Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I'd rather have a pebble than a diamond.............precious things and photographic influences

I am preparing a talk about abstract landscape photography.

I would love to tell some amusing anecdotes or jokes on the subject to lighten up the presentation. Google doesn't have any on this topic. Possibly because it really isn't a very amusing topic. I may have to  find something deep and meaningful to say instead. Or most probably not. I can't do 'art-speak'.

But I do know what I like even if I struggle to say "why". The emotional impact of an image is  a lot to do with the 'why'. How it makes you feel. Where it takes you in your mind. The memories that it evokes. The senses that are stimulated; touch, sound, smell. Art  is easier to sell if it stimulates all the senses in some way and takes the viewer on a journey to another place within their head.

I have been asked to list the  photographers who have most influenced me as part of my recent learning.

That was easy, and the list was long, so I'll stick to my top three.

Number one has to be Paul Kenny who creates other-worldy abstracts from objects on the seashore and sea water.

I am not one for jewels, but see his works as precious in the same way that others might see a Faberge egg or a diamond. I would rather have one of his prints than any gold or silver.

Second must be Chris Friel for his multiple exposure portraits that pack emotional punch, and his abstracted landscapes that use colour and minimalism to perfection.

His work is always surprising, and ever changing. A master of experimentation and persistence.

 Thirdly I would choose Susan Derges for her camera-less images of moonlight taken from a river bed;

This bears an uncanny similarity of tones and shapes to Paul Kenny's "Blue Moon" above, despite being produce by completely different processes. There is something very satisfying about circles, and calming about the colour blue. Flowing water and luminous landscapes without a waterfall in sight. Cool and refreshing.

I would dive in if it weren't for the toad spawn.........

Saturday, 19 July 2014

sand in my eyes and wind in my hair - a summer storm rolls in at Camber Sands

dark clouds on the horizon

Last night I was home alone at Camber Sands on the hottest day of the year.

The TV was broken  ( thanks to 4G ) and I was internet free, so after a swim in the sea and a lie on the sand in the sun followed by  a shower and some food, the night was still young.

What to do?

Some grey clouds appeared at my window on what had been a cloudless day.

I decided to investigate with my camera, as the beach at sundown can be beautiful.

In the car park grey clouds appeared overhead and I climbed the dunes to see what was on offer.

From the top the colours were more reminiscent of the Hebrides and little people played on.

I sat down on a clump of marram grass and said hello to the flying ants. They persuaded me that I needed to go lower, down onto the beach.

Add caption

Some different clouds started appearing in the sky.

A family played on.

The clouds got bigger and bolder.

storm clouds arriving

I spent ages trying to capture a streak of lightening. I captured just one of the many flashes and streaks that hit the water.

lightening at Camber Sands


Suddenly it became clear that the clouds were moving really fast, and the seagulls were screeching as a strong wind came up.

There was a roaring noise and everyone started running towards the dunes.

time to run

As I ran up the dunes I wished that the sand blowing around me was not a problem for my camera, which had to be quickly put away.

I could barely see; there was sand in my ears, eyes and face whipping over the dunes towards the car park, and providing what one man happily advised me was a free exfoliation service. It hurt!

As I reached the top and over to the safety of the car park I saw the black clouds heading over Camber.

Storm clouds over camber Sands

I ran home and waited for the rain………

The moral of this story?

If you don't go out you won't get the pictures!

Thank you 4G.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

more from the digital darkroom - the plumber is back.

Welington skyline © caroline fraser

Experimentation is the task this week. Expressing first the word sharp, and then reinterpreting in different ways as a challenge from The Arcanum.

While the plumber fitted a new boiler, I have whiled away some hours experimenting with achieving different emotions from one image.

Plumber told me he was incredibly bored sitting watching a hose pipe while my radiators were flushed out and cleaned.

I offered to find him some other jobs, as there are plenty more plumbing tasks in the house waiting to be tackled.

He replied ' I'm not that bored', and I responded with 'I didn't think you would be'. End of banter and time for another cup of tea.

So he sat and watched his hose while I worked on these images.

Wellington skyline - the starting point

Using Nik software I tried a multiple lens effect

experimentation station

and then an analogue camera effect

analogue effect with double exposure

All good fun.

And a lesson in how much impact different ways of processing an image can have on the outcome and mood evoked.

Next stop 'delicate'.

grape hyacinth seedheads on a piece of plain white paper

I tried to create a light mood in monochrome.

But felt that it lacked the X factor.

high key monochome processing

Next I went for a more graphic approach by creating a multiple frame image and playing around with placement of the stems and seedheads until it felt right, and adding a pink toned effect.

pink and delicate

Finally I attempted to escape the delicate feel by adding one of my favourite colours - shocking pink.

'its a shocker' © caroline fraser 2014

Meanwhile the house is back to a dust laden mess, and the plumber has gone home, having carefully spent long enough watching his hoses so that 'he doesn't have to go and do another job'.

He may be a bit lazy, but he is not stupid!

Friday, 11 July 2014

conveying emotions in photography - a challenge

This weeks' challenge from The Arcanum, my new on line learning forum, was to take an image that represents an emotion, and process it in different ways to convey different or opposite emotions.

This turned into a grammatical puzzle for me.

The emotion I chose from those offered, was strong.

The image I chose to interpret is shown above; I felt there was the potential to convey strength in the lines of the building that I had captured just beside the Tate Modern on London's Southbank.

I have struggled in my mind with the issue of whether strong is being conveyed as an emotion here; an adjective seems more appropriate. Evoking emotion in the viewer is the key to successful photography, whether it be to remind someone of a place they remember and love, or perhaps to shock or surprise.

Emotional response might be considered to be the X-factor that makes an image special.

I for one, cannot get too excited about the image above. I have interpreted it in three different ways to try and add emotion.

I started with a monochrome conversion and added contrast to 'add' strength.

"Strong" © Caroline Fraser

I then experimented with double exposure and tilt shift effects to soften the image right down and take the strength away.

'Weak' © Caroline Fraser

Finally I reverted to the colour version and abstracted it completely by adding image blur.

'Emotion in motion" © Caroline Fraser

At which point I realised that I had no idea what emotion I was conveying here.............

and one of my cohort kindly and somewhat wryly  suggested the title that I have added above "Emotion in Motion"

Is there emotion in motion?

That all depends on your personal view. We will all interpret every image that we see differently, and that is what makes the world go around.

As an exercise it was certainly fun and thought provoking, and that is what The Arcanum is all about.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

free money for artists ( well almost) - its DACS Payback time again

Has your work been used in a book, magazine or on TV?
If so, then with a little bit of effort on your part, you will be able to apply for Artists' Payback
Payback covers secondary uses of your images, such as photocopying, and last year the average payment was £258. 
I claim once a year, and get a few pounds for very little effort as I have had work published in LIP magazine and others. 

So what are you waiting for?!

All you need to know are the ISBN or ISSN numbers of the works that you are published in. 

The money is sitting there waiting for you to claim your share.

All that it will cost you is a few moments of your time.

And if you don't bother, then the rest of us will get more!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

World cup trees - USA versus Belgium

USA versus Belgium

Nil all at half time............

These trees from Yosemite National Park, seeing as USA are playing.