2018 Photographic Review | 35:Chronicle

28mm, 35mm, 50mm, black & white, boats, close-up, colour, faux-colour, Indoor, infrared, landscape, macro, nature, personal, photography, review, skies, spring, structures, trees, waterscape

One Hundred, into One.


Seeing as how this post happens to be my one hundredth, it’s actually ninety-nine into one . Since I began this blog back in March, I have also enjoyed the works and posts of so many of you and, if there could be more hours in a day, there would be many more besides, too, providing me with no less enjoyable learning, entertainment or, food for thought. I have also, over the last ten months, hoped to provide some interest in the field of photography, my own takes from various genres of our art-form which I feel so passionate about. Without the love for it, the desire to (hopefully) create something a little different on occasion or, the discipline to stay true, it’s all for nothing. Insosaying, I hope with all the passion that I have for various genres of photography, that my sincerity is not only intact but also, perhaps more importantly, unmistakably evident.

As this year now tick-tocks on to draw its last, making way for the next, I would like not only to thank you most sincerely for your input, your comments, clicks, follows and conversations, but to wish every one of you a very happy New Year for 2019. Your presence here is just as important as my own works, because without a reader, a word or a picture – would be pointless. Therefore, if you will forgive my indulgence, I would like to share with you all just some of my favourite frames from this inaugural year on 35:Chronicle.  I truly hope that you will enjoy them.

Wishing you all wonderful celebrations and, much happiness from the coming year.

Warmest regards,

Rob. 

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Snowdrops | 35mm.

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Telford Woz ‘Ere! | 720nm Faux-Colour Infrared | 35mm.

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Double-Masted | 720nm Infrared | 35mm.

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Bluebell | 35mm.

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Broom | 35mm.

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Milkbank House Ruins | 760nm Infrared | 28mm.

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Talla Reservoir | 760nm Infrared | 28mm.

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Talla’s Monitoring Station | 720nm Infrared | 50mm.

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How the Other Half Live | 720nm Infrared | 35mm.

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Sir Duncan Rice Library | University of Aberdeen | 28mm.

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Moonrise | 720nm Infrared | 85mm.

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Grandeur | 35mm.

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Happy New Year 2019, to You All!

R.


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Closer Still(s) | PT.XVII | Orchid [Colour PT.II] | 35:Chronicle

close-up, colour, macro, nature, photography

Splash & Dash.


Before I head out to work, I want to quickly send up a final post of my images from this beautiful flower, still basking in low, early winter-sun from behind my living-room window. Any of you who read my pages even semi-regularly will know that my joy lays moreso with black and white photography, but it cannot be argued that sometimes, a combination of colours and shades that so beautifully complement form – can be the sole reason that a frame should be captured in the first place. I still can’t make up my mind, when it comes to this orchid, as to which output I prefer. But then, do I have to decide? Perhaps, not. There’s room for both, I think. 

I do hope that you will enjoy these captures, and, that you have a great weekend ahead of you. 

R.

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I | 33mm f8.0

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II | 33mm f8.0

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III | 33mm f4.0

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[To view other posts in this series, please click the ‘orchid’ tag].

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Closer Still(s) | PT.XVI | Orchid [B&W PT.II] | 35:Chronicle

black & white, close-up, macro, nature, photography

Light, Shadow & Form.


This is the penultimate post in this latest series of images from the humble orchid, which resides and, seems to be thriving, happily in my living room. I cannot say that I prefer the colour frames previously posted in PT.XV – for the light, shadow and form which I feel when I see these frames in black and white, grabs my attention without any distraction. The qualities which for me, make this subject so beautiful, are not enhanced one iota by their colour. I wonder how many might feel or see the same. If I have done any justice to this little flower in these few captures, then, maybe you will?

R.

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I. [33mm f8.0]

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II. [33mm f14]

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III. [33mm f8.0]

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[To view other posts in this series, please click the ‘orchid’ tag].

