ACCIDENT and INTEND by ASTRID MCGECHAN
Having a family and a busy job means I don’t have anywhere near enough time as I would like, to get out with the camera. But recent family outings have reminded me that interesting photographs can be found everywhere, and that all that is needed are open eyes and an open mind.
While on a walk with the family along one of the lochs in Scotland, I pointed my little compact camera towards the remains of a fishing vessel. Absentmindedly, I had not paid attention to the settings on the camera, so the resulting image was totally overexposed. Of course I changed the settings to obtain a decent exposure, but that looked exceptionally boring. So I looked again at the overexposed image on the little camera screen and was struck by how well the overexposure seemed to fit the scene. It had made lots of details in the scene fade away, just as the glorious past of the fishing vessel seemed to have faded away over the years. It stopped me in my tracks and I took a bit of time to examine the vessel and its surroundings more closely. I saw the landing pier nearby, another ruined vessel and all sorts of contraptions. Having spent a happy 30 minutes or so making more overexposed images, this time deliberately, I came away with a set of photos that seemed to really fit the scene. Looking at the images, I can imagine a time when the boats were afloat and buzzing with fishermen pulling in their catch.
The lesson learnt? “Accidental” shots may turn out to be great images after all.
Astrid McGechan is a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and an author of a book, “The Elmbridge Hundred – A Visual Journey” that contains one hundred photographs taken in the Borough of Elmbridge. Astrid’s images have been published in magazines the UK and in a calendar, which was distributed in Europe and Asia. She has sold images in the UK, Europe and US. I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society.
SAND PATTERNS by LINDA WEVILL
I am a creative and landscape photographer and, although my main interest is the landscape, I enjoy photographing a variety of subject matter from still life to travel. I am fortunate enough to live in South Devon and have access to the coast and the beautiful countryside in the area. I experiment with different techniques to capture the atmosphere of the scene and the vision that I am trying to achieve. I particularly like the painterly style and pastel colours for my work.
I have always been drawn to the sea and what I especially love about coastal work is the way the light is reflected in the water and this continues until well after sunset or before sunrise. I also love capturing movement in my photographs and this is changing all the time at the coast with the tides going in and out. I enjoy experimenting so the same location can be shown in many ways with different shutter speeds and other techniques.
When I go to a new location I arrive early and spend some time initially looking for compositions that will work when the light is right; with leading lines and rocks that balance and lead the viewer into the image. Sometimes, however, I have trouble finding a composition that I feel works. One such location was when I was on Derrynane Beach, South West Ireland; I just could not find a composition that I liked with the horizon in the image as I felt the rocks in the water were very muddled. The light on the beach in the early morning and at sunset was beautiful, so I had to work hard to ‘see’ something different. It is often in these circumstances that you can actually come away with something more unusual. I ended up taking many images on the beach, some of the movement of the sea without the horizon in the image and some of the beach patterns with the beautiful side lighting bringing the patterns to life. I feel that detail shots like these often work very well together as small sets or triptychs and have more impact than as individual images. I show a couple of examples of the images I took on Derrynane Beach. The first triptych shows the blue sky reflecting in the water left on the beach as the tide went out. The second triptych is of sand patterns on the beach at low tide.
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Linda Wevill is a creative landscape photographer based in South Devon. She is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and has gained her EFIAP Bronze distinction (Excellence of the International Federation of Photographic Art). Linda has exhibited widely in many different countries and has had work published in many magazines and other publications.
