Over the past year I have been going through a change of direction with my photography. Photographing landscapes was lovely but I did miss photographing people. I made the decision to move to more art based photography.
I was feeling the need to be more creative and not tied in with convention. Specifically I decided to photograph black and white nudes in the landscape. Never in my life have I felt so happy with my photography as I do now. Most of the art nude models are truly amazing young ladies who just happen not to mind being photographed being naked. Now what you will find is that they are a small part of a landscape.
The first shoot that I am focusing on is with Jessica. The shoot happened by accident and was at Padley gorge in the Peak district. It was a damp dismal day so there were no people about, making nude work very easy. Jessica did an amazing job. Communication is not easy in these places as you are often a distance from the model and the sound of the water drowns any other sound. You often have to rely on the skill of the model.
I will explain more about my conversion to black and white in a later post. My way of working in areas like this are to handhold the camera with slow exposures and a lot of depth of field. Working like this gives you a lot of blurry failures. You could up the ISO to get faster shutter speeds but I like the best quality and rarely shoot above 400 ISO. You could go for less depth of field and faster shutter speed but this is what works for me.
I have worked with Jessica since this shoot and will work with her again in future. The first shot is using the top of the rock but the second shot is the same rock using it in a completely different way. Hope you like and will be back soon.
You will find my prints for sale here.
I have had a change of name to the blog. Friends had started to call me a tramp who carries a camera so thought this would reflect nicely on my blog. I do tend to jump in the car and go off to wherever, whenever. I do love to travel about so it is a good reflection of me.
Its been a long time since I had visited Cornwall so decided to reacquaint myself with this amazing place. The place didn’t disappoint and the weather was beautiful during the visit. It has a stunning coastline with dramatic cliffs and beautiful beaches, the Atlantic Ocean rolls in and attracts surfers from far and wide. Many walkers go there to walk the south west coastal path in sections.
After a torturous 7 hour drive I finally landed at Lizard point, the southerly most point of the U.K. I pitched the tent, I am determined to have a campervan for next year, I like a few comforts when travelling. I walked down to the south west coastal path and walked towards Kynance bay. The sun was setting so I found a good spot to shoot where I could get the composition that I wanted. There was foreground detail with the rocks and breaking waves.
I put my 2 stop graduated neutral density filter on. This is to equalise the exposure between the sea and the sky. The result is an amazing sky with an amazing variety of colours, shapes and shades. The light that is there is reflected on the sea giving it a little warmth.
Going back to a previous blog about filters. I have settled on a Lee filter system. At the moment it is a bit limited but expandable to my requirements. The quality of them is superb with no colour cast.
Get out there and create some images.
Blue is the color that I want to talk about in this post. Your images should create an emotional feeling to yourself and the viewer. Different colors have different emotional effects on us. Blue does have some negative emotions, cold, distant, sadness. It also gives some positive emotions, harmony, faithfulness, confidence. By many people blue is regarded as their favorite color which says so much about it as a color.
I am a big believer in having a feel for an image before raising the camera to the eye. See the image and reflect how it feels in your final image. My photoshop skills are basic but I will happily play with the sliders in Lightroom until I get the image to look and feel how I want. Whatever my end image, it must project my feelings of when I took the picture. However your image finishes do not be frightened to be different. No type of art will be universally liked and it should push peoples emotions.
I was walking round the marina at Riva del Gardo whilst on holiday at Lake Garda in Italy when I spotted this shot. It was a calm peaceful scene, which is how I felt at the time. The haze gave the light an overall blue tone and the scene just had that feeling of harmony. I have increased the blue in Lightroom but hopefully kept the original feeling of the image. The jetty and the island give a sense of scale. The angles of the mountains create harmony.
The question of what fine art photography is has no easy answer. There is no universal meaning to what it means and we all have our own view. To my mind it is something that the photographer creates in their mind. The image should be pre-visualized or visualized when taking the image. Some people will see the image in black and white or sepia or vary the scene in color, it is a personal thing. The image should have some artistic or aesthetic quality to it.
As I have moved more into the world of landscape photography my work has moved more to long exposure photography. The effects that this has on water and clouds really appeals to me and gives me the feeling that I want in my photographs. One person recently commented on my images that they were mysterious and dreamy. Maybe that is a reflection on me and the way I see the world. For all the ugliness in the world I do like to see the beautiful side of it. As people say, I live in my own world most of the time, this is probably correct but its a happier place than the real world.
The image that I have added was taken at Betws Y Coed in Wales. It is taken using my 10 stop neutral density filter to give me a long exposure. The exposure was 30 seconds at f22 with the camera set at 100 ISO. Hopefully it has given that dreamy quality that I like to the image. If you are taking fine art based images then do not be afraid to experiment. Find out what your equipment is capable of, it will allow you more opportunities to be creative. You will be amazed at what some equipment allows you to create. The best advice that I can give is to learn to use your camera in manual and keep an open mind.
