Have a Great Weekend
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This small group of mussels was found on Trevone Beach and is a macro image taken a matter of centimetres from the subject. As a result the depth of field would have been just a few millimetres, but what does that mean. Basically I focussed on a specific area of the larger of the mussels and the area of in front and behind that point would be progressively out of focus. In fact this close it would have been impossible to get everything in focus, unless I had resorted to focus stacking (but I’ll leave an explanation of that for another time). What I really like about this image though is the arrangement of the curves, to my mind there is a rhythm about the way they lie which seems to have a natural harmony. I took a number of images of this group, from various angles and positions, most of which I rejected until I came to this composition. By comparison most of the others were chaotic and unbalanced. Anyway I hope you like it. As always feedback and comments are always appreciated – please use the box below.
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This is a close up of a fern frond I found in Respryn Woods. One of the problems in shooting this type of subject is that you are subject to the conditions prevailing at the time particularly the wind and light levels. Although this subject is essentially a still life study, you have to approach it differently than if you were making the image in a studio. The first essential in my view is to select a good specimen, and this was the best I could find amongst a wide variety of possibles. Every branch was intact, but what made it stand out was the way it arched left to right, for me it had a perfect form which made composition easy. The image was made in the evening and this specimen was in the shade which meant that I could control the contrast in the image better. The wind had dropped to negligible levels which meant I could get a sharp image without worrying about the slow shutter speed I was using due to the light level.
Having got the image I was after, the next stage was to process it. It had always been in my mind to make it a monochrome image, but in this case I have split toned it in Photoshop. Basically this entails using two colours, in this case sepia and dark blue. I am very pleased with the result and I hope you find some merit in it also. Feedback and comments are always welcome. Have a great Sunday – good weather coming !
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Here’s todays Image. A Dandelion Clock taken from my garden into my home studio and photographed as a still life using my 105mm macro lens.
These are ox-eye daisies found at Penlee Battery, a Cornwall Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve situated just to the east of Rame Head. This photo doesn’t give you any idea of their size but think of them as larger versions of the daisies you find growing on your lawn in the summer months, they measure between 2-2½ inches across. They can usually be found growing in large groups as here. My original intention was to try and get a close up image of a flower head, but as there was a light wind blowing and the flower heads are on very long stems they were in constant movement and I found it impossible to get a shot. So I settled for a group shot and I was glad I did. I used my 105mm telephoto to compress the perspective and focussed on the blooms nearest the camera which allowed the flowers behind to fall gradually out of focus. I like having selected elements of an image become de-focussed as I think that this allows a viewer to concentrate fully on the parts that are sharp while allowing the backdrop to still support the image and composition. The background is still recognisable as the same plant but details have been deliberately lost.
The location where I made this image is well worth a look, though the best time to visit is probably in July when you may also be able to spot Bee Orchids (Ophrys apifera). In fact at the time of my visit there were at least 20 plant species all contained within the small easily accessible area of Penlee Battery. Provided you pick a suitable day, preferably with a bright but overcast sky with little wind you should be able to get some good plant portraits.
As you may have guessed by now my photographic interest is not just about capturing the sweeping landscapes of our beautiful county but also about the inner landscape. What do I mean by the inner landscape ? I like to call it The Intimate Landscape and for me it is about capturing images which concentrate on the detail in the landscape. Although this type of image can sometimes appear abstract and disconnected from its place in the landscape, it is nevertheless like a building block, an intergral part of the whole. This type of image can be anything from a rockpool, a close-up image of a group of wildflowers or, as in this case the detail found on a rock face.
I found this image while on a walk from Treyarnon Bay to Constantine Bay. I used my 105mm lens to fill the frame with this small area, which was probably only about 6′ x 4′. The lack of shadow detail is accounted for by the overcast sky which has acted like a giant softbox and scattered the light falling on the rocks. Because the image is separated from its surroundings there is no sense of scale, and apart from my mention of the size above you would not be able to tell the true size from the information contained in the image. The lack of reference points allows you to concentrate on the form and texture, unfettered by familiar landmarks. I hope you like the image and if you have comments or questions please use the box below.
It’s amazing what you can find if you look close enough. This part of the north coast of Cornwall is well known for its unusual rock formations, but we tend to view them standing back a few yards as we take in the overall shape and marvel at what the forces of nature can wrought. However if you take a moment to look really closely a whole different world will open up. This is just one of the images I made on my recent Widemouth Bay shoot, I could have chosen from at least a dozen, but I think this one best illustrates the point I want to make. The image is chaotic, but after a few moments of looking at it some order starts to appear. There are geometric shapes – circles, lines and polygrams, the image has two distinct areas – The lower two-thirds comprises an inner circle with concentric rings around it, while the upper half is more chaotic, but still retaining some basic shapes. It took me a long time to select this particular area to photograph, it was only by adjusting the composition in the viewfinder, sometimes by minute amounts that the image finally took shape and led me to what I feel is a satisfying composition.
Focussing a relatively flat surface from close-up, where none of the features are particularly sharp can be quite difficult, so if you are in the same position here’s a little tip. You need something to focus on so here I used one of my cards which has some writing on, I placed it on the surface, focussed on that then removed it. This meant that everything on the same plane as the card would be in focus, quite handy and very quick to carry out.
I went to Sandymouth, near Bude earlier this week, one of my favourite locations, though when I set out the weather did not look very promising. When I arrived I was a little surprised to see a number of cars in the car park, as it was a weekday and late in the afternoon. When I got down to the beach there were more photographers than you could shake a tripod at – about a dozen spread out on the beach, along the seas edge and among the rocks – I guessed it was probably a workshop. I could see that it was not going to be a good day for making images of wide open vistas what with the weather and the high photographer count so I needed an alternative. The good thing about Sandymouth is that you are never stuck for a shot, so I decided to explore the Intimate Landscape instead. A walk along the top of the beach under the cliffs will reveal strange rock formations, patterns and textures, so I proceeded to get in close and concentrate on the details.
I found this formation almost immediately so set up my tripod and adjusted the camera so the it was s near to 90 degrees to the rock face as I could get it. This would mean that the subject and the camera’s sensor were in approximately the same plane which would make focussing more precise. The light was absolutely perfect for this type of subject as I was able to get soft shadows and the highlights were not too bright. If it had been a bright sunny day I doubt I would have been able to get as good an image as I eventually made. I must have taken about twenty shots of the various features on the cliffs until the light began to fade, so at that point I left the photographers to the sunset and head off home. Far from being disappointed with the shoot I returned with about a dozen good shots which is a good hit rate for any shoot.