Simple Photoshop tutorial (works in Pixlr too!)

I’ve used Photoshop for a long time now (along with other image-editing software and various plugins/effects software), so I though that I would share just two simple tips for using it to great effect on your images.

People seem to have quite extreme reactions to Photoshop on occasions, ranging from hating it or seeing it as pointless, to thinking that it is too big and scary for their own use. To me, the first viewpoint is like discounting an enlarger from the days of film: Part of the fun is the ability to manipulate your images to be much more like what you had in your mind’s eye when you pressed the button; it’s a part of the process of making my thoughts real, if you will. As for scary, yes; it does have a lot of options and menus, but maybe just start with these and see how you go. There is always more to learn with Photoshop, and I would love to find someone to take my own knowledge further.

The only downside of this tutorial is that once you know what a small tweak or two will do for your images, then you will probably – as I do – insist on doing more photo-editing. And why wouldn’t you, to get the best from your shot. After all, you’ve spent the money on the camera-gear, and taken the time to go out and find something interesting to point it at, so look on this as just another part of getting that elusive, ‘perfect’ shot.

I’ll just add that if you dabble without having any clear idea what final result you are trying to achieve, then it is going to be much harder to produce something decent: It’s again part of the same process for me: Thinking about what I am after as I press the shutter-button, and again on the computer.

If you think that only Photoshop can achieve this, and you don’t have access to it either through lack of funds or being on a work computer where you have limited software, then fear not: You can use Pixlr, which works in your web-browser and so is not only free, but has nothing to install (unless you are using a browser which is completely out-of-date, perhaps!). See my previous posting about it for more info. It works in a similar way to Photoshop, even down to the keyboard shortcuts I will be using today.

I’ve also included the three images from the tutorial for you to play with, in case you can’t find any suitable candidates in your own images: Simply click on them for the larger version and save to your own computer with the right-click Save image as option or drag it to your desktop.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the first of the two controls for today, the Levels control (Image > adjustments > levels or <CTRL>L in PS; Adjustment > levels or <CTRL>L in Pixlr).

Taken through a plane window, there is a 'flat' look to this image

Taken through a plane window, there is a ‘flat’ look to this image

I took the above photo through an aircraft window, flying over the Canadian tundra, north of Yellowknife. It has a rather flat, dull look, and you can probably think of similar images you’ve taken yourself. I’ve opened up the Levels dialogue-box, and you can see that there is a lot of flat-line on the left of the histogram. You may find this on the right also with some images. So … grab the left slider and bring it in towards where the histogram starts to rise. See the change?

Levels can bring back some colour and contrast to 'faded' images

Levels can bring back some colour and contrast to ‘faded’ images

… I’ve also moved the centre-slider slightly; this acts like a brightness control, so try it to see the results. If you have flat-line on the right too, then bring that slider in. The image will ‘pop’ as you do so. You don’t have to bring it all the way in, of course: As a rule of thumb, if I’m not sure about a new image-manipulation, then I alter whatever the setting is a lot, and then back it off around 50%, to ensure I’m not ‘over-cooking’ the results (that, and work on a copy, of course!).

Of course, you may want more subtle results, and keep some delicate light and colours in the image, which is why I’ve been very subtle with this image:

I want to keep the delicate colours in this shot

I want to keep the delicate colours in this shot

Taken from the ‘back’ of Toronto Islands, with smoke from a distant forest-fire softening the image, I wanted to keep this light feel; not make it bright and vibrant. It’s personal preference, of course. That’s why I made the point of having your final results in mind. But for playing about, go to the extremes maybe, just so you know what it looks like (and – to my mind – how nasty an over-cooked image can look!).

In addition, even if you don’t have a flat-line at the ends of your histogram, try a shot where you would like to maybe alter the brightness a little (which also affects how the colours look): Here, simply use the centre-slider as a brightness control, and try moving it up or down. Down will reduce the brightness and saturate the colours more: Good as modern cameras are at getting the exposure right, there are plenty of times when this small adjustment will bring about a welcome improvement to your image.


That is my favourite, quick tweak. But if you want to maybe pep up the image a little more, or take one which you’ve not used Levels on, and boost it a little, then try Curves (Image > adjustments > curves or <CTRL>M in PS; Adjustment >curves or <CTRL>M in Pixlr).

Now, you can click anywhere on the diagonal line and drag to move it: This can be another good alternative to changing the contrast, as it leaves the start- and end-points untouched. Try it and see. But for me, I tend to use the centre-slider in Levels for this more. So, what we will do here is give it a very shallow S-curve to see the difference:

Curves can provide some finer-tuning of the image, at least if done with subtlety!

