Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Kelmarsh Game & Country Fair .

Weekend just gone i was at a loose end and was itching to get out and do something that i haven't done before . Then i saw a post from a good friend of mine, Steve Magennis , on Facebook . That he was attending Kelmarsh Hall  selling his wildlife photographic prints and cards . I suggest you take some time to have a look at his work on his website . I have made his name as a link to his site . His work is fantastic . He really is a talented wildlife photographer .

 Steve has recently added working dogs as a new part of his galleries . He said that last year was his first full season taking images of working dogs . You would think that he has been doing these events all his life !!! I was blown away by the prints that he had for sale . Simply stunning !!!

So , i got up nice and early , put my camera into my newly acquired ,Lowepro Stealth 650 ,  shoulder bag . I got this bag for events like this and for doing weddings . This means that i  can get to my cameras and lenses easier than when i use my Lowepro Mini Trekker backpack bag . I packed myself a flask , my wellies and  some fruit !!! I am trying to eat a bit more healthy at the moment !!

It took just over an hour to get there in my trusty old Land Rover . I was one of the first to arrive , so was parked right near the entrance :-) . I changed footwear and headed across the muddy field to the show .

I was in doggy heaven !! There were dogs everywhere i looked . It seemed that everyone had taken their dog with them . There were Spaniels of all types , Labradors , Hungarian Viszlas and a group of people were walking around with several Dobermans :-) .

I headed to the main arena and watched a demo by ,Brian 'Brin' Brinded , about how he uses long nets and his Lurchers and Border Terriers for keeping the Rabbit population down on farms in his local area . I then went for a wander around the whole event , looking at all the suppliers and fussing as many dogs as i could .

There was a fantastic food marquee  that had food from every corner of the world . And i was drawn to one stall selling Salami and other dry cured sausages . They were doing a show special of 7 different meats for £10 !!! That was the healthy eating out of the window , as i had  tasted the samples and they were out of this world . One was covered in whole black pepper corns . And boy did they pack a punch . Then i found some fantastic Cheese . So i came out of the tent a bit lighter in the wallet , but with some smelly Cheese and a bag of wonderful spicy sausages !!

I made my way to where Steve was showing his prints . I hadn't seen Steve for some years . We had a good natter and put the world to rights . I spoke to Steve about one of his courses that he has coming up . He is running a day course photographing Foxes . This i have to go on , so i am booking onto it . You will no doubt see some of the the photos once i have done the course . Once again , look at Steves website for all the details on his courses . I would recommend  his courses as you will come away with some fantastic results . And a wealth of new knowledge .

It was then back to the main arena to watch the Ribblesdale Labradors and their trainer and owner , Ricky Maloney . This guy has an amazing way with his dogs . The way his dogs understand him and do as he wants them to do blew me away .

A sit down , drink and a bit of fruit ( yes i left the cheese and sausage alone !!) and it was on to watch some of the other goings on in the arenas . One of which was the Boyd Exell Carriage Driving Display . This is a carriage pulled by four stunning horses . And they were incredible . The speeds that they got up to in the arena was breath taking . The way Boyd got this carriage and horses to turn and get through gates amazed me . Again , take a look at his site for more info .

There were demos from various other people . Using Collies to gather and move a herd of Geese . An amazing Falconry display . The Northamptonshire Pipe Band played a few tunes for us . Hearing bag pipes always sends a chill down my spine . Maybe it's something to do with my Scottish heritage ??

The highlight for me was watching the Hunt and Hound Parade . Within this were The Westerby Basset Hounds . Which were lovely looking dogs . As well as the normal Fox Hounds . It amazes me how fit these dogs always look . And how they are so up for their work .

The big black clouds were making rain look imminent  . So it was time for a huge Pastie and head for the Land Rover . Just as i climbed in , the heavens opened up . I had just made it :-) While eating my Pastie i was watching someone in their 4 wheel drive VW Touran attempting to get out of the now very soggy field . I shouldn't have laughed , but all 4 wheels were spinning and the car was going nowhere !!! I had cleared the Landy out a few days erlier , so couldn't tow her out of the holes that she had now made . But luckily someone else in a Japanese 4x4 had a tow rope and had her out in no time . It made me wonder if these road cars with 4 wheel drive are really worth having ;-)

Pastie finished , fun over , it was time to head back home and download the my photos from the day . Below are a small selction from what turned out to be an amazing day .

