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:

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Bluebells Part 2 - Photography Week 18 (2017)

I remarked in a post from the previous photography week about the variation in colour when photographing bluebells. In particular, I was saying how the ambient light impacts on auto white balance and the difficulty of making appropriate corrections.

This selection of images was taken towards the end of the day with a low sun. Some are taken directly into the light, others a right angles to the light source, and a few into the shade. As a panel they demonstrate how different the colour of bluebells can look when photographed in various lighting conditions. All the images were taken within a 30 minute period:

Technical note: the first image above was processed from one exposure and the second was a blend of three differently exposed images. I think I gained a more natural looking result in the first image even though there was some burn out in the highlights. Blending three exposures managed the dynamic range better but introduced a greater colour variation between the bluebells in shadow and those highlighted by the sunlight.

Robin Hood Way Revisited - Photography Week 18 (2017)

During photography week 13 I posted a set of images from section 16 of the Robin Hood Way, Haughton to Whitewater Bridge (1). This was part of an ongoing project to document aspects of the Newark and Sherwood landscape using the Robin Hood Way as a guide to new locations and points of interest.

As we move more into the spring I was interested in revisiting some of the compositions from March. I was also interested in walking more of this particular path having only got a third of the way earlier in the year.

As it transpired, the deep blue skies and the abundance of green didn't translate as I had hoped. It was great to look at and fine walk but the results did not really move the project forward. When processing the images I looked at a number of options including black and white and ended up with a toned monochrome finish - similar to one of the images from the March set. I then carried this finish onto other photographs taken during the walk and these are some of the results:

Additional note: On reflection I am not totally sure what I think of the results and the mono finish but testing out different images and approaches is all part of trying to progress a photographic project. I was tempted not to post these but I have rarely excluded sets of images from the photo-blog. The blog has never been about showcasing images as there are plenty of other places to do this.

(1) Robin Hood Way. 4th Edition. Robin Hood Way Association. Revised 2012