Inside this issue
Subscribers 4×4 Portfolios
James Luscombe, Martin Dyde, Nigel Cooke & Phil Hemsley
An East Devon native two years into a near obsession with capturing the local landscape.
I’ve been a practitioner of black-and-white photography since I was about ten, mainly learning photography and darkroom skills from books. I'm fortunate to live in the Brecon Beacons, with the dramatic coasts of the Gower and Pembrokeshire, not far away. My main work is programming computers, but I work intensively on photography for the rest of my time
I am an enthusiastic amateur who, like so many others, struggles to find enough time for my photography. My main focus is landscapes although I enjoy most subjects including wildlife, macro, derelict buildings and the odd bit of street photography. At the moment I’m trying different techniques and styles, for the challenge and to bring something different to my portfolio.
Photography of the 'great outdoors' and the people who relish in its grandeur - is something that I enjoy very much. I am passionate about using photography to record the atmosphere and ambience of my subjects - be that the upland landscape of Dartmoor to photographing surfers, kayakers and climbers from an 'up close' aspect.
During the week I am a Mathematics Lecturer at Exeter College, and often make detours on the way home if the light and weather look promising for some landscape or wildlife photography.
Our 4x4 feature is a set of four mini portfolios from our subscribers, each consisting of four images related in some way.
If you would like to submit your own 4x4 portfolio please visit this page for submission information. Please click the images to view them full size.
Impressions of Autumn
After initially sulking at the prospect of having to spend the day at home because of the weather, the rain mercifully passed by mid morning and left the autumn foliage heavy with colour.
The compositional choices everywhere I looked were overwhelming and, after returning to a handful of images I'd been looking forward to perfecting from last year, I chose to use a telephoto lens for most of the photographs to do away with depth of field and attempt to create a compressed wall of colour.
I appreciate the processing won't be to everybody's taste, and frankly I wouldn't be surprised if I came to share that view at some point, but for now I love how it gives the pictures something of an impressionistic feel.
Shapes in the dark
I seek to explore the beauty that inhabits the quiet, unexpected corners of our landscape; the curious, haunting strangeness at the heart of things; poignant, peculiar, incongruous relationships and implications; the remarkable in the intimate landscape; and the poetry of the empty, neglected and superficially unimportant.
Each image is intended to tell a short, self-contained, but curious, tale. These particular four were chosen for their combinations of eerie, graphical shapes and tonal extremes. I approach each piece as a study in form, texture, and tone. I have a particular fondness for rich, dark greys. I photograph mostly in the winter, preferring overcast, shadowless, damp days.
Currently I use Ilford HP5 film mainly, down-rated to 200 ISO, with reduced development – and contrast – in Ilford DD-X to produce a negative with full detail across the whole tonal range of the scene, allowing plenty of scope for extensive tonal manipulation (dodging and burning in) in the darkroom, real or digital.
Although I've used digital occasionally in the past, I now use medium-format black-and-white film almost exclusively. I prefer the results I can get from it, as well as the quiet, thoughtful process of using entirely mechanical camera equipment. Most importantly, I prefer the types of images that I find myself making. I scan the negatives and work on them in Lightroom, restricting myself to adjustments I could make in a real darkroom.
Lochans, Lilies and Reeds
During the summer I spent a week on the Isle of Lewis & Harris with Lizzie Shepherd and two fellow photographers. I don’t get a lot of time out with the camera and this was a chance to focus for a full week and to experiment a bit. The weather was mixed (often very wet) and the light rather hit and miss, but this just added to the challenge.
These images were taken around a couple of small lochans when the light definitely wasn’t with us. Big vista-style shots were out of the question so a different approach was called for. The four images I have included here give an idea of the variety of images made.
The first looks like a monotone conversion but is in fact how it was captured, giving some idea of the light we were working with. In the second image I played with multiple exposures, combining two in and out of focus images. For the third image I used a different angle to capture what little light there was, bringing out the greens and browns in the reeds and offering a somewhat softer image than the others. For the final image I focused on some small lilies. The water was quite shallow and the bed was rather messy, so I underexposed to lose background detail and converted to black and white.
All these images were taken within perhaps 50 yards of each other and yet are all very different. My take-away: take your time, experiment and don’t despair when the weather isn’t what you hoped for.
Ever Moor Water
Moving water has had me under it's spell since I started whitewater kayaking many, many years ago. The flow lines of the myriad currents cascading over rocks or gyrating past them; the reflected hues of the sky, trees, ferns and mosses; the roars, babbles, lollops and hums.
To stand in the shallow waters at the edge of the river to compose, or to wild swim with a waterproof camera - is to feel that further visceral connection with this fascinating form of matter. A multi-sensory mindful experience of studying the waters, that one shall never tire of.