Sunday, 24 November 2013

Frosty photos and winter surfing

It was only last week that I was photographing the autumn leaves in Cornwall and this weekend i'm out photographing scenes of winter.

Getting up early and heading over to the Gannel in Newquay to watch the sunrise over frosty fields I was not disappointed. After a short chilly walk by the river I then headed over to Fistral beach to check out the surf, even with frost on the sand there were five people already braving the icy temperatures and enjoying the small waves before they disappeared when the swell dropped right off.

After several hours of walking and taking photographs it was then my turn to get in the water, meeting a friend we got suited and booted in our finest winter gear and managed a full 2 hours in the water. Surrounded by lots of other surfers and with the sun shining it was easy to think that it was the middle of summer and not just a few weeks to christmas... well it was like summer if you ignore the temperature in single figures!

The river Gannel Newquay

Morning at the river Gannel Newquay

Boats on the river Gannel Newquay

Sunrise over the river Gannel Newquay

Early morning sunrise in Newquay, the river Gannel

Newquay photography Photos of Newquay

River Gannel River in Newquay

Photographs of frost on plants Early morning frost

Frost on plants

Frosty leaves

Leaves covered in frost

Surf in Newquay

Surf in Newquay

Surfers at Newquay Fistral beach in winter

Friday, 22 November 2013

Trekking in India for RNIB

I wanted to write a few blog posts about my past travels, adventures that took place before my blog started. My first post from the past comes from my travels in 2008 when I took part in a trek across parts of India to raise money for the RNIB (Royal national institute for the blind) Being passionate about photography my eyesight is incredibly important to me. I often think if I'm ever involved in an accident I could cope with loosing a limb but not loosing my eyesight and so being so passionate about sight and seeing I wanted to raise money for a charity that I feel so strongly about.

I raised over £4000 for the charity and in February 2008 I flew out to Delhi with 12 other trekkers. We met at the airport for the first time in the early hours of the morning and endured the 8 hour flight to Delhi.
Travelling around India

Hotel In India

Indian Scaffolding on buildings

Roads in India

Toll roads in India

local shops in India

Sleeping rough in India

Toilets in India

Arriving in Delhi it was more than a shock to the system, the first thing that you notice was the heat and the dusty environment and then the smell hits you. It was definitely a culture shock for me as up until this point I had not done that much travelling and the places I had visited previously were often holiday destinations and therefore equipped for tourists to a certain standard. Suddenly cleanliness and hygiene were out the window and I was realising how other people live.
Rickshaw rides in India

Photos of Delhi in India

goats in India

City life in Delhi India

Electric wiring in India

Extreme Electrics in India

Carrying goods on head in India

The red fort Delhi India

Indian trees

Getting a rickshaw ride through the centre of Delhi I was snapping pictures like mad, the things I was seeing I had never witnessed before other than on the television. People carrying massive amounts of goods on their heads, monkeys walking around in the streets and the spaghetti junction of electrics dangerously connecting the city. 
Trekking in India Trekking in India
After a night in a Delhi hotel we were then faced with an over night train travelling north and up to the mountains, again this was another shock for me. Being British, I'm very used to the health and safety police and everything being over protective so seeing people jump off the platform and dash across the tracks in front of oncoming police to get to the opposite platform and seeing people riding on top of the trains was definitely an eye opener. With our overnight train journey complete the early hours of the morning were hitting our sleepy eyes and we left the frosty train station for car journeys further into the mountains. 
The mountains of India

The Himalayan mountains of Indiatrekking in the indian mountains

Cows in India
Here I am at the base of the Himalayas ready to start our trek up the mountains, the experience covered a lot of firsts for me, first time in India, travelling with a bunch of people I had never met before and meeting people that would change my life for ever. 

