Fine art photography and black and white.

I am going to talk about fine art photography and black and white as my preferred way. I do not shoot exclusively black and white but prefer it for my art nude work. I also like to differentiate something that is created in the mind rather than just recording of an image. At the end I will briefly talk about how I do my conversion from RAW to black and white.

My interpretation of art is that it is something that is created in the mind of the artist. The artist can then interpret that creation in whatever manner that they wish to, painting, sculpture, photography etc. Whatever form the creation takes it should create some emotional reaction from a viewer.

 When it comes to fine art photography I do prefer the use of black and white over color. I prefer this for one main reason. Black and white allows you to use your imagination in a way that color cannot. Let me explain. If you read a book the watch a movie of that book, the movie will never live up to reading the book. The reason for this is that the book allows you to use your imagination to create the way a person or place looks. The movie will do all this for you, essentially preventing you using your imagination.

In fine art photography I believe that black and white gives you that use of your imagination.

I always shoot in RAW mode, I then do my conversion to black and white using NIK  silver effects in Lightroom. I do different versions of images but my preferred method is to pick a low key preset of an image. I then add in detail to the image and adjust the exposure to how I want the image to look. I do prefer the model to pop out from a dark background. You do need to play with the sliders to get the effect that you like. Do not be afraid to experiment, as long as you keep the original RAW file you cannot spoil anything.

You can purchase my images here or here.

Should you have a style?

Should you have a style to your photography? A difficult question and with no easy answer. I do think it is important to have your own style but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment with other ideas and concepts. Most of my work tends to be black and white fitting models into landscapes. Easily recognizable as my images, usually they will include waterfalls.

With the extreme cold weather recently I couldn’t expect the model, Lulu, to be naked outdoors for long. We did a mixed shoot, doing some studio and a some outdoor shots.

Obviously working in the studio you have to come up with something different. Because Lulu is quite strong and dynamic with her posing what we did was use some amazing shapes and a wind machine on her amazing hair to create something different. This image was quite high key but I added some copper tone which I think adds to the beautiful shapes that Lulu creates and the way her hair blows using the wind machine.

We did a few shots outdoors. A few quick spurts so Lulu didn’t get too cold. Do take care of the models, they are so important to your images and show them some respect. I totally rely on their skill at posing as well as my skill with a camera.

The image that I have chosen to show outdoors is my normal black and white conversion. I have chosen an image that uses a stable door but also has an old set of scales to balance the image. This is much more my style of photography, an outdoor scene with model creating beautiful shapes.

Though I prefer outdoor shots, working in a studio makes you think differently. Working on a plain background makes you create something different though I do some similarities. In both forms I am looking for the model to create shapes. Maybe it’s the shapes that is my style of photography.

Just to add a spot of interest for you I am thinking of moving to a mirror less camera , if you have any thoughts on which to choose please leave a comment.

If you would like to purchase any of my prints then you can purchase them here.

A change of direction.

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.

Derwent valley reservoirs in the Peak District.

Cold and misty morning in the Peak District.

The Derwent valley reservoirs in the Peak District have become a favorite place to visit. Joined to Ladybower reservoir it makes a great walking area. The paths are well maintained and make fairly easy walking. There are much more difficult paths if you want to tackle them. You can find them here. 

The first image is one that I took en route to the reservoir. It was a grab shot which on a cold misty morning where there was a little color in the sky. A long lens was used to compress the image. It is more about shape and form than getting too much detail.  

In the winter I prefer easier routes and leave the more difficult routes for summer. There are numerous parking spots along the reservoirs but I chose the visitor center park, mainly so that I could get a coffee and snack after my walk.  

It was beautifully sunny day as I set to walk along the side of the upper reservoir. My B&W polarizing filter was fitted to take some of the glare from the water. This in turn allows you to get great reflections and deep rich colors. The second image is a general shot of the reservoir but does let you see what lovely day it was and the scenery that I was walking in. Don’t think you could ever regret walking in this area.

Derwent valley reservoir.

The walk was on a wide path, it is quite muddy in places so wear waterproof boots.  It is probably much better in summer. My route was about 8km there and back along the reservoir. You can do circular routes over the hills. Because of a poor winter of walking I need to build my endurance back up so its best to take it fairly easy to start.

When I am walking I will always look for something a little different. The image that I came across on this trip was of a tree. It was in the water and had a perfect reflection. There was very limited space to work in. It would have been great to shoot from a bit further back but you don’t always get to choose. I felt the image was too lovely to miss and decided that the shot would look great in sepia so just took it. It is my favorite shot of the day.

