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Posts Tagged ‘Brandt’

Please look at the picture full size.

Every now and again I pretend that I am a landscape photographer. Next week I am going to Snowdonia, (North Wales for my American readers).

It’s rightly said that landscape is a difficult genre of photography. I always have great difficulty with landscape that is all green and flat. It goes along with other photography  clichés like wildlife photography is just birds on sticks, or when it’s not a bird it’s a duck.

For a landscape picture to work I need a subject that takes the viewer’s eye through the picture.

Take this beach stream at the Bay of Laig on Eigg in the Outer Hebrides taken in 2006.  The crop is very deliberately placed to eliminate highlights that will distract the viewer’s eye. For me the picture is about the shape of the meandering stream and the texture of the rocks in the foreground.

Picture left – The same crop from the original colour file.

Hopefully you will see that successful photographs are made and not just taken. A vision of the possible outcomes is critical for creative success before you press the button. Without that vision possibilities will be lost or not recorded to work on later. The photographer needs to decide what they are going to say about an abstracted view of somewhere. All the elements of a picture may be in place but you have to decide what is significant and why the viewer should look at your selection from the world.

Technical stuff – 24-105mm lens at 24mm, low view-point, print tone – LR3 preset – Creamtone with adjustments.

A big hello and welcome to the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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What to say about a man having a coffee break in the sun?

I feel I don’t use high view points enough, like I don’t use the portrait format enough.

Tech Stuff 20mm f1.8 lens f5.6 1/250 sec.

Hi to all the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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Mr & Mrs Mills.

Mr Mills who follows my blog can tell his manager (Mrs Mills) they are now famous – as seen on the blogosphere (TV).

I love the way the lighting shows the separation of the legs and makes them also look a bit like a pair of Oscar’s.

Yet another picture of mine that relies on lighting to make shadows that alludes to a story as seen at the time of taking, this has not been cropped later.

When you do this type of in camera composition knowing where the edge of the frame is, is critical. One of my big gripes with Canon and most other digital camera makers is that viewfinders provided do not show 100% of the picture area. Quite often I need to crop out a highlight on the edge of the frame that I could not see at the time of taking.

Technical stuff – 20mm f1.8 lens at f1.8 1/8000 sec 100 ISO.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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“And as for you” appears to be the comment being made by the man in the picture to the man walking by!

I have a friend Peter Brisley ARPS a member of the The Mono-its, who has done loads of pictures with Snapseed and other Apps whatever they are! I am just mastering the gas mantle. He told me that Snapseed is available for PC through Nik Software. So I downloaded it a few weeks ago and had a little play.

The similar picture I posted a few days ago at this London Gallery had 35 likes the highest for me so far. So I thought I would post a more graphic picture in design but with less blurry movement and see what the reaction is. I like the directness of this picture it appears that the we are looking at a private conversation where the associated bit-part players are alluded to in the out of focus portraits. Perhaps the subject of the conversation is a menage a trois?

A big hello and welcome to all the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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We were walking along Bexhill Prom and I was approached by Dave (pictured right) who saw my digital camera and he asked me a very pertinent question “What happens when the batteries run out?” to which I glibly replied “you throw the camera away”.

Dave very proudly and superiorly told me about his old Zenith B film camera he was wearing around his neck that didn’t need batteries. We did a little picture shoot, we took each others picture. Whether or not he had any film in the Zenith I don’t know. Any way the event drew a little crowd. He was very proud of his bike and a half full bottle Lambs Navy Rum at 10.30 in the morning.

The issue that Dave raised about batteries is opportune. With Canon I use a Battery Grip on all my bodies which holds two batteries and will easy do three days of full on picture without needing a recharge. Canon also supply an adaptor to go inside the battery grip that takes six AA batteries that are available anywhere.  My sponsors fotospeed.com used to sell Hahnel battery grips for Canon and Nikon DSLR’s at about half the price of the respective manufacturer products. Having checked the Fotospeed Product Guide and Website I don’t think they still sell them.

But cheaper alternative Battery Grips are out there see http://www.picstop.co.uk/batteries/battery-grips if you were thinking of buying one. Now for the reality check – battery Grips are great but be aware of the additional bulk and weight they bring to your camera bag and your back or shoulders.

