Begin With Me: Part 1

23 Oct

I am no professional photographer – nowhere near it for that matter (I only just recently started learning how to use a manual camera). However, I do believe that, for the level I am at, I have a fairly good eye for composition. In addition, I not only have an extreme passion for editing photos (probably even more than taking them), but also (I think) a good eye for what effects/tweaks etc. may look good or interesting on a photograph in post and what may not.

In starting this blog, I feel it necessary to first look at my own work and critique it before critiquing or discussing others’. And so, we begin with me: The photos I’ll mainly be looking at right now are from my trip to the UK in July 2011. For those who don’t know me too well, I’m a bit of a Brit-Obsesso so I was completely in my element on this trip. I wanted to photograph anything and everything – better to have more than less right? I especially wanted to explore Cornwall and its relationship with the Arthurian Legend. Naturally, we first visited Tintagel where, legend has it, is King Arthur’s birth place but also got the opportunity to discover places such as St. Michael’s Mount, The Eden Project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Stonehenge, Bath as well as some of the local, quaint towns in each area. While this trip was a vacation (with my parents), it was the first time I felt liberated by my surroundings; every stone, every wall, every bridge, every tea shop, and every doorway seemed exciting. Each place wreaked of history and nostalgia and I wanted to know every inch of its past. Places and objects of the past seem to have that effect on you, perhaps because rediscovery ensures that the past remains with us and that nothing is lost between the cracks and wrinkles made by time. And what better way is there to freeze the past than by photographing it? Often times, if you’re lucky, photographs capture something (a mood, an object, an idea) that you didn’t notice in the first place.

Confession: First off, it’s important to note that the below images were taken with an automatic digital camera. As a result, I thought it best to tackle analyzing the composition of the photos, an element that (for the most part) was in my control, rather than elements such as aperture or shutter speed.

With that out-of-the-way, I thought I would start off with a couple landscape shots before jumping to photographs of the main castle ruins and sites. Some of my favourite subjects to photograph are usually long, winding roads/pathways or spiral staircases because of the vast depth of field they give to a photo. They seem to imbue a sense of infinite mystery…and with mystery always comes curiosity. It’s as though the photograph is pulling you in:

3 elements: Symmetry, Lines, & a deep depth of field. I always felt symmetry & lines were helpful elements in drawing one’s attention to the main focus point of an image – I tried using the symmetrical railings on either side of the bridge along with a deep depth of field to focus your eyes on the length & depth of the bridge. This focus, in combination with the photo’s landscape, lends itself to a sense of mystery and wonder. The sides of the bridge, overpowered by the nature that surrounds them, are crawling with overgrown ivy & foliage. It’s not just a photograph – it tells a story. It makes you wonder where the bridge leads, what it’s for, and what mysteries lie in its past. It’s the viewer’s job to imagine the answers.  Location: The Arthurian Centre, Camelford, Cornwall, UK

Low Angles: I tried to shoot this staircase from a low angle, elongating the staircase and also slightly exaggerating the size of the nearby stones, which adds that bizarre and fantastical mood to the photo.   Location: St. Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Cornwall, UK

More to come soon!

Sources used: http://digital-photography-school.com/5-elements-of-composition-in-photography#

Castleography: Intro 1

9 Sep

The other day, while doing my random daily internet browsing, I happened upon two great articles on ephotozine.com & Photographymad.com. They each offer a nice concise guide and some nifty tips on how to photograph castles, from capturing minute details on gargoyles to covering grand castle landscapes.

Check them out:

And just cuz I’m a Merlin fan: the castle they use for the show is downright breathtaking: “château de pierrefonds.” I’ll have to do an analysis of how castles are filmed in shows like this…but that is, of course, for another blog post.

More cool photos of the château at: http://www.pbase.com/ericdeparis/chateau_de_pierrefonds (photographer: Eric Pouhier)

CouchSurfing: Awesome, Completely Mad, or a Bit of Both?

2 Sep

Post 1:

27 Aug

I love all things ancient, specifically castles. As a budding photographer – my goal is to combine both my love of photography and all things old as I learn. I currently live in the fairly peaceful yet dull suburbs of NJ but, when circumstances allow for it, I fully plan on venturing out to see and photograph all and any ancient sites of interest. For now, while living through the internet, I hope to collect enough research to take with me one day when I do set forth. In the meantime, having not come across any blogs on the subject of castles/ancient sites & photography (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong and send any links my way), I look forward to sharing my ideas and thoughts with anyone else out there who’s interested! Keep an eye on this space – more to come soon!

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