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

35mm, close-up, colour, nature, photography, spring

The Blue Belles of Spring.


Only a dozen or so posts into my project and already a third of my offerings  concentrate on the finer details. It’s true, I do love close-up photography and even moreso, visualising those details which too often go unnoticed simply because most of us don’t have the time to slow right down and observe. It’s easier to see the obvious, the ‘in your face’ elements of life; less so, all of those beautiful, artful elements of life hidden or camouflaged  within it’s fabric. I just don’t like missing out on anything that might force me to stop and wonder. There’s a reason in all of us, a perfect explanation as to why each of us fascinate over the things that we do. 

The fabric of the high and steep bank of what was once scrubland (before I got sick of looking at it and, mercilessly cleared it last year) behind my house – is currently a small sea of thick greens and indigo-blues. The Snowdrops and the Daffodils have had their time already and now, it’s the turn of another to bloom and saturate my garden with colour. As I look out of the kitchen window while I write, I see mainly sundrenched greens, but the ‘bells are rising up slowly and making themselves known. Out of curiosity, a few days ago, I decided that I wanted to make some close-up photographs once again, but this time, of the pre-flowering stage of the delicate Bluebell.

Never having regarded this little flower so closely before, I have to wonder – why on earth had I not?

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PT.V – Sleeping Belles, Awake

As always, thank you for visiting.

All Images and Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018)

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Internal Affairs | PT.II | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, close-up, Indoor, personal, photography

A Long Time Empty.


No.2

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I Can See Clearly, Now the Label’s Gone…

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Tiptoe Through?

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As always, thank you for visiting.

All Images and Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018)

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

35mm, close-up, colour, nature, photography, spring, trees

Spring | Horse-Chestnut Buds


Only once in the past have I ever photographed this bud, a true spring beauty when you get closer. That was a lot of years ago now and whilst I enjoyed the results back then (being relatively wet behind the ears as I undoubtedly was – to close-up and macro-photography) the images I had produced didn’t have the impact I now look for when making images this way.

My indoor close-up set-up has evolved a little and I like to play around much more nowadays with lighting for more pleasing effects and, dare I say, maybe even a little drama? Processing is, perhaps surprisingly, minimal; this is largely due to the controlled environment in which I create, allowing for few problems after initial set-up for a new shoot (no pun intended). New buds can be so ridiculously photogenic when they start to sprout and what I have endeavoured to capture in this series (of a number of horse-chestnuts at different stages of growth) are not only the different textures and their rich colours, but also, their clear gluey stickiness, making them impossible to handle without leaving fingermarks and thus, they must be handled by the host branch when placing correctly for composing and framing. I sincerely hope that you’ll enjoy these images – because I have had so much fun in making them.

All images are resized for upload and may be clicked / tapped to open in a new tab / window.

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Horse-Chestnut | 35mm w/ Hoya +10 Filter
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VI.

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VII.

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As always, thank you for visiting.

All Images and Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018, Onwards)

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The Importance of the 35mm Lens | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, close-up, colour, Indoor, infrared, landscape, nature, personal, photography

The Most Versatile Lens in your Bag.


The first lens I ever shot with was a 35mm, back in the day when I began making photographs with a film camera. In those days, zoom lenses had only been popular among casual shooters and enthusiasts for around ten years or so and my pocket was way too shallow to be able to afford anything more than my 35. So, it stayed with me and I made the best possible use that I could have with it. For over two years I used that same lens and the more I did, the more I loved it. It was almost as though I could predict how it would render, no matter what I was photographing; in essence, it’s frame-lines had begun to become branded into my brain, through my eyes. Of all the lenses I could have learned with, I am so relieved that my first lens was that 35. In later years I would come to prefer a 50 – a more natural focal-length for me, but whenever I spent time with this slightly longer lens, something often felt like it was missing. It took me years to figure out what that something was.

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Horse-Chestnut Bud

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After saving (and hammering my credit card on occasion) I acquired a number of other lenses over time, G.A.S took a firm hold of my psyche and, I kind of got lost. Though I loved all of the choices I was giving myself, I was only becoming more confused as to the ends I was trying to reach. Telephotos and mid-long zoom lenses made me want to go out and shoot wildlife; wider lenses had me scouring locations for old ruins and run-down buildings and kit zooms, the standard nowadays being the trusty 18-55, shot everything in-between; which was in honesty, almost everything. But even the useful FLs of a kit zoom weren’t really doing it for me because the something that I missed was this: scene and subject interaction. In other words, I was beginning to feel like a casual observer of the scenes or subjects that I was trying to capture rather than as an integral part of it. To me, this felt like a crime given how much I love and always have loved photography, but not only this, I wanted to be close to or even inside my frame – I wanted to be a part of the creative process that I absolutely love so much rather than as a bystander or worse, a casual voyeur on the perimeter, casually making frames of a world, or a scene – that was passing me by.

