alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘light’

‘Drawing with light’ – church interiors

The word ‘photograph’ is derived from two words in Greek. ‘Phōtós’, genitive of ‘phōs’ meaning light and ‘graphé’ meaning representation by lines or drawing. In other words a photograph is ‘drawing with light’.

Piscina of light

Piscina of light

This image is of a piscina, which is a small bowl used to dispose of water in services. It is often set in a wall, as it is here. In flat light I doubt I would have even considered taking a photograph, but lit by the sun coming through a window on the opposite side of the church, this simple architectural feature is transformed. The shape and texture are revealed and there is a depth to the picture which without the light would not be evident.

I am always looking for these brief moments when natural light is at play inside a place of worship. Here are a few more examples.

Shadows and the Cross

Shadows and the Cross

St Davids Cathedral-5

Hymn Books

Chancel step

Chancel Step

Warminghurst-1

Three Windows and a Pulpit

Candlelight in The Priory

Candlelight in The Priory

St Davids Cathedral-17

Light and Shadow in the Nave

I have quite a collection of this type of image, made over a number of years, so some you may have seen before.  Whenever I revisit these photographs, which have been ‘drawn by light’ I am always inspired to make even more.

Loch Na Keal on the Isle of Mull

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.

 

Heron in Flight, Loch Na Keal

Afternoon Light, Loch Na Keal

Towards Ben More, across Loch Na Keal

Mountains of Mull, across Loch Na Keal

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.

 

Evening light over the Applecross Peninsular

 

There are times when I am out and about when a scene unfolds before me and stops me in my tracks. This happened a few days ago in Wester Ross in Scotland. The early evening sunlight came through breaks in the clouds to create glorious shafts of light and illuminated the middle ground. One problem; no camera on me to capture the beauty of the light. A cardinal sin for any photographer.

Fortunately I was only five minutes walk from the cottage where we had been staying. I rushed back, picked up my camera and some graduated neutral density filters. I knew I would need them to hold back the strong light above the mountain ridge; I just hoped that by the time I returned to a good viewpoint the ‘light show’ was still being played. It was, and I combined the 3 stop and a 2 stop graduated ND filter to balance the exposure. Even then the image required some careful processing to create the result you see here.

For the record I am looking towards Beinn Bhan, the highest mountain on the Applecross Peninsular in Wester Ross, Scotland.

Do click on the picture to view a larger version which will open in a new window.

A favourite image and a favourite camera – is that possible?

st-botolphs-hardham-1-of-1

 

I was asked recently if I had a favourite image which I had made? In all honesty I don’t think I do, although there are a number which I could name in a top ten. I do though remember reading that someone else when asked the same question replied – ‘The next one I am going to take.’ I rather like this response as it suggests a desire to constantly improve, believing that your next photograph will be better than the last and all those in your back catalogue. It also infers that the last image taken must be a favourite for at least it’s tangible and not a figment of the imagination – or is it? I’ll come back to this question later, as it’s relevant to the photograph in this post.

As far as a ‘favourite camera’ is concerned, well that’s easy for me to answer. It’s my Leica M Monochrom which I have been using for the last couple of years. It’s built like a tank, feels so good in the hand and the simplicity of its controls put me in complete control. It doesn’t have a multitude of programmable buttons, nor pages and pages of menus, which only serve to confuse, and nor does it come with a manual which might take the best part of a week to read, let alone understand. More importantly though the Monochrom together with the exceptional Leica lenses produces the images I am seeking to achieve with post processing and careful printing. The next incarnation of the Leica M Rangefinder must be just round the corner but I think its unlikely I will want to upgrade. The Monochrom has many idiosyncrasies, but I love it and the cost of upgrading is quite likely to be prohibitive anyway.

Given my feelings towards the Leica Monochrom, I am not that interested in the latest camera technology although to digress for a moment I was intrigued to learn about a new camera being developed by a company called Light. The camera is called the L16 and has the appearance of a large mobile phone, but instead of one lens and sensor there are 16. On pressing the shutter the camera software combines all the exposures from each of the sensors to produce one image. According to their website this can be up to 52 megapixels in size, with low noise and covering a focal range equivalent of 28mm to 150mm. The depth of field and other adjustments can be manipulated in post processing. Is this the future of camera technology, I don’t know, but nothing stays the same, so it will be interesting to see what happens when it actually hits the streets.

Back to the question I posed at the end of the first paragraph and indeed to the photograph in this post. It was taken a few days ago at St Botolph’s Church in Hardham, West Sussex. I had visited the church previously and noticed how the light was falling on the altar. I had taken some shots that day, only to find that my composition was not quite right, nor had I used the correct exposure settings. There were too many blown highlights. I decided to return, knowing in my mind the image I wanted to make. I knew which lens would give me the composition I wanted (28mm) and the likely exposure settings required to produce a malleable and workable file for post processing. I knew the time of day when the light would be in the right position, so I arrived at the church in plenty of time to get ready. The sun wasn’t as bright as it had been a day or two earlier but this proved to be a good thing. As it turned out I only had a couple of minutes to take the shot before the sun moved round and no longer illuminated the scene as I wanted it.

A favourite image or not, I like this photograph, as it will always remind me that it can be worth revisiting a location to take a particular shot that you have already pictured in your own mind.

Here are two more entries about St Botolph’s Church at Hardham.

Churches Project no.4 – St Botolph’s, Hardham, West Sussex

Thwarted by the flower arrangers at Hardham Church

 

 

Shadows of Light

Shadows of Light

 

In my last post ‘Shadows of the Wanderer’, the shadows referred to people or refugees, whereas in this shot made on the same day, shadows are formed by the strong sunlight as it pierces through the leaded light mullioned windows of the cloisters in Chichester Cathedral.

To emphasise these shapes of light I have increased the contrast, darkened the foreground, obliterating any detail in the flagstone floor whilst retaining  minimal information in the wall and around the windows themselves.

Do click on the image to view a larger version which will open in a new window.