Tuesday 21 July 2020

RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands

A month ago I bought myself a long lens (the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary) with the intention of broadening my photography in to wildlife and sports. I'm lucky in that the Wirral Peninsula with a coastline on three sides is a haven for wildlife and there are some important protected habitats around the coast for anyone interested in bird photography. One such habitat is the RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands at Burton in South Wirral.

The wetlands are about four miles from my home and it has been a favourite location for my infrared landscape photography in the past but I've never had a lens long enough to capture the wildlife there until now so today I took the Sigma 150-600mm lens out for the day to put it through its paces. During the visit to the wetlands I also took the opportunity to sign up as a member of the RSPB.

I was warned before joining that it was the quietest time of the year for the wetlands as most of the feathered visitors arrived during the Winter months and they were true to their word. There were wild flowers, butterflies and dragonflies galore but I had the wrong lens with me for those subjects and the few ducks and geese on the water were too far away for even a 600mm lens. With the hides and some paths closed due to Covid-19 restrictions there were no real opportunities to get up close enough for photography. I met a group of twitchers who were watching a Peregrine Falcon circling around a group of geese on water in the distance but they were too small to photograph.

That's wildlife photography in a nutshell. Wildlife rarely comes out and poses for you. You have to research its behavior, be patient and have a little luck but I'm not deterred. My next visit as a new RSPB member will be with an infrared camera to capture the beauty of this site as I wait for opportunities to shoot with the long lens.

As I've no wildlife to show you from today's visit, I'll leave you with some infrared photographs that I've taken at Burton Mere Wetlands over the years. I'm lucky to have two reasons to visit in the future.

Sony A200, 720nm wavelength of infrared
Sony A200, 720nm wavelength of infrared
Sony A6000, 720nm wavelength of infrared
Sony A6000, 590nm "super colour" wavelength of infrared
Sony A6000, 590nm "super colour" wavelength of infrared

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Going Long Again

I've been an amateur photographer for 17 years starting off with a Sony F717 bridge camera before buying my first DSLR, the Minolta5D with in body stabilisation. When I upgraded to my first Sony DSLR (Sony A700) I purchased a Sigma 170-500 f5-6.3 super zoom lens. It had no stabilisation which wasn't a problem as the A700 was stabilised and the performance was average but I wasn't a competitive club photographer in those days and used it to capture air shows and some wildlife simply for my own pleasure. 

The big drawback was the size and weight of the lens as it wouldn't fit in my camera bag so after a year I sold it and bought the more practical Sony 70-300 f4.5-5.6 SSM. I was heavily into macro flower photography at that time and this new lens was wonderfully sharp with fast auto focus and the minimum focus distance of around 3 feet made it ideal for flower photography and indeed some of my best flower photographs have been taken with this lens.

Sony 70-300 f4.5-5.6 SSM

Switching camera systems is always stressful and expensive. Sony started putting all of their R&D into their new E mount mirrorless system and their A mount was being neglected so I made the difficult decision and switched to the E mount mirrorless system to be future proof. I sold the A700 and all of my A mount lenses bar the Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro and purchased a Sony A7mk2 and 70-200mm f4 lens. It's a terrific lens but the focal length of my photography was getting shorter every year and I missed the longer length in my lens line up. The problem was there was nothing longer in the E mount for years.

The Covid-19 lock down has given me the chance to think about my photography and it's future direction. I've only been photographing flowers in my garden for the past three months and I felt that I needed to broaden my range of photography to wildlife, nature and sport once the virus has receded and life has got back to some sort of normality. That meant purchasing another super zoom lens.

It's taken a long time for Sony and third party lens makers Sigma and Tamron to supply a good range of lenses for the Sony E mount. Wide angle primes and mid range zooms dominate the lens line up. Sony had brought out the Sony 100-400 (£2,300) but the super zoom range was sadly missing. 

This Spring Sony released the Sony 200-600 f5.6-6.3 G lens (£1,700) to fantastic reviews but when searching Youtube for reviews I stumbled across videos testing the Sigma 150-600 f5.6-6.3 Contemporary lens with the Sigma MC11 (Canon EF - E mount) adapter on E mount mirrorless cameras. My camera is the Sony A6400 APSC mirrorless camera.

The reviews on the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary lens were excellent for a lens priced at only £749. The MC11 adapter brought the package to £970 and my choice of super zoom lens to buy was made. Is the Sony 200-600 mm a better lens? Yes it is, but for an occasional wildlife photographer like myself the financial saving is significant. 