UNSTRUCTURED by JACLYN TANEMURA
Life is very unstructured. Things don’t always go according to plan. As humans, a lot of us — myself included — sometimes take comfort in a certain amount of structure; some of this structure can be found in photography and the rules that can be applied to it. Structure can also be suffocating, and finding a balance in a creative profession that is also technical can be challenging. That’s why I’ve found that fleeting and unexpected moments in nature are my favourite things to photograph. No matter what you plan, you may or may not be prepared for what actually happens. Some of the most extraordinary moments that have happened have caught me totally off guard, which I think has been a blessing in disguise; there’s no time to think or plan. You can only move and react to what is happening before you, and let it flow naturally. On this particular morning, I was struggling to find a composition. Surrounded by rugged beauty in every direction I looked, I was overwhelmed by the variety of things to shoot. Something better seemed to be around the next corner, constantly. Before I knew it, the sun was beginning come up and alpenglow was lighting up the Ramparts, and I still hadn’t found a composition that I was thrilled with. Resigned, I decided to simply shoot where I was and try to forget about the nagging feeling that told me I hadn’t found, well, it. We’d ridden horses in to access the beautiful Tonquin Valley. They let them roam free as a herd in the valley, some of the horses wearing bells. I could hear the bells getting closer and closer, and suddenly the herd of horses surrounded me. This palomino which I’d been dying to photograph but couldn’t seem to during the trip, decided to come over and graze next to the small pool I’d sat down beside. It was fairly dark; I yanked my camera off my tripod, and quickly put my ISO up so I could have a fast enough shutter speed for handholding in that environment. My heart was racing; this was so much better than what I could have imagined. The palomino moved around the pool, allowing me to photograph him with different sections of the Ramparts behind him. He moved, and so did I, as if we were in some sort of slow motion dance. Suddenly, it walked away, the spell was broken, and I was left in profound awe, disbelief, and feeling like I’d just witnessed something magical.
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Jaclyn Tanemura is a self taught photographer based in the Shuswap region of British Columbia in Canada. She is an outdoors enthusiast, and co-leads workshops around Canada for Canada Photo Tours. She has a great respect and fascination for nature and hopes to convey that in her work.
LEEDS CASTLE – ONE YEAR IN 900 by SARAH MEDWAY
An email popped into my in box one day in April 2015, an invite for an interview at Leeds Castle, a year long project to capture the castle and grounds in all seasons and weathers. Much to my surprise, a week later I had the job and project ‘One Year in 900’ was born.
Feeling excited and nervous, I went along and spent the day learning about the history and grounds. This included a nine hole golf course, parkland, Mediterranean gardens, the Culpepper Garden – the original Castle kitchen garden and the woodland. I liaised with park keepers, gardeners, groundsmen and head falconer, to understand how the grounds changed throughout the seasons. I had plans of the estate to help me work out how to schedule through the year what I would shoot and at what time of day. I had access 24/7, the security team were given my picture and mobile number so they could ring me on my visits periodically to ensure I hadn’t fallen in the moat!
On my first visit I arrived at 4.45am on 27th May 2015. The sky was a little to blue, but a layer of mist hugged the moat and castle, just me and the dawn chorus. It could have been a summer’s day 900 years ago, nothing rooted me in our present time.
The castle is an hour away from me, predicting interesting weather and light was the biggest challenge of the project. One evening mist was forecast the next morning, on arrival it was actually dense fog. This visit turned out to be the most memorable, as the sun rose the castle started to emerge from the fog.
Towards the end of the project in April the castle had an exhibition of a selection of the images I had taken, which was hung in the Queen’s bedroom. The library of images I have taken have been used broadly, for editorial, social media and various products that are now sold in the castle shop.
The project was an epic and wonderful journey and I miss my early mornings there – however, as I was cheated from delivering a snowy winter as nature decided otherwise, I have been asked back to shoot more – watch this hopefully snowy space!
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Sarah Medway is a British landscape photographer based in Kent, England. Her work tends to focus on Kent, Surrey and Sussex countryside and coastal landscapes. The key factor and at the heart of Sarah’s work is the marriage of light on land. She enjoys capturing the moment when light transforms the landscape, revealing cloudscapes, atmosphere and textures.
ISABELLE’S WAY by ISABELLE BACHER
I made 2013 the decision to move from Austria to the Arctic because of my work as an architect and the attractive opportunity to get closer to the tough and magnificent nature of the Arctic – to live my passion, the landscape photography. The immensity of lonely fjords, the breathtaking light and the aesthetic glaciers of the Far North are magical to me. The world of geometry, proportion and harmony, graphics and minimalism is the way I attempt in architecture, as in photography. With my photographs I wish to show the amazing, beautiful and powerful forces that have created the magnificent nature of the Arctic. Light is the main subject, in combination with the seascape and landscape. I love the abstract and intimate views of the natural world. My photographic work represents my personal perception of the landscape, with light as the main subject, in combination with the Arctic Landscape.