Mandi Brooks RNIB Charity work

meeting local children in India

Camping in India
After several days trekking in the mountains and sleeping in tents in the snow our epic journey was complete, we had raised the money for the charity and now we were given a day to experience some more of India. Having spent most of the time in the North of the country we headed back to Delhi and then down to Agra to see the wonder that is the Taj Mahal.
Charity trekking in India

Monkeys in India

Monkeys in India

Dying material in IndiaMandi Brooks

Taj Mahal India

This really was the experience of a lifetime and since then I've wanted to do some more charity work on this scale. I've done several sponsored runs for cancer research and even a fun run at Christmas dressed as Santa but i'd love to commit to another big challenge and raise money for another charity and experience something new and change my life and other peoples lives once again. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Five Things You Never Knew About Aerial Photography

Aerial photography has been around since Gaspard-Felix Tournachon started taking snaps from the basket of his hot air balloon in 1858. Since then, the technology has been refined to deliver complex images of land masses, settlements and military installations. Have a look through these five fascinating facts about the technology – its history, its application and its equipment – to get a handle on the most advance form of photography on (and above) the earth!

World War I was fought with aerial maps
During the First World War, aerial photography was used to create or correct maps of enemy territory. The first protracted use of aerial photography for military uses was conducted by General Allenby and a Royal Australian Air Force squadron based in the UK. His five photographers flew over enemy lines in Turkish airspace, escorted by fighter planes, to carry out a photographic survey that enabled Allenby to correct vital tactical maps.

Robot helicopters take aerial snaps
One of the most common machines used for surveying and aerial photography is the Coptercam, or Octocopter. The Octocopter is a flying robot with a camera system mounted in its belly, powered and steered by eight rotary blades (hence the name). It is used to survey land from Australian airspace, and has recently been put into service surveying the damage done by extreme weather systems.

In the US, it’s legal to spy on people using aerial photography
In America, airspace is technically public. In US law, if you can see something from a public space then you are not spying. Because of this, it is perfectly legal to use aerial cameras to capture people doing things that cannot be seen from the ground. This includes the documentation of things that are happening in the boundaries of private property – which may not be documented from the streets.

Aerial cameras have been taking giant pictures for decades
In the 1930s, Sherman Fairchild perfected his design for an aircraft mounted camera system capable of taking a single image that accurately showed 225 square miles of land. Before the end of the decade, Fairchild had increased the accuracy of his cameras to 600 square miles per exposure. The advancement of the technology started by Fairchild is the basis for modern photographic mapping.

Aerial photography forms the basis for modern maps
Photogrammetry (the process by which geometrical relationships are deduced from aerial photographs) forms the basis of much modern mapping. Highly detailed aerial photographs are taken, which are then “translated” into cartographs (maps) using the principles of projective geometry. In its simplest form, projective geometry involves measuring the distance between two points on the map, then factoring in the known geographic coordinates of those points to get the proper cartographic representation.

Photogrammetry requires range data to work properly. This is often obtained through LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) – a relative of RaDAR (Radio Detection and Ranging) in which light pulses are measured to determine the distances between objects. For more information about aerial mapping, LiDAR and photogrammetry, follow the link.
About the author: 

The Author is a technology writer, whose blog posts are used on a number of internationally recognised technology home pages. In their own right, they attract an average of three quarters of a million unique visitors every day, and are often syndicated for appearance on the news pages of communications providers and email services.  

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Cornwall see's the first snow of winter

There was a lot of excitement in Cornwall today as the first few flurries of the white stuff fell to the ground. Although it wasn't forecast to settle and it didn't, the cold crisp air and the glimmer of hope for a white Christmas certainly put a smile on my face.

Everyone in Cornwall knows that when the rest of the country gets white outs for days and after their first day of snow are moaning about travel chaos and the dangerous conditions we are all secretly wishing we could get some of the white stuff.

Last year the whole of the country found itself coated in snow whilst Cornwall missed out on the whole event. This image from the Met Office taken last year shows a shot where the whole country was completely blanketed in snow.... Except Cornwall!!!

Image from the met office

This year the forecasters are all getting excited and predicting the biggest freeze ever will hit the country and will last for days. All I want to know is will Cornwall be lucky enough to see some of the white stuff this year. 

I only want to make a snowman, go sledging and go for crunchy walks in fresh snow, fingers are well and truly crossed that we get some snow this year, either that or I will claim that the next flurry of hail to settle is being counted it as snow!

Here's some pictures of the snow in Cornwall from 2009 to keep our hopes up for a flurry this year.