During testing I've found the Sigma 150-600mm auto focus to be quick and accurate and the images to be sharp if you understand the limits of shooting hand held at 600mm (900mm on my APSC crop sensor camera) There are also two custom mode settings for the auto focus and stabilisation. These can be set to your preferences depending on your type of shooting using the Sigma USB dock which I've also purchased.

Below are my first test shots using my new lens. They were all taken hand held from 150 - 600mm and have had minimal processing. When you consider that the 600mm range is a whopping 900mm on my APSC camera, I'm extremely happy with the image quality and I have a few candidates for club competition through testing alone. 

Hand Held 600mm, ISO400, f6.3, 1/1600 sec

Hand Held, 172mm, ISO1600, f6.3, 1/1600 sec

Hand Held, 150mm, ISO400, f8, 1/2000 sec

Hand Held, 600mm, ISO400, f8, 1/2000 sec

At the moment we're still in semi lock down. Sports are only just re-starting again while many nature reserves are still closed. I'm looking forward to the challenge of wildlife and sports photography that I've been neglecting over the years. It should be fun.

Adendum: Two weeks after purchasing a Canon version of the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary, Sigma released their first zoom lens for the Sony E mount system and not before time. The Sigma 100-400mm f5-6.3 (£899) is getting excellent reviews on Youtube. Tamron are sure to follow soon.

Friday 26 June 2020

Lock Down Flowers

It's been a very frustrating 2020 for many Wirral photographers. The New Year brought a constant string of Atlantic storms which hit the coastline hard where I live testing only the bravest of photographers resolve. As soon as Spring arrived, the storms receded and we were hit with a virus from the Far East in the form of Covid-19. 

Of course the virus has caused the closure of every public garden, sporting and social event and has restricted our movements to essential travel only which has been equally frustrating. Wales has closed it's border preventing any landscape photography in the Snowdonia National Park which is only a 2 hours drive away.

As I'm in a vulnerable category for Covid-19 infection due to my age, I've taken the UK Government's lock down advise seriously and diligently to protect the NHS and only ventured out briefly to walk our dog and to shop. For that reason I've had to be content with photographing flowers in my garden as they've emerged in the warm Spring weather.


My garden has been given a major makeover which starting last Autumn with the division of established perennials. The work has continued this year with the felling of an ailing tree at the bottom of the garden to let in more light to give existing plants a chance to grow. With more ground water and food available this area has been extensively re-planted with shrubs and woodland plants giving me more subjects to photograph during the year. With nowhere to go the work has taken up most of my free lock down time.


I spent the Winter months creating my own textures to use in the post processing of the flowers and I use them whenever one fits the subject as in the Iris above but there are times when I have to resort to using the excellent textures of Kathleen Clemons to get the painterly effect that I love and which is a feature of her beautiful photography. Putting the right texture and flower subject together is the most difficult part of creating textured flowers. 

Arum Lily

As Spring changes into Summer I'm finding new subjects to photograph in the garden almost every day but I'm impatient for the re-opening of my local gardens at Ness Botanic Gardens on the Wirral Peninsula and Bodnant Gardens in Conwy, Wales in July. The seasons are brief and flowers need to be photographed in their peak condition. Miss a week and flowers can quickly go over resulting in a missed opportunity for another 12 months. My aim during the second half of 2020 when released from Covid lock down will be to capture enough quality flower images to keep me busy post processing during the long dark Winter months.

Wednesday 3 June 2020

Journey Through My Garden In Infrared

I've been a digital infrared photographer for 15 years and for most of those years the cameras that I've had converted have had the ability to record infrared video but the record button has never been touched. It's not that I'm adverse to shooting video, it's just that I concentrated all of my time to learning how to get the best results from infrared stills.

Before taking up photography 15 years ago my family had to get used to having a Canon camcorder following them around on family days out, holidays and during Christmas. We look back on those short presentations of my two girls growing up from 5 yrs old to teenagers and wonder where the time has gone. Shot on Hi8 tape on "Auto" with wind noise from the built in "Mic" and the background click, click of the auto focus, those short cheesy presentation always bring a smile to our faces no matter how many times they've been viewed.

Photography records a split second moment in time and the results when done well can be very powerful, whereas video records a persons personality and character, the way they walked, spoke and laughed, their interactions with others as well as the clothes they wore and their surroundings.