One of the biggest uses of camera battery power is the LCD screen on the back of the camera. To conserve the battery, make sure the LCD is switched off when you do not need it.

A free top tip for all street photographers leave the camera switched on with the LCD off, when the camera gets bored and tired it will go to sleep. When you see a picture, it will respond a lot quicker that going thought the boot up process.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog, why not drop by and leave a comment.

(C) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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This sad and lonely man was a beach pebble artist at Bexhill in East Sussex. It was taken around 10.30 in the morning and there weren’t a huge number of people about for potential tips. Probably the reason for the dejected looking body language.

Taken with a 20mm wide-angle lens from the promenade.

The only other things to say about this picture is I like the strong back lighting to give the dynamic diagonal shadow which always works well in B&W pictures. I also needed a bit more height to get a consistent background of pebbles. If you look closely you will see the pebbles at the top of the picture are the same size as they are in the middle. That is because I cloned the sea out to get an uninterrupted line at the top of the picture. It’s also beneficial that he is wearing a light colour cap against the darker toned pebbles.

A big hello and welcome to all the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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Please look at the picture full size.

For me good lighting for black and white photography comes from either the back or the side to create strong shadows. Shadows need light to come in to existence.

Kodak instructed film photographers to have the sun coming over their shoulder. This frontal lighting was a clever way of reducing contrast and shadows that the film was may be not capable of recording.

In the days of film we exposed for the shadows and developed for the highlights. Digitally we should be exposing for the highlights and processing for the shadows. As a very minimum you should be setting the white and black points with the Histagram.

To quote John Ruskin an English C19th Painter and Critic who said “think in shadows”. My other favourite quote to do with shadows is by John Blakemore the English Photographer and Teacher who said “living dark , not dead black”. Strong shadows add strength to a picture.

To me the style of the shadows in a picture needs to meet and agree with the overall look intended. Over the past years I have become famous for very dark prints with shadow detail as in my signature picture held by the Royal Photographic Society Permanent Collection.

I am now moving towards more graphic style with shadows that do not contain any texture or detail with the aim to emphasize shape. My main influences in this respect are Bill Brandt, Michael Kenna and Joseph Hoflehner.

This picture called “The Skater” was taken out of my kitchen window on a January morning in 2007 with the low light coming from the south-east. I liked the effect the lighting makes on the luminescent rollers on the boots and the shadows cast by the legs.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog, why not leave a comment?

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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I must thank Aaron one of the followers of my little blog for pointing out the picture would be stronger with a single point of interest.

There are those who dismiss the view that two dominate points in a picture is to be avoided. For years I have been doing one, three or five points. But recently I have tried two and always feel lightly uncomfortable as the eye bounces between the two points.

A single figure was my original vision for the picture at the taking stage. But I was side tracked by the bicyclist that seemed like manna from heaven as I was kneeling down to take the picture.

You may also notice that I have taken out the row of bright lights on the wall.

I could have printed the black with detail, do you think this would have made the picture stronger? I tend to feel it panders to the process mongers who have little to say about creativity and vision.

Let me know which one of the two variations you prefer.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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Every now and again the gods of photography smile on you.  This shot called “The Ramp” was taken at a third time of thinking about this location yesterday morning in Bexhill on Sea. The first time I saw the ramp all I could see was the Lampposts and so we walked on.

After a slow wander along Bexhill sea front were I got other pictures that will be appearing on my blog we started to walk back home. I then started to think about the railway station pedestrian ramp again and as it was not on our route home I dismissed the idea. But there was still a little niggle in the back of my mind there was a potential picture there. So I made an executive decision and went back to the station with David Mills ARPS my excellent friend and host.

This time I realised that if I bent down with the 20mm lens I could eliminate the distracting lampposts. I asked David to walk up the ramp to create some human interest and a dark figure in the distance. As luck would have it a man on a bike came down the ramp at exactly the right time. The 20mm lens was wide open at f1.8 even with that aperture and focusing on the foreground David is still quite defined. I would have prefered him to be more of a blur.

