Posted tagged ‘photography’

Spring 2012

April 14, 2012

In late March 2012, Aberdeen and its surrounding area had the highest temperatures in Britain – it felt more like July. Now we are back in something more like winter, with cold temperatures and changeable conditions. And here is how this looks now in the Cairngorms, not too far from Aberdeen.

Views of Aberdeen

September 28, 2011

This is the gate, from Union Street, into the churchyard of the Kirk of St Nicholas in Aberdeen.

The gate into the Kirk of St Nicholas, Aberdeen

Urban symbols – Photo #4 of 2010

May 29, 2010

This is the (relatively) new Samuel Beckett Bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin. Shaped like a harp, I think it is a structure of great beauty.

Make up your mind…

March 12, 2010

Spotted on Dublin’s Lower Gardiner Street, just before a railway bridge: three signs indicating different maximum heights. It’s rather charming, really.

I hope thy don’t remove any of these or bring them into line with each other…

Photo #2, 2010

February 13, 2010

As part of my irregular series of photographs, this one was taken last week on Griffith Avenue, North Dublin. The camera used was a Leica D-Lux 3, which is really a Panasonic with a Leica lens and sensor. It is not my main camera of choice, but as it fits in my pocket I carry it around and use it when I don’t have a full SLR to hand.

I have called the photograph ‘Tree Tunnel’.

Photo #1 of 2010

January 10, 2010

Here is a photograph taken yesterday in Albert College Park, Dublin City University.

2009 Photo of the week #2

December 24, 2009

This one shows the DCU entrance avenue from Ballymun Road on a slightly misty late autumn day this year.

2009 Photo of the week #1

December 11, 2009

As readers of this blog will know, I have not used images or other media here, in large part so as to keep it fairly ‘clean’ and uncluttered and to focus on substantive messages. I shall however from now on publish one or two photos every week. The first one (below) was taken by me in Dublin last month. but I would be very happy tp publish photos taken by readers. I should however stress that I shall tend to use black and white (even if that may seem pretentious to some). Feel free to send me photos you think might merit publication here.

Comments on any of the photos are welcome – I am still only developing photographic skills and always welcome help.

The art of photography?

August 8, 2009

As long term readers of this blog will know, I have an interest in photography. I don’t pretend to be a great photographer, but I have some fairly good equipment, using both film and digital SLR cameras, and indeed lenses which often cost more than the cameras. Some of my output can be seen here.

Like many people, I suspect, I started off taking photographs in a ‘point-and-shoot’ way: I would see something I wanted to remember, I would point the camera (without adjusting anything), and press the button. But over time I started looking at books of photographs, and began to see other things, such as perspective, light, selective focus, contrast, depth of field. So I started experimenting, and as I got more ambitious, I also spent time looking at paintings to see what techniques had been used, with the intention of trying some of them with the help of a camera.

And as I became more interested in artistic effects, I also became more aware of the opportunities afforded by software. The standard digital photographer’s toolbox comes in Adobe’s Photoshop – though there are also other programs such as Apple’s Aperture. But in addition there are specialist applications that allow you to conjure up certain effects, such as high dynamic range imaging; this allows the photographer to bring out details in the image, which can be taken to the point of distortion. As these digital effects are applied, the image in effect ceases to be a photograph as traditionally understood, and becomes a representation that goes beyond the literal reproduction of the scene.

There is some debate amongst photographers as to whether this is still photography, or something quite different, and indeed whether such elaboration of the original image is either artistic or desirable. It is a hard question to answer, because as in much else the aesthetics of such images are in the eye of the beholder.

As for me, I continue to take some photos on traditional film (all black and white, now), which I then do not edit in digital format, except perhaps that I might crop the image a little. I also take digital photos that I don’t edit, and others that I edit significantly. I cannot make up my mind which of these resulting images are particularly artistic. Perhaps none of them, of course.

Artistic imagery

March 14, 2009

The owner of an art gallery recently amused me when he said that one of the more dispiriting moments in his profession was when a customer walked in and declared he would like to buy a painting. On being asked what kind of painting he would like, he responded, ‘four foot by two and a half foot’. Another customer agreed to buy a painting and, just as he was about to pay, indicated that he intended to cut off an inch on each side so that it would fit the alcove he had in mind for it (after which the sale was refused).

I was reminded of this just a little today when I was standing in line in a camera shop. The lady in front of me was buying a digital camera, and she was anxious to be reassured that the model she was buying ‘took photos of 12 million pixels’. It soon became clear to the shop assistant that he was on to a good thing here. The customer had no idea what 12 million pixels were, and had merely been told by someone (who was not as helpful as they may have thought) that this was the state of the art and that she needed it. This suited the assistant very well, and he was in the middle of trying to sell her a top-of-the-range camera when I could bear it no longer and intervened to ask her what she wanted it for. Well, she wanted it for taking photos of her dogs, which she would print out and put in an album. She has absolutely no need to 12 million pixels, nor did she need to spend the small fortune that was being suggested to her. The sales assistant and I did not become good friends.

Photography is also an art form. Like all other art, there is good stuff and bad stuff. But if you are going to do a primitive drawing of a tree and a house, you don’t need Picasso’s studio and collection of oil paints; and if you are taking snapshots of your dog, you don’t need too many millions of pixels. But why should we believe that art is a minority pursuit? As she left, I suggested to the lady that she might look at some photography books and see if she might find it interesting to vary her output and try something more unusual; or even to take photos of her dogs with more planning and artistic potential. Even with just 6 million pixels (which is what she took).

The ultimate lesson is that the man with his knife at the ready to cut the inch off the painting, and the woman in her quest to find many millions of pixels, could easily be persuaded to look again at what art really is and what its potential is. Better in the end than laughing at them. Though it’s tempting.