Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A stroll through Wakehurst Place

One of my favourite National Trust places to visit is Wakehurst Place. Its a National Trust property located near ArdinglyWest Sussex in the High Weald of southern England, comprising a late 16th-century country house and a mainly 20th-century garden, managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

There are lakes, streams, a small waterfall, themed gardens, a gorgeous mansion for weddings and vast woodlands to explore with the family. Its also the best place to be at one with nature if you like to hug trees ;)

In the past, I have always brought my digital camera with me, but the annoying thing about shooting digital in the sunshine is the blown highlights and the yellowish tones you get when shooting with custom WB, sunlight mode. It takes me twice as long to edit each image so, this time round, I decided to shoot RAW and apply the Zone System when spot metering with the D700. 

My next visit to this place will be shot on lovely Kodak Portra 160 film :)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Exploring the Zones

“When you photograph people in colour, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!” 
― Ted Grant

There are two aspects of photography, which I tend to shy away from, black & white and portraits. I never really had any interest in exploring theses areas of photography since purchasing my first digital SLR camera in 2009. Even looking back four years ago, I only shot at aperture mode, I knew nothing about manual exposure or even shooting in manual mode to be honest, I was completely in the dark when it came to photography. Shoot first, edit later was my motto. Any images that were workable, was down to luck!

Around February this year, whilst I was exploring film photography, my friend Aristotle suggested I read about the Zone System, to help further my understanding with exposure and film. The Zone System is a technique that was formulated by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer back in the 1930′s. You can read more about the Zone System here: http://photo.tutsplus.com/tutorials/shooting/understanding-using-ansel-adams-zone-system/ if you are unfamiliar with the technique.

After understanding a simplified version of the Zone System, (5 zones as opposed to 10) , I felt the urge to start experimenting with black & white portraits, having been influenced by Jan Scholz's work, http://blog.micmojo.com/

Obviously, Jan Scholz shoots exclusively on film and the images below were captured on digital. Black & white is a whole new world to me, the emotions are emphasised, the mood is darker, and the light is more intense than with colour. Even today, if I am shooting digital or film, I try to see the zones in every location before I press the shutter button down. This enables me to shoot and move on quickly, knowing that I have nailed the exposure and not having to worry about looking on the LCD screen.

I hope to do more B&W portraits on 35mm film soon. In the meanwhile, enjoy these portraits.

Model: Claudejyne Pontanos.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Let's go to Nonsuch

“When people tell me they can’t afford to join a gym, I tell them to go outside; planet Earth is a gym and we’re already members. Run, climb, sweat, and enjoy all of the natural wonder that is available to you.” 
― Steve Maraboli

Nonsuch Park is a public park between Stoneleigh, North Cheam, Cheam, and Ewell on the boundaries of the borough of Epsom and Ewell in Surrey, England and the London Borough of Sutton. It is the last surviving part of the Little Park of Nonsuch, a deer hunting park established by Henry VIII of England surrounding the former Nonsuch Palace.

Perfect place to go for a Sunday morning stroll :)

Monday, 16 September 2013

St. Mary's Bay, Kent, UK

"To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me."
Isaac Newton 

Last month, we drove down to St. Mary's Bay in Kent to visit some dear friends of mine. What a beautiful day it turned out to be. No one enjoyed it more than my son, he was truly captivated by the whole experience :)

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Wisley Gardens

Two months ago, we decided to visit Wisely Gardens, The Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Wisleyin the English county of Surrey south of London. 

I have fond memories of this place from my childhood. My late Mother, being a keen gardener, would visit these gardens and simply admire the variety of plants, trees and flowers. This time round, there have been many improvements and additions to the gardens. I love the fact that this garden is still fairly small in comparison to its bigger brother, Kew Gardens.

The abundance of light, form, texture and colour in this place is a great advantage to completely absorb the surroundings and loose yourself in photography. I certainly did :)

All images captured on a D700 & a 50mm f/1.8 lens.