Monday, 23 May 2011

Paul Graham

Paul Graham from white tube on Vimeo.

Some notes on my visit to the exhibition at Whitechapel Art Gallery, organised by the OCA. Lack of time (and a desire to get my thoughts down quickly so I can read what others thought of the work) means that I will concentrate only on those aspects of the exhibition that struck me most.

Overall, I found the exhibition enthralling. It is unusual to see so much gallery space devoted to one photographer's work, and seeing a sample of work across his career really helped one get a sense of who he is as an artist. Themes (and colour palettes) recurred across projects. It was great to see both his development as an artist over the decades and at the same time see those aspects of his work that are consistent.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Last Days of the Arctic

A fascinating slideshow of Ragnar Axelsson's recent work, documenting life in the Arctic Circle as the ice gets thinner. The pictures are exceptional. I think the audio elements of the slideshow complement the images very well.

Here is a link to Ragnar's website, and to the BBC iPlayer page for the recent documentary about his work, which shows a remarkable civilisation on the edge of the world; a way of life that is hugely affected by climate change. Will the Arctic survive?

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Extreme contrast - some learning points

A few more holiday snaps. These were taken in the beautiful gardens of Derrynane House, ancestral home to Daniel O'Connell; lawyer, politician and statesman. The house setting and garden are truly beautiful. Very remote on the South West coast of Ireland, it was a much-prized retreat from the hurly burly of the courts and the campaign for Catholic Emancipation. 

We were fortunate enough to visit on a beautiful spring day. The strong directional sunlight brought its own problems for photography and I thought I'd document my struggle with them here. To get a reasonable range of light and shade I took multiple exposures and combiend some using Photomatix Exposure Fusion. This took a lot of trial and error, mainly because the anti-ghosting tool doesn't work so well in scenes that have a lot of contrast and small details, resulting in patches with uneven colour and tone. Unfortunately these don't show up on the preview and so I had to reprocess all of these files a few times. In future I hope that I will be able to spot these potential problem areas in advance and save myself some time.

I'm moderately happy with the end results. Contrast is very high still and ideally I'd have taken more shots in the sequence - but of course that would have added to the potential for ghosting. A scene like this was always going to be tricky and I feel happy that I've got something usable. These are very much holiday snaps rather than serious offerings for assessment, but I think they've been a useful experiment in dealing with extreme dynamic range. And they give me at least some sense of the beauty of that place. I fully intend to visit again, and hope for softer light.

The picture above is quite unusual for me, in that most of the interest is around the edges of the scene. I loved the colour of the rhodedendron bushes and the sense of abundance and spring so had to try to capture the scene.

Spring colour
This last picture wasn't taken at Derrynane but at Mount Ephraim in Kent. I have added it here as the colour seemed to work so well with the bushes here - the red comes from one of Mount Ephraim's many spring flowering plants. 

Assignment four for PWDP required eight landscape photographs all addressing a common theme. My theme will be 'water'. I had thought that this picture might be included but now think I will end up with something a little quieter and more meditative. We'll see - things never quite work out how I plan them!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Irish spring

Just baack from a week in Ireland. My sister and I went to Killarney for the first time. Such a beautiful place, and we were lucky enough to enjoy unseasonably good weather. I am frustrated by all the pictures I missed, and by a sense of just touristing through the landscape rather than really exploring it as I'd have liked to. But I got some pictures I was pleased with and here are a few.

The picture above was taken on my morning stroll through the grounds of our hotel - can you believe we woke up to this veiw every day? Heavenly.

This picture shows the Killarney lakes. Viewpoint just off teh road from Kenmare to Killarney - part of the ring of Kerry.

Closer to home, there is a small stream and wooded area just at the back of my sister's house. The wood was filled with bluebells.