact, I often wonder about why I still do it, for almost every time that I go out to take photographs it is the shot I didn't plan on taking that usually turns out to be the one I am happiest with. The throwaway shot that I often take without thinking about that I will work harder with in post processing. Apparently my brain and thinking is getting in the way of my creative process. It happened twice today, once in Stirling when all I had with me was my iPhone ("the best camera you have is the one you have with you") and once this evening when I was out at the Helix Park to photograph the Kelpies.

Of course, I am not sure that I would get these 'throwaway shots' if I hadn't been thinking and going through my thought process beforehand. Here are the two shots I got today. The photo of Autumn is taken in portrait mode in the iPhone. The long exposure shot of the Canal Lock was taken on my DSLR just after sunset.

Canal Lock

Autumn Calling

I like the Canal Lock for several reasons. As some may know I am a fan of the long exposure shots, and I think that this worked particularly well in this shot, the cloud movement towards the shots and the mist created from the water pouring over the top of the lock gives it a surreal look while retaining the crispness of the wood, concrete and debris around the that the lock gate. Usually pylons (to the right of the shot) annoy me, but I like the contrast of a modern eyesore with a historical mode of transport.  Of course if you go down to the Kelpies the pylons are an eyesore and getting a shot without pylons or pylon lines is very difficult.

Autumn calling was taken on the back walk down from Stirling Castle into the city centre. I just happened to look back at where I had come from and took around twenty different shots of this staircase and took a long time choosing which one I liked best. I was a bit surprised by the reaction both on Instagram and Facebook, a lot of comments (which I totally appreciate). I like this shot due to the appearance of green as well as the golden brown leaves of Autumn. It's apparent that Autumn is coming but not totally here yet. The shot was taken on portrait mode on the iPhone and it was focussed on the golden leaf in the centre of the shot, which created some blur in the background. I thought it was appropriate photograph as the autumnal equinox had just passed.