Trees

I mentioned in a previous post that waves are a favourite subject. Trees on the other hand are a subject that gives me great difficulty. I rarely find them inspiring and find it difficult to see compositions. This is something of a shame living in Surrey, surrounded by trees, but without a wave in sight. Every so often I make the effort to ‘try trees’ again, so here is an effort from the weekend. I’m quite pleased with this composition I feel the bands of colour and the light and dark work well to give it structure. Maybe I might get in to trees after all. Anyone who has an appreciation of trees should try this book by my fellow landscaper and much better tree photographer Dav Thomas –  With Trees .

Light and Shade

Light and Shade

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One From The Archives

For all sorts of reasons I haven’t been able to get out taking pictures very often this year, so here is a ‘new’ picture (which is actually several years old) but I have only just got around to post processing.

Stormy Constantine Bay

Stormy Constantine Bay

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Waves

 

Steephill Cove

Steephill Cove – Dusk

Waves are one of my favourite photographic subjects. I love all the shapes, the patterns they leave behind and most of all the joy of being at the beach and the sound of the waves breaking on the shore. Also they are a subject that works in any kind of lighting conditions. Important with the fickle English weather.

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Well Art is Art.

“Algebra is the offer made by the devil to the mathematician. The devil says: `I will give you this powerful machine, it will answer any question you like. All you need to do is give me your soul: give up geometry and you will have this marvellous machine.'”

Michael Atiyah

I am particularly fond of the above quote and I have no doubt that many people believe there is a similar bargain to be made with the devil in photography, giving up geometry/composition for the power of post processing in photoshop. Of course as with all bargains with the devil there is a catch. Just as algebra, without the understanding of geometry, would lose its power it is also true you cannot make a great photo from a poor one simply by the application of great photoshop skills. 

There is another quote from a very different source that I am rather fond of, this one on the subject of art:

“Well, art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh… Now you tell me what you know.”

Groucho Marx

So let me tell you what I know. I long ago gave up worrying about what other people thought about my pictures. I take pictures to please myself and I find that feeling very liberating. I still take great pleasure from hearing that someone else likes one of my pictures but I no longer need that feedback to feel happy with a picture, it is enough for me that I like it. So in closing, let me post a picture of mine that nobody I know actually likes but tickles me greatly. For me it is all about the geometry in the image and geometry reminds me of my father. He always set a great example for anyone creative (be prepared to give anything a try and if it works don’t pay too much mind to what anyone else thinks).

Squares

Squares

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Why It Pays To Be A Hoarder

Dark and Light

Dark and Light

I have always been a hoarder. I can’t bear to throw anything away, convinced that the moment I throw something away will be the moment that I desperately need it. This applies to my photography as well. I can’t bear to delete images. Disk space is cheap and Lightroom provides such great cataloguing and searching functionality that there seems no reason to throw away pictures. I often find you need time to judge a photograph. Some can be instantly exciting but lose their appeal after a while. Others take time to grow. The above photograph is one such picture. When I took it I was excited by the strong shadows on the rocks and the bright sunlight on the water. I thought it offered a dramatic contrast and I aimed for a mysterious composition but when I came to post processing the image I wasn’t pleased with the result. I didn’t feel I had captured the feeling I was looking for. However I revisited the picture recently and realised that the image I wanted was there, it just needed a different treatment in post processing. I am currently going through a black and white phase and I realised that this image would suit such processing perfectly. A square crop (also another current phase) completed things.

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It’s Not Just About The Capture

This picture illustrates three important things to me. Firstly the importance of having a camera with you every where you go. I came across the scene on my way in to London one morning. Everybody on London Bridge had stopped to stare at the scene. The low sun was hitting the side of the building and light rays were being scattered and reflected in all directions. I always have a camera with me, in case of need, and on this ocasion I had my trusty Samsung compact system camera. The second important thing is that it doesn’t matter what the camera is, you don’t need an expensive DSLR to get a good picture. It is the scene that matters. Many people were taking pictures with their mobile phones. Finally for me it shows how important post processing is to an image. The version you see above is the one I processed for my landscape photography site but I also have a street photography site at www.the-decisive-moment.co.uk and for the project I was working on there I needed something much more contrasty. I wanted something that had the feel of the Fritz Lang film Metropolis, which led to the treatment below.

Posted in Black and White, London, Processing

Dunstanburgh By Moonlight

Dunstanburgh By Moonlight

I call this image Dunstanburgh by Moonlight but to be totally truthful, that should have inverted commas round the moonlight. It is in fact sunlight. I can hear the sharp intakes of breath from people now but for me my landscape photography is not about a perfect truthful rendition (whatever that may mean). It is about communicating a feeling and an emotion. This is what this image does for me. I remember this castle on the Northumberland coast very well from my youth. We had friends with a weekend cottage along the coast in Craster and we would often join them there from Newcastle for a few days. My brother and I and our friends children would walk to the castle and play cricket on the beach near by. The caretaker here would tell us all ghost stories, so I wanted to bring out a spooky feeling to match that tone. I did this by using a Lee big stopper filter to create a long exposure and under exposing the image. To me it looks like moonlight. It may not be everybody’s truth but it is mine.

Posted in Northumberland