There are times when there just isn’t enough time, things get in the way and there are other priorities. The past two weeks has been such a time.
I won’t bore you with any details of how a house renovation can cause more stress than you expect, because I could rant on for hours. The effect of this is that I haven’t been able to get outside to take any images. Not just because of a lack of time, but the stress caused a mood that wasn’t exactly motivational.
As I still want to try to post something each week, I thought that I would take a look back at some previous images. At first I was going to pick my favourite six from the past six months, month per month, but then I decided to take a step further back. It’s been roughly six years since I started to get more interested in photography, or since it started to take a grasp of my life.
For this reason I am going to pick my favourite image from each year for the past six years. With this I want to see how I’ve developed in the sense of style, composition, quality, etc.
In honesty I think that it's more for me, than anything else. When I look at other photographer's work as many of us do, a lot of them have a particular style. In some case you can tell the photographer, just by looking at the image. I don’t think that this fits to me, not that this is necessarily a bad thing, my interests span over wildlife and landscape. Not particularly a combination that fits well to a style. Nevertheless I would like to see if there is a direction.
This image is from my first holiday with a DSLR after deciding to buy one during a walking holiday in the same area a year before. I'd spent a couple of weeks hiking along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path with an Olympus Point and Shoot and a mobile phone camera.
I chose this one as I like the idea of the composition. The transition from grass to ocean to the sky. But, the piece of land jutting out from the left with no connection to the rest of the image spoils it for me. If I were taking the same photo today I think that I would have gone with a portrait or 1:1 format, been closer to the grass and zoomed in to just the lower right corner.
This year was a tough one to choose a favourite from. I'm not sure what was going on but I seem to have been trying to copy other images that I had seen. There was a lot of repetition of similar compositions in what I believe was an attempt to reproduce something that I had seen elsewhere.
This image was taken mid year above Grindelwald during a hike. From the colour perspective it is strangely very similar to the picture from 2013, but obviously with a lot less clouds and no sign of the ocean.
Back to the Pembrokeshire coast with this one. I'd been looking into new techniques, ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) and composite images. This image is a composite altered in Photoshop that mimics ICM. It is not achieved with ICM as this wouldn't be possible with one shot, and there wouldn't have been enough time to get one image with ICM and one without.
The image was created by firstly splitting it into two images. One has the person and their reflection with the entire background removed. The other, has the person and the reflection removed and the empty space filled with a content aware fill, after which a motion blur is applied. The two images are then brought back together to achieve the final image.
2016 was the year that I started to dedicate more time to photography. I was able to reduce the working hours of my job, so that I had Mondays too and so a three day weekend. I started to get up in the middle of the night to get to a location for dawn and tried to spend more time in the landscape.
This image was a result of that and partly why I choose it. The other part is the experience. It was taken not long after sunrise, at the end of a cold winters night that had wind chill temperatures of -30°C. I was at the site a couple of hours before the sun arrived, had found a place where I thought that I could see a few chamois in the darkness and settled down to wait for the first rays of light.
I can completely understand why to some people, or in fact to most people the idea of getting up at 0300h to sit quietly in the middle of a field in complete darkness, while the wind gusts past at -30°C and hoar frost takes hold around you, may not sound very appealing, but this is just a small part of the experience. Admittedly, it is a cold and not very comfortable part of the experience.
But there is the calm and still of the night, the rush of adrenaline from not knowing what is waiting in the dark or as you hear a movement and can't quite tell from which direction it came. Watching the stars move across the sky and the light gradually appear on the horizon.
In the end any part of the experience that could be considered as negative is forgotten when you are able to catch an image like this. The moment when a chamois starts to wake after a freezing night, with the top half of the coat still covered in hoar frost surveying the valley below.
These are the moments of photography that I enjoy the most.
This image was taken in the Vosges region of France.
Ah 2017, the year of my move to Olympus and then back to Sony. This year has a lot of variation. I choose this image as there are a combination of elements that work together to balance the composition. The delicate fragile flowers with the reflection that appears slightly sharper than the actual flowers all set against the bokeh of the reeds in the background. I also included it as a reminder not to forget to look at the details; the smaller picture. These flowers are not much more than a centimetre across.
The image was taken in the Basel Botanical Gardens
This one was picked for the emotion as well as the technique. It was taken through a small gap between boulders, branches and grasses. Because of these elements it was not possible to use auto focus, so I had to manually focus in a very short space of time.
I love how the bokeh from boulders and plants frames the chamois in the centre of the image, and that I was so able to very quickly change the settings without much thought to catch this moment.
This image was taken in the Vosges region of France.
As the initial idea was to choose the six favourite from this year, i decided to include these too.
So what is the conclusion. Well there certainly isn't a development of a style, neither in landscape of wildlife, at least not one that I can see. What is not visible here, but is evident when I looked through the images of each year, is that there has been a definite move toward wildlife over the past year. This can be seen from the selection of six from this year. If it wasn't for the Fujifilm event, 5 of the 6 images would have been wildlife.
As an exercise for me I think that it has been worth it. Although not prominent, there was a particular style in a few of the Landscape images that I liked, which I will try to develop. On the wildlife side I would like to experiment more with minimalist images. I certainly have something to think about, as well as some new motivation.
Lets hope that I have something new for next week!