Category Archives: Rural life

John O’Groats Post Office

Looks cute and cottagey doesn’t it? Conjures up cobbled village streets, quaint pubs, nodding roses, fragrant heaths and such doesn’t it?! Well, I’ve just read up about the town of John O’Groats (pop. 300) on the extreme north east tip of Scotland and cute it is not. Lonely planet called it a “seedy tourist trap” and Urban Realm magazine gave it a Carbunkle Award for ‘Scotland’s Most Dismal Town’. This is why I prefer armchair travel.


It is interesting to reflect on how individual travelers perpetuate cultural stereotypes by framing pics that fit a mold. Hopefully the ‘major redevelopment work’ happening in John O’Groats now will rescue it.

Before and after




Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Close-ups, Europe, Rural life

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Decorated Horse

This horse was photographed on a dusty road in Iran, sometime in the early 1970s. Taking a ride in a 2-person horse-drawn buggy is still a slightly touristy thing to do in bigger centers, but given the age of the slide and the seemingly remote location I’d guess this was used by locals. I’d love to see how those bright red pom poms come alive when the horse is moving. Iran has more than one unique breed of horse but as I’m not an expert, descriptions like ‘ewe necked and slab-sided’ don’t help me to understand what I’m looking at!


I loved the subject matter but the colors were really dull. To bring the pic alive I did some basic restoration work on tone and contrast then had a bit of fun with color and filters.

Before and after:


Click for big.


English Countryside in Spring

Beautiful scene of an English countryside in spring. It looks cold and many of the branches are still bare, but blossoms have begun to show. A red coat sets of the greens and looks really cozy for a brisk walk.

Note to self: Solitary lady in garden setting = sort of cultural icon. This is one of many. Must investigate.


The sky was white and I needed to bring back the blue with some clouds behind the branches. After this I deepened the color and sharpened the image overall.

Before and after:


Click for big



Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Country scene, Europe, Nature, Rural life, Woman

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Man and Child on a Winter Hillside

Proof that ‘smiling for the camera’ is not nearly as interesting as keeping a normal expression. In this image the soft, pensive expressions fit the scene and help to draw us in. The result is a really beautiful portrait.

The original had faded badly to magentas, pinks and purples and no hint of the original colors remained, but the subject lent itself to a black and white conversion. I cleaned up a fair amount of dust and scratches and voila – we see that it is a stunning photograph.


Posted by on October 28, 2012 in Children, Country scene, Rural life

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Lady in Red

A curious image. In what era would you expect to see a lady in a red jumpsuit with white shoes and a purple bag walking down a country path? And where was the photographer – up on a hill with a zoom lens?

Although I loved the verdant green field dotted with flowers, I felt she was drowning in it a little so I kept it green in a circle around her and desaturated the color outwards. Not much else needed to be done.



Posted by on October 28, 2012 in Country scene, Rural life, Woman

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Woman and Straw Bale

Its so easy to romanticize a subject like this. I do admire her but I guess her reality may have been a different story than that of the rural idyll suggested here. As always the handmade appeals to me and I like the way the straw bale is hand rolled and tied with plaited grass ropes and the way a cloth has been folded on top so neatly.

In this one I worked a lot on the grass in the straw bale. It had horrid pinky-purple shadows and I wanted to bring out the warm greens and browns. Its a subtle change but makes it more real.

Before and after – click for big.


Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Africa, Rural life, Woman

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