alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts from the ‘people’ category

‘Just waiting’ in Sherborne Abbey

My last two posts have both been about Sherborne Abbey in Dorset. As we left I noticed an elderly lady sitting in the South Porch. It was late afternoon and the sun was still shining; it had been a very hot day.

Just waiting
‘Just Waiting’
An elderly lady in the South Porch of Sherborne Abbey

She looked out through the gated entrance and the title for the image ‘Just waiting’ came into my mind. Waiting for what I don’t know, nor will I ever know. She may not have been waiting at all, just taking the weight off her feet and enjoying some shade before she walked to her next destination. Perhaps she had been shopping and her wicker basket was full of delicious items from the local delicatessen, or her daily pills from the pharmacy. In all likelihood a mixture of the two.

What thoughts come to your mind when looking at this image? That’s the great thing about people in photographs. They conjure up a story which will have a different interpretation for all that stop to look, wait and see what thoughts come to mind.

Stop, look, wait and observe….

This entry is all about one image, which I have called ‘Walking Stick’.

The photograph was taken in the middle of the day just a few days ago. In December the sun is very low in the sky and the pavements are often wet from an early morning shower, but then never dry out as it’s too cold and damp.  In strong sunlight this combination can result in a lot of contrast and reflection. Surrounded by Christmas shoppers I looked around me and saw the different textures in the paving stones and back lit people in silhouette. The shot just needed someone to come into the frame. I took three or four shots by way of an experiment to make sure I had the correct exposure. With such extremes of light and dark, it would be very easy to have blown highlights by over exposing the photograph.

I waited a few minutes when a man with a walking stick came into my field of view. The camera was set to ‘single shot’ even though the Olympus EM5 can take 9 shots per second. I released the shutter at what I thought would be the best moment and the camera with its really fast autofocus did the rest.

The rather intriguing and perhaps mysterious result is shown below.

Walking stick

I quickly looked at the screen on the back of my camera……reviewed the shot and frankly couldn’t wait to get home to download the image and find out whether or not the camera was capable of capturing such a wide dynamic range. I used my usual workflow of Lightroom 4 and then Silver Efex Pro2 for the black and white conversion.

I was delighted with the result and it reminded me of the famous and much repeated saying by Henri Cartier-Bresson – ‘the decisive moment’. On this occasion I believe I have captured that moment. A few minutes later the sun went behind a cloud and the lighting effect was lost.

It also embraces a saying which I have adopted for my photography –

“Stop, look, wait and observe….then capture the world in a different light”

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LRPS – The Final Ten

In the last two or three weeks I have been deliberating which ten images should make up my panel for the LRPS assessement day coming up at the beginning of December. The easiest decision was that they should all be black and white photos; colour was never really on the agenda. The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) do look for variety of shot for the Licentiateship Distinction,  as well as technical competence and the panel itself should be a cohesive unit. The eleventh image as it has been termed. With help from a fellow club member the final ten have now been selected and the layout finalised. It only remains for me to print and mount all of them and I will be set for the big day.

I also attended an RPS Distinction advisory day last weekend when two panel judges offered advice on a good number of ‘L’ and ‘A’ panels. Some were clearly of the standard required, whilst others fell short of the mark. It made for a most interesting time but fortunately it didn’t change my final selection. I did not have the opportunity to show my own panel for critique, so whether or not it will pass I do not know. I understand there are five judges and a Chairperson on the day itself, so when my turn comes it will be quite nerve wracking.

The panel is made up with a mix of people shots and landscapes, many of which have already appeared in this blog. Number one in the panel will be this shot taken of Stefan Majoram drawing one of the Auto Union Silver Arrows at the Goodwood Revival Meeting back in September. I used the Olympus EM5 and Lumix 20mm prime lens at f2.5.

An Artist drawing one of the Silver Arrows

It’s the first time I have printed this image and I am really pleased with how it has turned out. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the judges will share the same opinion.

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‘People and Places’ course at West Dean – the last entry

Back in the Summer I attended an excellent photography course at West Dean College in Sussex – People and Places with Jacqui Hurst. It now seems like a long time ago, so I ought to wrap it up with one last and very overdue entry. The two previous posts realting to this course can be found by clicking on these links – Glorious Goodwood and Littlehampton Seafront.

