Sunday, 12 January 2014

That's more like it

What a difference a day makes. Gloomy grey skies and I'm inspired! Not massively so but seeing potential for pictures almost everywhere again. The ability to cope with low light makes digital so much more versatile for the dedicated hater of tripods than film ever was. I thought I'd take a look at how the reclamation of the old mill was going prior to the housebuilding that is planned. Not much had changed since my last visit, just a bit of tidying up. If I was of an urbex bent I'd have climbed over the fence to explore. I'm not that way inclined, and urbex photos don't do much for me on the whole. I stayed outside the fence, but included it in my pictures. I think that puts things in context as well as making abstract formal elements in the pictures. The photos aren't part of any plan, just record shots really - but using differential focus to try and put across a sense of place and context rather than being used for the sake of it.

It seems to me that the obsession some people seem to have for fast lenses so they can use a shallow depth of field fails to understand what fast lenses are for - light gathering. Back in the days of film they both made focussing an SLR easier and allowed slow films to be handheld. With digital they allow autofocus to work better in low light. Of course they provide more control over what is in and out of focus, but I can't help but feel that using the extreme shallowness of focus they offer at maximum aperture is largely a matter of style over content.

Another such affectation is the use of slow shutter speeds to freeze water movement to the extent it becomes a detail-less blur. I visited the pumping station again. This time I had a wider lens with me and made a better stab at photographing it. I varied the angle and the shutter speed. I much prefer the water to be only partially blurred. We don't perceive flowing water to be blurred. As with fast apertures historical background if we look back to the early days of photography water appeared as blurred due to the same limitations of the equipment which meant that human subjects had to be restrained when having their portraits made. It wasn't an artistic choice!

Overcast skies might not be great for dramatic landscape photography, but they certainly suit me for the sort of landscape pictures I like making.

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