Posts from the ‘colour’ category

Adding a new dimension – an adventure in colour

For the past 8 years I have solely concentrated on Black and White photography and I have enjoyed the experience immensely. A quick scan of the galleries on this website will reveal a wealth of monochrome images. Only one gallery includes a small selection of colour work.

Whilst I will continue making monochrome photographs I have decided to spend considerably more of my time creating colour images. Good composition, form, texture, light and shade are all key to good black and white photography and I know these skills will be put to good use in the future. However the introduction of colour adds another dimension. Colour balance, colour temperature, saturation and luminosity and the interplay of all these ingredients have a role in making a pleasing image. These are skills I have yet to learn. I do not think for a moment this knowledge can be acquired overnight and I am sure I will make many mistakes along the way. In essence this is a new adventure, a fresh challenge and I do not know where it might lead me in terms of a photographic style.

I suspect the choice of subject matter will not change as I love to be outdoors and enjoying being in nature. I do though intend to adopt a more considered approach. Taking my time, thinking things through, planning the shot and using a tripod and filters if necessary. Less the ‘hit and run’ of my usual spontaneous approach. More contemplative which I hope will result in a much more immersive photographic experience. An approach which applies not just to taking the image, but also in post processing when I am making key decisions about how the finished image should appear and the feelings I would the photograph to convey.

I may write about my equipment of choice in a future entry but for now I will simply say I will be using Fujifilm cameras and lenses. Their excellent colour science is well known. I shall also be using Capture One Pro for editing and post processing. Again I may write about this aspect of the adventure on another occasion.

To finish I would like to share a few more images I have made in the past week or so. Early days but I think this new challenge is going to be rather fun!

Bognor Rocks – a departure from black and white

Bognor Rocks


As regular visitors to my blog will know my first love is black and white, but sometimes mono will not suffice and colour is an essential ingredient of the scene being photographed.

I don’t usually head out with the express intention of taking colour images. I normally only reach for for my Olympus EM1 when taking portraits of people who work for my firm. These images will then appear on our website or be used for PR purposes in a printed publication or on social media.

And so it was earlier this week. I had taken a few shots of a new member of staff in the morning, and as I headed home that evening the low tide and beautiful sky combined to provide me with a classical sunset seascape opportunity. I had to pull over, swap work shoes for wellies and walk out towards the shoreline. The light was fading fast so I didn’t have time to search for the best position nor did I have a tripod. A dozen quick fire shots was all I could manage before the best of the light disappeared below the horizon.

Do I want to do more colour work? Probably yes, and I have some ideas for this year which will lend themselves to colour and not black and white – so watch this space!

Thanks as always for dropping by.


Rocks in reflection

Barn on a Hill – Colour or Mono?

Sometimes, just sometimes, I take a photograph which I think works well in black and white as well as in colour. It doesn’t happen very often as the vast majority of the time I look to take an image which I can convert into monochrome, but inevitably there are going to be occassions when stripping the colour away is almost sacrilege given the subject matter of the image.

When down in Dorset the other week I took one such photograph which I have called ‘Barn on a hill’. My default is always to convert to mono and the finished result is shown below.

Barn on a hill
‘Barn on a hill’ in mono.

Restoring all the colour and processing the image in an alternative way gives me a completely different picture.

Barn on a hill - colour version
‘Barn on a hill’ in colour

Personally I think both have their merits. In fact I decided to upload the mono version to 500px. Up until now I have always used Flickr for my online presence, so this was the first of my photographs to appear on 500px. Within the space of an hour or two it rose from ‘Fresh’ to ‘Upcoming’ before being graded as ‘Popular’, which I assume is similar to ‘Explore’ on Flickr. It’s pulse (a measure of how popular an image is on 500px) rose to 97.9 out of 100 and to date has 132 ‘likes’ and 60 ‘favs’. I quite like the way 500px measures the activity and popularity of a photograph; it’s certainly a different approach to how Flickr operates.

