A little update…

It’s been a little while since I last posted up on the blog (though not as long as on other occasions). I have been quite productive on the photography front, I just haven’t quite got it all ready to go just yet. So, I thought I would post up an image from the recent project and explain what I am trying to do.

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Verdant

This project is called Verdant. All of the photographs for it were taken during June in Grovely wood. I was out walking the dog one evening. I had a 70-200 telephoto lens with me as I was hoping to capture some images of the deer that can often be seen in the wood. I did get some photos of deer, but they were pretty average to say the least. Whilst I was there, I did capture some interesting images of the trees that caught my attention.

During the last month, I have tried to create a body of work using the greenery of the wood as a key theme. I have tried to construct images that work together using the idea of light, form and hue. The aim of the work is to try to build a series that is subtle in its focus, where the viewer looks at the images to see the similarities and differences between them. The work is about diversity, not in terms of the variety of images themselves but what they intend to illustrate.

I am quite a cognitive person, by and large. However, for this project I wanted to drop as many preconceptions as possible and go with the ‘flow’. I wanted all the images to have a family resemblance. The unpicking of what it all meant to me was to come later. For the project I just wanted to go with my feelings about the images. In my view, I think it worked well. It’s certainly an approach I will use again and develop more over time. Along with the winter images I took of the snow storms in Porthleven earlier this year, this has been my favourite work to date.

I will release more about the project, such as a video (and possibly some kind of Podcast), as I am looking to shake this blog up in the coming months and shift its focus a little. More on that to come…

 

 

 

Field in low light

I was out for a walk with the dog and saw this shot recently. I like how the shallow depth of field allows you to focus on a short horizontal band of grass, rather than the whole field. Using this selective focus technique can make an otherwise dull shot more interesting.

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Slab

Not sure what this concrete slab is doing in a woodland, but hey I guess there is a reason.

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Shooting in bad weather

The last few days have been interesting in terms of the weather, with the snow then later rain. Today, there is hardly any snow left, just a few patches here and there lining fields. This is fairly typical for this part of Cornwall, as this sort of weather does not tend to stay around for long. Today has been a photography free day though as I have let the camera kit dry off and the lenses de-mist. In the meantime, I thought I would blog a little about shooting in bad weather.

In terms of camera equipment, I tend to keep my kit stored at home in a camera backpack. This means, that I can quickly check it and then go without too much fuss working out what needs to go and stay. Basically, my travel camera kit comprises of:

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark 4
  • Canon EOS 16-35L series III F2.8 lens
  • Canon EOS 24-70L series II F2.8 lens
  • Canon EOS 70-200L USM F4 lens (the original non-IS version)
  • Sigma Art 50mm F1.4 lens
  • NiSi filter set (polariser, soft edge graduated filter, 10 stop ND filter)
  • Zomei variable ND filter for video work
  • Manfrotto 055 Aluminium tripod
  • Manfrotto 410 Junior geared head
  • Spare camera battery
  • Spare SD memory cards
  • Battery charger
  • Lowe pro flip side 400AW

Critically, each lens has a skylight filter on it. A lot of people question the value of these filters, but I can see three good reasons for having one attached to your lens: (1) they protect the lens from damage; (2) I’d rather keep cleaning a skylight filter in rough weather than the lens glass, less wear and tear on the protective coatings; (3) most importantly, on Canon L series lenses, the filter makes the lens weather sealed.

I was really impressed by the Canon 5D4 in the weather. I took it out in London some time ago in the wind and rain. It was soaked but continued to work well, so I was pretty confident it would survive this week. As these weather conditions were so rare, I decided to risk the camera to record them. If the camera died, it would have been a very expensive mistake! I didn’t cover the camera at all, which might have been sensible in hindsight. However, I was confident in the camera’s ability to manage poor weather. After all, this is one of the reasons you pay so much for a professional grade camera from a quality manufacturer like Canon.

I had thought about taking my Sony camera with me to Cornwall. It is actually easier to shoot, with the ability to review the images through the viewfinder. However, I felt that I could trust the Canon more when out in rough weather. I can’t say if the Sony would have been as good or worse, as I haven’t tested it in such conditions. However, I can safely say that my Canon cameras have managed everything that has been thrown at them over the last five years very well.

Camera systems like Canon and Nikon have good pedigree when it comes to weather sealing. Both of these are equally good as the other. I am told that the Sony is weather sealed, but I also know there are some question marks about to what extent it is sealed. It feels like a very well built camera (the A9, that is), but checking it out online people have differing views about what extent it is able to cope with rain and snow. For this reason, I didn’t feel that I was going to trust it to the elements.

So, I guess, one thing that this week has taught me is that no matter what clever and amazing specifications a camera has, being able to actually take it out and use it whenever you want is also very important when choosing a camera system. I can’t say that I had ever really thought seriously about the ‘weather sealing’ aspects before, but the last few days has made me realise just how important this really is.

Now, what I would really like to do, is find some more bad weather and take it out again!

More from today

A bit more of an update from today, The weather started out OK, then by early afternoon the snow returned, though not to the extent I thought it would. I went out again this evening to get some final images, but the snow has turned to rain. More snow is forecast tomorrow, but from my perspective, I would just prefer it to rain so I can get on and do things.

More snow

Haven’t finished shooting today or editing, but so far this image seems the best of the bunch. The weather is still very snowy here, but it is due to turn to rain tomorrow. I will post up some more images later, once I have processed them!

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Snow, snow, snow

Today was pretty rough for the weather, but good for photography. I started out in Rinsey taking some video footage, but as I was leaving the weather turned. The car got caught in the snow, so I had to leave it. Hopefully, I can get it back tomorrow (or the day after, as I hear Thursday is going to be worse).

It’s not common to get snow this heavy in Cornwall. The last time I saw it this bad was back in early 2010. I hope it clears away soon, as I need to do a visit and then get back to my family! Anyway, enjoy the images of snowy Porthleven.

Little things

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I was walking near to Grovely woods today, when I spotted this little item left on a branch. It reminded me of the strange mask that I found in another part of the woodland. This woodland definitely has a bit of creepiness about it. People I know locally  have an odd feeling about it. The dog doesn’t care though, he was just keeping an eye out for small furry things to chase!

There is a dark history to the woods, which makes it all the more intriguing. Apparently, as it is such a large woodland, there are quite a lot of old buildings and things ‘lost’ in the woods. One to explore some more. Let’s hope there’s no wicker men in there…!