First brief within the Environment unit. Brief required environmental photographs taken within a 15 minute radius of the current location. Explore the surrounding areas and document the environment as seen.
Due to location the area of interest was heavily urban however there was a small green space where a building once stood. The Raploch area of Stirling is run down and this is evident in the images presented. Rusty iron fences, dumped rubbish (buggies, pallets, ect). Rubble from structure that have been pulled down and just left in the middle of fields. No care and attention has been taken in the area.
I find this particularly interesting as there is such an iconic backdrop in the background. Both Stirling Castle and Wallace's Monument are known worldwide. I wanted to highlight this in at least one of my images.
For my SLPOTY brief I was asked to look at two images that I found inspiring. The image on the left is no doubt an Ansel Adams image. Iconic black and white landscapes by Adams are timeless and astounding. An inspiration to any landscape photographer. The image on the right is one by Edward Burtynsky. A photographer that I had heard of but not one which I had looked directly at his work. However, for this brief I wanted to look at both natural and nature landscapes as well as urban and industrial landscapes to compare man made and natural environments.
Starting with Adams I am in awe of his landscapes. Pretty much untouched by human hands. Mother nature is in full control here and he shows this through his lens. The intensity in the clouds in the sky and the contrast of the foliage in the foreground.
I like the composition of the image. the two tree's in the foreground that stand out in the bottom right hand corner. Then looking at the valley. Slightly off center but brought back in with the help of the tree's in the foreground.
The contrast of the image works incredibly well. I feel Adams would have used a filter to help with the contrast and then finished this off in the darkroom.
My Favorite aspect of the image is the moodiness of the sky. I feel this adds intense emotion to the image. I like that you can still see the valley through the clouds in the background behind the 'gates' of the valley.
I did a small amount of research into his equipment. He did use various cameras including a Zeiss Millifles a 6-1/2 x 8 1/2 glass plate camera and a 4 x 5 camera Hassleblad. He also used various filters that would have included the colored filters specifically for enhancing black and white photography
- Orange - Enhances blue skies to give much darker tones
- Red - gives more dramatic effects and is classed as a specialist filter. Creates bold clarity completely different to the subtle orange and yellow filters.
- Green - Helps lighten darker foliage by brightening the greens that can record dark.
- Yellow - used to bring out clouds by darkening the blue sky. Not has strong as the orange filter
- Blue - not a very common filter used
Oil fields #19ab by Edward Burtynsky is a great example of a landscape showing how humans have moulded the land to suit their needs. A sparse dry landscape with no signs of life. Metal constructions specially designed to farm oil is what takes over.
I really enjoy the repetition throughout the image it really shows the extremes of oil farming. The image is beautifully exposed with great color in the foreground. The sky is flat however I feel this adds to the image as their is no life in the image. I like the warm tones that run throughout. Overall a stunning image that puts out a strong message.
Burtynsky first shot with film. He was using a large format 4 x 5 Linhof with a rangefinder. However, due to the motion of shooting from the air, the camera was not capable of shooting at fast enough shutter speeds. Since then he has started to shoot digitally.
Burtynskys style is pretty unique. He takes aerial shots which is not something that is seen everyday. He also doesn't shoot close ups. He likes to take a step back and gather everything he can into one frame. The large format in which he uses to photograph allows him to have great detail and clarity in his images.
Take a slip from the hat and photograph the word you are given...
My first thoughts when given the word SCULPTED was of course sculptures and other hand and man made things. However, trying to look at the concept of sculpted landscapes I then wanted to look at both natural and man made landscapes.
My first point of study was to look at natural sculpted landscapes and look at the form and shapes. Looking at the image of Dunes, Oceano by Edward Weston in 1936, you can see a simple beauty of texture, shape and line running through the image. Weston has such a great eye for looking at shape and texture from looking at his still life works, it is beautiful see this through landscapes too. I just love the way you are led into the image through the use of lines in the texture of the sand as well as the path created through the use of shadows and highlights. The image is a work of art that I would happily hang on my wall. The image is simple in showing off the natural beauty of sand dunes and looking at this image reminds me of the shapes of fields that are close to home. A beautifully natural sculpted landscape.
Again much like the dunes, Death Valley has a similar theme running through the images. The use of leading lines is strong as they pull you into the picture through the ridge on the sand. Again textures in the sand are enhanced through the play on highlights and shadows. Overall another very simplistic image by Weston showing the pure beauty of an untouched landscape by human hands.