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Closer Still(s) | PT.XV | Orchid | 35:Chronicle

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

On Expiration (or, Breathing Out).


V.

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Before I write about the content of this post, I would first of all like to extend something to all of you who read and, follow my pages. I am never quite certain as to just why the the number ‘100’ is quite so significant, however, for some reason, it seems to be the case – for, yesterday, 35:Chronicle received its 100th follower. It’s not a number that I was waiting for, and, whilst I love statistics (though I don’t view them as often as I used to) – I do this for the love of it, the passion for photography and writing, if you like. Not only this, but to read so much wonderful work by so many of you, it’s a perfect way to relax, learn and engage the grey-matter simultaneously!) Nonetheless, whilst the number is just that, I wear a smile – one of gratitude to every single one of you who read my pages, enjoy any of my images, click, comment and, get involved even in the smallest of ways.  When I started 35:C back in March, I had no idea that I would be read by so many, or, from so many countries around the world. Today, I am so grateful to everyone who has contributed to these pages and, to you all, I would like to extent my most grateful thanks and, I hope you will return for a long time to come. I also wish to thank my friends who read my pages, offering encouragement and critique, and, whilst they are not WP members (they’ll come around, one day!) your input is utterly appreciated. To Amar, the thinker and the doer, I extend my deepest personal gratitude for the support, technical wizardry, patience and constructive criticism that you tirelessly provide. You’re the best ideas-man out there, barring none; and a good friend.

Without you all, these pages would be little more than an online diary. So, from me – a huge and warm thank you. You’re all completely (bloody) fabulous! This post is dedicated to each and every one of you.

R.

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VI.

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If you happen to love the colour yellow, this post is also for you. In truth, my frames would have been processed only in black and white were it not for their sunny disposition. The orchid’s form was in fact the reason that I wanted to capture them at all; their almost skin-like texture, their alien, possibly even deep-sea-like centres and, smooth curves. The black and whites speak to me – but how I exhaled in relief when, after only the smallest amount of processing (admittedly, I don’t do much) I looked at these frames. They are not perfect, they’re taken with old equipment but, they work for me.

I had spent the main part of the day preparing and constructing a macro-table in the corner of my spare room, a task which, if you saw it, looks like it should have only taken a few hours – instead, it took the entire day. With matte black covering (I used rolls of framing-card) on the table itself, and using a deconstructed, white plastic soft box, I created a high-ish walled corner which I also covered with the same card, clipped into place. Using a fisherman’s angled fly-tying clamp, a couple of small free-standing mirrors, clamped side lights, an overhead lamp, and an assortment of tripods of varying sizes and purposes, I was good to go. Rather than wait for the following day to shoot them, I waited for dark, doused all the lights I didn’t want, save for those on the table and, set to work. 

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VII.

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One thing that I do believe in when shooting anything to which you’re probably not going to return any time soon, or, ever – is – to shoot the hell out of it and from every angle you want. Use different depths of field, change lens-to-subject distance, exploit your subject to the maximum. Cut off from it’s host stem, this flower would last maybe two days in a shot glass full of water, at most. Therefore, I spent almost two hours with it. Just shooting. Recomposing. Re-shooting – and, loop! It’s a process that I become totally absorbed in; the rest of life disappears for a while, during which time my respect for the subject becomes all that is important to me. Casual has it’s time and place – but it’s not here. Some things are just too beautiful for that.  I hope that these elements come across in these frames.

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VIII.

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Thank you, always, for taking the time to view my pages. I am more grateful than I can write. 

[Frames V, VI, VIII – Ricoh GXR w/A12 33mm 2.5 Macro. Frame VII – Sigma SDQ w/18-35mm 1.8 Art, at 35mm]

[To view other posts in this series, please click the ‘orchid’ tag].

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Closer Still(s) | PT.XIV | Orchid | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, close-up, macro, nature, photography

On Inspiration (or, Breathing In).


