In this digital age there are an infinte number of options when you start to process an image, so what do I mean when I refer to processing with integrity?Read more
Earlier this year we visited the Isle of Mull which is part of the Inner Hebrides off the West coast of Scotland. There were a number of boats which had long since passed by their sell by date, but they are great subjects for photography.
Do click on any of these images to view a larger version.
Loch Na Keal is the principal sea loch on the west coast of the Isle of Mull, which is part of the Inner Hebrides in Scotland. The views in this entry are all taken from the northern shoreline looking south towards the largest mountain range on the island which includes Ben More. The scenery in this part of the island is simply stunning; it is perhaps the most beautiful but also the most dramatic location on Mull. The weather and light are constantly changing, as the clouds move in the wind and are intercepted by the mountains, bringing precipitation to the high peaks and wonderful light for photography.
I took these images back in April but only recently processed them to my satisfaction. They take me back to a place I love and I long to return.
There are small but important details in couple of the images (‘Heron in Flight’ and the cottage in ‘Towards Ben More’) which can really only be appreciated if viewed large, so do click on the photo which will open in a new window.
Roads, tracks or paths all lead somewhere, albeit some do reach a dead end. In many ways they can be symbolic of life in general. We are all on a path of some description, and none of us truly know where it might lead. If we knew what lay round every corner or over every hill, life would in fact be rather dull.
We often encounter junctions and therefore choices. Which direction do we take? Only the passage of time will prove to us whether or not it was the right decision. Many days, months or even years may have to be pass before we can look back and reflect, and by then it is often too late to retrace our steps. Is there light or darkness ahead? Are we excited or nervous to be on the path we now travel?
I know I am getting rather philosophical, but following early retirement from the property industry last year, I continued working as a consultant for just over a year. However this too comes to a natural end tomorrow, the 30th June. It is perhaps a little strange or ironic that on the following day, the 1st of July, I will be exhibiting my work for the first time.
None of this was planned, it is just how things have worked out; just like this image which I made recently. After a rather dull start to the day on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, this wet single track road was suddenly lit by a little brightness in the sky. The car had to be stopped and a photograph taken. The view on the other side of the hill was spectacular………….. and I will share that picture with you in another post, on another day.
For now though my life has taken a different direction, and I am very happy to be on this new path. Who knows where it might lead in the future? There can be no certainty, only guesswork to the answer; but one thing is for sure, I am looking forward to finding out.
I am a keen collector of books about photography and naturally the vast majority are by authors whose work I greatly admire. I find both the written word and the images can be inspiring, often providing little pearls of wisdom which might just help my own photography. One such person is John Blakemore, a true master of the craft of black and white photography. Born in 1936 in Coventry, England he has been practicing his art since 1956, and in that time has built a portfolio of work which of its type is unlikely to be surpassed. Much of this work has now been archived at the Library of Birmingham.
He is probably best known for his landscapes and still life photographs. He is widely acknowledged as one of the finest monochrome printers, using the zone system to make some truly beautiful images – his use and control of tonality in a black and white photograph is quite superb.
I only have one of his books, titled – ‘John Blakemore’s Black and White Photography Workshop’. Whilst much of what he has to write relates directly to the traditional darkroom, his thoughts on tonality and printing can equally be applied to the digital darkroom as well. The book contains many of his best known photographs and if like me, you wish to improve your knowledge of black and white photography, this book is well worth adding to your collection.
So how did this book inspire me? How could his approach be applied to my own work?
One area where I have always struggled is trying to photograph woodland. From a composition point of view I find the subject matter very challenging. You could say I find it hard to see the ‘wood from the trees’, an old cliche perhaps but in my case a very true one. Even when the composition looks right I haven’t known how to process the image in a way which I find pleasing.
Recently I started reading through John Blakemore’s book and I came across a number of woodland landscapes which I very much liked. I enjoyed their treatment and this encouraged and inspired me. Having studied these images more closely I selected a few frames taken on my recent trip to Scotland to see whether or not I could emulate the ‘look’ of his work and process my pictures in a similar fashion.
The tone curve in these four photographs is very different to the outcome from my normal processing methods and as a consequence this set of images work for me. Whilst there is a full range of tones, the mid-tones dominate each picture. Strong darker tones are my usual style, resulting in an image which has far more contrast. The images in this post are much softer and more restful to the eye. As a result I believe the viewers attention is held for longer so that the composition, the texture and form is more readily appreciated. A high contrast image can be quite punchy and dramatic but the eye can quickly tire when looking at an image of this type. These are far more subtle images and an approach I can see myself using again in the future. I will also be interested to see how they print on various types of paper.
Your feedback and comments are very welcome and as this is my 300th entry, it’s an opportune time for me to thank all my followers who read, like and comment on my work. It’s very much appreciated and it’s one of the reasons I will continue sharing my images and thoughts in the future.
Lastly my thanks to John Blakemore for his inspiring approach to this art form.
As always these images are best viewed large, so do click on any one of the photographs and it will open in a new window.