alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘sand’

Whitesands Bay – The magical Golden Hour

17.09.47 – The Golden Hour begins

 

In the past couple of months I have been making more use of my Instagram account (@arfrost) and on it my profile reads – ‘A monochrome photographer with occasional colour lapses’. I think this sums up my approach to photography rather well, and this post is just that, a lapse into colour.

For many landscape photographers the ‘Golden Hour’ at the beginning or at the end of the day is one of the most popular times to be out with a camera. This set of images demonstrates rather well the reason why it can be a magical experience. The colour of the light is constantly changing and arguably the longer you wait, the greater the reward is likely to be.

 

17.24.03 Showing Potential

 

All of these images were taken from more or less the same position, looking out over Whitesands Bay in Pembrokeshire back in February this year. The first frame was taken at 17.10hrs and the last at just before 18.00hrs, a difference of just 50 minutes.

 

17.44.46 Jogger at dusk

 

17.54.10 Forty five minutes after the first frame

 

17.58.11 The Magical Golden Hour

 

As well as the glorious colour palettes the inclusion of people and in some cases their dogs as well, adds human interest to three of the five images, which appeals to me.

If you happen to find yourself in a wonderful location when the day is drawing to a close, and assuming you have the time to sit or stand and just wait; then there is no greater pleasure than to enjoy the ‘Golden Hour’. Whether you have a camera with you or not, the experience is hard to beat.

 

How many elements + which aspect ratio = different results

The three images which make up this entry are essentially the same subject but in terms of their composition are all quite different. Through this post I want to illustrate the decisions we have to make each time we make a photograph and what we can learn from the process.

Groynes

The first image above, uses a classical 3:2 aspect ratio….the same as any 35mm film or full frame sensor. The composition is balanced with three groynes, with the one in the centre arguably being the most visually interesting. The distant and out of focus groynes on the horizons provide both context to the location but also depth. I think it’s important to have retained separation between the left hand groyne and those in the distance.

Groynes-2

The second image shares the same elements but is further simplified as only two groynes are included in the frame. The distant groynes are a more important third element in this picture, creating a triangle with the groynes. There is added space between them and the much shorter groyne on the left hand side, which gives a more open feel to the shot. The aspect ratio is now 5:4, the equivalent of a medium or large format film camera.

Groynes-3

And finally the third image. The single groyne fills more of the frame and is clearly the main focal point. The distant groynes are less intrusive but still play a key role in providing context and depth. The 1:1 or square aspect ratio, is one I particular like and lends itself well to this more minimalist composition. This aspect ratio mimics the 6:6 medium format ratio found in the classic Hassleblad 500 series of cameras.

So do I have a preference as to which image I enjoy the most? The first picture is too busy for my liking. Increasingly I find myself drawn to simpler compositions. The second image has a little more tension as the three elements form a triangle and I like the fact that one of the groynes is much shorter than the other which adds visual interest and feeling of openness. The third image is simpler still, but might be even stronger if the distant groynes were not in the frame.

It doesn’t really matter which image you or I prefer, although I would welcome your comments. What I wanted to demonstrate is how a relatively simple subject can be treated in different ways. What do you include and what is better left out? Your choice of aspect ratio and how this can impact on the end result. How simple or complicated do you want the composition to be?

For all these reasons it makes sense to me to truly explore or work a location and subject. Look around, consider the visual relationships between all the elements in the frame and at the same time think about a variety of aspect ratios and how these may improve the final image.

All by myself

All by myself

Despite the title, this isn’t a long distance selfie! I am though drawn to lone figures in relatively empty spaces walking along with only their thoughts for company. Perhaps it’s because I can readily empathise with the concept of being on alone in a quiet space. After all there is so much ‘noise’ in this world that it has become something of a luxury and a joy to find somewhere with solitude and even a little silence.

Alone yes, but even here there is the sound of gentle waves lapping against shore and feet squelching as each step lands on the soft wet sand. I just hope this person had the good sense to switch off their mobile phone, or better still left it at home to avoid the temptation to check for messages, emails, likes or comments!

There is of course one other person present, and that’s me the photographer. Photography tends to be a solitary pursuit and I am very happy this should be the case.

As you are looking at this image there is now a third person, you the viewer. For as Ansel Adams once said – ‘There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer’ – and how right he was.

Depending on the device you are using to view this picture, you might like to click on the image to see a larger version, as the main point of interest is very small but hugely relevant!

 

Bognor Rocks – a departure from black and white

Bognor Rocks

 

As regular visitors to my blog will know my first love is black and white, but sometimes mono will not suffice and colour is an essential ingredient of the scene being photographed.

I don’t usually head out with the express intention of taking colour images. I normally only reach for for my Olympus EM1 when taking portraits of people who work for my firm. These images will then appear on our website or be used for PR purposes in a printed publication or on social media.

And so it was earlier this week. I had taken a few shots of a new member of staff in the morning, and as I headed home that evening the low tide and beautiful sky combined to provide me with a classical sunset seascape opportunity. I had to pull over, swap work shoes for wellies and walk out towards the shoreline. The light was fading fast so I didn’t have time to search for the best position nor did I have a tripod. A dozen quick fire shots was all I could manage before the best of the light disappeared below the horizon.

Do I want to do more colour work? Probably yes, and I have some ideas for this year which will lend themselves to colour and not black and white – so watch this space!

Thanks as always for dropping by.

 

Rocks in reflection