You don’t need a fancy camera – photo quiz!

Hopefully this is proof that you don’t need a fancy camera to take great photos – I get fed up hearing of this!! Especially all of you that have I-phones!

As promised, I’m going to expand on the photographs of my last post and share with you some of my favourite images of the evening walking around Forvie NNR. I did take photos with both my phone and my camera. I still am impressed by the quality of the HDR mode of my Samsung S5 neo. See if you can guess which ones are which. Answers at the bottom….


Old derelict green railway cart
Evening sunset over the dunes

One of these following two is my £300 phone, the other, my £900 camera. Do I feel a little cheated?!

Looking south over Forvie towards Aberdeen – 1


1 or 2….1 or 2…?! Which one do you prefer?

The old buried church

This was my favourite photo of the walk – but what did I take it on?

Looking south over Forvie towards Aberdeen – 3
Sunset over the dunes
An old fence at the beach
Evening through the marram grass


Please leave your thoughts in the comments and share with your friends to prove a point 😉




Reveal the answers:

Continue reading


Days 5,6 and 7: 50 miles in!

Sands of Forvie

Walking and/or running 50 miles in 7 days isn’t too bad! I must say that my legs are feeling it a little though.

Days 5 and 6 of my John O’ Groats to Lands End Challenge went pretty well. A few miles walking round at work and a 6 mile run from the nearest local town home each day helped bring in a few miles. Cue sunset number one…

Ythan estuary sunset
Ythan estuary sunset

Day 7 took me on a beautiful evening through Forvie NNR this time with camera in hand. I’m just going to show a few photos here to give you an idea. I’ll write a longer post with more images at a later date, but this will whet your appetite hopefully! The advantages of getting outside are now becoming evident to me….

Looking south towards Aberdeen
Looking south towards Aberdeen
Sunset over the sand dunes
Sunset over the sand dunes

These photos on this page were actually all taken with my phone. I never cease to be amazed by the quality of photographs that phones can churn out nowadays. Despite the fact that I had my big camera on me, most photos I took were in HDR mode on my phone.

It’ll be interesting to compare them to those taken in RAW on my camera, especially the ones looking down the coast.

Hopefully you had some nice walks outside too over the last few days!



Loch Lomond in Black and White

Black and white photo of Loch Lomond

It was a pretty grey uninspiring day when I took these black and white photographs of Loch Lomond on Saturday. They aren’t great but just thought I’d share them with you 🙂

Black and white photograph of the old jetty at Balmaha Loch Lomond
The old jetty at Balmaha Loch Lomond
Black and white photo of Loch Lomond with path
Tree looking out over Loch Lomond
Black and white photo of Loch Lomond
Misty views out over Loch Lomond on a grey day.
Black and white photo of Loch Lomond
Views out over Loch Lomond on a grey day.

I guess this kind of weather is to be expected in this part of the world – but don’t let it put you off walking The West Highland Way as even on a grey and rainy day its still beautiful!


Black and White Photo Study

The intimate nature of a Gunnera leaf

Here are a few black and white photos I took last weekend. What do you think?

A mallard duck paddling into the distance
A mallard duck paddling into the distance
Close-up of a chunky post
Close-up of a chunky post
Gunnera leaves
Gunnera leaves
Eryngium alpinum flowerhead and bracts
Eryngium alpinum flowerhead and bracts
Backlit head of an Umbellifer
Backlit head of an Umbellifer
Gunnera leaf with rain droplets
Gunnera leaf with rain droplets

Black and white photos can be so soothing. Not all photographs will work as black and white but I think these do. They are particularly good when there is texture involved and that texture has many shades of grey.

Do you take black and white photos?


7 More Ways to Change How You Take Photos: Part 3

Astrantia peering over a log

With Part 1 and Part 2 out the way, this is my final post on how to change the way you think about taking photos. Hopefully through the three posts you will be inspired to go and take photos. I’d love to see what you have taken – feel free to leave links to your photos below in the comments section.

Nineteen: Use your fellow photographers as models

Although photographers don’t always make the best models, feel free to grab someone you go out photographing with and get them to pose for you.

Using models for photography

Twenty: Look for complementary shapes

I don’t think this is a great photo but I love how this Allium head reflects the clipped ball Buxus in the background.

Allium, Buxus and Araucaria

Twenty-One: Be empowered by archways

Archways are so photogenic.

Archways can add a frame to a photo

Twenty-Two: Look for repeating patterns

Repeating patterns can look great in a photo often in black and white.

