Monday, 16 October 2017

Shadowy Ferns

Following my break from photoblogging I have now decided to drop the week-by-week order that I have previously used for my posts. This reflects the reduced number of outings with the camera during the summer and it allows me more flexibility with the content.

Working week-by-week has been beneficial though. The discpline of taking photos virtually every day has gradually altered my approach to photography. These days I am more likely to construct an image based on the components of a composition rather than a picture or a scene. Components include lines, angles, shapes, patterns, textures, light, shade, colours, and tones. Images constructed in this way tend to be more interesting and ocassionally more challenging to look at and interpret. That said, I still like pictorial representations but these tend to be a small part of my photographic output. The following selection is an example of this changed approach.

Ferns in summer tend to be a mass of green which often does not translate well for photography. Within that mass are some wonderful shapes and curves but the problem is how to isolate these in the image. The solution involves inverting the image so the dark areas become light and the light areas become dark. It works best if light is catching the subject frond(s) and there is shadow behind. When inverted the subject becomes dark and background ferns become faint and shadow-like. A conversion to black and white is required for the final finish:

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Godrevy Towans

Initially I was only going to take a couple of months away from photoblogging but time has moved on so quickly I find myself preparing for the Autumn favourite season of the year.

During the summer I continued with photography but reduced the number of outings with the camera. Instead, I spent more time looking at art, drawing, and reading the type of books that I disliked or couldn't relate to at school. Graphite drawing has taken most of my time, developing techniques whilst using my photographs as subjects. I touched on this in my last post and in the coming weeks I will share some of my latest efforts..

Taking a break was all about improving my photography. I wasn't convinced that I could do this by simply taking more photographs. I wanted to divert my mind to something else in order to gain a new perspective or a new creative drive.

I can't say whether this has worked as yet or whether anything will change. Transitioning from competent landscape photographer to the next level is far more difficult than gaining the initial skills.

Perhaps the merest indicator of something different happening was a trip to Godrevy. It wasn't a photographic visit but more of a day out at lovely location. Into the evening I grabbed the camera with the intention of capturing the essence of the day - without taking a shot of the lighthouse which I have captured many times in the last year or so!

The results were a series of images including reflected light in the standing sea water at low tide. They were taken from the top of a cliff with a long lens.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Taking a Break

This is my last post for a while. It is time for a break. The photography will continue but it is very time consuming writing and organising posts after each photographic trip. I also think after two years I am begining to repeat the content and so I hope to return with a new format in a couple of months.

In the meantime, I am also delving into other forms of art in an effort to stimulate creativity. It is incredibly difficult to be more photographically creative by simply taking more pictures. Sometimes it is best to move the mind in a different direction and come back with some new thinking and increased motivation.

Drawing was the first challenge that I set myself and after a few live sketches I started using some of my photographs to work on a more accurate representation of perspective and scale. This quickly gathered some pace and I very recently finished my first landscape drawing.

These are the millstones below Stanage Edge in the Peak District completed with an HB pencil, HB mechnical pencil (0.5mm), 2B pencil, blending sticks, kneadable eraser and a detail eraser. The grid method was used as a guide for scale and perspective.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Woodborough Park - Photography Week 19 (2017)

With the permission of the landowner, I had an opportunity to walk around Woodborough Park Farm in Nottinghamshire. Over the years I have taken many photographs from the public footpaths and the roads that surround the farm but having the freedom to enter the fields gave a new view on a familiar landscape.

The attraction of this farm is the way the land undulates as it descends into a valley with many isolated trees sitting nicely in the fields. It is one of the few locations in the local area where it is possible to get above the landscape - elevation being very important for landscape photography.

Also important is the variety provided by the different seasons and different crops. On this ocassion the oilseed crop dominated many of the compositions but there were opportunities to pick out some other features of the landscape:

Friday, 9 June 2017

Normanshill Wood - Photography Week 19 (2017)

Over the last month, I have set out a couple times to capture the new spring growth in the local woods and forests. There is a period of time when the greens are vibrant and the canopy is not dense enough to block too much of the light.

One of my favourite trees to photograph in these conditions are beech trees and I spotted, whilst taking a detour around road works, a great section of wood which I believe is called Little Normanshill Wood. I probably ended up taking too many photographs at this location but it had some characteristics which made it ideal for capturing the trees and the colour.

Firstly, many of the compositions could be lined up without too many light holes. Often when photographing trees, particularly in portrait format, there are patches of sky in between the leaves which are hard to expose correctly. Filters don't help as they darken the trees as well as the sky - in other words there is no clear horizon. In this location many of compositions had other trees in the background and this helped to balance the exposures and reduce the need for correction in post processing. I think I also mentioned in a previous post that greens need to be treated very carefully in image software to avoid the appearance of any eye jarring 'digital greens'.

Secondly, there were trees of different ages including many young trees. This provided variety in terms of shape and composition including many leaves near to ground level:

Just as I was packing away the light changed and I started a new series of shots. Normally, I prefer flat lighting conditions for woodland photography but on this occasion the sunlight was not too strong and worked well with several of the compositions: