Scottish Wildlife

During my recent holiday to Scotland I took some time out from visiting family and friends to go back to what I love, Photographing wildlife.

Lucky for me then that Scotland has some amazing opportunitys to see and photograph birds and a I. Also that we just don’t see in the big smoke of London and I took many many shots of which I am extremely happy and proud, Red and furry should. Give a clue to my favourites.

So from Rutting Stags to Red Kites soaring above right down to Red Squirrels at waters edge I thought I would. Share just a few of the images.

The greatest compliment for me since being back is that after showing a few of these pictures to Andy Rouse and Tom Way (2 superb professional wildlife toggers), they were very impressed with them and complimented me and that really spurs me on.

Red squirrel

One of my all time favourite shots of a Red Squirrel. Taken this week in Scotland. Many many more shots still to process but I love the way this one turned out.

It was taken in Barhill Forest in Kirkcudbright and was a most peaceful and serene place. Totally quiet and away from the hustle and bustle. Probably why the red squirrels love it.

The hardest shoot ever..

So as many people who read this blog will know, I have a fear of shooting people. Actually that’s not strictly true, I thoroughly dislike shooting people in any way, shape or form. It’s not that I dislike people or the art of shooting them, it’s the fact I have absolutely no idea how to pose them, how to accurately tell their story in a shot and how to then edit that to its fullest. It just sets off my anxiety… It’s something I need to work on.

I’ll be honest I’d much rather be in a field shooting deer, birds or insects than in a studio space or room shooting humans for any reason.

So with that in mind I totally went against every instinct I have and I agreed to help a fellow (now ex) RACC student when she shot a friends wedding. It was without doubt the biggest learning curve I have had and I’m not entirely sure I could even glean a little satisfaction from it. In fact it’s almost cemented my view that I cannot happily shoot people and animals are much much easier.

From the onset it was hard going, a Dimly lit venue with terrible lighting, no flash could be used and outside it was absolutely pouring down, which ruled out the lovely shots in the park or sunshine that initially we thought would be great.

In some shots we were hitting iso 12800 which luckily the 5d mark 4 can handle pretty well. Out of the 1000 or so images I took there are perhaps 80 usable and decent quality images to select a set which is actually surprising given the terrible lighting at the venue.

Trying to get and arrange a large group of people to pose, smile and cooperate when half pissed and hungry was a challenge in itself and one I can only admire wedding photographers for dealing with.

So putting all that aside I thought I’d show 1 image from day which I am pleased with. Backlit by a window in the world’s smallest bridal room I hope I managed to make it a nice shot.

Many lessons learned from that day, not least that weddings are not my forte unless it’s one of those kooky animal ones in a forest somewhere.

I will (no doubt) go against my instincts and try again and again because I suppose you can never stop trying new things and learning.

Final Results

Well today the results and certificate for my Level 3 Photography course finally appeared in the post.

I am Over the moon to say I got a….

Triple Distinction for the 3 modules and overall mark of

Drum Roll………. Distinction*

I would like to say thanks to all who have followed this journey and commented or liked posts as you have all spurred me on and given me the confidence to get out and do well in the course. And my classmates who made the years class great to attend and full of fun.

And a special heartfelt thanks to my tutor for the past 2 years and RHACC Zig, who has not only guided me through and supported this journey but has also become a valued friend.

Thanks all

A very chuffed Me….

Level 3 Exhibition

On Monday a few of us guys from the level morning session and some from level 2 set up the exhibition in the RACC Atrium to run all Summer. It was hot and hard going to get it done in the heat but we managed to get most of the Images hung.

Looks good once up and straightened and this year we have fixed with screws so hopefully they won’t ebd up falling off like Last year.

Level 3 in review

Unit 1: Visual Recording in Art and Design – Criteria P 2, 4, 5

It’s come to the end of my level 3 course and, obviously, I am more than a Little sad that it’s over to be honest.

I won’t be doing level 4 at RACC as they don’t offer the course, for the next term, but will continue on my little journey somehow with some good friends I have met along the way on these courses. Perhaps at a photo club or Society or perhaps I may drop in and pester Zig at RACC every so often just to keep him on his toes 🙂

So what have I learned this year, well to begin with, an appreciation of the art form and its deeper meanings. I have further learned to look past the image and explore what the photographer is trying to tell us either through composition, tone, texture or colour and content. There is no set pattern to what to expect from a photo and as the art is always evolving you must evolve with it and explore new ways you can portray your work.

Alongside this I have felt encouraged to experiment with techniques and styles I hadn’t before and to not be afraid to go wrong in trying those styles.

I have Learned to critique images, both my own and others, and to use that critique make selective judgements on how to present a flowing set of images or project that gels with a particular theme or approach to a subject matter or topic.

To see the tones and lines within images that “join” them with others to create a meaning or conscious collection of similar work. To objectively select images and also discard those that do not meet criteria or objectives.