It has been a long fortnight since my last proper post and, a lot has been going on during this time. At the back of my mind has sat, constantly, thoughts of how I will move my photography forwards over the coming months and, whilst I have been pottering away trying my hand at making some kind of studio in my larger spare-room, I have been repeatedly inspired by much of the work I see here on WP, in the shape of writers, photographers and, artists whose work I follow and read regularly. It is short-sighted to think or believe that our works are, or could be, enough – or more ridiculously, the pinnacle of our achievements when there exists so much inspiration that can only ever serve, if we truly care about our art, to spur us on to more wonderful or beautiful things.

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I.

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This first post in my Orchid series, is, inasmuch as it could be, a doffed cap to a post I read and often return to, entitled Still Life with Tulips by Alena Shminke and, though my composition, focal distance and subject are all different as well as the tools of our trades, “Tulips” inspires me with its own tone and composition and in these elements  my attention was directed more greatly than with my previous shoots within the engaging genre of close-up photography.  (This is why my first post in this series is of solely black and white compositions, as opposed to colour which, will follow soon). Whether I have achieved more by such considerations would not be for me to say, but the process is all the more engaging when keeping elements of the works of others in mind. Inspiration is a gift to any of us who open our eyes and our minds to invite it.

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II.

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III.

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The Orchid itself was another gift, of a nine-year old girl called Maddison – who, upon returning home one afternoon during the autumn, proudly, smiling as she did so – wandered over to her gentleman neighbour who was sitting in the sunshine, to  give it to me.  Kindness, altruism and generosity are also inspirations but never moreso than the smile of a happy child.  So, for Maddie – thank you! I hope that this first series (and subsequent offerings) preserve what still is, a beautiful gift. (Tell your mum I use a little tomato-feed! Works a treat!)

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IV.

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Lastly, (and I should do this more often, I know) if I may mention another blogger, here on WP. Donald Reese has recently grabbed my attention with his utterly stunning low-light, light-painting street and environmental photography and, makes amazing use of rain, flashes and torches – as well as his cameras. If you’re interested, please take a look


[Frames I, II, IV – Ricoh GXR w/A12 33mm 2.5 Macro. Frame III – Sigma SDQ w/18-35mm 1.8 Art, at 35mm]

[To view other posts in this series, please click the ‘orchid’ tag].

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

50mm, black & white, colour, macro, nature, personal, photography

Taking a Chill-Pill.


Heck, I can’t always take photography too seriously; without doubt it is and has been one of my biggest passions throughout the past twenty (plus) years of my life and, I dare say, by those who know me personally, I am known for it. But there’s another side to the seriousness of getting the image and that is, to simply get the camera out and just have a little fun with it – and to not worry or be so seriously preoccupied with perfect composition or, focus or, whatever else we look for. The truth told, I love to shoot freestyle, freehand, free-lensed and, I don’t do it anywhere nearly as often as I would like, and, I have been photographically rather lazy lately. I could make excuses about the weather or some-such, but I’d be spouting bollocks so, I’m not going to place a blame. I guess sometimes, we just need a little break from the – constant thinking? I don’t know if I am making any sense here but I promise, I’m not writing for the sake of it. 

For me, the real enjoyments of photography come from many aspects. It’s so engaging when you would want it to be, so technical in thought and deliverance at other times and yet, so passive and relaxing on occasion, too. Depending on any given genre, expectations, deadlines, or presenting difficulties, all are true. If you are yourself an enthusiast, you will know this already. But at the heart of every image is me, you, and how we see. I love to look; and see; and interpret; and steal a frame. What I don’t love – is to always feel like I’m overthinking because then, at some uncertain, invisible point of effort, a line gets crossed and, I don’t always enjoy it so much – especially when that line is completely bulldozed. Indeed, on such occasions, I can take a whole load of shit and know that I have before I have even depressed the shutter. Yet I do it anyway – like shutter-finger Tourette’s  Syndrome (hereafter referred to as SFTS). Damn, I hate it when I do that because not least, I know I’m just going to spend more time at home, after upload, deleting the crud. 