 

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Stumped | 720nm Infrared

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Shadowed

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It took me years to realise that I was killing my own creativity by trying so hard to cover every base by carrying way more glass than I could possibly need and, that no matter what lens I had mounted at a given time, I would always feel as though it was the wrong one, or, be at least concerned that it might not be the right choice at the time. Doing away with so much choice, essentially, does away with equal amounts of worry and concern. Furthermore, when we can make any and all possible images with any working lens, the only consideration needs to be how best to frame with that one chosen chunk of glass. To see in that focal-length and move around it and, through it, according to our own vision, whether unique or not. This does also mean that the legs get more use (particularly for prime glass) which in turn, puts me back in the centre of the process. But I hear cries and, they’re getting louder. They are cries of anguish and perceived enlightenment that are trying to tell me that I can’t shoot wildlife without a tele-lens, nor can I shoot wide landscapes or industrial frames without a decent wide lens. The 35 is neither one nor the other. So, what the hell am I doing? Well, I know these arguments well and I’ve been doing this a long time so, the ol’ saying about grandma proverbially sucking eggs may well be extremely relevant here. I don’t carry four or five kilos of gear any more and, I am still able to capture images that make me not only happy themselves, but also happy that I am back in the middle of my art. I simply had to revert to one main, workable focal-length and, get to know it again like I once did. The learning never stops but it’s amazing how quickly you can place yourself in the right spot for any shot when you only have to think in one perspective – the chosen prime perspective, that is. Before I have even lifted my viewfinder to my eye, I know where I need to be when an inspiration strikes. It takes away the guesswork, the trial and error, the faffing with lens-changes and the worry about crud getting inside the camera body. And yes, the bag is shedloads lighter and I can move about more freely, for way longer and, I don’t get home and reach for the Deep Heat anymore.

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Submission

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Cherry Blossom

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The 35mm focal length is considered to be at the longest edge of the wide-angle lens concept. It is also regarded as being pretty close to the natural focal-length at which we humans see. Neither of these ideas do I argue with. In contrast, I believe that these two elements are what truly make a 35 the most versatile lens for the way that I shoot and make photographs. Here are just some reasons as to why a good 35 should be a definite consideration:

  • Not only do most if not all 35s focus pretty close, they have little if any distortion (providing you haven’t got a dud).
  • They are inherently sharp (usually, even wide open – I’ve used many and never had a soft shot at f2 that wasn’t my own stupid fault).
  • Primes tend to open up more than zooms (though if you have deep pockets and you want, need and can justify the purchase of that mean looking 18-600mm 1.0 constant (you get the idea?!) then go for it). A fast 35 is a total joy to use when the light levels dip. If you haven’t tried it – you should.
  • The costs are relatively a lot lower than for good or high-quality longer or wider primes (so, much cheaper to replace if you drop it from a height).
  • They are small, light, often very well constructed and a joy to use. Because of the size and weight, they really don’t get in the way of my thinking. It’s a tool. I trust it. It works. Make photographs. Move on and, stop thinking about the gear!
  • 35 is wide enough to capture life as it happens, socially, environmentally, intimately – back in the 70s and 80s it was pretty much the only lens used by press photographers and if ever a lens finds itself in a tough proving ground, that’s probably it, right there.
  • Construction is largely such that it remains reliable for many years of service.
  • It’s the best middle of the road lens (alongside a nice 50 prime, depending on how you ‘see’) for learning and capturing whatever you want.
  • Whatever single focal-length one chooses to befriend, the mainstay of all of these points apply. I simply feel that a 35 is the true Jack of all’.
  • I’ve shot weddings, portraits, land & waterscapes, close-ups & near macro, stills and fine-art, visible, full-spectrum and infrared, the lot. The 35mm FL has seldom if ever left me wanting. My ageing legs too, are grateful, because they get a reason to keep working that little bit harder than a slightly sedentary brain would usually require of them.
  • Bag: Light + Bank Balance: Healthier (potentially).

If you’re considering venturing into a single focal-length for the first time, choose wisely and justify your choice, stick with it and, persevere. The benefits of restriction will present themselves quickly and, your eye will improve with enough frames. If you’re not sure about which FL to plump for but can’t get the idea of self-limitation for the sake of freedom out of your head, just go for a 35, mount it, forget it’s there, and simply enjoy making pictures – for the sheer love of it.

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Light & Love

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As always, thank you for visiting.

All Images and Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018, Onwards)

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A Little Seasoning | 35:Chronicle

35mm, autumn / fall, black & white, infrared, nature, photography, spring, summer, winter

Not Exactly Vivaldi.


This is a good thing. Whilst I enjoy music in many forms, Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ (most of it anyway, and, to my ears) sounds like perpetual motion for the sheer sake of it; long-winded and rather too repetitive for my liking. But still, this post has nothing to do with Vivaldi’s most popular pieces and I dare say, photographically, my present offerings will never even touch the sides of the adulation which he would have enjoyed from his own interpretations. Nonetheless, my offerings are short, (hopefully) sweet and, won’t annoy anyone’s eardrums, either. So, it’s all good, no? (Unless you’re a particular fan of the Big ‘V’ – in which case you’re probably reading somebody else’s pages already and this scribble is all rather redundant.) Still, as the first warm days of spring arrive to lighten the heart and stir the spirit, here is my little take on each of the seasons, with a doff of my cap, a wry smile and an anticipation of the changes to come.