Post – production crop to square to increase the strength of the diagonal composition, 1600 ASA film grain and a Red Filter to darken the blue sky were added with Silver Efex Pro 2 via Photoshop. This is probably my favourite print of the year so far.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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With this picture “Bend in the road” it would be easy and unsubtle to make it very high contrast.

The tonality of a picture has been likened to major and minor keys / scales in music. Each key can also be further sub-divided in to high, intermediate and low contrast.

This picture is in a low minor key.

For me the joy of this picture is in the dislocation of the bending road, hopefully the viewer joins up the line of light in the top right hand side with the rest of the road. It also alludes to that period of cross-over lighting between day and night.

When making this picture taken in the afternoon I had to choose the point at which I felt it was too dark.

Thankyou to all the followers of my blog who write encouraging comments or ask questions. I answer all comments posted. Quite often a question is asked and the response may make interesting reading for the followers of the blog. So it may be interesting for you to scan through the comments.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog, why not leave a comment you might enjoy it.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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I always knew the expressive monochrome print is not a direct translation of the tones found in front of the camera.

No one told this fundamental fact.

As soon as I started doing black and white in my darkroom in 1985 for me it was a chance to give the world in front of the camera lens my interpretation. This started a journey of self discovery.

This shot was taken in New Brunswick in 2009 in the evening it was bright enough to hand hold the camera. I treat my digital raw files as unprocessed negatives, which they are. Once you have the mindset to make a black and white picture the chains that bind you to colour descriptive reality are broken just in the act of creating a range of tones of grey from black to white.

So my advice to you is should you want to give your pictures your own visual style, break the chain in the tonality that is recorded by the camera and the print. Why does your print have to look like the scene the camera recorded?

You gain a personal style of photography by the choices you consciously or unconsciously make.  Referring back to a Mind Map I did on the 14th of February 2008 in my Journal, Style and Vision puts personality and emotion in to a picture frame. The Mind Map fills the page so I have been very brief with comments. The part that the unconscious mind plays in the making of a photograph is a very interesting subject and one that I would like to learn more about if anyones got any suggestions I would like to hear.

A word of caution – in the good? old days of film this type of look was easy to get just by underexposing the negative by two stops and increasing the film development by 50% to darken the shadows and lighten the highlights. If you try underexposing a digital file by two stops with a high ISO all you will get is digital noise that you may not be able to successfully remove. So my aim with exposure in the camera is to record the scene without burning out the highlights. For me this means under exposure by say half or one stop. If there is not detail in the highlights even with a raw file it cannot be recovered. You can not resurrect what is not there!

What you see in this picture is not noise (and you should know the difference) but 400 ASA Tri X film grain put in with Silver Efex Pro 2.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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Please view the picture full size.

Pensford Railway Viaduct in North Somerset, now disused as part of the Bristol to Radstock Line. I think the last of the Radstock Coal Mines closed in the 1960’s along with the railway line that took the coal to Bristol docks.

It was a bit misty this morning so I ventured out as this is only ten minutes in the car from home.

I was interested in the shape of the car tyres in the foreground and the underside of the viaduct arches.

Compositionally this fulfils the golden rule for the use of a wide-angle lens – fill the foreground with something interesting. My 12mm lens is about 6″ away from the car tyres.

I am thinking about Bill Brandt type shots for an up and coming exhibition in May so there may a theme occurring on the blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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One from the archive taken in New Brunswick in 2009.

“Late again” was an evening shot, I did a few differing versions of the shot but prefered this cool tone version.

Technical – 12mm lens Full Frame.

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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Click on the picture and see it full size to get the full impact and point.
“Photography is still a very new medium and everything must be tried and dared”.
Bill Brandt
Whatever your particular preference is in photography there are new ways of seeing and doing.
“Man can not discover new oceans unless he has the courage to leave sight of the shore”.
Andre Gide
Why not try something new today?
What is this picture “Brandt homage 3″ about to you?
Superficially to me it’s about shapes rather than textures as the key ingredient of the picture.
On a more meaningful level it could be alternatively titled “Workshop No 4 – Closed”
This picture was taken in Saltaire – Yorkshire 100 yds from Brandt’s very famous picture of the wet cobbled ramp. I can’t put a copy of the picture on my blog as I don’t have a copyright reproduction licence. Just Google Bill Brandt for around 500,000 web pages.
Technical stuff – Infrared capture, 16 mm Wide-angle lens on a very dull Tuesday lunch time whilst running a black and white photography masterclass.
A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.
(c) Andy Beel FRPS

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I have been play the acoustic guitar for over forty years, and have been taking pictures of the five guitars I own in various guises for about five years on and off. There is at least one picture of this Takamine 12 String as a former post on the blog.