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Isabelle’s Bacher roots can be found in Innsbruck, Austria, and Oslo, Norway. She explores genres of Landscape, Black and White and Fine Art Photography. Isabelle exhibited in Norway, UK, Austria and France.
LIMITED ACCESS by SUSAN ROWE
My name is Susan Rowe and I am a disabled photographer. I recently had a series of exhibitions at local galleries and had to decide on a title for the work I was displaying. I wanted to convey something about me as well as the challenges I face when out taking photos, hence “Limited Access”.
Increasingly, I find it difficult to walk with my sticks any distance so, usually resort to being in the wheelchair, pushed by my husband. Also, I can’t stand up for more than a few minutes, cannot bend down, need somewhere fairly flat and therefore, somewhere easily accessible! Gone are the days when I could walk up the fells in the Lake District or scramble over rocks on the coast. Nowadays, it is the view from my wheelchair or a convenient seat or, even, from the roadside sitting in the car!
Nevertheless, I particularly enjoy the time before sunrise and after sunset; twilight. The mood of the landscape is changed as definition and detail are disguised. Patterns and shapes emerge, sometimes giving a very abstract feel. I love the diversity of shades, tones and hues of colour during twilight and, for me, there is a sense of wonderment about this. My favourite locations are mainly at the seaside where it is easy for me to sit and take photos and I’m fortunate to live fairly close to the coast of North East England. Here, both the promenade and pier at Saltburn and also Roker provide excellent locations, as well as the approach to St. Mary’s Lighthouse. I spend a lot of time looking at the weather app on my phone and the website of magicseaweed which provides information on tide times as well as first light and last light, just waiting for everything to be synchronised and then, I’m off!
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Susan Rowe is a landscape photographer from County Durham. Since her retirement she has had more time to devote to photography, and has concentrated on expanding her photographic skills and developing her own personal style. She is a member of the Royal Photographic Society as well as the Disabled Photographers Society and, has successfully been awarded a “Licentiateship” by both organisations – LRPS and LDPS.
PAINTING OR PHOTOGRAPHY by CHRISTINE LAVANCHY
Why should I choose, especially, that both disciplines allow us to make images. As a painter, and as an “images maker”, I have naturally “met” photography on my way, and this has been the starting point of a huge amount of experimentations.
In my painting, I had already passed the stage of using a brush; I tried variety of approaches and tested many household tools. On discovering digital photography, I have explored many image processing software. I have been fascinated with the possibilities offered by working with layers. But as a painter, staying behind a computer was frustrating in a way.
Since I familiarized myself with all the digital printing processes’ capabilities, I realized that it offers fantastic new perspectives. I started to mix both disciplines, on the same surface; for example, treating a piece of wood with acrylics and marble treatment, and then printing a photograph directly onto it! This is what I call hybrid photographs. Nothing pleases me more than when somebody asks me if this is a painted artwork or photography! “Both” I answer. In fact, I don’t think that the medium is so important, but the language!
Using that approach, I’m now working on a big project that I have called LE MUR, the wall, in which I have decided to produce 100 artworks, paintings, photographs and hybrids. The final step will be to create a large format exhibition; the size of it will depend on how much I can invest.
This is my way of sharing emotions offered continuously by Mother Nature. When combining the pieces together, I search for the primitive energy, the one that nature provides when one contemplates. Furthermore and to my surprise, with these new arrangement and combinations of artworks, I have discovered an independent energy – that was something I was not expected! Now I don’t even have to think if what I create is a painting or a photograph.
So yes, really, why should I choose?
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Christine Lavanchy is a self taught artist, painter and photograph, living and working in Switzerland. She has been fascinated by nature and almost all her work reflects this fascination.
FEELS LIKE HOME by CRISTIANA DAMIANO
There are places where we feel at peace. They may be near or far, close to home or abroad, we can go there often or rarely, but when we are there, that’s our home.
I like both, landscapes and macro photography and I can’t say which is my favourite. It depends on the season, but also on my mood. I like to immerse myself often in the macro world, where I can be creative. I like to spend hours watching my beloved little creatures and flowers, before I start photographing them. But when I need to feel like at home, to sense familiar atmosphere, then I have to go to the mountains, especially to the wonderful Dolomites.