Like his father, Brett Weston looked closely in the details and shapes of his subjects. The roots are photographed in such a way that they look elegant and have almost human qualities to them, very abstract. Line is used to lead your eyes once again into the photograph and the shadows and highlights have been balanced to make this roots look 3D. When you look at the image you can just feel the smooth texture of the roots.
I feel environmental images such as these work incredibly well as you take out all other un necessary and distracting objects from the image, leaving you with the simple beauty that you want to capture and show. Less is more in these cases.
Switching to the other foot and looking at Frank Gholke. Gholkes above image resonates very much with my theme of Sculpted. Although not a sculpture, the land has been sculpted to suit our needs as humans. This is the other side of the coin, the sculpture in landscapes most people are used to seeing but not realizing that what they are looking at, in towns and cities is a sculpted landscape that has been made to cater to the needs of the human race. Where Mother nature would cater to many species through her beauty and grace, humans are not so thoughtful.
Again leading lines is strong. The roads transport your eyes all around the image as well as create beautiful shapes that make the photograph aesthetically beautiful. A closer looks shows that the roads are not yet created. This is a sculpture in progress.
Looking at all the images above and the dates in which they had been taken. I very much doubt that much equipment would have been used apart from a trusty camera loaded with Black and White film and of the courses the photographer’s knowledge and eye. Time of day (specifically with Weston images) is important as to create or enhance certain textures and shapes which may require the sun to be in a certain position to optimize the effects.
Overall I feel a simplistic approach is what will be required when shooting my images.
I plan to use my camera and possibly experiment with various lenses. However, my main choice will be my kit lens (18-135mm) as this will give me more freedom to experiment with different focal lengths.
Depending on the desired effect I may use a tripod if I feel it is necessary however I will be shooting mainly hand held. I don’t want to over complicate the shoot so I will keep my equipment to a minimum.
I have buddied up with a friend from class and we plan to shoot on the 22nd of September in the afternoon in Stirling.
There is plenty of natural and man made formations around the city, such as volcanic rock near the castle, the monument and of course roads and buildings.
For my interpretation I decided to keep is simple and look to see what was in my local area that would fit my theme of Sculpted. I have looked at both Natural and Man Made forms. From roads to natural rock formations I have tried to photograph the unique characteristics by looking at; line, texture, shape, colour, and light. I have kept things to a minimum much like what was said from my research.
The second brief of the year was to enter the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year. There was various categories to choose from to enter however I will be looking at entering the Landscape Category.
As I have little access to transport and rely heavily on public transport, traveling to locations is an issue. Due to this I plan to shoot locally. I may also rely on archived images from the previous 2 years as weather in Scotland is so unpredictable.
If I decide to use my archived images I will be looking a The Four Season Award as I have some images from Autumn of 2015 that I feel will fit that category.
Local areas I will probably shoot at are;
With traveling using public transport I do not want to carry too much equipment so my equipment list is as follows
- Canon Eos 60D
- 18-135mm kit lens
- 35mm prime lens
- ND Filter (10stop)
- Polariser Filter
- Shutter Release Button
This image just whispers, peace, calm, solitude. Not solitude in a lonely way, more of a warm and welcoming feeling of enjoying your own company. The image has been taken in such a way it is almost like a painting. The three layers. The foreground with the boat just floating gently, then the beautiful ruined castle in the middle ground. Then fading into the background is a forest. The sky is plain with no distractions and there is a slight reflection from the background and foreground. The image is almost like going back in time, just three subjects all places beautifully with no other distractions. A rare find and beautiful capture.
Seascapes are stunning. The movement of water is just something to be in awe of. The sheer force of the waves in the image just show how powerful and beautiful mother nature can really be. The colours in the image are lovely and warm (probably sunset) The waves in the image just create great movement taking you right into the image. The background with the hills sits beautifully just giving an extra dimension.
Probably my favourite image. The iconic Buachaille Etive Mor. Glencoe is one of my favourite places so it is only natural to feel a connection to the image. I love the details brought out in the hill itself. All those little arteries filled with snow, creates such a beautiful texture. Loving the undisturbed snow in the foreground and the heather? Peeking out of the top of the blanket of snow. My only disappointment is the colour of the snow, as it has a very pink tinge which is a shame as if it had been a crisp white I feel it would have been fantastic.
