alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘Snowdonia’

Creative use of depth of field in Snowdonia

Sunlit fern

Sunlit fern

 

It was not until the summer of last year that I finally decided to go full frame, and purchased a second hand Leica Monochrom. I had previously used APS-C (Nikon) and Micro 4/3rds (Olympus) cameras. One of the principal reasons for my decision was the potential to use minimal depth of field more creatively in my work. The combination of a full frame (35mm) sensor, coupled with a large aperture, has given me photographic opportunities which were simply not possible before.

However just blurring the background doesn’t necessarily giving a pleasing result. The out of focus areas are still important to the overall appearance of the image. Blurred shapes, tones and arrears of light of shade still influence how the image is viewed, even though the eye may initially be drawn to the main subject of the picture which is in sharp focus.

The main photograph I have included in this entry is I think a good example of what I am trying to say. Taken on my recent trip to Snowdonia, the bright early morning sun was shining on small area of bracken in a wooded glade, whilst a path in the middle ground weaved its way down to the waters edge of Llyn Dinas.  I tried to visualise how the background elements of the image would be rendered when out of focus and whether or not the shapes of the trees would enhance the overall composition. You can of course try and visualise what the image might look like if everything had been in focus. I didn’t take a shot with a small aperture opening so I cannot make this comparison. My feeling is that there would be too much going on. The foreground and background would be fighting for attention. By using a narrow depth of field I have been able to isolate the sunlit fern which is the principle point of interest. The blurred background informs the viewer about the setting, complimenting the main subject and enhancing the overall appearance, but in my opinion it is no longer a distraction.

Here is another example – This image was taken in the woods near Capel Curig.

 

Autumn saplings

Autumn saplings

 

I am not saying there isn’t a place for landscape images which are very sharp from front to back. I take a good many myself, but increasingly I prefer to shoot wide open (50mm at f1.4) and by doing so I add another dimension to the composition, which until last year was not possible.

Click on either image to view a larger version which will open in a new window. By doing so I think you will appreciate the photograph just that little bit more.

Tryfan – a majestic mountain in Snowdonia

Tryfan

Tryfan

Never having been to Snowdonia in Wales before, my mind conjured up an image of what I might expect to see. Mountains certainly, deep valleys, yes of course, brooding clouds and light casting its spell on the landscape; well hopefully all of these combined in one picture.

With this imaginary view in my mind, I was delighted to make this photograph of what must be one of the most majestic mountains in Snowdonia, apart perhaps from Snowdon itself. Tryfan is just over 3,000 feet high and its dramatic profile leads the eye down towards Llyn Ogwen, a lake which lies at the foot of this rocky peak.

From a vantage point on the northern side of the valley I waited for the morning light to break through the clouds, illuminating the lake and the valley in the distance – and the view I had visualised became a reality.

At the mountain’s peak there are two monoliths, which from the valley floor given the appearance of two people who have reached the summit. They are called ‘Adam and Eve’ and are only 1.2 metres apart. For those brave enough to step from one rock to the other, it is said that you gain the ‘Freedom of Tryfan’.

I’m no climber so I am just happy to admire ‘Adam and Eve’ and Tryfan from a distance!

To view a larger version click on the image.

Snowdonia – It’s all about the light

Llyn Dinas

Llyn Dinas

I have just returned home from Snowdonia in Wales, having been on an excellent, inspiring and very enjoyable workshop lead by Andy Beel FRPS and David Mills FRPS, together with three other participants.

The workshop was called – ‘It’s all about the light’ and it couldn’t have been a more apt description. We we were incredibly fortunate with the weather. Apart from some overnight rain we were out and about all week, stayed dry, and towards the end of the week it was quite simply wall to wall sunshine; not a cloud in the sky and very mild given the time of the year. This did mean that occassionally we had to work in high contrast conditions, which is not always ideal for photography, but my philosophy is that you make the best of what you are given, and who could complain when you are surrounded by such a truly beautiful landscape.

Selection and post processing of the best images now begins, but this may run for many weeks and probably months, given that I only have a limited amount of time to sit in front of a computer screen. As we discussed on the workshop it can be a good thing to give this time, and come back to the images later when you may see things differently. That’s not usually my style but with so many images to consider, it may have to be this way out of necessity and not out of choice.

For the time being here is one image taken by the shore of Llyn Dinas.

Do click on the image to view a larger version.