For Christmas 2019 I bought myself a DJI Ronin SC gimbal to steady my Sony A6400 colour camera with the intention of shooting family videos again of my grandchildren growing up, but this time in 1080p HD and 4k video. For audio I bought a Rode external mic and a dead cat remembering how the wind noise and auto focus noise of old would ruin the finished masterpiece. The full days footage of our extended family's Christmas Day was reduced down to a 10 minute cheesy presentation in HD and is preserved for posterity for my grandchildren to look back on when they're adults.

For a few years I've been thinking of trying some short videos shot in infrared spurred on by watching some excellent footage on Vimeo. The purchase of the gimbal coupled with the right weather conditions this Spring gave me the opportunity to experiment with the 1080p HD video quality of my Sony A6000 720nm wavelength converted camera. Wanting to shoot video in pure monochrome I added a B+W 0.93 filter to the lens allowing me to record in the 830nm wavelength of pure monochrome infrared. 

The finished test video "Journey Through My Garden In Infrared" was shot during the Coronavirus lock down and is available to view on Vimeo. The video is just over 2 minutes long. I'm certainly not a talented videographer and it's difficult to make a trip through my garden look interesting but I'm very pleased with this test of image quality and sharpness of 830nm video. 

The captured footage was processed using Corel Videostudio Ultimate 2020 and the naff music came bundled with the software. The footage in the finished video was recorded at 50fps allowing me to slow down the speed to 25fps and the contrast has been enhanced. Apart from those simple adjustments it was a case of cutting and pasting footage together with transitions linking them together. I'm encouraged enough by the results to find a more interesting and challenging project, perhaps street video, once the Coronavirus crisis is over and Great Britain starts to get back to normal. 

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Faux Colour Infrared Using Nik Viveza

I've been photographing in digital infrared for 14 years starting with the Sony F717 and an R72 filter progressing to permanently modified Sony A6000 mirrorless cameras in the 720nm standard and 590nm super colour wavelengths of light.

The 720nm standard wavelength of light (being on the edge of the colour spectrum of light visible to the human eye) captures some weak colour in the red and blue colour channels which you can use for faux colour infrared images. The standard practice for faux colour infrared photography has always been to swap the red and blue colours using the "channel mixer" to give your image a blue sky.

Birkenhead Park Boathouse - 720nm infrared channel swapped

The 590nm super colour wavelength of light is closer to the colour spectrum giving you a mix of the colour spectrum and infrared light. As an infrared photographer this gives you more creative options for coloured infrared as you now have some colour in the Red, Yellow, Blue and Cyan channels. You can swap colour channels as before and adjust the hue and saturation of each colour individually to produce a psychedelic world of faux colour.

Bodnant Hall, Wales - 590nm infrared channel swapped

Bodnant Gardens Terrace - 590nm super colour infrared

As you can see from the images above taken with a Sony A6000 720nm standard infrared camera and a Sony A6000 590nm super colour infrared, the latter captures more colour to play with in post production. Can you go further? Yes you can.

Nik Viveza

Last year I stumbled on a Youtube tutorial hosted by the Master of infrared photography Mark Hilliard in the United States on creating faux colour infrared images using Nik Viveza 2. The technique allows you to use the software's U-point technology to selectively colour foliage. Place a control point on the foliage of a tree and you can change the hue, saturation, warmth, brightness to colour the foliage in pastel shades. It works with all wavelengths of infrared except 830nm pure infrared which has no colour recorded in the image to be used by Viveza.

Birkenhead Park Boathouse - 720nm infrared processed using Nik Vivessa2
The photograph above is a standard 720nm infrared image, channel swapped to produce a blue sky and finished using Nik Viveza 2 to selectively colour the foliage. This technique gives the photographer far more options in this wavelength. However, the 590nm super colour wavelength produces far more dramatic results as it has more colour recorded in the infrared image and you can be as bold or as subtle as you wish.

Biddulph Grange - 590nm infrared processed using Nik Vivessa 2
I've only just got started in post processing infrared images using Nik Vivessa 2. The reason I love infrared photography is that it challenges you to push the boundaries and be creative from faux colour to monochrome fine art photography in 830nm pure infrared.

Sunday 29 December 2019


Before taking up photography I always had a consumer camcorder in my hand recording my family growing up. Christmas, birthdays, Summer day's out and family holidays the camcorder was always in my hand. As young children my two daughters didn't mind having a camcorder pointed at them and sometimes they used it themselves but as they grew into teenager's they naturally started to rebel and the recording became less frequent and eventually stopped altogether.