Since I was a child I have walked in the mountains; I love these landscapes where I feel immersed in the infinite world, where the view from the mountain tops reaches the sea sometimes, where I admire the light of dawn and sunset painting red the rocks of Dolomites and where only the stars are the companions at night. The mountains of my region are rugged, with very few rest places on the way up. You can imagine that it is not easy to reach the top with a heavy backpack; it is hard for a woman, but when you get to the peak, the fatigue disappears. Exactly as it happens, when after a day’s work, you return home, your home filled with peace and serenity.
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Cristiana Damiano is an Italian photographer based in Monfalcone. Her interests are wide, from open landscapes to macro photography. She finds serenity and peace of nature inspiring and hopes that her pictures will encourage people to appreciate the natural world.
LETS PLAY by CHERYL HAMER
As a photographer who is coming from the perspective of earning my living chiefly from running a photography workshop and holiday business, I am constantly aware of the tension between creating work that I like and creating work that other people will like! I have to confess that for a year or two this became very debilitating; we all have bills to pay after all, and I became overly conscious that people would like what I was doing. This was no good at all for my creativity!
However, you can only maintain this kind of stance for a while before you either go mad – or you give up and get on with living – and I think that applies to many things in life! So, I began to deliberately ignore what seemed to be ‘selling’ well and what didn’t, and just focused on enjoying what I was doing.
I guess this is my photographic plea to you through the medium of this blog – to really find your ‘mojo’, create photo’s that you like, and don’t worry what other people think.
Creativity requires play and having fun – even if we don’t do it perfectly we learn from it so that we can do it even better next time. Don’t let your own ‘inner critic’ or other people’s criticism or cynicism, stop you from experimenting and just ‘having a go.’
The purpose of your creative energy is to enjoy it just for yourself – not to please other people!
It’s only through that ultimate ‘letting go’ and ‘playing’ that we can really begin to produce our best work. For example, where would we be if the Impressionists hadn’t started doing things differently – our whole culture would be so much the worse for having missed out on those amazing, glorious paintings?
These days I like to explore lots of different avenues of landscape photography – from ‘classic’ landscape, to quite impressionist and abstract images – enjoy whatever ‘suits’ you best – and GO AND PLAY!!!!
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Cheryl Hamer is a Photographer based in Anglesey, North Wales. She runs photography workshops and holidays in the UK and worldwide – currently to Iceland and the USA. She says “to me photography is about much more than simply ‘taking’ a picture of something that looks photogenic! I love being out in the outdoors soaking up the atmosphere of a location. For me it’s where I ‘connect’ with something ‘bigger’ than myself and my day to day life. I guess there’s a spiritual element to it and it feeds my soul.
LOST IN TRANSLATION by BEATA MOORE
I kept away from the computer and social media for a while, not because of luck of time, but of choice. I love photography and travel – the mighty internet, the big world wide web, the very varied social media opened up a lot of possibilities of interacting with other photographers and seeing their images. Thrilled by this window to the world, after some time I have noticed that I look, but I don’t see. The over-sharpened images on Flickr, muddy images on Facebook and oversaturated images on 500px and other sites lost their attraction and became yet another click. Places famed for their beauty and places visited so far only by few, are mercilessly searched, copied, posted, re-posted and twitted by hundreds of photographers and armies of ordinary people equipped with their mega-mighty cameras and phones. As a result, the appeal of images shared so much is lost in translation on the way to my screen. It seems that I have reached a saturation point of seeing images on screen and I crave for a slower approach – old fashioned, printed images. I truly believe that the place for the good images is on the wall and I hope to visit many more exhibitions, galleries and museums. Saying that I do realise that like with everything else, the right balance is the key, so I know I will spend also some time glued to the screen, as new media are here to stay, like it or hate it.
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Beata Moore is a professional photographer and writer living in Kingston-upon-Thames, England. She has been passionate about photography from an early age. She attained a postgraduate degree in botany and her photographs reveal the beauty of the natural world, with a focus on woodlands and the sea. She is particularly drawn to the smaller details of nature and architecture providing her with endless patterns, shapes, textures and colours.