Chance

A recent conversation on Twitter started me thinking about how much luck plays a part when taking pictures. I firmly believe it is an element in all creative pursuits. Let me first state clearly that I am not claiming that great photographers lack skill or that their success doesn’t involve talent, planning and hard work. When I say luck plays a part I do not mean that wonderful pictures are a fluke, that if you press the shutter often enough, probability dictates you will sometimes get lucky. I am saying a chance element is always involved.
However much we plan and prepare for a phot trip there are always elements beyond our control. At a very simplistic level we are dependent on luck for the weather, for the behaviour of any moving elements in a scene and the way those things interact with each other. True creativity is not achieved by slavishly following a set of procedures learnt and developed over time. Creativity comes from experimentations. Finding what works and that requires luck.
Let me illustrate what I mean with an example. The photograph below is one I am rather fond of. I had a clear idea in my mind before I took it of what I was hoping to achieve but for it to be a success I needed luck. I needed some movement and I needed some sharp elements. That meant playing with different shutter speeds until I got lucky and it just ‘worked’. I also needed some people to move and some to stand still for long enough to stay sharp. I could have done all the ‘right’ things and still not got the picture I wanted. That’s why I say luck plays a part.

 

On The Beach

On The Beach

Luck isn’t just involved in icm, multiple exposure and long exposure photography (where its contribution is most obvious). For me it is what adds that element of tension to carefully crafted images, that would otherwise appear formulaic and uninspired

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Sennen Cove

On The Beach

On The Beach

One of my favourite locations for photography is the coast. It is constantly changing due to the motion of the sea and it is an area with many different moods. I have photographed the beach at Sennen Cove many times before, focusing on these various different moods but this time I was keen to capture people there, enjoying the sand and surf. I chose a 9 stop filter to enable me to get a long shutter speed, with the hope of creating an impressionistic feel. There is always a fair amount of luck in this approach, you can never be sure how the result will work out because you can’t predict how the people will move. This makes the instant feedback of a digital camera invaluable and here, on the third exposure, I managed to get exactly what I was looking for.

Posted in Cornwall

Waves

A couple of pictures, taken near Craster Northumberland. It’s easy to see where Mick Oxley gets the inspiration for his wonderful paintings, for sale in his wonderful gallery there. These were taken on Christmas eve 2014.

 

Craster Wave and Light

Craster Wave and Light

Craster Wave

Craster Wave

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Something A Little More Classical

A more traditional shot of Lake Windermere than the last one

Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere

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Oh Buoy!

Couldn’t resist going very minimalist with this picture of Lake Windermere.

Oh Buoy

Oh Buoy

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Milford On Sea

I took these pictures at Milford on Sea. The weather was changeable, with bright sunshine, followed by hail, followed by sunshine again. This made for dramatic lighting and the location gave a huge variety of subjects. What a fabulous day.

Husst Castle

Lighthouse Keepers Cottage

Milford On Sea

Stormy Sky

Hurts Catle

Light House

Milford On Sea

Rocks and Sea

Posted in Locations, New Forest

Little Stopper

I don’t often write blog posts on new gear but I got the opportunity to try out my new Little Stopper filter from Lee. I’m a big fan of the Big Stopper filter. I like shooting long exposures, as it gives elements in the scene the chance to move and hence allows you to show the passing of time. I know some can be quite snobby about this sort of effect but I gave up worrying about what other people think a long time ago.
The two pictures below are of Newhaven, near Brighton, which was not the seaside beauty spot my family and I were hoping for when we detoured there but I took 15 mins to grab these two shots while we were there. I was very impressed by the little stopper. I have made no alteration to the white balance in either of these shots, so you can see how little colour cast there is, compared to other ND filters stopping a large amount of light.

Breakwater

West Beach

Newhaven Breakwater

Shingle Beach

Posted in Filters, Gear

Steep Hill Cove, Isle Of Wight

Rocks - Steep Hill Cove

Steep Hill Cove

Another image that has been sat on my hard drive waiting to be processed. I make no apologies for loving long exposure shots of rocks and the sea. For me the sea is a place to escape to, where I can just spend time watching the waves and relaxing. Long exposures capture that feeling.

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Patterns In The Sand

Patterns In The Sand

Patterns In The Sand

This is a picture that has gone through quite a lot of iterations in post processing. I was not totally happy with the initial composition and have tried several different crops since. I think I may finally have settled on this… for now…

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Trees

Green

Green

Layers Of Leaves

Layers Of Leaves

I still find trees a difficult subject but there are one I am determined to master. Above are my latest attempts.

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