Looking back now at those short grainy home movies shot in a homely often cheesy style brings a lump to the throat and they are enjoyed and cherished by all of the family. A photograph captures a fleeting moment in time but video captures the personality of those being filmed, how they talked, moved, their sense of humour and their character. As well as recording the innocence and fun of my daughters growing up, older family members who are sadly no longer with us are now on disc. Those recordings are an important family record to show to my grandchildren as they grow up.

The video stopped at about the same time that my interest in photography started. Most of the digital cameras that I've owned during the last 14 years have had the ability to record video but incredibly I've never used it. Cameras nowadays are designed to produce terrific video footage as well as photographs. I've owned cameras producing 1080p HD video and my main camera, the Sony A6400 records excellent 4k video footage as well as 1080p HD in super slow motion. My infrared camera records video in 1080p HD and I can't wait to get arty with infrared video.

I recently received the good news that my fourth grandchild is due in May 2020. By taking photographs of my grandchildren and family and ignoring the video capabilities of these excellent cameras I'm missing out on something important and enjoyable.

My cameras don't have image stabilisation built in and neither do my prime lenses. Camera shake really is a video killer so I took the decision before Christmas to purchase a gimbal to shoot good quality smooth video instead of buying myself another lens.

The DJI Ronin SC gimbal is perfect for the Sony mirrorless system. It was delivered two weeks before Christmas giving me some time to learn how to set it up and use it, balance the camera and shoot some test footage before the big day.

With a cheap Rode external mic on the camera hot shoe I shot video all Christmas Day with my whole family present for dinner. The 4k footage was flawless with the camera in P auto mode and family members old and young are now immortalised in the way they walked, talked, laughed and showed off their personality. The challenge now is to learn again how use new software to put that footage together into a short record of the day. It's going to be fun learning the video side of the camera during 2020.

Photography is still very important and it isn't being put to one side. I'm just adding new skills to my bow and getting more bang for bucks out of the other 50% my cameras.

Sunday 8 December 2019

Samyang 8mm f3.5 Fisheye Lens

I'm always looking for ways in which to help me to be more creative with my photography straight out of camera. This can be done by using a different perspective, using slow shutter speeds, voluntary camera movements, creative blurring, etc. Another way is to use lenses to aid creativity such as the Lensbaby range of "art" lenses.

A lens in my bag that I've used creatively for a number of years now is the Sony "A mount" Samyang 8mm f3.5 fisheye lens. The lens gives a 180-degree field of view and the edges of the frame are distorted, which is handy where exaggerated perspective and an extreme field of view is needed.

The lens is extremely easy to use. There are no electronics in the body so aperture and focus is manual only. Simply set the aperture to f3.5, set the focus distance to 1 meter and everything from two foot to infinity is in sharp focus leaving you free to compose your image and shoot away. A bonus of a fisheye is the ability to capture good images in low light at slow shutter speeds hand held if you are careful. It's a very forgiving lens and a lot of fun to use. Because there are no electronics the lens is cheap and can be bought for around £250 depending on the mount. All of the photographs in this post were taken with the lens.

Porters Cottage - National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port
Narrow Boat - National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port

At the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port, Wirral I had no room to step back to widen the view but the 180-degree view of the fisheye lens allowed me to get a shot and capture something different at the same time.

Chester Cathedral

Cloisters - Chester Cathedral
A fisheye lens lends itself well to architecture where space is tight but also where you want to display the majesty of a building. I've used it to great effect inside a number of impressive buildings.

Liverpool Central Library
Use the camera in portrait mode as with the above photograph of Liverpool Central Library you can capture an 180-degree view of the floor and ceiling in the same shot. Likewise the shot below of the central spiral staircase of the Museum of Liverpool life is accentuated by the distortion created at the edges of the images.

Staircase - Museum of Liverpool Life

Rudbeckia - Ness Botanic Gardens

The extreme field of view pushes detail and points of interest into the far distance so getting up extremely close to foreground interest and letting the middle ground fall away into the distance can be effective. Fortunately the minimum shooting distance of this lens is 12 inches which was used in the above photograph. The biggest problem with a fisheye lens is keeping your feet or your shadow out of the shot.

London From St Pauls Cathedral Dome
When you do want to show the majesty of a scene then get up high and use the fisheye lens distortion to your advantage as in the above photograph taken from the dome of St Pauls Cathedral in London.

