PEOPLE 279 – GRANDDAUGHTER 8

 

 

.

The younger granddaughter, backlit: delicate colours, high key.

The original aim of this series was to present portraits from a single photographic session, in black and white.  However, the best laid plans of mice and FATmen …  this is from another session, another time, and it caught my eye.

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;  7.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that larger version to enlarge it still further.

Technique: D800 with a 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 6400 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Color Efex Pro 4 to add the thin frame; 9 Apr 2017.

.
.
.

PEOPLE 274 – GRANDDAUGHTER 7 (MONO)

 

 


.
The younger sister.

This is more or less unposed.  She was sitting in a room that was not brightly lit, looking here and there, reacting (or not!) to my suggestions, and I was relying on the Nikon’s wonderful autofocus to keep minimal – but important – sharpness.  I love this image for two reasons.  First of all, of course, I love her, that goes without saying.  But also I have really enjoyed using Silver Efex to manipulate and create this.  Using software is not always enjoyable, sometimes its a necessary chore, but there are other times when it is pure, creative joy – and for me that is especially the case with black and white images.  I have yet to feel such joy when using Lightroom, excellent though it is, but who knows what will come to pass?

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that larger version to enlarge it still further.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 4,000 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Classic Portrait preset, and adding a light sepia tone; 18 Apr 2017.
.
.
.

PEOPLE 273 – GRANDDAUGHTER 6 (MONO)

 

 


.
The younger sister, once more looking rather older than she is.

This is a quite intimate picture, this is a close up look at another human being, but without the eye contact some think essential.  It is really all about those eyelashes and that length of hair hanging down across her cheek: these are the only parts of the image that are sharp – in terms of focus, everything else has been left to look after itself.  The 105mm lens was used wide open at f2.8 for all of these pictures.

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that larger version to enlarge it still further.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 1600 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Cool Tones II preset, and adding a moderate coffee tone; 18 Apr 2017.
.
.
.

PEOPLE 272 – GRANDDAUGHTER 5 (MONO)

 

 


.
The elder sister, enjoying life …  How I love kids!  I have been told that, in Britain’s eminently educated, civilised and sophisticated society, it might be better if I did not utter such heartfelt emotions.  But the facts are simple.  Babies I can take or leave (I could most certainly never eat a whole one).  But once children start to talk in even the most disjointed fashion, once they start to give voice to what is in their minds and how they see the world, I am utterly enthralled – I want to be in there, I want to hear about it all!

And, of course, as photographers, I have heard and read so often that we should try to preserve our childlike sense of wonder at what we see around us – photography can be so much about making the mundane look extraordinary.  Adults are mainly sensible.  Its a kind of default mindset for us, isn’t it?  So we tend to see what’s around us sensibly and, in terms of photographic emotion, that can make things a little grey.  So, try not to be visually sensible.  Go mad a little – and, as a further aid, listen to what children say, listen to how they see things, get back – if only a little – into the way you used to think once upon a time, long ago.

Quite simply, I value my time with young people in many ways.  And, of course, one of the great benefits of being a Grandad is that, should the generation two stops down the conveyor belt get a little pushy, unruly or riotous, you can always hand them back to their keepers … I mean … parents …

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that larger version to enlarge it still further (though not, in this case, if you’re of anything like a nervous disposition …)

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 1250 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate II preset, giving the image the look of Fuji Neopan Acros 100 black and white film, and adding a light tone; 18 Apr 2017.
.
.
.

PEOPLE 269 – GRANDDAUGHTER 4

 

 

.

The younger granddaughter, looking down at a book.  I’d originally planned to have all of these portraits in black and white but – what the heck! – the colour original is here too! 

Which do you prefer?

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3.

Click onto these images to open larger versions in separate windows, and click onto the larger versions to further enlarge them.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 4,000 ISO; window light; Lightroom; the mono version produced in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Warm Tone Paper preset.
.

.
.
.

PEOPLE 267 – GRANDDAUGHTER 3 (MONO)

 

 


.

The younger granddaughter, giving me a very straight look, and processed to bring out some of that seriousness.

This doesn’t look like a granddaughter?  No it doesn’t, but I want to see what I can do with these images – and sticking faithfully to reality, together with producing what is expected, may not be top priorities …  Its more a question, I suppose, of seeing where this takes me.

Technique: many photographers today glory in the fact that they can restore detail to deep shadows and, if this is your aim, then definitely shoot Raw files – more on this another time.  This desire for a shadowless reality is often seen in images of landscapes – you know the kind of thing, the photo is looking eastwards into the blazing, dazzling face of the rising sun – and yet there is still well lit detail visible on the western sides of trees and hedges which face away from the sun.  Well, OK, its a style, but I prefer something more natural, and I’m increasingly reading about people (including talented landscapers) asking just where that “western light” in some landscapes is emanating from.  Personally, as in this image, I greatly value dark shadows – they can look gorgeous, and they bring mystery to an image, they make viewers wonder what is there – I’m a big fan of chiaroscuro, the interplay and effects of contrasting light and shadow in images.  And similarly highlights without detail too, they can also be of visual value – never discount pure black or pure white.