Most often, I find that when I’m making shots for the fun of it, with no actual goal in mind, when I don’t care so much about focus, or content – I tend to make images that I like, nevertheless. In opposition, as we all have – I have put so much effort and thought into a particular shoot or subject and come away with so much utter crap, it could make me cringe at the knowledge that my own brain decided that that capture was a good idea. Really? 

With all of this preamble out of the way, I decided, with plenty of time to kill today and, though the weather was not playing ball (I was hoping to get a little more of a tan on my chrome-dome – uh… no!) – to faff around with my favourite body & prime combo and, make a few frames; just to see what I might come away with. No, given the images I have posted here, you’d be forgiven and absolved for thinking that I have actually been yapping on for the sake of it, because technically these images are not fabulous, or varied. They are indeed unimaginative, poorly composed, a tad soft, but do you know what? Today, I don’t care. Today, I made some photographs; and I like ’em! Moreover, I hope you will too. Yes, I shot close without a tripod – I was chilling

By the way, the first image in this post is great in colour, because it really looks to me like a camouflage-act and, it may have been, in the mind of the Hoverfly. I wasn’t going to post it in colour because I really do prefer the mono-shot (moreover because I have genuine dislike for the colour orange for some barmy reason that I can’t explain) – but I caved in, and have included it at the end of this post. You’ll see what I mean when you get there, if, that is, you haven’t nodded-off already. Okay – time to wake up. It’s picture time!) Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a great week ahead. 

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Montbretia & Hoverfly | 50mm – Handheld.

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Montbretia | 50mm – Handheld.

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Camouflage? | 50mm – Handheld.

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[There’s a photographer in India called Rajeev Virmani – he makes some beautiful environmental flora photographs and I have to say, he has nowhere near enough followers for the work he puts in and puts out here on WP. Please, if you like the genre, do take a look at his images. He has an intimate and opportunistic approach that may well appeal to many. I don’t know him but I do love so many of his images. If you have a little time, you may enjoy a peek!]


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Karma? | 715nm Infrared | 35:Chronicle

50mm, close-up, faux-colour, infrared, macro, nature, photography

Sometimes, We All Need a Helping-Hand.


This little guy was crawling very lethargically around my garden a few days ago. While I know little to nothing about bees, I figured he(?) could use a lift. I picked him up and placed him on one of my flowering shrubs and instantly, he began to gather. For a few minutes I just watched it – half grateful, the other half of me just happy to see it perk up. Then, it occurred to me that I might be able to grab a few frames and, the one close-up capable camera I had almost instantly to hand was my 715nm IR converted GXR 50/Macro. For around five minutes more he frequented the flowers on my shrub before he had gathered enough strength to buzz-off again. Still, though my discipline was far from perfect and I was shooting handheld, I was rewarded with a few shots that, whilst a little tricky to process in faux-colour, were worth it. Karma at work? I’m not sure. But, it’s possible. 

With more time and a less urgent / opportunistic approach, I’d have set-up for this kind of work properly, but as is – these are just a few excited (excitable) grab-shots. (The high-key is intentional and, a result of my habit of spot-metering when I macro.) I hope you’ll enjoy them.

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I. | 50mm | 715nm IR.

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II. | 50mm | 715nm IR.

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III. | 50mm | 715nm IR.

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

50mm, close-up, colour, macro, nature, photography

Cherry Blossom.


I.

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II.

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

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

Spring Broom | PT.II of II.


Righto, this is the second of two posts (otherwise it gets boring!) containing shots that I made last week of the gorgeous red and yellow broom flowers that are in massive numbers at the back of my house right now. They truly are stunning little flowers and, though most of the shrubs are offering yellow flowers only, there is just one out of the entire lot of ’em that has given up these beautiful variations, the like of which I have not witnessed before. To look at them with the naked eye, they are not all that remarkable, however, when getting up-close and very personal with these 15mm or so flowers, they do take on a much more intricate character, if that can be said of a plant? 

