Something Different

In my last post I spoke about trying to get something different from a monument that has been photographed a thousand times before so I thought I would try and expand on that a bit and give you a few tips on how you might be able to achieve a unique end result.

So here are 5 tips to help you come up with something different

 

1. Get something in the bag quick

When you find your subject or scene that you want to photograph, get a photo you will be happy with quickly, this isn't going to be the most unique image yet but it will give you a starting point, warm up your trigger finger and help take the pressure off. 

2. Play with contrast

Great photos are those with the greatest contrast, and I am not talking about that slider in Lightroom or Photoshop, or light vs dark, but the juxtaposition of elements in the frame, playing light of dark or smooth off rough, warm off cool, young off old, you get the point.

3. Get High, Get Low - Change your perspective

Lying on the ground might look weird to everyone else, but to your camera it can make the difference between a snapshot you post on Facebook or an image you would be proud to hang on your wall. Not only does getting lower, or getting higher if possible change the angles in the scene it also changes the feeling given to the viewer. Getting down low and looking up at a subject and give it a more imposing authoritarian feeling, where as getting up high and looking down on your subject can not only make it look smaller but can introduce a feeling of being powerless.

4. Play with time

Photography is all about time, we capture a relatively short slice of it, whether that be a 1/250th of a second or 30 seconds, when we press the shutter button. So play with it, if you are shooting a seascape extend your shutter and smooth out the ripples or waves in water or blur people rushing around a city with a 1/15th shutter speed. Time is not only a necessary ingredient in getting the right exposure for your image but it can also stir up emotions when used creatively in the right situations so get yourself an ND filter or just stop your aperture down and start playing. 

5. Capture a moment

This is a harder one to explain as it can be a very broad topic. But capturing a moment can range from a sincere moment between a father and daughter on her wedding day, to how you remember a place to be and the feeling you had while there. The best example I can come up with of how to express this is with the image I took of Lake Geneva in Montreux Switzerland. It was such a serene and calming place to be, especially coming from London a few days earlier. Sitting on the banks of Lake Geneva just around the lakes edge from Chateau de Chillon, with my partner on one side of me, my camera on the other and the Alps in front of us, I could not have been happier or more a peace than anywhere else on this beautiful planet of ours and that is what I tried to get across with the end result, but to get there I had to use a bit of Photoshop and some of my creative license to get there which is definitely not frowned upon.

I hope these 5 tips helped, but keep in mind that these aren't the only way to make your images stand out or different. Things like post processing, cropping and adding your own personal story and style to the image after it has been captured also goes a very long way to making your image unique.

You can see an example of these tips being used with this image of Stonehenge below. 

Stone Henge

Calm of Lake Geneva

I love minimalist images but they are actually a lot harder to create then you would think. Take the below image taken in Switzerland just outside of Montreux on the eastern side of Lake Geneva, with only 4 elements in the photo, Sun, Alps, Water, and Sky, they balance each other almost perfectly.  

Trying to get a good balance between elements in an image can be really hard but when you do nail it, you can almost hear the angels sing. While composing this image I wanted to get across not only how beautiful the scene was but also how calm and and serene it was to be sitting on the shore of this beautiful and crystal clear lake. When I think about what defines calmness and serenity, I think of minimalism (and Firefly for those Sci-Fi lovers out there). But minimalism can be very hard to obtain epically in nature and landscape photography as minimalism is all about reducing clutter and removing unnecessary elements from the frame but this can be very difficult when the perfect composition is being ruined by an unfortunate tree branch that is protruding into the scene or a group of tourist that just won't get out of the way. Some of these intrusions into the image can be taken care of with the good ol' clone stamp tool in Photoshop but some things just can't be stamped out. 

So next time you are out photographing at your favorite location or heading to a new one. Try and simplify your composition as much as possible. Be very mindful of what you are including and especially what you are excluding from your image. Also keep a close eye on the edge of your frame, a small branch or plant poking its head in can be very annoying to remove later on. 