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click again onto this enlarged image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 4,000 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Triste 2 preset, adding a split tone and retaining some grain; 18 Apr 2017.
.
.
.

PEOPLE 266 – GRANDDAUGHTER 2 (MONO)

 

 


.

On 18 April 2017, I took pictures of our two granddaughters.  This is the elder sister, and a shot of the younger sister – together with much detail on technique – can be found here: 1.

Black and white portraits are the aim here.  Some initial processing will be carried out on each image in Adobe Lightroom, but the serious B+W manipulation will be in Silver Efex Pro 2 – and I must say that the pleasures for me in this project are certainly threefold.  First, there is the certain pleasure of being with – and photographing too – these two girls; to say I enjoy their company is vast understatement.  Then, second, using Silver Efex on such a project is pure enjoyment too.  And thirdly of course, I’m hoping to end up with some engaging portraits.

The first image is darker and perhaps more conventional than this one, which is approaching high key – aside from these eyes with their very level gaze, the tones of this image are all distinctly pale; on the right her pale hair merges with the pale backdrop.  Really, this is a picture of eyes, a calm and level gaze, with all else far less certain/definite.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto this larger image to enlarge it yet again.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 1600 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Warm Tone Paper preset and adding a tone.
.
.
.

PEOPLE 265 – GRANDDAUGHTER 1 (MONO)

 

 


.
Photographing children – in this case granddaughters – is something I’ve missed doing for sometime.

Technique: rather than attempting to keep up with the granddaughters’ boundless movement and energy, I simply asked them, one at a time and with minimal distractions, to sit in a room with not too bright light from a window on the right.  So, simple window light, a light that I love; and trying to make sure that the backdrop was free of any distractions, because many types of image – certainly not portraits alone – can be ruined by overly intrusive backgrounds.  OK, sometimes such backgrounds can be dimmed or cropped out, but its really better to stare hard at the background, and at each photo’s periphery too, before the photo is taken.  And also, its probably true to say that the background will usually be more in focus that it appears when looked at, stopped down, through the viewfinder or camera screen.

I own few prime lenses but, as with all portrait shoots, I used my 105mm macro Nikkor, wide open at f2.8.  Focus was on the eyes and, focuswise, everything else was left to look after itself.  And yes, I did choose a Nikon camera – and a now long discontinued Nikon at that –  rather than the wonderful Fuji X-T2, because I wanted the shallower, full-frame depths of field, combined with the Nikon’s 100% sure, AF-ON, back button focusing.  And, finally, the whole plan is that these images should be created in black and white, with the very able assistance of Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 processing software – which is currently available, completely free of charge, here(note that this web page doesn’t actually say that SEP2 is compatible with Windows 10 – can anyone shed any light on this?  I’m currently using it with Windows 7).

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto this larger image to enlarge it yet again.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 4,000 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Warm Tone Paper preset and adding a tone.
.
.
.

ARCHIVE 289 – LUO FAMILY

 

 


.
Luo family on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

The backdrop is the painted wall of a wattle and daub hut, the smooth surface layer of which is starting to flake off on the far right.  Minor points, maybe that I’ve only really appreciated now, after all these years, are the Vicks poster and the kitten.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.

UPDATE: The people in Kenya were in the main very friendly and hospitable.  I very much enjoyed my years in that country.  Again – once again – I wish that I had photographed more of the people that I met there.

.
.
.

ARCHIVE 272 – BOY ON A FARM

 

 

adl364newx
.
Young Luo boy on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; Apr 1979.

He is standing in front of the painted mud wall of a hut and is vastly amused to be having his picture taken – what a pity that those weren’t digital days, so that I could have showed him the result – or that I didn’t carry a polaroid camera with me.

Looking for rare birds – I was an out and out birder in those days, photography was very much a subsidiary thing – I remember entering villages deep in the western countryside where the africans seldom encountered white people, to be greeted by little children running at my VW Beetle, shouting “mzungu, mzungu!” – “white man, white man!”.  They crowded around me, looking at my skin and touching it with wonder and great curiosity – and all around were excited grins and smiles like the one above.

Olympus OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO.

UPDATE: this picture was taken 38 years ago and, getting older as I am, I find myself looking at this broadly grinning face, a face from my distant past, and wondering what has become of him.  For a start, is he alive, has he survived?  This is after all the Third World, and an area brutally infested by malaria – which I myself was struck down with – so that nothing can be guaranteed.  Assuming that he is still alive, he will now be in his 40s, perhaps with a family of his own.  So has he stayed on these far western farms, or maybe been drawn by the lure of the cities – nearby Kisumu, or even far off Nairobi or Mombasa?  I can have no answers here but am nevertheless left with one certainty: being a geologist and naturalist, most of my Kenyan photography was of the spectacular landscapes and wildlife – but now, with hindsight, I wish that my photographs had a more of a human element, that I’d taken more photographs of the Kenyans themselves.

.
.
.

%d bloggers like this: