alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘Dorset’

Harvesting the light……a few days of constant change in the countryside.

In the past week I have enjoyed watching the barley corn being harvested in the field behind where we live. The straw has been made into bales and as I type these words they are now being moved, so this rather lovely scene will soon be over for another year.

Farmer’s are well known for moaning about the weather. Too wet, too dry, too cold, too hot and so the list goes on. When it comes to harvesting the forecast is critical to the success or otherwise of a crop which has taken months to come to fruition. The moisture content of the crop needs to be below a certain threshold for harvesting and when the conditions look right it is all hands to the deck.

The weather has been very mixed in the last week. We had a mini heat wave with temperatures in the high 80’s for several days on the trot. Ideal for harvesting, but as so often happens in this country a spell of hot weather is often followed by thunderstorms and rain.

Photographers are also know to complain about the weather or the light and I have written before that high summer does not always yield the best light for photography. It’s often far too harsh but there is no point wishing for something different, you have to work with what you are given and make the most of it.

If you read my last post you will know that I am making a concerted effort to create more colour images. For the purposes of this entry I have decided to include some monochrome pictures as well, as they form part of the narrative…..but it’s the colour work which are the feature.

I have tried to capture these changing weather conditions and of course the light. On the day the bale maker arrived the clouds came in, a foretaste of a distinct change in the weather (picture above). That same evening I sat in my chair relaxing, when I noticed some beautiful warm light. I grabbed my camera to capture the golden glow of evening sunshine. Dark clouds were gathering on the horizon, as a thunderstorm moved in from the south.

A couple of days later and once again the blue skies returned and so did the crows to feast on the corn. Having been a committed black and white photographer for many years I couldn’t resist including both mono and colour versions. I will leave it to you to decide if you have a preference.

And finally in this series, a cloudscape looking west across the field as the day came to close. The straw bales play second fiddle to the dramatic sky but they do make for an interesting horizon and of course provide context to the scene.

In summary a very enjoyable and satisfying few days of photography, taking opportunities when they arose. Not waiting for the light but knowing that the waether and the story of harvesting could and probably would change at any time. The bales of straw have all been moved, stacked along the edge of the field. Acquaintances for a while, I shall miss them, but I look forward to making more colour images of another subject very soon.

Until then thanks for looking.

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!

Close to my back door ….. the old tractor store.

On a recent walk I stumbled upon this old steel barn which had seen better days, and was now being used to store three redundant tractors. They too were long past their prime. How long the barn and tractors had been in this state is anyone’s guess but it was a rich source of photographic material.

It was a real pleasure to wander around and uncover some details in an effort to record and capture the feeling of this place.

This collection of images forms part of my latest project – ‘Close to my back door’. There are two other entries you might like to see.

A return to my favourite genre…..and it’s close to my back door.

Close to my back door …… when the light is right.

Close to my back door …… when the light is right.

Earlier this month I posted my first entry on this blog for nearly 5 months. I am pleased this entry hasn’t taken quite so long!

Once again the images are all of scenes which are close to my back door. This isn’t just because the current ‘Covid Lockdown’ prevent anything other than ‘staying local’ for exercise but because I truly enjoy exploring and seeing what can be photographed in my immediate surroundings. Why travel for miles and miles (restrictions allowing of course) if good subjects can be found near to home?

There is another distinct advantage to this approach which I written about before. It allows me to return to a place when I know the lighting will work to my advantage. I will have visted the location previously and then envisaged what the scene might look like at a different time of day and when the weather conditions are more conducive to create a pleasing result.

This approach doesn’t guarantee a good picture but it does improve my chances greatly. Composition, choice of lens etc can all be considered beforehand. The light just has to be right.

All of the images in this entry were taken in this way. It requires a degree of patience and the pre-visualised outcome may not always be as I would hope or expect. Over the years this approach has allowed me to think and plan ahead. When the plan comes together there is a great deal of satisfaction to be had. When it doesn’t, I learn from the experience knowing I can return another day. After all – it’s close to my back door.

My last major project was ‘Still by the Water’ which took the best part of 2 years to photograph and complete, and all the images were captured within a 10 minute drive of home. The photographs you see here are I believe the humble beginnings of another long term project.

Hamlet through a pinhole….. but the church doors are closed.

The Dorset hamlet of Affpuddle lies to the east of Tolpuddle, its better known neighbour famous for The Tolpuddle Martyrs, and a mile or so down the road there is another village called Briantspuddle. All three communities form part of the lower reaches of the Piddle valley.

Affpuddle is by far the smallest, warranting in my opinion the title of hamlet, whereas the other two are most certainly villages. Unusually for a hamlet, Affpuddle boasts its own church, St Laurence, which is bounded by the River Piddle on the northern side of the graveyard. A lovely setting.

Read more