52 in 2015 Week 7 Environmental Portrait

If you are like me you are probably thinking “What is an Environmental Portrait”? Wikipedia describes it as;

A portrait executed in the subject’s usual environment, such as in their home or workplace, and typically illuminates the subject’s life and surroundings.

It is thought that by photographing the subject in their natural surroundings they will be more at ease and you will see more of their personality rather than a likeness of their physical features

I was interested in environmental portraiture, the mix between the environment and the person. I didn’t know any of these people, but they knew my face and felt comfortable with me. I had been there with a medium-format camera the year before. I would have little contact sheets to show what I was doing. I would ask questions about what they were doing in the community and their lives. They felt comfortable with a toy camera, they were not threatened at all. – Carl Robert Pope, Jr.

I had a problem, it was Saturday morning, the last day for taking this weeks 52 entry photographs and I hadn’t lined up anyone to photograph. I didn’t even know where I was going to find them. Wherever I was going to get the photographs had to be populated to give me a chance of finding someone so the Snowdonia National Park was definitely out. On the other hand the National Park is so busy at weekends with walkers and climbers that it might not have been such a bad idea, but in the end I settled for Llandudno. Why there? It’s a seaside town, with a very long pier which is open on a Saturday, and there’s a very busy High Street.

First stop the pier, but on the way down from the car-park I came across these two giving roses away. Normally photography in shopping malls is not allowed, they’re private property and security usually jump on you fast if you get out a camera, but I thought I’d take my chances. They were happy to pose but I screwed up. I literally took the camera out of the bag and started shooting. Big mistake, the camera was set on a low ISO, aperture was all wrong, as was the focus point, it’s behind the girl. Face detection was turned off as well so I ended up with a couple of  blurred photographs. This is the best of the bunch.

I Got It Wrong

I’ve done a little bit of street photography before but I’ve never actually gone up and asked someone if I can take their photograph but as the saying goes “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. My plan was to stop and talk and then ask if I could take a photograph.

First stop, the donut stall on the pier. A really nice lady, so straight out I asked if I could photograph her. OK! It’s a bit posed but success, I’ve managed to ask and get a yes. That was easy….

52 in 2105 Week 7 Environmental Portrait

Three rejections later, two quite polite and one rather rude, I was beginning to feel a bit down-hearted. Admittedly I only need one photograph for the 52 challenge, and I knew I had that with the lady above, but I really wanted another one to be sure. Then I came upon this lovely couple who approached me to photograph them with their camera. We stood talking for a while and then I suggested I take another one with my camera. looks like the talking before-hand is paying off.
A Couple

Flushed with success I was about to leave the pier and walk back into town. At the first booth there was a lady selling ice-creams and candy floss, well not exactly, it was a bit cold and still early in the day. Building on my success I managed to convince here to let me take her photograph. A bit shy at first, which you can see, but I’m happy with the results.

52 in 2015 Week 7 Environmental Portrait
So there you have it. I actually enjoyed talking to people and once a sort of rapport was established I was able to get a photograph.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

All I can do in my writing is to stimulate a certain amount of thought, clarify some technical facts and date my work. But when I preach sharpness, brilliancy, scale, etc., I am just mouthing words, because no words can really describe those terms and qualities it takes the actual print to say, “here it is.” – Ansel Adams

How right Ansel Adams was. I could tell you a lot about this weeks challenge photograph but you have to really see it to get the size of the house. It’s small, really small, compare it to the one next door and you will see what I mean.

Little Red House
Yet, it’s not a curiosity. Sure, it’s now a big tourist attraction, well it is to anyone visiting Conwy, but someone actually did live here at one time. Nowadays you can visit pay your £1 and have a look inside. You are not allowed on the upper floor, yes there is one, due to “elfin safety” excuse the pun. However you can stand on a step-ladder and look up.

52 in 2015 Week 6 Low Key

Week 6 and it’s taken me until the weekend to get the final photograph for Low Key. With the successful visit into the National Park and the “Hairy Moment” in our pursuit of snow I needed some time to recover before shooting that Low Key photograph. But what exactly is Low Key?

