Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Assignment 2 - Images taken

What a performance. Deciding which of my possible locations to go to was a nightmare. By 1pm I still hadn't set off. The day was bright with fair weather cumulus and the light variable. No rain but very windy. As if in some "anti" moment I choose the location I thought least likely at the start of the day. Holme - next - the - sea is a small village on the North Norfolk coast about 4 miles east of Hunstanton. The village is inland but there is a nature reserve on the coast run by various naturalist and ornithology trusts, so that's where I ended up. I am a member of one of the groups and that allows me access to a remote area of beach, dunes with marram grass and some pine woodland. Whether the area I used was exactly one acre I don't know, but my garden at home is about one third of an acre so I tried to keep within a size of three gardens. One of the reasons for not wanting to go to Holme was the wind and the sand. I don't mollycoddle my equipment that much, but sand is nasty and will ruin stuff quickly, but because the location has areas of elevation (we are short of that around here) it drew me and that's where I spent 3 hrs shooting 126 images for a 12 image assignment. I have tried to slow down and work with more "technique", thinking, reflecting, taking and then moving. The incident meter worked well, producing some good looking histograms despite the viewfinder display protesting. I never look at the image while out shooting only the histogram. Even on a D3 its far too small and in any case I think its fair to assume that with a 100% finder I will have pointed it where I wanted and don't need to check composition at that stage. The only exception is sometimes I use live view in magnification mode to check the near and distance focus when using the tilt lens, but on a bright day this is difficult and would be better with a black cloth. Perhaps if I buy a black cloth I will buy a 5x4 camera. The only filter used was a Lee ND grad. The sky was well outside the DR and while most of the images were made without a sky, some got interesting and needed this. Lenses used were the 24mm Tilt/shift, 50mm and 80-200 zoom. I haven't made up my mind yet about how to present the work. Its likely to be monochrome, due to that being my preferred genre and that there is little colour anyway at this location and it will either look washed out or if I saturate them they will look wrong. Within monochrome I probably have more decisions to make than if they were presented in colour. Straight or manipulated is the initial question. Manipulated sounds fun but for this assignment I don't think we need to be "clever" so I will have a look at some standard film types in Silver Efex Pro, maybe a bit of yellow filter and certainly some dodging and burning and a judicious amount of retouching. I hate annoying highlights and will always remove them if they drag the eye in any way. I never go to processing straight after a shoot. I always hate what Ive done anyway and can only come back to it a few days later, when I seem to see the images with fresh eyes. So, a bit of experimental PP with look alike PanF and maybe Delta 100.

The images.
While there and shooting I was concious that the outcome is a photographic essay. It should be complete when presented and act as a panel of photographs that tell the viewer something of the place, not only by way of the vista, but the textures and the feel of location. There are nagging thoughts when I shoot. How would Edward Weston, Fay Godwin, Ansel Adams, David Ward etc etc look at this location ?. They would produce master pieces, or would they ?. It is difficult to find out just how many failure days these people had. Some of them probably took more time, came many times to one location and that is something I must consider. I do have images from this location taken last winter and I may look through them and include any that offer more variety.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Assignment 2 - One Acre - Pre shoot thoughts.

After the hurry of getting Assignment 1 finished within the confines of "Spring" I have taken the break I spoke about below to think about some of the comments from my Tutor and consider what I am going to do in the One Acre. Generally Assignment 1 was well received with no poor comment, in fact Excellent - Well Done were the final words. There was however one comment relating to some of the images that were patterns within the landscape. "Be careful of making pictures which don't have a fixed relationship to the rectangle they are contained within" is part of the general summary and I am conscious that I will need to avoid anything that strays into this genre in Assignment 2. I am excited by the opportunity to work in a small area and have a number of locations in mind. The course notes end with a sentence in bold. "Remember that the key is variety". I have set aside Friday 16th July to do this and it may well rain. If the light is a bit "Godwin" (mostly flat and boring) I will work with monochrome in mind, use the tripod, maximum DOF and go for textures and minimalist compositions.I want to use my prime glass as the quality of some of these is gorgeous, so the 24mm PCE, 50mm, 85mm and 300mm will all have to be considered plus some tubes to get minimum focus down.

I am also minded not to get too clever. Infra red had come to mind but maybe that will be useful later in the course and if used now will negate it for later. So, keep it simple, shoot slow and try and remember some of the words and images that mean so much when reading at home.