Saturday, 26 January 2013

Trying too hard

When the sun shines it seems much easier to find photographs that look like the ones everyone else seems to make all the time. Maybe sensible photographers only go out on sunny days!

With a heavy localised snowfall last night, localised as in not in my village but seven miles away, the canal in the next small town was looking scenic. I'd been told by a friend of mine that the canal was drained for a short section and the junk in it would be perfect for my sort of pictures. Whatever they are!

As it turned out the drained stretch was inaccessible due to (health and) safety fencing. I made a few record shots that will probably never do anything more than languish on a hard drive.

The moored barges were as colourful as you'd expect. The sun, however, was in my face and low in the winter sky. One shot that could have been quite nice was ruined by a large blob of green flare that went unnoticed one the camera's screen. C'est la vie.

The sky in the shot here is a little over exposed. I've posted the image as an example of a perfectly composed tourist office brochure picture! In its way it's a comment on the changed role of the canal system. The mill in the background is in the process of being demolished. The barge isn't used for working on the cut. The new residences are built on a former industrial site. Canals that were dug for transportation of goods and fuel are now used for leisure and to sell a romantic dream of waterside living.

Here's the gritty reality of the derelict mill.

The sunshine tempted me back out after lunch and a change of lens with the intention of furthering what might become a project based around the local ditches and drains using the 5:4 ratio. There is a photograph that I want to make (a rare case of previsualisation!) that needs the sun at a certain point in its transit. The time was right but the timing was wrong. When I got to the bend the sun had gone into hiding. Instead of making the picture I had in mind I played around with some ideas about constructing diptychs and triptychs. It was the process I was trying to work out for future reference so the quality of the images was immaterial. That done I headed back to the car via the wood. Half way back the sun came out again...

Hoping the light would hold I headed for the sandplant. I'd deliberately stayed away while the snow was on the ground. The thaw was rapid this afternoon and by the time I arrived there was little to be seen. It's getting to the stage where I will have to leave the place alone until there's been a major change, either in the seasons to encourage plant growth or by some major work on the site. I might give it a visit to concentrate on tiny details but I'm getting stale on the other fronts. That said I did make some new pictures that I like. One puts the place in context, illustrating its proximity to the town. This wasn't planned but purely the result of using a longer lens than I have done most times before. The telephoto compression was what made the point.

Aside from the pictures that fit in the project I also made a couple that seemed out of synch. This final shot I converted to B+W and boosted the contrast. I'll probably tire of it soon enough. For now it's okay. The latest sandplant set can be found here.

All in all a busy, if slightly disappointing, day. I made some decent but boring pictures along the canal. Photographs that would fit in with the world view of Lancashire Life magazine where the county is always bathed in sunshine and litter and mess don't exist. It was a day spent using two of my neglected lenses. Always a good way to make you think differently. Even if the results don't always work out well the thinking is the important thing.

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