in focus

People often ask me about my images...

...these questions vary from "where is that place?" to "why did you choose that angle?" to "how did you get that effect?" or "why black & white?" with many, many other questions in between.

I've picked out a personal favorite image to get started and given some background information. I'll be adding more soon; the images may be a favourite visually, or the back story might put a smile on my face. Either way, I hope you enjoy!

 

A Morning’s Work

A misty sunrise at Ibsley Common

People often ask about my work, and the process I go through to capture an image. This image of the rising sun at Iblsey Common is a prime example of my preferred method of working.

Many landscape images you see are versions, or even attempted exact copies, of another photographer’s work. When you look into these often iconic images, you will find thousands of versions of the same view, from the same spot, but not with the same “wow” factor. It also surprises me how many images you see that are taken within a few yards of a car park. While this is no bad thing,  my preference is to capture something new, that I’ve not seen hundreds of times before. Ok, I too have several iconic images in my library, but when you live so close to places like Corfe Castle and Durdle Door it’s difficult not to!

So, back to Ibsley Common. Having checked three different weather forecasts on an almost hourly basis for a few days, it appeared there was a good chance of mist developing on this particular morning. Time to clean filters, charge batteries, format memory cards and check in with a landscaper buddy. He was free, so we agreed to meet in the middle of nowhere two hours before sunrise!

Now, if you’ve never walked in the New Forest before sunrise, it is dark! Very dark!! Head and hand torches switched on, we set off to find our landscape. Having parked in the valley, I knew we needed to gain height to get the image I had in my head – the sun rising through the mist, with heather and trees in the frame somewhere. I had driven through this part of the New Forest before, and knew there was a track that headed up the hill – but I had no idea where it went!

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It's Behind You!

Ellingham Tree - It's Behind You!!

It’s quite apt that I should choose this image for my next post as I’m typing in the height of pantomime season – but more of that later!

While landscape photography is a solitary pursuit in the main, it’s always nice to head out for a shoot with friends. The last twelve months have been a hectic year for myself and my usual photography buddies and we haven’t had many joint outings this year – in fact, we haven’t had that many solo outings either! Guess what one of my New Year Resolutions is?!

Now, to some of my non-photographic friends this seems an alien concept. They seem to think that I’m colluding with “the enemy” and don’t understand why we would want to venture out together when we’re all vying to make the final step from semi to full-time pro photographer. But, put three of us in a line with tripods virtually touching and you’ll still see three quite different resulting images as we all impose our own style. That always sounds quite grand, and almost pretentious, to me, but it’s true, we would all put a very different spin on the same location and moment in time. For example, one friend would look for the classic composition hidden in the scene, another would massively exaggerate the perspective and aim to distort time while I would probably shoot vertically and emphasise the foreground so you would almost feel your toes at the base of the frame.

Which brings me back to me featured image, “A Moment Of Colour” – and before you ask, it’s near Ellingham, just off the A31 running though the heart of the New Forest. As I mentioned before, a friend is an exaggerator of perspective and stretcher of time, and he had seen an image of mine of a dead tree with a lovely shape. This dead tree is also all on its own in a great big clearing, so quite easy to isolate. We decided to visit the venue together a) because we hadn’t seen each other for ages and b) so I could show him where the tree is.

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Mono Opportunities

Mono Opportunities - Mogshade Mirror

Now, believe it or not, this was taken on a beautiful morning, when the sun had risen through the mist, giving me lovely reflections across the pond. But, this was an hour after sunrise, the sun was above the mist, and my morning was almost done.

Being one to fully investigate each photographic opportunity, I walked around this pond surveying each angle for possible images. The lone oak tree in the distance is a personal favourite of mine, and has featured in many of my New Forest images. I love this tree and pond, but have never managed to successfully combine the two, as there is a thick swathe of trees normally viewable in the distance, which makes the oak tree merge into the background. But on this occasion the early morning mist was obscuring these trees – I spotted an opportunity!

Such a relatively simple scene was crying out to me to be shot in Mono; lots of contrast, different shapes and wildly different textures in the log, water and background…

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