Monthly Archives: December 2012

Yet another visit to Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, Mid Wales

I was up in Rhayader a week or so ago collecting a print from Andrew at Actpix who prints and frames all my prints for me, so I thought I would pop into Gigrin Farm as the weather forecast was for some sun for a change. Well the sun disappeared rapidly after 11.00am and it went dark and rainy. Not the best conditions for photographing fast flying birds and not the most interesting of light.

Having attempted previously the style of Vincent Munier at an another visit, I was up to experimenting a bit more. It also gave me a chance to test my new cameras. See if you can work out which image was made with a £400, £1500 or £2000+ camera body. You won’t be able to I’m sure at this size, but also if you could see the files next to each other, you wouldn’t notice any difference. I was using 1600 ISO as it was so dark, plus I like to over expose the sky to retain detail in the underside of the Kites. I can then lose this detail if needed later. The quality of the files out of the £400 camera body is superb and it was one of the images from that camera that Andrew had printed for me into a 2 1/2 foot long image.

The image above was forced on me by the conditions. The light on the birds vanished and a bright patch of sky opened up behind them. I decided to shillouette the birds and expose for the sky. Normally I try and avoid making images while there are too many birds in the sky as it is visually it is chaotic and hard to isolate individual birds. For the lighting conditions I had, the multiple birds in frame worked well.  I took a sequence of images as I wanted to keep the sky in the image. I framed the patch of sky that I wanted as the background and then took images as the birds flew into the area I had framed. Of the twenty or so frames only this one had some semblence of order and composition. There is a slightly menacing feel to the image which I like.

Below are a few more conventional type images for those who like that style better.

Thinking about Photography with Joel Meyerowitz

I’m often surprised on my Day courses or workshops that some participants seen to think that there is only one image in a particular location and that once they have taken it there is nothing else to photograph. They don’t seem to want to experiment and move forward from an image that has been done many times before and find their own vision of the location. To me that is part of the challenge of working in a “local patch”. It is easy to keep repeating yourself in the same locations, perhaps the lighting is different but essentially the framing is the same. Finding an alternative view makes you think, plan and develop your photographic brain more. So here’s a question for you. Why do we need to have a foreground, middle and background interest in a landscape image? And while I’m at it , why does it have to be in focus from front to back?

Joel  Meyerowitz talks about a similar theme in the video below. Perhaps there aren’t any more options in a particular genre, location etc. so he talks about going over the threshold into another area of photography. I’m still working out my threshold and where I would like to move onto next in those areas of photography that I feel I’m stagnating in. What’s your threshold?

 

 

An hour at Caswell Bay, Gower Peninsula

Caswell Bay is always worth a visit in the winter as the sun sets away from the headland out over the sea in a south west direction. With the current clear, crisp days the potential for great colours is increased, plus there always seems to be some low level cloud on the horizon to give some interest in the sky as the sun sets.

Caswell doesn’t have the distinctive landscape elements such as Three Cliffs Bay or Worm’s head, so it is often overlooked for one of the more populist landmarks. I like it partially as it always works for me as a go to bay when I have a few moments spare to either test equipment or just to get away from the office/computer/whatever, but also it doesn’t have a distinctive landmark that allows me to drop back into a familiar framing of the view and it therefore makes me think a bit more.

 

I’ve noticed recently that most of my images over this last year have tended to be in the portrait orientation, even my landscape work. It seems to be my instinctive framing option at the moment. It may be due to most commercial work I do needs the portrait format and now it is drifting into my own personal work as well. It seems to work well with the minimal landscape that I am producing at the moment, especially when presented in a triptych format . I’m sure it will all change again as a new creative view takes over.