I had fun putting together this set of moody black and white landscapes taken on Dartmoor on New Year’s Day. I hope you like it.
Monthly Archives: November 2013
The little iron church
The tiny, corrugated iron, ‘mission’ church of St. George is in the hamlet of West End, near Esher in Surrey. It was built in 1879 on land given by Queen Victoria so that the poor labourers of the village might be able to worship without the steep, muddy climb into Esher. Despite its temporary nature, the church, which overlooks the cricket green, is currently 134 not out!
Many thanks to my friend, Tony Antoniou, who kindly popped round yesterday to re-calibrate my monitor and at the same time showed me how to get better results from the HDR facility in Photoshop CC. This photo is my first effort using the tool properly. Tony is a talented photographer with a flair for environmental portraits and image manipulation. Do pop over and have a look at his website.
Clearing out old files, still, I came across some shots of greenfly from May and June and thought they made a set of greedy, green, garden pests. With apologies to all the gardeners out there.
A couple of these shots are as much if not more about the background than the aphids themselves.
They are a little bit pretty seen singly like this? Not convinced? 😉
Over on my Facebook page I am giving away a 2014 calendar to one winner chosen on Monday next week from those who nominate a Surrey beauty spot. Do visit if you’re local. I am planning to compile a list of nominated Surrey locations to photograph in 2014, with a view to making a 2015 calendar from the best images.
The Shed Gallery
Seeing your work exhibited has to be one of the greatest thrills available in photography. Liberated from the hard drive, your images come to life, and take on new meaning as they resonate with the other exhibited images. People actually come to see them, and contemplate them, in real time, and not just because they want you to visit their blog/photostream/FB page/twitter feed. Well hung, a collection of images becomes a body of work. And, let’s face it, exhibiting your own work is just plain cool.
Staging an exhibition is a huge undertaking, and not just in terms of the obvious challenges: deciding on your image criteria (theme, style etc), choosing your best images, getting them printed to an exhibition standard, mounting and framing and making an aesthetically pleasing hanging plan. Obviously, you have to find a venue. Then, depending on your venue, you have to think about publicity, stewardship and pricing (if your work is for sale). As that last point hints, it’s not a cheap project either. Just a little bit of research locally has led me to conclude that a solo exhibition is going to cost well into four figures. And the harsh reality is that most exhibiting photographers fail to sell enough prints even to begin to make a significant dent in all that investment.
Yet, this year I have had the pleasure of having images exhibited in three (soon to be four) prestigious exhibitions. Am I broke now? No, because last Autumn I joined The Shed Gallery. I was on holiday in Lyme Regis, on Dorset’s beautiful Jurassic Coast, when I came across an exhibition at The Malthouse. The images were all printed on aluminium, which gave the exhibition an edgy, current vibe, and worked well in the space. I also liked the way the photography mingled with original pieces of art, paintings and sculptures, giving an added layer of texture and interest. The exhibition was by The Shed Gallery, and I got chatting to one of its owners, Chelsea Davine, herself a talented artist and photographer. The Shed is an online gallery specialising in aluminium prints. There are plenty of ways of selling photography on-line but The Shed offers the added benefit of staging real exhibitions of selected works and also has hanging space in Chelsea’s Barcelona Gallery.
Since joining, I have had my work exhibited in London, Bristol and Lyme, and am delighted to be one of the featured photographers at a second exhibition in Lyme next month. I have more than recouped my membership fee in sales and I have had the pleasure of exhibiting without any of the effort or financial risk; Chelsea and her business partner Ben do all the work! In January, I attended the private view of The Shed’s Albion exhibition, at the Cock ‘n’ Bull Gallery under The Tramshed restaurant in trendy Shoreditch. I mingled with celebrities sipping champagne and actually looking at my work! I have also met, either online or in person, some very nice people, and enjoyed some inspirational images.
Sadly, I can’t attend the winter exhibition as I will be in Australia, but if you are in Dorset between 17th December and 6th January, do consider popping into our exhibition. And if you want to know more about The Shed, just pop over to the website and have a look round, visit The Shed’s blog, or feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.
Still Autumn, just…
There is a heavy hint of change in the air. The trees no longer bask in full Autumn glory. Instead, their leaves billow under the wheels of passing vehicles. Twice this week my day has begun with scraping frost from car windows. Staying out to photograph the sunset, my hands and feet became numb from the cold.
Perhaps in sympathy, it’s been all change in my digital life this week. I have finally downloaded Photoshop Creative Cloud and Lightroom 5. For photographers there’s a special subscription deal for just under £9 a month. That’s a huge discount, but hurry, it ends on 2nd December. It will take me a while to get to grips with Lightroom as I haven’t used it before but PS CC seems fairly intuitive, not too much of a leap from CS4.
