Monday, 10 November 2014

65,536 Shades of Grey

The title perhaps indicates something else, but, it is the title of an illustrated talk I'm putting together to give to photographic societies who are interested in black and white photography. In case it's not clear, 65,536 is the number of equal gradations or shades between pure white and total black in a digital workflow working with 16 bit RAW image files. The number is 2 to the power of 16. There's a huge advantage of working with 16 bit files over 8 bit files, typically JPEG files, which have a total of just 256 grades or shades. The talk touches on some of these advantages, but is really more about my approach to and experience of producing black and white images and is illustrated throughout with examples from my portfolio.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Website Update for Namibia

I've now selected and processed a few of the many photo files from our trip to Namibia. I have a few that I'm very happy with - but I made far too many snaps. My selection is linked here.

Namiib-Naukluft Dune
Chevy Dashboard

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Namibia in September / October

Just back from a family holiday in Namibia. Two weeks taking in the edge of the Kalahari Desert, the Namib Desert, the coast around Walvis Bay and Swakopmund and finally the Etosha game reserve.

900 year old Camel Thorn Trees at DeadVlei

Saw and photographed much of the county's wildlife (except for Leopard and Cheetah), but wildlife photography isn't my speciality so I'm concentrating mainly on processing my landscape and other images. Huge numbers of image files to cull before I post a small selection on my website in a few weeks time. This image from DeadVlei is like many such images on the web, but it doesn't diminish the experience of being there and photographing these ancient dessicated trees.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

NASA's Earth Science Picture of the Day - EPOD

A few days ago I had my eighth photograph published by NASA’s Earth Science Division Picture of the Day - known as EPOD. It’s of Bowling Ball Beach on the coast of Northern California. It came as a surprise when I looked back that I’d had eight in total since I submitted and had accepted my first photograph in August 2011. I’ve just been looking back over them and taking stock of why they seem to be accepted quite readily. This quote from their ‘About EPOD’ link really reflects what I try to send them for consideration - “The Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD) highlights the diverse processes and phenomena which shape our planet and our lives.” I don’t go out looking for photographs that might interest them, on the contrary I only look for images that interest me which, fortuitously, sometimes match up with what they want to see. I try to keep my image making simple which perhaps helps to focus on one particular feature of the landscape that contains sufficient (usually) geological interest. Anyway … all 8 of my EPODs can be found by searching for ‘Gledhill’ (so far I’m the only one) in the search box on their EPOD home page. One is from Madeira, one from England, one from Wales, and five from the USA. Their EPOD is announced daily by @EarthPic

Copied from the EPOD footer:
EPOD is a service of NASA's Earth Science Division
and the EOS Project Science Office
(at Goddard Space Flight Center) and the
Universities Space Research Association.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Resumed Photohiking The Thames Path

After a break of almost 9 months, my Thames Path photohike is under way again ... blog linked here.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Lake District Sky

A few days ago The Cloud Appreciation Society published another of my sky photographs taken recently in the Lake District.  It's linked here - and is shown in the post below - Watendlath Sky.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Virtually Grey Website Updated

Following my recent trip to California, Oregon and Washington and an even more recent visit to the English Lake District I've updated my website with images from both. The USA visit is linked here and the Lakes visit is here. And here are a few of the images.

Chaotic Falls into Lake Quinault
Wizard Island in Crater Lake
Pine Candles
Watendlath Sky
Rydal Water Slate Mine

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Just back ...

Just returned from a three week photography road trip between San Francisco and Seattle which included some coast, a Redwood Forest or two, Crater Lake, Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, the Olympic Peninsula and the Columbia River Gorge, +++. Lots of images to process - here's one for now, taken on an overnight hike out onto Shi Shi beach at the NW tip of Washington State. Hopefully there'll be sufficient material for a new web page on my website - linked here.

Low Tide at Dusk - Shi Shi Beach

Monday, 31 March 2014

Eureka Dune - Earth Science Picture of the Day

Delighted to say that NASA's Earth Sciences Division have just posted a photograph I took in October 2012 of Eureka Dune in Death Valley, California, as Picture of the Day (EPOD - @EarthPic) for 31st March 2014. It's here permanently, and here, just for today. And, it's the topmost photograph here in my blog entry on 19th January.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Three images from Cumbria - and a pair of clouds

These three images were taken in the last week or so during a few days in Cumbria. After working on the colour originals I concluded I preferred then in monochrome. They are the three images that I discovered Blogger was "auto enhancing" for me. These are rendered they way I want them.

Woodland Path above Rydal Water
Sour Milk Gill
Path from Blea Tarn

And two clouds taken yesterday from my garden.

