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Posts tagged ‘still life’

Quiet Thursday – Story Prompt

Today I have another photo as a prompt for you, well for those of you that want to write that is.  I went for something different and I hope it makes sense.

still-life-tea-breakfast-paper

I tried to set up something to photograph.  I used to do this sort of thing all the time, but I’m not sure I am very good at it, but I don’t mind this.

So the prompt, this is different to what I usually do, in that this time, I have instructions.

This photo is the end of the story, and you have to write what lead to this.

As usual leave links to your stories and poems in the comments section for other people to enjoy.  If you missed the last one and didn’t get to read what others wrote, here is the link to that post, Quiet Thursday – Up in the Air.

Introductions – Benjamin Rowe @ Aperture64

Today’s introduction is someone that has been a tremendous help to me over time and has often given me advice about some thing, especially macro photography, or more how to do it without a macro lens.  His name is Benjamin Rowe and his blog is Aperture64 Photography.

flay-away-2When you go to his blog it isn’t surprising to see a lot of macro images on it.  He has a great way of getting them and doing them without a macro lens and, as I said, I have learned a lot from him. I really like the softness of them.

As usual, I asked Ben why he takes photos.

I believe in a way I take photos because I am not very good at writing creatively. For me photography is a way to communicate feelings, emotions and ideas that I can’t communicate in other ways.
The other reason I take photos is because I actually find it quite relaxing. I predominantly take landscapes and still life photos and spend a lot of time doing this solo with my music plugged in and concentrating on the subject. Being in the zone my imagination can take flight forming the composition and the eventual image. I am always amazed how much time has passed when I look at my watch as I feel hardly anytime has gone by when in fact maybe an hour or so has.
Another reason I take photos I feel is because I hold quite a negative self-image of myself and the things that I do. With photography I can share my work and see from the response something positive.

stairs-to-narniaThere is something about the details that I really enjoy in Ben’s work, there is a lot of it.  I have said over and over how it is something that I need to start making a conscious effort to do.  The macro and still life has helped with that a lot and I am trying to get more of that.

Inspiration was the next question.

I get my inspiration from books, magazines blogs, but mostly from walking around wherever I am and simply observing the world. I live in Łódź in Poland; a city that a famous Polish writer called “Beautifully ugly”, yet just taking the time to look I can see the beauty as well as interesting aspects of the city. Many say you have to live somewhere interesting to have great shots, but by stopping and looking around you can see interesting things all around you.

lady-bird-red-1This always says to me Polaroid Extension Tubes, sorry Ben, but it does.  When I was trying to work out how to do close up photography without a macro Ben sent me this image and told me how he had done it with, I think, a 50mm and the extension tubes from Polaroid, which then spurred me on to get some to try for myself.

I asked Ben if there was anything special about the way he works.

I generally pre-visualize how I want the shot to look before I press the shutter. For example I will see the scene in black and white or I want to do a certain post production technique.  I also use a few “Photography Hacks” as I am still building up my kit after taking a 3 year hiatus from being serious about photography a few years ago.  There are so many ways of creating great images without a lot of specialised equipment, just a little imagination and creativity will help you work around what you don’t have.

church-wilanow-black-and-whiteI know I have gone on a lot about the macro and close up work that Ben does, but I should remember to tell you that he does other things as well.  There are quite a few landscapes on his blog and he does to great shots of buildings, like the one above.

The final question, as usual, was about gear.

I have a lot of gear kicking around my man cave although I mainly use, Canon 60D, Canon G10, Mamiya 135 with Canon 50mm, Canon 18-55mm, Canon 18-135mm, Sigma 28-300mm lenses. I also have Polaroid Extension tubes, and lots of filters and Canon EX flashes.
I have plans this year to buy a light tent and another flash and lights.
I edit my work in Lightroom and Photoshop and I have the Topaz and Niksoft suite of plugins as well as Alien Skin Exposure.