One of the things that’s much improved from CS4 is the HDR facility. The image below is my first attempt. Just three exposures blended by PS CC. It’s certainly light years ahead of what CS4 would have produced but I’m still not sure about it. I had to tweak a lot to get it to look even vaguely natural. Perhaps it’s a good thing I have ordered some ND graduated filters so I can do it in camera instead!
Just to make life even harder, I also upgraded my iMac operating system from Snow Leopard to Mavericks. It seems mostly familiar but for some inexplicable reason I now have to scroll in the opposite direction. Mighty confusing! There’s probably a setting I need to tick somewhere. (Scratches head bemusedly.)
And, just to add to it all, I have finally given up on Redbubble and am working on creating a new website with Photium. More on that soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these further images from my walk last week along the Wey Navigation towpath.
Last week I shared a picture of Coulson’s Weir on the Wey Navigation, Weybridge. This is another shot of the same place, taken on the same day but a couple of hours later. The light has become warmer and a cluster of oak leaves has fallen giving me some seasonal foreground. In fact, I like this one better than the first shot. I think the person on the bridge helps the composition, although I know a few very good landscapers who absolutely hate seeing people in their shots. I suppose this is not exactly a wild place and so a bit of human interest seems fitting. Which image do you prefer? And what are your views on figures in landscapes?
I realise I have been wittering on about the Wey Navigation recently but haven’t really explained what it is. I did a few posts about it last year, but that is a long time ago in blog-land! A longer post on the Navigation is in the pipeline, plus one on technique, and one on selling your images online. But first my incredibly slow internet has to finish downloading OS X Mavericks. So far, 8 hours and not even close to the middle of the progress bar! Rant over.
The wonderful Wey
Two more shots from my stroll along my local stretch of the Wey Navigation in Weybridge. The top one is a panorama, stitched from five separate vertical images to make a big 11000 by 7000 (approx) pixel file, which will make a mighty print, if I ever print it. The lower image is the same viewpoint as my moonrise shot last month.
I am now writing for a local website once a week and the second shot featured in my article last week.
An adventure in Dorset, with filters
Yesterday I had a bit of an adventure. I attended a one day, Lee filters workshop in Portland, Dorset led by Jeremy Walker. I have been thinking about investing in some filters for a while, particularly to try my hand at some long exposure photography, but also to balance my exposures in camera, so I can spend more time out taking photos and less time in front of my computer. When I came across Jeremy’s course online, it seemed the perfect way to learn how to use the filters, and to try before I buy.
After an early start and a two and a half hour drive, I found myself tucking into some much needed coffee and meeting Jeremy, Ed (the Managing Director of Lee filters) and Luciana, my fellow student. We were provided with a set of filters for the day and were soon heading off to capture the waves and pebbles on the shore of Portland, Dorset. The weather was inauspicious but, as we quickly learned, with filters you can make a photograph out of the most unpromising conditions.
I am mostly a solitary shooter, finding it difficult to concentrate when in company. Add to that learning how to use the Lee filter system, and it is perhaps hardly surprising I did not take nearly as many exposures as I would normally when at the coast. But Jeremy and Ed are good company and they were very patient with my rather fumbling, disorganised approach. I also appreciated all the chocolate!
There is something very satisfying about using filters. I think part of the pleasure is that you’re forced to slow down. It takes time to select the right filter(s), set them up and position them (although I expect one becomes much quicker with practice!). I liked taking it slowly, just enjoying the process and the experience. Of course, I also learned a lot and not just how to use the filters. For example, I can now adjust the kelvin value in camera, which was rather fun. I chose to emphasize the blue tint in the light. Well, I like blue!
Of course, back at home, I had to convert some images to black and white.
Now I just have to buy some filters and start putting every thing I learned into practice. I leave you with what is possibly my favourite shot from the day. Of course, it’s a blue hour shot, and that’s my favourite time of day, as I have said often enough here. It also breaks rules (look at that horizon in the middle and all that emptyish space) but, as you know by now, I like breaking the rules. We may not have had a sunset, but we made the most of what the weather dished up.
If you are interested in learning about using filters, I heartily recommend Jeremy’s workshops. And no-one is paying me anything to say so!
An autumn stroll at Winkworth
I had a lovely day yesterday in the company of Jenifer Bunnett at Winkworth Arboretum in Surrey. Magical light and location, and a small starburst in keeping with this week’s theme. One of the many wonderful things about Autumn as a landscape photography season is that the sun never gets very high in the sky, making for softer light, longer shadows and the availability of starbursts filtered through leaves.
The two Wey-Bridges
Another shot from my stroll along the Wey Navigation behind Weybridge yesterday morning. Every post this week has to feature a starburst. Why? Why not?