Curves can provide some finer-tuning of the image, at least if done with subtlety!

It’s not a bad image to start with, but sometimes, you may want to deepen things a little, so click about a quarter of the way along the line and drag it down. Got it? Now, click around three-quarters of the way up the line and drag upwards. Seeing the difference? Too much? Then click on the points and move them around, and see how they both affect the result.

With a gentle tweak, the saturation is increased

With a gentle tweak, the saturation is increased

Again, try varying degrees of subtlety/craziness and see how this makes the image look. Oh, you like it that bright and saturated? OK, well, no accounting for taste, eh?!

That’s all I will cover today: I never touch the image brightness/contrast controls any more: This is how I prefer to alter the image. And you will see that it also changes how the colours look. I made extensive use of the Curves control on my last urbex outing: Check it out here to see more; I reallylike the way it brought out the rich, deep colours on a dull day largely undercover.

So, have a play, see how you go, and then add it to your choices for altering any photos you take. It’s only my personal view of image-editing, but that’s the only one I have!


Here are the sample images for you to play with. Remember to save to your computer first, or with Pixlr, give it the image URL without doing this. Clever, eh?:

Click on the image to view the larger version, then save it if you want to play around!

Click on the image to view the larger version, then save it if you want to play around!

Click on the image to view the larger version, then save it if you want to play around!

Click on the image to view the larger version, then save it if you want to play around!

Click on the image to view the larger version, then save it if you want to play around!

Click on the image to view the larger version, then save it if you want to play around!

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Posted in musings, techniques | 1 Comment

A new, lightweight image-browser

I’ve just installed a new, lightweight image-browser for Windows (not image-editor, just to avoid any confusion). Now, I know that there are a lot of them out there, and I don’t have the time to play around with them all for comparison, but this one grabbed my interest: nexus image – no connection to the Google Nexus. Or anything else you can think of with the word ‘nexus’ in it, come to that.

It is lightweight, portable (no registry alterations, so you could put it on a USB stick along with images, if you are visiting a client), and nicely simple. Plus it can be set up to open any image-editing software you have, which can then by accessed using keyboard shortcuts: If you are doing this for a few hours, the saving in time and effort of mouse-movement makes this approach much more user-friendly for me, as I’ve been using Windows Photo Viewer for … well, for ever, it seems!

NexusImage photo-viewer

NexusImage photo-viewer

I can also customise both the desktop dimming-level and also the colour of this; I find the default settings are fine, and much easier on the eye than the white background of the Windows viewer. Again, nice for prolonged use, I suspect.

Within the viewer itself, you can pretty much only rotate or flip the image (as with the Windows version), but I don’t need cropping or other tools here; I’ll go to Photoshop for that, and take the trade-off in speed. OK, it can be a little slow at building the thumbnails down the right of the screen, even on my fast PC tower, but I can live with this (or turn off this feature, if I can’t live with it!). Also, a nice EXIF window, if needed.

I’ll need a little more time with it, but first impressions are very favourable, so why not download a copy of it here. Oh, and did I mention that it’s free? Well, it is! But if you like it, why not make a donation, as I will do once I’m sure about it. Happy viewing!

[Edit] I’ve removed the links for this post, as it is no longer available to download.

Posted in techniques | 1 Comment

Rainy-day urbex

After the last expedition to photograph abandoned buildings in Sheffield, I was given a lead on one in an area I thought I knew very well. However, this site – despite it’s large size – is tucked away on a slope between a river and a railway, and is not visible from the road, so I was amazed to see it for myself, even after checking it out on Google Earth.

Space to play in this old building

Space to play in this old building

Given the heavy rain, this was definitely a fun place to play and the rain provided some interesting reflections as well.

Roof detail on puddle

Roof detail on puddle

As usual, a site like this is full of contrasts and interesting details, and kept me busy for a few hours, looking for interesting aspects, whilst trying not simply to take ‘record’ shots of the graffiti-art.

Amazing how the metal structure ages

Amazing how the metal structure ages

Nature is, of course, making itself felt again but what I really love is the ways different materials age, particularly the metals in the construction

Riveting detail!

Riveting detail!

Eventually, it was time to sprint across the waste-ground to the car and go in search of coffee, but I think that a winter day with low sun could provide some stark, fascinating light within the structure, so watch this space!

