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Many of us photographers will have gone through our archives these past few weeks in a search for our best or favourite images from the previous year, and if you spend any amount of time on social media plenty of these posts will have been prevalent. So as an introductory post for me joining the F Stop Lounge staff, the head honcho’s asked me to use my end of year review of images to show the style of images I create and maybe a look at some of the subjects of posts I’ll be writing in the future…
The images you find on my website and various social media are all from my home county of Northumberland in the North of England – I’m the very opposite of a travel photographer, so its a good job I live in a stunning part of the world! This also means you haven’t got the relatively easy way out of jumping on a plane to photograph the next temple in some exotic country at sunrise, it forces you to get a little more creative with what you have access to. Which has been my particular journey in 2013 and will continue to be in 2014.
So on with the images!
Image 1 – A Coastline of Ruin
The ruined Dunstanburgh Castle lies on an exposed section of the Northumberland coast between the villages of Embleton and Craster. The harbour at Craster helped me in making this image as using a wide angle lens and shooting from the end of the harbour makes it look like I had shot this long exposure from out at sea.
Image 2 – Leave Us Be
An image that caught my eye while driving home from the neighbouring village one June evening but came together in post processing (as many of my images do). The overgrown hedgerow on a field boundary gave me the feeling of an outcast people watching cautiously from afar.
Image 3 – “Your Hands Are Cold”
Taken at the World Heritage designated Hadrian’s Wall in the south of the county. While the remains of the Wall follows the peaks and troughs of the rugged craggy landscape and is a haven for landscape photographers from all over the globe, sometimes the real images ignore the main feature you are there for, and the surrounds capture your interest! This misty early summer morning was such a time!
Image 4 – The Union I
Some of the experimenting I did in the summer of 2013 was infrared photography using an affordable IR filter. It was a huge learning curve, especially as I was using a filter rather than a converted camera body. Just getting the capture right to get any data to work with took some time, and then developing a post processing workflow to get images from the data took a lot of research and experimenting.
Again this is from a point on Hadrian’s Wall, a well known spot known as Sycamore Gap. Bringing together the hills the wall was built on, a well positioned tree, the rising sunlight, mixing it all together with some IR to end up with a unique vision of a well trodden path.
Image 5 – Grandeur I
A highly stylised image of the famous landmark that is Bamburgh Castle, always high on the list of most stunning locations/views in all England and a very regular spot for me to photograph.
I had the end vision for this image as I set up to capture it using long exposure techniques. What I didn’t expect was the amount of time in post processing it took to achieve that vision! Easily the longest I’ve ever worked on an image – clocking in at around 20 hours.
Image 6 – Burning Season
Another technique I tried out later in the year was intentional camera movement. This coincided with the beginnings of Autumn colour. This image was one of my more pleasing efforts, bringing in a painterly/oil feel which has recently inspired some of my other works.
Image 7 – Strength of Two
Monochrome long exposure photography is a great love of mine and with the Northumberland coast only a few miles away it offers some great locations to make some stunning images. With only a 10 stop filter to use, the darker days of autumn and winter are more conducive to producing exposures of multiple minutes once the sun has risen which means during the summer days I rarely shoot long exposures of this type so I was grateful to get back in the swing of it the day I took this image from the beach looking out towards the birding haven that is the Farne Islands.
Image 8 – Silver & Glass I
Living near the coast you naturally love the sea and I find my peace by being near it. Whether it being humbled by its power, calmed by its hypnotic rhythm, or just appreciative of its serenity when it is flat calm on a beautiful evening. I captured this image using basic panning techniques you’d use if shooting a cyclist or a galloping horse. Simple but effective and a great way of smoothing the rougher of seas.
Image 9 – Border Towns Burn
In the Autumn I began also experimenting with Multiple Exposure photography having found the astounding recent work of Valda Bailey and previously seeing the work of Chris Friel and being incredibly inspired. I soon found out that my camera (Nikon D700), while does have a multiple exposure ability it doesn’t let you compose or use blending options in-camera, so to get the similar effects to those I wanted to replicate I would have to do this in post using layers. While not as raw as if done in camera, I was still pleased with the drama created using a few simple images of the oft fought over historic border town of Berwick Upon Tweed.
Image 10 – Mouth of the Tweed
Taking inspiration from the work of others is important to me, helping me appreciate and discover other photographic styles and techniques and giving me new ideas to compose and process. Hengki Koentjoro is one of my favourite photographers and took his image Black River as the initial inspiration for this image of the River Tweed reflecting the winter sun.
Image 11 – A Moving Day (Colour)
Post processing and creating my own vision is important to me in my photography, I’m rarely there to create a perfect realistic image as the scene presented itself, and as I was accompanied on this particular morning by some photography friends it was nice (and amusing to those who prefer minimal post processing) to see how different we both processed the same scene. Showing that we all interpret what our cameras produce and create our own art in our own individual ways.
Image 12 – Lineae V
In another slight on traditional landscapes where sharpness tends to be a priority or at least one of the main aims of the final image, in this image I drove the initial data to, what I call, destruction. By introducing motion during capture (panning techniques), removing all colour, darkening the initial file, bringing in some strong blur and some grain to end up with a grungy and beautifully dark seascape. I will be starting 2014 using this processing a lot!
Thank you for letting me share my journey through 2013 with you, I hope to share much more with you through 2014 right here on F Stop Lounge.
Most of these images are available right now through my print store – photos.andrewsgray.com
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