I will do the gallery now.  I would like to thank Ben for giving me permission to showcase his work here.  I would also like to thank him for all the help he has given me when I needed it.  It has been great having people you know you can email when you some help.  So thank you Ben.  I would also like all of you to go and take a look at his blog, there is lots of usual information over there at Aperture64 Photography.  Please direct your comments to Ben for this, I like it when the person I introduce responds to the comments, thank you.

Introductions – Stephen G Hipperson

Stephen G Hipperson is a British based photographer and one that admire quite a bit.  I have been following him for a while and I always enjoy the images that he puts up.  There is something very British about them.  I don’t know how to explain it, but I like the colours and the subject matter.  He covers lots of aspects of that life, you see the old, the new and the country.  I am not quite sure how to explain it, maybe I should just try showing you what I mean.

barns_mg_6206When I see images like this, they always remind me of England, or the UK.  Mind you I have never been there, but it is what I think the British countryside would look like.  There is not any one image, but when they are put together it is how I imagine the UK would be like.

I did ask Stephen why he takes photos and the response from him was one I hadn’t had before.

I am passionate about the photographic process. Look. See. Frame. Pick the moment. Fire the shutter.  For example, in my photography, the act of seeing is about getting out there to explore my local countryside and buildings; it’s researching before I go and researching when I return.  Seeing is about assessing and understanding what’s there and looking for subjects pertinent to my purpose. Framing is about getting into the place that will give me the best picture.  Picking the moment, e.g. when clouds are moving across the sky it can have so much impact on how the light works.  Fire the shutter – the decision point.  What isn’t there to be passionate about – I would engage in photography all the time if I could.

South AisleA sense of history and time is something that I am always attracted to.  With my own country only being just over two hundred years old, in terms of British colonisation, it is hard for Australians to get our heads around buildings that are centuries old.  So the above building is steeped in history, and look at how it was made.  I love the ceilings in them.

The next question was about inspiration.

In the first instance, I have always been inspired by light and the lack of it – the way the substance of a thing can be changed, the mystery in the shadows, etc.

I am inspired by the work of others – photographic or not – I’m not going to single anyone out.  My mind often goes off on its own when I see a particularly novel idea – like a seed that bursts into life.   I would encourage everyone to read, look at paintings, photographs, sculpture, architecture, craftwork of all sorts – input, input, input.

I am inspired by the past – after all, photography is about imaging the past – once the shutter is pressed the moment has gone.  Of course, once that image is captured, we then bring our memory and imagination into play when we produce the image we want to present.

bowbuilding_mg_6117Then there is the new on his blog as well.  I can see that he photographs what is around him, and that doesn’t exclude new modern architecture and the continual growth of what is happening in Britain right now.  It really makes sense that a country that has existed for hundreds of years would be continuing to grow.

I did ask Stephen if there was anything special about the way he works.

No, I don’t think there is anything special about the way I work – except that when I am doing my thing, that’s all I do, I very much like to ‘zone out’, concentrate or let my mind wander.  Sometimes, when I’m doing my work with churches, I will just sit in one of the pews and assess how the light is falling and how it might change, or look for particular architectural features I want to capture, etc.?  And I nearly always use a tripod because of the length of shutter speeds I tend to use. But I don’t think it’s any different to how others work.

jugcandle_mg_5580Sometimes it is there in the details as well.  I do like the way he has captured the details as well.  You all know that this is something I really want to do more of.  I like the way the details look like still life images.  I must start looking for that sort of thing too.

As most of us are photographers, we always want to know what gear we all use, so I asked Stephen.

My main tool is my dslr which is a Canon 30D with a suite of lenses consisting of 17-40mm f/4, 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 IS and a 300mm f/4 IS – I believe all have now been superseded in Canon’s catalogue. As it happens, all 4 lenses share the same filter size, which makes it convenient for filters.

I also use a Canon EOS 30 film camera, which my Canon lenses fit. For medium format I use a Rollei SL66 with just the standard 80mm f2.8 lens, and a couple of old folders.

