alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts from the ‘light’ category

Light and shade in Chichester

The Cathedral City of Chichester in West Sussex is a very special place. It also happens to be my home town; so I count myself very fortunate that I can easily photograph the streets and buildings at various times of the day without too much inconvenience.

The light at the end of the day is in my view when the city looks at its best and this entry includes a few images taken recently in and around the Cathedral. As a black and white photographer I am always looking for light and shade, contrast, texture and tone. Chichester provides me with a wealth of opportunities.

Last light in West Pallant
Last light in West Pallant

Shadows in the Cloisters
Shadows in the Cloisters

Chichester Cross
Chichester Cross

Candlelit Cloisters
Candlelit Cloisters

Light and Shade in East Pallant
Light and shade in East Pallant

Sometimes it’s all to easy to forget what’s on your doorstep and plan excursions far and wide to take that extra special shot. Whenever I photograph the City of Chichester I am reminded that long trips are not necessary and that the familiar can be just as rewarding.

Pool abstracts at Playa Blanca

Pool abstract
Pool steps abstract 

In my last two entries I took a different approach to my photography by abstracting detail and observing how light and shade could aid the composition. In this entry I have included a third element, which is water, and how reflected light can add another dimension to an abstract image.

Poolside
Poolside abstract
Ripples in the pool - abstract
Ripples in the pool abstract 
Pool steps abstract
Steps in the pool abstract 

 
All these images, including those in the last two entries are definitely a departure for me from my usual style. A new experimental approach, challenging the way I see my surroundings and breaking out of my ‘comfort zone’. I believe this practice is an essential part of the photographic learning process. Not to be confined by subject matter or a certain style of photography. Trying new things, whilst enjoying and benefiting from the experience. I believe these fresh ideas can be adapted and moulded to new work, so that lessons learned in the past can be applied to images still to be taken. That’s the theory, and I am excited to see how my photography develops in practice in the months ahead.

The previous entries in this short series are:

Playing with the light at Playa Blanca
A fan of shadows at Playa Blanca

A fan of shadows at Playa Blanca

Fan shadow
A ‘fan of shadows’

My last entry was about ‘playing with the light’ at Playa Blanca in Lanzarote. Strong light not only brings contrast to an image but very often shadows as well; so this post concentrates on the shadows and how they can be used to either enhance or be a fundamental part of the composition.

Shadow abstract
The sun lounger cast an interesting shadow – a fish or shark perhaps?
Shadows through the opening
Shadows through an opening in the wall
Chair shadow
The shadow of a chair cast on a tiled floor
Gate shadow
A shadow of  gate
Rake shadow
Shadow of a rake
A fan of shadows
Another shot of the ‘fan of shadows’

These may not be great images but the combination of light and shade, particularly in monochrome, have a certain something about them. They would in my opinion not work in colour. This series of pictures are all about texture, shape, form and how the shadows are absolutley key to the composition.  If nothing else taking and processing these images all help train the eye to see. After the all camera is simply a tool to record the shot. It’s the person looking through the viewfinder and pressing the shutter who is the true creator.

Playing with the light at Playa Blanca

Abstract wall

Back in November we visited Playa Blanca in Lanzarote, one of The Canary Islands for some winter sun and warmer temperatures. We only had one day of rain, the rest of the time we relaxed under clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid to high twenties.

The light was very special particularly at the beginning and end of each day, and having never visited this part of the world before, it was an opportunity for me to try an alternative approach to my photography. Still working in black and white I looked for details in the buildings around where we were staying. Observing the way the light fell on the textured wall surfaces and the shadows that were cast. Simplifying the image through abstraction and including some geometric shapes to enhance the composition. The white walls often worked as giant reflectors projecting light in areas where you would least expect it to be.

Here are a selection of images all of which were taken within a five minute walk of the villa we had rented for the week.

Steps

Cactus

Hole in a wall

Wall abstract 3

Staircase abstract

Chimney abstract

Wall abstract 2

Wall abstract

Staircase abstract 2

For me these images capture the feel and essence of the resort, the wonderful light as it played on the textured and buildings, but more importantly it was a lesson in observation and I greatly enjoyed the experience.

Idsworth Church – the return visit

A little while ago I decided to take a detour through the back roads of the West Sussex/Hampshire border. As I drove northwards from the village of Finchdean towards Petersfield, I spotted a church and a rather pleasing line of trees on the brow of a hill. I couldn’t stop on this occasion as I had passengers with me, but I vowed to return as I saw the potential for a photograph.

At the beginning of December I once again found myself in the same area and although it was quite late in the afternoon, I thought it might just be worth revisiting the location…..after all the light might just be right. To be honest I thought I had left it too late and although I took a few shots the sun was very low in the sky, hidden behind cloud, even though the clouds behind the church were broken. I waited a few minutes more before continuing on my journey home and it’s just as well I did. The sun fleetingly broke through, cast a shadow on the field in the foreground and lit up the church for one last time that day.  I did not use an ND grad which would have helped balance the exposure between the sky and what was now a dark foreground. Fortunately there was enough information in the RAW file to recover some detail in the shadows. The result is shown below.



Evening light on Idsworth Church
Evening light on Idsworth Church


I am still of the opinion that there are more opportunities to be had from this location, so I shall be returning once more to Idsworth, but when I do, I shall make sure I allow a little more time. One – to take advantage of the best light; two – to find the most favourable viewpoint and three – to have ND grads etc to hand should I need them.

It has also made me wonder whether or not ‘churches in the landscape’ might be an appropriate subject for my ‘ARPS’ panel, which I would like to work towards during the course of this year. I think I need to do some more exploring first, visiting possible locations and seeing whether or not there is sufficient material locally. If not, I will need to travel further afield but this would make the task a little more challenging!

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