Dave Johnson's Photography

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An afternoon trip to Ness Botanical Gardens

This afternoon me and the family took a trip to Ness Gardens. The website describes much better than I could so why bother trying when I can easily cut and paste the text from their website!

Set on the Wirral Peninsula, Ness offers the enthusiast many horticultural delights including a replica of an imaginative show garden designed by Chris Beardshaw which won prestigious awards at Tatton; extensive, beautiful herbaceous borders always with something to offer the eye; a Victorian style Potager with many fruit trees and vegetables and Alpine House; a waterfall and water gardens; the largest UK collection of sorbus and most of the 49 known species of birch; plus seasonal surprises such as a splendid laburnum arch, and magnificent collections of magnolias, camellias, and rhododendrons.

The gardens were designed by Arthur Bulley, a local cotton merchant in Liverpool, and When he died in 1948 he left the gardens to the University of Liverpool with an endowment of £75,000 to ensure that they remained as a botanic garden which would serve as a reminder to their creator. On the day we visited the entrance to the gardens was free for everyone as part of the heritage celebration, however, normally University of Liverpool staff and their immediate family can gain free entry on any day. Good for us since Lou works at the University!

If you are into plants and wildlife then I would definitely urge you to take a trip to the gardens and then to enjoy afternoon tea in Rose’s tearoom! On this particular visit there were lots of dragonflies buzzing around, some the apparent size of a small bird! The one photographed below was clinging to a rock a few inches above the water of a large pond. I was quite amazed I managed to get a good shot as I the only lens I had with me was a 28mm prime which meant I had to crouch down and get real close to fill the frame. Surprisingly it didn’t seem too bothered by this and stayed around long enough for me to get ‘the shot’!

The version uploaded here is a low(ish) resolution version but go to my flickr site which has the original uploaded. The detail in the fly, in particular its eyes, is amazing. http://www.flickr.com/photos/djjohnson/sets/72157631355412954/









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To photomatix or not to photomatix. That is the question?

The photos below are a mixture of single raw files tweaked to the maximum to get the most out of the data, and a combination of three raw files with an exposure range from -2 to +2 tone mapped using the photomatix HDR plugin for Aperture. I am quite pleased with the photomatix results as the camera was only handheld to capture the images and so any movement would have resulted in a halo kind of effect on the final image. Fortunately the Canon 7D has such a high burst rate on the high speed setting that it enabled me to fire off three shots in less than a second which limited the amount of movement that might have been apparent at a slower frame rate.

As you can see from the images (with the bloomin watermarks all over) the photomatix plugin is running in trial mode. I would like to upgrade to the full version but as I would use it that infrequently I can’t quite justify the $119 price tag. However, now that I know I can good results from shots handheld it might be a purchase to add to the list for the future.

What do you think of the images? The photomatix ones are easy to spot because of the watermark – how do you think the others compare to the supposed “true” HDR images? Comments greatly appreciated!!


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The Picture Perfect Wedding of a Wonderful Couple

The week leading up to the wedding was blotted by torrential downpours and gale force winds. Fortunately, just when all the preparations for the big day were reaching a crescendo, the clouds parted and for the rest of the weekend the sun shone brightly. Following a brief, but intimate ceremony at Dorchester Town Hall, the happy couple (eventually!) and their guests made their way back to Symondsbury Manor in Symondsbury for a most wonderful reception full of cocktails, a bake off, and guest DJ appearances! The bride even managed to get a few mixes in before she hit the dance floor. I think I can safely speak for everyone that attended that this wedding was everything that was expected plus more!

I hope you enjoy looking at the photos and reminiscing about that wonderful day in May 2012.

Once the photos have been ‘approved’ you can view the full set in my flickr album. Additionally, the following links include images of the wedding:

A separate post that features photos from the day.
Carla Kirste – Carol’s dressmaker















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The Wedding!

As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, I recently went to my sister-in-laws wedding and was trusted with the (small) job of doing the photography. Whilst this didn’t overly worry me at the time, or on the day, when I got home I was anxious about the photos, and if I managed to get that ‘perfect’ shot. To cut a long story short I managed to get many great shots – in my humble opinion(!), and as a result Carol’s dressmaker, Carla Kirste, would like to use one of my pictures on her website.

Below are a select few photos which primarily focus on the lovely couple but also highlight Carla’s dressmaking skills! If you are interested in getting a dress made for that special occasion you should check out her website and blog. If you want to see more photos from this stunning wedding then check out my flickr site. At present there aren’t many available but in time more will be uploaded.

Carla Kirste Dressmaking and Alterations
Carla Loves…