A Different Light | PT.II | 720nm Infrared | 35:Chronicle

black & white, infrared, photography, structures

Resolution.


For over an hour I have been sitting at my laptop, reviewing recently processed images that I was able to capture during a leisurely walk around Dumfries on what was a beautifully sunny day, under the clearest, bluest sky. As  my tummy rumbles, my choices become even more difficult as I now find myself distracted by the whiff of lunch emanating from the kitchen. But it can wait – I’ve decided, but it hasn’t been an easy choice. You see, I’ve lived here for almost twenty years now and, almost all of my photo-excursions (the landscapes, anyway) have had me concentrate heavily on rural scenes and views, making the most from infrared light wherever possible and insosaying, I have never, ever – in all of my time here, wandered through or around the town with my cameras. Though I had them with me, my only wish for such a beautiful day was that I might snag a few IR frames along the River Nith, after which, on approaching the town in search of at least one cafe with an ‘Open’ sign (which was more difficult than I thought it would be), I wasn’t thinking about making any more images at all, just… hot chocolate.

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I | The Venue Nightclub Building | 720nm IR | 24mm | 1/125th | f8 | ISO: 835.

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Nevertheless, leaving the riverside and heading into town, my ever scanning eye became increasingly keen as my recent fascination and enjoyment of strong structures again came to the fore and against such a deep blue backdrop, it was impossible to ignore these few frames-to-be. For colour enthusiasts I make no apology; I am delighted to share these captures of a place I know so well and yet, until now, have never seen quite like this. I take this as stark reminder to keep my eyes and, my mind open – especially to all that is right in front of me; that which I see almost every day – and don’t even notice. Of course, this applies to life just as it does to photography. A new resolution, perhaps?

To all of you who read, follow, click  or comment – I thank you and, wish you a very happy and prosperous 2019. I hope you’ll enjoy these few frames.

R.

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II | Spire of St. Theresa’s | 720nm IR | 35mm | 125th | f6.7 | ISO: 308.

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III | Greyfriars | 720nm IR | 24mm | 1/125th | f8 | ISO: 283.
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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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Harbouring Light | Infrared | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, boats, infrared, photography, skies, waterscape

Downtime at the Waterside | 35mm / 720nm IR


I.

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II.

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III.

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A Bridge Too Far? | Personal Narrative | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, landscape, personal, photography, spring, structures, trees

Kinclair Viaduct | Pinmore.


This post is a little more personal to me than many of my others and, it’s a little difficult even trying to figure out how best to introduce it. But introduce it I must, and, with important reason. When I say that I consider my 35 to be the lens for life, I mean exactly this. For all aspects of life. I suppose that the same could be said of any passtime or endeavour whereby the passage of time and (or) memories are recorded and, here, with my one prime, again, I have both. It’s wide enough to see and record the periphery of the life in front of us, yet narrow enough to preserve the little details there too, which, should not be forgotten. Hence, they can be perfectly preserved, in time. If I’m making no sense, perhaps I can be clearer. 

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I. | The House Under the Bridge.

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II. | Nine of Eleven.

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These images are from the second time I ever saw this structure; they were taken on Monday, this week. I drove a round-trip of over 200 miles specifically to photograph it. Whatever the weather was to be, I would capture it. That is why, during mid-morning, I packed a waterproof jacket, my camera gear, my lunch, a flask of coffee and an extra pack of menthol cigarettes, and set off to Pinwherry and, just north, to Pinmore. Yes, I carried memories with me and couldn’t help but feel thin air from the conspicuously empty front-seat in my car, amplified by the knowledge of the direction in which I was now heading.

The first time I ever saw this structure, the passenger-seat to my left was occupied and, we were on our way home, passing through Girvan and south along the A714, returning from a visit to Ayrshire, (which was memorable itself by the mini-rant I had had that day about less than stellar customer service and charging punters full admission price to a place that was only half-open and, had not been advertised as such upon reviewing the relevant website the day before. I still believe my point to be valid, however, I digress). That late-afternoon journey home was in fact, for me at least, the most enjoyable part of the day, not least for the company of one special to me, but also for the beautifully scenic landscapes under late-afternoon sun and, the ability to simply – share the feeling.  Then, we arrived at Pinmore, still heading south and, passing under this incredible viaduct, (eleven arches in all) I scanned frantically for a place to park whilst conscious of the BMW behind me, trying to ‘push’ me along and around the ever present s-bends. Failure to find a suitable stopping point was inevitable and all that we could do was to marvel at the enormity of the thing as it vanished steadily, behind us. I vowed that we would go back. But I am one half of we, now. And even so, without we, I – would never have seen this place and so, it seems unfair, morally wrong and, emotionally impossible for me to not acknowledge the fact. 

