Wednesday, 29 February 2012


(Canon EOS 60D, Tamron SP90mm Macro f/22)
One of the chrysanthemums my daughter gave my wife for her birthday.  I decided to experiment with macro photos and the effects of diffraction. Diffraction causes blurring of an image when a small aperture is used. I wanted to see when the effect becomes particularly noticeable. The main photo above looks sharp and clean but close inspection shows blurring of the fine detail. The 3 actual size (uncropped) photos below show diffraction occurring. The image taken at f8 is sharp, f16 less so and f32 obviously blurred. All 3 images were taken with the pre-focussed camera on a tripod and with a remote release to avoid any camera shake. Click the images to see them enlarged.
Centre of photo at f8

Centre of photo at f16

Centre of photo at f32

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Exchanging the Token

Exchanging the Token at Leekbrook
(Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 70mm, 1/160s @ f/7.1)
This weekend the Churnet Valley Railway ran two steam trains through Leekbrook Junction along the recently opened section of line to Cauldon Lowe. This is a single track and railway practise requires some means of ensuring that only one train at a time is within each section. In this photo you can see the fireman leaning out with a line working token to exchange with the staff member at trackside. The engine is a "Black Five" on loan from Mid Hants Railway. The engine was built in 1937. She was withdrawn from service in 1965 and restored to working order and first re-run in 2010. She's looking good for a 75 year old!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Upper Dale

Upper Dale from Monsal Head
(Panasonic Lumix TZ10)
At last! A nice, sunny and relatively mild February day. We went for a walk in Upper Dale and Water-cum-Jolly Dale and back along the Monsal Trail. The River Wye flows down Upper Dale before turning sharp right and under the railway viaduct into the more famous Monsal Dale. This view is from near the Monsal Head Hotel. The disused railway line that forms the Monsal Trail can be seen at the left of the photo.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Rudyard Lake

Rudyard Lake Ice Patterns
(Panasonic Lumix TZ10)
This is Rudyard Lake taken from the Macclesfield road this morning. I have never seen these bizarre ice patterns on a lake surface before. We have had over a week of night frosts and near zero temperatures. I guess this effect must be due to wind ripples during periods of slight thaw. Very strange!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Twig Tracery, Wildboarclough

Tracery of twigs at Wildboarclough
(Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 25mm, 1/160s @ f/9.0)
The bare, back-lit twigs of the trees bordering Clough Brook caught my attention. Wildboarclough is a small village in a large parish in Cheshire. The name has nothing to do with wild boar by the way, it means "valley of the wild stream". The stream has been subject to violent floods in the past, most recently in 1989 when several bridges were swept away or severely damaged.

The picture below shows the effect of a little manipulation in Photoshop (Palette Knife effect). What do you think?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


(Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 60.0mm, 1/500s @ f/9.0)
Shutlingsloe hill near Wildboarclough is 506 meters high. It has a very distinctive profile and is sometimes called "the Matterhorn of Cheshire" (a bit of an exaggeration!) The name comes from the Old English "Scytels Hlaw" meaning Scytel's Hill. Many of the hills in the Peak District are called "lows" from the OE word hlaw.