I have also learned a bit more about the Importance of different media types for different Images or approaches to printing for different markets or uses. Different images or edits may affect what media you use as will the setting, lighting, framing and audience.

So here is a gallery of images taken during the level 3 course from all projects and terms both final images and prospective ones as well as other test images and such.

Transformations Final set – Scars

Unit 1: Visual Recording in Art and Design – Criteria P 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Following up on my OUTLINE post for the Transformations project, For my final set and presentation for this term entitled Scars, I have chosen a set of 6 images that I feel portray this theme to perfection, showing material change yet also offering a change in perception to the viewer as they look upon rust with a new viewpoint and perspective as totally unrecognisable from what they expect. Inspired by Aaron Siskinds textured works.

Equipment, editing and technical information for the project and shoot can be found in this Post.

From the moment I began editing and selecting images I had visions of the planet Mars in my head, since the photos closely resemble what I have always thought Mars to be like and have observed in actual images of the Martian surface.

I have named each picture after an area on Mars, after seeing work by Rachael Talibart in which she named images after mythical entity’s, that I feel represents the image and the structure and content within and I will go through these individually after the gallery of final images below.

Now I will explore and explain each image in a bit more detail along with the area of Mars which inspires its name. I hope you will see why I have chosen the names, as each of my images draws its inspiration from those areas. Below is a stock photo of the area followed by my image and its presentation format and media used.

Utopia

Shot from above Utopia Planetia (Stock Image)

Utopia planetia is a vast plain on Mars known for deep red colouration and being relatively flat Compared to other more rocky and mountainous regions.

Due to the large size of this print I wanted a good colour depth and also to keep detail in the Image. I chose lustre as my media as it offers a good balance of both without favour toward one. The flatness and flat effect I needed for the overall image would not be affected by the lustre finish as can happen with gloss perhaps being too sharply detailed.

105mm Macro – F8 – ISO200 – 1/200s
Framed 16×12 print in white box frame

Syrtis

Syrtis from Above (stock Image)

Syrtis is a huge dark patch on the surface of Mars surrounded by a flat pitted plain of deep reddish hues.

I chose to print this image on Permajet Omega Rag at home and I feel it has come out superbly showing deep contrast and detail in the blacks and shadows whilst retaining colour and vibrance in the overall print.

105mm Macro – F8 – ISO200 – 1/400s
Approximate crop and corrected orientation
Framed

Elysium

Elysium is a huge volcanic region with cascading hardened lava flows and icy regions of frozen rock

As with Syrtis I printed this image on a fine art paper, Permajet Baryta paper which again allowed for crisp detail and contrast and retained and enhanced colour vibrance.

105mm Macro – F11 – ISO200 – 1/250s
Approximate crop and corrected orientation
Framed

I chose to print and present the next 3 images as a triptych of texture and surface markings, I feel grouping the images like this allows me to offer some seperation from the more serene and flat surfaces of the previous set whilst retaining them as a cohesive collection.

Naukluft

Naukluft is a plateau of jutting rocks and layers of volcanic sedement, the sharp edges to the plateau contrast with the sand beneath.

105mm Macro – F8 – ISO160 – 1/640s

Olympus Mons

Olympus mons is a huge circular mountain around the size of France on the surface in the volcanic region of Tharsis

105mm Macro – F11 – ISO200 – 1/400s

Tharsis

Tharsis is a volcanic region with several round volcano like mounds they dimple the surface like hills.

105mm Macro – F8 – ISO200 – 1/500s

For the more textured images of the “really rocky and mountainous areas” I chose to print in gloss to ensure extreme detail in the sharp contrasting lines of each image and still retain a colour depth and 3d effect to the print.

Framed

Finally we come to presentation of the images as a set. I took the framed images to class and following input from the class and Zig I chose this grouping which is quite formal and contemporary as I feel the Images should be displayed and set very simply to provide a contrast the abstract content in the images. I printed my main image in large format 16×12 complimented with 2 medium images of around 7×5 and a Triptych of textured images. All images have been mounted on acid free white mount board and framed in a white box frame.

Final set in display formation (obviously gaps between)

Final Critique

Overall this term I am extremely happy with the 6 images I have produced and chosen for “Scars”. I feel they match the images they are inspired by and really give the viewer something to consider when they look at Rust in the future and the transformation that it brings to metal surfaces. I am pleased at how quickly I rethought ideas and overcame obstacles to produce a coherent and tonally structured set which fulfills the brief given.

I feel the title is apt and gives the viewer only an inkling of what the set portrays but has enough there for anyone who hears the title, Once viewed, to say “yes I get it”.

Yes there were a few missed opportunities and perhaps I could have further considered which pictures to include from many taken but feel the set produced is excellent and pleasing to the eye, I could have expanded the project to cover other decay and such but I feel the set of 6 images here are special and form a much better cohesive set than if I were to include more images of a different style or subject.