Thursday, 4 June 2015

Inspiration and Creation

I do love still life art and still life photography is a very important part of my work (and the one I like to think I am not too bad at for that matter). However, I do not like being obviously repetitive and am always thinking how I can create something different yet recognizably in my style. A lot of the time it is not easy and the more I do it the harder it is to get inspired. The other day, as I was doing my usual browsing on Flickr, I came across this painting by a French artist. It is just a vase with flowers but I loved the combination of muted colours so much I instantly knew I wanted to emulate them. So that was it - the inspiration was born. It can be just one thing - either the subject, or texture, or shape, light or colour, and in this case it was colour. The rest comes naturally.


The peony landed itself perfectly to the floral composition and the desaturated red colour tone I wanted it to be. A few twigs of London Pride from the garden add unusual, quirky and pretty note to the bouquet. I like the soft painterly whiteness of the scarf and soap bag their tone echoing the one of the white roses.



The painting by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin - "A Vase of Flowers" 1750



Sunday, 24 May 2015

Dove Cottage

We stayed just a few minute walk away from the lovely Dove Cottage in Grasmere, the Lake District, the home of the poet William Wordsworth so it was impossible not to pay a vist even though I had been there before. It was getting late in the afternoon, I was on my way home from Coniston and the Cottage was closing in half an hour but I thought I'll just pop in quickly and concentrate on taking some of photos of the back garden, I discovered to my delight that photography is now allowed inside the cottage as well but on this occasion I only had time for a few quick mobile phone shots. There is always next time and it is good to know you have still something left to photograph.


The view from the back garden. The only flat part of the garden is the path skirting it. The rest is all sloped ground with wonderful views of the cottage and beyond over the Grasmere lake and distant fells. William and Dorothy Wordsworth spent a lot of time together walking around the garden or just reading or gardening. William was known for composing his poems walking and he composed many of his poems pacing around the garden of his beloved cottage.
I decided to give this image an old watercolour look and create a feel as if William and Dorothy could step into the frame any minute. That is how it felt when I was taking  picutres anyway. I desaturated the colours and applied a matte frame for a slightly hazy look around the edges.



The charming arbour at the top of the garden which William and Dorothy had had built. They used to write there and also read to each other. There is a folder with pen and paper for anyone feeling inspired to have a go at writing a verse or two themselves.
The delightful bluebells added so much to the magic of this place.



The kitchen. I am lucky to have a mobile phone that performs surprisingly well in low light. Quite pleased with this snap which I lightly textured and sepia toned in keeping with the old subject matter.




Thursday, 21 May 2015

Forget-Me-Nots Still Life

I adore wildflowers and these tiny spring beauties are no exception. I wanted to do something different with them rather than the usual close up with a lot of blur around so I decided to accentuate their sprawling stems and make the little flowers look scattered. I used a few deep textures to achieve the low key effect (cannot help being a huge fan of dark images). The light streaming in from the window to the left was quite pleasing and enabled me to slight tweak the blue of the flowers in post processing to help them stand out better.




Thursday, 14 May 2015

Spring in the Lake District

I recently came back from a wonderful trip to Grasmere in the beloved Lake District. Still thinking about it very fondly and reliving the memories every day. There was a lot of rain but nice weather too and I got back with lots of pics to play with. Indeed at the moment I have many pics I'd like to share and hence my second post of the day. I like posting photos of the season we are currently in so my first set of images from the Lakes has spring as a theme.


Yewdale Beck at the pretty village of Coniston. It was a mainly rainy day but it brightened up in the afternoon so we decided to drive to Coniston for a cup of coffee and a quick look around. The sun was going in and out from behind the still menacing clouds. It was windy and cold too so we hung about only long enough for me to capture this pretty scene. The moody light only lasted seconds and I was pleased to have caught it. I used "smudging" on the water in postprocessing for a more painterly look and as usual applied a texture, this time the one called "Pensive" from Distressed Textures.



