Simply glittering and shimmering. I love finding images like this. March is often known for variable weather in the UK. There is a well-known saying that ‘March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb’, or sometimes it’s the other way round. Either way there can be spells of bitter cold and days of unusual warmth. Trees and flowers never quite know the right time to judge when Spring is truly sprung.
These last few days have been surprisingly warm, and on one of them we paid our first visit to West Wittering beach on the edge of Chichester Harbour. The tide was out and vast expanses of sand were revealed with lagoons of water. The light was a little subdued by a thin film of high cirrus cloud which made images into the light (or ‘contre jour’ as it is sometimes known), a little easier to control.
This is a gem of a place, but it is also a very well-known gem: in Summer it is likely to be crowded. But there is plenty of space and it is also a popular place for wind surfers. We will be returning.
From the bold, classic lines of silhouetted Pine trees in my previous post from Blackdown (click here to view) to the chaotic jungle of the deciduous woodland that cloaks the lower slopes of Blackdown.
I have noticed that much of the woodland in Sussex and neighbouring areas has a chaotic structure to it – the woods are un-tamed, trees remain where they fall. The undergrowth is unchecked. Nature has run riot.
Photographically it presents challenges: how to find compositions amongst this chaos. This is a preliminary attempt – finding bleached and leafless branches that catch the light and stream haphazardly across the frame.
In colour, on a dull day, the minimalist hues introduce a coldness to the scene. A conversion to B&W takes that coldness one step further and a subtle re-working of the tonal range emphasises the tracery in the foreground.
Which works best? Do add a comment. Click on either image to see a higher quality enlargement.
Had a great day on Sunday with my son on Blackdown, the highest point in the South Downs National Park. Blackdown is a large promontory of high heathland that projects south into Sussex from near the town of Haslemere. Flint artefacts show there has been settlement on Blackdown since the mesolithic period, around 6000 BC. Alfred Lord Tennyson had a house built on Blackdown in 1869 and died there in 1892. Blackdown was donated to the National Trust in 1944.
A limited range of plants grow on Blackdown because the soil is acidic. It is home to Heathers and the high plateau is populated by Pine trees. The landscape was bleak in the overcast weather when we were here, but on a good day the views will be spectacular and far-reaching and when the Heathers bloom the colour will be magnificent. We will return.
I have said, and others have also said, that when we travel to a place we take images that are ‘of’ that place, and we also take images that happen to be taken ‘at’ that place but are not really of that place – meaning they are images that have a life all of their own outside of the environment in which they happen to have been taken.
This one falls into that second category. It was taken at Birling Gap on the South Coast. After leaving the beach we walked up onto the Chalk Cliffs and I happened to glance inland. There was a red van on the winding road and it was one of those occasions when I knew exactly when to shoot, and what the final processed image would look like before I pressed the shutter.
Red is the real ‘stand out’ primary colour, and de-saturating all the colours other than red during processing is a very easy task. Sometimes there are the odd bits of red elsewhere in the image that need to be de-saturated, but that is easy to do by making a selection of those extraneous bits and removing the ‘red’.
All that was left was to darken the sky to add a little more atmosphere to the image – and I loved that tiny sliver of light on the far horizon just creating a little separation tonally between land and sky.
Remember to click on the image to see a higher quality enlargement.
Life is full of choices from the life-changing decisions of which career path to follow, to the mundane of which shirt shall I wear today. Photography is no different. We constantly make choices about the direction of travel of our photography. Life is a journey not a destination.
Those of you who have followed this Blog for some time will know that there is no single direction for my photography. I let my creativity lead me and when I leave home with a camera in hand I truly do not know what images my eye will find, nor even the genre within which they will belong.
For me, that is what makes my visual journey so exciting – the unexpected is just around the next corner. Life is one big surprise.
It’s nice to get back to some blue sky thinking in front of the computer today after a hectic few weeks re-drafting a talk (‘Observations on a Visual Journey’) for camera clubs, which aired for the first time last night at Bookham Camera Club. One of the joys for me, as a long-in-the-tooth Photographer, is to share some of my images and talk about what I have learnt in the course of a 50 year visual journey. It was good to meet such an enthusiastic bunch of people last night, who seemed to enjoy what I had to say, and were very welcoming. Thank you, Bookham.
A puddle on a fine day often provides an interpretation of the world, or the sky – and always upside down. Inverting the view, and some careful weeding of ‘dirt’ dispersed across the sky, has produced a sky-scape to brighten what is, meteorologically, a rather drab day today.
As always, click on the image to see a higher quality enlargement.
Almost a perfect fit. Walking down towards Tate Britain earlier this week I passed this building. Nothing very remarkable about the building – large floor to ceiling windows in a facade that was clad with wood. A little austere and subdued. it caught my eye because of the reflections of the property opposite. I slowly moved along and found a position where the windows of the facing property aligned within the window frames of the property I was viewing. And what’s more, the lighting – dull and overcast – together with the reflected pastel colours, seemed a perfect match.
On any other day, this image probably wouldn’t have worked. Just occasionally the conditions are right. Dull light can be the right type of light.