Nature always finds a way to flourish

Nature always finds a way to flourish

See the full gallery here: http://www.pbase.com/pawsforthought/rainy_day_urbex

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Into Blue

Just a short post today: I was going to go and try some new bits and pieces out for my camera, but that will have to be for another day: Got distracted by the bluebells, which have been amazing in the UK this year, and particularly so at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where I do some volunteer work.

Bluebells!

Bluebells!

So, I ended up spending an hour or two in one large patch of bluebells, which I had seen when there the previous week, and had been waiting for some decent weather to get back to and capture at their best.

More bluebells!

More bluebells!

After a frustrating week with lots of rain and overcast days, I got my chance today. It was great fun to concentrate on a single subject like that, with different lighting from the dappled shade.

Still more bluebells!

Still more bluebells!

I did the entire shoot with my Canon 100-400 IS lens, as it seemed a good way of picking out details from the background, rather than going wide to try and capture the huge expanse of flowers.

And yet more bluebells!

And yet more bluebells!

So, spent time, waited for different light from the clouds, and ended up with around 250 shots. Thankfully this has been edited down to around 60!

Lots more bluebells yet!

Lots more bluebells yet!

Bit of a contrast with my urbex stuff (and there is more of that coming in a week or two, with luck, as I’ve been tipped off about a new site).

Almost the last of the bluebells!

Almost the last of the bluebells!

But for now, the photos are Into Blue … hope you like them.

OK, no more bluebells for now!

OK, no more bluebells for now!

Posted in photos

Degraded spaces in Sheffield

You don’t have to venture too far from the centre of Sheffield to still be able to find buildings which have – so far – escaped the redevelopment and gentrification of the centre. You can understand why:  Most consider them an eyesore and something to be brought back into (money-making) use, but I love them in this dilapidated state.

Early morning light catching some of the graffiti

Early morning light catching some of the graffiti

I had explored one part of this little cluster of buildings briefly before, at the end of another day exploring Sheffield generally, but a friend and fellow photog had also ‘discovered’ them independently, so we teamed up, partly for safety on such an abandoned site, and partly for the company of a few hours with cameras.

Going, going, but not quite gone yet

Going, going, but not quite gone yet

Sunrise in the city is different to being in the wider countryside: There may be patches of sky visible, but I’ve learned that the real reward can often come from facing the other way and watching buildings catching the first-rays of sun. Windows are particularly effective. However, here … well, not a window in site, but I did find some brickwork catching the light in a lovely way.

Early sunlight hits a wall

Early sunlight hits a wall

Also my first chance the try the fisheye lens in an urban environment: Whilst this would possibly be a disaster for architectural work, especially given that it is pretty much the opposite of the oft-favoured shift-tilt lens, when degradation has removed neat architectural right-angles, then this is the time to play still further with them!

The industrial past is still with us

The industrial past is still with us

This occasion was a little different to previous visit to such sites, in that as I was working away, I head a voice coming from somewhere. I looked around, but could see no-one, so carried on taking photos. Heard it again, and a head appeared from behind an old wooden door, right where I had just been taking photos: A guy was inside and curious to know what I was doing there. A fair question, and the following chat revealed that this small, maybe three metres by three metres room, was the current home to two brothers. Yes, it’s one thing knowing that there are possibly people around such a site, and quite another to chat and find out that the place you are just visiting voluntarily, and will shortly be leaving for warmth, coffee and breakfast before heading home, is a place where two fellow humans are currently stranded on the fringes of society, and trying to make the best of their situation. I’m not going to get into a political rant or ponder the increasing disparity between rich and poor here, but it does tend to bring the point home, and make you wonder what can be done.

Is this irony at work?

Is this irony at work?

… but as a wise friend points out, maybe the caring and spending time chatting to them simply as people is what they appreciate, not me trying to ‘fix’ their lives. Good point.

There also seem to be some very talented non-mainstream artists around Sheffield, although the guy who has painted the massive telescope across one of the buildings also has an ‘official’ installation above the entrance to the Millennium Gallery, only a few minutes walk away. According to my new friend, there are people from many countries who have worked there. Interesting thought.

A lot of hours have gone into the art on these buildings

A lot of hours have gone into the art on these buildings

So, sit back and enjoy the photos, and maybe pause for a moment to appreciate what you have right now …

http://upload.pbase.com/pawsforthought/degraded_spaces

Posted in musings, photos

Stolen gear … a chance to get it back!

