mist

Desktop Wallpaper for April 2012 by Neil Alexander

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 Another month has flown by and summer is approaching. Before you know it, it'll be Christmas again... I'll stop right there.

This month's desktop wallpaper was a photograph I made one misty morning a couple of weeks ago around Dunham in Cheshire. I like the simplicity of this image, and the echo of the tree in the foreground with the one futher back in the frame almost under it's wing. It's almost like father and son.

I've done the same sizes as last month, but also added a 1024x768 for smaller screens. Knock yourselves out:

April Desktop Wallpaper - 2560 x 1440

April Desktop Wallpaper -1920 x 1080

April Desktop Wallpaper -1280 x 800

April Desktop Wallpaper -1024 x 768

The simplest way to download is to right click on the appropriate size for you and select “open in new tab” or “open in new window”. You can then set it as your desktop background from there.

If there’s a specific size that you want, or it looks a little stretched on your monitor, let me know the dimensions you require in the comments below.

Spring is in the air by Neil Alexander

Daffodils by Neil Alexander (Click for larger)

The other weekend, seeing an eery mist in the air before dawn, I hurled myself out the door determined to make some photographs before the sun rose and the atmosphere dissipated. Armed with only a couple of lenses, and the compulsory flask of coffee, I purposefully restricted my options. I do this from time to time to try and improve my technique. Often, when I'm armed with half a dozen pieces of glass it gets hard to see. By that I mean that the range of possibilities open to me with such a plethora of tools at my disposal blurs my mind, and I find it hard to focus on any particular image. By restricting myself to just one or two lenses, my mind and eye can't wander. They're forced to see from only one or two options, and it aids my creativity no end.

The only feasible place for me to get to without risking losing the mist by the time I'd got there, was the golf course at the end of the road. It's not particularly dramatic from a landscape point of view, and to many, it's probably quite drab. But to me, it's an endless source of inspiration. I would say it's serene and peaceful at that time of the morning, but that'd be a lie! It's probably only a mile as the crow flies from the airport, even nearer the motorway, and overlooks Manchester city centre, but with my headphones on - it was just me, the mist and the trees and flowers.

Both of these are shot with the Nikkor 24mm tilt/shift lens, processed in Nik's HDR Efex Pro, and a few further little tweaks applied in Photoshop afterwards.

Trees in the mist by Neil Alexander (Click for larger)

Hale Head Lighthouse by Neil Alexander

Hale Head Lighthouse in the fog by Neil Alexander

 For one reason and another, I decided the other day that I'd like to make an image of the lighthouse that sits on the North bank of the Mersey estuary near Warrington. I spent some time using Google Maps, Ephemeris and a raft of other tools to try and work out a good vantage point from where to try and shoot it. Unfortunately all these tools can only really get you into the ballpark, and there's really no substitute for visiting the locale in person. Save to say that until this particular morning, I'd probably spent around 5 or 6 hours travelling to, from and around the area to try and find my composition. Finally, I figured I had the image in my mind and knew where and how to get it. The final piece in the puzzle was the light. In my mind, the image had a moon in the background, and the overall exposure was a kind of twilight-ish feel rather than completely dark. From ploughing through Ephemeris and assorted charts, this particular morning was the time to shoot it, and the window of opportunity looked fairly short. The forecast was for a completely clear sky, so needing an early start for the hour's drive, I hit the hay early. I arrived around 6:45am to a hard frost and fog so thick that I could see about 20 feet in front of me, no further. I waited and waited, but the lighter it got, the denser the fog seemed to become. Knowing that I had to be on the road, and that as a result of the fog the traffic conditions would be steadily deteriorating, I was conscious that time was running out. I made a few frames, though not of the composition that I had in mind, and left determined to return the next time the conditions will be right - in about 6 months time.... The image above was shot on a D300 with a 17-55mm F2.8. Settings: 8 secs at F8 ISO200. Toned in Lightroom & Silver Efex Pro. The image below was shot using an Olympus E-P1 and processed exclusively on an iPad - just to see really.....

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