f4 Photographic Group – Staying at Home

All we are being asked to do is stay home, stay safe, eat, drink, sleep and look after ourselves. It doesn’t sound that hard does it but we’re all getting cabin fever to some degree. At f4 Photographic, we’ve started to hold on line meetings via Zoom and of course we’ve had to change our programme to reflect the remote access via laptops. We had a “Photographs I took this week” competition which was quite interesting and we incorporated a macro inspired “Can you guess what it is yet?” element as well. We’re managing to hold our internal club PDI competitions but likely we’ll hold all our print comps later in the year to catch up.

Anyway, here’s a few “Photographs I took this week”.

Stay Safe.


Christmas in The Lake District

It’s a while since I posted anything – I’ve had one of these viruses that seem to last forever and the inspiration just hasn’t been there. Christmas presents the opportunity to relax and enjoy the time of year with family and friends so Bowness on a sunny Christmas Day was lovely.

We met our “Christmas Friends” Martin and Maxine at Bowness for a good catch up and to enjoy our hotel on Lake Windermere. As the weather on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day wasn’t very accommodating we didn’t walk very far and didn’t go on the Boxing Day lake cruise, more of a meander around the area really. Grasmere was very quiet – in fact, one lad I spoke to on his way to the car park declared that “Grasmere was shut” and they were going.

Good company and a much needed break – here’s some of the few images I took :-

Salo – Lake Garda

Gardone, where we’ve been to a number of times, is a pretty little place and we’ve enjoyed going there. Salo, just a couple of kilometers away, is a bit busier and has a lovely long promenade to stroll along – we decided to give it a go. The weather was hovering around and just above 30 degrees C for the time we were there – it was extremely sticky – and, unlike a lot of hotels, we couldn’t get the airconditioning down to “stun” setting. Lovely room though with a large lake view balcony. Thanks to a great set of people working there too.

It was an opportunity for us to visit The Dolomites – we’d not been up there before. We took a coach from our hotel at 7a.m and went up to Cavalese for a coffee and strudel stop, then Moena for a photo stop and finally up to Passo Pordoi at 2200m where we took the cable car up to 2950m, complete with snow – beautiful, but cold. However, as usual, there were holidaymakers up there just in teeshirts and some folk were sunbathing….

After lunch we came back down and stopped for coffee at Ortisei Sankt Ulrich, then finally arrived back at the hotel gone 7p.m. A lovely day out.

Here’s a few pictures :-


f4 Photographic Group – Holland

We continue our travels from Keukenhof via an unnecessary ferry crossing, to Zaanse Schans, arriving a good 30 minutes after everyone else. SatNav also had a hand in our being late in arriving at the hotel for the evening in Apeldoorn, but that was down to user error. I apparently put in the co-ordinates for Apenheul Primate Park rather than the hotel. Before that, we had also taken a long detour because of very slow traffic on the road to Apeldoorn and satnav calculated that we would take a minor road which would circumnavigate the problem and get us there with a minimum of delay. It doesn’t work quite like that when you get onto the minor road  and find it’s closed halfway down and Satnav didn’t know. The end result was that we ended up going back onto the original road because there wasn’t another way out and sat in the traffic just 30 minutes behind again.

The next morning at Apenheul we had a brilliant time and went into Apeldoorn for a lovely meal afterwards, followed by beer!

The final day was spent at Kinderdijk in the morning and early afternoon to see the restored windmills. I’d been there before but the weather was kinder this time and we had a great walk around. We finished up in Brielle where I bought chocolates for Sue from a lovely little chocolate shop I’ve been to a few times before – then we sat in the sun having a beer before we returned to the ship. This was a great trip!

Holland – Keukenhof Gardens

Early last month I went to Holland on a short trip with some of my f4 photogs. We started off from Hull, travelling overnight to Rotterdam on the ferry. The first planned stop was the Keukenhof Gardens at Lisse. We’d just missed the enormous display of flowers in the fields, but the show in the gardens was still just amazing. Here are a few images from there before we moved on to our second port of call Zaanse Schans, where we stopped to photograph the windmills and small visitor centre. Some of us took a ferry to get from Keukenhof to Zaanse Schans. I confidently said to Alan, my passenger, “don’t worry, I’ve been here before, there are no ferries, SatNav has made a mistake”. Of course SatNav knew best but you live and learn. Some images from there too. Our  next day was a full day spent in Apenheul primate Park, a visit suggested by Tracey, a fellow f4 photog. Photos to follow on the next blog.

