An outdoor street sculpture in Kent.
If you want to buy a print, card or poster of the Wooden Couple, click here:
I always love to look carefully at street sculptures.
I’ve got lots of reasons:
I’m not a fan of modern urban living and anything that can bring art into the mix is welcome.
My view is that if you want to be a better photographer getting a feeling for art is more important than mastering any particular technique.
I feel that sculpture shares a lot with photography particularly the special mixture of art and craft.
And, looking at sculpture which is existentially three dimensional adds to an appreciation of how to translate three dimensions into the space of traditional photography.
As far as this particular sculpture is concerned. It really appealed to me. One reason is that it’s wooden.
I’ve done lots of work with wood and this is a natural material that will weather and change as time and the seasons pass.
From the photographic point of view it means that I should have a chance of recording those changes. This will mean a sequence of changing images over time.
I found a couple of particular challenges from the specifically photographic point of view:
This sculpture is in a busy shopping precinct in a narrow road.
I didn’t want the crowds included so I decided on a low viewpoint of only the head and shoulders.
As I was living nearby I was able to choose lighting conditions to suit my theme.
I generally subscribe to the idea of good lighting being in the morning and the evening but it’s worth remembering that for vertical subjects, sunlight nearer midday might give the texture and lighting that makes the picture.
Also I had very little leeway in getting the background right. I was looking for the plain sky but as the street was narrow I couldn’t avoid a few light stands bits of roof and so on intruding in the edges.
Rather than crop tighter I decided to clone them out later.
And then there was focussing:
It may seem elementary but this is just the situation where autofocus can run into problems.
I remember many years ago a friend brought me his blurred photos. He’d just bought an autofocus compact camera – think it was a Halina.
It had a single central autofocus spot and he had been taking pictures of his two sons.
Of course he had focussed between them each time so only the background was in focus.
With my Canon 5D Mark 11 I had a number of options.
I first used my central autofocus spot, focussed on the left face and then, keeping the focus, I recomposed the picture.
Then I changed my autofocus spot so it was over the left face.
Then I switched to manual focus.
The problem here is that the Canon screen is not very well set up for manual focussing but the lighting was good enough to make it worthwhile.
Of course, this approach is only possible with a static subject in reasonably constant lighting conditions.
Still, it’s one of the differences between film and digital that you can try many different approaches without worrying about the economics.
As it happens I was happiest with the manual version.
Proof reading this post reminds me of some of the themes I had in mind for this year.
Like many people, photographers included, I has some New Year thoughts.
Unfortunately that was just the time the power supply on my computer malfunctioned so I’m a little behind.
Still what were some of those themes?
One was quite literally a New Theme for my blog.
As usual what seemed quite simple turned out not be so. I couldn’t stop table borders showing and all my pictures had a feint yellow border.
I finally tracked down both the causes in the CSS stylesheet which I changed accordingly.
And then there were a few more things:
Luckily I didn’t lose date when my computer crashed but still, I was back to thinking of my backup plan. I have one, but is it the best I can do?
And, as I’ve been showing some images which originated as film, what exactly are the differences between film and digital – might they change my actual approach to photography.
What about advertisements and information?
I hate sites that are plastered with advertisements – especially random ones.
But I feel that it’s really legitimate to inform readers of products and services that are really worthwhile.
What’s the best approach?
And as a photographer today I spend a lot of time on my computer – perhaps there are issues such as spam which might be worth looking out even though they’re not directly photographic.
After all, if I am asking readers to subscribe to my RSS feed through email, what am I doing to protect them from spam?
Here’s an example of what I’ve found today:
“Hello there I begin an accomplished web-site while analytic for assorted strategies and accident weight, I accept to let you apperceive your websites are in fact absorbing and that i like this topic. I in fact dont acquire a amazing bulk of your activity in adjustment to apprentice your absolute blogposts although Concerning assets apparent it as able-bodied if agreed to a person’s RSS feeds. Anon we will be in a abbreviate while. acclaim for the top cleft internet site.”
Anything we can do to eliminate this rubbish and the more unrepeatable versions is part of our responsibility as webmasters.
Another area of interest to me is cameras I have used in the past.
I know that there are generations of photographers growing up who think photography is all about digital cameras and know nothing about film.
Is it time to leave film days behind or do traditional techniques and practice still apply?
And of course the usual suspects: choice of equipment and effective workflow, DAM (Digital Asset Management) and so on.
These are probably random jottings but as things change around us it’s worth revisiting old problems to see if there are new solutions.