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Magic Mushrooms

  • By Peter Nutkins
  • 14 Oct, 2017

How to get the most out of a disappointing trip

Deep in the forest, in the hollow of a tree, can be found a clump of mushrooms. By themselves, they were beautiful to look at and proved a welcome break from trudging through the autumn leaves.

Ordinarily, I love autumn. The countryside ablaze with vibrant swathes of red and yellow. The sound of rustling as leaves as they skip along up due to a gust of wind. The change in temperature is exhilarating and wakes up the imagination as creatures can now be seen scampering around where, just a few weeks before, they were hidden by foliage.

On this trip to the woods, I was hoping to capture something of the splendour, and majesty this time of year affords. Actually, I had arrived a little too early. Sure there were some leaves underfoot, a few branches were turning orange, but nothing spectacular.

Until I found the mushrooms.

These would be a great focal point to a shot. They just needed a little something extra.
Having my trusty assistant with me (or son as some would call him) I hatched a plan. The mushrooms could be lit with an eerie glow. To get the effect my assistant held my iPhone under each mushroom with the flashlight from the little camera. It took fifteen shots, plus one of the background.

Blending all of the images together I was able to bring out the glow for each mushroom.

Once again I converted the image into a painterly effect. I love the way the trunk of the tree looks rendered as a painting rather than a photo.

I hope you enjoy looking at the final image.

Have a great day.

Peter's Blog

By Peter Nutkins 23 Nov, 2017
It is a very special event when creating an image that includes multiple generations of a family. There is something inherently special about knowing your images will be treasured for years and years to come.

Anne and her daughter came to me a few months ago looking for elegant, classic family portraiture. Anne, Karen and Rebekah makeup the three generations of women in their family.

Having never had a portrait taken that she has liked, Anne was a little nervous. Her concerns were short-lived as she relaxed and became quite the model! All three ladies have a very close family bond and it was wonderful to capture this love and to be able to share a day to get dressed up, look and feel stunning and really just to have fun and spend time with one another.

I think it's so important for mothers to get in front of the camera with their children. Often it is Mum who takes the photo of her loved ones. Looking back at my own family pictures it would have been good if my wife and I had existed in some of the photos as well. When our children group up they will no doubt be fascinated by themselves at a young age. But it would also have been good to have seen how much their Mum and Dad enjoyed life with them.

Being the first time all three generations had been photographed together professionally, Anne and her daughter really showcase how important it is for women to get in front of the camera for both themselves and for their family.

Have a great day!
Peter
By Peter Nutkins 16 Nov, 2017
It has been some time since I won the Smithsonian Travel Photo Competition.

I took the image on a visit to London. As I sat on Bakerloo Underground Station I noticed that on the platform opposite me were a group of people all ignoring each other. However, each and every one of them was communicating in some way. It seemed like a mini version of our lives today. We are all connected via the Internet, and yet we often fail to talk to the person standing right next to us.

My mission for this week is to speak to someone I have not spoken to each day. Something positive. Something that will quickly lift them and make their day that little bit better.

My winning image is featured in the 2018 PhotoShelter Guide to Photo Contests. The guide can be found here http://resources.photoshelter.com/photographers-guide-photo-contests-2018/

Have a great day
Peter
By Peter Nutkins 14 Oct, 2017
Deep in the forest, in the hollow of a tree, can be found a clump of mushrooms. By themselves, they were beautiful to look at and proved a welcome break from trudging through the autumn leaves.

Ordinarily, I love autumn. The countryside ablaze with vibrant swathes of red and yellow. The sound of rustling as leaves as they skip along up due to a gust of wind. The change in temperature is exhilarating and wakes up the imagination as creatures can now be seen scampering around where, just a few weeks before, they were hidden by foliage.

On this trip to the woods, I was hoping to capture something of the splendour, and majesty this time of year affords. Actually, I had arrived a little too early. Sure there were some leaves underfoot, a few branches were turning orange, but nothing spectacular.