The Louvre

Paris, the city of love... as everyone kept telling me as we were planning our trip from Provence to Paris. Well for me, it is the city that smelt like pee. We stayed in a great Air B&B about 10 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower however as we walked out of the building of flats all we could smell for the next few blocks was pee. But once we got past that, it actually was a beautiful city. Not the over romanticist city that it is made out to be but I can see the appeal.


With this photo of the Louvre I wanted to try and get something different, an angle or feeling that I hadn't seen a thousand times before.

While walking around the Louvre and being entertained by all the other tourist posing for their new Facebook or Instagram profile photos I kept playing with the symmetry of the pyramids with their cold glass and dark steel features trying to contrast that against the older warmer building surrounding it. As I kept playing these dark, ominous rain clouds floated over top of us and started opening up letting lose their rain on us, at first in spits and spurts so I was still able to keep shooting and trying to find that perfect frame, and then in full force sending us running for the closest archway to seek shelter under. Thankfully it didn't last very long and we were able to continue on our way towards Notre Dame but that is a photo for another day.

While processing this photo I found the tones in the sky matched really well with those of the steel work and in trying to keep that almost monotone feel to the image I added more mood and drama to the image by bringing out those dark blue and gunmetal grey tones even more. Trying to bring that feeling we had of the impending downpour and how we would soon be seeking shelter from the rain.


India, A Magical Country

India is a magical country, the longer I am away from it the more I want to go back. 

Over the past few weeks I have finally gotten around to processing the massive amount of photos I created while in India for a month both touring the “Golden Triangle” and hiking through the Himalayas in West Bengal. It was an amazing trip and one that I would happily do again, even though I swore black and blue with every step while hiking I would never do anything like this again.

Below is one of my favourite images from the trip taken on our second day there at the Red Fort in Delhi. 

It was amazing to see that the old ways of maintaining their structures and monuments are still being used.

Kanchenjunga

Over the next few weeks I will posting up some of my favourite images from my travels over the past year and from back home along with the stories that go along with them. While doing this I am also working on a new way to make printing and licensing my images easy and visible to anyone looking for the kind of "work" I do. And I put work in inverted comma's as I don't see much of this as work. I love photography, I love taking photos and I especially love post-processing them.

So for the moment this website will be a little bare when it comes to posts as I am not importing any of my old writing but as the days and weeks progress it will fill up more and more, and hopefully along the way I will get better at telling the stories and helping you get the most out of your photography.


So for my first story I want to tell you about this image. 

Last November my Partner and I joined some new friends in hiking through the Himalayas in West Bengal, India. We hiked a gruelling, well for me it was at least, track called Singalila Ridge, in the Singalila National park. For 5 days we hiked old dirt trails and gravel 4x4 roads up and down peak after peak after peak working our way further and further into the National Park. We were told at the beginning to the trip that the Singalila Ridge was one of the best treks for picture perfect views of Kanchenjunga and Everest.... if the fog holds out. Well for us, the fog didn't hold out.  On the first day it looked promising as we acceded but the higher and higher we got the thicker the fog got.

This picture was taken on our only properly clear morning which was our second morning up there.  We were all woken from our slumber at the crack of dawn by our guide banging on the door yelling to us that you can see the mountains, "Zoom, Zoom" his catch phrase to get us up and moving. As we dragged our tired and freezing bodies out and up a small hill not far past our overnight stop we caught our first glimpse of the mountain range we had been so longing to spot. As morning broke over the horizon the mountains were bathed in the most beautiful colours I have seen in a long time. As we all stood there snapping away I took a second to truly take in the scene around me, to my right I had new friends I had only met a week earlier when we all met up in Delhi before flying out to Darjeeling  to start the trek, and to my left I had even newer friends that we had only met the day before at one of the tea houses we stopped at on the way up the mountain. It was an amazing few seconds to take in, then got back behind the camera to make the most of the limited time we had before setting off on day 2 of our hike. Not knowing at that point that this would be the only time we got to see the full mountain range in all it's glory for the rest of the trek.

Kanchenjunga.jpg