The pattern of these leaves is repeating but adds a nice balance to the photo
The pattern of these leaves is repeating but adds a nice balance to the photo

Twenty-Three: Shoot flowers

If it’s a grey day, then it’s perfect for photographing flowers. Don’t worry if you can’t get close, photograph them in their surroundings.

Honeysuckle - Lonicera
Honeysuckle – Lonicera

Twenty-Four: Give an idea of environment or context

Find something interesting in the foreground and allow the background to fade out into the distance.

Astrantia on the river edge

Twenty-Five: Take a ‘frothy’ image

I’m in love with this style of image at the moment. The style where nothing in particular is in focus, but the frame is filled with lots of a similar thing. Great for background images with a blurring filter.

Frothy Cow Parsley

That’s it for just now. I’m sure I will share some more images and ideas in the future. This is where we visited. Why not go down to your local park with a few interested friends or colleagues and have a go?

Annette X



What’s Looking Hot in Gardens in July (UK)?

Digitalis purpurea - the common foxglove

Gorgeous things in full flower at the moment (mid July) in Scotland, UK (or is it….)?


Digitalis ferruginia
Thalictrum flavum - Yellow Meadow Rue
Thalictrum flavum – Yellow Meadow Rue
Himalayan lily – Cardiocrinum giganteum
Dactylorhiza sp.
Lupins of varying shades
Aconitum napellus - Monkshood
Aconitum napellus – Monkshood
Iris sibirica - Siberian Flag Iris
Iris sibirica – Siberian Flag Iris
Lavendula - Lavender
Lavendula – Lavender
Eryngium alpinum - Sea Holly
Eryngium alpinum – Sea Holly
Lychnis coronaria - Rose Campion
Lychnis coronaria – Rose Campion in white and pink
Linaria purpurea (pink version) - absolutely loved by bees
Linaria purpurea (pink version) – absolutely loved by bees


Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens'
Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’ – Purple-leaved sage

There are of course many more things but these will at least inspire you.

Annette x








Seaton Park, Aberdeen – As Beautiful as Ever

Grass heads in front of a rose

Despite there being lots of works on at the moment to improve the park, which at first glance may seem messy and destructive, Seaton Park, in my opinion, is looking as beautiful as ever. All thanks, of course to the hard work and patience of the gardeners, the local council and The Friends of Seaton Park. I hope these photos do it some justice.

Seaton Park by the River Don
Umbels beside the river
View up the River Don from Seaton Park towards Donside Village
Slate river effect
Flowering Cornus (Dogwood)
White-edged Hosta is reflected in these airy white flowers (Crambe?)
Lady’s Mantle and this Nepeta work well together
Lady’s Mantle glowing
Grass flowerheads
The formal walkway in Seaton Park
People enjoying Seaton Park
Views towards St Machar Cathedral from Seaton park
The hanging basket display at Seaton Park
Vibrant red Begonia
Clipped box line the path to the fountain
Memorial for the fountain
Festuca and this old rope work well together
The many colours of Carex
Rope fence detail
Driftwood and grass planting towards Hillhead
Catching the light
Glowing umbellifer
Glowing fern


9 More Ways to Change how you Photograph: Part 2

Iris with Azalea in the background

On saturday I mentioned my first 9 tips on how to change the way you take photographs. Here are my next 9 ideas.

Ten: Rule of Thirds

If you drew lines in your photo to divide it into thirds, the places where these lines intersect are natural aesthetic positions for an object to be. Aim to place the object of interest where these grid lines intersect. You can often add gridlines to your camera viewfinder or screen.

Rule of thirds
This tip of this hook falls roughly in the intersection of the furthest right and lower ‘imaginary’ gridlines

Eleven: Break the Rule of Thirds

Place your object right in the centre of your photo and see if it works.

Breaking the rule of thirds
Breaking the rule of thirds – place your focal point right in the centre of the screen. This photo follows ‘fifths’ more!

Twelve: Go Square

The square format is great. It’s the format of choice for Instagram and is great for really focusing in on a subject. You’ll see many of my photos here have been cropped to the square format.

Square photograph format works well for detail shots like this derelict shipping container

Thirteen: Look for Something Which Stands Out in a Scene

Find something that doesn’t fit into a photograph and enhance it.

This yellow sign on the side of this vehicle hut doesn't really blend in with the scene
This yellow sign on the side of this vehicle hut doesn’t really blend in with the scene


Fourteen: Try Simplistic and Minimal Subject Matter

Completely blur out your background using a large aperture to keep your photo focused on one thing.

The only thing here that is in focus is this cow parsley head. It would make a great card.

Fifteen: Quirky Signs

Capture a candid of something which is out of place that might be seen as fun in years to come.