Picos de Europa

Last year I was looking on the web for somewhere different to photograph. I also wanted a variety of subject matter. A friend in my photography club had been to northern Spain and I decided to give it a look. The terrain on a map looks quite mountainous and there are good walks, lush vegetation and some wildlife. I trawled the net for a short photographic break and came across Imber Court Photo Training, run by Ashley Gardner. I asked for details and got a speedy response and enrolled on a break with him.

In total there were 5 plus Ashley in a large comfortable VW plus all the gear. We were based at the Hotel del Oso in Cosgaya – what a super choice of base camp that was. The place was just brilliant and I had a large room with a view of the mountains from my window. All meals were just fab, especially breakfast – the largest buffet I’ve ever seen.

The days were planned between landscapes and birds and on the final day, a trip up a cable car to snow covered peaks on top of Fuente De (1823mtrs) – it was cold up there. The cable car took just under 4 minutes to get up there and we managed to get in the first car of the day, despite the efforts of a German tour leader, keen to get his people in first. Cheerful banter like “Oi – stop queuejumping” and “don’t mention the war” were taken in good spirit and all 20 of us got to the top to be amazed by the sight.

I can recommend this trip – Ashley was extremely thorough in his approach, also knowledgeable and helpful so take a look – he doesn’t do many trips as far as I can see, but they’re worth it. Here’s some images – thanks to my fellow travellers Alan, Colin, Mark and Valerie for making the trip enjoyable as well.

Croatia – Places & other stuff

Further to my last post, here are some of the places we went to see. The Krka Falls are just spectacular and although there were plenty of people there, it was too early in the season for the swimmers so there was no roped off foreground where they were allowed to swim. The church and monastery on Vis by night was beautiful and looked so tranquil. Sue found the monument in Vodice to the Victims of Communist Yugoslavia particularly poignant. I liked the Monument to the Sun in Zadar – it is solar powered and lights up at night with constantly changing colours. Also, although we couldn’t see it, we heard the Sea Organ at Zadar – Google it for a good set of images and explanation.

The route into Milna on Brac Island was very picturesque and there was a lovely church interior to see, but next door was a really squalid looking building with no roof and varying amounts of detritus inside and outside.

As I said in my last post, this ship was small and there wasn’t really anywhere to be on your own but we met some nice people – the crew were very helpful and so was our tour leader, especially when I fell on the last but one evening. There was a leak coming through a light fitting and the wooden floor in the bedroom was saturated and I got up in the middle of the night and slipped flat on my back. Luckily no bones broken but I was sore for a week.

Finally, our cabin is the one indicated – the doors open directly on to the walkway around the ship so you need to keep the blind closed!

Clumber Park

I booked a day out with Fuji-X ambassador, Chris Upton. I’ve had my X-T3 for a while now and am enjoying it but thought a few tips and tricks from someone who knows the camera inside out would help. I spent some time with Chris working through menus and shortcuts and learnt a few goodies and then we went into Clumber Park to take a few images.

When we returned, we processed a few images, had lunch and went our separate ways – the day vanished somewhere just like that. Thanks for a great day Chris.

Bordeaux River Cruise

We saw this cruise a long while ago and Sue said it would be a great break for her birthday so we booked. The first time we’d been with Viking and the first time down to Bordeaux.

The cabins on River cruise ships are mostly smaller than on ocean going ships but they didn’t waste any space when they designed them – a place for everything. We had a couple of days in one cabin then were upgraded because our old cabin was in need of some work. We ended up with a lovely cabin with balcony.

We had been looking forward to Bordeaux – an f4 Photographic friend, Dave Robson, had shown me pictures of the Place de la Bourse with water reflections (Google it) but, because of the current actions of the Gilets Jaunes, they had drained all the water out so it was pretty unspectacular. However, to make up for it, we were berthed near a skateboard park and I managed to get a couple of decent action shots there, plus, there were a lot of attractive young ladies dressed in tutus in protest at the Gilets Jaunes so they were worth pressing my shutter for!

The Rivers Garonne and Dordogne were much much wider than I had expected, with quite strong tides and a lot of wildlife. I saw a great number of what I believe were Red Kites, up and down the river but they were a long way away and I didn’t have a long enough lens for them. Most of the small towns we visited were also quite unspectacular but pleasant enough to walk around. Our visit to a vineyard, Chateau Rayne Vigneau, was interesting – there were wall to wall vineyards in every area you could see – very pretty.

The best evening without a doubt was in Chateau Kirwan where we went for dinner, served by the ship’s crew – who were excellent – Viking looked after us very well.