Oh , i didn't tell you about the new air rifles that i looked at !!!! Think it's time to save up , as i fell in love with a few Air Arms Rifles . But i won't tell my wife how much they really cost :-)

 Waiting for her turn on the retrieve course .
 Having a rest from al the fuss and fun .
 Basset Hounds , with a Fox Hound joining the fun as well .
 Wonderful Tawny Owl .
Making walking sticks from Hazel branches . And doing it the old fashioned way . With hand tools !!

Hope you have enjoyed this little write up . There are a good few more Country Fairs coming up this year around the country . I really would recommend attending one . It makes a fantastic day out for all the family .
View more of my images on my website http://www.eternityimages.co.uk/Home.aspx
Thanks Mark

Friday, 20 April 2012

Family Portrait

I had the pleasure of photographing Amy and a very excited Zak recently for their parents.  They travelled from the Essex area for the day.  The aim was to get a photograph that they could convert to a canvas print to display in their lounge.  We decided that if we could get a 'nice weather' day that a location shoot would be the best idea rather than studio photographs.  I decided we should all decamp to Brickhill woods in Milton Keynes as there are numerous suitable places for portraits.

The following are a very small selection of the photos that resulted from a fun couple of hours throwing leaves and mud around !!  I am still finding bits of leaf, ha ha.

After very much deliberation the first image is the one the kids parents have decided upon for the canvas, but because they loved some of the fun ones they have decided to have some more done as framed prints.

For further family portrait examples please visit my website.

Thanks for reading, hope you are all managing to stay dry on this typical April showers day :)

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Past Winning Entries and Awards inc. BBC Countryfile Photographic Competition

Just thought as it is a very rainy day and not suitable for photography, well not unless you own a boat !!, that I would again have a little look at some of my images, and make a start on re-cataloguing them (a job I have put off for ages), in the name of procrastinating I thought I would post a little blog with some of the images that have won awards, featured in magazines like Lake District Life Magazine and other similar publications, and helped me become firstly a semi finalist in 2009 and then a finalist in the BBC Countryfile Photographic Calendar Competition 2010 sold in aid of Children in Need.

The above, 'Sun Down' was taken at Derwent Water, Keswick in the Lake District, and was the February image in the 2010 Calendar.

The above, 'Autumn Colours', taken at Crummock Water near Buttermere in the Lake District, was used as a small image for the October page in the 2009 BBC Countryfile Calendar.

The above, taken at Arnside was featured in the Lake District Life Magazine about the beauty of the estuary, and the impact the possibility of running power cables through Arnside would have on this beautiful vista.

The above image, taken at Buttermere in the Lake District at sunrise has won a Gold Award from the SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers) of which I am a member.

Anyway enough for now, the rain has stopped briefly, so time for me to head out with my walking buddy Mabel for walkies.

For further examples of my work please feel free to visit my website.

Thanks for your interest in my blog, comments are very welcome, and if you like what you see follow me for more of the same :)  Cheers Mark

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

First images from my new Nikon 85 1.8G lens .

I have been umming and arring for a few months now about which 85mm lens i would purchase . At one point i was set on buying the Sigma 85 1.4 .Then it was the Nikon 85 1.4 , then it was the Nikon 85 1.8G!!!! I looked at the Sigma when i attended the photographic show, Focus On Imaging at Birmingham . At that point my mind was made up that i was going for the Sigma . Then i read a few test reports . And a few people had reported that they had had focusing problems with it . One person returned 3 of them for the same reason !!

So , now i was unsure which one to go for , again !!!!

Price was a big part of my purchase . And with the Nikon 1.4 being around £1,200 , almost three times the cost of the Nikon 85 1.8 . I had to really make a decision  !!

Back onto the internet , looking at blogs , test reports and peoples general views of the two Nikon's . I found one really good report , where the two lenses had been tested side by side . Yes , the 1.4 was showing better results at certain aperature than the 1.8 . However the results from the 1.8 were very good indeed !!!

My mind was finally made up and i scoured the internet for a competative price on the Nikon 85 1.8 !! I found a company that i have used several times . Wilkinson Cameras , who were selling it for a good price of £429 !! and free postage .

My main reason for wanting this lens is for wedding photography . And in particular using the lens at its widest aperature . In low light , inside the church or venue where the wedding ceremony is taking place .