I have mentioned it before but at the beginning of the course all the participants were asked what they wanted to get out of the week. My reply was quite simply to see in ‘black and white’ and to produce a selection of images all in monochrome. I was certainly true to my word as the images below and on the two previous posts will testify.

Since the course I have almost exclusively shot black and white. My starting point is to shoot in RAW and then convert to Black and White. I did go through a short period when I set the camera to shoot RAW and a B&W jpeg, but this just filled up space on my hard drive. There were more photos to sort and delete, which I am not that good at doing in the first place.

If the shot is poorly composed, not a good subject or the lighting is poor…..I could go on; then whether or not it’s in colour or black and white is not going to make that much difference. In my view I should still be htting the delete key and only processing something which is really worth the time and effort of looking at a computer screen.

I did not take my DSLR on the course, so all the photographs were taken using the Olympus OMD EM5 and a variety of prime lenses. Although I had only purchased the camera a week or two before the course, by the end of the week I was reasonably familiar with its functions and menu systems. Some reviews have said the menu system is quite complicated and not that intuitive. I cant agree, with a little time the camera settings can readily be changed to whatever suits your style.

The trombone clown
Olympus OMD EM5 12-50mm @ 26mm f5.2 1/160 ISO 1600

The trombone clown


The gardener and the wheelbarrow
Olympus OMD EM5 45mm f10 1/400 ISO 200

West Dean Gardens
 

In conversation? Jacqui Hurst, our tutor and a glass etching
Olympus OMD 45mm f4 1/200 ISO 200

In conversation?

Eyelashes
Olympus OMD EM5 145mm f2 1/1250 ISO 320

Eyelashes

In profile
Olympus OMD EM5 45mm f4 1/160 ISO 200

Beard and glasses - in profile

Looking out
Olympus OMD EM5 20mm f2.2 1/50 ISO 200

Looking out

Delicate hands
Olympus OMD EM5 45mm f2.2 1/320 ISO 800

Delicate hands

Glasshouse winding mechanism
Olympus OMD EM5 20mm f4.5 1/3200 ISO 200

In a glasshouse

Inside the potting shed
Olympus OMD EM5 12mm f3.2 1/15 ISO 400

Inside the potting shed

Goodwood Revival Meeting – the last entry

Its a month since I enjoyed a wonderful weekend at the Goodwood Revival Meeting in September. This is the last entry following on from ‘The Silver Arrows’ and ‘The Characters’ and is a final selection of images. It features the motor cars themselves, the shops, some more characters and the aircraft which was on dsiplay. Its an eclectic mix, but all in black and white and hopefully they capture something of the atmosphere of the great event which never fails to impress through its marvellous attention to detail. Provisional dates for 2013 have recently been announced – 13th to 15th September. For more information visit the Goodwood website.

With the exception of the first image which was taken with a Nikon D90, all the other photographs were taken using the Olympus OMD  – EM5.

The Race Starts
Nikon D90 – 70-300mm @122mm f8 1/100 ISO800

The race starts

On the start finish straight
Olympus OMD EM5 45mm f16 1/80 ISO200
On the start finish straight

Racing round Molcombe
Olympus OMD EM5 45mm f4 1/1250 ISO200
Racing round Molcombe

The Shoe Shop
Olympus OMD EM5 45mm f1.8 1/4000 ISO200
The Shoe Shop

The Hat Shop
Olympus OMD EM5 45mm f4 1/500 ISO200
The Hat Shop

Tesco – Remember Green Shield Stamps?
Olympus OMD EM5 20mm f6.3 1/320 ISO200
Tesco - remember Green Shield Stamps?

Eyes in the back of my coat
Olympus OMD EM5 45mm F2 1/2000 ISO200
Eyes on the back of my coat

Laurel and Hardy
Olympus OMD EM5 45mm f5.6 1/400 ISO200
Laurel and Hardy

Plane rivetts
Olympus OMD EM5 20mm f2.2 1/3200 ISO200
Plane rivetts

‘Miss Pick Up’ on the side of The Catalina Seaplane
Olympus OMD EM5 20mm f2.2 1/4000 ISO200
Miss Pick Up on the side of Catalina sea plane

Looking to the skies
Olympus OMD EM5 45mm f8 1/2000 ISO200
Looking to the skies