Go out and be creative my friends.

Tree art.

 

Reflections and future plans.

 

Reflections and future plans is really a catch up post and a little about plans for this year. My blog has moved on dramatically over the last year. I have added lots of new posts to it, this has brought lots of new readers and moved up the rankings. A contact form has been added, a subscribe from has been added, a gallery page has been put on the blog. The blog gallery is a bit limited at the moment but will be expanded this year. 

The improvement that I love most is the link to my Instagram page. This shows a constant updating of images that I take and some fun ones. Now I know some of you who love technology will find all this easy stuff but takes me quite a while to work out how to get things working. 

My move to landscape photography began after a dark period in my life. I hold a Licenciateship in wedding photography. This year is the last time that I will cover a wedding. I will still do some portrait photography. They will only be natural portraits rather than studio shots.

My focus will be on improving as a landscape photographer. I will make mistakes along the way but hopefully even at 60 I will look to improve. 

Over the last couple of years I have learned to see the world differently. You see things that other people don’t notice. I have found that I love reflections and long exposures so will work on these. 

Because I am of the older generation we had to do things in the camera. This works for me as I prefer to be out in the countryside than sat in front of a computer. The computer side of things will continue to be a learning curve for me, there are plenty of great tutorials on You tube.

Whereas with portrait and wedding photography I would shoot hundreds of images in a day, now I happy to come away with a dozen.

Most of my shots now are done on a tripod, I still use filters rather than relying on lightroom or photoshop. Its not just about being old fashioned but about enjoying time out in the countryside. 

This year my main target is the Scotland 500 trip which I will do over 2 to 3 weeks. This will be so that I have the time to spend on areas and shots. I have yet to decide whether I will use a campervan or buy a big 4×4 to sleep in.

There will be more places covered in the UK this year. I will do a trip abroad though not sure as yet where it will be.  

I will be moving more into vlogging this year and intend to buy a go pro camera. More on this later.

 

 

River Duddon in the Lake District.

river duddon, lake district
River Duddon.

I came across the river Duddon in the Lake District almost by accident. I had set off to photograph at one place and slightly lost my way. The drive led me over the Wrynose pass. It had spectacular scenery and wild countryside. 

Never be afraid just to follow your instinct, it can lead you to some amazing things in life.

Stopping often along the route to take photo’s allowed me to take in the beauty of this quiet corner of the Lake District. It is wild, it rugged and often breathtaking in its beauty.

As I headed over the pass I came across the river Duddon. The river has beautiful bridges, waterfalls gushing through rocks and bumbling along gently. It really is a quiet corner of the Lake District worth visiting.

There are places you can pull over to explore the river. As you move along the river you will find a constant changing view of the river. Do maker a few stops to explore.

Wordsworth himself wrote extensively about the river Duddon. He wrote a series of sonnets about the river. If it can inspire this man it should inspire other mortals.

Go out, explore and be inspired.

bridge, river duddon
Stone bridge over the River Duddon.

 

 

 

Foggy days and frosty mornings.

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 frost, bramblesamazing. 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.

 

 

sunrise, fog

 

St. Michaels Mount in Cornwall.

After a few days at the Lizard I moved on and called at St. Michaels Mount in Cornwall. It is a place called Marazion which is close to Penzance. St. Michaels Mount is in Mounts bay and is a small tidal island. There are 43 of these islands around the UK coast.

It is a very busy place with many tourists. When the tide is out there is a constant stream of people walking across the causeway. Trying to get good photographs is not easy. I went later in the day though it was cloudy the sun was shining behind the clouds. Not a great day day for photography.

The tide was out so the bit of sun that was shining came through and  was glistening on the sands. Taking a low viewpoint allowed me to pick up texture of the sands. The tide line leads the eye through the image and leads you to the castle. Taking a low viewpoint also hid many people walking along the causeway.

I did use my 2 stop graduated neutral density filter to pick up more details in the clouds. This is rapidly becoming my favorite filter. A couple more variations of this filter will be added to my collection shortly.

I have deliberately warmed up the image in Lightroom. I believe that it suited the image better. It gives the image an almost monochrome feel.

Hope you like the image. Go out and create some images yourself.

st.michaels mount, cornwall

 

Change of name

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.

image

Gadget technology.

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.

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