I am wanting to use this and other wide aperature lenses that i have  , to offer a documentuary style wedding photography . This is something that i am really passionate about as it offers a more relaxed style of wedding photography . And will show more of a story about the whole day for the happy couple . Rather than posed group shots of the whole day .

As i only recieved this lens yesterday , i haven't yet used it at a wedding . But had to take it out while the weather was reasonable . So, it was out with my faithfull walking buddy , Mabel , for a lovely long walk along the River Ouse , then onto The Grand Union Canal . A walk of around 6 miles and about 2.5 hrs of walking .

I wanted to take photos of various subjects . First one being Mabel . Then it was almost anything that moved or didn't move !!!

I have added a selection of images . All shot at the widest aperature , on aperature priority , using a Nikon D700 with the verticle grip attatched .

 Nice sharp eyes and shallow depth of field .

 This shows how well the shallow depth of field is , Simple image of a fence .

 Image of Wolverton Park and a recent sculpture. Converted to Black & White .
Once again , thanks for taking a look at my blog . Please feel free to add any comments .

View more of my images on my website http://www.eternityimages.co.uk/Home.aspx

Many thanks , Mark .

Monday, 16 April 2012

Some more of my library images .

Just having a look through some of my other library images . Some old stuff that isn't my normal Landscape work .

Anyone who is into the history of the steam train and trains in general , will be interested in some of the images that are of the old Wolverton Works .This is where trains were built and where the Royal train used to be housed . 

The whole area has been regenerated and is now a complex of flats and mews houses . I have some images of the cranes that were first on site at the beginning of the transformation from train building workshops , to luxury residential accommodation .
The evening i went out to take the photos of the cranes , there was an incredible sunset . So i was able to use the cranes as the main subject . And had them as silhouette's .

Some of the other images i am putting up are some of my Abstract Images . These have been taken at various locations around the U.K .

So , this is the before images of the Wolverton Works .
 The new luxury appartments that have been built on the site .
Again the appartments with a recent addition of a metal sculpture .

Hope you have enjoyed this blog and the photos that go with it . Please feel free to add comments and please pop back to view my future blogs .
View more of my work on my website http://www.eternityimages.co.uk/Home.aspx

Many thanks Mark

Thursday, 12 April 2012

My passion for Land Rover's

One of the things that makes me tick , is looking at , tinkering with and anything Land Rover !!
I always hankered for a Land Rover and came very close to buying one when i was about 18 yrs old . One of my elder brothers talked me out of it by saying how rubbish they are !! He said they were not very good to drive , they were noisy , the heaters didn't work , the ventilation during summer was awful , etc etc etc . I listened to the words of wisdom and purchased a Blue Ford Escort instead !!

Jump forward something near 20 yrs . I was chatting to a work friend who has recently purchased a 1984 Series 3 County Station Wagon . It had sat in a farmers barn for many years . But with some fresh fuel and a good battery , she fired up . She was then taken for a M.O.T test , with a few jobs needing doing . Including needing 1/4 of the chassis replacing !!! Yes , sadly , Land Rovers suffer from chassis that rot away if not looked after .

Once Grahams new purchase was up and running . It was time to go with him to a off road event . Local to both of us is a small village called Whaddon . And there is a local farmer who opens up his land every few weeks to allow people in off road vehicles to pay an entry fee and have fun for the day . So it was up early one Sunday morning , with a flask of coffee and some chocolate biscuits . We met up to see what the Landy was capable of .
I was passenger for a few hrs . Jumping out every so often to get photos of Graham putting his Land Rover through its paces .

I could not believe what the vehicle was capable of !!! There seemed to be nothing that could stop it . And Graham had nerves of steel , driving up some very steep hills . And through some very deep water . So deep in fact , that upon opening the door to climb back in , my feet were soaked by thick sticky muddy water pouring out of the footwell !!
 A gentle drive along the field .
That was deeper than Graham thought . Hence the reverse lights !!

That was it !!! I was hooked once again !!! I wanted my own Land Rover !!!
So , it was onto ebay , looking through page after page of wonderful looking Land Rovers . I had a budget to stick to and it seemed all the gooduns were 100's of miles away . Then as usually happens . I was chatting to another friend , telling him that i was looking for a Land Rover of my own . Russ said that a guy at work was selling his one !!
A few days later i went to view it . It turned out to also be a Series 3 . But was a long wheel base . Known as a 109 . This being the length of the chassis , in inches . He was green in colour, ( see how i called it , Him , ?? ) and  was a Irish import .There were a couple of bench seats in the back and almost brand new front seats . There was a huge amount of space in the rear . I could see all sorts of uses for such a big space . A deal was done and a few days later i went to collect Lionel ( now it's gone from him , to being named Lionel !! )

The day i collected him was the first time of driving him . I had not driven him before , due to not being covered by insurance . My wife drove me over there . And would follow me home . A journey of around 20 miles .