"My photographs are made exclusively with the Hasselblad XPan and Fujichome Velvia 50 emulsion. This combination allows me to produce genuine high quality panoramic images, there are no stitched panoramas making perspective bending vistas. They represent the landscape of Scotland exactly as experienced."
After a little research I have found that Craig uses a specific set up for his images. He also doesn't believe in over photoshopping after reading his "about me" section on his website. He works with film which is a little bit unusual in todays world of photography however this brings a unique approach to his images.
The second image is another one submitted by Craig that I really enjoyed viewing. I love the interest in the foreground with the collection of rocks that make up the small beach. Drawn into the image with the formation of the Valley. Beautiful clear reflections, detailed sky and of course, lovely details on the hills from the shadows of the clouds.
Friday 7th October 2016
Early start, up and bag packed with equipment mentioned above. (Cheated and borrowed a friends ND filter)
Overcast day, very dull.
11am - 1.30pm
Arrived at the location Bracklenn Falls at 11am.
Tried to shoot the falls from different angles and exploring, shooting up river focusing on the river itself. Then further down river getting the falls in all her glory.
Shooting long exposures on the bridge found to be un successful as vibrations were effecting the image. Was able to find a ledge under the bridge to shoot from.
After 2 hours of wandering around the area a beautiful location was found which enabled the full falls to be photographed. One of such is a chosen photograph.
I used a variety of settings. I will explain under each of my images.
1.30pm - 3.00pm
Doune Castle and Ardoch Burn that runs into the River Teith.
As we were in the area we decided on a wee trip down to the River at Doune Castle before last light. finding shooting is becoming so restricted as light is now is short supply with longer nights.
I did a few shots of the river however a brick wall decided to hit me and inspiration was at a low. I got a few shots however none I would be happy enough to submit. Possibly some further research and a re visit with better weather might make a difference.
The Chosen 3
For the above image it was a trial and error process.
I set up my tripod and framed my image up and got the perfect focus on the falls. I was shooting using my 18-135mm kit lens which was not ideal however I do not own another lens that could do the job. I shot at about 40mm.
It was a bit of teamwork to work out the correct settings. I attached a 10 stop ND filter to my lens and set my camera to Bulb mode. (Remembered my button!)
With the help of a stopwatch I was able to time it was my shutter would stay open for 1min 40sec which was required to expose the image correctly.
Overall very happy with the image. I love the smoothness of the water and was pleasantly surprised as I was expecting something completely different. I am not happy with the movements in the trees and the grass in the foreground however, the water is smooth and the falls themselves are lovely and sharp. I have tweaked the image slightly in Camera Raw. This was only to adjust the image to look more like what I was seeing on the day and nothing more. (felt that the RAW image was slightly too dull)
- Canon Eos 60d, 18-135mm @ 40mm
- Bulb Mode
- F11 @ 1min 40sec
- Tweaked in Camera Raw
I had to go into my archives and pull this one out. One of my favourite images taken last November. I think most will remember this one and are probably sick of seeing it haha.
Anyway! I really like this image as the light coming through the trees was just perfect. Then we have the lonely figure just walking up the path that you are led to through the lovely leading lines created by the path itself. If i didn't at least attempt to enter this I feel I would regret it.
I remember the morning well. Dog in one hand and camera bag slung over my shoulder. Found the perfect spot where I think the angle was just right and set up my camera on the tri-pod.
Using my Canon Eos 60D, 18-135mm Kit Lens I shot at 18mm.
I wanted as much height as possible of the trees in the image and to show the length of the path to draw the eye into the image.
Editing wise I have did very little. Tried to bring some of the vibrancy of colours back - that had been lost due to the fog that morning - through Camera Raw. A little dodging and burning (slightest touch) just to bring some clarity into the image and resized.
Not the typical shot you would find in Glen Etive however a nice we hidden pocket down by the river on my hunt for some deer.
I remember the awful strangle down the hill to get to my spot. It had been raining and I didn't have correct footwear on. Nothing as really changed. (Makes mental note to buy walking boots)
Shot hand held. Ideally I would have used the tripod however I have having technical issues that afternoon.
I shot at 18mm on my 18-135mm kit lens. The sun was pretty bright so my ISO was kept low at 100 and shooting at f/8. I could have been doing with an ND Grad filter to try and level the sky and foreground out a touch more however I was ale to reclaim so areas in lightroom.
I found some of my shadows were a bit too dark so I went over these areas bringing the exposure up by around 1/3 of a stop.
Didn't do much else to the image as I want to keep it as close to the RAW image as possible.
