England – British Village Snapshots

England, Autumn 2018: Quaint, quiet and historic – descriptions that can be applied to just about any British village or rural settlement. Here in Norfolk, many rural communities find their beginnings way back in the dark ages when life was basic and rudimentary at best, that is unless one was the local farming baron or other form of gentry. Back then, sometime around the 1600’s, farming techniques improved. more of the population had food to eat while the barons had more to sell. Consequently, villages  expanded into cultural centres with its cottages and dwellings often tied to local farms.

Nowadays, Norfolk villages are occupied mostly by the rich – folk from London seeking peace and quiet at weekends. Many rural properties and village dwellings are way off the price range of ordinary folk who are generally forced to move away towards cheaper areas. Here’s  few snapshots of some villages around the rural county of Norfolk, England (Google Map).

x IMG_20181001_150009568

England – Snapshots of Rural Britain

England, Autumn 2018: A series of quick posts depicting rural England. Fields, villages and churches all go to make rural England some of the most enchanting spots on the planet! The images here are all taken in my home county of Norfolk (Google Map) where we have a diverse landscape of forest, low lying marshlands and an extensive coastline.

IMG_9108

Steams away: A steam train speeds through the English countryside harking back to the days when public transport linking towns and villages consisted of an extensive railway network, driven on coal and steam power. This train is maintained and operated by a group of enthusiasts who run the line from the seaside town of Sherringham, North Norfolk. During Summer the line is open for tourists rides and those seeking a nostalgic experience on the North Norfolk Railway.

 

 

 

 

Photography Like A Pro With A Canon Compact

England, Autumn 2018: I’m definitely no pro when it comes to photography that’s for sure but thanks technological advances over recent years just about anyone can take a half decent picture, yes, even me!

While the pro’s will run around dragging bags of heavy and expensive kit behind them, amateurs like me will find that a simple point and shoot compact will do a pretty decent job – even ones mobile phone will take a nice neat wide angle photo with crisp, clear results.

Over recent years I’ve been drawn to brands such as Panasonic, Fuji and more recently Canon. Canon compacts are slightly more expensive but have the edge when it comes to quality. Their feature packed cameras will make any amateur pass as a decent photographer.

The photo’s presented throughout this blog are the product of a Canon compact, the SX710 HS. Light weight, small enough to carry around in ones pocket and with around 300 clicks on a single battery charge, its the ideal companion to record those unique travel  adventures.

Here’s a look at the Canon SX710 HS…

 

 

How to make those amateur photos look professional

While the base image from the Canon compact is pretty good in itself more often than not there’s room for some improvements. A little lighter, more colour and perhaps a bit sharper too, especially if the photo was taken on a dull day, as it often was in Hong Kong! Here’s how I achieve the images you see throughout this blog.

Take the photo…

  1. I’ll keep things simple by using the cameras AUTO function – good for landscapes and still or very slow moving objects. Good for close ups of bugs and flowers to.
  2. For fast moving subjects such as aircraft, birds or snakes I’ll turn the dial to the SPORTS function and just click once the image is focused.

Edit the photo…

  1. To post edit images I use a program called IFRAN VIEW. A powerful and free image editing tool to enhance original photos.
  2. first, zoom in to fill the laptop screen and SAVE AS. Next, AUTO ADJUST COLOURS and finally SHARPEN. Now the resulting image should be something half decent!

ifran

Further editing…

In low light conditions or if I’ve been a little to enthusiastic with the digital zoom, images may show some graininess, also referred to as noise, especially in close-ups. To fix this I use another free editing program called Photoscape which has a function to smooth out grainy photos.

pscape

Here’s a few before and after images to illustrate the above.

 

 

 

So, with a cheap camera and some free software one can attain some professional looking images even if one lacks the technical knowledge and know how! Ideal for web pages and blogs where images can be small in size, where a  high resolution is not a necessity.