I love love camellia at this time of year and this one is probably the most beautiful one I have seen. Love how it is tree shaped and all the fallen petals beneath it. The cottage and the wooden fence to the left are the perfect background too.



Came across this scene while walking around Allan Bank in Grasmere one late afternoon. You cannot but be delighted when you see a mountain like this framed by beautiful pink cherry blossom.



I love this image and am not quite sure why. The composition is probably nowhere near perfect and some could contend there is no focal point either. But I feel the image does convey perfectly the idyllic atmosphere of a remote country lane and its surroundings on a fine spring day.



A classic and always cheerful bluebells scene. With bluebells all you need is a bit of not too harsh sunlight and you are sure to produce a lovely shot. I must admit the wooden gate in the background inspired me too.








Otley II

Back in October last year I decided I was going to post sets of around five photos of Otley as I finish processing them. Well it has taken me a long time to do a new post like that but here it is at last. The first two images are taken last month and the rest are all from last year's summer.


I found this scene at the bottom of East Chevin road as I came out of the car boot sale one Sunday and headed back to the car park. I thought the sight was sheer magic. I stood there for a long time soaking the beauty. A couple of other people came and went too. As usual I took a series of frames as the light was changing and, of course, the chickens were moving. The chicken framed in the gate was transferred from another, very similar, frame because I preferred the rest of the composition in this image. It's fun having a practice working with layers in Photoshop from time to time!



The Memorial Garden, Not very pleased with the composition here but I love all the spring flowers and the glorious magnolia. It is the best time of the year to photograph this garden.



New Market Street. My favourite street in Otley. I have to have a go at taking a photo virtually every time I am here. Love the view of the Chevin beyond the street and on this occasion it was bathed in the afternoon sunlight for me. And, of course, the bike in the foreground added to the charm of the scene.



Bay Horse Court. Beautiful old court in the heart of town with two passages on opposite sides. It looks probably exactly how it did hundreds of years ago. I wish I knew more about it.



Taken from the entrance into the grounds of Otley Parish Church. It is a nice viewpoint giving a typical picture and impression of this lovely town. The photo was chosen for the cover photo of the Facebook group " Otley - The Community We Live In" which I am a member of.




Friday, 17 April 2015

First visit to the Haworth Moor

Despite visiting the beautiful historic village of Haworth a few times since I moved up to Yorkshire I had never ventured out onto the Moor until the other day. It was a lovely spring day, a great time to go and see what it was that inspired the Bronte sisters to create their much acclaimed and liked literary works of art. The moors are windswept and bleak but beautiful in their bleakness with stunning distant views all around. It was breezy (the least one can expect, I guess) with a few fluffy white clouds and the light generally quite nice for photography. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am already planning a return and a walk to more distant landmarks associated with the Bronte sisters and their work. Here is a selection of a dozen images from the walk in the order I took them. And apart from a few minor lighting tweaks they are all straight out of the camera.


























Thursday, 16 April 2015

More Recent Still Life Work



I had wanted to create an image with my vintage bread bin for a long time. It lends itself well to a simple, country/rustic still life. It was relatively easy to find props that work well together. My photographer friend Jasenka says it is one of my best stills, and I feel she may be right there.



A vintage, nostalgic image created with some old postcards I had bought in Otley. The writing on the postcards is in Polish, I believe, so I assume they come from a Polish postcard collector. Loved using my Edwardian jewelry box with its red felt inside.



This is not really my recent work, I shot this a long time ago, but was not sure if I liked it or not. Recently I saw a texture that inspired me to try it on this image and I was quite happy with the result and the fact that I managed to save the image from the dark corners of the archives.



I like to think of this image as book cover-ish. I have not submitted it to any photo agency yet but it was made in vein of many simple random object images that can be found in the collections of online photo libraries. As I must have said before, I love red in photographs, and here the little red tartan bag seems to work well with the rustic feel of the image.