My Journey to ARPS – and with a Fuji X-T2 Camera….

For those of you who have been fortunate enough to NOT be around when I submitted images to the Royal Photographic Society, in an attempt to achieve my Associateship – Congratulations…. but it all ends here…..

After months of work, agony, and me constantly wittering on to all my ‘friends’, I want to say thank you to all of them.  For lingering and looking, for the critique, for the support, and to certain individuals who not only came to Nottingham and London for RPS advisory days, but who also came to Bath with me TWICE…. once to drop the portfolio off (thanks Vicky), and once for the final Assessment (thank you Mike and George)…

Many thanks also to the Lincolnshire Image Makers Group, who were so supportive, and nagged me constantly to get the job done.

All the images can be found on my website (links below), and were based on multiple exposure photography – with some having as many as 40 pictures to make up one shot.

When I started to think about what I’d done, and looked back on work I had produced over the last five years or so, I realised that I had been making multi exposure images for all of that time.  It was just that I had been going about it in a different way.  The images were made by me moving forward, or backwards in between shots, and I had also been combining them in camera – as the Canon DX allowed up to 9 shots at a time.  Sometimes I’d combined them in photoshop, but not in the way I do now.

So what I feel, is that I’ve developed something over a long period of time – but it was after I saw some images online by another photographer that my interest was piqued even more.

Between November of last year, and April of 2018, I developed, refined and changed my technique, and before I knew it, I was producing images that I was really happy with.

I chatted to the RPS at the start of the summer, and they advised that I would be presenting images in their ‘fine art’ category – and that they liked the work and wanted to see more.

You need 15 images for Associateship, together with a statement of intent – and for an advisory day, they recommend that you bring your basic 15 with 5 others as ‘spares’.   So in early July, I set off for London with 20 printed, mounted images – the RPS recommended I present the panel at an assessment day with no changes – they liked the small image, the style, and the choice of subjects.

My friend Vicky and I went to Bath towards the end of August, and dropped the panel off for Assessment in October.

Then in mid-October myself and two friends headed for Bath – where the panel was passed, and retained by the RPS as an example of what is required in an Associateship panel.  Drunk on success, and champagne we returned to Lincolnshire and I was overwhelmed.

So, the images themselves.  They are mostly of Lincolnshire, and the coast, and the structures – there are trees, and fountains, and landscape.  All together in the same multi-exposure style.

This isn’t one of my final panel, but a series of images I took on the way home from Bath after the assessment day.  We stopped at Westonbirt Arboretum, and this comprises 15 images shot of the fantastic Autumn colour there.

You can find my full panel, and statement of intent by CLICKING THIS LINK

The Slideshow is available by CLICKING HERE

All the images were taken with a Fuji X-T2 camera, and their excellent 16-55 2.8 lens.  The large format RAW files were perfect for this kind of work, and allowed me to crop in, to make the images exactly how I wanted them to be.  The lightweight camera meant that I had it with me most of the time, and so was able to get the shots I wanted.  I can also recommend their 23mm f2 lens, for its discrete size and superb image quality.  I don’t think I would have achieved this distinction without this camera….  Thanks Fuji…..

Photo Impressionism

About six or so months ago, I rediscovered multiple exposure photography.

A good number of years ago, I was taking the ocassional multi exposure image, and putting them together in post production.  Once I got a Canon that could do them in-camera, I added a few more.  Time ticked on, and I was working for clients, and I didn’t have much time to make images for myself, and the experiment got put on the back burner….

Then towards the end of 2017, I was admiring the work of a Candadian photographer who was creating very impressionistic photographs using multi exposures.  He was not doing them in camera, as each image he created was using upwards of 30 exposures.  He said he’d been influenced by a photographer called Freeman Patterson – and after a short time, I was able to get hold of a book Freeman had written, called Photo Impressionism, and the Subjective Image.

Whilst the publication is quite an old one, and refers entirely to shooting with film, the actual process was easily translated into the digital world.  He talked a lot about shooting images that only gave an impression of the whole, and in the use of shapes and lines, focused entirely on texture, and the nature of the surfaces.

Absorbed in the book, and tracing other photographers who were working the same way – I started to look at how these fascinating images were actually created.

It involved a lot of research, and tracking down different methods of working within Photoshop.  Eventually though, I was able to work out how to align layers of images, and how to blend them together to give the kind of result I was looking for.

Once I fully understand how the layer stacking affects the final images, I’ll write a full blog piece.  In the meantime I’m looking at shooting all sorts of things, and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Tree

This is one of the first images I made using this multi shot technique. It uses around 40 images – stacked and blended to give the impression of the tree in front of a building.  I’m working on refining the technique, and this next image is one of the town of Louth in Lincolnshire.  It’s the indoor market hall tower clock, on a busy Maundy Thursday, and a shot I shall try again on an even busier market day.  A mere 17 images this time….