Wikipedia describes Low Key as a style of lighting for photography, film or television and a necessary element in creating a chiaroscuro effect. Traditional photographic lighting, three-point lighting uses a key light, a fill light, and a back light for illumination. Low-key lighting often uses only one key light, optionally controlled with a fill light or a simple reflector. However I think Lakshman Lyer’s definition sums it up far more simply;

One can consider/define the over exposed and under exposed portraits as High Key and Low Key Portraits.

So to this weeks photograph. I managed to convince this rather distinguished “old” gentleman to pose for me whilst I experimented with lighting.

52 in 2015 Week 6 Low Key

I have to admit he was not the easiest subject to photograph because he thought he knew a bit about photography and kept chiming in. “Move the light there” or “I look better on my other side” but eventually I managed to get two photographs I could work with.

52 in 2015 Week 6 Low Key

Now it seems like the chosen medium for Low Key photographs is Black and White which I’ve been experimenting with recently so here goes. I hope you like them?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth

For this weeks challenge photograph I’m doing a bit of lateral thinking, or, maybe I’m just trying to make a photograph fit the theme again.

Ponies

There has been a reasonably heavy fall of snow in the Snowdonia National Park but with strong winds a lot has blown off the upper parts of the mountains meaning that at the lower levels it’s deep. Welsh wild ponies who roam the hills here are in search of food and we found them higher up the valley where grass and roots are exposed. This is the first time i have ever seen them at this level and surprisingly we were able to get quite close, even stroke some of them, maybe they thought we would feed them.

A great photo happens when a photographer sees a situation unfolding in front of them that evokes an emotion that the photographer feels deep down, in the middle of their chest. And in a split second, they then make a conscious choice of exposure, lens, depth of field, lighting, body language, composition, etc., and releases the shutter. The film is then processed, scanned, laid out on a page, printed on a press, driven across town to the newspaper carrier who throws it on some guy’s porch, who then opens the newspaper and looks down at that photo … and if that guy gets the same feeling deep down in the middle of his chest that the photographer did when they viewed the situation in the first place, they have made a great photo. – Anonymous

I’m not sure that it’s a great photograph, I can see plenty wrong with it but I am pleased that I managed to capture these magnificent little animals in their natural habit.

This week is a short one from me. I hope you like the photograph as much as I do.

52 in 2015 Week 5 Song or Book

This weeks 52 is to make a photograph fit a song, book or the words from either. Maybe it’s the other way round? I mean you can take any photograph and I’m sure you will be able to find something that will fit. Anyway you can submit one photograph for judging and one to the group photo pool in any week. Previously I have only show the photograph that I have submitted for judging but this week I will show you both.

52 in 2015 Week 5 Song Or Book

The weather has been cold and I know the mountains in the National Park are covered in snow again. Some roads have been closed so I’m staying on the coast this week. Although it’s not obvious from the photograph there was a bitter cold northerly wind blowing on the beach, straight off the sea, so I didn’t intend hanging around to take photographs. I’ve spoken about Talacre lighthouse before so I won’t say anything about it, other than a lot more rocks have been exposed around the base due to winter storms. Unusually for me I’m not shooting for HDR. The Olympus is able to handle the light conditions and since I have got it I’ve been trying to wean myself off shooting HDR for landscapes.

Oh! I never said what song I have made this photograph fit. Well “The Lighthouse”, written by Ronnie Hinson, is one of Southern Gospel Music’s Greatest Hits according to a website devoted to Southern Gospel Music lyrics. See how easy it is to make a photograph fit.

Ten Green Bottles” is a song that is popular in the United Kingdom. In essence, the song is a single verse repeated, each time with one bottle fewer:

Ten green bottles hanging on the wall,
Ten green bottles hanging on the wall,
And if one green bottle should accidentally fall,
There’ll be nine green bottles hanging on the wall.
Source Wikipedia

52 in 2015 Week 5 Song or Book

OK! This is stretching it a bit but it’s sort of green. I know it’s not hanging on a wall but it is one bottle and that is in the lyrics. Like I said it’s easy to make a photograph fit a theme.

Two photographs; which one would you submit for judging?