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III. | Ten of Eleven.
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IV. | From the South.

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On my return, I noted a few things to myself. One, there is only one space at the roadside anywhere near here, big enough to park the car off the road and, good luck finding it empty if I should return; two, in spring and summer, the trees are so thick and tall as to almost hide this structure from the roadside, probably until late autumn (so I shall head back then, too or perhaps even during winter); three, from ground-level it is so difficult to appreciate just how majestic and huge this viaduct is and so, I shall need to find higher-ground when I return to Pinmore, which I will. From closer distances, the stonework can be better appreciated, for certain, and, though the light was occasionally tricky, I still, on review, enjoy the vantage-point. Even though I did have to quickly jump into the roadside scrub to avoid being mowed down, I didn’t feel rushed – just a little, half-there. There should have been a familiar voice hollering, “Car!” whenever my back was to the tarmac. Whilst the views were fabulous, to me, there was an inevitable notion of – hollow. But I was glad to be back. Though tricky to photograph, it is an amazing feeling to even stand beneath one its arches. 

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V. | From the North.

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Alas, life is how it is, but it is served no purpose by forgetting what it was. The way I see it, to photograph life is the best way to capture, remember and appreciate just that – no matter in which direction we’re heading. 

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To May, Farewell | 35:Chronicle

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

A Small Tribute (from a Country-Boy).


Every year for as long as I can recall, May always seems to be the finest month of them all. The coming of the Spring, the new growth – and the welcome respite at the tail-end of another long, cold and windy winter. This is, I realise hardly a fitting tribute for all of the light, warmth and, even hope that May brings, however, it’s all I have time for before the last day of this beautiful month, ticks-tocks away for another eleven. 

(23:40 – 31st May 2018) 

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Bluebells. | 35mm

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Calves | 35mm

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Contrails | 35mm | 720nm Infrared

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Under the Boughs | 35mm

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Old Stones | 35mm | 720nm Infrared

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Farewell… | 35mm | 720nm Infrared

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Until next year, then?

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Show Me a Sign | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, landscape, photography

The Crossing.


My fascination with old ruins and cemeteries has nothing at all to do with religion (take that any way you will) – but has in truth, everything to do with the fact that such subjects, in the right light, can make beautiful topics for black and white photographs and what’s more, 35 is perfect for this kind of caper. That’s why, on my way home from work on Sunday morning, I stopped at The Cross to photograph this ol’ church (upon which, the local council, as well as boarding-up most of the gorgeous arched windows (sigh!) has thoughtfully mounted a bold blue & white sign reporting that “This Building is in Ruin…”, (as though it were not obvious) and words to the effect that “All Ye Who Enter, Beware of Death!”  Nonetheless, it get’s them off the hook I s’ppose and, seeing as how everything has to be so obviously safety-netted in this age, largely I presume for the terminally unaware hence, and more importantly, local authority backsides well and truly covered, it’s no surprise that it’s there. But it is a shame that someone felt the need to point out the (bleedin’) obvious and in so doing deface this Gothic gem. Still, the sign is on the north side and the sun was already rising in an almost cloudless sky in the east – I could navigate around it. The graveyard itself has three Georgian burial enclosures where are interred both civilian deceased and many, even more sobering war-graves.  

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I.

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The truth is, the fact that I only live up the road from this Gothic ruin means that I have driven past it more times that I could possibly imagine and, have always meant to stop and capture it when the light’s been suitable – and when it has been, my cameras have been at home. That said, I have taken to leaving them in the car when I’m out and about, I mean, what’s the point leaving the things anywhere else? As I drove home, I pulled up outside and took a wander around it, absorbed the morning’s early sunshine and grabbed a few frames of the old place before continuing on my way home for some much needed shut-eye.

This church (built in 1817) has been in this ruined state since a fire rendered it roofless in 1975, when-abouts the alter was removed (presumably by the Church or maybe persons unknown?) the grass though, is still maintained around the war-graves and the air of the place, especially when wandering around alone on a beautiful early Sunday morning, is one of the most peaceful imaginable. I only hope that this comes across even just a little, in these frames. 

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II.

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III.

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IV.

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The Writhings on the Wall | 35:Chronicle

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

Sterling Moss.


I.

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II.

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III.

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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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As always, thank you for visiting.

All Images and Posts © 35:Chronicle (2018)

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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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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.

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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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