Saturday, April 30, 2011

4529 State Highway Two

4529 State Highway Two, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

I long to quiet my anxious heart
and stand beneath the sky's immensity.
I long to pray...
And one of all the stars
must still exist.
I do believe that I would know
which one alone
and which like a white city stands
at the ray's end shining in the heavens. "

Rainer Maria Rilke

Another one from the archives, this time from 2008 :-)

* Pentax K100D and Pentax SMC DA-18-55mm Lens

Friday, April 29, 2011

Flowers for the Bride

Flowers for the Bride, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

These are thy wonders, Lord of love,
To make us see we are but flowers that glide;
Which when we once can find and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us where to bide;
Who would be more,
Swelling through store,
Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.

From The Flower By George Herbert

* Pentax K20D and Samsung D-Xenon 50-200mm Lens

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Englefield House

Englefield House, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

Just down the road from Kate Middleton's home town of Bucklebury, Englefield House is one of the largest Country House estates still owned and lived in by the hereditary lord of the manor... who is also a serving Conservative MP.

The estate covers some 20,000 acres (8,100 ha), and its farm is one of the biggest benefactors in the UK of European Union agricultural subsidies.

New England.
And thus, alas, your state you much deplore
In general terms, but will not say wherefore.
What Medicine shall I seek to cure this woe,
If th’ wound’s so dangerous, I may not know?
But you, perhaps, would have me guess it out.
What, hath some Hengist like that Saxon stout
By fraud and force usurp’d thy flow’ring crown,
Or by tempestuous Wars thy fields trod down?

From A Dialogue between Old England and New By Anne Bradstreet

English Country Houses Series #3
Englefield House, Royal Berkshire

The final image in my English Country Houses tryptich :-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Greenlands, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

Another English Country House, this time in Buckinghamshire, one of the Home Counties, what ho ;-)
Getting closer to the epicentre of Royal Wedding land... hard to avoid over here at the moment, believe me

Old England.
Art ignorant indeed of these my woes,
Or must my forced tongue these griefs disclose,
And must my self dissect my tatter’d state,
Which Amazed Christendom stands wondering at?
And thou a child, a Limb, and dost not feel
My weak’ned fainting body now to reel?
This physic-purging-potion I have taken
Will bring Consumption or an Ague quaking,
Unless some Cordial thou fetch from high,
Which present help may ease my malady.
If I decease, dost think thou shalt survive?
Or by my wasting state dost think to thrive?
Then weigh our case, if ‘t be not justly sad.
Let me lament alone, while thou art glad.

From A Dialogue between Old England and New By Anne Bradstreet

English Country Houses Series #2
Greenlands, Henley-on-Thames, Buckinghamshire

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mottram Hall

Mottram Hall, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

With the Royal Wedding coming up this Friday I thought I would post a series of English Country Houses... so very British of me you know, old chap :-)

New England.
Alas, dear Mother, fairest Queen and best,
With honour, wealth, and peace happy and blest,
What ails thee hang thy head, and cross thine arms,
And sit i’ the dust to sigh these sad alarms?
What deluge of new woes thus over-whelm
The glories of thy ever famous Realm?
What means this wailing tone, this mournful guise?
Ah, tell thy Daughter; she may sympathize.

From A Dialogue between Old England and New By Anne Bradstreet

English Country Houses Series #1
Mottram Hall, Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Southsea Sunset Seagull

Southsea Sunset Seagull, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

"Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly."
Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull)

* Pentax K20D and Samsung D-Xenon 50-200mm Lens

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Winking Out

Winking Out, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

"Sometimes I say to a poem,

"I don't have the strength
To wring out another drop
Of the sun."

And the poem will often

By climbing onto a barroom table:

Then lifts its skirt, winks,
Causing the whole sky to

— شمس‌الدّین محمّد حافظِ شیرازی - Hafiz (The Gift)

* Pentax K20D and Samsung D-Xenon 50-200mm Lens

More at my blog A Raven Image

Still Waiting

Still Waiting, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

Even though I'm not there I know my beach is still waiting...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pining for the Past

Pining for the Past, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

What I am laying before you is my whole soul; otherwise I would rather have kept silent, as I do not like to lose words over things that everyone knows as little about as I do. What else is it but human destiny to suffer out one's measure, drink up one's cup?--And if the chalice was too bitter for the God from heaven on His human lips, why should I boast and pretend that it tastes sweet to me? And why should I be ashamed in the terrible moment when my entire being trembles between being and nothingness, since the past flashes like lightning above the dark abyss of the future and everything around me is swallowed up, and the world perishes with me?

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (The Sorrows of Young Werther)

One from the archives today (for I have thousands of unposted shots)... I do miss my beach!

* Pentax K20D and Pentax SMC DA-18-55mm Lens

More to come... watch this space!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The House

The House, originally uploaded by TomRaven.
"Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America nor, for that matter, in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. ... [V]oice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
Hermann Göring

The Palace of Westminster otherwise known as the Houses of Parliament in London - the statue of the guy on horseback is Richard The Lionheart

The Samsung EX1 comes into its own in bright sunlight and at low ISO - this shot was taken handheld at ISO200, in fact three bracketed exposure shots were taken and then I used Photoshop CS5 to combine them into a single HDR image. Very little other post processing has been done to this image with the exception of using the Smart Sharpen function to improve the sharpness and bring out the amazing detail in this iconic piece of architecture.

Postcards From London Series #4

*Samsung EX1 - 3 shot HDR (-1, 0, +1 EV)

More political musings at at Tom's Mog

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

"..we wear the mask that grins and lies,
it hides our cheeks and shades our eyes-
this debt we pay to human guile;
with torn and bleeding hearts we smile."

