Saturday, July 21, 2018

Go on, surprise me if you can ...

I'm sure that every photographer has experienced coming home with what you think should be a really nice shot, working on it for an hour or two, then leaving it while you go and do something else for a while. When you return to the computer, it just hits you - "Nah, that's not it." The picture might be ok but it just isn't as impactful as you had thought.

It's hard to self-critique and walking away allows me to see the work afresh when I return. Having it displayed on a large 43" TV screen, allows it to surprise me (or not) with its presence in the room. This has been part of my workflow for several years and many most shots get culled at this second look.

Today the opposite happened. I had been out shooting around the 'hood because I had an idea I wanted to play around with. No high expectations, just some regular frames that I could experiment with. Came home and processed them and then went out to tea with Annette and Bethany, leaving one frame on the screen. When we got home, it almost lept off the screen at me (it may not leap at you, we are all different)!

Perhaps part of the attraction for me is that they are 'my' hills. They have been the backdrop to a large part of my life, they are what I see when I lift up my eyes and what I have come home to for the last 24 years. Personal aspects aside, the picture also ticks a bunch of photographic boxes that will mean it gets added to my short list of 'keepers'.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Completing the circle

Victoria Park - winter in Rangiora (visible spectrum)
When I first started on the photographic journey, some sixty years ago, it was all black and white. Colour photography was in its infancy and was not suitable for processing at home. By my twenties, that had all changed and colour photography seemed to be pushing black and white into the history books.

Holy Innocents, Amberley (Infrared)
For some photographers though, black and white was still 'proper' photography and for others, like myself who worked mainly in colour, black and white lurked quietly in the background biding its time.

Annette @ Cafe 51 (visible spectrum)
As I look back to the beginning of this year, I can see black and white beginning to make a reappearance and, in the last couple of months, colour seems to have taken a leave of absence. Of course, I am talking about finished pictures; my cameras have not lost the ability to shoot in colour and every shot starts out life as a colour photograph. But once processed, whether it is a normal spectrum or an infrared spectrum photograph, it seems to gravitate to black and white.

Roof-lines, Oxford (Infrared)
Perhaps it's because we are in winter and black and white suits the starkness of the season, but I think there is more to it than that. I think it has something to do with returning to the beginning, bearing all the things learned on the larger journey. It's not so much about leaving colour behind, as it is about allowing all the things learned with colour to speak in black and white.

St Andrew's, Oxford (Infrared)
Who knows, perhaps next month it will be colour again. Or perhaps not.

Amberley Beach (visible spectrum)