Until I found the mushrooms.

These would be a great focal point to a shot. They just needed a little something extra.
By Peter Nutkins 29 Sep, 2017
Once in a while, we meet someone who gives us a very different view on life.

We can get so caught up in our own world, and live life thinking that the people around us have similar ambitions, definitions of success, and failure.

To look at he was dishevelled and unwashed. Under his hat his eyes darted to and fro, watching passers-by who largely ignored him. Driving the vigilance was a restless mind. A man who had experience that most people would only ever read about in action-packed novels.

He referred to himself as Sir David. A life in the forces had provided a unique perspective on society. His respect for Queen and Country had been shaken by a number of events he had witnessed. His account of life in the military, and how missions had been carried out was both engaging and at the same time horrifying.

We sat in the sun. He shared memories of his childhood, his own children, and the highlights and lowlights in between. Tales of saving Gadaffi's life mixed in with meeting Jesus in 1959 and conspiracies between our Royal Family and the Russian leadership.

I sat and listened. Maybe I was the only one who had for some time. He was angry and defeated.

I left him in the sun.

He waved as I crossed the road and headed into the hustle and bustle of 'normal' life.

Later at a coffee shop, I searched online for Sir David Henry Reeves. I could find nothing.

Did it really matter?

I had met with Sir David...real or not.

It was an experience I found humbling, and one I will not quickly forget.
By Peter Nutkins 22 Sep, 2017
A trip to the Isle of Skye, in the Highlands of Scotland, was a little disappointing as photography was almost non-existent. The characteristic wind, rain, mist and cloud shrouded the Isle for the whole stay. All was not lost though as we drove along the shoreline of Loch Duich. 

This boat had been abandoned by the waters of the Loch and rested on a bed of seaweed and sand. The weather was harsh. Rain poured down and a soaking mist hung in the air. This gritty black and white image reflects the feeling of the scene as I viewed it. The landscape is awe inspiring, and I find stirs my emotions. Maybe in a distant past I have some Scottish blood!

Peter 
By Peter Nutkins 19 Sep, 2017
How often when you are having your photograph taken does the person behind the camera say "SMILE!"?

Instantly everyone puts on their best grin and the shutter is released.

Does this give the best portrait? I do not think so. In fact I often ask my subjects not to smile....then they do, only naturally . I like happy looking people, but only if the happiness is actually real. Otherwise it is just a picture of someone. Not a portrait.

There are times when a serious look really adds to the mood and overall image. Take this portrait for example. This chap was in a very serious mood and he had dressed in a mature way. The Facial expression helps make him look more masculine, older (which he liked) and expressed his mood on that day.

The Painterly look gives that classic element to the Portrait. There is less detail and so it helps the viewer focus on the face which sets the whole tone of the photograph.

I hope you like it.

Peter
By Peter Nutkins 15 Sep, 2017
The Battle of Culloden ( Blàr Chùil Lodair)  in 1745 was a turning point in British and European history. It is strange to imagine that a battle, and a bloody one at that, happened on our soil so recently. The Jacobites, led by Charles Stuart, met with Government forces led by the Duke of Cumberland, William Augustus.

The battlefield itself is an inspiring place to visit. The National Trust for Scotland have done a remarkable job of bringing the moor back to the former state it would have been in at the time of the battle. Alone on the battle field stands Leanach Cottage. The Cottage once was part of a landscape divided into smallholdings on the Culloden Battlefield. Most likely it served as a field hospital and was in the shape of a 'T'. Today it stands as a reminder of a bygone time.

Both sides stood for what they believed, and so many died for their cause. In the aftermath of the battle terrible atrocities were committed against the Highland people and their way of life. By violence the Scottish uprising was to be broken once and for all. 

Today Highlanders are free to wear tartan and kilts. The land is prospering and the people genuine and kind. In my visit to this proud nation I found a welcome that I have rarely found elsewhere. The people of the Highlands have overcome. Violence has not won the day. 

If only we could learn from our own history!

Peter
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