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Lamprocapnos spectabilis formerly Dicentra spectabilis; old-fashioned bleeding-heart, Venus's car, Lady in a bath, Dutchman's trousers, or Lyre-flower

* Pentax K20D and Samsung D-Xenon 50-200mm Lens

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bluebell Monday

Bluebell Monday, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

"Death is a great price to pay for a red rose“, cried the Nightingale, "and Life is very dear to all. “ It is pleasant to sit in the green wood, and watch the Sun in his chariot of gold, and the Moon in her chariot of pearl. Sweet is the scent oft he hawthorn, and sweet are the bluebells that hide in the valley, and the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man? "
Oscar Wilde

The perfect Spring this year... long sunny days, burgeoning blossoms on every tree and the woods full of Bluebells

* Pentax K20D and Samsung D-Xenon 50-200mm Lens

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Apple Blossom Heart

Apple Blossom Heart, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

"And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:

Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons."

Khalil Gibran

The Apple trees are in full bloom at the moment. The village green is a riot of pink!
I took several shots of the blossoms and this is my favorite. I like the way the bokeh moves from green to pink and the way the leaves and branch provide a diagonal to draw your eye across the image.

They say photography is all about composition and I agree :-)

* Pentax K20D and Samsung D-Xenon 50-200mm Lens

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Digital Self Reflection

Digital Self Reflection, originally uploaded by TomRaven.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

From Song of Myself By Walt Whitman

Here's a self reflective product shot for you :-) This is the Samsung EX1 used to take the previous few posts, a great little 'enthusiast compact'. Taken with my trusty Pentax K20D DSLR

This shot is a 3 shot HDR combined using Photoshop's HDR Pro function. I took all three shots with different 1 stop separated exposures using a Tripod. I normally don't use a tripod and take all my shots by hand as the image stabilization and  auto alignment during the HDR combination process are usually sufficient to create a sharp image. In this case as I was doing my first ever product shot using just natural light I thought I would try out the tripod. Once in photoshop I have used the 'Highlights & Shadows' function to bring out more detail in the shadows and then added 3% black using the 'selective colour' function to compensate and give the image more punch. I have also altered the contrast.

I'm pleased with the crisp result.

Prior to this shot I took a more standard Product Shot and there was a small fly on the shutter release that almost succeded in taking a shot of me taking a shot of it. Thats what gave me the idea for the self reflective shot :-)

Samsung EX1

* Pentax K20D and Samsung D-Xenon 50-200mm Lens

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tiptoe Through The Tulip

Tiptoe Through The Tulip, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

Knee deep in flowers we'll stray
We'll keep the showers away
And if I kiss you in the garden, in the moonlight
Will you pardon me?
And tiptoe through the tulips with me

From Tiptoe Through The Tulips - Al Dubin 1926

As performed by Tiny Tim in 1968 - Watch on Youtube

*Samsung EX1 - SOOC

Straight from the camera from my Samsung EX1. Lovely macro abilities and great wide angle 24mm view.

This flower conveniently had two petals missing so provided the ideal opportunity for a Bee's eye view.

Got me thinking about Tiny Tim and the song remembered from my youth - I must have been about 10 - played by this weird character on a ukulele!

My daughter plays ukulele these days... so this one's for you Cleo :-)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Churchill Still Walks In Parliament Square

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
- Sir Winston Churchill

Its easy to forget we are a country at War ,but walking down to Parliament Square in the heart of London, the seat of British power, reminded me. See my blog Tom's Mog for more on my thoughts on A Country At War

Postcards From London Series #3

*Samsung EX1 - 3 shot HDR (-1, 0, +1 EV)

The articulated screen/viewfinder on the EX1 came in handy again for this shot. Parliament Square is currently cordoned off with high fences so this shot is taken with my arm held up as high as possible to get a good viw over the fence. I can also use my monopod to get an even higher 'ground based aerial view' :-)

The very bright F1.8 Schneider-Kreuznach lens in the EX1 is excellent for bright light shots at ISO200 and gives a great level of detail and density from a relatively small 10 megapixel 1/1.7” CCD sensor. I feel I'm getting results from the 3 shot HDRs that are comparable to those taken using my 15 megapixel APS-C sensor Pentax K20D DSLR.

All in all a great result from this small easy to carry around 'enthusiast compact'. I am well pleased with my investment especially as it cost a lot less at 250GBP than a DSLR lens alone would cost me.

It can also shoot in RAW and I have done some experimenting in that regard but these shots are all done by combining 3 10mp 'superfine' jpegs. Excellent results from single RAW files also once you get the hang of the bundled Samsung RAW Converter software, although I still prefer using Adobe Camera RAW within Photoshop CS5.

Churchill Still Walks In Parliament Square but no one else can... Tom's Mog

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Field of Pink

Field of Pink, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

"Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It's good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells"

Pink Floyd Time (Breathe Reprise)

Postcards From London Series #2

*Samsung EX1 - 3 shot HDR (-1, 0, +1 EV)

Lovely 24mm wide angle view - the moveable and wonderfully bright AMOLED display on the EX1 makes it so easy to take low angle shots without bending over or getting down on the ground. I have always avoided compact digital cameras due to the lack of viewfinder but find this articulated display is giving me even more creative possibilities. The bracket function also makes it real easy to take three different exposure shots with just one press of the shutter. I then take these and combine them in Photoshop CS5 using the HDR Pro function.

More on the Samsung EX1 (TL500 in the US) and the process I use to make my Flickr photos coming soon.

Enjoy the springtime :-)

Large Benjamin

Large Benjamin, originally uploaded by TomRaven.

Just purchased a Samsung EX1 as a go anywhere compact camera for when I don't want to lug around my DSLR. So far I am very impressed... here is one of the first images I have shot with the EX1