The Four Seasons

Sunday was quite a nice morning , it had clouded over by lunchtime and started to rain shortly after, but by that time we were inside the Four Seasons enjoying a cup of coffee… I accompanied my Dad on a quick morning out where he wanted to get some shots of the trees that are in the grounds of the hotel. When we pulled into the car park i instantly noticed the Highland cattle that they have in a field there, i’m drawn to these for some reason, i think it’s the messy look they have, i usually wouldn’t look twice at other breeds of cattle, but there’s just something cool about these ones.

I put my 70-300mm lens on my camera and took a couple pictures of them, i like the shot below, especially the mouth being open. I’m amazed at how they can see where they’re going, perhaps that’s why they don’t move about much. The mouth is a little blurry so i should have probably pushed the ISO up and used a faster shutter speed, but i really wasn’t thinking about that at the time, i was too busy watching him and clicking away. Note to self; always remember to double check the settings!!!!┬áISO 200, 110mm, f/5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second.

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I really want to try and get an HDR shot of an animal, that could be quite a challenge, but one i’m definitely going to try and achieve, so watch this space.

We spent a few hours outside walking around the grounds and along the river. We then spotted a really cool boathouse which i just had to take an HDR shot of. I later found out that this boathouse was on private property, oops! An old geography teacher always used to say that when you’re in areas of natural beauty you should take only pictures and leave only footprints, i’m glad that on this occasion that’s exactly what i did.

I set my tripod up and wanted to get a full shot of the front of the boathouse which had some large trees leaning onto it. The scene was really washed out with not much colour, the grey skies and lack of leaves on the trees really didnt help either, thankfully there was a small boat in the foreground which added a vibrant splash of yellow to the picture. I used my 10-24mm lens for this and shot at 10mm and used an ISO of 125 to try and keep the noise down. I also used an aperture of f/10 as i wanted as much of the detail of the boat and boathouse to be in focus. As with most of my HDR pictures it’s 5 frames at +/- 0.7 exposure value.

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There was also a really nice brickwork bridge that we were keen to walk over and explore but upon approaching it realised that it also led to private property so didn’t proceed any further. Thankfully it was quite a calm morning and the bridge was reflecting nicely onto the water, i set my tripod up just on the river bank and managed to get a nice HDR shot of it. The settings used on this picture are the same as the boathouse, apart from i used an aperture of f/16 as i wanted to use a longer shutter speed to smooth the water, this worked well but also meant i suffered a bit of blur with the moving trees, i’ll have to find a solution for that next time.

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I’m planning on going back to the hotel again soon for dinner, it’s really nice inside and the staff are very friendly and welcoming. I think when the spring comes the hotel and its grounds will change entirely, i’m sure there will be plenty of wildlife along the river, which would be great fun to try and capture. Have a good weekend!

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