Lionel fired up well . i tried to put him in gear . But couldn't find first gear . When i did , i realised that i then needed reverse . Which i also couldn't find !!  The steering was , non , power steering . And was heavier than anything that i had done in the gym in my younger days . The journey home was ......... scary !!!  I remember seeing my wife in her car behind me when we stopped at one set of lights . She stuck her thumb up , as if to say ' Are you ok ?? ' I really wasn't happy driving this thing !!!

I pulled up outside my house , parked up Lionel and there he sat for about a week . I really could not face driving him again . But i did take him for a short drive to take the dog out for her walk . In jumped Izzy . She seemed quite happy in the huge space in the rear . Until i fired him up . Then she jumped over the rear bulkhead and plonked herself onto the nice new front seats . The reason for her fright was the fact that Lionel was powered by a very noisy 2286cc diesel engine . Poor Izzy buried her head behind me as we drove to her usual place for a walk . Yes it was a noisy , scary place for a young Doberman to be !!
So , over the next few weeks both myself and Izzy started to enjoy our little trips out in Lionel . I got used to the gearbox and the steering . Izzy got used to the noise . I added a big soft bed for her in the back and she was at home .
Lionel was used for just over a year . Running back and forth to the river with the dog . Collecting fire wood to keep us warm in winter ( see , that was one of my thoughts about the size of the rear space) and even taking me to work a few times a week .
The only problem was that his top speed was around 50mph . So , he couldn't be used for long journeys . And i wanted to take my Land Rover up to The Lake District . So , i looked at how many shares i had stashed away and worked out i had enough to get myself a newer Landy .
I wanted something with a more gentle engine and was advised that i needed a 200tdi powered vehicle .
So now my search was on for my second Land Rover !!
My green machine , Lionel the 109 Seris 3.

I popped into my local Landy workshop to see if they knew of any 200tdi powered Land Rovers for sale . I was in luck !!!! They had one of their own vehicles that was available . It was a Defender 90 . So a short wheelbase , with the engine i was looking for . But with the added luxury of power steering and good brakes !!!
I took it for a drive and fell in love :-) This was going to be my new Land Rover . It was blue had had lots of extra work done to it . Including a 2" suspension lift , stainless steel exhaust and a radio cassette player !!
The deal was done and i had my second Land Rover . My wife named it 'Donald'  and he was now my daily drive .
I sold Lionel to a local lady  who used him for pretty much the same things that i had used him for . Sadly , he was parked up after about a year and then sold on for scrap :-(

I have now owned Donald for around 5 years and have been all over the country in him . He has done 185,000 miles and has recently had a head gasket repair . But other than that has proved to be very reliable . Only once has he broken down . This was during a trip to The Lake District and turned out to be only a failed injector .

He has also been treated to some new front seats . Only due to the fact that i was lucky enough to win a local radio competition . Giving me £1,500 to spend on him how i pleased !!
I purchased and had fitted some wonderful Exmoor Trim seats and also some Wright Off Road sound proof . Not that he was noisy , but this sound proofing is fantastic in that not only does it cut down the noise . But it also makes the interior look much smarter .

Donald has been used on a few pay and play sites . As was Grahams first Land Rover . He has also been to many Land Rover shows , taken part in the London 2 Brighton run and has had many days out on the wonderful Green Lanes in Cumbria and other places around the UK . Take a look at This to see what Green Laning is all about .

Above are some of the places Donald and i have been . Plus one with Donald and the 50th .

Then , 18 months ago . My friend contacted me to say that he was selling his 50th Anniversary Defender 90 !!! This is a very special Defender indeed . the spec as follows .
For Land Rover's 50th anniversary in 1998 two special editions were built. The first was the Defender 50th which was essentially a NAS (North American Spec) Defender 90 Station Wagon. It was powered by a 190 hp (140 kW) 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine and was the first Land Rover outside North America to be fitted with an automatic transmission. Air conditioning made them very comfortable vehicles too. For the UK and Europe they were painted Atlantis Blue, a dark green/blue flip-flop colour and had a Safety Devices roll-over protection cage for the front seat occupants. In total 1071 50th Anniversary Defenders were built; 385 for the UK home market, the rest for Japan, Europe and Middle East.
Again the deal was done and i was now the owner of 2 Defenders .

