The Writhings on the Wall| 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, close-up, colour, nature, photography, spring

Sterling Moss.


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Current Alternate | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, colour, nature, photography, spring, sunset, trees, waterscape

Ups & Downs.


Intending to head out and catch the sunset over the water – hoping for its often noted millpond stillness, I found myself a tad disappointed on arrival. Though not choppy, there was just too much movement on the surface this evening and, though the sunset was utterly beautiful, I found that the calming of the waters just wasn’t worth the wait. After an hour, loss of light and, several insect bites, I gave it up for the night; but, not before making a few frames. (I’m easily consoled.)

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I.
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II.
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III.
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IV.
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Land-escapery | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, landscape, nature, personal, photography, trees

Snapped.


It took me a lot of years to find my way into making landscape photographs. The main reason for my late arrival to the genre was purely one of my own perceived inadequacy at being able to capture any two images that didn’t look the bleedin’ same. Perceived or not – I found it extremely difficult to produce images that were either pleasing to me or, worthy of showing to anyone at all, ever. However, someone once told me that we always want what we can’t have and, maybe because I had so much difficulty with capturing landscapes, I tried even harder to do so.

The first few years was a struggle, much like when I decided (rather foolhardily, many years ago), to take up golf – and I actually did end-up snapping my driver in acceptance of the futility of it all).  I don’t really know what happened in my head (we’re back on photography now – forget the golf-thing) but there came a point where it started to make some sense and I have enjoyed the genre ever since. Though I’m far from where I want to be, creatively, I enjoy it now, more than ever, which is good because I really don’t fancy trying to snap any of my cameras in ‘alf!

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Distant Mist.

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Home.

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Home w/Double-Rainbow.

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A Little Bit of Delicate | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, close-up, colour, nature, personal, photography, spring

[…and a Smidgen of Rustic]


Okay, so I have been completely lazy here. With little by way of an agenda today, I spent my time titivating the garden and enjoying a little more sunshine, while we’re fortunate enough to have some. (Good weather for six days straight has to be some kind of a record in the UK but, I’m loving it). As the afternoon wound down, I followed suit soon after and, took another appreciative look around this little corner of my world. I never tire of its rusticness, the ever present multi-layered birdsongs, the sound of the brook just past the front of the house and from the outskirts of my garden on two sides, there’s plenty of attractive woodland with, among many others, tall pines audibly filtering the occasional breeze and straining the sunlight. I decided to grab my camera, to take a short stroll and, make a few frames before the light dipped for the day. 

There’s no real artistic merit here – just a small handful of hand-held grab-shots, still, it’s a lot less predictable than, ‘Dear Diary, Today, I did next to bugger all except to sit on my arse!‘. Besides, simply capturing life is exactly what I’m loving about sticking with one focal-length and just – going with it. It’s a lot more liberating than I’d ever imagined it would be, in more ways than one. 

(And, no – I’m not a Walton, but, on days like today – there sure is no place like home!)

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I. Beneath Filtered Rays.

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II. The Loner.

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III. Almost in the Shade.

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IV. Potted…

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Photographing for Black & White or Colour | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, boats, close-up, colour, infrared, landscape, nature, photography, spring, summer, waterscape

Discussing the Age-Old Debate.


Not wishing to make it sound like I’m imagining the two forms in a boxing ring, I use the word ‘or‘ instead of ‘versus‘. It’s not a win or lose decision, nor should it be a fight between the two so, I’ll get this said right off the bat – there’s absolutely no wrong answer. The simple reason for this is that both colour and monochrome have their place in photography and this has always been the case since the advent of colour photography back in 1861. We see in colour, for one thing, so that alone should give colour output the edge, right? Well, as it happens, no, not at all. What I’m hoping to achieve here is to pass on a collection of my own personal, simple thoughts on a subject that never seems to go away, and, which may help anyone considering this very question with the intent of applying such notions to their own work. Although it’s a question that I have considered during almost every shoot or processing session, I believe, for myself at least – that I have simplified the issue to a point that now, for me, it’s no longer a difficult decision. Perhaps this will help others too and, whilst I may not be considered an authority on the subject, well over twenty years behind the lens affords me a pretty full insight. Pinch of salt, an’ all that – but read on if you’re interested.