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IV. | 35mm w/Hoya +10

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V. | 35mm w/Hoya +10

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My macro / close-up set-up is pretty basic really and shooting only with a 35mm lens (which is not a macro-lens either) does make my choices very simple – I either can shoot what I envisage or, I can’t. It’s as simple as that. There are of course limitations but these only serve me to do my best to get more creative with what I do have in my bag. Yes, I have mentioned my little 49mm Hoya +10 Close-up filter a few times but I cannot stress how abso-bloody-lutely brilliantly useful that little filter is. Having spent countless thousands of pounds on photographic equipment over the many years I have been enjoying the art, it truly is a revelation to know that instead of forking out (and carrying around) more lenses, I have finally managed to put together a collection of three cameras and a few filters that even collectively weigh less than my last DSLR with it’s 50/1.4 mounted. Picky, I am indeed and I would be the first to be unhappy with my images if my chosen rigs weren’t producing the goods that I work towards – and the only duds I ever find are those reflecting my own mistakes. 

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VI. | 35mm w/Hoya +10

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I love these images and I am very happy to have made them – yet, though I don’t expect anyone else to share my utter enjoyment of them, I do hope that some will find a little pleasure in them. Such an understated plant and yet, so full of form and vibrance that I find incredibly appealing. To have these frames is a real pleasure for me because, very soon, the garden floor will be coated in a carpet of faded yellow petals and, the hedgerows? Well, they’re certainly going to be left wanting, aren’t they?

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VII. | 35mm w/Hoya +10

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Click for PT. I of II

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

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

Spring Broom in Bloom | PT.I of II.


I. | 35mm w/Hoya +10

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II. | 35mm w/Hoya +10

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III. | 35mm w/Hoya +10

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Click for PT.II of II

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

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

Sleeping Belles, Awake.


In my last post (Closer Still(s) | PT.IV) I posted two images from the pre-flowering stage of one of the many, many Bluebells, coming to life on the high slope in my back-yard. After leaving it in water after it’s first portrait session and essentially forgetting about it for a few days, I spied it today whilst doing the dishes and, was made to smile when I caught sight of them opening, there on the sill behind the window. After dark, I set up my backdrop, lights and, clamped the stem for another session. So, here for another whirl, is the same flower-head from PT.IV – only, a little bit more glorious. All we need now, to make it feel ultimately Spring-like – is some warmer weather. Oh, when?!

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I.

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II.

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III.

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IV.

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V.

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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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I.

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II.
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PT.V – Sleeping Belles, Awake

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All Images and Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018)

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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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Closer Still(s) | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

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

Artistic Licence, Perhaps?


Maybe I’m leaning on it a little but then, maybe not. We all use different filters on our glass to achieve certain effects or, to eliminate others so, why not a close-up filter? The only real issue I’ve had with shooting close with a 35 is blocking my own light for my subject, which is easily overcome by using an indoor set-up for shooting subjects in this way. Outdoors, it can be more than possible to shoot close with good posture discipline or a tripod of some description (in which case, minimum ISO should always be considered for still subjects) and, having the ability to move away from the light-source (typically the sun) if it’s possible to keep your subject in-frame in a way that you’d wish to capture it. It’s not always possible to find success this way but, it can happen more often than not, I’ve found.

Here are just a few different subjects shot both indoors with a controlled set-up – and, outdoors. I hope you like them.


A Near-Perfect Pair

35Chronicle.001 (31)5″ | f22 | ISO 100

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Still Life?

35Chronicle.001 (12)1/50th | f5.0 | ISO 1600

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Only Slightly Ruffled

35Chronicle.001 (18)3″ | f10 | ISO 100

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Thank you for visiting.

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

A RATIONALE | CONTACT | ARCHIVES | LINKS