First Photos With The New Lens

In an effort to motivate myself back into photography as lockdown slowly relaxes, I bought myself a Canon EF-S 18-135 lens (USM version with image stabilisation). This will hopefully be my new ‘walk-around’ lens as the range of focal lengths covers most of what I normally shoot.

The following photos were taken on my first outing with it – just a walk around the village.

The Thatched Cottage. (Yes, I know I should clone out the overhead wires!)
Broken Window
Wider View
Land Lines
Edge of the Village
The Water Tower
Tree Silhouette and Water Tower


Covid has pretty much put a stop to my photography this year as I have hardly left the house since March. Fortunately, I’ve been able to work from home and we’ve managed to keep the Hitchin Camera Club meetings going on-line using Google Meet.

Here are a few of the photographs that I have managed to take over the course of 2020:

February – a trip out to Letchworth on a sunny Saturday afternoon, with no knowledge of what was to come a few weeks later.

In the Arcade, Letchworth – I always like the strong lines and graphic shapes here.
Looking up – a triptych of images from a structure in the Kennedy Gardens, Letchworth.
April and a month into Lockdown – this was in our garden.
May – a socially distanced walk through the village “nature reserve”.
July – back in the garden, this grasshopper was making a meal of our Japanese Maple!
August – my wife had a hospital appointment in Bedford. Covid restrictions meant that I couldn’t go in with her so I took a socially-distanced walk along the river while I waited for the phone call to go & pick her up.
Still in Bedford – this lady was rowing hard!
A Bedford Swan
September – this dragonfly visited our garden.
December – morning dew on a Passion flower in the garden.
Finally – A project we had for one of our on-line camera club meetings was to reproduce a famous work of art. This is my interpretation of Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist”. (See here:

Bodmin & Wenford Railway

Another day out in Cornwall – the Bodmin & Wenford Railway is a heritage steam railway that has been running since the mid-1980s.  There was just the one steam train running on the day we visited – the 4612, which was built by the GWR in 1942 and retired from active service in 1965.  After restoration in 2001, it was moved to Bodmin.

Engine 5552 – built in 1928 and withdrawn from service in 1960.  It has been at Bodmin since 2003 and is currently undergoing a major overhaul.



Birds of Paradise

Catching up on some more photos from our recent trip to Cornwall – Paradise Park in Hayle is a wildlife sanctuary with over 1000 birds, plus a few small mammals such as red pandas and otters.
Photographing some of them was a bit challenging due to the fact that most of the birds are behind wire fencing, but here are a few that I did manage to get.

IMG_9277Ground Hornbill


IMG_9305Spreo Starling

Golden Eagle

Humboldt’s Penguins

Rainbow Lorikeets
Visitors are allowed into the aviary and can feed them with cups of “nectar”.

Carribean Flamingo


IMG_9407My favourite photograph of the day – the flamingo tucked its head back and stayed still long enough for me to zoom in and take this.




Ancient Stones

Cornwall is full of ancient standing stones – monuments to a bygone time.  We visited three of these on our drive back from the Minack Theatre.


Mên-an-Tol is a formation of three stones, about 20 minutes walk from the road between Madron and Morvah.  They are thought to date back to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age.
The stones are only around 4 feet high.

But a low camera angle makes them look more impressive.

And you need to put the camera on the ground to get the best shot!


Lanyon Quoit

Lanyon Quoit is near to Mên-an-Tol but a lot closer to the road.  It was a bit crowded when we got there though as a herd of cows had taken up residence!


What are you looking at?


King Doniert’s Stone

Finally, (after a visit to the Jamaica Inn!) we got to King Doniert’s Stone, near the village of St. Cleer, just as the sun was going down.


The stone (the one on the left in the photo above) is the decorated granite base from a Celtic memorial cross dating from the 9th Century.  It is believed to have been built to commemorate Doniert – the last recorded King of Cornwall.

The taller stone is known as “The Other Half Stone” and was also built to support a granite cross.

All photographs were taken using a Canon EOS 60D with the 18-55mm “kit” lens and processed using Adobe Lightroom.

The Minack Theatre

The Minack Theatre is an outdoor theatre overlooking the sea at Porthcurno in Cornwall.
It was the life’s work of Rowena Cade from the first performance of “The Tempest” in 1932 until her death in 1983 at the age of 89.  Initially assisted by her gardener, Billy Rawlings, Miss Cade was subsequently helped by Charles Angove.  The theatre is now managed by a charitable trust and puts on events from Easter to October every year.
The theatre is open to visit on days when there is no performance.

IMG_9177View of the bay from the top of the cliff, just outside the theatre.

Looking down onto the beach.

Once inside, this is the view down to the stage.

Moving down further…

…and further.

Looking back up to where the audience will sit on the grass-covered seats.

Seats on the other side – each showing the name and year of a past production.

The stage, with the spectacular view of the bay behind.





All photographs were taken using a Canon EOS 60D with the 18-55mm “kit” lens and processed using Adobe Lightroom.

Sharpenhoe Butterflies

Another Hitchin Camera Club summer meeting saw us heading off to Sharpenhoe Clappers in the Chiltern Hills to do some ‘butterfly hunting’.

I used my 100mm Macro lens and set the camera to underexpose by two stops to darken the background but then used the camera’s pop-up flash to light up the subjects.  I believe the butterflies were all Chalk Hill Blues.

Two for the price of one.





IMG_9034This was a bee, not a butterfly!

Dan and Mike

The Sun sets over the Bedfordshire countryside and it’s time to go to the pub!



Birthday Bug Hunt

How else should you spend the morning of your 60th birthday but go on a bug-hunt with members of your camera club at a local nature reserve?
Duck End Nature Reserve in Maulden is only about 15 minutes drive from where I live, but I hadn’t known it was there before.

All photographs were taken with a Canon 100mm F2.8 Macro lens, but some serious cropping was needed on some of them!


Grasshopper and Bindweed
Grasshopper and Bindweed


Emperor Dragonfly
Emperor Dragonfly

Fly on Blossom
Fly on Blossom


Fellow Bug-Hunters
Fellow Bug-Hunters


Seaside Rendezvous

As part of the Polperro Festival, Cornish Queen tribute band “The Good old Fashioned Lover Boys” played a free set in a marquee in the village square.  I had no idea what to expect but they were actually really good!

IMG_8677Tim Kellow as Freddie Mercury

Scott Lawlor as Brian May

Liam Bennett as Roger Taylor

Sian Kelly as John Deacon

Jack Callow as Spike Edney

And – always good to turn the camera on the crowd!

Cornwall – June 2019

Another visit to our favourite place in the world – Cornwall!

We stayed in a cottage just north of Looe.  The twin towns of East and West Looe are separated by the estuary.

Jamaica Inn
The old coaching inn in the middle of Bodmin Moor was made famous by Daphne Du Maurier in her novel of the same name.


The fishing port of Mevagissey lies around 5 miles south of St. Austell.  The village has very narrow streets so it’s best to leave your car at the car park at the top and walk down into the village.  The twin harbour is very distinctive.


Another fishing village with narrow streets, Polperro is just down the road from Looe.  It was the week of the Polperro Festival while we were down there and we witnessed an excellent performance by a Cornish “Queen” tribute band – that deserves its own blog post so more on that later!

Boscastle is another fishing village – this time on the north coast.   Now fully rebuilt after the devastating flash flood that washed cars and buildings into the sea in 2004.

One week in Cornwall isn’t long enough.  We shall return….