Anyway enough of stats and back to photography and I ask myself one simple question. Should I process and keep more colour images and not always be looking at the world in black and white? In this case the appeal of colour is too great to ignore, but of the two I still prefer the mono version, so I guess that’s the answer to my question!

Happy First Birthday to my Blog!

Today this Blog is one year old!

It hardly seems possible that a year has passed since my very first ‘blog entry’ – ‘Finally happy with the design’. It was not the most inspiring of entries and didn’t even include a photograph, which is a bit odd for a blog about photography……but I had to start somewhere!

In the twelve months which have followed there have been a total of 72 posts; an average of 6 posts a month. At the outset I really didn’t plan or indeed think there would be this many, to the contrary a new idea often turns into a stale one after a short period of time. What has happened in practice is quite the opposite in fact. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing these entries, the vast majority including some of the many photographs I have taken during the course of the year.

The past twelve months has seen a shift in my style of photography, mainly to black and white, and hopefully an improvement in the quality of my work. Looking back I know that I have learnt a great deal, both in terms of the taking but also the making of an image in post production. This now includes some of the skills and equipment required to produce a good print. The more knowledge I have acquired, the greater my realisation that there is even more to learn and that’s a big plus, because there are always going to be new challenges to look forward to.

I wanted to mark this day with an image taken just a few days ago. It had been a glorious summer’s day and the evening light was just beautiful, as it illuminated the trees lining the footpath and the yellow field of oil seed rape. This is now a common scene across the country, a really colourful feature of the English landscape at this time of year. In a few days time the flower heads will be gone but they are sure to return again next year.

Evening light, Idsworth
Evening light, Idsworth

I can’t be sure how many people have read this blog over the last 52 weeks, however, irrespective of the number of visits, writing a blog was always intended to be a journal about my photography, which I could look back on as I chart my photographic progress. It was never about reaching out to a wider audience. After all I have no control over who does and who doesn’t visit the site anyway.

My enthusiasm for this hobby has grown and grown, so I will continue to post more entries as I learn fresh skills, try new techniques and make more images.  This way, when I celebrate it’s second birthday, I will be able to review another year to see how far I have come. All I do know is that if the second year is as good as the first, it will be a lot of fun…..and that’s what a good hobby should be all about!

Thanks for reading.

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When mono doesn’t always work

Although I largely take black and white photographs there are occasions when I will convert a colour RAW file to mono, only to think that the image looks much better in colour. Stripping out colour can eliminate unwanted distractions in a picture, but equally the colours and harmony of these tones can be at the very heart of the image, so why remove them? As I always shoot in RAW I have a digital negative which contains all the colour data, so it gives me the option of a straight mono conversion or working in colour, whichever I think is the best treatment for the image.

During my recent trip to the Lake District there were two shots I really liked and whilst one is fine in black and white, I much prefer the colour version.

Here are both versions by way of comparison – 
Elterwater trees
and now for the colour version –
Elterwater trees in colour
Trees at Elterwater in Langdale

I didn’t even consider converting the next shot to monochrome….the colours in the image are just too important in my opinion and make the shot. The warm tones of the foreground contrasting well with the cooler tones in the middle and far distance. These would be lost in a black and white conversion.

Watsons Dodd
Looking towards Watson’s Dodd
taken near to the road from Keswick to Thirlemere
This has though made me think. Am I too restrictive in my choice of shot? Should I consider taking more colour images and not be trying to see the world in shades of grey? Surely there is room for both mediums. There can only be a handful of black and white photographers who never shoot in colour. Similarly most photographers who predominately shoot in colour will occasionally take a black and white picture. At the end of the day this is purely a hobby for me, and therefore it’s all about the ‘taking and making’ of images which give me pleasure but hopefully might please others as well. Whether they are black and white or colour doesn’t really matter. After all it’s simply a matter of personal preference and interpretation.

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