If you have been following this blog recently you will already know that for a period of time I switched from black and white and started working in colour. A previous entry goes into more detail as to why I have now returned to my first love of monochrome.
In the circumstance I decided it would be a good idea to revisit a few of those colour images, re-process them in black and white and share them with you. So here is a small selection and I hope you enjoy them.
I am very fortunate. Retired, I no longer have the restrictions of a busy working day. My wife and I have recently moved to a beautiful part of Dorset, and the countryside on my new doorstep inspires me. When the light is right and the weather conditions favourable, there is every chance I can drop what I am doing and within a few minutes be in a place where I know there will be some good compositions.
A few days ago I posted ‘My heart is in mono…..and the countryside’. I wrote about the reasons why I have returned to making images in black and white. I also wrote about going out with photographic intent, and not just to head out for a walk with a camera on the off chance a picture might reveal itself.
If I was to choose the best light for landscape photography a bright and showery day is almost impossible to resist. This is particularly true late in the afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky, casting long shadows and side lighting any subjects in the frame, accentuating form and texture. The passing rain clouds are of course full of texture and interest too. There is nothing very photogenic about a clear blue sky.
Reinvigorated to make black and white images again, I watched the skies yesterday and witnessed potentially ideal conditions taking shape. As the afternoon progressed the skies to the south were clearing, whilst looking in the opposite direction there were shower clouds aplenty. With the sun setting in the west any composition looking north had the makings of a good result. I knew where to go, grabbed my camera and a couple of prime lenses, and took our dog with me too. He’s quite happy to wait for me to compose the shot and press the shutter. Well most of the time anyway!
Growing familiarity with my home patch is a huge advantage. The four photographs you see here are all compositions I have shot before but at different times the year. For me yesterday’s conditions and this light were nigh on perfect. But days like this are not that common and there is always the risk of getting drenched in the pursuit of a few strong images. Definitely worth it though.
This experience has further enhanced my feeling that ‘My heart is in mono…..’ It’s good to be back making images in shades of grey again, sharing them with you and writing about my thoughts and the story behind the pictures.
It has been four years since I last visited this location – The Beech Avenue at Kingston Lacy in Dorset. On that occasion it was early morning. Some mist and autumn colour enhanced the splendour of the view and I came away with one of my favourite colour images from a time when I was mainly working in black and white. (See below).
I returned earlier this week, this time after lunch and hoping I hadn’t missed the glorious yellow and russet coloured leaves. Unfortunately I was at least a week too late. Most of the leaves had fallen to the ground and the trees were nearly bare, but I was treated to some glorious late afternoon light. It was exceptional and I found a number of pleasing compositions. In fact the more I looked the more I felt this location has so much potential, and not just at this time of year, so I know it will not be long before I head back there.
As I was using a telephoto lens, I was unable to get all the trees in focus, even with a small aperture opening of f14. For the above composition I wanted a sharp image from front to back, so for the very first time I decided I would focus stack three images and merge them in Photoshop. I focused on the near trees for the first exposure, then the middle group for the second frame, and finally the distant branches in the background. I was surprised how easy the process was in Photoshop. However along the way I discovered that before merging the three exposures, it was better to process one of the RAW files in Capture One, copy those changes to the other two, and after that process was complete take them into Photoshop. I could then make any final adjustments on the TIFF file.
Below is another image from the same visit.
And finally a portrait of some of the trees which were still partially clothed with autumn leaves.
As well as capturing the line of trees, there are I believe endless opportunities for some more abstract compositions. A return visit to the Beech Avenue is already being planned.
This is Part 2 of a short series of posts in which I have tried to capture the light and mood of the landscape when seen through autumn mist. Part 1 can be viewed here.
Mist has the power to simplify a scene and when back lit by the morning sun trying to break through, the light which is cast is really rather special.
Like the first post all three of these images were taken when out walking our dog early in the morning. I never know in these situations what I will see. Sometimes nothing at all, but on other occasions there is a photo opportunity around every corner. It’s a much used cliche……but always carry a camera!
I don’t know of any outdoor photographer who doesn’t love shooting at this time of year. The cooler mornings when mist is so often present, coupled with warm autumnal tones, is such a wonderful combination.
In my last post I went out with the deliberate intention of taking photographs. The selection you can see here were all taken a couple of weeks back on an early morning dog walk in a woodland area near my home. A spontanous photographic session which is more my style. If the light and weather are favourable I like to take advantage.
My recently acquired Fuji XT3 and 55-200mm f3.5 to f4.8 lens compressed the field of view which suits this type of subject rather well. Until recently my longest focal length was 90mm in 35mm full frame terms, but given the APSC crop factor of the Fuji, this new set up gives me a range of 83mm to 300mm. A vast difference and I am enjoying being able to compose my landscape images in a very different way. It’s not the fastest lens on the planet, but it does have built in Optical Image Stabalisation (OIS) which for these shots negated the need for a tripod.
Slowly but surely I am becoming more comfortable with colour photography. It provides me with another creative dimension. Another form of expression. It’s very satisfying and rewarding to be persuing a different path and I am particularly looking forward to the weeks ahead as autumn turns to winter. Shorter days but given the right conditions so much potential.
This is the first entry in a short series as I have other similar images which I would like to share with you.
Thanks as always for taking the time to look at my work. It is very much appreciated.