Just a short post, but if you own any camera gear that you value, then you should probably take a quick read. Thanks to this article on Petapixel, one of my favourite photo-feeds, I was rather cheered by the story of a photographer who had a stolen lens returned to him, thanks in no small part to the honesty of the unwitting new purchaser, but also thanks to a website, Lenstag, where you can not only catalogue your gear, but also submit photos of the serial numbers for verification.

Time to take some photos of the serial nos. on my gear for verification

Time to take some photos of the serial nos. on my gear for verification

This seems an eminently useful site, so I’ve been scrabbling around finding all my serial numbers and photographing them, in order to have my gear verified and somewhat more protected: This verification can take a few days, but is critical to making the site work. What is more, if I sell any gear, I can provide a link to the new purchaser, which transfers the ownership. Also, there is an app (we like apps here!) from the Google Play store here (presumably for iOS too!). And once your gear is registered, you get a (customisable) link to show it all off! So, here is mine (or will be, once it is verified)

So, head over to Lenstag now and help to protect your gear!

Posted in equipment, legal

Wentworth Castle deer-park, a black-and-white Boxing Day

The light on Boxing Day was too good to let go to waste, so I headed out to my local deer-park, with the intention of getting some good tree photos. It’s my local patch, and a place I more often pass through on longer walks, rather than spend a lot of time in, so it was nice to take a few hours to roam about with all my camera gear.

Love the stark light, given a little help with some Photoshop magic!

Love the stark light, given a little help with some Photoshop magic!

Once the crowds thinned, the deer were more relaxed, and being alone and quiet, I soon had the entire herd around me, providing plenty of opportunities to photograph them in this historic setting

This historic parkland once more has deer roaming within it

This historic parkland once more has deer roaming within it

Today also provided me with time to spend with the Google Nik plugins for Photoshop, as they provide wonderful flexibility in manipulating images, not just in black and white, although that was the object of my work today.

Low sun all through the day gives great light during these shorter days

Low sun all through the day gives great light during these shorter days

So, have a look and how my Boxing Day went, after a little post-processing! …

Wentworth Castle deer-park, a black-and-white Boxing Day

Posted in photos

New solargraph pinhole-cameras to try; better late than never

So, this year, I decided to try something new for my seasonal solargraphy with pinhole cameras: Some new containers, which require extra work but will give me large-format negs. First job was to snag some bigger b&w photographic printing paper on ebay. Not an easy job these days, as it goes for a small fortune.

b&w printing paper is the 'film'; scary prices on ebay these days

b&w printing paper is the ‘film’; scary prices on ebay these days

However, I bid successfully on a mixed-lot of part-boxes which included some 8″x10″ and 9″x16″ sheets. Perfect. So, now I had the film, I needed to get acrylic primer and matt black spray for my chosen tins. Back to ebay once again.

matt-black finish to tins, preventing internal reflections

matt-black finish to tins, preventing internal reflections

Having applied both coats fairly carefully, inside and out (inside to cut reflections from the metal surfaces; outside to hide fairly awful patterns and make them more ‘stealthy’!), I then decided that I should add a lacquer coat to help them withstand the elements. A further delay, but hopefully worth it. At this point, I also found an old metal baking flour tin, perfect as it is like a scaled-up film-tub. This had all three coats applied in the space of a couple of hours. Not great but will do the job.

larger holes which smaller foil plate will be mounted in, the latter having the pinhole

larger holes which smaller foil plate will be mounted in, the latter having the pinhole

Drilling and smoothing large holes allows me to mount smaller plates, made of thick foil, into which I have carefully made and sanded a pinhole. This is stuck on with parcel-tape, which is proven to withstand six months of exposure to the elements.

An old wooden pallet from a helpful neighbour completed the set-up, so I had some wood to make mounts from, for the varying sizes of camera I now had.

old pallet dismantled to take new pinhole cameras

old pallet dismantled to take new pinhole cameras

In addition to my usual straight bits of wood, I added some larger ones for the tins, and also some with a sheltered top for my peppercorn tubs, which let water in. Given that I quite like the result this gives, I may not use it on them all.

a collection of new pinhole cameras: cake-tins, peppercorn pots; mint tins; film-tubs, all mounted and ready to deploy

a collection of new pinhole cameras: cake-tins, peppercorn pots; mint tins; film-tubs, all mounted and ready to deploy

Finally, after all this work, I had a motley assembly of pinhole cameras loaded with b&w paper, secured to bits of wood using plastic twine (other string can rot after prolonged exposure to the elements). It takes rather a lot, but I already had two large reels of it, again from ebay. The small bits of black insulation tape are the lens caps / shutter, and also handily let me know if any of my tub collection actually is loaded with film, at a glance. I make sure to remove these, once secured in position.