The inspiration for this picture came from a book called “The World of Lith Printing” by Dr. Tim Rudman, see http://worldoflithprinting.com/ which contains a picture of a guitar by Wolfgang Moersch.  See http://www.moersch-photochemie.de/content/lang:en

The key to this shot is the lighting. The winter sun comes through my Kitchen door in to the living room at around 12.20 – 12.40pm. With the guitar lit from behind and using an aperture of f2.8 on a 150 macro lens I was able to get a single fret of the guitar sharp and leave a suggestion for the rest of the instrument. Because of the backlighting the guitar would appear to have infinite depth which it does of course. For me it was important to leave the shape of the body in at the top right side, without it the picture would be a much harder puzzle of the viewer to recognise.

I was thinking may be of a set of 12 small guitar prints in an A2 mount as an exhibit amongst others in the Bristol Festival of Photography in May. See www.bfop.org/

And finally a big hello and welcome to all the new followers of my little Blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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I have been re-reading John Blakemore’s book “The Black and White Photography Workshop” published in 2005.  Although a book based on darkroom printing he has a lot to say about digital capture and printing. Blakemore talks a lot about the photographer’s relationship and response to the subject matter. He also makes an interesting point about prints that don’t totally satisfy as departure points for new avenues of exploration.

This shot was taken at the Avebury Stone Circle in Wiltshire. The lighting was fabulous for black and white as the low winter sun gave contrast and texture to everything in its path. Every time I go to somewhere like Avebury I always come away with the feeling that I am not a landscape photographer. There is always a nagging in the back of my head that I should be good at landscape photography especially when I am not delighted with the results.

Isn’t it strange and a good thing that we are all drawn to different subject matter?

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

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I was in two minds whether or not to put this picture on the blog.

Everything about it is implied – nothing is sharp, it’s for the viewer to decide what the picture is about. It’s called “Going east” for the simple reason that the two figures are walking in an easterly direction.

Visual design as I have said in the past for me is about dominance, balance and tension. The tension in this picture is provided by the body on the RHS.

I like the way the eye is taken through the picture in two different but similar ways a) the curved highlight line on the road, the eye looks for bright lines to follow and b) the implied diagonal line made up of the drain cover bottom left, main figure and the figure & railings on the edge (that’s why they were put there and left in).

There is also the element of contrasting textures between the low contrast sand on the road and the high contrast timber of the beach huts in the top left.

Technicalities – Deliberate defocussing in the camera by focusing at my feet at f2.8, the usual 3×2 format was cropped in Lightroom to 16:9 to reduce and balance the foreground.  Lith processed in Lightroom with 1600 ASA grain added with Silver Efex Pro 2.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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Just to keep my Blog topical and up to date here is a snap taken last week in Worthing called Shelter Man – Worthing. This is IR capture processed in Silver Efex Pro 2 via Lightroom and Photoshop. The 1600 ASA Film grain and Gold toning was done in SXPro 2. Its called gold toning because darkroom gold toner turned prints a fugitive blue.

I unfortunately reformatted the CF card before importing this folder of pictures in to Lightroom which was not wise. The pictures were recovered as JPG’s not raw files with free software called Photo Recovery.

See www.snapfiles.com/get/mjmphotorecovery.html

It’s a very slow process, the software will find about 6 nr 8mp files per hour, so I left it to do its stuff over night.

Tuesday 10th Jan I will be judging my first camera club Black & White Print and DPI competition at Devizes Camera Club. I have been selecting national exhibitions for a while but I have not offered to judge club competitions before.  So wish me luck.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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There are places with interesting names like Bognor Regis on the south coast of England that seem like they are fascinating places to visit.

This guy in the picture “Bognor Regis Blues” summed the place up for me as he gazed out to sea with his can of beer in hand at 11.00 in the morning, desparate to get away.

