alan frost photography

fine art photography in monochrome

Having fun with a compact – Street Art in Chichester

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There are times when I think I take my photography a little too seriously. My recent ‘Still-Life’ images are a case in point. The light, the composition, the processing, are all very controlled and take quite a long time to get right.

For a while now I thought it would be a good idea to buy a compact camera. Something truly pocketable, that I could have with me most of the time but would still produce good quality images. A smartphone is great but it does have its limitations. Most of all this camera would have to be fun to use.

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I attended a talk a recently by Charlie Waite, the well renowned landscape photographer. It was a charity event in aid of The Disabled Photographers Society. As part of the fund raising there was an auction of items donated by various organisations. One of the items was the Sony RX100 Mk3. Although an older model which has been superseded by the Mk4 and Mk5, these are more expensive and the main improvements are video related.  The lens and quality of the still images from all three models are very similar and the Mk3 has a better battery life. I took the plunge, kept raising my hand to bid and after a few minutes proved to be the successful bidder.

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Yesterday I went into my home city of Chichester for an hour or two, to put the Sony through its paces and have a bit of fun. I concentrated on a some of ‘street art’ which can be found if you know where to look.

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Three vessels and a tulip

Three vessels and a tulip

This is the result of my third session making a still-life image.

Yesterday morning my wife and I visited The Curiosity Centre in Dorset. A large warehouse selling second hand furniture, collectables and what can only be termed as bric-a-brac. I was looking for some items which I thought would lend themselves to a still-life composition. I found three pewter vessels which I manged to buy for the princely sum of £10. I liked their simple design, rustic nature, patina and marks. I bought a bunch of tulips for my wife to enjoy but pinched one bloom for the photograph!

I spent a couple of hours in the afternoon creating a basic setup. Nothing elaborate. I used the natural light from a side window and a head torch. I changed the composition many times and tried different lenses and aperture settings until I had a selction I could download into Lightroom for further assesment.

My chosen image was processed in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro II. I like the square crop and the warm tone was added in LR to complete the workflow.

I find this genre of photography most appealing, so I will definitely be on the lookout for more items to help make suitable compositions. In the process I am sure my compositions and understanding of light will improve, as I refine my approach to still-life photography.

Do click on the image to view a larger version.

 

 

 

More ‘Still Life’ – further experimentation for the fun of it!

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A few days ago I experimented for the first time with still life photography. (You can read that post here). I have to say rather enjoyed it. Sometimes I think you need to break free from the norm, try something new and endeavour to be a little creative in the process. It can be very refreshing to photograph subjects in a different way and to make images which challenge how you think and approach a new technique .

With more time on my hands this afternoon I gathered together a few items of glassware from around the home and raided the fruit bowl and the fridge. I used a very simple set up. A black cloth was served as a background and a base. In addition to the natural light in the room I used a desk lamp to provide some directional light, plus a small head torch to cast light on a particular area of the subject. I used a 90mm lens on a full frame 35mm camera mounted on a tripod for stability.

After a certain amount of trial and error here are the results.

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All in all a very pleasant and satisfying way to spend an afternoon. Still life photography may not be to everyone’s taste but I particularly enjoyed the complete control I had over composition, lighting and final processing. Without question I shall experiment further. I would like to try different backgrounds, reflectors and mirrors to change how things are lit. Choose other items to photograph and consider options for their placement in the frame. I may possibly acquire some interesting objects from charity shops or boot sales etc. The permutations are endless. Long term projects continue but photography should be fun and having experimented with ‘still life’ I do feel that my creative juices are flowing once again.

Do click on any of the images to view a larger version which will open in anew window.

Churches Project no 21 – Idsworth, a church in a field.

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St Hubert’s Church at Idsworth in Hampshire enjoys a beautiful and isolated position not far from Rowlands Castle. Sited near the top of a slope in a field the origins of church dates back to the 11th century. Nothing remains of the village and community it once served, deserted in the 14th century probably as a consequence of the plague.

The interior is charming and I have included a few images which I hope capture something of the spirit and essence of this rural place of worship, which I am pleased to say is still in regular use.

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After photographing some interior details I stepped outside and was presented with a most wonderful cloud formation. It had been a beautiful late Spring afternoon and I could hardly believe my good fortune when capturing the scene at the top of this post.

Apples and an orange – experimenting with still life

Apples and an Orange

This weekend my wife and I have been taking part in the Chichester Art Trail. This is the first time we have done so, although we have been regular visitors to the studios of other artists over the years.

Today (Sunday) has been much quieter than yesterday, largely due to the glorious weather and temperatures in the mid 20’s. After a very poor and wet spring we are guessing most people have been tempted by the beach or simply want to relax in their garden and who can blame them.

Being quieter gave me an opportunity to think and to experiment with a simple still life composition. I took a glass bowl, some cooking apples and an orange; found some black cloth and using a desk lamp for side lighting made this image.

Shot with my Leica Monochrom and a 50mm lens wide open @f1.4 very little is in sharp focus but that was the intention. I also knew I wanted the background to be completely black so that the bowl appears to be floating.

As a first attempt at a still life I am pleased with the outcome and if it’s quiet again tomorrow I shall be experimenting again with other items to be found in our home. Great fun!