Monday, 8 February 2010

Getting Somewhere?

Another grey day it seemed - last Friday - but as the afternoon wore on there was some I hastened over to the woods and got there just as the last rays were disappearing over the top of the site. It was about time I was up on site anyway - the back corner is famed for its snowdrop covering at this time of year and sure enough there they were, just about to fully open up. I thought it was unlikely I'd get much as the direct sunlight had pretty much gone but as it happened that was a bit of a blessing. The diffuse light coming through the trees provided a very different range of images than those I'd achieved the last time I'd set up in the late afternoon with the sun strafing the side of the hill.

I'm trying to trust my judgment as to what 'works' now that I've decided on the formal characteristics I want to work with. These involve placing the filter stick within the picture frame, and thus framing a view within the view that the camera naturally creates. Using a full frame SLR I have options as to whether I use the full frame or crop within it. Most of the earlier pictures did just that - but having pulled back and included the device I rather like the evident backgrounding that surrounds it, creating a tension between that and the 'view' that is visible through the filter (or not depending on whether I focus through it or on it, and how much light is reflecting off the surface of the acetate sheet employed).

Another aspect of making the pictures is of course whether or not to fiddle with the resulting files beyond marginal adjustments of exposure and colour balance. As a painter I have little compunction in this - I'm after an intriguing and evocative image that 'says' something different about the scene than that one would usually expect. In any event photographers have been doing this themselves (something very forcefully pointed out to us by Mark Howarth-Booth when he spoke to us about Camille Silvy) ever since the medium was invented. So I'm definitely up for this and expect to spend a lot of time sat in front of a computer screen weaving images together in dear old Photoshop.

At present I'm holding back on taking the filter stick 'on tour' to other locations despite having made a handsome box stand into which it can be inserted - and thus facilitating shooting on solid terrain as well as softer ground (i.e I've been sticking it into earth to date!). I rather like the notion of taking a wider range of views - urban as well as rural - with the device but a concern has to be whether a meaningful range of 'typical views' (whatever they might be...) can be achieved in the timeframe - and also whether such a radical departure from original intention is a viable option.

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