Flaybrick Cemetery in Bidston, Wirral (720nm Infrared)
For me the bonus of the Samyang fisheye lenses are their suitability for infrared photography. They produce sharp images with no hotspots. The only problem of course with a lens this wide is keeping flare out of your shot.

The fisheye effect doesn't suit every situation or every photographer but the Samyang fisheye lens is a cheap creative lens to have in your bag. I've now switched from Sony A mount to an E mount mirrorless camera and the first lens I bought was the Samyang 8mm f2.8 fisheye 11 which is even sharper and smaller than the early A mount version used to capture these images.

Thursday 24 October 2019

Textured Flowers

From the moment I picked up my first camera 14 years ago my favourite photography subject has always been flowers. I've been a very keen gardener for longer than I've been a photographer so I was naturally drawn to flower photography with a camera in my hand. Flowers are wonderful subjects to photograph. They're very patient and never complain if you don't get the shot right first time. "Don't worry. Have another go. I'm not going anywhere. Take your time"

There's nothing more relaxing than spending the day in beautiful surroundings on a hopefully still and slightly overcast day with a macro lens, tripod and a diffuser picking out flowers that are in perfect condition to photograph. I'll often photograph freehand but I prefer to use a tripod to get the composition and the focus spot on and then wait for an insect to land before shooting. In most gardens that doesn't take very long.

When I started in photography I had the ambition to be a flower and garden photographer. I built up a small portfolio of perfectly focused and sharp portraits of flowers and would submit them to stock libraries only to have them turned down. They were perfectly good photos but I eventually realised that they were simply record shots of flowers without any artistic merit or mood. Regardless of the disappointment I've carried on photographing flowers for the simple enjoyment of using a camera on a fine day in lovely surroundings.

In November 2018 I was searching Youtube for videos on flower photography and I came across the photography of Kathleen Clemons from the US. Her photographic style was something that I'd never seen before and it simply blew me away.

Echinops and Hoverfly - George Evans
Kathleen takes photographs of flowers in freehand often using Lensbaby lenses for creative effect and mixes her own painterly textures with them in post processing to create a soft painterly effect. Sharpness is usually focused on a few stamens or the leading edge of a flower to draw the eye to a small area of detail with the remaining image falling away into soft focus. Her work is simply beautiful.

Helenium - George Evans
I suddenly found a use for my library of old record shots of flowers that I'd collected over 14 years so I bought Kathleen's e-book detailing her technique with her painterly textures and started to create my own artwork. I've always admired artists with the talent to draw and paint, something which I've tried to do myself and have failed at miserably. I can now create digitally from photographs.

Hemerocallis - George Evans
I've spent nine months creating my own painterly flowers as artwork and enjoyed every minute. A photographer should never attempt to copy another photographers work but every photographer uses different gear, has a different eye for composition when shooting and their own post processing software and work flow. I hope that my images inspired and encouraged by Kathleen Clemons are sufficiently different to stand on their own.

Japanese Anenome - George Evans
An issue that I never considered in my sudden enthusiasm for textured flowers was that the whole of an image must be 100% the work of the photographer to enter club, national or international competitions. For a club photographer with Hoylake Photographic Society this was a bit of a blow so none of my work created during 2019 and shown in this blog post can be entered in competition but I'm in the process of creating my own painterly textures to use in future projects.

Helianthus and Cabbage White Butterfly - George Evans
My photography inspired by creative photographers visiting Hoylake Photographic Society over the years has been moving towards a more pictorial style. I've long been creating pictorial style images from landscapes, architecture and digital infrared which could be hung on a wall and enjoyed and this "Textured Flower" series of photographs fits that bill perfectly.

Tuesday 8 October 2019


In March 2018 I was invited to accompany a small group of Hoylake Photographic Society members on a week long trip to the Western Peninsula of Iceland. Our group of eight stayed at the Arnarstapi Center on a Bed and Breakfast basis with the intention of spending the week photographing this small area.

Western Peninsula

The backbone of the Peninsula is the imposing Snaefellsnes Glacier which dominated every landscape and the Snaefellsnes National Park with its endless lava field. An unforgiving yet beautiful landscape.

Snaefellsnes Glacier and Lava Field

Snaefellsnes Glacier

When planning for the trip I was unsure which camera to take with me. I took the full frame Sony A7mk2 camera with a Sony A6300 as a backup. Taking a backup camera was a good decision as the full frame camera failed to operate in the extremely cold conditions. Most of the colour shots on the trip were taken with the cheaper A6300 which worked flawlessly and produced the two images above.