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In the Dog-House? | 720nm Infrared

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You may have gotten bored already and zipped down the page, noticing that I have only posted black and white images here. This is deliberate. No, I do not shun colour output, nor do I dislike it. I simply feel that if colour output is desired, the colours in the frame should be the sole reason I realised that I wanted to create it in the first place. Whilst I might produce an aesthetically pleasing BW from the colour RAW too, this would not discourage me from preferring the colour version. I’m getting a little ahead of myself at this point, so let me back-up a tad. What I should have said was that, I prefer black and white output, black and white prints, even previewing in black and white in camera. My brain just seems to think better in black and white. But it’s not for everyone and, learning to see light and dark colours as shades of grey came with time – but it’s how my brain interprets a scene more naturally than it does so at interpreting and processing colour, unless, the colours create something special. But black and white should not be (as it so often is) seen as the grail, in photography or, the best way to see an image. I can understand why many do, and yet, I also – can’t. It’s subjective, of course. Like colour, it’s a mode of expression, often over or under utilised. I know this to be true because I have been very guilty of this, too many times. 

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Horse-Chestnut or, Sticky Bud.

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For sure, the very first reason anyone should create either in colour or monochrome is – personal preference. However, I find colour distracting, largely unimportant and, mostly unnecessary; in the main. As one having way more than a passing interest in photography, my learned and experienced notions of light, composition, message and interpretation, contrast, texture, scene or frame interest – all of these things and more besides, reside in my brain and help me to make what I hope to be a successful image. Whether there is colour or not, doesn’t even become a consideration to me, unless, as I have mentioned, the colours have shouted at me already. Sometimes they do, mostly though, they don’t. If I make a shit frame – it’s my own fault and in no way is the presence or absence of colour responsible for it. 

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The Wellspring | Full-Spectrum.

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Rather than wax-on, paragraph by paragraph (the last thing I wish to induce is reader-fatigue, or even worse, your waking up to find your keyboard imprinted on your forehead!) – I shall instead, bullet the main points which I believe are most conducive to each output. Please remember, these are simply elements which work for me and, I speak for or against no-one else’s opinion. Hopefully, some of this will explain itself. 


Considerations for Colour Output:

  • Personal preference (either for screen viewing or, for actual prints).
  • When more accurate or  representational reproduction is required.
  • When presenting colours and shades create a desired contrast by their very existence (in other words, the colours are the actual reason you make the frame).
  • When the distraction of colour does not overpower the message of the image.
  • When a potentially lesser contrasty or less punchy image is desired – where heavier contrast would interfere with colour intensity, textures or overall / general dynamics.
  • Lower ISO usage where higher ISOs would increase colour noise (though with good APS-C and FF sensors, this is way less of an issue than it once was).
  • When shooting longer wavelength IR.

Considerations for Black & White Output:

  • Personal preference (either for screen viewing or actual prints).
  • When a more ‘artistic’ look and/or feel is required. No, colour is not unartistic per-se, but the brain processes in colour and therefore, any black and white image causes it to reinterpret in, for want of a better description, a more artistic way. 
  • When the removal of colour allows for greater appreciation and, undestracted absorption of the content.
  • When greater contrast may be utilised to increase the punch of an image.
  • When shooting at higher film speeds where otherwise shooting on colour would not necessarily be conducive to higher noise values.
  • When the content of the image speaks for itself and does not require the use of colour to emphasise itself.
  • To remove the illusion or potential appearance of an era or time-frame; this is dependent on content, of course.
  • When WB cannot be pre-set accurately or, is unlikely to be achieved in post.
  • When content, light, contrast and texture are the image key there is often little requirement for colour.
  • When shooting infrared: longer wavelengths can yield pleasant faux-colour results with knowledge and experience, shorter wavelengths, less so, once you head north of 720nm.

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Telford Woz ‘ere… | 720nm Infrared.

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Many of these elements are of course, by our own nature and preferences, completely subjective and your views or interpretations may differ; though not all of these principles can work for every subject, I have found them to be extremely useful for me as starting points when I make the choice to reproduce in either colour or monochrome. For posts containing glorious colour please take a look at any of these posts: Travelling Light, Closer Still(s) PT.IIPT.IIIPT.IV or, click the colour tag on any of my entries and, feel free to have a mooch. If you got this far – thanks for bearing with me (and, I’m sure that those little square imprints in your forehead will disappear shortly!)