In my mind I had expected the sea front to be like Brighton with the stone facades of  Victorian hotels and apartments. The reality was slightly different 1960’s low- rise, low-cost low quality buildings.

What was it that George III said about buggering Bognor – the town planners did it for him in th 1960’s.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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To crop or not to crop after the picture is taken?

Henri Cartier-Bresson famously did not amend his original in camera choices of picture design or allow others to print his pictures other than full frame as shot.

This post shows three crops from the same file.

The feature image above shows my favourite of the three crops with the triangular composition based on the girl in the bottom left hand corner, clock at the top and bright toned clock on the lower right hand side. The inclusion of the girl’s face makes the viewers eye go to it. A question could be asked who or what is the subject of the photograph? Where the girl is included she is the subject, where the girl is excluded the clock at the top is the subject.

An alternative is the crop shown on the left. A similar idea to the choice above but the clock in the background is replaced by the figure of a man on the right hand side of the frame. The Feature image works better for me because the visual tension and pull of the light toned clock is stronger than the silhouette of the man.

Every visually satisfying composition needs as an absolute minimum three component parts – dominance, tension and balance.

The next alternative omits the girl on the LHS and the visual balance is completed by the two clocks in the background. As the clock on the LHS is light tone with a light tone background th contrast is not so great therefore the effect is slightly weaken.

Human interest in a picture has more interest generally than inanimate objects.

Last below the fully frame from which all three crops were taken.

Pre-visualisation is much talked about but for the past 30 years I have shot tightly cropped pictures intuitively and then deciding if a different or stronger picture is available from the file or negative.

I came across this picture taken in 1985 whilst recycling print mounts. The original expression was low contrast on matt paper. I tend to think the current interpretation is much stronger and arresting to the eye.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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Bill Brandt was occasionally in the habit of taking pictures in the parks of country houses such as Prior Park in Bath. I had been to Prior Park to take a few snaps of the sweeping landscapes. As the National Trust does not provide car parking at this location and parking is very restricted around the entrance I rather acridly went to Dyrham Park in South Gloucestershire about 15 miles away.

That day I was playing with a 10 stop neutral density filter. The exposure was 30s f22 50 ISO with a 24mm lens. Hopefully a simple graphic design with the leading lines of the trees and road taking the eye to the gates.

www.andybeelfrps.co.uk

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The proportion of solid black in a picture is dependant on the style of the picture and the feelings of the Photographer. Where the Photographer prints his own work of course. English Photograper Peter Henry Emerson (1856 – 1936) said “Don’t allow second rate process-mongers to produce libels of your work”.  Only you can decide on your work, not the process-mongers, (I love that phrase). Don’t let the process-mongers water down your ideas. Science came to the aid of art with cameras to produce accurate fine detail. Don’t let your creativity be goverened by rules aimed at producing pictures that describe the obvious fine detail and not the brooding mood and atmosphere. Would you have taken a second glance at this shot if it had been a straight red brick building, I suggest not.

English Photographer John Blakemore has a saying – “Dead black, living dark”. 19th century English Painter and Art Critic John Ruskin said “Think in shadows”  – were they right? Does every B&W picture need a solid black somewhere? I have a friend who says that there is not a black in nature so B&W pictures should not have a solid black. I think he is totally missed guided.

Pictures of chimneys have always fasinated me. May be it’s the way they stand aloof to the world. This one is the Tate in London.

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 This photography good news comes as a result of an unsolicited sales call for Loft insulation.

I just happen to look in the loft, as place I hadn’t used for twenty years or so. I found a link back to my photographic style. I had bought books of the work of such greats as Bill Brandt, John Swannell, Angus McBain, Terence Donovan, Skrebeski and Terry O’Neil.

I have been a photographer since the early 1980’s and these book were purchased as I was starting out in Black and White photography. I had a good friend Eric Lumb sadly no longer with us who bought and sold books of this quality from his house in Kingstainton in Devon.

Although I do not do portraits these days as I did for the first ten years of my career, the same printing style has carried on all through the years. hence the landscapes printed recently from Iceland were influenced by Bill Brandt and Josef Hoflener.

So not all cold calls are irritating and useless, just 99.9%

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