Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Swings and roundabouts

This week has been one of those times when I've been questioning the whole point of making photographs. Not only hasn't the light been enough, subject matter has seemed both hard to come by, and when found rather inconsequential.

The beach has been bereft of kite-surfers even when the wind has been blowing leaving me to try and make something of the open spaces again. Waves could make for interesting pictures I suppose, but I couldn't see the point of them. Not even the ones I thought had something appealing to them.

A morning walk from home provided one picture that might fit into a series I'm contemplating. The trouble being that good as the G2 is, and much as I 'd like to use the 4x3 format for the pictures, this one really didn't cut it as a print. There's something I can't put my finger on about the look that doesn't 'do it' for me. At least it has given me an idea in which direction the series might head.

A sunny Bank Holiday Monday saw the beach round the pier packed out - even when I arrived after six in the evening. The crowds and the activity made me realise that what I like photographing at the beach is the emptiness of the place out of season. The way the few people about then are usually doing something more interesting than being at the seaside. That might be something as ordinary as walking a dog, or as strange as riding out on an specially made electric bicycle to collect coal washed up from the exposed seam in the Irish sea. That's why the kite surfers are interesting to photograph.

Although the parking on the beach is free after five had parked further along the coast road and walked back along the front of the sea wall. This provided me with a couple of photographs. One of which I worked at getting.

Late last summer I made a couple of pictures of plant growing between kerb stones on the sea wall with cars passing by. A shutter speed of around 1/15th of a second is required to get sufficient blur in the vehicles. I liked the effect, and the way the pictures made a comment about how slowly and without being noticed nature colonises the man made environment while people speed by. Maybe an obvious comment to make about the two worlds, but at least it gives the pictures some meaning and purpose. This evening was the first time since winter ended that there has been any new growth along the roadside. With the sunlight so bright I was forced to slightly over expose in order to get the effect I wanted. A few shots worked quite well.

As a technical exercise it is quite challenging, and there is a deal of luck involved. Looking through the viewfinder I had to predict a car's arrival by the sound of it approaching. Until it came into view I had no idea if it was going to be a good colour to complement the rest of the image so had to shoot anyway. A better way of doing this, and I am hoping to make more of these pictures over the summer, would be to set the camera up on a tripod using a remote release. It's simple to prefocus on the plant and let the rest of the picture take care of itself. To get the light from the right direction will mean waiting until late afternoon or evening. Which suits me fine!

From being somewhat down about my photography I have renewed interest with a couple of projects to work on . I do need a sense of purpose and direction. Even so there are occasions when I see something that makes me pick up a camera for no other reason than to make a single image. A single cloud was one such today. There had to be a picture to be made from it, the blue sky and the sky-blue sheet on my washing line. I think I pulled it off.

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