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A Life & Death Contrast | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, photography, spring, sunset

Pirate Graves | Beneath, Between & Behind.


Whilst I love the coming of spring and, all of the wondrous new life that emerges with it, I seem also, conversely, perhaps even perversely, to have a little bit of a fascination for graveyards, church ruins, and dare I say it, possibly too, death. It’s not a consuming passion you must understand; perhaps more – they are simply notions of enquiry, empathy and a tinge of metaphysical intrigue. In a crude way, such intrigue was piqued a few evenings ago when I took a short after-dinner walk along the river, just before sunset, to the nearby site of a very old church, some three-hundred or so years past, the remains of which are now completely gone. What remains on the site, however, are around four or five dozen headstones and burial plots. With my camera in my pocket, I took a very leisurely but intent look at the stones and markers whilst enjoying the sound of the river and the golden, still warming shimmer from the setting sun behind me. On such an evening as this, my shutter-finger itches a little more than usual and it’s all I can do to keep my hand from reaching for my camera. Still, sometimes I prefer to take my time and just ponder, to look and take in – when the light is almost certain to not imminently disappear, that is. It was one of these kinds of evenings.

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I. Iron, Stone & Wood.

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II. In Memory.

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One of the general giveaways as to the potential wealth (or debt) of the departed and their immediate family, can often be perceived from the size, design and material and, wordage contained within their plot and, of their stone or marker. With this realisation in mind, you may be able to imagine my intrigue when, upon not too intense perusal, I discovered that the locally called ‘Pirate Graves’ actually existed – with no markings, barring the obvious emblem of the skull and crossed-bones and little to nothing else that might identify he or she below. They lay between areas filled with the stones of seemingly important people of their time (mostly from around the early 18th Century) and, this befuddled me somewhat. As I was unable to find any indications as to the years of burial on these so-called Pirate stones, I have no idea as to whether they are older than the stones marking the spots of the more affluent, or not.

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III. Skull-[un]-duggery?

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Some part of me cannot wholly accept that there were or are actual pirates buried here. Perhaps instead, there were stylistic and symbolistic changes after the Reformation and I would need to research this in much more depth. Their crudeness certainly seems to suggest a lack of patterning or stone-masonry skill. Perhaps too, they simply weren’t regarded all that highly and the skull and crossbones was their final judgement and the badge which they would wear for the rest of their eternities?

Nonetheless, all of these graves exist to intrigue, if no-one else, me – not only by their seemingly obvious socially contrasting proximity to one another but also for the fact that nothing (short of an exhumation), will ever be able to reveal anything about who the unnamed, were

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IV. Beneath, Between & Behind.

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Infrared Lucidity | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, landscape, nature, photography, spring, summer, trees, waterscape

Monochrome Waterscaping | 720nm Infrared.


I. From a Bridge:

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II. To a Bridge:

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Closer Still(s) | PT.VI | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, close-up, colour, nature, photography, spring, summer

Dent de Lion.


We call it the Dandelion, from the French meaning ‘lion’s tooth’; but it has many more names, not oft’ used or heard such as: cankerwort, swine’s snout, witch’s or, yellow-gowan, monks-head, milk-witch, blowball, Irish daisy, priest’s-crown, wet-a-bed (presumably because of the diuretic effect of its roots when ingested), and, white or, wild-endive. No matter what we call it here in most parts of the UK, it’s generally regarded as a weed (but this is more than likely promoted as such by chemical companies producing consumer lawn and garden-care.) Nonetheless, though the humble dandelion is an all-too-common sight at this time of year, it would be a mistake to think that it wouldn’t be worthy of a frame or two. 

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II.
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III.
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The Remorseful Day | 35:Chronicle

35mm, autumn / fall, colour, landscape, nature, photography, sunrise, sunset

How Clear, How Lovely Bright | A.E Housman


Morning | Hope:

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How clear, how lovely bright,
How beautiful to sight
Those beams of morning play;
How heaven laughs out with glee
Where, like a bird set free,
Up from the eastern sea
Soars the delightful day.

To-day I shall be strong,
No more shall yield to wrong,
Shall squander life no more;
Days lost, I know not how,
I shall retrieve them now;
Now I shall keep the vow
I never kept before.

Ensanguining the skies
How heavily it dies
Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
Falls the remorseful day.

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Evening | Sorrow:

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Morse – The Last Stanza | YouTube

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