Dungeness – a hard life

I went to a three and a half hour talk by Joe Cornish & Andy Rouse (Wildlife Photographer) on Saturday evening.

For our friends across the pond Joe Cornish is one of the UK’s top-selling and published Landscape Photographers. He generally uses a 5×4 camera with depth of field that goes on forever.

On the Sunday I went to Dungeness with David Mills my excellent friend, host and driver. The cold east wind at force 9 made life unpleasant. I shot the majority of my pictures on a 400mm or 12mm lens at f4 to give the least depth of field I could get. If I had thought about it I would have taken my 20mm f1.8.

For me photography is about a decisive communication – pictures that are sharp back to front tell the viewer what something looks like generally, limited depth of field is a definite choice by the photographer to decide what the subject of the picture is and is therefore less confusing for the viewer to ascertain the pictures subject matter.

But what about this picture – where the strongest motif (the fishing boat) is not sharp? The focus is on the Shingle a few inches in front of the lens. So what is this picture about – the boat or the shingle? or is it actually about the difficulty of launching the  fishing boats from the shingle beach?


14 responses to Dungeness – a hard life

  1. abu zar says:

    lovely tones in bnw… limited depth of field can also be confusing but I agree that if used the right way it more often than not simplifies


  2. Paula says:

    Not quite sure what to think here:…if the picture did not have your text to go with it..I might have been wondering in a negative way but with the text things become clearer.
    I presume, the very fact that I write this, achieves what you want!!


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Paula life would be very boring if every the meaning of every picture was instantly recogisable. Have you come across the idea that the subject matter and the subject of a picture can be different? Andy


  3. I like the way the viewpoint appears to be partly submerged in the shingle, it makes me think the boat is sailing on a sea of shingle – and it is interesting that despite the boat being out of focus, for me it still somehow becomes the focal point of the photo. Clever stuff. Joe Cornish’s work is quite amazing, I’m always in awe of the sheer attention to detail.


  4. LensScaper says:

    Lucky you to hear Joe Cornish. This is a great picture. Reminds me a bit of Bill Brandt without the distortions common to his work. You’ve employed the shallow DOF very effectively here.


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Andy Funny you mention Bill Brandt who’s wideangle shots of nudes on a beach were taken not very far from where this picture was taken on the south coast. Thanks for commenting. Andy


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