Autumn is the time of year for foggy days and frosty mornings. Because you can’t see far doesn’t mean you cannot come up with images. You just have to be experimental and see what you come up with.
Autumn is great time for color. The variation and depth in the color is amazing. Add some frost to it and it can become quite magical. Here a simple shot of a fallen tree with some brambles growing round is lovely. The colors in the natural world are stunning. This type of shot can be taken anywhere close to where you live. Most of us have small wooded areas nearby.
When you are doing this type of shot you have to think in more abstract way. Taking parts and making them into an image. Keeping too much in the image can make it too confusing.
When photographing in woodland it can be dark. You can up the ISO to get a better exposure for hand holding the camera. I prefer to go for better quality so carry my monopod with me. I can usually get away with exposures up to 1/2 second with this.
On foggy days, the camera doesn’t see as well as your eyes. That doesn’t mean you cannot come up with great images. I took this shot on higher ground. The fog was laying close to the ground. You could see the tree tops sticking out of the fog.
When the sun rose it lit the clouds above the mist. Don’t be afraid to photograph in any sort of weather. Use your imagination. You can come up with something to be proud of.
Go outdoors create some wonderful images.
After driving for a hour along the motorway I pulled into the country park at Hessle. There is a short walk from here from where you can view the Humber bridge. The Humber bridge is on the outskirts of Hull in Yorkshire. When it first opened in 1981 it was the longest single span suspension bridge in the world. I started my working life out as an engineer so do love beautiful structures. I find the simplicity of this structure very elegant.
When you go to places like this there limited places that you can shoot. Chances are that most shots have been been done over the years. Coming up with something new is not always easy. The best way is to choose a day when you will get some interesting light. Here a deep blue sky with lovely cloud formations gives a little drama to the image. You could go at sunset or at night to make the shot different. Definitely don’t go for one of those flat grey days.
A graduated nd filter was used to bring out detail in the sky. It would have been nice to have had a wider lens than the 24mm that I was using. I would have got a little more in the frame but as I was limited I chose this composition. I wanted to show some of the shoreline detail in the image. The reflection of the bridge shows in the water and creates subtle colors changes. I wanted the bridge to fill as much of the frame as possible and make it look dynamic. It would be easy to lose the character of the bridge by photographing it from a more straight on view point.
Go out there and make some photographs.
Being of the older generation I tend not to keep up with the latest gadget technology. My photographs are processed on my desktop pc. When I travel I have tended to use to use a laptop but as this was coming to the end of its life I started looking for a new one. Someone mentioned to me that one of the latest tablets may do what I needed. Obviously when travelling this would make life easier. The main reason for it was just to process some RAW files whilst away and put them onto social media. I would leave the bulk of work for when I got home.
After looking at the possibilities I purchased the latest ipad pro. Obviously it could connect via the cameras wi-fi. Using the Nikon WMU app I could view the images I had on the camera and download a couple to process. I have downloaded the Lightroom app to work on the images. It also has the added bonus that when out photographing I can check the images as they are taken. This is such a bonus to me as much of my work is based around long exposures and I can check them easily and quickly. A much better way to work than looking at the back of the camera. The tablet goes with me everywhere now and I wouldn’t be without it.
Enough of the technical side its images that matter. I recently visited one of my favorite spots for photography, Padley gorge in the Peak district in Derbyshire. A beautiful afternoon with dappled sunlight coming through the trees. A lovely walk through the trees and I settled on a couple of spots to photograph. One where I could do close ups of the water flowing round the rocks but the one chosen for here is from a bit further back. It shows more of the flow of the stream flowing through the rocks with an amzing range of colors.
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.
I am a great lover of reflections, they seem to give an image extra life, though if you know what to look for they are easy to find. Bright sunny days are where they stand out best. The shot that I have put on here is about 100 yards from the abbey so you don’t have to be too close to the thing that you want a reflection of. Sometimes it is a matter of searching out where you will find a good reflection. The problem that I had with this shot was that it was a breezy day creating a ripple on the water. The ripple was spoiling the refection that I wanted so I put a 10 stop neutral density filter on the lens. When using something like this it is better to put the camera in manual, set everything up and work out the exposure then put the filter on the lens. The filter in this case gave me an exposure of 30 seconds at f22, I needed a small aperture to give a lot of depth of field. The effect of the long exposure on the image was to smooth out the water creating a better reflection. Often with filters like this you will get a slight color cast, depends on the image whether you adjust in post processing or keep it in. Also with reflections I often give extra saturation to my images in lightroom to make them stand out more.
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.
I just want to tell you what I thought was a slightly ridiculous conversation that I had about this image with dappled sunlight. It was a beautiful day and I was out walking in the hills and stopped by a waterfall. There was a couple in their mid 70’s sat by the waterfall, there was also a class of school children doing geological studies there. The kids were having fun as they do when near water. I fell into conversation with the couple, the conversation got onto how these kids probably only get out into the countryside when on school trips. They probably spend most of their time sat on their PlayStation’s at home.
The couple both had good cameras and liked to photograph when out walking. I mentioned to the couple about a day that I had in the Derbyshire Peak District recently, the light was beautiful and had come across some strange trees, the dappled sunlight was coming through the trees. The light was amazing and the scene just stunning. The gentleman the said to me that he would create that effect in photoshop. I was little taken aback, surely all you are doing is the same as the kids on their PlayStation’s. Part of what we do as artists or photographers is getting out there and seeing and feeling passionate about the images that we produce. Always remember that photoshop is not a substitute for feeling passionate about our wonderful world.
I woke very early on a lovely morning with the sun rising. I set off along a local for a quiet walk. The path meandered alongside a golf course. The light was beautiful casting long soft shadows. As I walked past a small lake, there was dead rotting tree that had fallen into the lake. The shape of the tree intrigued me, I do find the shapes that trees create quite fascinating. The reflections of the tree in the water made the shape even more fascinating to me. I photographed the scene but knew that with some extra processing in lightroom I would be able to make the scene even more interesting.
In lightroom adjustments were made to add contrast and take some of the detail out of the image. The focus of the image had to on the tree and reflection. The image appeals to me very much and fits in with my view of what art should be. You are inspired by something and interpret in your own way. The great ability for anyone involved in visual art is to be able to see the way light works and what you can do with it. Understanding light is far more important to you than what camera make you use.
After learning how to use apertures, shutter speeds etc. the next thing any photographer should learn is about light. How to use it and how it affects your images. The correct use of light gives interest to your images as well as depth. The use of shadows can add great atmosphere to an image. On the image that I have added here I have used subtle tones in the shallow estuary water of the River Conwy in Wales. The shot was taken from high upon a hill so you clearly see the different tones where the sand shows through and ripples on the water. The cliffs add a frame to the esturay.