The idea being that i would sell Donald and get the 50th fitted with LPG  to make it more affordable to take on long trips . I have never got round to selling Donald as i can't part with him . We have been together for some years and he is part of the family .

I have now owned the 50th for just over 18 months . But due to my redundancy i am having to part with the 50th . As it is just not viable to run two Defenders , one being a V8 !!!

 Donald on a Green Lane in Berkshire

Defender 50th on a visit to Wales . On this visit we drove The Gap Rd .

So , that's a long blog and a bit about one of my other hobbies . I will be blogging about my trips out in Donald . Particularly now i have purchased a Roof Tent . Meaning i can sleep on the vehicle and get up early and fresh for sunrise photography !!

Thanks again for visiting my blog . And again please feel free to leave feedback .
View more of my images on my website http://www.eternityimages.co.uk/Home.aspx


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Apple iPhone4s ography

I recently upgraded my mobile phone , from a iPhone 3gs to the iPhone 4s . One thing i was always annoyed about with the 3gs was the poor quality of the built in camera !!! There was no flash built in to the camera and the image quality and sharpness of the image was always a tad on the poor side !!

Upgrade time came round and i was wondering whether to stick with Apple ? I was lucky enough to have a play with a friends 4s . And i was quite impressed with the in built camera , plus the fact it has a built in flash ( its not really a flash , more a high power LED constant light ) . This made my mind up to upgrade to the Apple  iPhone 4s , as i know my way round the 3gs and the layout of the 4s is just the same . I think there is nothing worse than getting a new mobile phone and struggling to find your way round the menu's !!!

Having now had the phone for a few weeks . And taken a few photos with it , i thought i would share some with you guys .

As you will see , Mad Mabel the Doberman features amongst the pictures :-)

 The above image has been adjusted with an App , called Histogram .Which allows you to give the image various different effects .
 This one was taken while i was laying under Mabel .It shows how well the camera copes with contrast . There is still detail in Mabel , which is great for a camera phone .

This shows how good this iPhone is for general photos while out and about . The only thing that would be good , is a decent zoom capability , that keeps the image nice and sharp .

So , if you are looking to upgrade your phone , i would highly recommend the iPhone 4s .

Thanks for popping in and having a read .And as always , comments are gratefully received .

Regards Mark.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A look back at some of my weddings .....

As we are having some rain , for the first time in what seems like a year . It's given me time to have a wee look back at some of my previous weddings . And post some up for everyone else to take a peek as well .

Last February I had the pleasure of photographing Michele and Elisa 's wedding at the Holiday inn  , Newport Pagnell , Bucks . This is a wonderful venue , with staff that have an amazing eye for detail when it comes to adding that bit extra for the wedding couple .

Michele is Italian and Elisa is Polish . So i had my work cut out with some of the guests , with my lack of  Italian and Polish language. And their small understanding of English . But everyone was fantastic . By getting there early , i managed to find out who spoke english from both sides of the wedding . So , i took advantage of that and coaxed them into working with me , calling up the guests as and when they were needed .

Another wedding that was great to do was ,Jay and Lorraine . They were married at St James church , New Bradwell , Milton Keynes .  Jay and Lorraine had their reception at The Holiday Inn , Central Milton Keynes . Again , the attention to detail at this venue is fabulous .

Their wedding was in November .So the autumn colours were fantastic . Lorraine's dress was made her mother !!! And it was just incredible !!! As you will see in the photos .

The day started off  with some photos of Lorraine's dress , shoes , special lucky knickers !! (she wasn't in them yet ) and some of the special jewellery that she was to be wearing on the day .
Then it was onto a Pub , just round the corner from the Church .Where Jay , the ushers and some of his friends met up for a pint of Ale and a few games of pool to relax.

Then it was over to the church to await the arrival of guests , Bridesmaids and then the Bride , in her wonderful dress .

So , thats a couple of last years weddings . There are more where they came from . But i will keep that for another time :-)

Hope you enjoyed looking through some more of my work . If you have any comments , please feel free to add them . If you have any questions . Please contact me and i will get back to you as soon as i can .

Thanks Mark