Find run things in a scene that are out of place.
Find fun things in a scene that are out of place.

Sixteen: Try Abstract

Look for unusual detail. Think of something that would fit more into a modern art museum that a photograph you would show your mum.

Abstract photo of bamboo against a neutral grey background

Seventeen: Look for Interesting Shapes and Positioning

Think about how objects are connected in a scene. Are things in order or is one thing out of place?

These floral heads all look identical and fill up most of the frame of this photograph
These floral heads all look identical and fill up most of the frame of this photograph. They are all equidistant and connected by the starburst style petioles.

Eighteen: Look for complementing colour and texture

Find harmonious colours and textures and try to photograph why they look good together.

I loved how the texture, shapes and colours complemented each other in this photo.
I loved how the texture, shapes and colours complemented each other in this photo.

That’s the last one for today. Check back Wednesday for the last installment!



9 Ways to Help Change How You Photograph: Part 1

White-edged leaf hosta in black and white

As I mentioned previously some friends and I recently went on an evening after work taking photos. I thought I would share with you some of my top tips when it comes to taking photographs and how I consider different aspects of a scene. This will be Part 1 of 3, so I hope that you will also join me for the next parts on Monday and Wednesday.

The idea is, if you’re just getting into photography to suggest some things to think about to change how you take photos and for those more seasoned experts, maybe some inspiration. In my opinion none of these images are going to win any competitions but they were all taken within a couple of hours and they demonstrate perfectly how photographers can see things differently.

One: Frame the photo with something

Leaves, a window, a building, a fence – it provides focus.

Seaton Park - The formal garden with view framed by leaves
Seaton Park – The formal garden with view framed by leaves.

Two: Zoom in – try and find things in the distance.

Zooming in changes the perspective and makes things seem closer together than they are.

The formal walkway showing plants - zoomed in view
The formal walkway showing plants – zoomed in view.

Three: Get down low

Look at what’s happening under your feet. A low perspective emphasizes size and scale differences.

Daisies and buttercups low view
Daisies and buttercups low view.

Four: Aim up high

Point your camera upwards or get a higher vantage point. It can give the impression of things towering above you.

Dappled sunlight in the canopy of a beach tree
Dappled sunlight in the canopy of a beach tree – looking upwards.

Five: Be quick to act to changes in light

Lighting is around 90% of a photo in my opinion so be quick to act when the light changes. Have locations in mind that you would like to return to when the light is better. Generally evenings and mornings are best but it depends what you want to photograph – cloudy days are better for flowers.

Cocksfoot grass
This Cocksfoot grass would have been boring had the evening sun not come out and back lit the stems.

Six: Look for unusual colour combinations

Sometimes the light or a different view can change the colours of things completely. Find a colour combo you like and try different angles to highlight them each in different ways.

Bronze-leaved sycamore
This dark-leaved sycamore at first looks bronze but the light shining through leaves made them look glorious yellow.

Seven: Go black and white

Black and white looks best where there is good contrast across the image. Red and green will look the same shade of grey hence why colour blind people can’t tell the difference.

Black and white version of the bronze-leaved sycamore.

Eight: Use lead-in lines

Lead-in lines do just that – they lead your eyes into the frame of the photograph and leave to wondering what lies beyond them.

Lead-in lines formed by the edges of the path. Also considers point ‘Three.’

Nine: Try an easy ‘fake’ infra-red filter effect 

If you are lucky enough to have photo-editing software, try converting your photo to black and white and lightening only the green tones in your image. What you get is a really easy way to make a ‘fake’ infra red effect which is where all the plant foliage goes white.

Easy fake infra red effect using photoshop
Easy fake infra red effect using photoshop

Want more ideas? Check back tomorrow!

Annette X

Photo Club Walkabout

We have a group of us at work who are all keen on photography. We went on a walkabout last night around the local park. I haven’t had a chance to go through all the photos properly yet but here are a few.

Bronze-leaved Sycamore: I loved how the light caught these leaves
Old rusty shipping container with paint peeling off: I do like dereliction photography
Bamboo planted to try and hide this shipping container
Having fun doing a quick modelling shoot!
Archways can be so photogenic! Although this looks natural, it was completely posed.

Visit: Glen Tanar NNR

Vaccinium myrtillus and Calluna vulgaris undergrowth (Heather and Blaeberries)

I think that everyone has a list of favourite places to go or be. Glen Tanar NNR, near Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, is one of those places which is in my Top 10. I can easily spend a good few hours wandering up and down paths or a good day venturing further up the valley.

