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The three images in today’s post appeal to me for different reasons. One for texture and detail, one for the questions it asks and the other both for its suggestion of mysterious overtones.
The first picture is in my favourite format of 1:1 or square and monochrome. The plant, is a thistle, with its seeds ready to be blown by the wind to propagate other areas of the countryside. I love the detail that the camera captured and the swirls of tone in the down-like mass of seeds around the thistle heads. It was taken with a Nikon D7100 and a Nikkor 24 – 85mm f/3.5 – 4.5 lens.
The second image is a set of steps that have started to be overgrown. The steps and the wall through which they run is obviously old. The steps are worn and uneven and made of odd sized and shaped stone, except the second step from the bottom, which has been repaired by what looks like modern bricks. So at one point in the near past, the steps must have been used enough to require repair, and yet now they are becoming overgrown and are evidently not now used as much if, at all. The movement of the eye through the image is from top to bottom. The convergence of the steps and the light at the top ensures that the viewer climbs the steps to exit the picture. This image was also taken with a Nikon D7100 and a Nikkor 24 – 85mm f/3.5 – 4.5 lens.
To the Light
The last image was taken at Stowe gardens. Viewing the portico and door of the temple from below gives the picture both an imposing, dominating and mysterious aspect. The darkness of the set of doors looks threatening and its position between the columns ensures that the eye is pulled and drawn to it. What will emerge from behind them? The title is a reference to one of my favourite heavy metal albums from 1977, which the image reminds me of. The photograph was taken with a Nikon D800 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens.
Sin after Sin
Colour photographs by their very nature rely in some way on their main characteristic of colour to draw the viewer into the image. So, when you are looking to take a monochrome image, you have to discount that attribute and rely instead on other aspects of the subject to give to your viewer. There are many things to look for in a subject when you are planning to take a black and white photograph. Shape and form for instance, tone and contrast and also texture and pattern.
The first image of the fallen tree with the hole though it relies on texture, tone and form. The format of the image is square. This provides a static and stable frame on which to arrange the components of the photograph. The tree is placed in the frame with the hole slightly to the right to suggest an initial movement in that direction. Initially, the texture and tone around the bottom of the hole pulls the eye to the right around the perimeter of the circle formed by it and then into the hollow and then out to the left side of the frame.
The second image is a close-up shot of a tree trunk showing the deep texture and patterns of the bark. The visual impression is of almost a thick skin-like quality, and within the solidity formed by the square frame, the viewer’s eye moves across the image from left to right until it finds the hole on the right and then follows the crack in the bark from the top of the hole to the top of the frame and out.
Both pictures were shot with a Nikon D7100 and a Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 lens.
Tough as Old Boots
In Photograph #7 I said that I enjoy taking photographs of flowers in monochrome but of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t also process flower photographs in colour. The following two images show two different approaches to flower photography.
The first is a single bloom with the lens opened to an aperture of f/1.8. This gives a very shallow field of focus that has resulted in the background being out of focus and even the edges of the petals closest to the camera being blurred. The background has been left dark to emphasise the flower itself and the final result is a soft, gentle image where the only parts in focus are the edges of the left-side petals and the centre of the flower.
In contrast to this image, the second is a photograph of a section of a flower meadow that was taken at f/9.0 and the small aperture retains good sharpness and detail throughout the image. The aim of the photograph was to get an impression of the intricacy, delicacy and different colours of a field of wild flowers. The eye is drawn to the two large flowers at the bottom and then moves to the poppy just off centre and then up to the top left of the frame.
The photographs were taken on a Nikon D7100 with a Nikkor 35, f/1.8 lens.
These two images are part of a series I have been working on for a couple of years now. The series is called Senescence, which is a biological term meaning “the condition or process of deterioration with age.” The subjects I am photographing are not biological. The images are studies on the effects of age and decay on non-animate objects. But to me as I look at the various doors, sheets of metal or walls that are crumbling, rusting or peeling, I feel that they too have had a form of life in the way that they have fulfilled their intended purpose.
The subjects I take for this project have their own beauty in age and in that they take on a limited life of their own. I want to record the effects of that longevity on their form and structure. I feel that they almost record that which has occurred around them during the years within their crumbling structures and increasing patinas.
The two images show two different subjects. A weathered and peeling old door and a wall on which the plaster is crumbling but on which someone has proudly placed a prize ticket for flowers that they exhibited in a show. They were taken at the National Trust’s Calke Abbey, one of my favourite places to photograph and wander around and there are just so many subjects for the project.
The photographs were taken on a Nikon D7100 and a Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 lens.
Most of the images that I take, and have taken, over the years are monochrome. That’s not to say I don’t like colour images, I do, very much, it’s just that l like to produce black and white photographs. I find it easy to visualise the monochromatic values of a scene when I look at it. I can see the tones, the textures and the shapes of the scene that will make a monochrome image. It is the inclusion of these three that will enable it to become a successful black and white photograph that people may want to look at. But once that image is produced and presented to a viewer then how successful the picture is for them as an individual is down to how they react and associate with it and how the photograph speaks to them.
The image below is an example of that. As I was taking the picture, I saw the different “layers’ of light and tone. The top band of dark leaves in the trees at the top, then the line of brightness behind the trees, followed by the tree shadows and at the bottom of the frame a lighter line of grass. To me, the tree trunks themselves became a link between all of the areas of tone and texture which enabled me to move into the light area behind them.
It was also the small details that grabbed my eye; the small plant underneath the tree trunk acting as a lead into the movement of the image; the sweep of the very light area of grass with a slanted movement to the right emphasising the viewer’s journey through the image. And finally, I liked the implied peace and quiet of the scene, making me want to explore its depth, hence its title.
That is just my thoughts on this one photograph, but what is so great about art and photography, is that we all have different feelings and different views about pictures and this is how it should be.
The photograph was taken with a Nikon D7100 and a Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 lens.