Category Archives: Project 365

Pastures New…

I have decided that I really like this blogging malarky and as my old website is up for its costly renewal in a few weeks I thought I would make the step over to a self hosted wordpress.org blog.

I have done a little work on WordPress.org sites in the past for some clients and like the additional flexibilty that it gives over the wordpress.com sites and am really happy with how my site is looking at the minute although there is a lot more to get done!

It has enabled me to separate out the Project 365 Blog posts from the other blog posts too which is a bit of a godsend as I was running out of idea how to streamline this page and I really did not want to have a 3rd and possibly forth web based reository to update on a regular basis

I guess that the only thing to say is that if you have been kind enough to follow me here and comment on things then please pay a visit to my NEW WEBSITE, unfortunatly self hosted blogs are npot as “connected” as the wordpress.com blogs are but I have tried to add as much functionality as my ability allows so you can leave comments with everything from your wordpress.com ID through to the usual suspects of twitter and facebook as well as open ID whcih means you can comment from your blogger account.

Thanks Folks

Brian

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Life Under A Big Sky


Sunset Over Graveyard

I took a stroll out of the village yesterday to amble to our nearest ATM, a mere 8km round trip, naturally I took my camera and was musing on the way back how big the sky is… We live in the middle of the Pannonian Plain in the east of Hungary, the flattest plain of land in Europe which is bordered by the Carpathian Mountains, the Alps, the Dinarides and the Balkan mountains, all very well and good but living in the middle as a photographer means that I am at least over 160 Kilometers away from the nearest hill! This presents a special challenge to the photographer, shooting landscapes when the land is as flat as a bowling green in all directions means that your focal point becomes the sky itself and it offers so much more than just sunsets and sunrises, although they are pretty special too!

After the storm went away

Being bought up in a city means that the sky was something that appeared between buildings and the horizon was something rarely seen, over the last couple of years I have been trying to learn how to take landscape photographs when there is no “landscape” to speak of and try and maximise the glorious nature of the sky!


Composition


Massive cloudscape

Using the sky as your muse means that you need to think very differently about the composition of your photograph, the usual conventions of the golden ratio or the rule of thirds never seem to work, images tend not to convey the sense of enormity of the subject if you compose an image traditionally. It may have something to do with a combination of inhabiting a flat landscape and a strong maritime trading tradition but the Dutch Masters of the 16th and 17th Century painted many landscapes with a very different composition with the foreground (or land part of the landscape) filling just a quarter or a fifth of the final image with the majesty and textures of the sky becoming the focal point of the painting. I spent many hours at the Birmingham Mueseum and Art Galery when I was younger and these pictures fascinated me and always seemd so much more majestic and dramatic than the landscapes of Turner and Constable and I guess it is somthing that I have tried to mimic in my photgraphs…

Colour


Massive cloudscape

Not all Skies are made equal when it comes to tonality and colour, if you ask a child to draw a sky you will get a vast swathe of blue and a dot of yellow for the sun, however, if you spend any time looking skywards you will notice that there is a bewildering array of colours that appear above your head. Everything from an almost lead colour in storm clouds through to the most vibrant reds, oranges and purples as the sun head towards the horizon, not to forget of course the azure blues of a clear day! There are a host of filters that can be used to emphasize the tonal contrasts in the sky like polarising and GND filters although I do not at present use any of them and tend to nudge my pictures a little in photshop by adding graduated filters to improve the balance between the sky and land or bring a little more detail out in the foreground with a selective shadows and highlights adjustment.

Massive cloudscape


Texture


Massive cloudscape

It may sound odd but there is also a textural quality to the sky that really is incredibly photogenic, as with many textural images they tend to really pop in monotone images. Something happens to images when you shift from a full colour gamut to just tones of the same colour, it is almost as if you mind is no longer distracted on the “shouty” colours and is able to absorb the full textural nature of what is on front of it.

Approaching Storm


Hopefully I may have encouraged a few people to consider looking upwards when taking landscape photographs and consider the sky to be just as important as the land. A lack of rolling hills, majestic mountainscapes or vast canyons should not mean that there is nothing to photograph and there is so much more to the sky than sunsets, or for those of you that get up early, sunrises 🙂

If you like these images there are many more in my landscapes gallery and you can also order prints with an enticing 15% discount if you enter the code “happy2012” at checkout before the end of January.

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Project 365… +1

Typing project 365 into any internet search engine will return millions of results and that is a testament to the ease of access to photography and publication in the digital age… Just the thought of taking a photograph each and everyday with a film camera and then getting those pictures exposed and then finding some way to publish those pictures would be enough to make a grown man cry!

Icycles

Those that have been following my progress across my various websites in previous years will remember I completed a 365 Project in 2010 and also started one in 2011… I did however wimp out part of the way through as it was getting in the way and I really was not learning anything. However, over the last few months I have been considering starting again and almost by accident it would seem that I have me a shiney new 365+1 project (+1, on account of 2012 being a leap year) on the boil. I guess last year as a consequence of shooting for Micro Stock sites I spent countless hours trying to produce technically very good photographs and images were made rather than produced, which in itself is a great learning curve but certainly not the most fun anyone could have with a camera. So alongside shooting for Micro Stock this year I want to try and just go with a flow a little and enjoy taking pictures of the mundane again…

Sunset at Home

The Micro Stock industry is a fickle old lady and many subjects have just been beaten to death and the market is so saturated it is hardly worth submitting photographs, for instance a quick search iStock for the word Sunset returns some 138,000 images, as a result of this at the end of the day last year when we had a pretty sunset I could not be bothered to head out and take a picture. A bit of a shame so having this project this year will hopefully give me a little motivation to take little less of a commercial approach to my camera and just shoot what there is on a few occasions!

Sunset at Home

I am sure that there are times throughout the year that I will dearly regret starting this project again, but looking back at my images from 2010 I am sure that I will unearth a host of images that would not have appeared on my radar if it hadn’t have been for a 365 project. I guess I am on the countdown already as I have just 363 images to go until I am finished, fortunately we are not experiencing winter as we usually do so getting out in the garden at the moment is not a problem which is great because abandonng a 365 project after just 3 days would be incredibly embarassing.
I am not going to be posting updates here daily but will no doubt refer to my project in my blogs thoughout the year but I will try and keep the langauge clean 😉 Please feel free to bookmark my project and leave me comments, they certainly help with the motivation to continue when things start getting a bit repetative!

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