As I have moved more into landscape photography, I decided I needed to put a little more thought into how I was doing things. Often I am walking solo in very rough terrain, often the trails are strewn with rocks where tripping and breaking a leg or worse is very possible. Often no mobile signal is available so especially as I love photographing waterfalls which tend to be in very inhospitable places. I have decided to put a little more care into the way I was doing things.
The first thing that I have done is purchase a Manfrotto rucksack where the top part is for personal goods and the lower half is for the camera gear. A must is a good tripod carrying facility which this bag does well. I am concentrating on the top half here, first in goes my waterproof coat. I have also purchased a pack of mylar blankets and a safety bivvi bag to put in. In case of emergency these will be invaluable and very cheap to purchase. A few other bits like a torch, a whistle, water and some snacks to eat.
I cannot leave you without an image so as I am talking about safety I have put on a waterfall which made me think about that safety. It is Thomasson Foss at Beck hole in the North Yorkshire moors. The path to it is treacherous with rocks surrounding the waterfall but the beauty is outstanding and worth the trip.
Recently I have had limited time to get out to photograph. When a day came free recently I went to Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire with the idea of getting off the popular walk through the woodlands by the river to the Strid. I walked the route up to the Valley of Desolation which is signposted to the beautiful waterfall of Posforth Gill. Though the track is generally good, close to the falls however it is narrow and rough so wear good walking boots. Though it is winter and many of the trees are bare, I knew after recent rain there would be a good flow of water off the hills.
As I wanted to include the rocks in the foreground to give the image some depth and add some color variation the aperture was set to f22. This gave slow shutter speed of 1/5th second so the camera was set on a tripod and a shutter release was used. After packing my camera for a trip my tripod is the next most important thing I take with me. I do vary how I photograph water depending on the effect that I want to use. I am not a massive fan of making everything looking like cotton wool so I do tend to use as fast a shutter speed as possible without losing quality. The problem with many waterfalls is that they tend to be in areas surrounded by trees so are by nature quite dark. Long exposures tend to be normal but I like to get some of water looking as it should. It would always difficult to freeze the falling water without losing quality, I would always go for quality but it depends on your personal preference.
With urban portraits, do not be frightened to be different and try something new. Often it is best to fit people into scenes but here is a head shot and the emphasis is on the eyes. The face in this shot is cut into sections by some bars on the front of a hotel but the eyes hold the viewer. The image has been made into a high key image to take out some of the tonal range and leave the beautiful eyes as the main point of focus. Part of working outdoors is to take what nature throws at you and here the hair is left to it’s own devices, it has worked out beautifully in this shot giving the shot an extra dimension.
Lumb falls in Yorkshire is a little off the beaten track but well worth a visit if you have chance. Basic directions are follow the Keighly road out of Hebden Bridge then take the Haworth old road after about a mile. This is a single track road and you watch for public bridleway sign on your left. There is only room to park 2 cars. A good pair of walking boots are required to walk down the rocky path. You can get to the base of the falls with care if you cross the bridge.
A plaque at the falls shows that the former poet laureate Ted Hughes wrote his poem ‘Six young men’ at the falls. This is a poem about 6 young men in a photograph that went to war and they had all died 6 months later.
It was using my lightweight tripod and the exposure was half a second at f22. The big difficulty with the shot was the extremes in brightness between the shadow areas and the highlights. I did quite a lot of work in lightroom to balance everything out but do hope you think it was worth it.
When I went to one of my favorite places recently, my aim was to use some long exposures photographing a stream running through a gorge. The place that I went is Padley gorge in the Peak district. You can get magical lighting there when the sun shines. As there a lot of trees down in the gorge you get some wonderful dappled light effects.
Because the day I chose to go was heavily overcast and the trees were blocking much of the light, it allowed longer exposures, the exposures were about 5 seconds. The camera was set on 100 ISO at f22. If the light is too bright for long exposures use neutral density filter to cut out some of the light. On exposures of this length you will need to use a tripod, here a light travel tripod was used with a rock in bag hanging from it for added stability.
The effect that you get on the water is where the water is running fast it goes almost milky. On the slower running water the effect is that it looks like a sheet of glass. This type of photography is well worth giving a try and experimenting with.
As you walk through woodland it is good practice to spend a little time looking upwards, look to the sky. As I walked along the woodland path it curved away which made the trees look like they formed a semi circle. Using a wide angle lens and pointing upwards from low down the trees converge creating a dynamic shape. When you take this type of shot you do need a good a good strong sky. On this particular day it was very blue with white fluffy clouds, the shot looked quite good in color but I thought it would look much more powerful in black and white. Whenever you are out photographing it is as well to spend a little time pondering the possibilities of any shot that you are taking. Always a good thought to have in your mind is how would I like this to look when it is finished.
The conversion to black and white was done in Lightroom,I have kept as much detail as possible in the trees whilst darkening up the sky to make the clouds stand out better. The clouds help the trees stand out against the darkened sky.