After the Blue Hour
To begin my research I wanted to look at local landmarks as i feel this is the images I will end up replicating. I have never had the opportunity to go out and night and photograph places such as The Kelpies and the Forth Rail Bridge so I feel now is my chance.
The above image by Fraser yule is a very night example. An image seen time and time again however something that photographers should do at least once. The photograph was taken at 42mm at f/8.0. The bridge is lovely and sharp and the background is nice and blurred. The lights in the background are nice and soft.
A 45sec exposure has been used to create some movement in the sky and soften the water. The water looks calm with lovely reflections from the lights of the bridge. I feel that a filter may have been used as there is so many lights on the bridge so not to over expose the image however taken at night this may have not been necessary.
A classic night time Kelpie image. Another long exposure image as seen through the blurred water. also shot at possibly f/16. The small lights in the background have a starburst effect which indicates a small aperture.
Not much to say in terms of composition as this image of the Kelpies being taken straight on is one taken all of the time. It is nice that the image is balanced and symmetry is used however I find this image slightly off as they are sitting more on the right. This upsets the strength of the image. If the kelpies has been in the middle of the image the image would have been much stronger.
The exposure is nice. No detail has been lost by lights being blown out and there is no heavy shadows in there. A clear night time image done well. Just need to watch where the kelpies are sitting in the frame.
28th November 2016
For my own safety, it was difficult to find time to go out at night and do night shots. However, on the 28th this changed as one of my friends could drive and accompany me to places to photograph at night! The plan to was begin at The Kelpies and then move forward towards South Queensferry and photograph the bridges.
I have never had the opportunity to do my right of passage and photograph these landmarks that have been done to the death but now was my chance!
I packed my tripod and of course my camera and my 18-135mm Lens. Ideally if this hadn’t been shot over the weekend I would have preferred to have used a wide-angle lens borrowed from the college. I also brought my Achromat Art Lens to experiment with shaping the light using the aperture rings however at a fixed 64mm This would prove difficult to do any landscape type shots.
I attempted to shoot the kelpies from different vantage points. Trying to find the best angle. I seemed to have found more of an attraction to an underpass that was lit up. I used my phone to create light trails and told my friend to walk slowly up and down to give ghostly effects in the images. I spent roughly 45 minutes shooting.
Once up at the bridges I didn’t have a lot of time left to think about where I was shooting. I did the cliché shot of the Rail Bridge and one of the old road bridge. I loved the effects of the lights being painted in the water.
The above images are my final 3 from my travels after the blue hour.
Starting with the first image of the bridge. The Forth Rail bridge has been done to death. So now it was my turn! The tide was out and with this being an unplanned visit I didn't have a torch with me to explore different vantage points. Ideally I would have liked to have gotten off the path and down onto the banks. I worked with what i had at the time and set up my tripod with my camera. I shot using my kit lens 18-135mm as I needed a wide angle. My other lenses weren't suitable.
I shot at 18mm and f/16 at 30 sec. I wanted still water to create reflections. I like the painted look of the lights in the water which I have seen in other images so I wanted to attempt this in my image. I feel this has been successful.
The second image was taken at the famous Kelpies. I walked around the grounds and looked at the paths which had all been lit with small lights. I likes how the lights guided you and how they led you to explore. I wanted to attempt and incorporate this into an image.
I shot at f/16 at 30 seconds iso 100. As well as looking at using leading lines I wanted to experiment with the starburst effect on the lights. From prior knowledge I knew I had to use a smaller aperture so stuck with f/16.
Overall extremely happy with the turn out. I feel my starburst effects have been successful however I do feel that possibly a different angle may work better with the paths.
My third and final image for this brief is another taken at the kelpies. Something completed different to what I normally shoot. I was shooting at f/11 at 30 seconds to gather enough light but keep most of the image sharp.
The location as said previous is at the Kelpies. I had saw the bridge photographed before and wanted to put my own spin on it.
I set the trip-pod up and clicked the release to open the shutter. I experimented with light painting and intentional camera movement to see what effects I could get. During this attempt a bike was making its way through the tunnel which helped with the light painting thanks to the lights on the bike.
I was extremely pleased with the abstract look that I got with the camera movement.
If I was to go back and reshoot (something that I will probably do myself at some point) I would research areas first and look at different vantage points to shoot. I would also pack a bag that is suitable for shooting in the dark. Things including torches and possibly different lights for light painting ect.