Thursday 1 November 2012

Friday Nov2

The Met Office pressure chart shows an occluded front passing over us. It might give us a bit of rain, clearing as the front moves away. So from a photographer's point of view, the light may be a little soft, not very bright and colourful, but with some cloud texture and detail. There may be brighter periods too. 
In this type of light, I would consider working in black-and-white to emhasise tonality - the shades of black, white, grey - even silver. I would also concentrate on the composition and design of the pictures. If you have strong design, and a sensitivity to tone, it is often possible to create strong photographs even in poor light. 
Poor light, but geometric composition and paying attention to the
 pleasures of tonality made an interesting picture possible.
The location will be Arthur's Seat - the mountain in the city. We can meet at Stills, then wander down the Mile, past the Parliament and access Arthur's Seat by the Radical Road. This will give us options (and views), so we can choose to go onto the Salisbury Crags or the lower route by Hunter's Bog. 
It will probably be cold, wet, maybe a bit windy and rough underfoot. A snack would be handy. Dress warm!
Walkhighlands gives some helpful information about Arthur's Seat, including pictures and maps.
It is a volcano, with dramatic crags falling steeply to the city. A volcano! In a city centre! This is pretty dramatic, and so does lend itself to a visually dramatic photographic treatment. A very popular and persistent approach to landscape photography is to attempt to convey the location at its most intense and most visually compelling form. This is achieved by shooting when the light is oblique and clear, usually dawn or dusk, at a carefully chosen vantage point. Photographic techniques are chosen to enhance and accentuate elements such as cloud detail, perspective effects and scale. 
Photographers working in this style tend to use graduate filters, polarising filters, wide-angle lenses, red filters in black-and-white to darken blue skies, tripods to allow the use of small apertures to exaggerate deep depth-of-field effects, slow shutter speeds to exaggerate the flow of water.
Every technique serves to enhance, accentuate and to convey perfection, and many photographers feel that they are conveying the 'essence' of a location or environment. The photographer is very conscious of the visual effects of space, light, scale, visual contrasts, perspective and viewpoint.
For many, this is the default way to do landscape photography, and there are often well-known locations and viewpoints that you can visit.

Lindsay Robertson's picture at Arthur's Seat is consciously
 influenced by Ansel Adams and is a masterclass of dramatic tonality,
space, perspective and scale. Red filters enhance the cloud and sky.

When we work in this manner, we are following in the footsteps of people like Ansel Adams. Good examples of this are Lindsay Robertson, Craig McMaster, Lee Frost, Charlie Waite, Richard Childs, Joe Cornish, Colin Prior.
It can be a pleasant way to spend your time, to visit a well-known photographic viewpoint and to recreate your own versions of the famous views.

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