My lens will be ready.


Spring Daffodils | 720nm Infrared

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Summer Shade | 720nm Infrared

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Autumn Mist

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Winter Closure

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As always, thank you for visiting.

All Images and Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018, Onwards)

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At the Water’s Edge | 720nm Infrared | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, boats, faux-colour, infrared, photography, waterscape

Messing About with Boats

There are few things I love better, when it comes to shooting, than water, boats and, photographing in infrared. Shooting IR – processing IR – I love it. Combining all of these makes, for me, a perfect photographic scenario. When the sun is shining and I can head out and find some bold, interesting subjects, surround them with blue-silver water or lush backdrops – it’s as close to my version of a perfect day as I am ever going to get. I don’t always get it spot-on but in truth, I never worry too much about that when I’m enjoying simply being out and making pictures. So, a few frames here will, I hope, display my ‘happy’ and hopefully, you’ll enjoy them too. 


Albatross | IR

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Moorings | IR

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Accord | Mono-IR

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As always, thank you for visiting.

All Images and Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018, Onwards)

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Old Flames | 35:Chronicle

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

Light, is Light.

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

35mm, close-up, colour, nature, photography

Simplicity Rules!


Finer details have always fascinated me. This is why, when I discovered macro-photography and, just how much I enjoy it, many years ago, I must have spent a small fortune on rails, bespoke lighting set-ups, and of course- lenses. That was back in the day when I thought I needed all that stuff for the kind of closer images I wanted to make. I quickly discovered though, that the kind of subjects that interested me didn’t require me to have any kind of extensive (or expensive) set-up at all and a collection of expensive 1:1 macro-lenses was a little pointless for my own personal approach. I find that simply getting closer is more than enough for the images I like to produce. Perhaps it’d be another story altogether if I shot bugs, but I don’t.

Often, my 35 with a close-up filter does more than adequately for most of what I like to do when getting up close and personal with my chosen subject. At other times, my subject will be of a size where, to fit it in my frame, the naked, unfiltered lens will focus close enough anyway (I think mine focuses from 280mm). For me, this is a win-win and helps me to keep my bag light and my choices, well, I don’t really need to make any choices (when it comes to lenses, that is). I just add a +10 if I want to get around 2:1 and that’s just tickety-boo by me.  I think of it as shooting on a shoe-string and, it’s a remarkably pleasurable way to enjoy what I do even more.

Keeping it simple helps me hugely to declutter my mind and, the creative process (and, at my age, I can use all the help I can get!) Not only is decluttering the mind important, but getting closer to the subject can tend more often to simplify the frame too, by isolating exterior factors which might otherwise interfere from the edges and into the frame. 


Mornin’, Sweet Pea!

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Two Cloves Short of a Bulb

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Just, Hanging Around…

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As always, thank you for visiting.

All Images and Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018, Onwards)

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To the Trees | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, faux-colour, infrared, landscape, nature, photography, trees, waterscape, winter

An Ode to the Giants


When photographing a landscape, it’s impossible to get away from them and, thank heavens for this. They are the true giants of the land; not only this –  they are the protectors, the meeting places and the homes of a myriad of different species of insects, birds and mammals. Trees, while often undervalued and ignored by many, play not only a vital role as part of nature’s grand design, but they shape our land and, our skies. All of these truths are fairly rudimentary and obvious, however, I wonder how many of us truly, truly appreciate their value?

For as long as I’ve being photographing, I’ve been drawn to the trees. Such a uniformly natural and perfunctory design, largely very similar if not always in shape, colour or dimensions, and it has always been a challenge for me to photograph them in a variety of ways, using not only the same technique or approach each time I frame and expose. Realising in photographic form their stature, their place and importance within a scene, their mimicry or even how they fit inside such a scene, is much more difficult than I used to think it was. It does take some work and, often a lot of thought. Therefore, what this post is intended to be – is an ode, an appreciation of a genus much taken for granted. I hope to have portrayed such with at least some degree of justice.

For the so many times I have scrumped in, climbed up, picnicked under, carved my initials into, swung from, and yes, even made love below the shading boughs of – this is my knowing and sincerely appreciative nod, to the trees. 

We thank you, wholeheartedly.


Inside-Out | 720nm Infrared

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Swan Lake [I Just Couldn’t Resist, I’m Sorry!] | 720nm Infrared

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The Braves

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General Cluster | 720nm Infrared

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As always, thank you for visiting.

All Images and Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018, Onwards)

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Internal Affairs | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, close-up, colour, Indoor, photography

Light Pursuit


Let’s be honest – sometimes we just don’t feel like grabbing the gear and heading out to shoot. Other times, we might want to simply remain indoors and spend a while trying to capture some of the things around our homes; little pieces that we enjoy, that serve no discernable purpose but yet, please us nonetheless; whether it’s a form, a texture or simply in the way something we enjoy – catches light. The light is – everything.

Boite a Sel

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Triangles

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One In; One Out

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As always, thank you for visiting.

All Images and Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018, Onwards)

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