OUTLANDS 2 – FATman’s PHOTOGRAPHIC HELPER: TAKE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY TO THE NEXT LEVEL!

 

 

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In the old days, when I was shooting mainly colour slides (remember them?), I always took a notebook and pen out with me, and spent a lot of time noting down where shots were taken, camera settings, etc.  Later, when I received the mounted slides back from the film processors, I would copy some of these details onto small labels to stick onto the slides’ plastic mounts.  Well, this was time-consuming, almost arduous – but then again it enables me, for example, to pinpoint places and dates for photos taken decades ago in Kenya, and I do value that.

However, these days cameras record all their shooting settings with each image they capture and I find this a great boon.  Later, I’m usually able to establish where shots were taken from my (increasingly pickled) memory, which is vastly helped by looking at grids of thumbnails of my shots, in Capture NX2 or Lightroom, that provide a visual record of my wanderings throughout the day.

But this latter method is of course more effective in places that I know, whereas this first trip up to the South Gloucestershire-Wiltshire border (see post here) was in country completely new to me.  I was much less certain that I’d be able to remember my whereabouts.

So, ever fertile, the FATman “mind” (I use the term guardedly) thought of shooting some kind of dividing shot at the end of each locality I visited – that last remaining brain cell was really going for it!  But whereas many would have simply put the lens cap back on and fired off two or three black frames, I went for the quicker option of simply placing my hand over the lens.

And here is the result, a worthy addition to any photographer’s expertise and library of techniques!  Actually, to be serious for a  moment, I’m surprised at just how much detail the camera’s sensor recorded – and between my fingers my car’s dashboard is rendered sharply (I was using an extreme wide angle lens).

But, anyway, if you’re out photographing and see another photographer shooting their hand, well at least you’ll know they read this blog too, and you might want to quietly approach them with “Can we discuss this … aren’t there better … things to read … in … Life … somewhere? ….

X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 400 ISO; my final shot along Rushmead Lane, north of Marshfield, South Gloucestershire; 7 Dec 2016.
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PEOPLE 120 – RING (MONO)

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My daughter’s hands, with her wedding ring; 1 June 2013.

Strange thing to say maybe, but I feel it a privilege to be able to make such an intimate portrait of another person.

And rings, especially gold ones, always bring the writings of Tolkien to my mind – and it was my daughter who accompanied me to the cinema to see the first instalment of Lord of the Rings.  Having read the book – and The Hobbit too – many times, I was unsure whether the film version would do the story justice.  But I need not have worried.  Five minutes into the vast opening battle scene, I was entranced!

Nikon D800 with 105mm Micro Nikkor; 1600 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, jumping in at the Film Noir 3 preset.

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Soon after posting this image this morning, my colleague in arms Helen Cherry commented that the fingernail highlight at top left is a distraction and I think she’s absolutely right – so below is a second version, which I think a distinct improvement >>> what do you think?  Thanks, Helen!

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PEOPLE 114 – BABY

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Our new grand-daughter; 1 June 2013.

I’m not a great fan of babies – I prefer kids a bit older, and especially when speech gives me an idea of what’s inside their wonderful minds!  But, strange to say I know, one of the things that really impresses me about babies is how small they are – and in particular their hands and feet.  

I simply marvel that these extremities can be so tiny, and yet have all of the necessary bones, muscles, tendons, etc inside them and all in full working order – truly a wonder of Nature that never ceases to stimulate my sense of wonder!

I like the beautiful pink curve here.  My eyes enter the frame on the left as always ( see posts on this long ago ), and they see the hand that is in focus.  Then, as my eyes move right, the pink curve takes them up and over to the other hand.  This other hand, in soft focus, serves to arrest my eyes’ progress, keeping them within the frame.

This image lacks a sense of scale.  OK, looking at the softest of hands and the “general pinkness”, our minds may automatically know its one of the Very Little People, but something for scale – part of a parent’s hand maybe? – would seal the deal.

Nikon D800 with 105mm VR Micro Nikkor; 1600 ISO.
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MENDIP HILLS 13 – SEARCHING FINGERS

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Frosty conifer caught by the early morning sun, near Priddy Mineries Reserve; 18 Mar 2013.

I photographed a much larger part of this partly frost-covered fir but found that the frosty effects were lost in the large image.

So then my idea was to go for detail instead – and there were these hands with long fingers reaching out across a much darker backdrop.  Reaching out for what?  In a menacing, perhaps predatory manner, or pleading, desperate for life?

Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 800 ISO.
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