With these delays, I’ve only managed to get some of the cameras deployed today, a day after the winter solstice. Still, given the cloud here yesterday, I would not have had any sun-trails from it, so I guess one day late is forgiveable!

cameras deployed on three trees in garden, facing west

cameras deployed on three trees in garden, facing west

These have been confined to the garden so far, and I may bring the large tin in after a few weeks, as I have no idea what to expect from it. This will also increase the foreground detail I get on the image. Having the handy, flat mint-tins, I’ve taped one to the inside of an upstairs window, just to see what happens.

large-format cake-tin pinhole camera, looking like a home-made speed-camera!

large-format cake-tin pinhole camera, looking like a home-made speed-camera!

I love the fact that you never know what you will get with these devices. And that it takes weeks or months to produce a finished solargraph, depending on the result you are after.  A pleasant antidote to the instant phone-to-Facebook/Instagram in seconds process.

Check back with me in future posts (you may want to follow my blog!) and I’ll keep you up to date with any developments (ouch!).

Posted in equipment, techniques | 1 Comment

Living with Instagram and a some photo-apps I like

So, I’ve been living with Instagram for three months now, and decided to share a few random thoughts about it. I use Samsung phones, and they seem to have rather good cameras: I was very happy with my Galaxy S2, but this went a bit strange (didn’t like a 64 Gb memory card any more, which is no use to me as I keep all my music on there). So, a cash-purchase of an S3 was necessary, after a bit of reading around. Much nicer, although I would have been happier if the S2 had lasted until the end of the two-year contract next May.

Metal Honeycomb

Metal Honeycomb

Both have great cameras, as I said, and I enjoy taking snaps when out and about so, having finally overcome my initial reservations concerning Instagram, I created an account. I had been a little concerned about having to type lots of hash-tags each time I posted, but a friend recommended Instag, which takes the hassle out of that particular aspect of it, leaving me to concentrate on the images themselves.

Time to Write!

Time to Write!

My second reservation (also solved by my very helpful friend) was that I would have to apply the Instagram filters to everything, but there is an option to post unfiltered pics. That’s great, as I had promised myself that I would not overdo the effects, and also means that I can use various other apps  to edit the images. I have a full screen of photo-related apps on my phone, so I’ll list my current favourites, in case it inspires anyone else to have a look at them:

  • Photo Editor – took me a while to find an app which includes histogram/levels/curves function (whatever you may know it as) plus some other very usable effects. Not exactly full-on Photoshop but one of the better free apps out there, and free from some of the more pointless (IMO) effects which seem to plague some apps;

    Beach Leaf!

    Beach Leaf!

  • Camera HDR Studio – I had been using HDR Camera, but seem to be favouring this one currently: It takes two photos for true in-camera HDR, which is obviously easier to keep the phone still for when hand-holding, as opposed to the three which HDR Camera takes. Currently have it set to shoot in b&w and then play with the HDR effects before sending it to Instagram, where I may use the inbuilt effects to add a colour tint;

    Beach Wood

    Beach Wood

  • Photos – I can’t find a Google Play link to this, it just appeared one day  on my phone as part of the Google+ package, but also has some nice filters built-in;

    Back-lit Hazel

    Back-lit Hazel

  • Little Photo – If I need yet more photo-editing, this is also interesting to play with, once again offering effects which I consider useful rather than stupid (hey, each to their own, and if you want to add moustaches and hats to photos of friends, all power to you; enjoy!).
Beach Shadows

Beach Shadows

  • Instagram – this is also pretty useful, if you want to post the photos! By opening Instag first, you can then copy the tags from here to the clipboard, and the app then offers to open Instagram for you. Nice, easy workflow!
    Espalier Tree

    Espalier Tree

    Armed with this little lot (and a fully-charged phone!), I’m good to play around, whether I am in the city, or on a walk in the countryside; home or abroad; travelling light or carting all my real camera gear. Yes, folks, I enjoy this way of working: To me, once I have seem an image or pattern to point the camera at, this is the exact opposite way of working to using Photoshop. There, I will think about what I want to do with my image, sitting at the computer and using a decent monitor; with Instagram, I will work reactively, trying various filters or effects, alone or in combination, often standing in a field or in a crowd of people, and posting it without the same degree of agonising over minor tweaks. Which can be fairly difficult anyway, if you are constrained by time, battery, or simply standing in bright light staring at the screen.