I have an old Manfrotto tripod with screw fitting leg adjustment fitted with an old 029 three way head – (yes, the legs do suffer that sinking feeling if I don’t do the catches up and the head has almost drawn blood on more than one occasion, it takes no prisoners).

crocusp1110518I am not going to lie, I was surprised with this image, very pleasantly, but it was so different to everything else Stephen has on his blog.  The colour is so different and it stands out so much.  It is a stunning image, but not the usual greens, grays and browns that I associate with his work.  I do like the detail in it.

I am going to put the rest of the images in a gallery now.  I would encourage to go and visit Stephen on his blog, “Stephen G Hipperson My photography and other stuff”.  I was having a hard time not picking every image, and I am sure you will find it a feast for your eyes.  Again, please go and take a look, if you like it then follow, but it isn’t a requirement, it would be great if you can just visit. I would like to thank Stephen for allowing me to show you his work here on my blog.

Weekend Wanderings – Flowers on Footpaths

Last weekend I took a couple of photos of some flowers, and since I don’t have anything else to show, thought I might show them here.  I have been trying to work out some posts to drop and I think the Sunday one is one that I might stop doing.  If I do keep doing it, it won’t be much.

Leanne Cole - Orchid 1I love these flowers and as we were walking past this florist in Flinders Lane I couldn’t resist taking some photos.  I might have to buy one one day and take some extra special photos of it.  I have seen some fantastic ones.

Leanne Cole - Orchid 2A close up of one of the flowers.  They are so delicate and beautiful.  I just wish they weren’t so expensive.

I don’t know what the etiquette is when it comes to taking photos like this.  I figure, why not, until someone tells you to stop, or maybe take some and buy a bunch of flowers.  I often think if you give some service back then why not.  People usually don’t mind.

I have been spending the weekend learning more photoshop skills and working on the photos that I took yesterday of Alannah.  It was great and she really enjoyed it, which is even better.  I have posted two of the images on my facebook page and they are getting some great  reactions.  I think this shoot is probably my best so far, though with each one I continue to learn more about what I need to be doing.

I have added them to my website as well http://www.leannecole.com.au/, I have also added another link as well.  It was suggested by 87004 photography that I should push the artist aspect and the fact that I do have a Fine Arts degree, so I have now included my artist’s CV on there as well.  I think it is important to let people know that I am an artist and photography is my choice of medium.

I think it is Fathers Day in some countries, so Happy Father’s Day to those that are fathers.  Enjoy your Sunday.

Experimenting and New Things

This Saturday, I am teaching another class at Living & Learning Nillumbik in Eltham and the class is about learning to use your DSLR.  As part of the class I need some photos that show depth of field, so this afternoon I set up a still life setting to help show it, and while it was up I took a photo for here as well.

Table Set for OneI don’t really know about it.  I’m not totally sure it works.  The idea was for a breakfast setting, or such, set for one.  They are waiting for their toast.  I wish I did more images like this.  I love setting them up and trying to work out what to do.  Notice the cup and saucer, and the plate, they were from my great grandmother.  I love those trio things.

This image was taken with an aperture of f8, the depth of field isn’t too bad.  It is also a HDR image processed in Photomatix Pro.  I used my 80-200mm lens to photograph it.  I think for depth of field images it works best using a lens like that.

I think the image is okay technically, but it isn’t pretty, which is alright.  It is a funny thing, can still life be basic?  It is a very basic setting.  Nothing is really pretty in the image, or no fantastic, fancy china ware.

While I had the set up, I took some of the stuff off and thought I would photograph our cat.  Seriously, how hard could it be?  Well, it was really hard.  He just wouldn’t co-operate.  I have some photos to show you and will finish the post with a gallery to Tiddles.

Marsha, if you are reading this, see the blanket he is on, my mum made it especially for him.