The most difficult decision to make was whether to take my Sony A6000 720nm infrared camera. Infrared is normally associated with dreamy white landscape's filled with foliage but there isn't a tree to be seen on Iceland. What persuaded me to shoot in infrared was an article showcasing the Iceland infrared photographs of Andy Lee. I'm glad I took the camera as infrared enhanced the other worldly feel of this beautiful landscape (below) 

Snaefellsnes Glacier - 720nm Infrared
Black Church of Budir - 720nm Infrared
Hotel Budir - 720nm Infrared
The Black Church - 720nm Infrared
Mt. Kirkjufell (The Witches Hat) - 720nm Infrared

I did as much photographing in infrared as the light would allow, switching cameras from colour to infrared to capture the same scenes and below is Mt. Kirkjufell in standard colour using the Sony A6300. It's a close run thing which version came out the best. 

We chose the Western Peninsula because it was off the main tourist route concentrated on the South coast but it was still impossible to capture the classic shot of Mt Kirkjufell with the Kirkjufellfoss waterfall in the foreground due to the large number of photographers with their tripods surrounding the falls so I had to be content with a tightly cropped image of the falls on their own.

Mt. Kirkjufell (The Witches Hat) in standard colour

The week was far more tiring than I'd imagined. The group would eat a hearty breakfast. We'd then drive to a location and spend the daylight hours photographing in the biting cold before eating again at around 7pm. We would then continue shooting at night attempting to capture the Aurora before returning to Arnarstapi for midnight. Spending all day wrapped in three layers of clothing and attempting to operate a camera wearing gloves was extremely hard work and trying to concentrate in the cold wasn't easy.

Of course staying on the Western Peninsula meant plenty of opportunity for coastal shots. Being a volcanic island the dramatic looking volcanic beaches were covered in either black sand or black pebbles sometimes dusted in white snow.

Dritvic Black Pebble Beach
Dritvic Beach
Hellnar Fishing Village near Arnarstapi

During the week we were blessed with fine sunny weather except for one day of snow which covered the mountains before slowly melting away towards the end of our stay. The weather produced some glorious sunrises with the best shots to be had only 400 meters from our hotel at Arnarstapi. It was a case of rise at 6am, get the shot in the bag then a short walk to the warm restaurant for breakfast.

The Break of Day, Arnarstapi
Statue at Arnarstapi

It was a trip of a lifetime. A one off for me. Tiring, hard work, cold and the food and drink was expensive but the photographic opportunities of Iceland made it well worth the effort. My only disappointment was seeing the Aurora during four nights of our trip and not getting a shot worthy of processing. Night photography is a skill I've yet to learn.

Monday 30 September 2019

Lower Heswall Wrecks

Photographers are always on the hunt for the interesting and unusual and decay figures high up on their list. Decaying wood, rust, disused buildings, old graveyards, rotting cars are often popular subjects. A popular spot for photographers looking for the unusual on the Wirral Peninsula is the boat yard near Sheldrakes Restaurant at Lower Heswall.

Lower Heswall is on the River Dee Estuary, the West side of Wirral with beautiful views across the mud flats towards the North Wales coastline on the opposite side. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty and an important reserve for migrating birds.

River Dee Estuary and North Wales Coastline

The mud flats are the home for a small number of abandoned and decaying boats. They're usually holed and left at the mercy of the rising tide and the harsh weather. Whether the tide is high or low and no matter the time of year the theme here is mud, mud, mud and wellies are recommended if you plan to photograph.

Mud Glorious Mud

One Careful Owner

I return each year to see if there's anything new to photograph and it's sad to watch the wrecks decline. The photograph above was taken a few years ago and sadly the boat's cabin was destroyed in a storm with only the hull now remaining. I'm glad I had the opportunity to record this ageing beauty in High Dynamic Range (HDR) whilst she was still intact.

A bonus of Lower Heswall is the wonderful sunsets that you sometimes get from a Sun setting out in the Irish Sea. A wreck or one of the many seaworthy boats lying on the mud flats or out in the channel makes a great foreground subject for a dramatic sky.

Sunset on the Dee

Sunset at Sheldrakes

If the weather conditions are too bright for daytime photography or there's no prospect of a dramatic sunset during the golden hour there's still the opportunity to photograph in infrared. The photograph below was captured in the 830nm pure infrared wavelength of light on a Sony A6000 590nm converted camera with a B+W 0.93 IR830 infrared filter attached to the lens.