It’s a fantastic place to photograph especially in the evening when the mist starts rising through the trees. It was a glorious sunny day on Thursday – one of the best this year – when I had a wonder around. The harsh contrast between highlights and shadows makes it difficult to take pictures in such sunny conditions but I certainly enjoyed the walk and have a few images to share with you.

It’s a few pounds for the car park and there is a small visitor centre with toilets. There are well signposted walks of a mile or too or if you fancy there are also longer walks. For example if you fancy a munro, there is always Mount Keen, although be prepared for a 7 mile walk before you even start ascending it.

Church (1)
Chapel of St Lesmo
Church (3)
Glen Tanar green – all the houses are painted in this colour of green.
Church (4)
The bell on St Lesmo’s chapel
Undergrowth (1)
Sun dappled undergrowth
Tree stumps (6)
Views of Glen Tanar
Tree stumps (5)
Pignut and wood
Cows (1)
Cows grazing in the field.
Cows (2)
Close up of a young bullock.
Path (1)
Path alongside a field – this route follows the river upstream.
Loch (1)
Loch with boat house and private fishing – return in autumn for some amazing colour here.
Loch (2)
Ethereal loch at any time of the day.
Reeds (2)
Reeds with dragonfly zooming by.
Rhododendron growing next to the loch.
Foxglove (2)
Foxglove – Digitalis purpurea
Purple Thistle and Bee
Thistle – Cirsium
Dragonfly lake
Smaller loch with loads of dragonflies and damselflies
Path (2)
Path dappled with sunlight
Sign post
Plenty of signposts are around
Broom (2)
Broom is everywhere and flowers in June
Tree stumps (1)
An unsusual natural tree sculpture
Path (3)
The view down Glen Tanar
Tree stumps (2)
Sunlight through the Scots Pine
Tree stumps (3)
Blaeberry and Scots Pine, Pinus sylvestris
Undergrowth (2)
Galium saxatile
Undergrowth (3)
Galium saxatile closeup image
A glider from the Deeside Gliding Club

I’ll share some autumn pictures with you at some point. Do you have some favourite places you like to visit as much as you can?


A beautiful evening in Fort William

Thought I would continue with the Scottish walk photographs after Loch Lomond last night. These were taken a year or two ago at the start of the long distance Great Glen Way walk which takes you from Fort William, all the way up Loch Ness and up to Inverness. They also show the Caledonian Canal which also can take you along the same route but via water! You can see Ben Nevis in the background of some of the photos.

Along the Caledonian canal
Caledonian canal
Black and white daisies
Summer in Fort William
Setting sun in Fort William
Reflections over the Calendonian canal
Sky over Ben Nevis
Canal Reflections

Loch Lomond in Black and White

Just thought I would share three black and white photos I took of Loch Lomond, in previous years, tonight. They are taken just north of Balmaha a little along the West Highland Way long distance path. It is a beautiful route achievable over 4-5 days. You can even get people to transport your bags around for you so you can fully enjoy the walk. It takes in some of the best views in Scotland including those of the Loch Lomond National Park seen here. I would highly recommend it as a ‘thing to do.’ Hope you enjoy.

Looking out over Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond view near Balmaha
Loch Lomondside

Annette X

Playing with fire..

Well, playing with smoke to be precise. I made these really fun images a while ago after seeing the technique in a photography magazine. What annoys me is I can’t really remember how I did them. I used a candle, though you can use incense as this can produce better smoke. You need a black background and a lighting source, a tripod and of course your camera. And that’s about all I remember.

I remember tweaking around with them in Photoshop a bit improving contrast and saturation to get the vivid, dynamic colours. Also I mirrored them all to get more interesting sames and patterns.

An animal with long fangs or moustache perhaps? Slightly elephant like.
A bent spine?
Any ideas?
A pelvis
Smoke 1
Two snakes about to take each other on, or two walking sticks….
Smoke 2
Who knows?

This is definitely a fun thing to do on a dark, rainy day. You don’t even need electricity! I’d love to see your images. I’d like to try these again on my new camera as I have some noise in these and each shape will always be unique – see how you get on!

Annette X

Winter sunlight and naked trees

I decided to trawl through my photographic archives for tonight’s post. I’ve collected together some, hopefully, inspiring images to get you to consider looking up at the trees against the low winter sun. It’s a perfect time to pick out shapes and intricate detail in the texture of branches.


My camera skills have improved somewhat since taking most of these photos so these are nowhere near my best or favourite ones but I’m showing them as a different perspective. I think I may do a study of these when I next go out with my camera – tree silhouettes could make for a fascinating subject especially if combined together on a mosaic mood board….

Let me know if I have inspired you to go out and take some tree pictures!

Annette x