Influencing Me – Margaret Olley

Margaret Olley is another Australian Artist.  She was well known for her paintings, but also for her philanthropy and was a popular subject matter for many other other artists.  She died in July 2011, and was one of the last of that era of painters.  An era that was important in the Australian art scene.

She was famous for her still life paintings and that is certainly one of the reasons why I loved her work.

Poppies and Checked Cloth

Poppies and Checked Cloth

I love how she laid everything out.  It was colourful and expressive.  Such vibrant colours.

Evening Kitchen Still Life with Apples

Evening Kitchen Still Life with Apples

She has been written about a lot and one of the things that always struck with me is that the still lifes were done around her home.  She would set up stuff and then paint it, but she would move on as the light changed, so she could be painting multiple paintings at one time.

Still LifeYou know when you see this image that it was done in her kitchen.  I wonder how she managed to paint this and use her kitchen.  Was she careful to keep everything in place as she did the painting?

When you look at her paintings you can see different ones were done in similar places or the same place.  You can also see the same items in other paintings.

I have downloaded quite a few images and will include them in a gallery at the end of this post.

She also had a lovely garden, and many of the flowers in the paintings came from her her garden.  I would like to do more of that.  My garden is always so flower poor, well I don’t have good flowers for doing still life images. It has been a dream of mine to have a garden where I could go out and pick flowers to use in images.  One day maybe.

She loved Morandi, remember I did a post on him a few weeks ago.  You can see some of his influence on her work as well.

Set TableThis is not strictly something I set up, it is the set for the play Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, but it reminds me so much of one of her paintings.  I know when I was photographing this there was that idea in mind.

Chocolate Cake - Processed ReworkI possibly zoom in more than what she did, and my work doesn’t tend to be as random, as her work appears, but I do like the idea of the ordinary that is in her work.  The everyday.

If you don’t know Margaret Olley, then please look her up.  I would loved to have met her, now wouldn’t that have been amazing.  Check out some of the rooms of her home, she had so many things and I wonder if my home will end up looking the same one day.  It is certainly on its way to getting there.

The paintings are from various sources, though quite a few are from Eva Breuer Gallery and Savill Galleries.

Influencing Me – Robert Mapplethorpe

You had to know that eventually I would get around to doing one of these on Robert Mapplethorpe.  His black and white photographs are an inspiration to anyone who loves black and white imagery.  He also worked in colour, but is more known for the black and white images.

Mapplethorpe 1He also photographed a lot of flowers.  Which is the part of his art practice that I have always enjoyed the most.  The flowers were nearly always quite simple specimens.

Mapplethorpe 2He manipulated the flowers to suit the images he wanted.  Just because it was a flower and would look normal in most images, didn’t mean that he had to do the same thing.  He made the flowers work for the image that he wanted to create.

Mapplethorpe 3There is a simplicity in his work, something that I have tried to achieve as well.  He doesn’t let the box that contains the image get cluttered with unnecessary props.

Mapplethorpe 4You get to see the beauty of the flower and what it has to offer.

Mapplethorpe 5When he does use props they are used to help the image in creating lines that work for the flowers he is photographing.

I think for me it is all about the lines, which also works with my architectural images, and when I photograph flowers, I usually look for simple flowers that have beautiful lines and a simple elegance.

Cole 1One of my images, and I think you would have to agree that there is a definite Mapplethorpe influence in it.  The trick, I believe, is finding the right perfect flower.

Detail of Death 3There are those lines again.  I like looking for those.  I have to say that I am attracted to many of the same flowers as Mapplethorpe.  I don’t think I have to do the same images, but it is a good idea to try and imitate when you first start out.  It is a fantastic way of learning.  I know I have said that before, but I still think so.

First comes imitation, then influence, then developing your own style.  Learning to be an artist is an interesting experience.

I know this is just the way he influences me, I am sure other people find he influences them in different ways, if so, then please comment and let other people know as well.  I would enjoy hearing them as well.

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