Everyone says he’s too pretty to be a boy.
Last month (31st March 2013) I had a wonderful day out doing a walk from Selsley Common to the viewpoint just before you get to Haresfield Beacon. Below are some photos I took on the common, looking down towards Stroud and its western suburbs. As a child I had many fun times on Selsley Common, playing hide and seek in the ditches and flying model planes I’d bought from Stroud.
For each of these images of Selsley Common: Processed in Photoshop CS5. RAW file processed twice – once for the sky (darker) and once for the foreground (lighter). These two images were then blended together with a gradual fade from one to the other, to give an overall balanced tone.
Click the images to see larger versions on Flickr.
I can’t remember the exact time I set off from Selsley Common, but it was probably around 1pm. I did a walk which went down into the valley, then up through Cashes Green (a suburb of Stroud), then up through the village of Randwick, up through Standish Wood, then up to a viewpoint just before Haresfield Beacon.
On the way back, I followed the Cotswold Way back through Standish Wood, where I stopped to take the following photo:
This took quite a lot of processing in Photoshop CS5. To make the first colour version, I processed the RAW file twice: once for the sky (darker), and once for the foreground (much lighter). In the original RAW file, the foreground was very dark, so to brighten it enough I pushed the Fill Light slider to 100%, increased the Blacks slider to get some contrast, then brightened it further using the Brightness slider, and also increased the Contrast and Saturation sliders. The two images were then blended together.
To get the black and white version, I took the colour version and used the Black & White function in Photoshop CS5, using the “High Contrast Red Filter” setting.
My walk back then followed the Cotswold Way the entire length of Standish Wood, then down into the valley, along the edge of King’s Stanley, up into Penn Wood, then back onto Selsley Common. It was 8pm when I got back, and was just starting to get dark.
It was a wonderful time to be on the common. Everyone else had gone, all the other cars had gone. The lights of Stroud were coming on. I took some photos of the lights, but I wasn’t happy with the results so I won’t show them here.
These photos weren’t taken on the same walk, but were actually a few weeks earlier on 13th March 2013. I include them here because I processed them today at the same time as doing the others. They were taken in Ozleworth Bottom, which is the name of a valley near to where I live.
I really like this black and white version. This was made using Photoshop CS5′s Black & White function, using the “High Contrast Red Filter” setting. I love the dramatic sky in this. I didn’t create this beauty. The landscape was already there. All I did was point the camera in the right direction, then pressed the right buttons on the software afterwards.
For this next photo, the RAW file was processed 3 times: sky (darker), foreground (lighter), shadow hill area (much lighter, more saturation). The 3 images were then blended together.
Okay, this is where I went the extra mile with the processing, because once I’d blended the 3 individual RAW conversions together to make the previous colour image, I then used two different settings to get the best overall black & white look.
I used Photoshop’s Black & White function to make it black and white, but did it differently for the sky and the ground. The sky was done using the “High Contrast Red Filter” setting, but the ground was done using the “Infrared Filter” setting.
Whatever gets the best result…
I feel like I need a regular dose of solitude almost as much as I need air, food and water. But what I really like is QUALITY alone time. I love a nice day out somewhere on my own. If I have a day out in the city, I love going round the art galleries on my own, or doing a bit of urban hiking to see where I end up.
I like people, but only in small doses. If I’m around lots of people, I don’t like it to go on too long. If I’m with just one other person or a small group, I can enjoy longer time with them. It has to be the right person though.
This is the key thing. It has to be the right person. I’m very choosy about who I spend lots of time with. Here’s why: Because I enjoy my own company so much, this means the bar is set very high. If I spend the day with someone and I end up feeling that I would have had a better time if I’d been there on my own, that’s a clear sign that it’s not a good idea to spend lots of time with them.
It’s good to trust your feelings in life. If you’re generally happy and healthy, your emotions tend to tell you the truth about whether things are right for you or not. This is true of all kinds of things. If you feel worse during or after doing something than you did before you did it, that’s a clear sign that it’s not working for you.
Of course, sometimes you can feel sad after something because you are sad that it’s come to an end, or you are sad that you won’t see the person for a while. But that feels different to just feeling unhappy or exhausted because you didn’t have a nice time or because it didn’t work out somehow because the person or situation wasn’t suited to you.
Anyway, you know what I’m saying. Basically, you know what the truth is if you listen to your true feelings. Unless you’re fucked in the head or an emotional wreck, in which case, good luck!
Anyway, back to the introvert thing. Extroverts need social activity the same way introverts need solitude. It’s the natural position they gravitate towards. But extroverts can sometimes be on their own, and introverts can sometimes socialise. But it’s about where your default setting is.
And you can get happy extroverts, unhappy extroverts, happy introverts, and unhappy introverts (of course I am simplifying things here just to make a point). None of this really changes where their natural position is on the introvert-extrovert scale. An unhappy extrovert might feel less unhappy if his friends invite him out to a party. A happy extrovert might have the best time ever at the party. An unhappy introvert will perhaps feel less unhappy if they can at least have their personal space to sort through their unhappy thoughts and feelings in their own way. But a happy introvert will actively ENJOY being on their own. As I said, I’m really simplifying things here just to make a point.
And that’s really all my point is: If you’re irritating or a challenge to be around, you’re never going to have a happy introvert as a best friend. It’s just not going to happen. On the other hand, if you’re a lovely person and very easy to be around, a happy introvert could be the most loyal friend you’ll ever have.
HOWEVER, luckily for a happy introvert, a happy introvert is a happy introvert’s true best friend, so a happy introvert can easily be their own best friend.
Other people can be great to spend time with too though. Just not all the time…
Here is my latest music video. Musically, the idea was to create a synth version of the kind of lead harmonies that you sometimes get in heavy metal music; in particular, the harmony lead lines in the song Alexander the Great by Iron Maiden, and For Whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica. It’s not meant to sound like heavy metal though, just inspired by those kinds of lead harmonies.
I deliberately kept the number of “instruments” to a minimum, so there are only 5 of them in this piece:
- Synth Bass
- 2 x Synth Lead
- Synth Pad Sound (to pad out certain sections)
For best video quality, switch it to HD.
Here is a new piece of music I’ve done. It’s 12 minutes long, and I obsessed over it for many weeks.