Tree

The more images used, the finer the final image becomes, so somewhere in between there must be an optimum number of pictures to use.   I tried one larger image with nearly 70 images, but it did not seem to be so successful.   I have seen one photographer use this technique though with over 200 layers.   I can’t imagine how big the final file would be.

I have uploaded a number of images onto my Flickr page (see the link to the right of the blog), and more are on my website

http://www.dseddonphoto.co.uk/multi_exposure

I’ll keep working………..

On Being too Easily Pleased

When I lived over in Cheshire, in fact about 16 miles out of Manchester, I was not too far from Lyme Park.  A National Trust estate famed mostly for the house, and the large herds of red and fallow deer that roam free on the estate – as well as its starring role in Pride and Prejudice.

There’s a tree – I’m not sure what kind, (maybe a Maple?) but it’s a great shape.  Every time I went over there, I photographed it.  From all angles, and at all times of day – sunrise, sunset, bad weather, good weather.  Different cameras, different light, different viewpoints.

While in the midst of shooting this tree (again) during the Red Deer rut, a cyclist stopped next to me.  He gets off his bike, looks at all the gear I have spread around (I was shooting deer really don’t forget), gets out his little pocket camera – takes one shot, and rides away – with me staring after him,

I watch him go, and I think that I’ve been looking at, and shooting this tree over the years.  He’s taken one shot, and I think he’s probably happy with it.  I wonder if he’s happier with that one photo, than I’ve been after 2 years of messing…….  I’d love to know.

Here’s my version of “That Tree”….

Lyme Park Tree

Waithe – St Martin’s Church

Yesterday, we played truant from the camera club!  Instead of going there, to the AV session, three of us bunked off, and went exploring….  We visited a church that is still consecrated, but no longer in use.

The building originates from the 10th century, with additions and alterations carried out in the 11th and 13th centuries. It was restored in 1861 by James Fowler of Louth, for the Haigh family, local landowners By the time it was vested in the Churches Conservation Trust in the 2000s, the building was in a state of decay and it had been vandalised. Some of the bell openings were near to collapse. The site was overgrown and the interior contained debris and bat guano.  Repairs started in October 2005 and cost nearly £350,000.

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It’s an unassuming building, and visitors are made welcome with a note to explain where the light switches are, and notes on each part of church interior.  We didn’t put the lights on at first, as the sun came through the glass, making fantastic colours on the stonework.

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All in all, it’s a lovely tranquil place to visit, and it has been very well looked after.  I signed the visitor book, and look forward very much to a return visit, with a tripod.

So here’s just a few of the images I took on the Fuji.

Take a photo – Make a photo ?

Is clicking the shutter really enough ?  Do we spend too much time post processing ?   Should we be ‘pure’ in our art.  What comes in the lens, comes out in the print….

I’d say NO.  Clicking the shutter for me, is only the beginning of the process.

Whilst digitally enhancing images has become far easier, it’s nothing new.  The practice has existed since photography began. There was an exhibition in New York in 2012 which examined this whole thing.  Click HERE for the link.  The exhibition featured images created in the period 1840 – 1990.  Look again at the first date…… 1840 !!!  The photographs were altered using a variety of techniques including multiple exposures, combination printing (images used from more than one negative), painting, and retouching.   Nothing new really here, apart from the speed – it was much slower then to get the same results as nowadays.

untitledUnknown Artist, American School
Man on Rooftop with Eleven Men in Formation on His Shoulders
ca. 1930
Gelatin silver print
Collection of George Eastman House
Photo Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The earliest example I could find was this one…. a two headed man – created in 1855 !

untitled

So why is manipulation such a huge problem for some people?

My all time hero – Ansel Adams was one of the greatest landscape photographers of all time.  He was probably one of the perfectionists.  His images were printed, edited, printed, edited, and printed again.  His ‘zone’ system is complex, and, for his time, revolutionary.  Google him – look at his images before and after editing.  One of his most famous pictures – Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico’ – is a perfect example of his post processing skills.

So, next time the ‘purists’ start shouting about images coming straight out of the camera, because that’s how it should be done, just remind them that although sometimes it’s done that way – most times it’s not.  That old adage that ‘the camera never lies’ is bunkum.  It lies most of the time.

The reality is that the people who make the cameras in Japan, or where-ever are the people who are ultimately telling you what your image will look like – especially if you are shooting in JPEG.  They decide the colours, the saturation, the sharpness. You decide on the crop.

The ultimate decision of course is the photographers  own.  There is no right and wrong way to process (or not) your own images.  There is also no need to preach about perfect out of camera images – nor is there a need for people to stop manipulating images just as much as they would like.

There’s space for all of us…….

No go out and MAKE some photographs…………

untitledMaurice Guibert (French, 1856–1913)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, Albi 1864–1901 Saint-André-du-Bois)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as Artist and Model
1892
Gelatin silver print
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Henry P. Mcllhenny, 1982-14-2