Enjoy Very Long Exposures With Will Cheung And MPB

Squares Week 2


I am an amateur photographer based in England. My main interests are photographing the English countryside, gardens and flowers. But, for various reasons, not the least the pandemic, I now photograph mainly flowers.
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Squares Week 2

19 Sep 2021 7:18PM   Views : 638 Unique : 435

I think I must have had quite a lot of beginner's luck last week, because, this Sunday, I really struggled with the challenge I have set myself: square, black and white images, straight out of camera. Producing images straight out of camera is rather cruelly exposing my lack of expertise, and how much I rely on post processing to create good images. So despite taking more images, I still only finished with six that I am in the least bit confident of making public.


The pick for me was this flower. I don't know what it is and cannot find it in any of my books of wild flowers, so I suspect it may be an escapee. Its a subject that fits the square format well, and the only post processing I would normally do is lose the additional white flowers on the left hand side.

It is strange using a square format. If I come across a subject that is clearly upright, I still rotate the camera, which with a square frame makes no difference at all! This has meant that at times, I simply could not get a good composition without cropping, which for the purposes of this blog I have renounced. But, by and large, I have found I have been using my feet far more often and getting a much tighter crop in camera than I would have done in the past.


Unfortunately, I could not get any closer to these cow parsley seed heads, because of a ditch and bramble bushes. Ideally, I would have done some gardening and got rid of the second seed head in the background. Alternatively, of course, I could have removed it in Photoshop. That is a pity, because I like the basic image.


Without post processing, I have way of mitigating extreme contrast. The swan swimming down the river could certainly do with attention to the shadows and highlights.


I find shooting monochrome is a great help in getting a good composition - it brings out the fundamental architecture of an image, which can be obscured by colours. Also in taking photographs in a green English countryside, the whole image is defined by luminosity and not colour, like this picture of bryony. A lot of the bryony I spotted was a necklace of red berries weaving through the hawthorn hedges, but without filters (which I haven't got) they come out almost exactly the same shade of grey as the surrounding leaves and were completely lost.


The wood I walked through is on National Trust land, and has proved a prime location for den making. This particular one is one of the larger ones, and stands out well against the backlit foliage of the trees. Again, post processing, I would have cloned out the long horizontal branch.


Finally is this beech nut, which almost certainly would be better in colour. As a monochrome image, it needs work doing on the tonality. I would also clone out the bright spot in the top right, and work on the clarity and texture of the nut itself.

Tags: Monochrome

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