Todays shot came about through a flickr group who set up daily themes (challenges) for a shot just for fun. I felt it would be a good place for ideas should I ever run short during this project. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to shoot today so when I saw the theme was “Order” if figured the scrabble board was still around from yesterdays shot. Plus I figured the ODC group needed some OCD influenced photographs.
I’ve never held my breath quite so much while setting up a shot.
Shot on the 5D mk ii with the Sigma 50mm f1.4.
I’m coming back around to the Sigma 1.4 over my Canon 1.8. At first I loved the Sigma, then became a little annoyed by some of the results from it wide open. Now I’m re-embracing it as my go to 50mm on the 5D, I love the look it has at f1.4 – f2. Kind of a mix of creamy and dreamy with a beautiful vignette. From f4 onwards they are pretty much equals, apart from the silent and faster focus of the Sigma.
I’ll leave you with a very astute insight from Susan Sontag again (yup still reading) which in a way reinforces my ongoing plea for people to print their digital photographs.
” . . . Television is a stream of underselected images, each of which cancels its predecessor. Each still photograph is a privileged moment, turned into a slim object that one can keep and look at again.”
Well it’s Sunday again so time for a little relaxing to recharge the body and soul. I’d planned to get a cheeky bike ride in this morning, however I’m not one for riding on really wet muddy country lanes just for the sake of it (well not anymore) so gave it a miss. Hence the earliness of todays post.
I thought it might be interesting to try some visual storytelling, or visual narrative if you please. I had a few ideas pop into my head yesterday for images that visualise a phrase or saying, here is the first of what might be a little set over the year of such photographs.
This one proved to be a nice gentle Sunday tester of my ability to balance natural light & flash for an all natural look.
Set up (for the folk who dig that kind of thing) –
Back light and main light via big window in the background.
Reflector camera right for a little fill to the tile rack.
Flash through brolly camera left high. 1/64th power & gelled 1/4 CTO to keep things warm and fuzzy feeling.
Canon 5D mkii with Sigma 50mm f1.4
1/50 @ f1.4 @ iso 200
A little post production to make seven blank tiles as you only get two in the game.
Strange how by doing this project I’m becoming more aware of the passing of the year. Four weeks in already, wow.
Anyway, to todays shot. Ever have one of those days when one person really rubs you up the wrong way? You know kind of in your face rude. Then they try their damdest to ruin whatever it is your trying to achieve. Guess who had one of those days today? Yup, so how glad was I to find this perfect subject for todays shot while I took a calming bike ride in the setting sunlight this afternoon.
Anyway the job got shot, the client loved us, and as for the annoyance, I’ve vented that anger via my legs during my ride (sorry legs).
I was going to try something else for today but really needed my ride so I downed a quick latte when I got home, grabbed the Leica and headed out around the country lanes into some of the most beautiful light I’ve seen for ages. Ahhh zen is a track bike, silently rolling, nothing but the wind and roosting birds for company. I’d seem some really sharp lines in the fields made by ploughs and the low sun but couldn’t find any that properly lined up for a strong black & white shot Then as luck had it I saw a plough by the entrance to a field with some really big springs on, bingo! Todays shot.
So I’m still digging doing this 365 project, it’s got me thinking more and more about photography as a whole along with it’s relation to me and my life.
Susan Sontag once wrote “Those who collect photographs collect the world.” This has always been one of my strongest convictions about photography but it was only something I realised once I read that simple quote. I’m a visual person, If I had the ability to utilise words to express my emotions and vision then I probably wouldn’t be a photographer. Luckily I’m more skilled with a camera than wordcraft. However Sontags quote goes further than that, by expressing ones vision through the medium of words or watercolour etc. you inevitably taint the truth with your emotion. Photographs tend to be more “real” in that the viewer can believe (through the understanding of how a camera functions) what they are seeing. You know the old phrase “The camera never lies” right. Well that is what Sontag was getting at. I however prefer Richard Avedon’s viewpoint in “All photographs are accurate, yet none tell the truth.”
What’s all this got to do with todays photograph? Nothing really, I just like to vent my mind every now and then and this 365 project is becoming quite a good place for me to vent my creative vision upon the world without the risk of a client thinking I’ve gone quite mad by shooting the brief and then shooting some crazy angles with killer contrast and through a sheet of purple perspex just to see what it looks like.
Oh just one more photographic quote before I go, this one is the ultimate response to the question “Why are you taking a photograph of that?” Mr Garry Winogrand says “I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed.”
Getting up at 4am this morning in order to get to todays job had me a little dulled when it came to todays shot. I had another image in mind but then a better set up for it struck me so it’s now on the backburner for another day.
That left me playing with water and electricity for a lovely crown of a water splash. I’m wanting to try this with milk or cream and summer berries later in the year, i’ll have a better (drier) set up for that though, this one was fast & loose.
Alright I’m going to have 5 minutes under my desk then it’s back to it with marketing to do and a brief to agree.
A view in widescreen presented courtesy of a few buildings and a pretty nice sky.
Had a good day in Leeds today, seeing some things, taking some photographs, playing a little pool over beers and burgers with a friend in the afternoon. Sometimes (many many) times being your own boss grants these opportunities to enjoy oneself. You just need to remember that the work still needs doing when you get home. So late night tonight then? yup. Worth it for the cool day out though? for sure!
This one was shot near Leeds Armouries, just loved the building reaching to the sky framed by another building and an overhanging balcony.
Canon 5D mark ii
EF 24 -105 L
You know it’s the why and not the how by now though right?
Out in the streets of York, luckily with camera in hand.
Firstly I was drawn to the symmetry of the windows and the hearts, kind of like to young lovers side by side. Then I noticed the subtleness of the slightly ajar window and it struck me as a more romantic and compelling story. Now it’s the story of letting love in, lowering those barriers and risking it all.
I’d shot a few more leaves earlier in the day with the lenbaby but didn’t really want to post another from that set. So that left me with a situation at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon, sun pretty much gone and a meet up with friends taking up most of the evening.
Amazing what the mind comes up with when it has too. Grab a strobe and stick a gridded dish on it, grab the softbox for a back light but stick a red gel on it. Sprinkle in a little creative magic and hey presto, one pretty cool shot if you ask me. N’ah I jest, I saw the shot in my head first and thought it’d be worth trying to see what would happen.
I did a workshop by Jeremy Cowart a month or so ago on creative portraiture and ever since I’ve been picking up little bits & bobs to work with and try out some crazy ideas, some work others don’t. That’s the fun of true creative work, it isn’t always going to work.
I guess you can tell that I consider this shot as “working”. It’s what I saw in my head as I went about rigging up the set and lights, and seeing as It needed about 2 mins in lightroom to finish off, I’m really happy at achieving my vision.
I know I bang on about “vision” a lot on here, but to me that’s the thing that drives me in photography, achieving & expressing my vision. Creating a photograph which completely conveys what I saw in my mind when the creative part of my soul sparked with an idea.
I’ll also repeat a point I’ve made before too, the act of creating fuels our creativity. Stuck in a rut without any inspiration, just lighten up and shoot. Play, experiment and see what happens.