When a little means a lot in a photograph

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Today I’d like to share the photograph I took early on a sunny April morning of St Andrew’s Church in Clevedon.

This beautiful Romanesque church is a popular subject for local photographers, nestled as it is between Church Hill and Wains Hill, with the Bristol channel and the headlands of the North Somerset coast as a backdrop. I’ve taken many other photos of the church myself in the past, but this one struck me as being very satisfying.

I can’t really take much credit for being in the right place at the right time on a beautiful spring morning, but I am very happy with the natural light that you find in the Golden Hour photographers always talk about. I especially like the way the early morning light catches the single cross against the dark background, and I think this makes all the difference to the effectiveness of the photograph.

A further admission I need to make is that I didn’t notice the cross when I took the photograph, as I was more concerned with getting the right balance in the composition between the wall in the foreground and the sea and sky behind. So a second lesson to those starting in photography is to look at all your shots carefully when you are back home and editing. Sometimes you have created a better photograph than you realise!

The original photograph is available in my RedBubble shop in many formats. Please take a look!

New Zealand Mud – it has attitude!

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Travel broadens the mind they say. It also amazes and educates…

Disagree if you will, but I think that for those of us born in geologically stable places, rather than being properly terrifying or exciting, the idea of events such as earth-quakes and volcanoes is mostly simply unimaginable. We see film or read about natural events like these and although we are captivated we can’t really imagine what it is like to be in the presence of such power. So a trip to New Zealand is illuminating.

Around Rotarua there are geothermal wonders aplenty: sulphorus pools, clouds of steam, geysers and bubbling hot mud pools. You are left with no doubt that the Earth’s crust is thin right there, and you are protected from all that heat and energy by just a few metres of rock.

The mud pools are great to watch too, although there always seems to be something extraordinary happening out of the corner of your eye – just where you weren’t looking. I focused on one circle of activity and took a stream of photos with a fast shutter speed. Most just look like muddy ripples, but I came up lucky with the one I’ve included up above. By no means technically perfect, but it captures the moment.

(The photo is available to buy in a range of formats through my RedBubble shop)

 

Why I’m taking so many photos THIS colour

1-_mg_0226-002Here’s a typical example of my recent photographic output. Monochromes, subdued colours…

Why am I drawn to colours and subjects like this? Maybe it’s because of where I live – on the coast near Bristol, where the water is the muddy water of the Bristol Channel. The water is usually brown because of all the silt it contains and hardly ever blue – only if you catch the perfect angle of the sun and the reflection of the sky. And then it is not the blue of the ocean, but a silvery, metallic blue. There are some sand banks in the channel, but the coast is lined with mud flats. It’s often cloudy so skies are quite often grey.

Does that sound depressing? Well I don’t mean it to because the very nature of the colours makes you aware of the variety of subtle shades within the blanket terms “grey”, “brown” or even – dare I say it? – “beige”. The more you look the more you see shades of pink, green, blue and lavender, to name a few.

The colour palette is even more varied when the sunset is spectacular.

The training of your eye doesn’t stop at noticing colour. There is the not insignificant matter of texture too. The mud flats are lined with meandering water channels, gulleys and creases, that bring to mind the image of the skin under a blue whale’s throat. Even a rolling grey sky above a silver grey sea has textures to delight the eye and the soul.

Throw in some man-made features for a little extra variety and there is always something to tempt the photographer.

There is interest and beauty everywhere – you just have to look.

[Many of my photographs are available to buy from my RedBubble online shop. Here’s a link to the latest Lines and leaves ]

High tides and roe deer

When you live near the sea and there is a high tide, it’s only natural to head to the coast and take a look. Where we live in Clevedon we are less than five minutes stroll from the sea-front, and although (or should that be ‘because’?) the coast is the Bristol Channel rather than the open ocean it feels very special.

1-img_0306There are so many strong currents in the channel that when you add a stiff breeze and the bouncing of waves off the sea-wall and rocks, you get very intricate movement. Waves travel from different directions to crash into each other, creating ridges, depressions and foams that are overall are quite mesmerising. I know the water is always brown, because of the amount of silt it contains, but I think this adds a textural quality to the water.

The sky was beautiful too: but then it usually is here!

1-img_0304This photo show just how high the water was, and the pier almost looks as though it is floating. This would have been a good time to get into the porthole room underneath the pier, but sadly we were out and about before opening time.

Walking home past Clevedon Hall, something in the trees caught my eye.

1-img_0327-001It’s not the best photo, but who would expect such a view of a roe deer near a busy road at 8:45 am. I snapped fast! Maybe I could have taken my time, as he watched me all the way down the road without moving from the spot.

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When you like nature, photography and writing, days like to day are gifts!