    Back-lit Hazel

    Back-lit Hazel

Is it art? Not for me to say, but I do like the results I’m getting, and trying to avoid the more clichéd aspects of the genre (ooh, did I describe Instagram as a ‘genre’? It must be art then!). The instant way of working is a pleasant contrast, and I am also surprised by the size of the images produced, having assumed they would be rather low-res. Click on one, then click again to see full-size. Neat, huh? I also subscribe to the Satiregram feed, just to help me stay clear of the more obvious clichés (and to have a laugh with also)!

There is also a more social aspect to this: I posted a shot in Instagram from Cracow, Poland, and got a query about where it was taken, just a few minutes later. Looking at the feed of that person, I realised that they were also in the city at that same time as I was. Our paths may even have crossed that day!

Old Chain

Old Chain

For this, as with a lot of my work, I do it for my own enjoyment. If other people like it too, that’s great, but I don’t go seeking out followers. If you do want to check me out, my Instagram username is red_lenses, or click here to see my feed. Yes, ok, I may have used their own filters a little more than I intended to at first, but it’s still fairly tame compared to some of the over-the-top, push-the-HDR-until-it-hurts photos I see there. But I’m having fun with it, whilst being creative too, and that I enjoy.

Posted in photos, techniques

Tatry ups-and-downs & Cracow reflections photo-set

This visit to the Polish Tatry was originally scheduled for earlier in the year, but a recent bout of flu had made this a bad idea. However, having already paid, all I needed was a flight there and a couple of nights in the luxurious and great-value Pollera Hotel, Cracow.

I’m losing track of the number of visits to Poland I’ve now made, and even a rainy arrival in Cracow couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm. And later in the evening, as dark fell, the rain stopped and people came out. I had been itching to get some photos done, and the puddles and wet surfaces gave me some good chances to play with reflections – something I always enjoy doing. So, as everyone else looked up at the architecture of the Old Town, I was busy staring at the ground, moving around to get the angles I wanted, and working fast before someone walked through my chosen puddle-mirror! Oh, and a new, manual-focus-manual-aperture fisheye lens to play around with too, just to add to the fun.

Then, an easy bus-ride to Zakopane, a much bigger place than I expected. However, I was staying well out of town, with some peace and quiet to hand, along with my guides for the week, who made me feel so at home in their lovely house: One evening, feeling rather tired from a full day of walking, and after a couple of glasses of wine, I was treated to an impromptu set of songs from Maciej, beautifully played and sung. You don’t get that in one of the soulless hotels. Or a guide with the experience and knowledge of Bożena, who was patient as I gained my mountain-muscle over the first few days, and found some amazing, varied landscape in the mountains, both on-and-off the main trails. Part granite and part limestone, these mountains have the rough-and-pointy appearance of ‘proper’ mountains to me! I’m used to the weather changing rapidly (I’m from Britain, after all), but the way it can do this in a very few seconds constantly surprised me. Sometimes in a lovely, ‘ah, the view’ way; sometimes, more of an ‘oh no, gonna get soaked (again)’ feeling. But always great chances for photos, and wearing the right gear … well, it helps, but there are times when you will get soaked, but worth every moment. Just occasionally, it looks on the photos a little like a wet weekend in Wales … until the clouds move aside. And then … well, there is no doubt that you are somewhere much more special!

Don't lose yourself in the mountains too much!

Don’t lose yourself in the mountains too much!

One day of constant, hard rain provided the opportunity for a visit to some caverns in Slovakia, and a village of traditional houses, both new and old. Photos consisted of hopping in and out of the car frequently, after spotting interesting windows to photograph! If Marta, my guide for the day, thought I was crazy, she didn’t seem to mind too much.

My final day, and snow up on the mountains, with sun shining. Any thoughts of a short-stroll evaporated, once we started walking, and I realised that my muscles were no longer aching, and ready for a last climb up to the 2,000 metre tops. Plus snow on mountains, perfect for me. And not that cold, at least to me. A late arrival in Cracow after that, but I could have stayed in the mountains another week, easily. Or much, much longer …

Again, thanks to my guides for the week, Bożena, Marta and Maciej, for taking me to some amazing places, both on-and-off the usual trails, keeping it interesting and varied in all weathers, and never, ever complaining when I was walking very slowly on the first days there.

And Cracow, of course, where it seems to rain a lot, but even this can provide some interesting opportunities for reflection…

So, please click the link to share my visit to this amazing part of my favourite country, with all the ups-and-downs …

Tatry and Cracow visit, 2013

Posted in photos | 1 Comment