Tuesday, 9 October 2018

More mono

Despite pretty well exhausting the possibilities at the poultry auctions I was back again on Saturday. The aim being to once more evaluate approaches to gear. What the day proved was what I'd already worked out! The Fuji is okay, but clunky to use and that a 'big' camera doesn't necessarily make you any more obvious than a tiny one. At least not when you stick a small lens on it.

Possibly the most difficult sort of picture to pull off well is the candid group shot. It's bad enough trying to capture the look or gesture of one person, but to get a number of expressions which work together, in an arrangement of figures which works, when you can't control any of them, is like herding the proverbial cats!

I also had my felling that for most 'documentary' photography the 28mm and 50mm combination covers most of my requirements, with the 100mm in reserve. Why not use a 24-70mm zoom? Because it is true that using single focal length lenses makes you think about framing more critically. You have to move. Sometimes, though, all you need is a snapshot - when any lens will do!

As I've mentioned a time or two before, the light in the sale ring is bloody awful for colour photography with the mixture of lighting. It's also a bit gloomy. Using the Fuji in there showed yet again why I can't love it. At higher ISOs the way it renders skin is 'unusual' to my eyes. Less natural than the big cameras.

Outdoors, in good light, photographing anything other than people, the Fuji is fine. Where I am coming to appreciate it is when using it to make black and white pictures. In fact it's the reason I'm dabbling in that style at the moment. Black and white might be the way to approach photographing in the sale ring.

It's certainly proving its worth when I wander round the wood in late afternoon when the sun is bright and low. My previous attempts in colour always seemed too cluttered, but a monochromatic approach is simplifying things. There might be a project starting.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Monochromatic interlude

I've been going against my aversion to black and white photography this last week or so. I'm not too sure how it came about, but I think it has something to do with the graphic subject matter, and the way Fuji files convert from colour. My excuse being that the photos haven't been of a story-telling nature. They're not primarily documentary, more poetic. Which sounds terribly pretentious.

Towards the end of last week I took one of my usual routes for an afternoon walk, which lead me past a field of maize. With it being almost evening the sun was low and made for contrasty patterns in the crop.

In the wood the same lighting applied and I actually switched the camera to black and white mode. This is one of the few benefits of an electronic viewfinder for me.

I worked quickly without over-thinking my framing and exposing or the highlights because I knew I wanted contrasty pictures with black blacks. Of all my attempts to make pictures in the wood these, while far from great, are among my more successful results.

With one day of the weekend taken up trying to sell things to people and the second recovering from six hours of motorway driving come Monday it was a surprise to find the maize had been harvested. I had hoped to make some more pictures of the standing crop, but I was unfazed. There were still pictures there in the aftermath.

I didn't spend much time on my first visit, and even reverted to processing in colour. Which worked when there was bright colour in the pictures, but less so when they were already monochromatic.

The second visit saw me concentrating on graphic pictures in black and white, even though I had the camera set to colour. It was mostly a case of making Jackson Pollock style compositions over the entire frame. I even made a four frame grid.

 Details weren't disregarded, but again I tried to make something which had a rhythm to the image.

The idea of contrasty, abstracty, pictures had got in my head as I made my way home across the football pitches. The white goal posts and nets have always drawn my eye for some reason.

These are the sort of rubbish photographs I take when I don't have anything more interesting to point a camera at. The kind of pictures I've been making since I first picked up a camera in anger when I think about it. I'm sure a psychiatrist would have a field day analysing why I take these pictures!