The Odd Couple

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Be wary of unintended blog settings

In my previous post I reported my discovery of Google's "Auto Enhance" feature for images uploaded to Blogger and more generally to Google's Picasa. My response to finding out about this has been to explore alternative blogging platforms, Wordpress being the obvious first port of call. As a trial I exported my blog from here in Blogger - easy to do - and after setting up an account with Wordpress at and selecting a free template I imported my blog to Wordpress - also easy to do. And it seems to be a success with all entries and photographs 'faithfully' displayed.

Today I accessed my Twitter account (@virtuallygrey) only to find 48 new tweets from me, one for each of my blog entries. It seems Wordpress has tweeted every one of my entries. My fault for not realising what happens when in Wordpress you link to Twitter. It's ok for each new post to be tweeted, in fact that's exactly what I want, but I failed to understand that every post in my imported blog would also be tweeted. Live and learn. I've now deleted all 48 tweets.

I'm still deliberating whether to migrate my blog permanently to Wordpress. If I do I will make a final post here in Blogger with a link - but also keep this blog open for some while with no further updates.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Images now being "Auto Enhanced" by Google

I've just added three b&w images to a draft blog post here only to find that they are being "lightened" in the upload process. They were lightened to the extent that I won't now post them until I've tracked down the problem - except the one below which illustrates the lightness. My intent is a darker image. I've changed nothing in my processes and settings, all my previous b&w image posts have uploaded without any adjustment. It seems that Google / Blogger are now adjusting my b&w images during the upload process!!!


1 hour later ... now solved - see below the two images ...

Path from Blea Tarn - AS GOOGLE "AUTO ENHANCED" IT
Path from Blea Tarn - AS I WANT IT - "UNENHANCED"
A search through the Google Forums found the answer. Google now 'auto enhance' images when they're uploaded. This seems to be a new 'innovation', brought in since I last uploaded images in recent post. Maybe it suits some - but not me. My wife called it "auto bland". There is a way around it ... BUT, you have to be signed up for Google+ to be able to access the settings where you can turn off the auto enhance. I've so far avoided joining G+ but in order to keep this blog going I've had to sign up for it in order to turn off the setting. G+ is not something I want (it will lie dormant) - I resent having to signup for G+ in order to fix something that, as far as I'm concerned, wasn't broken. Google's auto enhance should be a selectable option within Blogger.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Rain Stops Hike // Cloud Appreciation Society

It's been two months since I was last able to make progress on hiking The Thames Path. The rains have swollen the river so that the path is impassable in many places and impossibly muddy in others. See my blog link (right and linked here).

The Cloud Appreciation Society have today used one of my sunrise photographs (linked here) - taken over Blore in the Peak District on 10th January this year. It's the one below in my 15th January post. It was spectacular, as was another five days earlier.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Roy Harrington's Print-Tool

Roy Harrington has recently released an updated version of his Print-Tool (formerly known as QTR-Print-Tool). It's available from the Print-Tool web page, as is the User Guide which I've written for Roy - linked here. The User Guide is free; Print-Tool costs $39 (USD). If you have any feedback on the User Guide that would make it more clear or more helpful then please email me or Roy.

And ... what is Print-Tool? It's a layout and print application for Mac OS X. Print-Tool features include:

Position and resize multiple images on a page
simple drag and drop images, drag edges and corners

Accepts many formats
  • jpg, tif, psd, png, gif
  • 8-bit or 16-bit; RGB or grayscale

Print to any print driver
  • QuadToneRIP, Epson, Epson ABW, HP

Expanded control of ICC color management
  • Off, Application Controlled, System Controlled
  • Rendering Intents - Perceptual, Relative, Saturation
  • Black Point Compensation
  • Soft Proofing

Requires Mac OS X with Intel Processor
  • Snow Leopard 10.6.8 - Lion 10.7 - Mountain Lion 10.8 - Mavericks 10.9

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Cloud and Sky Landscapes

I've added 10 new images to my website - linked here. Whilst they are mostly landscapes, the sky is the main feature of each image. Here are two:

Dawn Over Eureka Dune - Death Valley
Owens Valley - Sunset Over the Eastern Sierras

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Gower - Peak District - Thames Path

On a hike on the Gower on Monday we came across an old 6 foot log washed up on the beach. It was almost completely covered with Goose Barnacles. They are so named for their resemblance to a goose head and the ancient belief that they are embryonic geese. Wild geese generally breed in higher northern latitudes, beyond sight of most people in the middle ages so they never saw them breed - hence their 'theory'. More specifically Barnacle Geese are named after these barnacles due to their head pattern resembling a goose barnacle.

The first week of this year was spent in the Peak District. Not much photography but I did find a few worthwhile images.

And finally - my project to hike the Thames Path is on hold due to there not being too much path to hike. The recent rains have flooded the river throughout much of its non-tidal length and it will take weeks (at least) before the path becomes hike-able once more. Linked here.