Friday, 31 July 2015

Rose Castle Cottage, The Lake District

I photographed this remote, lone cottage back in May, on my last visit to the Lakes. We went for a walk around Tarn Hows with its spectacular views, and this cottage, situated above the lake, about 20 minutes away, was a great finish to the walk. I fell in love as soon as I saw it. I took many photos from different distances and angles because I knew I would be able to make a few different images. It was a grey and dull day which was better for photography then blazing sunshine seeing overcast weather is much more manageable and easier to work with in post processing. There was no sky detail in the original so I added a texture layer that also included sky and clouds and played with the colours a bit. I went for a serene and airy look. I think carefully before I use bird brushes and here I felt they do add to the magic of the image.
The cottage is part of the National Trust and is available to rent. Although it has a lovely interior it is apparently basic as far as utilities and electricals are concerned. There is even no television. But who cares when, after a day spent enjoying the outstanding natural beauty of the lakeland, you can immerse yourself in the fascinating books on the history of the cottage which you can find there.






Monday, 27 July 2015

Arcangel

I have recently joined another (third) online photo stock agency - Arcangel. It is just that sales with Getty Images have been almost non existent lately and Trevillion are very particular about what they accept so I am left with quite a few images just sitting on my hard drive. I thought I would give them a chance to sell with Arcangel who have struck me as stocking the type of images mine would fit in well with. They are also a lot less restrictive about what they accept for their database so I hope they wil accept most of the images I submit. Right now I have had my first photos accepted and a lot more are in the pending queue awaiting consideration. I am sharing here just two of them which I have not posted on my blog before.


Taken in my dining room. I love white roses and they render themselves so well to a vintage still life. I always wanted to include my dresser in one of my images and finally it happened. I felt I had all the props I needed when I bought the old mantel clock. The image was processed with ambrotype effect to achieve the brown vintage tones and vignette.



Just a couple of pieces of old fancy cutlery my friend gave me knowing I can use them for my photography. I simply placed them on the kitchen work top and snapped a few shots from different angles at different apertures. Not my usual type of image, it is a bit too plain for me but agencies seem to need plain images so I may shoot some more in the future. However, I have always stressed that I can only make images from my heart and am virtually unable to work to a directive. I have to feel inspired to take photos regardless of whether they are saleable or not.







Thursday, 23 July 2015

Still Life With Newspaper and Magnifying Glass

I bought this magnifying glass at an antiques market in Zagreb. It was an ideal memento that I could easily fit in the suitcase and a great prop for a new still life. I had already bought the newspaper in a vintage shop in Haworth and had an idea of using the two together. After considering what else I could use I thought of an old ashtray with a burning cigarette in it. Then I decided I did not want to wait till I find an ashtray when I can just use something I already have in the house. So I chose one of my old oil lamps. I shot many a frame trying to find a good angle and perspective. The newspaper tended to appear too large in the frame so I got in quite close to the set up and used a 50mm lens to slightly "squash" the perspective.
A dark red background seemed a good colour option that would add a touch of mystery and intimacy to the image so I used a red curtain texture layer in Photoshop. I like the painterly look of the curtain, the turquoise reflection in the magnifying glass and the little window reflection in the oil lamp.
And yes, I am very pleased with the overall mood. "Looks like a scene from Sherlock Holmes", my partner G commented.





Sunday, 19 July 2015

Haidi

I was delighted when my yoga teacher neice, Haidi, asked me if I would take a few pictures of her in different yoga poses when I was in Zagreb. "I'd love to", I said, "I would have asked you if you had not asked me!" We chose the Botanical Gardens for our location but were kicked out of there for not sticking to the paths! We had to think quickly of another suitable place and ended up in my brother's neighbour's yard where there was a white wall we could use for a very plain but uncluttered background. However, there were a couple of small windows behind my model which I removed in postprocessing - a task which is painstaking and not always completely successful. At the shoot I had to concentrate hard on what I was doing as portraits are not my domain so it was only later on while editing the photos that I was fully able to enjoy all the talent and skill of my lovely and beautiful niece. I am so proud of her! Here are just a few of many frames we did.













Sunday, 12 July 2015

Visit to Zagreb in June

I had a really lovely time back home in my beloved home town Zagreb, but my photography always has to take a back seat while I am there. It is time for family and friends who I do not see for a long time so time for taking photos is scarce and random. But I am quite happy if I manage to take just a handful of good photos which I usually do.


A view from the Strossmaerovo setaliste, popularly called "Stross". It is a lovely, romantic walk in the Upper Town with beautiful views over the city. It was a sunny late afternoon so the light was on my side. I particularly liked the little playground at the bottom of the frame with the red slide.



This is Kaptol, one of the two parts of the Upper Town the other being called Gric. I took this from the left hand corner of the Cathedral. As this is a well photographed place I was looking for an unusual point of view and composition. I am glad I was able to include the street light and keep the parallels straight. I applied a texture with writing in order to communicate a deep sense of nostalgia and homesickness I always go through on my return to England for the first few weeks.



St Paul's Church. It must be the most famous and popular landmark of Zagreb. The Government headquarters are just visible to the left. I find the church very hard to photograph well with a 35mm camera. Again I was looking for an unusual angle and framing, and the one without converging vertical lines. I went for this view that excludes the tower. I thought the decorated roof and the street light in front of the church provide enough detail themselves. Every time I look at this church it evokes a story book feeling in me so I tried to convey that feeling through the way I processed this image.



An old metal gate at Gric, Upper Town. There is something about old metal gates in my opinion and I find this one quite pretty. I like how the viewer gets a glimpse of the front garden through the half open gate, and how the proximity of the house beyond gives the image an intimate and inviting feel. I desaturated the colours heavily and slightly sepia toned the image for that old vintage look.



This must be the strangest image I have ever created. I played and played with it in  Photoshop searching for some balance, some harmony I thought must be somewhere. I even added one chimney and took one window away! But I just could not get any depth to the image possibly because both sides of the house have been cut out. I do not even know why I am sharing it at all!! Maybe because I do love this quirky house. I just need to come up with a decent image of it yet.



Taken from the Adriatic Bridge over Sava river, from the tourist bus. I applied a radial blur in Photoshop to emphasize the movement, and texture for a bit of a painterly look which I like with images with a lot sky and water space.



A mobile shot taken from the balcony of the "City Rhythm" bar just visible to the right (I leaned out over the rail as much as I could to get the shot). Just love sitting here sipping a honey schnapps and watching people and trams on the main square. 



Friday, 10 July 2015

New Book Cover

So happy that I have another book cover! Thank you Trevillion Images! And this time it is an English author which I so wished for! It is a German edition for a kindle, as far as I know. It features the image which has been the cover photo of my blog ever since I created it, so yes it is one of my personal favourites. The original is quite moody and dark - it was getting on towards a rather dramatic sunset at the Lake District village of Troutbeck. I like how the image was changed into a brighter and serene setting for the book cover.






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