Previously we'd been down to the river and shot images (Landscapes) of the river and the foreground in the style of Michael Marten's 'Sea Change' images...
On the first visit the tide had been out partly, on this visit the tide was right in. I took shots from around 7 different viewpoints with the intention that I might get 4 decent pictures that look different enough to use as a set of finals.
This is a back-up plan, so this was a win, win situation and I'm more than happy with the images I've got and in a worse case scenario, I reckon these images will potentially do as the finals.
What was good and bad?
For me it was only good, I like the idea, it's a contemporary approach to landscape photography and I was out and about learning about photography and thinking about images.
Before we set out we discussed the set up of the cameras and the light. The weather was over-cast and grey with the prospects of it slightly improving, but the assessment at the start was because of the over-cast conditions the cameras would be set at on the cloudy mode within the light balance. The cloud symbol.
We set the camera on Manual with the shutter speed at 1/125 with an expectation that the aperture setting at 100 iso would be approximately f5.6. The iso was set at 100 to enable a high quality image. We had to refer to our notes and set the camera at the same focal length. I'm keeping mine dead simple by using the lens at its widest setting. File types we were advised to use 'Fine jpeg' or Raw. I haven't got software at home to deal with Raw files and opted for Fine Jpeg.
Looking at Marten's work and way that I might adapt it for my own uses, I think that there's scope to bring in more influences. I would say that his work is influenced by The Becher's and their deadpan documentary approach. I don't like the fact that Marten's work has inconsistencies with the horizons and the use of both vertical and horizontal formats. So once there, I committed to shooting my images with a central composition with the horizon right through the centre of the images. I'm not sure if I prefer either landscape or portrait format, so I've shot the images both ways in order to give myself options.
Colour; I like the coldness in the images caused by the grey sky and the fact that it mutes the colours. There were no dominant distracting colours so in the end I think as a set of images, the colour palette of the images will be somewhat restrained and limited.
Doing it. When it came to shooting it, I erred towards over-exposure and bracketed. At F5.6 the exposure was around 1/160 of a second, so I've changed the exposures and bracketed a little. Before we came out we discussed the fact that our cameras would suffer from subject failure in this scenario, because it's winter still and the sun is relatively low in the sky at 10.30hrs and in the frame if it was visible, that combined with the specular reflections off of the waves/water this was going to be a difficult metering scenario calling for a more considered approach. We were advise to turn our backs on the sun and meter off of an average scene to ascertain a starting point for our exposures. This is the method I used combined with bracketing the exposures as suggested in the lesson. My exposures ranged from 1/125 through 1/250.
I've then sorted this out into a series of different folder 'Boxes' which are another thing I spotted when I was on the beach that looked interesting, reference images for where I stood. The remaining images less the really weak ones (1/125 were far too over-exposed).
Of the 2 types horizontal and vertical I reckon I prefer the vertical shots above. Many of the compositions are centrally configured with a feature in the centre. I quite like the jetties as a foreground point of interest and I could develop the idea further, by perhaps going back and focusing on the Jetties and steps down to the beach...
This final image here was shot as the light started to change and this had meant great areas of the sky lack detail. I would rather go back again and capture the images with more consistent light and again this moves away from the Michael Marten approach and incorporates more of an influences of the Becher's.
At the moment with only one set of these images taken, I'm not sure about the balance of the images with regards the Jetties, the Jetties do give a sense of theme, but it may be that the feel of tide in and tide out and therefore the focus of the images "Time" may get lost?
The message with these images in isolation isn't at this stage fully clear. Additionally the idea isn't that obvious either even when executed, the theme 'Time' in relation to the images is somewhat ambiguous and isn't that apparent until it's explained in terms of The image are of the effects of time on the landscape. In Marten's images which are about the affects of global warming, there is a secondary and more pressing issue, the images in the longer term will serve as a record of the coast at this point in the phenomenon of global warning. The predictions for the future would indicate in a much longer term, these scenes will be massively changed.
The images that my work is influenced by, are not commissioned images, but Marten's own personal work. They were sold as a coffee table Art Photography book.
Marten's images are shot on a medium format digital, which I haven't got access to, but mine are to be presented and thought of in the same way, they'd be part of a personal project with the intention of selling in a fine are scenario or for a similar use as a self published book. To do it properly I would have to obviously take a far more serious approach and use better quality equipment than I'm using now.
A very good first series of images, all I need to do now is get back down there when the tide is right out. Looking at the images, I'm not wholly sold on the total Becher's approach as this means I'd have to wait for the light to coincide with the tides. If it happens all well and good, but if it doesn't I've still managed to capture the affect of time on the landscape. The requirements are that we produce this work which must be a minimum of 4 images and it needs to be completed by March 16th. With 14 days to go I may have to go with a basic set of images to meet the brief.
Check the tide times and the weather and see when the next opportunity occurs for a low tide. Use Google maps/earth to locate more Jetties and steps? In the short term the most essential thing is to get a series of basic images shot ready for the deadline and go with the refinements if time and light allows. Continue to record the time spent on the project.
This section 4 hours @ £50. an hour - running total £200.00